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In This Edition

Norman Solomon concludes, "Bernie Is Not A Wind Sock."

Greg Palast returns with, "Stick Your Damn Hand In It."

Glen Ford says, "Reparations Means Global Social Transformation."

David Swanson tells, "What the New York Times Will Not Tell You About Military Spending."

William Rivers Pitt warns, "Mozambique Is Drowning. Nebraska Has Flooded. We Need a Green New Deal."

John Nichols says, "Release The Mueller Report-Immediately And Completely."

James Donahue says, "The Battle Is On Again Over Health Care For All."

Juan Cole watches, "2020 Dem Presidential Hopefuls Flee Israel Lobbies' AIPAC After Boycott Call."

Heather Digby Parton examines, "A Celebration In Moscow."

David Suzuki finds, "Cities Hold The Key To Reversing Bee Decline."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "William Barr Did What He Was Hired To Do."

Ralph Nader spotlights, "Greedy Boeing's Avoidable Design And Software Time Bombs."

Jim Hightower asks, "How Much Does Donald Trump Love Farmers?"

Attorney General William Barr wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explores, "The Real Scandal Of Donald Trump."

Glenn Greenwald returns with, "A Contentious, Constructive Debate On The Media And Political Humiliation From The Mueller Report."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Trump Ramps Up Attacks On John McCain By Dragging Senator's Exhumed Corpse Behind Motorcade," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "The Crime Family Bush Strikes Again."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Daryl Cagle, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Ruben Bolling, Mr. Fish, Jemal Countess, Win McNamee, Susan Walsh, Tasos Katopodis, Yasuyoshi Chiba, Thomas Stephan, Unspash, 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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The Crime Family Bush Strikes Again
By Ernest Stewart

"I asked a Burmese why women, after centuries of following their men, now walk ahead. He said there were many unexploded land mines since the war." ~~~ Robert Mueller

"The truth is, as most of us know, that global warming is real and humans are major contributors, mainly because we wastefully burn fossil fuels." ~~~ David Suzuki

"So before we go any further on that, Crow is the favorite in no small part, Congressman Hoyer, because the DCCC not only put its finger on the scale, but started jumping on the scale very early on. I'm born and raised a Democrat, I mean, it's undemocratic to have a small elite select someone and then try to rig the primary against the other people running, and that's basically what's been happening." ~~~ Levi Tillermann to Steny Hoyer

"The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service." ~~~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I see where a lot of liberal folks couldn't believe old "Cover-Up General" Barr's reports of the Mueller investigation. You should have seen it coming from a mile away and if you had been paying attention you could have seen it coming from Pluto! Not to mention Mueller's conclusions. Oh, and did I mention the both Barr and Mueller are far-right Rethuglicans?

Both of these creatures are products from "The Crime Family Bush" but now they belong to "The Crime Family tRump!" The Cover-Up General was brought in back in 1992 as AG to help Papa Sirk weasel his way out of jail by burying evidence of Bush's involvement in "Iraqgate" and "Iron-Contra." This time around tRump brought Barr into cover his ass by burying Mueller's report and cherry-picking fragments of sentences from it to justify Trump's behavior. In his letter, Barr notes that Robert Mueller "leaves it to the attorney general to decide whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime."

Of course, Mueller was Papa Smirks choice for his boy "Smirky the wonder chimp" to head the FBI. And yes Mueller did prosecute some low level clowns to show he was trying but he never had any intent in bringing tRump to justice. Like our current bribery scandal from Yale to USC some low level rich people are being prosecuted since they haven't any real power. You might have noticed that Papa Smirk was never charged for getting Smirky into Yale and Harvard as did Charlie Kushner who gave Harvard $2 1/2 million to get his idiot child Jared into school. The difference between the ones being persecuted and Bush and Kushner is that Bush and Kushner have money plus power!

So as you can plainly see both Mueller and Barr were owned and operated by crime family after crime family since they came into politics. You may recall that I once defined politics as the words "POLI" from the Latin meaning Many, and "TICS" from the English meaning Blood Sucking Creatures, "Poli-Tics"!

In Other News

According to a new global warming Gallup poll the majority of Americans are concerned believers in man made climate change! Here's what the poll found:
At the high end of the range of global warming consciousness, 66% of U.S. adults say they believe global warming is caused by pollution from human activities rather than natural changes in the environment. Similarly, 65% perceive that most scientists believe global warming is occurring, and 59% believe the effects of global warming have already begun, while another 13% believe they will happen within their lifetime.

Despite these views, fewer than half of Americans -- 45% -- think global warming will pose a serious threat in their own lifetime and 44% say they worry a great deal about it. Another 21% worry a fair amount about global warming, while about a third (35%) worry only a little or not at all.

Just over four in 10, 42%, think the news underestimates the seriousness of global warming, while 22% think the news gets it about right and 35% think it exaggerates the problem.

These findings are based on Gallup's 2019 update of its annual Environment poll, conducted March 1-10. Full trends for these six global warming perceptions are available through a link at the end of this article.
Majority of Americans for First Time Are "Concerned Believers"

Gallup takes these data a step further by classifying Americans into attitudinal types based on four of the global warming questions. The analysis puts Americans into three main groups:
"Concerned Believers" are highly worried about global warming, think it will pose a serious threat in their lifetime, believe it's the result of human activity, and think news reports about it are accurate or underestimate the problem.

"Cool Skeptics" hold the opposing views on the same four questions: They worry little or not at all about global warming, do not think it will pose a serious threat in their lifetime, think it's attributable to natural environmental changes and think the news exaggerates the problem.
Those in the "Mixed Middle" hold a combination of views. For instance, some believe global warming is caused by humans but aren't worried about it, while others express the reverse perspective -- saying warming is a natural phenomenon, but they are highly worried about it.

For the first time since 2001, a majority of Americans are classified as Concerned Believers. The 51% categorized as such this year is statistically similar to the 47% to 50% recorded in each of the prior three years, from 2016 to 2018, but is up significantly over all years before that. Meanwhile, the percentage of Cool Skeptics is flat near 20%, and 30% are in the Mixed Middle, down from 37% in 2015.
Can you believe a poll? Especially when it runs by a right of center group like Gallup, so methinks the believers percentages are probably higher, because it seems that the rest of the world is much smarter about climate change than we Americans are. Still, I recall an interview of a tornado survivor in Kansas. His town had taken seven direct hits from tonados over a nine year period. When ask if he was going to rebuild again, he said, "Yes, of course, we'll rebuild."

Oh my, America!

And Finally

I see where the DCCC, you remember the DCCC, and the DNC, the folks that brought us tRump by screwing over Bernis Sanders the last time around and shoved Hillary down our throats are getting ready to do it again. They warned that if "you work with anyone like AOC, you're dead to us" or if you worked to elect a Democratic Congress person where there is a Democratic incumbent, ditto!

Does this surprise you, America? It shouldn't it, like the Rethuglicans the Demoncrats are controlled by the corpo-rats and they'll fight tooth and nail to keep young upstarts like AOC, and the people, from gaining control of the party!

In the case of Hilary, former DNC Chair Donna Brazile, who screwed Bernie and left us with Hilary has now joined Fox Spews, imagine that! The bitch, er witch, no, I was right the first time, did everything in her power to elect Donald tRump and so was rewarded with a position on Fox.

Meanwhile, the DCCC's new head Cheri Bustos' now rules a DCCC, stinking of corruption, especially now that this Rahm Emanuel protegee is running the show, and is making an early move to deter primary challenges against sitting incumbents. Blue dog Bustos will do everything in her power to keep her fellow blue dogs in office so her corpo-rat masters will smile upon her and her allies and shower money upon them, while the people get the shaft! And people wonder why I'm a Green!

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!


03-16-1949 ~ 03-24-2019
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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.

Bernie Is Not A Wind Sock
By Norman Solomon

Bernie Sanders wrapped up a weekend campaign swing through California with a Sunday afternoon speech to 16,000 of us a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. News coverage seemed unlikely to convey much about the event. The multiracial crowd reflected the latest polling that shows great diversity of support for Bernie, contrary to corporate media spin. High energy for basic social change was in the air.

Speaking from the podium, Bernie 2020 co-chair Nina Turner asked and answered a question about the campaign: "What's love got to do with it? Everything."

Those words made me think of a little-known statement by Martin Luther King Jr., as vitally true in 2019 as in 1967. "Now, we got to get this thing right," he said. "What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."

And so, Dr. King was saying, love and power need each other. Just one or the other just won't do. Combining the two is essential. That's a way to understand what Turner said at the rally in San Francisco: "This is a moment of transcendence."

The Sanders campaign is a nationwide struggle for the kind of power that Dr. King extolled as "love implementing the demands of justice." In his words, "Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose."

