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In This Edition

Chris Hedges considers, "War Crimes And The Lie Of American Innocence."

Ralph Nader finds, "Commercial Defrauding Of Uncle Sam-Biggest Booming Business."

Margaret Kimberley concludes, "Black Caucus Fails On Ukraine."

Jim Hightower reports, "Now, Robots Are Coming For White-Collar Jobs."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Republicans Supporting A No-Fly Zone Are Putting Us At Risk Of Nuclear War."

John Nichols explores, "The Loathsome Hypocrisy Of Republicans Who Now Applaud Volodymyr Zelensky."

James Donahue remembers when, "Electric Cars Almost Changed History."

David Swanson examines, "Ending Slavery In Washington DC And War In Ukraine."

David Suzuki says, "SUVs Are Driving Us Toward Climate Calamity."

Charles P. Pierce discovers, "People In Kenya Are Discovering They Suddenly Own Lakefront Property."

Juan Cole reports, "Putin Aggression Leads To Surge In Electrical Vehicle Progress In Europe."

Robert Reich says, "The Underlying Problem Isn't Inflation-It's Corporate Power And Greed."

Thom Hartmann reports, "Judge Jackson's Hearing Proves That All The Sold-Out GOP Has Left Is Performance Art."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Putin Pleased As Plot To Ruin Russian Economy, Destroy International Standing Goes Exactly To Plan," but first, Uncle Ernie exclaims, Wild Fires Are Adding To Global Warming Some Ten Times More Than Was Thought!

This week we spotlight the cartoons of John Deering, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Photo Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, Stringer, Sarah Silbiger, Butter My Parsnips, Jim Lo, Scalzo-Pool, Randy Lisciarelli, Erik McGregor, Brian Ongoro, Washington Post, LightRocket, Gerd Altmann, Jim Hightower, Pixabay, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments -

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

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Wild Fires Are Adding To Global Warming Some Ten Times More Than Was Thought!
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

Record heat in the Arctic is driving an early melt season and crushing 2022 sea-ice extent: current rank now #4. The Antarctic is even worse. With everything going on in the world right now, the dual polar climate disasters of 2022 should be the top story." ~~~ Prof. Eliot Jacobson

I see where the dense plumes of wildfire smoke seen in recent years are contributing to the warming of the Arctic, say scientists.

Their study says that particles of "brown carbon" in the smoke are drifting north and attracting heat to the polar region.

The authors believe the growing number of wildfires helps explain why the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet.

They're concerned that this effect will likely increase.

Over the past decade, smoke from raging wildfires in Australia, Portugal, Siberia and the US have changed the colour of the skies. The smoke has impacted human health, and the amount of carbon released by the burning has helped push emissions to record levels.

But now scientists say that all this burning has contributed to another serious issue - the loss of sea ice in the Arctic.

Researchers have long been familiar with "black carbon," the sooty particles that are emitted from diesel engines, coal burning, cooking stoves and other sources.

These aerosols, which absorb sunlight and turn it into heat, are known to be the second largest contributor to global warming.

The impact of these particles on the Arctic and on clouds has been well documented.

However, the same can't be said for brown carbon - which principally comes from the burning of trees and vegetation but is also created, to a lesser degree, from fossil fuels. The warming effect of this less dense substance has been either ignored or estimated with huge uncertainty in climate models.

To develop a better understanding of the impacts, researchers travelled around the Arctic ocean on the Chinese icebreaker, Xue Long, in 2017.

While some previous estimates had shown brown carbon was responsible for just 3% of the warming effect compared to black carbon, the scientists found that it is doing far more damage in the region.

"To our surprise, observational analyses and numerical simulations show that the warming effect of brown carbon aerosols over the Arctic is up to about 30% of that of black carbon," says senior author Pingqing Fu, an atmospheric chemist at Tianjin University in China.

The study found that wildfires were the main source of this brown material - contributing twice as much to the warming effect of brown carbon in the Arctic than was coming from fossil fuels.

The authors believe that while black soot has played the major role, brown carbon had a hand in the exceptional warming being felt in the Arctic region in recent decades.

Over the last 50 years, the icy north has been warming at three times the rate of the rest of the planet.

The main factor driving this difference is what's termed Arctic amplification.

What happens is that the ice and snow on the surface of the Arctic waters normally reflects most sunlight back to space, but as the ice melts the darker waters absorb much more heat, which in turn melts the ice even quicker.

But as wildfires in mid and northern latitudes have increased as the world warms, this new study finds that brown carbon from this source is having an increasing impact in the Arctic.

This is what scientists describe as a feedback loop, where the warmer world causes more fires, which in turn leads to less ice and more heat. In other words global warming is caught in a loop!

"The increase in brown carbon aerosols will lead to global or regional warming, which increases the probability and frequency of wildfires," says Dr Fu, explaining the way the feedback loop works.

"Increased wildfire events will emit more brown carbon aerosols, further heating the earth, thus making wildfires more frequent."

As a recent UN study has shown, wildfires are likely to increase by up to 50% by the middle of this century, so the authors believe this brown carbon trend will likely increase.

The scientists involved in the study say that their work shows that the importance of managing vegetation fires is not just about saving lives and limiting the damage done by burning. Meanwhile, in the Artic temps are 70 degree above normal and in some places in Antarctica the temps are 90 degrees above normal.


01-26-1936 ~ 03-20-2022
Thanks for the film!

05-15-1937 ~ 03-23-2022
Burn Baby Burn!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2022 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand -up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

A Yemeni child recites a prayer by the graves of schoolboys who were killed while on a
bus that was hit by a Saudi-led coalition air strike on the Dahyan market in August,
at a cemetery in the Huthi rebels' stronghold province of Saada on September 4, 2018.

Putin Has Given The Masters Of War Exactly What They Wanted
Our hypocrisy on war crimes makes a rules-based world, one that abides by international law, impossible.
By Chris Hedges

The branding of Vladimir Putin as a war criminal by Joe Biden, who lobbied for the Iraq war and staunchly supported the 20 years of carnage in the Middle East, is one more example of the hypocritical moral posturing sweeping across the United States. It is unclear how anyone would try Putin for war crimes since Russia, like the United States, does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But justice is not the point. Politicians like Biden, who do not accept responsibility for our well-documented war crimes, bolster their moral credentials by demonizing their adversaries. They know the chance of Putin facing justice is zero. And they know their chance of facing justice is the same.

We know who our most recent war criminals are, among others: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, General Ricardo Sanchez, former CIA Director George Tenet, former Asst. Atty. Gen. Jay Bybee, former Dep. Asst. Atty. Gen. John Yoo, who set up the legal framework to authorize torture; the helicopter pilots who gunned down civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in the "Collateral Murder" video released by WikiLeaks. We have evidence of the crimes they committed.

But, like Putin's Russia, those who expose these crimes are silenced and persecuted. Julian Assange, even though he is not a US citizen and his WikiLeaks site is not a US-based publication, is charged under the US Espionage Act for making public numerous US war crimes. Assange, currently housed in a high security prison in London, is fighting a losing battle in the British courts to block his extradition to the United States, where he faces 175 years in prison. One set of rules for Russia, another set of rules for the United States. Weeping crocodile tears for the Russian media, which is being heavily censored by Putin, while ignoring the plight of the most important publisher of our generation speaks volumes about how much the ruling class cares about press freedom and truth.

If we demand justice for Ukrainians, as we should, we must also demand justice for the one million people killed-400,000 of whom were noncombatants-by our invasions, occupations and aerial assaults in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan. We must demand justice for those who were wounded, became sick or died because we destroyed hospitals and infrastructure. We must demand justice for the thousands of soldiers and marines who were killed, and many more who were wounded and are living with lifelong disabilities, in wars launched and sustained on lies. We must demand justice for the 38 million people who have been displaced or become refugees in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria, a number that exceeds the total of all those displaced in all wars since 1900, apart from World War II, according to the Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs at Brown University. Tens of millions of people, who had no connection with the attacks of 9/11, were killed, wounded, lost their homes, and saw their lives and their families destroyed because of our war crimes. Who will cry out for them?

Every effort to hold our war criminals accountable has been rebuffed by Congress, by the courts, by the media and by the two ruling political parties. The Center for Constitutional Rights, blocked from bringing cases in US courts against the architects of these preemptive wars, which are defined by post-Nuremberg laws as "criminal wars of aggression," filed motions in German courts to hold US leaders to account for gross violations of the Geneva Convention, including the sanctioning of torture in black sites such as Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib.

Those who have the power to enforce the rule of law, to hold our war criminals to account, to atone for our war crimes, direct their moral outrage exclusively at Putin's Russia. "Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime," Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, condemning Russia for attacking civilian sites, including a hospital, three schools and a boarding school for visually impaired children in the Luhansk region of Ukraine. "These incidents join a long list of attacks on civilian, not military locations, across Ukraine," he said. Beth Van Schaack, an ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, will direct the effort at the State Department, Blinken said, to "help international efforts to investigate war crimes and hold those responsible accountable." This collective hypocrisy, based on the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, is accompanied by massive arms shipments to Ukraine. Fueling proxy wars was a specialty of the Cold War. We have returned to the script. If Ukrainians are heroic resistance fighters, what about Iraqis and Afghans, who fought as valiantly and as doggedly against a foreign power that was every bit as savage as Russia? Why weren't they lionized? Why weren't sanctions imposed on the United States? Why weren't those who defended their countries from foreign invasion in the Middle East, including Palestinians under Israeli occupation, also provided with thousands of anti-tank weapons, anti-armor weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, helicopters, Switchblade or "Kamikaze" drones, hundreds of Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-tank missiles, machine guns and millions of rounds of ammunition? Why didn't Congress rush through a $13.6 billion package to provide military and humanitarian assistance, on top of the $1.2 billion already provided to the Ukrainian military, for them?

Well, we know why. Our war crimes don't count, and neither do the victims of our war crimes. And this hypocrisy makes a rules-based world, one that abides by international law, impossible.

This hypocrisy is not new. There is no moral difference between the saturation bombing the US carried out on civilian populations since World War II, including in Vietnam and Iraq, and the targeting of urban centers by Russia in Ukraine or the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Mass death and fireballs on a city skyline are the calling cards we have left across the globe for decades. Our adversaries do the same.

The deliberate targeting of civilians, whether in Baghdad, Kyiv, Gaza, or New York City, are all war crimes. The killing of at least 112 Ukrainian children, as of March 19, is an atrocity, but so is the killing of 551 Palestinian children during Israel's 2014 military assault on Gaza. So is the killing of 230,000 people over the past seven years in Yemen from Saudi bombing campaigns and blockades that have resulted in mass starvation and cholera epidemics. Where were the calls for a no-fly zone over Gaza and Yemen? Imagine how many lives could have been saved.

War crimes demand the same moral judgment and accountability. But they don't get them. And they don't get them because we have one set of standards for white Europeans, and another for non-white people around the globe. The western media has turned European and American volunteers flocking to fight in Ukraine into heroes, while Muslims in the west who join resistance groups battling foreign occupiers in the Middle East are criminalized as terrorists. Putin has been ruthless with the press. But so has our ally the de facto Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman, who ordered the murder and dismemberment of my friend and colleague Jamal Khashoggi, and who this month oversaw a mass execution of 81 people convicted of criminal offenses. The coverage of Ukraine, especially after spending seven years reporting on Israel's murderous assaults against the Palestinians, is another example of the racist divide that defines most of the western media.

World War II began with an understanding, at least by the allies, that employing industrial weapons against civilian populations was a war crime. But within 18 months of the start of the war, the Germans, Americans and British were relentlessly bombing cities. By the end of the war, one-fifth of German homes had been destroyed. One million German civilians were killed or wounded in bombing raids. Seven-and-a-half million Germans were made homeless. The tactic of saturation bombing, or area bombing, which included the firebombing of Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo, which killed more than 90,000 Japanese civilians in Tokyo and left a million people homeless, and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took the lives of between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, had the sole purpose of breaking the morale of the population through mass death and terror. Cities such as Leningrad, Stalingrad, Warsaw, Coventry, Royan, Nanjing and Rotterdam were obliterated.

It turned the architects of modern war, all of them, into war criminals.

Civilians in every war since have been considered legitimate targets. In the summer of 1965, then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara called the bombing raids north of Saigon that left hundreds of thousands of dead an effective means of communication with the government in Hanoi. McNamara, six years before he died, unlike most war criminals, had the capacity for self-reflection. Interviewed in the documentary, "The Fog of War," he was repentant, not only about targeting Vietnamese civilians but about the aerial targeting of civilians in Japan in World War II, overseen by Air Force General Curtis LeMay.

"LeMay said if we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals," McNamara said in the film. "And I think he's right...LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose, and not immoral if you win?"

LeMay, later head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, would go on to drop tons of napalm and firebombs on civilian targets in Korea which, by his own estimate, killed 20 percent of the population over a three-year period.

Industrial killing defines modern warfare. It is impersonal mass slaughter. It is administered by vast bureaucratic structures that perpetuate the killing over months and years. It is sustained by heavy industry that produces a steady flow of weapons, munitions, tanks, planes, helicopters, battleships, submarines, missiles, and mass-produced supplies, along with mechanized transports that ferry troops and armaments by rail, ship, cargo planes and trucks to the battlefield. It mobilizes industrial, governmental and organization structures for total war. It centralizes systems of information and internal control. It is rationalized for the public by specialists and experts, drawn from the military establishment, along with pliant academics and the media.

Industrial war destroys existing value systems that protect and nurture life, replacing them with fear, hatred, and a dehumanization of those who we are made to believe deserve to be exterminated. It is driven by emotions, not truth or fact. It obliterates nuance, replacing it with an infantile binary universe of us and them. It drives competing narratives, ideas and values underground and vilifies all who do not speak in the national cant that replaces civil discourse and debate. It is touted as an example of the inevitable march of human progress, when in fact it brings us closer and closer to mass obliteration in a nuclear holocaust. It mocks the concept of individual heroism, despite the feverish efforts of the military and the mass media to sell this myth to naïve young recruits and a gullible public. It is the Frankenstein of industrialized societies. War, as Alfred Kazin warned, is "the ultimate purpose of technological society." Our real enemy is within.

Historically, those who are prosecuted for war crimes, whether the Nazi hierarchy at Nuremberg or the leaders of Liberia, Chad, Serbia, and Bosnia, are prosecuted because they lost the war and because they are adversaries of the United States.

There will be no prosecution of Saudi Arabian rulers for the war crimes committed in Yemen or for the US military and political leadership for the war crimes they carried out in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, or a generation earlier in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The atrocities we commit, such as My Lai, where 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians were gunned down by US soldiers, which are made public, are dealt with by finding a scapegoat, usually a low-ranking officer who is given a symbolic sentence. Lt. William Calley served three years under house arrest for the killings at My Lai. Eleven US soldiers, none of whom were officers, were convicted of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. But the architects and overlords of our industrial slaughter, including Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Gen. Curtis LeMay, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Lyndon Johnson, Gen. William Westmoreland, George W. Bush, Gen. David Petraeus, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are never held to account. They leave power to become venerated elder statesmen.

The mass slaughter of industrial warfare, the failure to hold ourselves to account, to see our own face in the war criminals we condemn, will have ominous consequences. Author and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi understood that the annihilation of the humanity of others is prerequisite for their physical annihilation. We have become captives to our machines of industrial death. Politicians and generals wield their destructive fury as if they were toys. Those who decry the madness, who demand the rule of law, are attacked and condemned. These industrial weapons systems are our modern idols. We worship their deadly prowess. But all idols, the Bible tells us, begin by demanding the sacrifice of others and end in apocalyptic self-sacrifice.

(c) 2022 Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.