The Sanders campaign is a political opportunity unlike any we've seen in our lifetimes. With profound purpose, it raises the stakes to fit the magnitude of what is at stake; it challenges in national electoral terms the kind of destructive domination that has ruled with dispiriting and deadly results. "We're going to have to fight Wall Street, neoliberals, those who don't want the change to come," Turner said.

Alone among the candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders has always been part of progressive movements. The only way that the campaign can overcome corporate media, Wall Street and other power centers of the establishment will be with massive bottom-up mobilization in communities across the country. As Bernie said on Sunday, "We are going to put together an unprecedented grassroots campaign."

A current media meme -- ignoring the importance of Bernie's longstanding record -- assumes that he is likely to lose many votes to other candidates who've recently endorsed his 2016 campaign proposals.

But it matters greatly that Bernie has unique credibility as someone who has been part of progressive social movements during the last several decades -- and who hasn't waited for opinions to become fashionable before expressing them.

"It's hard not to be a bit wary of people who know how the wind is blowing and now are blowing with it," I told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter who quoted me in an article that appeared hours before the rally. "Bernie is part of movements that create the wind. Bernie is not a wind sock."

For decades, Bernie has been tirelessly advocating for Medicare for All single-payer healthcare. In the last few years or months, some of his opponents have come around to voice often-equivocal support. The credibility of commitment is vastly different. When Sanders declared for the umpteenth time at the San Francisco rally that "healthcare is a human right," no one could doubt that he really meant it.

Similarly, Bernie has long been calling for drastic new policies to push back against climate change. He voiced concerns about a warming planet as early as the 1980s.

Overall, a vast number of issues fall under a clear approach that Bernie has long stated, as he did on Sunday: "We say no to oligarchy, yes to democracy."

Bernie's speech in San Francisco included clarity on some issues that has become sharper than ever, as in his denunciations of the prison-industrial complex, the cruel injustice of cash bail and systemic racism. And at last, as a presidential candidate, he is calling out by name "the military-industrial complex."

Declaring that he aims for a presidency to challenge the bloated military budget, Bernie said: "We are not going to invest in never-ending wars." It was a statement that caused some of the loudest cheering of the afternoon, along with chants of "No more wars!" As those chants subsided, he said: "I know it's not easy, but our job is to lead the world away from war and invest in human needs."

Bernie called for breaking up the big banks. And he addressed the power of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries: "When we talk about lowering prescription drug costs and moving to Medicare for All, we have got to recognize, we have a battle in front of us. These guys will spend endless amounts of money. Will you stand with me and take on the drug companies and the insurance companies?"

And he went on: "If we're going to protect family-based agriculture from Vermont to California, we have got to stand up to agribusiness. We have got to stand up to the prison-industrial complex. We've got to stand up to the fossil fuel industry. In other words, it's easy enough for somebody to give you a speech about all the things he or she wants to do. But those changes do not take place unless people stand up and fight back. And that is what this campaign is about."

When Bernie finished his speech, a woman stepped to the microphone with a guitar and began to play some familiar chords. Bernie returned to the mic to quickly say: "This is Sarah Guthrie, granddaughter of Woody Guthrie."

And she began to sing:

As I was walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me the golden valley
This land was made for you and me
Moments later, Sarah Guthrie sang a version of a verse that has been rarely heard:
There was a great high wall
That tried to stop me
And on the wall said "No Trespassing"
But on the other side
It didn't say nothing
That side was made for you and me
Oh nobody living could ever stop us
As we go walking on freedom highway
Nobody living can make us turn back
This land was made for you and me
(c) 2019 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Native dancers, Nanwalek, Prince William Sound, Alaska, center of spill damage.

Stick Your Damn Hand In It
30th Birthday of The Exxon Valdez lie
By Greg Palast

"Gail, Please! Stick your hand in it!"

The petite Eskimo-Chugach woman gave me that you-dumb-ass-white-boy look.


She stuck it in, under the gravel of the beach at Sleepy Bay, her village's fishing ground. Gail's hand came up dripping with black, sickening goo. It could make you vomit. Oil from the Exxon Valdez.

It was already two years after the spill and Exxon had crowed that Mother Nature had happily cleaned up their stinking oil mess for them. It was a lie. But the media wouldn't question the bald-faced bullshit. And who the hell was going to investigate Exxon's claim way out in some godforsaken Native village in the Prince William Sound?

So I convinced the Natives to fly the lazy-ass reporters out to Sleepy Bay on rented float planes to see the oil that Exxon said wasn't there.

The reporters looked, but didn't see it, because it was three inches under their feet, under the shingle rock of the icy beach. Gail pulled out her hand and now the whole place smelled like a gas station. The network crews wanted to puke. And now, with their eyes open, they saw the oil, the vile feces-colored smear across the glaciated ridge faces, the poisonous "bathtub ring" that ran for miles and miles at the high tide level.

And it's still there. Less for sure. But thirty years later. IT'S STILL THERE, GODDAMNIT. And I want YOU, dear reader, to stick your hand in it. I want YOU, President Trump, to stick your hand in it before you blithely fulfill your Palin-esque campaign promise for a little more offshore drilling.

* * * * *

March 24 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez grounding and the smearing of 1,200 miles of Alaska's coastline with its oil.

Oil still being cleaned up seven years after the spill.

It also marks the 30th Anniversary of a lie. Lots of lies: catalogued in a four-volume investigation of the disaster; four volumes you'll never see. I wrote that report, with my team of investigators working with the Natives preparing fraud and racketeering charges against Exxon. You'll never see the report because Exxon lawyers threatened the Natives, "Mention the f-word [fraud] and you'll never get a dime" of compensation to clean up the villages. The Natives agreed to drop the fraud charge - and Exxon stiffed them on the money. You're surprised, right?

* * * * *

Doubtless, for the 30th Anniversary of the Great Spill, the media will schlep out that old story that the tanker ran aground because its captain was drunk at the wheel. Bullshit.

Yes, the captain was "three sheets to the wind" - but sleeping it off below-decks. The ship was in the hands of the third mate who was driving blind. That is, the Exxon Valdez' Raycas radar system was turned off; turned off because it was busted and had been busted since its maiden voyage. Exxon didn't want to spend the cash to fix it. So the man at the helm, electronically blindfolded, drove it up onto the reef.

So why the story of the drunken skipper? Because it lets Exxon off the hook: Calling it a case of "drunk driving" turns the disaster into a case of human error, not corporate penny-pinching greed.

Investigator Palast flies over Exxon Valdez spill site.

Indeed, the "human error" tale was the hook used by the Bush-stacked Supreme Court to slash the punitive damages awarded against Exxon by 90%, from $5 billion, to half a billion for 30,000 Natives and fishermen. Chief Justice John Roberts erased almost all of the payment due with the la-dee-dah comment, "What more can a corporation do?"

Well, here's what they could have done: Besides fix the radar, Exxon could have set out equipment to contain the spill. Containing a spill is actually quite simple. Stick a rubber skirt around the oil slick and suck it back up. The law requires it and Exxon promised it.

So, when the tanker hit, where was the rubber skirt and where was the sucker? Answer: The rubber skirt, called "boom" - was a fiction. Exxon promised to have it sitting right there near the Native village at Bligh Reef. The oil company fulfilled that promise the cheap way: they lied.

And the lie was engineered at the very top. After the spill, we got our hands on a series of memos describing a secret meeting of chief executives of Exxon and its oil company partners, including ARCO, a unit of British Petroleum. In a meeting of these oil chieftains held in April 1988, ten months before the spill, Exxon rejected a plea from T.L. Polasek, the Vice-President of its Alaska shipping operations, to provide the oil spill containment equipment required by law. Polasek warned the CEOs it was "not possible" to contain a spill in the mid-Sound without the emergency set-up.

Alaska Native Henry Makarka: "If I had a machine gun, I kill those white sons-of-bitches."

Exxon angrily vetoed ARCO's suggestion that the oil companies supply the rubber skirts and other materiel that would have prevented the spill from spreading, virtually eliminating the spill's damage.

Regulations state that no tanker may leave the Alaska port of Valdez without the "sucker" equipment, called a "containment barge," at the ready. Exxon signed off on the barge's readiness. But, that night thirty years ago, the barge was in dry-dock with its pumps locked up under arctic ice. By the time it arrived at the tanker, half a day after the spill, the oil was well along its thousand-mile killing path.

Natives watched as the now-unstoppable oil overwhelmed their islands. Eyak Native elder Henry Makarka saw an otter rip out its own eyes burning from oil residue. Henry, pointing down a waterside dead-zone, told me, in a mix of Alutiiq and English, "If I had a machine gun, I'd shoot every one of those white sons-of-bitches."

* * * * *

Exxon promised - promised - to pay the Natives and other fishermen for all their losses. The Chief of the Natives at Nanwalek lost his boat to bankruptcy. His village, like other villages, Native and non-Native, decayed into alcoholism. The Mayor of fishing port Cordova killed himself, citing Exxon in his suicide note.