Commercial Defrauding Of Uncle Sam-Biggest Booming Business
By Ralph Nader

The biggest business in America is stealing and defrauding the federal government, Uncle Sam and you the taxpayers. In terms of sheer stolen dollars, the total amount is greater than the annual sales of Amazon and Walmart over the past two years.

Before getting to the real big stuff, start with how much was stolen or not delivered by the contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just in one program, John Sopko-Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), estimated that $30 billion of the $100 billion repairs project was purloined. Despite his many damning reports on what was also wasted-like the $40 million natural gas-powered fueling station (there were no natural gas-powered cars in Afghanistan)-no one was indicted, no one was fired, no one missed a promotion. This is according to author Andrew Cockburn, who interviewed Sopko extensively for his new book The Spoils of War: Power, Profit and the American War Machine. In fact, Cockburn writes: "They were giving bonuses to people for stealing our money."

Of the $360 billion in annual billing fraud by the health care industry, over $100 billion is fraud on Medicare and Medicaid.

Turning to the $6 trillion appropriated (without reversing the tax cuts by Trump on the super-rich) by both Trump and Biden since March 2020, government investigators and the media are seeing staggering thefts and frauds. Money was stolen outright by fake companies and fraudulent applications, or taken by profitable companies, law firms and others that these programs were never intended to benefit.

One estimate has the trillion dollar Paycheck Protection Program delivering only 25 percent to the people for whom it was intended. Even people like the notorious anti-taxer Grover Norquist, who is loaded with corporate donations, applied for and got a bundle of tax dollars.

From the beginning I called members of Congress to caution them to draft very tight language in the giant rescue and infrastructure programs in order to foresee and forestall the predictable giant heist. There were some provisions-expanding enforcement budgets and inserting certain general review obligations on government agencies. But it was massively too little and too late- and utterly inadequate for the volume of coming robberies.

Corporate lobbyists were already swarming over Capitol Hill to get their bailouts, grants, sweetheart contracts and other benefits. The airlines got about $50 billion in bailouts, for example, after they had bought back $45 billion of their own stock from passenger revenues.

The mass media was also largely inattentive, spending far more time on the friction between politicians in Congress than the burning of taxpayer dollars. The Inspectors General attached to each federal agency were timid, under-budgeted and had weak authority. Moreover, several Inspectors General positions were vacant.

Professor Malcolm Sparrow at Harvard has shown how there are specific, proven ways to prevent thefts and frauds on government programs. Effective criminal law enforcement authority, adequate enforcement budgets and plenty of investigators and auditors with higher level political support are crucial.

Neither Congress nor the White House have met this challenge of titanic corruption which should become a major campaign subject in the coming elections. Apart from a few perfunctory hearings, Congress has not held the high profile intense hearings that grab public attention-in part because both Parties have culpability, though the GOP is worse.

Biden spoke briefly this month about this thievery in his State of the Union address and promised a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud. This is a little late. And where was the mention of adequate budget and authority? Professor Sparrow recommends that the enforcement budgets for commercial crimes have to be at least one percent of the estimated theft/fraud. The Biden oversight isn't a tenth of that measure.

Finally, The Washington Post and The New York Times have started to investigate. The findings of their lengthy features are predictably staggering, especially regarding the Small Business Administration (SBA) which dispatched $343 billion in PPP loans over a 14 day period!

As recounted in the NY Times article by David Farenthold, a free for all robbery spree took hold. The SBA made classic, foreseeable blunders. First, it subcontracted out, without due diligence, to so-called nonprofits, the job of distributing and monitoring the expenditures, giving them 15 percent of the overall disbursements to, for example, children feeding programs. The blunder not only is an inappropriate delegation of governmental powers, but it also creates a perverse incentive for the overseer to shovel out money to subcontractors.

Biden's Department of Agriculture arrogantly turned down Farenthold's request to interview officials there. This is another sign of unpreparedness, enabled by a Congress that astonishingly let the Department "waive rules that had been put in place after previous scandals to make sure states watched the watchdogs," wrote Farenthold. (See "F.B.I. Sees 'Massive Fraud' in Groups' Food Programs for Needy Children".)

A longer expose appeared in The Washington Post by Tony Romm with the headline "'Immense Fraud' Creates Immense Task for Washington As It Tries to Tighten Scrutiny of $6 Trillion in Emergency Coronavirus Spending".

Romm's examples are about sheer theft. A person pleaded guilty who somehow got $4 million and spend chunks of it buying a Porsche, a Mercedes and a BMW. A man was sentenced to prison for obtaining $800,000 for a business that did not exist. Fake or shell companies getting grants and unpayable loans illustrate that the guardrails were non-existent in thousands of cases.

So minimal are the prosecutorial initiatives that the commercial criminals are still actively seeking huge sums in grants, loans, direct payments and other forms of emergency assistance.

The SBA's diligent Inspector General, Hannibal "Mike" Ware, has been producing report after report, incurring the hatred of Trump and his then-SBA Administrator, and still not convincing Congress that without more enforcement funds, the corporate crime wave will prosper unabated. Even so, Romm points to evidence that dozens of criminal fraud cases were preventable with some more diligence from the SBA. It isn't reassuring that Romm reported that SBA officials turned down interview requests by the Post.

Recent efforts by a long-culpable Congress and a long-neglectful Presidency are not close to catching up with current robberies, not to mention any chance of retrieving stolen monies. Ever since I requested in 1971 that President Richard Nixon set up a commission on corporate crime, the federal government has remained obstinately indifferent to the sheer scale of 'crime in the suites." Consider the looted military contracting budget and the global level of corporate tax evasions up against the tepid responses from Washington. Too much discretion was delegated to the state and local governments without strict criteria. One New York Republican-controlled municipality is about to spend $12 million to renovate a baseball stadium.

Without a tradition of Congress requiring annual compliance reports from federal agencies, which would require securing regular data feedback flows, the government will continue to be caught flat-footed.

Why should the three working days a week Congress, with no skin in the game, really care? If it isn't the unorganized taxpayers paying for these massive thefts, the next generation of Americans will get the tab. Especially since the solons on Capitol Hill have refused to rescind the huge Trump tax escapes for the wealthy and giant corporations that have ballooned the federal deficit.

(c) 2022 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).

The founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971. Black Caucus Fails On Ukraine
By Margaret Kimberley

The members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) follow Biden's Ukraine policy in lock step. In doing so they fail their constituents and discredit the legacy of Black politics.

On June 11, 2015, the late Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) member John Conyers made this statement about Ukraine. "House passed my amendment to prohibit assistance to Azov Battalion-a far-right white supremacist militia at front lines of Ukraine conflict." Conyers was right of course. The Azov Battalion was and is a core part of Ukraine's military. They have Nazi roots, as do many other organizations in that country. But after the Pentagon objected the amendment was stripped from the spending bill and never saw the light of day.

It is important to remember what Conyers tried to achieve the year after Barack Obama sided with right wing Ukrainians and brought down the elected president of that nation. The Conyers amendment passed unanimously in the House but was killed because the administration was well aware of the Azov Battalion's role and approved of it. The policy of using Ukraine against Russia was settled and any effort to remove a central component of its military was off the table.

Now the CBC is a shell of its former self. Conyers and others from his era would not be welcome among its current membership. They say nothing about Ukraine that isn't a chapter and verse recitation of Biden administration policy. Even members such as Barbara Lee, still famous for providing the sole vote against the Afghanistan invasion, mouths dangerous platitudes.

"This is a march against democracy. What Putin wants to do is remake and reshape the Soviet Union. It's not going to stop with Ukraine. No democracy is exempt from what Putin's moves are, not even against our own country." She went on to blame Russia for election interference and the usual charges that have held sway ever since Hillary Clinton's 2016 defeat.

Her colleagues are no better. The most one can expect is that they oppose U.S. troops being sent to Ukraine. They all repeat the Biden narrative word for word, like wound up robots. None of them question administration policy or even suggest that the crisis might be de-escalated with negotiations between the U.S., Russia, and Ukraine.