On the island village of Chenega, Gail Evanoff's uncle Paul Kompkoff was hungry. Until the spill, he had lived on seal meat, razor clams and salmon Chenegans would catch, and on deer they hunted. The clams and salmon were declared deadly and the deer, not able to read the government warning signs, ate the poisoned vegetation and died.

The President of Exxon, Lee Raymond, helicoptered into Chenega for a photo op. He promised to compensate the Natives and all fishermen for their losses, and Exxon would thoroughly clean the beaches.

Uncle Paul told the Exxon chief of his hunger. The oil company, sensing PR disaster, shipped in seal meat to the isolated village. The cans were marked, "NOT FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION." Uncle Paul said, "Zoo food."

Paul didn't want a seal in a can. He wanted a boat to go fishing, to bring the village back to life.

Two years after the spill, Otto Harrison, General Manager of Exxon USA, told Evanoff and me to forget about a fishing boat for Uncle Paul. Exxon was immortal and Natives were not. The company would litigate for 20 years.

They did. Two decades on, Exxon finally began its payout of the court award - but only ten cents on the dollar. And Uncle Paul's boat? No matter. Paul had died - as had a third of the fishermen owed the money.

* * * * *

Lee Raymond, President of Exxon at the time of the spill - and its President when the company made the secret decision to do without oil spill equipment, retired in April 2006. The company awarded him a $400 million retirement bonus, more than double the bonuses received by all AIG executives combined.

* * * * *

Gail's oily hand never made it to national television. The networks were distracted with another oil story.

After sailing back to Chenega from Sleepy Bay, I sat with Uncle Paul, watching the smart bombs explode over Baghdad. Gulf War I had begun.

Uncle Paul was silent a long time The generals on CNN pointed to the burning oil fields near Basra. Paul said, "I guess we're all some kind of Native now."

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

Reparations Means Global Social Transformation
By Glen Ford

Reparations is not a token gesture of concern, apology or even solidarity; it seeks justice and redress of wrongs through the transformation of a people's condition.

The Democratic presidential race has erupted in incomprehensible babble on reparations. Bernie Sanders says he's not sure what people mean by the word. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, the two Black U.S. senators, cynically put forward programs that bear no resemblance to reparations while claiming to be supporters. And Oprah favorite Marianne Williamson's $100 billion reparations scheme is far too stingy to "repair" 40 million descendants of slaves.

If Joe Biden finally decides to seek the nomination his impressive favorable ratings among Blacks will likely implode under the accumulated racist baggage of a lifetime. No white man that declares, "I'll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago" can be trusted to comprehensively right racial wrongs. Beto O'Rourke, the Great Corporate Hope now that Harris and Booker have failed to catch fire, admits that, "As a white man who has had privileges that others could not depend on, or take for granted, I've clearly had advantages over the course of my life" -- but rejects reparations for the descendants of slaves. As far as business-friendly Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is concerned, the race divide can be bridged simply by "looking out for our whole economy: community college, one-year degrees, minimum wage, childcare, making sure that we have that shared dream of opportunity for all Americans."

It is no wonder that Democratic office-seekers feel free to conjure up their own versions of reparations, to arbitrarily endorse or reject. Although the general concept of reparations for slavery and its ongoing legacy of racial oppression is broadly endorsed by Black America, there has been no Black-wide debate on the issue. Until that happens, there can be no DEMAND put forward that is imbued with the authority of the wronged community -- and power accedes only to demands. Therefore, at present, there is no such thing as a Black people-endorsed reparations program, to be supported or rejected by candidates during the upcoming electoral season. Reparations is not a token gesture of concern, apology or even solidarity; it seeks justice and redress of wrongs through the transformation of a people's condition. Black folks need to study on that, and take all the time that is necessary to produce a coherent set of demands. Of necessity, this community-wide debate must be a deep and broad discussion of the current state of the Black political economy, and our people's visions for the future.

Clearly, an all-Black reparations debate is overdue when corporate servants like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker can masquerade as reparationists while campaigning on non-Black-specific programs like $500 per month income supplements (Harris' tax credit for all households making less than $100,000 a year) or "baby bonds" for all newborns (Booker's scheme to narrow the racial wealth gap by giving children yearly savings bonds, with larger amounts going to poorer kids up to age 18.) These proposals may or may not have merit, but they are not reparations and could only be pitched as such in an environment of abject political ignorance.

The starting signal for the Great Black Reparations Debate has already sounded, with 29 House members co-sponsoring John Conyers H.R. 40 reparations study bill, first introduced in 1989, later revised and improved and now sponsored by Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee. Less than half of the Black Caucus in the House has signed on to H.R. 40, and the actual reparations positions of even the signatories - including Jackson-Lee -- are largely unknown. But that's alright; the bill provides only "to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes." The Black community-wide debate on Reparations and Black Futures must begin long before H.R. 40 passes in some future session of Congress, and will inform the study, itself.

In the absence of such a debate, non-Black progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose Green New Deal resolution displays breathtaking potential for both national transformation and community self-determination, flounders and stutters on reparations. Her instinct is towards solidarity with Black Americans, but there can be no authoritative Black voice without the Great Debate. At this month's South by Southwest conference, the young Puerto Rican lawmaker was asked about Black reparations, but only succeeded in further muddying the waters:

"There are a lot of systems that we have to dismantle, but it also it does get into this interesting area of where we are as a country, about identity. Because, like, what does it mean to be black, who is black and who isn't, especially as our country becomes more biracial and multiracial. Same with being Latino, same thing it brings up all these questions like passing, and you know, things like that. But I do think it is important that we have to have substantive conversations about race beyond, like, what is racist and what is not, and if someone says something racist does that make them racist, like, we need to get away from talking well, not that we have to get away from talking about racism, it's important that we talk about racism but because we talked about racism so much, we actually are not talking about race itself. And we aren't educating ourselves about our own history to come to the conclusion that I think we need to come to."
As of this writing, Ocasio-Cortez's name does not yet appear among the co-sponsors of H.R. 40. Yet, endorsement of the reparations study commission bill and acknowledgement of the great crime that has been done to Black people by the U.S. state and (white) society is all that is needed or wanted from politicians of any race at this juncture, before the years-long Black reparations debate has begun. That means Kamala Harris and Cory Booker are obligated to submit a companion bill to H.R. 40 in the U.S. Senate. Neither has done so, despite their pro-reparations posing, which is proof of their deep cynicism and dishonesty.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the peace candidate from Hawaii, has signed on to H.R. 40. Former San Antonio mayor and Obama cabinet member Julian Castro said, "If I'm president, then I'm going to appoint a commission or other task force to determine the best way to [provide reparations]."

Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator, sounds like she'd support a reparations study, but there is no Senate bill and she has not volunteered to craft one.

"We have to address the stain of slavery and we need to hit it head on," said Warren. "We need to acknowledge that that is a part of the foundation of how America was built and how this economy was built and that it has had implications generation after generation. There are scholars, there are activists who are talking about many different ways too that we might design a reparations program, but we're not going to ... even start down that path until we acknowledge the initial problem and say we need to get together, we need to have a national conversation about our history and the responsibility that we take for it and how we make change."

Bernie Sanders is clearly a class-first politician who is repelled by reparations on principle. But he acknowledges the crime against Black people and will likely be persuaded to endorse the reparations study. Until Black people have spoken en mass on reparations, there is little more that can be demanded of Sanders or the rest of them.

Those Black organizations that have long called for reparations do not presume to propose detailed schemes for redressing the multitudinous wrongs done to Black folks in the U.S. and worldwide. The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, of which I am a founding member, addresses reparations in Point Six of its National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination:

"We demand reparations consistent with international norms regarding redress for crimes against humanity. This includes the enslavement, colonialism and apartheid from which we suffer up to today. The totality of the repair, according to international law, must include policies, programs and projects that cease ongoing racial crimes, offer restitution and returns us to wholeness, provides compensation that allows for a quality standard of life and individual and collective wealth creation, ensures satisfaction that returns our dignity and achieves rehabilitation for the heart, mind, body and spirit injuries resulting from the centuries of trauma and abuse."

Until we have the Great Black Reparations Debate, everybody has a right to an opinion on the form that reparations will take. In the process of the debate, a rough consensus will develop, followed by concrete demands. But, not now.

The granddaddy of contemporary reparations organizations, NCOBRA, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, is pleased that reparations has become a compelling issue this election season:

"Particularly, 2020 presidential candidates Marianne Williams, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, in addition to former White House cabinet member, Julian Castro. Even Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who was said to have blocked the congressional discussion of reparations during the Obama presidency, has now offered support for a reparations study."

However, in an article titled, "Reparations Means Full Repair," NCOBRA points out that shaping the demand for reparations is essential to Black people's right of self-determination.

"Where some err, however, is in their attempt to tells us - Descendants of Africans Enslaved in the United States - DAEUS, what form and to what extent reparations are and should be. They should support the demand for reparations. In addition, they should seek to understand the full extent of the crimes of enslavement, Jim Crow and post Jim Crow America, and how these crimes have benefited America and all non-Black citizens of America - including those who just arrived.

"The forms and to what extent will be determined by us. This has already begun, in part, with N'COBRA's 21st Century Reparations Manifesto and Five Injury Areas. Also, this has begun with a series of national town hall meetings already held, and more to be scheduled, to introduce, assess and debate the Reparations 10 Point Program compiled by the National African American Reparations Commission NAARC."

Most veterans of the reparations movement are internationalists, not narrow racialists or Black American chauvinists. They have played key historical roles in the liberation of all previously colonized and enslaved peoples. There is nothing parochial or provincial about the project to repair four centuries of Euro-American crimes and savagery, in the process of which capitalism was built and brought to its imperial zenith.

In the most profound sense, reparations means total global social transformation - and you can't buy that with Marianne Williamson's $100 billion scheme, or Booker's baby bonds, or Harris' $500 a month stipends, or even with trillions of dollars. Real redress can only come when the system that cannibalized tens of millions of Black bodies and underdeveloped most of the world for the benefit of the Lords of Capital, is demolished root and branch and just settlements made among the people's of the Earth.

We may have come here on a slave ship, but we're not going down with this Titanic in imperialist decline.

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

What the New York Times Will Not Tell You About Military Spending
By David Swanson

I sent the New York Times this letter on March 20, 2019:

To the Editor,

Peter Navarro's op-ed "Why America Needs a Stronger Defense Industry" argues that "Investing in the sector means more jobs at home and improved security abroad." He praises the construction of tanks used in wars in Iraq.

Here is a study demonstrating that military spending produces fewer jobs than other types of public spending, or even than not taxing money from working people in the first place: "The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update," Political Economy Research Institute,

So, the more jobs at home claim is false. What about the "improved security abroad" and the labeling of the weapons industry as "defense"?

Tanks have no more function against a foreign invasion than they do against hijackers of airplanes or against mass-shooters in schools or against climate collapse. Thus "defense" is twisted into the vague concept of "security abroad." Yet, clearly most U.S. travelers abroad are not going to be accompanied by tanks.

A review of the data has concluded that: "Deployment of troops to another country increases the chance of attacks from terror organizations from that country. Weapons exports to another country increase the chance of attacks from terror organizations from that country. Ninety-five percent of all suicide terrorist attacks are conducted to encourage foreign occupiers to leave the terrorist's home country."

If facts are insufficient, let's appeal to authority. On February 27, 2017, President Donald Trump said, "Almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East . . . $6 trillion we've spent in the Middle East . . . and we're nowhere, actually if you think about it we're less than nowhere, the Middle East is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago, there's not even a contest . . . we have a hornet's nest . . . ."

An actually defensive defense industry would not resemble the current one. There have been no recorded terrorist attacks driven by resentment at the provision of aid. A tiny fraction of U.S. military spending could end starvation on earth. ("The World Only Needs 30 Billion Dollars a Year to Eradicate the Scourge of Hunger," Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Doing so would actually increase security, not to mention actually helping people - if anyone cares about such things when they don't help start wars.


David Swanson

(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.

Flooded graves are seen following a strong cyclone that hit Beira, Mozambique, on March 20, 2019. Five days after tropical cyclone Idai cut a swathe
through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, the confirmed death toll stood at more than 300 and hundreds of thousands of lives were at risk, officials said.

Mozambique Is Drowning. Nebraska Has Flooded. We Need a Green New Deal
By William Rivers Pitt

The ocean has come for the coastal African nation of Mozambique. Tropical Cyclone Idai, a devastating storm that pummeled the country with fierce winds, was followed by a massive flood that has obliterated dams, swept away homes and bridges, erased roads, shuttered airports, and damaged 90 percent of the city of Beira, home to more than 500,000 people. There are bodies in the water and no one to collect them, making diseases like cholera an imminent threat.

More than 1,000 are confirmed dead, a number that is sure to rise. Thousands more are homeless and seeking refuge. "Many people were waiting for food, water and medicine," reports The New York Times, "in makeshift shelters in primary schools and other government buildings." Satellite imagery over Mozambique shows a new flood-made inland sea that is 30 miles wide in places. "We've never had something of this magnitude before in Mozambique," said non-governmental organization coordinator Emma Beatty. To the west in Zimbabwe and Malawi, more than 100 people are known dead, hundreds more are missing and the damage is extensive.

"There are at least three major ways that the Mozambique floods are related to climate change," reports Eric Holthaus for Grist. "First, a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which makes rainfall more intense. Idai produced more than two feet of rainfall in parts of the region - nearly a year's worth in just a few days. Second, the region had been suffering from a severe drought in recent years in line with climate projections of overall drying in the region, hardening the soil and enhancing runoff. Third, sea levels are about a foot higher than a century ago, which worsens the effect of coastal flooding farther inland."

For years, stories of massive climate disasters such as these may have felt distant to many U.S. readers, but the climate crisis has arrived here, too.

A massive climate change-driven flood has transformed the middle of the United States into a bowl of soup. The waters have rolled down the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and inundated huge swaths of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Multiple towns in every state have been severely damaged, and thousands of farms that were already struggling have been scourged. On average, it takes about 28 days for river-borne floodwaters to recede, but repairing the wreckage left behind is expected to take years. Tens of thousands of people have been affected, and many are now without homes.

"In case you were wondering, the climate crisis isn't coming. It's already here," writes Charles P. Pierce regarding flood preparations at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha. "The one institution of government that actually believes that is the United States military, and that's a good thing, too, because, in this case, the exaggerated effect of the crisis and the extreme weather that results from it - the blizzards, the 'bomb cyclone,' the huge snowmelt, and the flooding - has become the national security threat that the Pentagon has seen coming."

But even as the military is taking active steps to prepare for the inevitable consequences of climate disruption, the deniers in Washington, D.C. still won't get the message. They better, and soon, because the people who lost their homes and livelihoods in Nebraska and Missouri have already joined the rising global ranks of climate refugees, and if the experts are correct, there are millions more to follow.

"'It's human nature to think we are masters of our environment, the lords of creation,' said Mr. Remus, who works for the United States Army Corps of Engineers," reports The New York Times. "But there are limits, he said. And the storm last week that caused him so much trouble was beyond what his network of dams can control. Mr. Remus controls an extraordinary machine - the dams built decades ago to tame a river system that drains parts of 10 states and two Canadian provinces. But it was designed for a different era, a time before climate change and the extreme weather it can bring."

The ongoing pushback against the Green New Deal (GND) by most Republicans and some Democrats highlights the degree to which our leaders are willing to wait until the roof caves in on us before they act. Conservatives in Congress and their allies on Fox News are in an undistilled frenzy over the GND - "They're going to take your car! Your cows! YOUR CHILDREN!" - and Donald Trump has added windmill jokes to the arsenal of nonsense he deploys at his rallies.

Worse, Democrats like Sen. Dick Durbin are actually joking about it as if the matter wasn't lethally pressing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to the surprise of none, is dragging her feet about bringing the GND to a vote. Union leaders representing workers in energy and construction are also voicing opposition, expressing concern over the employment opportunities they may lose if the GND becomes law and skepticism about "green jobs" to come. "We've heard words like 'just transition' before, but what does that really mean?" asked Phil Smith, spokesman for coal-mining members of the United Mine Workers of America. "Our members are worried about putting food on the table."

Hard to put food on the table when all the farms are under water, but I digress.

These concerns comprehensively miss the point on the GND and the climate disruption it seeks to address. The GND is a non-binding resolution, which means it has precisely the same force of law as a non-binding resolution celebrating the fact that children enjoy ice cream cones. The GND exists for one reason: To finally get elected officials talking seriously about what we need to do in order to prepare for what is already here, what is definitely going to come and perhaps to mitigate the damage as best we can.

"Love the Green New Deal or hate it," writes Justin Worland for Time, "the conversation it has unleashed represents a shift in the discussion surrounding climate policy in the U.S., with ripples that will spread across the globe. The outcome of the debate will go a long way toward determining if humanity can avoid the most catastrophic consequences of a rapidly warming world."

According to various polls, more than 70 percent of people in the U.S. believe that climate change is happening right now, and two-thirds of Republicans believe their party is out of step with reality on the issue. Activists like those in the Sunrise Movement are petitioning lawmakers to get it in gear, and are planning a traveling explanation tour through coal states like Kentucky and Pennsylvania to make the case that waiting is no longer an option.

Let us hope their entreaties do not again go ignored. We are out of time. Nebraska can tell you all about it.

(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.

Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in 2013.

Release The Mueller Report-Immediately And Completely
If we want the truth, we must have transparency.
By John Nichols

Special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded a 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegations that Donald Trump has engaged in egregious wrongdoing as a candidate and as the president of the United States. Mueller has produced what is described as a "comprehensive" report on his inquiry, and that report is now in the hands of the man Trump recently selected to head the Department of Justice.