Of course foreign policy doesn't seem to interest the CBC very much. According to their website, their last joint statement on the Foreign Affairs and National Security page was made in December 2020. Those last missives were all rather shallow and consisted of congratulations that Lloyd Austin was appointed Secretary of Defense and happiness that military bases were no longer named after civil war confederates. Apparently they will express no contradiction with Biden and his team on Ukraine or any other foreign policy issue.

The comparison between the current CBC and founding members such as John Conyers is stark. Of course the goal of the democrats has long been to neuter and defang Black politics and sadly they have succeeded in doing so. The power of corporate funding, gerrymandering that makes districts less and less Black, and Barack Obama's assault on progressive politics have all done their job. Now CBC members do what their leadership instructs them to do and dare not step out of line.

A CBC member, Gregory Meeks, is Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, but he has his position because of seniority and going along to get along. When the House Democrats met at a retreat, Meeks told struggling people that rising gas prices caused by sanctions against Russia are a worthy sacrifice . "I'm asking the people of the United States to also make that kind of sacrifice because in the long run, democracy is at stake. Putin counted on us being divided. He counted on us not staying together." The democrats don't even go through the motions. There is not even a pretense that they are the party of working people. Black members are no different in this regard.

If the U.S. was the great democracy that it pretends to be, politicians would be able to express a modicum of disagreement, even when their party is in the White House. Those days are long gone. Now CBC members outdo one another with Ukrainian flags on their twitter pages and no attempt to make a principled case for negotiations which might lead to peaceful resolution.

John Conyers knew that right wing forces were very powerful in Ukraine. Their position has not changed in that government in recent years but what has changed is the nail in the coffin of Black politics. Now CBC members vote to approve billions of dollars for a government full of neo Nazis and take covid relief funds from their constituents in the process. The CBC was once known as the Conscience of the Congress but that moniker is dead, just like Black politics.

(c) 2022 Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e -mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com.

Now, Robots Are Coming For White-Collar Jobs

By Jim Hightower

In CorporateSpeak, there are no "job cuts." Instead, firings are blandly referred to as "employment adjustments."

Now, though, corporate wordsmiths will need a whole new thesaurus of euphemisms, for masses of job cuts are coming for employees in the higher echelons of the corporate structure. Don't look now, but an unanticipated result of the ongoing pandemic is that it has given cover for CEOs to speed up the adoption of highly-advanced RPAs (Robotic Process Automation) to replace employees once assumed to be immune from displacement. As one analyst told a New York Times reporter, "With RPA you can build a bot that costs $10,000 a year and take out two to four humans."

Prior to the COVID crisis, many top executives feared a public backlash if they pushed automation too far too fast. But, ironically, the economic collapse caused by the pandemic has so discombobulated the workplace and diverted public attention that corporate bosses have been emboldened to rush ahead. While the nationwide shut-down of offices and furloughing of employees has caused misery for millions, one happy purveyor of RPA systems notes that it has "massively raised awareness among executives about the variety of work that no longer requires human involvement." He cheerfully declares: "We think any business process can be automated," advising corporate bosses that half to two-thirds of all the tasks being done at their companies can be done by machines.

This is Jim Hightower saying... Conventional corporate wisdom blithely preaches that all new technologies create more jobs than they kill, but even those pollyannish preachers are now conceding that this robotic automation of white-collar jobs is being imposed so suddenly, widely, and stealthily that losses will crush any gains. "We haven't hit the exponential point of this stuff yet," warns an alarmed analyst. "And when we do, it's going to be dramatic."

(c) 2022 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

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wears a Ukrainian flag before the State of the Union address by President Joe Biden
during a joint session of Congress in the U.S. Capitol's House Chamber on March 1, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Republicans Supporting A No-Fly Zone Are Putting Us At Risk Of Nuclear War
By William Rivers Pitt

As Vladimir Putin's wretched war against Ukraine grinds on with no definitive end in sight, Republicans have found a way to once again be disruptive and destructive at the worst possible juncture. After voting against $13.6 billion in assistance for Ukraine last week, dozens of GOP senators have demanded the U.S. send more weapons.

"'We should send more lethal aid to Ukraine which I voted against last week' is making my brain melt," tweeted Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz.

Among the more belligerent Republicans - and more than a few Democrats who should damn well know better by now - the idea of establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine has become a rallying cry.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy set the stage for this with an impassioned plea for such help to Congress on Wednesday.

As Noam Chomsky explained in Truthout last week, a no-fly zone is not simply a rule or guideline: "A no-fly zone means that the U.S. Air Force would not only be attacking Russian planes but would also be bombing Russian ground installations that provide anti-aircraft support for Russian forces, with whatever 'collateral damage' ensues. Is it really difficult to comprehend what follows?"

Noah Y. Kim of Mother Jones breaks it down:

A no-fly zone is essentially a commitment to ensure that no enemy aircraft can enter a designated area. In order to make good on this pledge, the U.S. and NATO would have to patrol the skies above Ukraine with thousands of flights and shoot down any Russian planes that violated the banned airspace. Given that Putin has already ignored America's warnings not to invade Ukraine and not to target Ukrainian civilians, it's exceptionally unlikely that he would suddenly heed threats to stop sending planes into Ukraine. And destroying Russian aircraft would trigger all-out war between Russia and the West.

Plus, a no-fly zone could end up provoking a war even before American planes entered Ukrainian airspace. According to the Atlantic Council's Damir Marusic, America would most likely build up to a no-fly zone by destroying the Russian military's substantial anti-aircraft batteries in Belarus and Russia so that American pilots could fly without the constant threat of being shot down. Violating Russia's sovereignty and bombing Russian military bases outside of Ukraine would also result in direct conflict.

To boil it down, implementing a no-fly zone would amount to a declaration of war with Russia. There's virtually no other way to slice it.

Of course, this simple fact won't preclude Republican wreckers from trying to shove President Biden into a shooting war to make him look weak in an election year, just as hundreds of thousands of deaths did not preclude them from deranging COVID policy to score points with their benighted base.

One might ask, what's the big deal? Much media coverage has depicted Russia's vaunted military might as turning out to be a lot of shadows and noise. Russian forces are bogging down all over Ukraine, losing vital supply lines, and its troops - a great many of whom are young conscripts - are beginning to cotton to the notion that something is out of joint. In short, this mighty power is looking awfully shaky out where the metal meets the meat. Let's go kick Putin's ass, right? 'MURICA-STYLE BABY!

Reality, as ever, intrudes. Most of the damage being done by Russia to Ukraine's civilian population has come by way of artillery barrages fired from within Russian and Belarusian territory. To be "successful," U.S. warplanes would not only have to attack two sovereign countries within their borders in order to disable the batteries, but would also have to take out any and all surface-to-air missile defense emplacements in order to keep the skies safe for their jets. There is nothing "limited" about any aspect of this scenario.

...and the problem with no limits is where you might find yourself without them. I give you, for your edification, Anthony Faiola of The Washington Post and the most terrifying paragraph I have read in years:

The advent of tactical nuclear weapons - a term generally applied to lower-yield devices designed for battlefield use, which can have a fraction of the strength of the Hiroshima bomb - reduced their lethality, limiting the extent of absolute destruction and deadly radiation fields. That's also made their use less unthinkable, raising the specter that the Russians could opt to use a smaller device without leveling an entire city. Detonate a one kiloton weapon on one side of Kyiv's Zhuliany airport, for instance, and Russian President Vladimir Putin sends a next-level message with a fireball, shock waves and deadly radiation. But the blast radius wouldn't reach the end of the runway.
Leaving aside the potential doomsday scenario emerging from a U.S./Russia shooting war, there is the fact that a no-fly zone or other aggressive NATO action would play directly into Putin's hands. He knows his war is not going as planned. This propaganda coup would help him consolidate support back home as he intensifies his misleading cries of victimhood.

Of course, watching Putin's monstrous attacks on civilians makes most folks want to do something, by God, and soon. However, responding with support for escalating military action would pivot this conflict into a cascading confrontation between nuclear powers that could easily spin out of control. Responding, instead, with support for the courageous antiwar activists who are organizing against Russia's invasion from within Russia, Ukraine and across the globe, is a far better course of action.