This is an urgent moment for the country. Yet, upon receiving the report, Attorney General Robert Barr indicated to Congress that he "may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend." That is not the language of transparency.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, a former state attorney general, said, "Now that the Special Counsel's report has been delivered to the Attorney General, the imperative for transparency and full disclosure is immediate and urgent. The public has a right to know all of the findings and evidence that resulted from this investigation."

Blumenthal reminds us that "the public interest is paramount in disclosing not only conclusions, but the facts that led to them. There is no excuse for concealing any part of this report along with its findings & evidence-it would be tantamount to a cover-up."

That is the language of transparency. And that is what's essential now.

President Trump has repeatedly referred to the Mueller investigation as a "witch hunt." He did so again on Friday, just hours before the report was delivered to Barr. But, as Congressman Ted Lieu, a former military prosecutor, noted several months ago, this has been the "most successful witch hunt in us history."

"The investigation has already led to 199 criminal charges, 37 indictments or guilty pleas, and five prison sentences," explains Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. "Numerous additional investigations of possible criminal conduct uncovered by the Special Counsel have been spun off to other prosecutors. The string of crimes that have already been unearthed and made public is staggering and unprecedented in our nation's history."

There are reports that Mueller will not recommend any more indictments, and Trump apologists are already imagining vindication. But as Blumenthal states, "The facts and evidence here are likely to show a lot of criminality." And House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff says, "The report itself, as important as it may be, is not as important as the underlying evidence, and of particular concern to us on the Intelligence Committee, any evidence of compromise-whether it was criminal or not-any evidence that a US person, the president or anyone around him, may be acting in the foreign interest of an adversary not in the interest of our country."

The Mueller inquiry has provoked speculation from the day it began, and it will continue to provoke speculation until it has been fully released and explained. So let's get on with it. Let's trust the American people with the full report.

This is how we begin-and "begin" is the key word-the processes of accountability. These processes should extend far beyond the issues that Mueller has been examining. Indeed, it may be that other inquiries will be more consequential than that of the special counsel. But conclusions about where and how to pursue accountability require facts. All the facts. That is why Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, is right when she demands: "Attorney General Barr-release the Mueller report to the American public. Now."

The federal government is supposed to operate according to the dictates of a Constitution that outlines a system of checks and balances. In the interest of the American people, the Congress is required to provide oversight, advice, and consent regarding the actions of the president and those around him.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives has-in cooperation with the minority leader of the United States Senate-issued an appropriate and necessary call to duty. "Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress," say Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and minority leader Charles Schumer. "Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any 'sneak preview' of Special Counsel Mueller's findings or evidence, and the White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public."

Barr should respect this call. Pelosi and Schumer happen to be Democrats. But they speak for a Congress that can only do its work if it is fully informed. Democrats and Republicans share this understanding. Last week, in a 420-0 vote, the House urged the Justice Department to release the full Mueller report. Congress needs to continue this advocacy, because, as American Civil Liberties Union legal director David Cole says, "Elected officials work for the people and we deserve to see government business conducted in daylight." Indeed, he argues, "If the Department of Justice does not make the Mueller report public, Congress should use its subpoena powers to make sure the truth sees the light of day."

Cole is right: The equation is not complicated. If we want the truth, we must have transparency-immediately and completely.

(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.

The Battle Is On Again Over Health Care For All
By James Donahue

They did it successfully when Hillary Clinton pushed for a public health care system in 1993. The insurance companies managed to cut the bite out of Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act during his term in office. And the battle is on again as a Democratic Party coalition now presses to fix Obama's plan and provide the single payer health care system desired by most Americans.

Other than the battle against global warming the quest for improved health care will probably be among the most important issues facing candidates for the presidency in 2020. As the weather changes sweep the landscape public health issues are growing expeditiously. And it goes without saying that the cost of going to the doctor or checking into the emergency room for medical care is beyond the ability of most middle and lower class families to deal with.

A recent New York Times article by Robert Pear notes that "doctors, hospitals, drug companies and insurers are intent on strangling Medicare for all before it advances from an aspirational slogan to a legislative agenda item.

From personal experience and from discussions with our private contacts with family physicians we believe Pear's statement is a bit exaggerated. Everybody wants an improved health care system. What nobody wants, however, is the volumes of paperwork and strict rules that usually go along with working within government established guidelines.

Doctors, for example, foresee the hiring of additional staff just to handle the paperwork. And if government price lines are in play, the revenues will be reduced for doctors, hospitals and drug companies. Private health insurance could be a thing of the past.

According to Pear's article, the fear concerning the Democratic proposal is that Obama's Affordable Care Act may be completely abandoned. The argument is that rather than scrapping what we have, our legislators should consider improving the existing system which is already in place and working relatively well for most Americans. This is especially true for those enjoying employer-sponsored health coverage.

Charles N. Kahn III, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, put it all in perspective when he said: "Let's make it (the Affordable Care Act) work for all Americans. We reject the notion that we need to turn the whole apple cart over and start over again."

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has already introduced a bill that calls for an expansion of the present Medicare system to include everybody. And as feared by Partnership for America's Health Care Future, this plan and any others like it will call for tax increases. They argue that the plan also will give politicians and bureaucrats control of medical decisions now made by the doctors and their patients.

The problem with that argument, however, is that the politicians already control the way the current health care programs are operating. And we all know that the big drug and insurance companies spend a lot of money lobbying for those controls. They usually never benefit the patients.

(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.

The grassroots left in the Democratic Party is fed up with this shell game.

2020 Dem Presidential Hopefuls Flee Israel Lobbies' AIPAC After Boycott Call
It is a potential watershed moment
By Juan Cole

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Julian Castro, among candidates for the Democratic Party nomination for president, have all announced that they will not attend the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

The powerful grassroots organization of center-left Democrats,, has called for a boycott of the annual AIPAC conference.

It is a potential watershed moment. was founded in 1998 by tech entrepreneurs Joan Blades and Wes Boyd, a husband and wife team behind Berkeley Systems. It came initially out of an email campaign aimed at preventing the impeachment of Bill Clinton, arguing that Congress should censure him and "move on." The emails went viral, tipping Blades and Boyd to the potential of grassroots internet organizing as opposed to depending on corporate sponsors. seems to me to have moved left over time, including on Israel/Palestine. It spearheaded the movement to get out of Iraq in the zeroes. It also protested the 2009 war on little Gaza.

A Bernie Sanders spokesperson told NBC News that the senator is "concerned about the platform AIPAC is providing for leaders who have expressed bigotry and oppose a two-state solution." Sanders did not go to AIPAC in 2016, but Hillary Clinton has been a frequent guest and is close to the Israel lobbies and the Netanyahu government. She hasn't given any sign of caring what happens to the Palestinians one way or another since about 1996. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will be headliners at AIPAC this year. The organization says it isn't disturbed by the exodus of presidential candidates, insisting that it focuses on Congress. Hmm. I wonder what it does for the congressional representatives?

The call for a boycott comes after a long period in which some form of the the far right Likud Party and even further far right coalition partners have dominated Israeli politics for nearly two decades. This fact about Israel has in turn shaped AIPAC, which in the early 1990s would not have met with most of the people it now pushes on the American public as likeable democrats. In fact, Likud and its partners have adopted an unstated Greater Israel agenda of completely annexing the Palestinian West Bank, and the Syrian Golan Heights, conquered in 1967, and of keeping the Gaza Strip under a debilitating civilian blockade. These actions are illegal in international law, since the 1945 United Nations Charter forbids acquisition of other people's territory through warfare.

The US political establishment, which accepts tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions from various Israel lobbies, has dealt with this fascist search for Lebensraum or "living room," as it was called in Central Europe in the 1930s, by pretending that there is an ongoing political negotiation toward a Palestinian state, which there has not been for nearly two decades.

The Democratic Left is calling BS on this charade, which is keeping 5 million Palestinians stateless and under some form of military Occupation for decades to come.

In the past year the Netanyahu government has:

*enacted rules of engagement for unarmed civilian protesters in Gaza instructing the Israeli army to shoot them dead (a war crime);

*initiated a declaration that Israel's sovereignty is solely invested in its Jewish citizens, making Palestinian-Israelis (21% of the population) second class citizens;

*made one of his coalition partners ally with the Kahanist Jewish Power faction; Kahanists are considered terrorists by the US government.

DC hit peak hypocrisy recently when AIPAC partisans in Congress actually implicitly condemned Rep. Ilhan Omar for "racism" for pointing out that AIPAC directs its affiliates to give money to congressional campaigns in order to influence-peddle for the terrorist-allied, racist Netanyahu government.

The grassroots left in the Democratic Party is fed up with this shell game.'s web site notes,

"A new survey from MoveOn Political Action asked members if they believe progressive candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination should skip this year's American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, held Sunday, March 24th to Tuesday, March 26th in Washington, DC. More than 74% of MoveOn members responded agree or strongly agree with the statement that "any progressive vying to be the Democratic nominee for President should skip the AIPAC conference."
The survey, which entails a single prompt, "Any progressive vying to be the Democratic nominee for president should skip the AIPAC conference," is prefaced by several facts, including:
*AIPAC spent tens millions of dollars in 2015 to defeat the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama along with our European and international allies-a historic diplomatic agreement that Trump has tried to derail since taking office.

*This year's AIPAC conference is headlined by Benjamin Netanyahu ... who has been indicted on bribery and fraud charges, and recently made a deal to bring the "Israeli KKK" ... party into the next government.

*AIPAC has ... been known to peddle anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric while giving platforms to Islamophobes.

*AIPAC has refused to condemn the antisemitism of Republicans, such as Trump's friend and advisor Steve Bannon."

(c) 2019 Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

A Celebration In Moscow
By Heather Digby Parton

Julie Davis, who monitors Russian media for us, gives the low down on the partying going down in Russia over the Barr Letter. You might think that's weird since Mueller endorsed the conclusions of the Intelligence Community that the Russian government had interfered in the 2016 presidential election. But then, that would almost certainly be a point of pride for them. Having their good pal Trump off the hook just makes it so much sweeter. Anyway:

When news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities," Russian officials and the state media reacted with fiendish delight.

Senator Alexei Pushkov, a senior deputy in Russia's upper-house Federation Council, described the Mueller report as a mountain that birthed a dead mouse." Citing Fox News, Russian state news agency TASS reported that the findings represent a complete victory for President Trump. "It's not every day you get to see [Rachel Maddow] nearly cry live on-air," rejoiced Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti.

Evgeny Popov, the host of 60 Minutes, the most popular TV program in Russia as of 2018, interpreted Mueller's findings as a confirmation that "Russia didn't elect Trump," but "will most definitely elect him in 2020." Russia's Federal News Agency (RIA FAN), an offshoot of the notorious Russian troll factory known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), described Mueller's inquiry as an investigation "against Russia and Trump."

RIA FAN disingenuously alleged that Mueller never demonstrated any evidence of the Russian trolls' involvement in Trump's election. "The Russians are coming-or the Russians were never there?" mockingly asked the troll agency's surrogate, falsely claiming that the special counsel couldn't find either the troll factory or any trace of the Russian hackers. RIA FAN speculates the investigation that ended without an indictment or an impeachment represents a golden ticket for Trump, all but guaranteeing his re-election in 2020.

Russian state news outlet RIA Novosti predicts the Russian election interference will soon be replaced by "Ukrainegate," based on the conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the U.S. elections on the side of Hillary Clinton. Trump recently tweeted the link to an article, widely promoted by the Russians, stating: "As Russia Collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges."

The same narrative of Ukrainian-not Russian-election interference was promoted by Fox News host Sean Hannity in 2017. Right on cue, Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. jumped on the Ukraine bandwagon by tweeting an article that demanded the removal of former President Barack Obama's U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and rehashing the claims of Ukraine's alleged interference in the U.S. elections.

The Russian state media are hoping that President Trump, described by RIA Novosti as "a vengeful showman," will initiate a brand new investigation of election interference-this time, against Ukraine. The Kremlin's scribes predict the grand finale of such an investigation would be perfectly timed to unfold immediately prior to the 2020 election.

That, by the way, is part of what Trump is talking about these days when he and Lindsey Graham threaten to go after "the other side." (Here's piece by right wing hit man John Solomon about this very thing. It's all over the wingnut media.)

Meanwhile, as a few of them start to sober up, they start to wonder if maybe this might go badly for everyone:

While the Russians are notably elated about the outcome of the Mueller inquiry, they cautiously anticipate the outward worsening of the country's relations with the United States. Sergei Brilev, the host of a weekly state TV news program on the Rossiya-1 channel, concluded that now-more than ever-Trump will go out of his way to prove he is no friend to Russia. The deployment of strategic U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber, conducting training flights with regional allies and NATO partners in the vicinity of the Baltic Sea, is being described by the Kremlin's mouthpieces as a manifestation of Trump's desire to appear tough on Russia.
I wouldn't worry too much about that. Trump is not one to admit, even tacitly, that he was wrong about anything. So switching gears on this wouldn't be likely.

Also, he's probably still compromised.

They aren't brooding too much about any of this, however:

While it seems the Kremlin might manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of its own info-victories, the Trump administration remains a gift that keeps on giving. Trump's recent decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights was interpreted by Russian officials as a tacit withdrawal of U.S. objections to the Russian annexation of Crimea. Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian Federation Council's Foreign Affairs Committee, concluded: "After Trump's Golan statement, any demagoguery about Crimea is groundless."

The Kremlin also capitalized on the unrelenting focus on the Mueller investigation, which provided the ideal cover for a quiet arrival of two Russian Air Force planes in Venezuela's main airport on Saturday, transporting nearly 100 Russian troops to the country.

The first plane reportedly carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of Russia's ground forces, and the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tons of materiel. Russian state news agency Sputnik reported on the Spanish-language version of its website: "Two Russian planes arrived in Venezuela on Saturday with equipment and personnel to fulfill technical military contracts."

Putin's geopolitical appetites are growing exponentially, and the political disarray in the United States continues to fuel the flame of the Kremlin's bonfire.

Just remember what important about all this. Democrats are icky.

(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.

Research shows many insect populations are plummeting, which affects everything up the food chain, from birds to people

Cities Hold The Key To Reversing Bee Decline
By David Suzuki

If there's one thing bees and many city dwellers have in common, it's a love of gardens. That's good news for both because it means there's hope for reversing the decline of bee populations worldwide. Cities are important refuges for these critical pollinators and could ultimately hold the key to their survival.

Canada is home to more than 800 bee species, from big, fuzzy carpenter bees to tiny, green metallic sweat bees. Climate change, pesticide use, habitat loss and disease have contributed to an alarming drop in wild and managed pollinators. This is at a time when 35 per cent of the world's crop production depends on pollination, for an annual market value of up to US$577 billion. Bees and other pollinating insects are the basis of healthy diets, but they also play a significant role in our overall quality of life. We can thank them for some of our medicines, clothing and construction materials, as well as recreational and cultural activities.

That's where cities come in. Urbanization has come at a cost to insects like bees. Our rapid shift away from rural life has disturbed their habitat and made it harder for them to find food they need to survive. And when bees decline, so do the plants that depend on them for reproduction.

However, new research debunks the myth that urban areas are inherently bad for biodiversity, especially when it comes to pollinators. In a large-scale study of 360 sites over two years - published in Nature Ecology and Evolution - U.K. researchers found that urban land can support robust pollinator populations when done deliberately and correctly. That means putting pollinator conservation at the heart of urban planning.

As it turns out, home and community gardens are among bees' favourite places to hang out. That's because of the wide range of fruit and vegetable flowers they offer. The study found these urban gardens often attract up to 10 times more bees than the places we might typically consider bee havens: nature reserves, parks, cemeteries and other public green spaces. Bees are unable to thrive where there are trees and turf alone.

Gardens in more affluent neighbourhoods also tend to have more pollinators. They're not classist; bees just prefer the richer variety of plants and flowers. Knowing which types of plants and flowers attract bees can help city dwellers get the formula just right and set their gardens up for success. For instance, plants that some consider weeds, such as dandelion and clover, can help support bees, while hydrangeas and forget-me-nots prove to be the least popular.

The research makes it clear: Urban pollinators can thrive when planners and gardeners get behind them. By encouraging better garden management, such as planting native flowers adapted to the local climate and ensuring pollinators can access a buffet of blooming flowers from spring through fall, we can have a big impact.

The benefits of incorporating such measures into urban planning would extend beyond bees and other nectar-loving insects. In encouraging more community gardens, cities can increase the amount of healthy, locally produced organic fruits and vegetables available in their neighbourhoods. Turning lawns into gardens would also help pollinators while reducing water, fertilizer and pesticide use, and providing food.

Maintaining gardens gets more people outdoors, exercising and interacting with one another, reducing isolation, strengthening social bonds and reinforcing their connection to nature. It's only when that connection is strong that we will truly understand the impact of our actions on nature and deeply cherish its protection.

It's not just pollinators that are in danger. Research shows many insect populations are plummeting, which affects everything up the food chain, from birds to people. The decline in pollinators and other insects is so alarming that it will take a multi-pronged approach to turn it around. This includes learning from traditional Indigenous knowledge, reducing pesticide use, adopting sustainable agricultural practices and taking urgent climate action.

This crisis isn't irreversible. Bees and other pollinators can recover if we take deliberate action.

Urbanization has had a hand in the decline of bees, butterflies and other essential bugs. It's time for cities, and citizens, to become forces for good. Through small, simple acts to better manage our yards and green spaces, we can help sustain the pollinators that sustain us.