(c) 2022 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.

Members of the US Congress applaud as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a virtual address to Congress at the US Capitol on March 16.

The Loathsome Hypocrisy Of Republicans Who Now Applaud Volodymyr Zelensky
When congressional Republicans had a chance to impeach and convict Trump for blackmailing Zelensky, 247 of them refused.
By John Nichols

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky got a hero's welcome from the US Congress this week, with Republicans joining Democrats in applauding for the embattled leader of a country that is resisting a brutal Russian invasion. But a lot of the people who were applauding failed Zelensky and the Ukrainian cause when it might have mattered most. That was when former President Donald Trump was impeached and tried for seeking to blackmail Zelensky for political purposes.

The political pendulum swings so fast these days that it is easy to forget what was happening barely two months ago, let alone two years ago. But in late 2019 and early 2020, Ukraine was at the center of a national debate about Trump's lawless presidency, and his political extortion of Zelensky.

On July 25, 2019, Trump phoned Zelensky with the express purpose of pressuring the newly elected president of Ukraine to support an investigation into the family of the political rival he most feared, Joe Biden. Trump admitted that he mentioned the military aid that Ukrainian officials felt they desperately needed. Yet, instead of signaling that it would be delivered, Trump asked Zelensky to "look into" the situation with Biden's son, Hunter. Trump said, "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great."

With the aid on hold, thanks to Trump's intervention, and with the president demanding a number of politically charged concessions, Zelensky was given explicit instructions to follow if he wanted to secure a White House meeting with Trump that would presumably free up the aid.

When Gordon David Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union at the time, testified before the US House Intelligence Committee as part of the impeachment inquiry into Trump, he said, "I know that members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a 'quid pro quo'? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes."

Case closed.

Except it wasn't for Republicans in the House and Senate-some of whom, like Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), had personal knowledge of the president's blackmailing of Zelensky, as they had literally discussed it with Trump. Sondland testified at the November hearing, "I shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with Senator Ron Johnson." As I wrote in November 2019:

Johnson has acknowledged that he was aware of complaints that Trump was withholding aid to Ukraine for political purposes-and that he discussed those complaints with the president. Yet Johnson chose to keep these conversations secret until after a whistle-blower came forward. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in October:

Four ethics experts say Johnson-a member of a branch of government that exists, in part, to provide a check on the president-should have...alerted other senators, explored holding an oversight hearing or even told federal investigators.

Johnson did none of those things.

In fact, Johnson did the opposite, emerging as an unblinking defender of his party's president.

It was shocking behavior on the part of the Wisconsinite, who chaired the Senate Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee at the time. But he was hardly alone. Republicans who knew the facts, either directly or from the testimony provided by top diplomats during the House and Senate impeachment inquiries, chose service to Trump over the truth. And over solidarity with Zelensky and the Ukrainian people.

While the aid would eventually be delivered, the message was clear: For congressional Republicans, Trump extortion of Zelensky was not their concern.

On December 18, 2019, the US House of Representatives voted on whether to impeach Trump for "abuse of power by soliciting the interference of Ukraine in the 2020 U.S. presidential election." The resolution was approved by a 230-197 vote. But every single Republican member who participated in the vote-including Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney and Wyoming Representative Adam Kinzinger-voted against holding Trump to account.

On February 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted Trump on the abuse-of-power charge. Sixty-seven votes were needed to convict the president, but only 51 Democratic caucus members and one Republican, Utah Senator Mitt Romney, voted for conviction. Ron Johnson joined Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 43 of their GOP colleagues in rejecting any accountability for Trump. At a point when they could have sent a strong signal that it was wrong to play politics with Ukraine's future, they refused to do so.

Indeed, as the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington noted, "Donald Trump illegally withheld weapons from Ukraine and Republicans in Congress voted 247-1 that it wasn't a problem."

Yet when Zelensky addressed the Congress Wednesday those same Republicans were making sure to be photographed applauding for the Ukrainian president-as if there was no history, as if no one would remember.

To his credit, US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai'i) remembered.

"If you are a reporter, and there is a battle for the free world led by Zelensky and Biden," Schatz said Wednesday, "you don't have to pretend not to remember that Republicans exonerated Trump for extorting Zelensky."

(c) 2022 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Electric Cars Almost Changed History
By James Donahue

Believe it or not, electric cars were invented and in use in Europe as early as 1840, they were gaining popularity after advanced storage batteries were developed in 1881, and a Belgian-built electric race car set a world record of 68 miles per hour for land speed in 1899.

Imagine what a different world this would be if the world had gone with the electric car instead of the eternal combustion engine, which also was being developed in Europe at about the same time.

While the electric car was showing a lot of promise at the turn of the century, they were costly. Such a car would cost its owner something around $2,000, which was a lot of money in those times. It was after Charles and Frank Duryea began producing the first gasoline-powered car for sale in 1893 at Springfield, Massachusetts that the automobile began being seen in America. And it was Henry Ford's invention of the assembly line method of production that produced a Model T that sold for $575 that kick-started the nation's love for the gasoline powered car.

Among the early competitors in the automobile market at that time was the Stanley Steamer, produced from 1902 to 1924 by the Stanley Motor Carriage Company of Newton, Mass. The cars operated on steam engines that were, unfortunately, powered by a gasoline powered burner.

The Baker Motor Vehicle Company of Cleveland, Ohio, was the primary maker of electric automobiles during about that same time. The Baker Electric was first produced in 1899 and continued until 1916. In 1906, with over 800 cars manufactured, the company was rated as the largest electric car maker in the world. With three different types of powered cars in competition, it was inevitable that the cheapest to buy and cheapest car to run would win out. After Ford began mass producing the Model T, his car, powered by an internal combustion engine fed by very inexpensive gasoline was the winner, purely for financial reasons. It was a car that the average worker could afford. Tragically, development of the electric car came to a halt after Ford's Model T came on the scene. There were, at one time, well over 100 different companies experimenting with electric powered automobiles. They included General Electric, Oldsmobile and Studebaker.

Incredibly, the Woods Motor Vehicle Company of Chicago, by 1916, developed a hybrid car that had both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine that ran on gasoline. They were on the right track, but the company went out of business three years later.

The biggest drawback to the electric car was the need for better and more powerful batteries that held enough energy for long trips and speed. The electric cars of that era operated at speeds of up to 20 miles an hour on the average, and the batteries, which were large and difficult to handle, had too short a life-span to permit long drives.

Because of the advent of the automobile, better roads were being built, so they soon connected cities. And this called for longer-range vehicles. Also the discovery of oil in Texas brought down the price of gasoline, making it affordable to people with internal combustion engine powered cars.

Other factors included the invention of the electric starter in 1912, which eliminated the need to crank the gas engine to make it run. And Ford's cars sold for about $650 compared to the electric roadster, which was marketed for about $2,000.

The gasoline car in those days was the better buy. Nobody was thinking about the environmental impact of burning carbon fuels, or the possibility that the world's oil supply would someday be used up. In fact, we never dreamed of the impact those inventions were about to have on the world as we once knew it.

(c) 2022 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.

Ending Slavery In Washington DC And War In Ukraine
By David Swanson

Last week I spoke to a very smart class of high school seniors in Washington DC. They knew more and had better questions for me than your average group at any age. But when I asked them to think of a war that was possibly justifiable, the first one somebody said was the U.S. Civil War. It later came out of course that at least some of them also thought Ukraine was justified in waging war right now. Yet, when I asked how slavery had been ended in Washington DC, not a single person in the room had any idea.

It struck me afterwards how odd that is. I think it's typical of many people in DC, old and young, highly educated and less so. Nothing in this moment is considered more relevant to good progressive political education than the history of slavery and racism. Washington DC ended slavery in an admirable and creative manner. Yet many people in DC have never even heard of it. It's hard not to reach the conclusion that this is an intentional choice made by our culture. But why? Why would it be important to not know how DC ended slavery? One possible explanation is that it is a story that does not fit well with the glorification of the U.S. Civil War.