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

William Barr Did What He Was Hired To Do
He summarized the Mueller Report in the most favorable light possible to the Trump administration*.
By Charles P. Pierce

If the president* really had an ounce of empathy in him, he'd issue mass pardons immediately because, otherwise, a number of people are going to feel really stupid going off to federal prison. They will be going off to federal prison knowing that they committed their crimes in defense of nothing. William Barr on Sunday did what he was hired to do. He summarized Robert Mueller's report in the most favorable light possible to the administration* and, where he couldn't do that-specifically, on the crime of obstruction of justice-he just decided to turn Mueller's own conclusion completely upside down. But, in any case, if Barr's summary is taken whole, Paul Manafort et. al. got caught up in a criminal conspiracy in which the only crimes were their own.

To refresh everyone's memory, prior to being appointed Jefferson Beauregard Sessions's successor, Barr wrote a 19-page memo regarding the Mueller investigation in which he pretty much predicted his own summary.

Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction. Apart from whether Mueller a strong enough factual basis for doing so, Mueller's obstruction theory is fatally misconceived. As I understand it, his theory is premised on a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law. Moreover, in my view, if credited by the Department, it would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the Presidency and to the administration of law within the Executive branch. a further unprecedented step, Mueller would apply this sweeping prohibition to facially-lawful acts taken by public officials exercising of their discretionary powers if those acts influence a proceeding. Thus, under this theory, simply by exercising his Constitutional discretion in a facially-lawful way - for example, by removing or appointing an official; using his prosecutorial discretion to give direction on a case; or using his pardoning power ~ a President can be accused of committing a crime based solely on his subjective state of mind. As a result, any discretionary act by a President that influences a proceeding can become the subject of a criminal grand jury investigation, probing whether the President acted with an improper motive.

So, when you get to the following passage in Barr's summary, you can't possibly be surprised.
After reviewing the Special Counsel's final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.

In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that "the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President's intent with respect to obstruction.

And thereby hangs the upcoming brawl. Mueller says essentially that he is drawing no conclusions on obstruction of justice. Meanwhile, Barr-and Rod Rosenstein-are saying that, because Mueller drew no conclusions, he did in fact draw a conclusion. The law, as it has been said, is an ass.

Robert Mueller walks in Washington on Sunday.

There will be insufferable cock-a-doodle-doo'ing from the usual suspects for the next two years, and we all better get used to it. I suspect that both Barr and Mueller will get hauled before various congressional committees. In fact, the basic overriding result of Barr's summary is that the whole matter now has been dumped into the laps of a divided and hyper-partisan Congress in such a way as to guarantee that the Congress will be more divided and more hyper-partisan than ever before. The Democratic House will hold hearings and the Republican Senate will yell about Hillary Clinton. The Internet will be indiscriminately insane for the foreseeable future.

For those of us who are Iran-Contra obsessives-and you know who you are out there-this summary carries a similar aroma. A lot of important people are going to pass the buck around to each other, over and over again, until the country forgets what all the fuss was in the first place. This should be no surprise, again, because, back in 1992, when he was George H.W. Bush's AG, Barr advised that president to pardon all of the people convicted in Iran-Contra-people who, unsurprisingly, all could have testified that Bush's non-involvement was a self-serving lie. Maybe he'll give this president* the same advice. Who knows?

The wild card, of course, is the president* himself. He's got another wankfest scheduled this week and he's liable to say anything. And Paul Manafort still will be in jail simply because he got tied up with a guy who opened the floodgates on Manafort's crimes. He'll sit there forever, hoping for a pardon that will never come because he's not the guy who got to appoint his own attorney general to bail him out.


(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-

"It is a well known fact that reality has liberal bias."
~~~ Stephen Colbert

A woman lays on the coffin of her loved one during a memorial service for the Ethiopian
passengers and crew who perished in the Ethiopian Airways ET302 crash at Selassie Church
on March 17, 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All 157 passengers and crew perished after the Ethiopian
Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 Flight came down six minutes after taking off from Bole Airport.

Greedy Boeing's Avoidable Design And Software Time Bombs
Boeing's sales-driven avoidance of producing effective manuals with upgraded pilot training was courting disaster as was outrageously leaving many of the pilots in the dark
Ralph Nader

As internal and external pressures mount to hold Boeing responsible for its criminal negligence, the giant company is exerting its immense influence to limit both its past and future accountability. Boeing whistleblowers and outside aviation safety experts are coming forward to reveal the serial, criminal negligence of Boeing's handling of its dangerous Boeing 737 Max airplanes, grounded in the aftermath of two deadly crashes that took 346 lives. Boeing, is used to having its way in Washington, D.C. For decades, Boeing and some of its airline allies have greased the wheels for chronic inaction related to the additional protection and comfort of airline passengers and airline workers.

Most notoriously, the airlines, after the hijacks to Cuba in the late Sixties and early Seventies, made sure that Congress and the FAA did not require hardened cockpit doors and stronger latches on all aircraft, costing a modest $3000 per plane. Then the 9/11 massacre happened, a grisly consequence of non-regulation, pushed by right wing corporatist advocacy centers.

Year after year, Flyers Rights - the airline passenger consumer group -proposed a real passengers bill of rights. Year after year the industry's toadies in Congress said no. A slim version passed last year - requiring regulations creating minimum seat standards, regulations regarding prompt refunds for ancillary services not provided or on a flight not taken, and a variety of small improvements for consumers.

Boeing is all over Capitol Hill. They have 100 full time lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Over 300 members of Congress regularly take campaign cash from Boeing. The airlines lather the politicians with complimentary ticket upgrades, amenities, waivers of fees for reservation changes, priority boarding, and VIP escorts. Twice, we sent surveys about these special freebies to every member of Congress with not a single response.

That is the corrupt backdrop that at least two Congressional Committees have to overcome in holding public hearings into the causes of the Indonesian's Lion Air crash last October and the Ethiopian Airline crash on March 10, 2019.

Will the Senate and House Committee invite the technical dissenters to testify against Boeing's sequential corner cutting on its single sensor software that miscued and took control of the 737 Max 8 from its pilots, pulling down on the plane's nose? Boeing's sales-driven avoidance of producing effective manuals with upgraded pilot training was courting disaster as was outrageously leaving many of the pilots in the dark.

The Congressional Committees must issue subpoenas to critics of Boeing and the FAA in order to protect them from corporate and agency retaliation.

Moreover, the Committees must get rid of the grotesque self-regulation that allows Boeing to control the aircraft certification process for the FAA. This dangerous delegation has worsened in recent years because Trump and Republicans in Congress have cut the FAA's budget.

Brace yourself. Here is how the Washington Post described this abandonment of regulation by FAA, endorsed by Boeing's Congress:

"In practice, one Boeing engineer would conduct a test of a particular system on the Max 8, while another Boeing engineer would act as the FAA's representative, signing on behalf of the U.S. government that the technology complied with federal safety regulations..." "Hundreds of Boeing engineers would have played out this scenario thousands of times as the company sought to verify the performance of mechanical systems, hardware installation and massive amounts of computer code..."
So, citizens, watch out for bloviating Congressional Committee members castigating Boeing executives at the witness table before the television cameras and then doing nothing once the television broadcasts fade away.

Boeing's 737 series started in 1967 and has had a good engineering safety record in this country. But Boeing was in a rush with its Boeing 737 Max 8. They had to catch up with the growing orders for a similar-sized passenger jet built by Airbus. Being in a rush meant a modification that added more seats (a key motivation), that led to larger engines that affected the aerodynamics of the plane that led to the inadequate, mostly uncommunicated software fix to the pilots. Step by step, top management pushed the engineers in ways that compromised their professional expertise and each slide set the stage for a deeper slide. Now, the press is reporting a criminal probe by the Justice Department. The Inspector General of the Department of Transportation is also investigating the FAA's certification of 737 Max 8.

Years ago, aviation experts say, Boeing should have developed a brand new aircraft design for such intermediate distances. But Boeing dug in and compliant FAA officials dropped the ball. And President Trump has failed to fill three top slots at the FAA since January 2017.

That is why, after flight 302 crashed outside Addis Ababa, both Boeing and the FAA kept issuing statements filled with gibberish saying that the 737 Max 8 was safe, safe, safe-the malfunction-prone software time bomb to the contrary. A brand new plane, crashing twice and taking hundreds of lives, can't be blamed on pilot error.

Caution: the grounding of the planes may receive a whitewash unless the media keeps light and heat on this corporate-government collusion.

Installing artificial intelligence replacing or overpowering human intelligence in ever more complex machines, such as modern aircraft or weapons systems or medical technology is the harbinger of what's to come. In a 2014 BBC interview Stephen Hawking, the famed theoretical physicist, said: "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." And in 2018 Elon Musk said: "If AI has a goal and humanity just happens to be in the way, it will destroy humanity as a matter of course without even thinking about it. No hard feelings."

At the wreckage near Bishoftu in a small pastoral farm field and in the Java Sea off Indonesia lie the remains of the early victims of arrogant, algorithm driven corner cutting, by reckless corporate executives and their captive government regulators.

(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).

How Much Does Donald Trump Love Farmers?
By Jim Hightower

Have you noticed how often Donald Trump prefaces his comments and tweets with phrases like "frankly," "to tell the truth," and "believe me"?

More than a verbal tic, these qualifiers subliminally admit that being frank, truthful, and believable are not normal for him. So, like a carnival flimflammer selling snake oil, he strains to convince us rubes that he's not flimflamming.

Enjoying Hightower? How about a weekly email that gives you the full scoop? Among those who're learning about the "truthy-ness" of The Donald are farmers who voted for him, having bought his campaign promise to restore farm prosperity. Once in office, though, he quickly sold them out, throwing a hissy-fit of a trade war with China that ended up slapping US farmers by lowering the already-low prices they get for their crops. Instead of prosperity, the average farm profit last year was minus $1,500!

Trying to smooth over this betrayal of The Heartland, Trump tweeted out a message to ag producers in December meant to warm their hearts: "Farmers I LOVE YOU!" he professed. (I'm guessing he offered the same sweet insincerity to Stormy Daniels after he... well, you know.)

Actions speak louder than words, of course, so on March 11 Trump took actions to express his true love for farmers: He whacked $3.6 billion from the safety-net programs that offer a measure of relief to hard-hit producers when crop prices crash. Revealing his plutocratic core, his cuts specifically targeted programs that benefit small farmers - a deliberate manipulation meant to drive more families off the land and increase corporate monopolization of agriculture.

Not satisfied with intentionally injuring family farmers, Trump added insult by calling the dab of support they get from the government "overly generous." This from a real estate flimflammer who continues to rake in millions of dollars in government cash and special tax breaks.

(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

The Dead Letter Office-

William gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Generalstaatsanwalt Barr,

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 Trump's crimes in the Mueller report, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Real Scandal Of Donald Trump
By Robert Reich

We may never know for sure whether Donald Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin to obtain Russia's help in the 2016 election, in return for, say, Trump's help in weakening NATO and not interfering against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Trump and his propaganda machine at Fox News have repeatedly conjured up a "witch hunt" and maintained a drumbeat of "no collusion," which already has mired Robert Mueller's report in a fog of alt-interpretation and epistemological confusion.

What's "collusion?" What's illegal? Has Trump obstructed justice? Has he been vindicated? What did Mueller conclude, exactly? What did he mean?

The real danger is that as attention inevitably turns to the 2020 campaign, controversy over the report will obscure the far more basic issues of Trump's competence and character.

An American president is not just the chief executive of the United States, and the office he (eventually she) holds is not just a bully pulpit to advance policy ideas. He is also a moral leader, and the office is a moral pulpit invested with meaning about the common good.

A president's most fundamental responsibility is to protect our system of government. Trump has weakened that system.

As George Washington's biographer, Douglas Southall Freeman, explained, the first president believed he had been entrusted with something of immense intrinsic worth, and that his duty was to uphold it for its own sake and over the long term. He led by moral example.

Few of our subsequent presidents have come close to the example Washington set, but none to date has been as far from that standard as Trump.

In the 2016 presidential campaign, when accused of failing to pay his income taxes, Trump responded "that makes me smart." His comment conveyed a message to millions of Americans: that paying taxes in full is not an obligation of citizenship.

Trump boasted about giving money to politicians so they would do whatever he wanted. "When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me."

In other words, it's perfectly OK for business leaders to pay off politicians, regardless of the effect on our democracy.

Trump sent another message by refusing to reveal his tax returns during the campaign or even when he took office, or to put his businesses into a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest, and by his overt willingness to make money off his presidency by having foreign diplomats stay at his Washington hotel, and promoting his various golf clubs.

These were not just ethical lapses. They directly undermined the common good by reducing the public's trust in the office of the president.

A president's most fundamental responsibility is to uphold and protect our system of government. Trump has weakened that system.

When, as a presidential nominee, he said a particular federal judge shouldn't be hearing a case against him because the judge's parents were Mexican, Trump did more than insult a member of the judiciary. He attacked the impartiality of America's legal system.

When Trump threatened to "loosen" federal libel laws so he could sue news organizations that were critical of him and, later, to revoke the licenses of networks critical of him, he wasn't just bullying the media. He was threatening the freedom and integrity of the press.

When, as president, he equated neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members with counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, by blaming "both sides" for the violence, he wasn't being neutral. He was condoning white supremacists, thereby undermining equal rights.

When he pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa county, Arizona, for a criminal contempt conviction, he wasn't just signaling it's OK for the police to engage in brutal violations of civil rights. He was also subverting the rule of law by impairing the judiciary's power to force public officials to abide by court decisions.

When he criticized NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem, he wasn't really asking that they demonstrate their patriotism. He was disrespecting their - and, indirectly, everyone's - freedom of speech.

In all these ways, Trump undermined core values of our democracy.

This is the essence of Trump's failure - not that he has chosen one set of policies over another, or has divided rather than united Americans, or even that he has behaved in childish and vindictive ways unbecoming a president.

It is that he has sacrificed the processes and institutions of American democracy to achieve his goals.

By saying and doing whatever it takes to win, he has abused the trust we place in a president to preserve and protect the nation's capacity for self-government.

Controversy over the Mueller report must not obscure this basic reality.

(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

A Contentious, Constructive Debate On The Media And Political Humiliation From The Mueller Report
By Glenn Greenwald

I OBVIOUSLY INTENDED to write about the fallout from Attorney General William Barr's summary of the Mueller report: specifically his definitive finding that "the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government" and that "the report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public." Those two sentences alone permanently destroyed the prevailing Trump/Russia narratives - from blackmail fantasies to collusion tales - that consumed most of U.S. politics and media discourse for much of the last three years.

Just three weeks ago - three weeks ago - former CIA Director and now NBC News analyst John Brennan confidently predicted that Mueller was just weeks if not days away from arresting members "of the Trump family" on charges of conspiring with the Russians as his final act. Just watch the deceitful, propagandistic trash that MSNBC in particular fed to their viewers for two straight years, all while essentially banning any dissenters or skeptics of the narrative they peddled to the great profit of the network and its stars:

But what prevented me from writing anything is that Matt Taibbi brilliantly wrote everything I wanted to say in this definitive article on the debacle, one that I urge everyone to read. It lays out in indisputable, horrific detail the media's indescribably and relentlessly reckless behavior over the last three years, whereby they abused and exploited valid fears of Trump to sell - for their own profit and benefit - completely false and baseless conspiracy theories that have now been completely debunked by their own anointed authority. I won't excerpt any parts of it because it should be read in full by as many people as possible.

As Taibbi says, while the Iraq War was far worse in terms of impact (at least thus far), the media's endless series of deceitful and manipulative behavior and spreading of blatantly false conspiracy theories since 2016 was far worse. In sum, Rachel Maddow is the Judy Miller of the Trump/Russia story, except that unlike Miller - who was scapegoated for behavior that many of her male colleagues also engaged in to the point where her career and reputation was destroyed - Maddow, who makes $10 million a year from NBC, is too valuable a corporate brand and too much of a liberal celebrity for any consequences or accountability to be permitted. Another difference is that Maddow was so far more frequently off the deep end - way off the deep end, in another universe totally devoid of basically rationality - than Miller ever was.

In lieu of trying to add to anything Taibbi wrote, I will instead post the video debate I had with Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist and Trump/Russia believer David Cay Johnston on Democracy Now this morning. Though this debate was often contentious, I think it was quite substantive and illuminates all of the points I believe need to be made right now about the implications of this utter political and media failure of historic proportions:

(c) 2019 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. His most recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

The Cartoon Corner-

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

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Trump Ramps Up Attacks On John McCain By Dragging Senator's Exhumed Corpse Behind Motorcade
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Doubling down on his criticism of the departed lawmaker in the face of bipartisan condemnation, President Trump ramped up his attacks Thursday against the late John McCain by exhuming the senator's corpse and dragging it behind his presidential motorcade.

"I'm having some trouble understanding the strategy behind unearthing the body of this true American hero, chaining it to the bumper of a limousine, and driving it around our nation's capital," said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who added that shackling McCain's half-decomposed remains by the neck to the presidential state car and speeding through D.C.'s most pothole-ridden streets would only serve to distract people from Trump's important policy initiatives.

"It's not only counterproductive, but an insult to John McCain's memory to see his lifeless body bouncing and flailing across the National Mall like that. It certainly wasn't necessary for them to exceed 55 miles on the Beltway. I'd really prefer if the president refrained from such conduct."

At press time, sources confirmed Trump had further escalated his attacks against the late senator by off-roading with the corpse through the rugged terrain of Rock Creek Park.

(c) 2019 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 12 (c) 03/29/2019

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