I don't want to overstate the case. It's not actually kept secret. There's an official holiday in DC explained thus on the DC government website:

"What is Emancipation Day?

"The DC Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 ended slavery in Washington, DC, freed 3,100 individuals, reimbursed those who had legally owned them and offered the newly freed women and men money to emigrate. It is this legislation, and the courage and struggle of those who fought to make it a reality, that we commemorate every April 16, DC Emancipation Day."

The U.S. Capitol has an online lesson plan on the topic. But these and other resources are fairly bare-bones. They don't mention that dozens of nations used compensated emancipation. They don't mention that people for years advocated for its general use to end slavery in the United States. They neither raise the moral question of compensating the people who had been committing the outrage, nor propose any comparison between the downsides of compensated emancipation and the downsides of slaughtering three-quarters of a million people, burning cities, and leaving behind apartheid and unending bitter resentment.

An exception is the June 20, 2013, issue of the Atlantic Magazine which published an article called "No, Lincoln Could Not Have 'Bought the Slaves'." Why not? Well, one reason given is that the slave owners didn't want to sell. That's both obviously true and too easy in a country where everything is believed to have a price. In fact the main focus of the Atlantic article is the claim that the price was too high for Lincoln to afford. That of course suggests that perhaps the enslavers would have been willing to sell had the right price been offered.

According to the Atlantic the price would have been $3 billion in 1860s money. That's obviously not based on any grand proposal offered and accepted. Rather it's based on the market rate of enslaved people who were being bought and sold all the time.

The article goes on to explain how virtually impossible it would have been to find that much money - even while mentioning a calculation that the war cost $6.6 billion. What if the slave owners had been offered $4 billion or $5 billion or $6 billion? Are we really to suppose that they had no price at all, that their state governments could never possibly have agreed to a price of twice the going rate? The economic thought experiment of the Atlantic article in which the price keeps going up with the purchases ignores a couple of important points: (1) compensated emancipation is imposed by governments, not a marketplace, and (2) the United States is not the entirety of the Earth - dozens of other places figured this out in practice, so the intentional inability of a U.S. academic to make it work in theory is not persuasive.

With the wisdom of hindsight, don't we know that figuring out how to end slavery without a war would have been wiser and the outcome very likely better in many ways? Isn't it the case that if we were to end mass incarceration right now, doing it with a bill that compensated prison-profiting towns would be preferable to finding some fields in which to slaughter huge numbers of people, burning a bunch of cities, and then - after all those horrors - passing a bill?

The belief in the justice and glory of past wars is absolutely critical to the acceptance of current wars, such as the Ukraine war. And the gargantuan price tags of wars is highly relevant to imagining creative alternatives to escalating a war that's placed us closer to nuclear apocalypse than ever before. For the price of the machinery of war, Ukraine could be made a paradise and a model carbon-neutral clean-energy society, rather than a battleground between oil-obsessed empires.

(c) 2022 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.

The five most popular vehicles sold in Canada in 2021 were SUVs and trucks.

SUVs Are Driving Us Toward Climate Calamity
By David Suzuki

When bumper-to-bumper traffic chokes roads and SUVs fill urban parking lots, we can't say we're taking the climate crisis seriously. But it's more than a question of consumer choice. The issue is systemic.

The auto industry spends enormous sums to convince people they need massive SUVs and trucks to haul themselves to work and the grocery store - as if two tonnes of car weren't enough. The slick ads paint pictures of freedom and active lifestyles, of getting out into nature, failing to mention that their existence is putting nature and human survival at risk. Most aren't being used as work vehicles or in rural areas.

Those ads work. During 2020, global energy-related carbon emissions fell by seven per cent, partly because of the pandemic, but emissions from SUVs rose, as did sales - growing to 42 per cent of the global auto market. The five most popular vehicles sold in Canada in 2021 were SUVs and trucks.

According to the International Energy Agency, "Emissions from SUVs have nearly tripled over the past decade, owing to their increasing popularity around the world, which has outpaced the growth of other segments of the auto market. Today, SUV emissions are comparable to those of the entire maritime industry, including international shipping."

Cars spew enormous amounts of polluting, climate-altering emissions to mostly transport just one or two people. SUVs consume about 20 per cent more energy globally than medium-sized cars over the same distance - 30 per cent in the U.S., where they like them big!

A recent study for the David Suzuki Foundation by the Sustainable Transportation Action Research Team (START) and Navius Research examined this destructive demand for SUVs: "From 1990 to 2018 in Canada, the number of cars on the road went up by 10 per cent, while the number of light-duty trucks went up by a factor of three (from 3.4 million to 13 million)." That added about nine megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere over the same period.

Buyers reported that environmental and public safety impacts didn't factor greatly in their purchasing decisions. Most SUV drivers downplayed environmental effects, claiming their vehicles aren't much worse than cars, and that they need them for space or safety.

As for the latter, the study found SUV drivers prioritized their own safety regarding accidents and difficult weather conditions but expressed little concern about known impacts on others - pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and passengers in other vehicles. Half said they wouldn't downsize under any conditions. Given the pervasiveness of highly effective advertising, it's no surprise people have become so attached to these behemoths.

Vehicle electrification, including SUVs, will help, but it's not the solution - especially as SUVs and trucks require more raw materials and use considerably more battery power than standard cars. It will never be environmentally sound to use two or more tonnes of materials to transport less than a hundred kilos of human.

Vehicle electrification isn't happening quickly enough anyway. As an upcoming START research report for Equiterre and the Foundation found, Canada has an electric vehicle supply problem, especially outside of Quebec and B.C., which have mandates to shift to zero-emissions vehicles. It found that without a federal mandate requiring manufacturers to produce and sell a growing proportion of ZEVs, an increasingly stringent vehicle emissions standard, a "feebate" that adds a premium to polluting vehicles and uses the money to reduce electric vehicle prices, or a combination, Canada won't meet its ZEV or greenhouse gas targets.

The real solution is to change how we get around, and to reimagine our living spaces to reduce reliance on private automobiles. We must expand public transit, taking advantage of new and emerging technologies in electrification, autonomous vehicles, system efficiencies and more. We need to make it easier and safer for people to cycle and walk, and to choose other transport options, from electric scooters to skateboards. We need to develop walkable, livable neighbourhoods with easy transit access.

Many are also calling for tighter regulations or a ban on advertising for fossil-fuelled cars, as was done for cigarettes.

Face it: most people aren't out exploring, or even ripping up, nature in their SUVs; often, they're sitting in gridlocked traffic, pumping out pollution. That isn't the road to well-being. We must do better.

(c) 2021 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

People In Kenya Are Discovering They Suddenly Own Lakefront Property
Until that property becomes the lake.
By Charles P. Pierce

This story is not entirely about the work of those clever Chinese climate hoaxsters, although they might have had a hand in it. It might also be about shifts in the Earth's crust, or about unusually heavy rainfall, or about all of these things together. It might just be nature reasserting itself against humanity's reckless use of the planet. But, whatever the reasons, it looks like Kenya is disappearing underwater. From the Guardian:

Curious to know what the man was talking about, Onywere visited the local Salabani primary school. There, he found the lake lapping through the grounds of the school. Nonplussed, he took out his map. He looked at the location of the lake and the location of the school, and wondered how the lake had moved 2km without it becoming news.

Onywere rushed back to Nairobi, where he and his colleagues at several Kenyan universities studied recent satellite images of the lake. The images showed that the lake had, in the past year, flooded the area around it. Then Onywere searched for images of some of the lakes nearby: Lakes Bogoria, Naivasha and Nakuru. All of these had flooded. As he extended his search, he saw that Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, had flooded, too. So had Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world.

Its lakes are one of Kenya's most prominent physical features. (As the story says, they are visible from orbit.) And they are expanding at an almost inconceivable rate. Lakes are swallowing other lakes.
Lake Turkana swept past the Barrier volcanic complex - four overlapping volcanoes that had previously separated it from the much smaller Lake Logipi, which it now swallowed whole. Lake Baringo swallowed up the lesser-known Lake 94, and proceeded inland for about eight miles, while Lake Oloiden disappeared into Lake Naivasha's clutches. Lake Baringo, which is freshwater, and Lake Bogoria, which is saltwater, moved towards each other, threatening to become a single body of water, which would devastate the wildlife in both lakes. At one point, the lakes came within four miles of each other.
Needless to say, the lakes are a vital part of the country's ecosystem. Needless to say, their expansion already has touched off a refugee crisis. Needless to say, many of the people still living there have discovered that they suddenly own lakefront property, and there are daily examples of how vital to the country's ecosystem the lakes are.
In one school, from their desks, the students could see hippos frolicking. Okeyo told me that crocodiles had killed two children who had been playing at one of the schools before they reopened. To deter these animals, thorny poisonous mathenge trees were planted to serve as walls. But there were multiple news stories of other crocodile and hippo attacks in the area...

...A few hours later, I visited the old site of another school, Salabani secondary. Here, the lake had receded a bit, so we could explore. A group of children, who were not students at the school, led me, as well as the principal of the school and his deputy, through the floating water hyacinth that was everywhere in the compound. We walked past hippopotamus footprints and stepped on to an elevated room that used to be the classroom for form two. Before us was the lake. Pelicans, white and hungry, waded in the water. The principal, Moses Chelimo, pointed out what used to be a boys' dormitory, now barely visible across the water. Behind it was the school farm, where two hectares of maize grown to feed the students was underwater. One of the children who had guided us into the school said that a hippo usually sleeps next to one of the classrooms.

As I said, the explanations for the expansion of the lakes run the gamut. (Some people assert that it's simply a recurring phenomenon, having happened both in the 1970s and at the turn of the last century.) What is certain is that the lakes are still expanding, and at an alarming rate.
In October 2021, the government finally released the report. While allowing for the possibility that tectonic activity was partly responsible, it stated that greater levels of rainfall, caused by the climate crisis, was the main cause. Other forms of human interference with the environment - such as deforestation - had also led to landslides and increased water runoff, which had in turn contributed to the rising water levels. The report noted that nearly 400,000 Kenyans had been displaced, and that they required "urgent humanitarian assistance."
These are local catastrophes that will not remain local for long. They will expand, the way the lakes expand. The water is lapping at our feet.

(c) 2022 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 live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but that reality means little because almost all of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. There is something profoundly wrong when one family owns more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans. This type of immoral, unsustainable economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change, and together we will change it. The change begins when we say to the billionaire class: 'You can't have it all. You can't get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can't continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can't hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs in every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities as Americans.'"
~~~ Bernie Sanders

The EU had already slated a ban on the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles for 2035.

Putin Aggression Leads To Surge In Electrical Vehicle Progress In Europe
While EV prices have jumped momentarily because of the crisis, it may cause governments to give more incentives over the medium term to escape dependence on Russia.
By Juan Cole

Sean Goulding Carroll at asks if Europe can defund the Russian war machine by turning to electric vehicles. It should be noted that in part because of the EU carbon tax, already 29% of new car purchases in Europe last December were EVs or plug-in hybrids, so consumers are already stampeding in that direction. Putin may just have given the industry a big lift. While EV prices have jumped momentarily because of the crisis, it may cause governments to give more incentives over the medium term to escape dependence on Russia.

Carroll points out that slightly over a quarter of all petroleum consumed in the European Union states comes from Russia, earning Moscow $110 billion annually. That money is funding the Russian war machine in Ukraine, where Russian troops are targeting civilians and hitting hospitals and cinemas used for shelters, as well as apartment buildings.

The EU had already slated a ban on the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles for 2035. It may well be that the Ukraine crisis, in addition to the already severe impact of the climate emergency, will cause them to move the deadline up. One hurdle has been European disputes over EV batteries, which the European parliament appears to have just settled. The new framework will make EU batteries the greenest in the world and the most recyclable, with plans to recover some 90% of the nickel, copper and cobalt used in them, and 70% of the lithium. Since Russia is a lithium producer, recycling will help keep Europe from becoming dependent on yet another Russian export.

Even in France, where there has been less interest in EVs than in Germany and elsewhere, the high gasoline prices are changing consumers' minds, according to Franceinfo. One man at a dealership tried driving an EV for the first time and after some calculating, was completely won over. He figured his fuel cost would fall from $440 per 1398 miles to $60.

French President Emmanuel Macron is campaigning for reelection and a recently added plank of his platform is a new government-backed lease-to-own program that will make it easier for middle class consumers to buy electric.

Ford is planning 3 new electric passenger vehicles for consumers in Europe within two years, according to Anmar Frangoul at CNBC. Two of the plants for the production of the new lines will be in Germany, with one to be opened in Romania. Ford intends to sell 600,000 electric vehicles a year to European Union countries by 2026. The some 449 million Europeans are buying about 12 million vehicles a year nowadays, down from 15 million before the pandemic, so by this measure Ford alone would be supplying 5 percent of all car purchases in the form of EVs in only four years.

Tesla is way ahead of Ford, in already dominating the EV market in the EU. In the fourth quarter of 2021 alone, Tesla sold 309,000 of its EVs to the bloc, an astonishing increase of 71% year on year, according to Jennifer Jacobs Dungs at Forbes. Tesla EVs for the first time outsold diesel vehicles in Europe that quarter.

In December, 29% of new car registrations in Europe were electric or plugin hybrid, writes Jose Pontes at Cleantechnica. Fully electric vehicles came to 19% of the market. So Ford is targeting the two-thirds of purchasers who are still buying ICE vehicles at present. In 2021 only 9% of US new car purchases were EVs or PHEVs.

(c) 2022 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

Medical professionals, medical students, ACT UP New York, and their supporters protested outside Pfizer's headquarters in New York City on March 3, 2019.

The Underlying Problem Isn't Inflation-It's Corporate Power And Greed
Everybody's ignoring the deeper structural reason for price increases: the concentration of the American economy into the hands of a few corporate giants with the power to raise prices.
By Robert Reich

Inflation! Inflation! Everyone's talking about it, but ignoring one of its biggest causes: corporate concentration.

Now, prices are undeniably rising. In response, the Fed is about to slow the economy - even though we're still 2 million jobs short of where we were before the pandemic, and millions of American workers won't get the raises they deserve.

Meanwhile, Republicans haven't wasted any time hammering Biden and Democratic lawmakers about inflation.

Don't fall for their fear mongering.

Everybody's ignoring the deeper structural reason for price increases: the concentration of the American economy into the hands of a few corporate giants with the power to raise prices.


If the market were actually competitive, corporations would keep their prices as low as possible as they competed for customers.

Even if some of their costs increased, they would do everything they could to avoid passing them on to consumers in the form of higher prices, for fear of losing business to competitors.

But that's the opposite of what we're seeing. Corporations are raising prices even as they rake in record profits. Corporate profit margins hit record highs last year. You see, these corporations have so much market power they can raise prices with impunity.

So the underlying problem isn't inflation per se. It's a lack of competition. Corporations are using the excuse of inflation to raise prices and make fatter profits.

Take the energy sector.

Only a few entities have access to the land and pipelines that control the oil and gas powering most of the world. They took a hit during the pandemic as most people stayed home. But they are more than making up for it now, limiting supply and ratcheting up prices.

Or look at consumer goods.

In April 2021, Procter & Gamble raised prices on staples like diapers and toilet paper, citing increased costs in raw materials and transportation. But P&G has been making huge profits. After some of its price increases went into effect, it reported an almost 25% profit margin.

Looking to buy your diapers elsewhere? Good luck. The market is dominated by P&G and Kimberly-Clark, which-NOT entirely coincidentally-raised its prices at the same time.

Another example: in April 2021, PepsiCo raised prices, blaming higher costs for ingredients, freight, and labor. It then recorded $3 billion in operating profits through September. How did it get away with this without losing customers?

Pepsi has only one major competitor, Coca-Cola, which promptly raised its own prices. Coca-Cola recorded $10 billion in revenues in the third quarter of 2021, up 16% from the previous year.

Food prices are soaring, but half of that is from meat, which costs 15% more than last year. There are only four major meat processing companies in America, which are all raising their prices and enjoying record profits.

Get the picture?

The underlying problem is not inflation. It's corporate power. Since the 1980s, when the U.S. government all but abandoned antitrust enforcement, two-thirds of all American industries have become more concentrated.

Most are now dominated by a handful of corporations that coordinate prices and production. This is true of: banks, broadband, pharmaceutical companies, airlines, meatpackers, and yes, soda.

Corporations in all these industries could easily absorb higher costs - including long overdue wage increases - without passing them on to consumers in the form of higher prices. But they aren't.

Instead, they're using their massive profits to line the pockets of major investors and executives - while both consumers and workers get shafted.

How can this structural problem be fixed? Fighting corporate concentration with more aggressive antitrust enforcement. And imposing a windfall profits tax on profitable corporations that are using this period of rising costs to gouge consumers.

So don't fall for the fear mongering about inflation. The real culprit here is corporate power.

(c) 2022 Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He 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

Judge Jackson's Hearing Proves That All The Sold-Out GOP Has Left Is Performance Art
They've sold out to big money and don't give a rat's ass about the issues that really matter to most Americans
By Thom Hartmann

It's somewhere between comical and tragic watching the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Lindsey Graham throws his trademark hissy fit and storms out, John Cornyn tries to sound erudite and fails, Marsha Blackburn outs herself as a fanatic, Ted Cruz thinks Black judges should vet children's books about racism, and Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton just end up making fools of themselves.

But none of them really care. None of the Republicans do.

And I don't mean that as the frame for a polemic. This is intended as a serious analysis of what's happened to the GOP over the past 40 years, which informed their behavior in that committee meeting yesterday. In 1976 (Buckley) and 1978 (Bellotti) the Supreme Court legalized political bribery, unleashing a flood of cash for the Reagan campaign of 1980. Most Democrats at that time were still funded mostly by the unions, so they weren't paying such attention to the possibility of dark money.

As I lay out in The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America, the Court doubled down on those decisions in 2010, blowing up over 100 federal and state laws that regulated money in politics in Citizens United.

It opened a door the GOP and a handful of Democrats were eager to rush through.

The entire Republican Party has since sold itself out to rightwing billionaires and giant corporations and as long as they have that support - and the billions of dollars to carpet-bomb their states with advertising every election - they don't give a rat's ass about the things they're pretending to be so very, very concerned about.

Every one of those Republican senators had two simple goals for the hearings.

The first was to smear the Democratic nominee in a way that will guarantee that - over the next 24-hour news cycle - the name "Judge Jackson" will repeatedly occur in the same headline or sentence as "child porn," "Critical Race Theory," or "terrorists from Gitmo."

The second was to craft a short soundbite of their own performance art that Fox "News" and other hard-right media can play on a loop. White Republicans dressing down a Black woman? Perfect for conservative hate media.

Even if they make fools of themselves, they all know that the first dictum of public relations - taught to them by Donald Trump himself, who candidly and correctly credited it to PT Barnum - is: "There's no such thing as bad publicity. Just spell my name right."

This is happening because the Republican Party is no longer interested in governing. They've become the mouthpiece for a faction of business and great wealth, and beyond that have no commitment to rebuilding or improving this country in any meaningful way.

There's a reason the GOP refuses to publish a party platform or legislative agenda: they don't have one, beyond doing anything they can to increase corporate profits (regardless of the harm to consumers, competition, or the planet) and to keep taxes low on their morbidly rich donors. And to winning the so-called "culture wars."

Hell, they've been telling us that for years.

"Deregulation, cut taxes, small government" is the GOP mantra. Meanwhile, the culture war keeps their base in a constant state of frothing-at-the mouth.

Deregulation and cutting taxes is all they have, and it doesn't sell today like it did back in the 1980s when they waved it around as a "new idea." So they've stopped even pretending that they care about actually doing the people's business.

Of course, there's all the sturm and drang about race, porn, drugs, religion, and gender identity. But that's just to keep the rubes showing up at the ballot box.

These multimillionaire Republican senators, funded by their billionaire pals, don't have a second thought for any of those "issues." As the Republican Study Committee pointed out, "winning the culture wars" is the real agenda to get angry white racists to turn out for GOP candidates so they can stay in power and continue to do the bidding of the wealthy.

And in that, they don't care how many gay or trans kids commit suicide because of their demagoguery; they don't care how many red-state teenage girls get pregnant because they never learned about human reproduction or lack access to birth control; they don't care how many kids will die by gunshot today.

Species going extinct? Wilding weather destroying another thousand homes? Childhood cancers exploding? People crushed by medical bills and losing their homes?

They don't want to hear about it.

The struggles of average working people are meaningless to them, as are the crises of people struggling with medical or educational debt that literally doesn't exist in any other developed nation.

Those are all just numbers to them, and they don't much pay attention to numbers. It doesn't even matter to them that the fear-laden and hateful version of authoritarian "Christianity" they preach would be rejected by Jesus.

They're happy to ignore the fact that the United States - apparently on advice from "Beerbong" Brett Kavanaugh when he was working for George W. Bush (the Trump administration refused to release the papers) - tortured and murdered numerous innocent people at Gitmo, some still there.

Their absurd "concern" that white children will be "scarred for life" by discovering that a small minority of white people were once brutal slaveholders is pure theater. As is their proclaimed worry that kids reading about the holocaust or a novel that describes the Black or LGBTQ+ experience in America will twist young minds.

It's all theater to distract us from their real work of increasing the poisons in our air and water to jack up the profits of their obscene overlords. The more hate they can create among Americans the better: it boosts their social media presence because of algorithms designed to keep us in a state of perpetual outrage.

Seriously. They have no real interest in governing or making America a better place for anybody to live, other than the morbidly rich.

Proof: Name one single piece of legislation since 1980 that has been proposed by Republicans, passed a Republican-controlled Congress, and been signed into law by a Republican President that primarily helps working or poor Americans more than it does fat-cats on Wall Street, polluting industries, or billionaire industrialists.

You can't do it. I've been asking this question for 19 years on my radio/TV show and I can tell you right now: you can't name a single one.

Sure, they'll wrap a tiny carrot for average folks inside a big box with a pony for the billionaires, like they did with the Reagan, Bush, and Trump tax cuts.

But primarily benefit America's working people or the poor, or strengthen our democracy? Forgetaboutit.

(c) 2022 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

The Cartoon Corner -

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ John Deering ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Putin Pleased As Plot To Ruin Russian Economy, Destroy International Standing Goes Exactly To Plan
By The Onion

MOSCOW-Surveying his accomplishments in the past month with evident satisfaction, Vladimir Putin reportedly grew pleased Thursday as his plot to ruin the Russian economy and destroy its international standing went exactly to plan.

"It's incredible that in a few short weeks, my goal to tank the ruble and humiliate the Russian military on the global stage has gone off without a hitch," said the Russian president, adding that when he laid out his plan to his inner circle months ago, few had believed that he could make such swift progress on stalling his army outside of Kyiv against a military that was an embarrassing order of magnitude smaller than his own.

"The cherry on top is that by isolating myself from every country in Europe and driving the world together in condemnation of me, I've essentially made us into a vassal state of China's. So we're basically fucked from an economic and geopolitical perspective, which is just what I hoped to get out of this war. Now if I can just a get a few more thousand of my own troops killed, I'll have everything I could ever want."

At press time, Putin had reportedly begun devising plans to invade Estonia with the express intention of spreading his forces ever thinner across eastern Europe in an unwinnable quagmire.

(c) 2022 The Onion


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 12 (c) 03/25/2022

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