Please visit our sponsor!

In This Edition

Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen examines, "The Liberal Contempt For Martin Luther King's Final Year."

Thom Hartman warns, "The Covid Warning Signal We're Ignoring Could Be Disastrous."

David A. Love joins us with a must read, "A Cold Civil War Is Being Waged By Republicans."

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

William Rivers Pitt finds, "There's A Path To Ending The Filibuster, If Democrats Move Wisely."

John Nichols explains, "What Bernie Sanders Taught Democrats About Labor Solidarity."

James Donahue examines the, "Erosion Of Our Freedom."

David Swanson says, "The President Has Not Ended The War On Yemen; Congress Must Do So."

David Suzuki explores, "Healthy Food Systems For A Healthy Planet."

Charles P. Pierce finds, "Dr. Birx's CNN Interview Brought An Enormous Temptation Toward Ungovernable Rage."

Juan Cole announces, "Separation Of Religion And State Declared By Revolutionary Sudan's Once-Muslim Fundamentalist Officers In Peace Deal With Southern Guerrillas."

Robert Reich explores, "The Bigot Party."

Kaity Assaf joins us with, "Capitol Police Officers Sue Donald Trump Over Injuries Sustained At Jan. 6 Riot."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Democrats Signal Openness To Restoring Filibuster To Original Form As Drawn-Out Striptease," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Investors Are Beginning To Catch On."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Bob Englehart, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomortrow, Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona, Phelan M. Ebenhack, Chip Somodevilla, Magda Ehlers, Patrick T. Fallon, Drew Angerer, ABC News, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

Visit me on Face Book

Investors Are Beginning To Catch On
By Ernest Stewart

"Global warming is a detrimental threat to our planet and it's very clear this sentiment is felt among investors. Sustainability and tackling climate change is becoming part of the investment mainstream and the market will double in size in 2021 as a result. Investors are becoming increasingly aware of businesses that do, and do not, have a positive environmental impact and willing to take on more risk to ensure their investments reflect their views." ~~~ Matthew Jellicoe ~ co-founder of OnePlanetCapital

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

Watching the tornadoes from last week down below that Manson/Nixon line they asked a guy if was planning to rebuilt after having his house knocked down by tornados for the third time in 5 years, he said no; he was moving somewhere else. I hope it's not to Kansas where over a nine year period tornadoes had ravaged a town 7 times. When a home owner there was asked if he was going to rebuild again he said yes, incase you're wondering where Lying Donald got his support! When I lived away down yonder, I lived on mountain tops as tornadoes don't like mountains. If you're living in "Tornado Alley" now would be a good time to move to the mountains not only for tornados but to keep from doing the back stroke as the oceans continue to rise and your ocean front property may soon be under 20 feet of water not to mention the heat. And scientists say that before too long, summer is going to last at least 6 months, talk about a "long hot summer."

Also, I see where a new algorithm-based study by a group of UK universities has predicted that 63 countries - roughly half the number rated by the likes of S&P Global, Moody's and Fitch - could see their credit ratings cut because of climate change by 2030.

Researchers from Cambridge University, the University of East Anglia and London-based SOAS looked at a "realistic scenario" known as RCP 8.5, where carbon and other polluting emissions continue rising in coming decades.

They then looked at how the likely negative impact of rising temperatures, sea levels and other climate change effects on countries' economies and finances might affect their credit ratings.

"We find that 63 sovereigns suffer climate-induced downgrades of approximately 1.02 notches by 2030, rising to 80 sovereigns facing an average downgrade of 2.48 notches by 2100," the study released on Thursday said.

The hardest hit countries included China, Chile, Malaysia and Mexico, which could see six notches of downgrades by the end of the century, as well as the United States, Germany, Canada, Australia, India and Peru that could see around four.

"Our results show that virtually all countries, whether rich or poor, hot or cold, will suffer downgrades if the current trajectory of carbon emissions is maintained."

The study also estimated that as rating cuts usually increase countries' borrowing costs in international markets, the climate-induced downgrades would add $137 billion to $205 billion to countries' annual debt service payments by 2100. Hopefully, when Wall Street understands how global warming will begin to effect their bottom line, perhaps, they too, will see the dangers of global warming and switch from fossil fuels to renewables?

Almost nine in 10 (85%) investors view global warming and the effects of climate change as the greatest long-term threat to our planet and are moving investments as a result.

The research of over 2,000 UK investors by OnePlanetCapital, a new sustainability driven investment house, found the overwhelming majority are concerned about the effects of climate change, including environmental threats such as rising temperatures, more frequent and severe flooding and increased deforestation.

Consequently, and to improve the flow of finance into businesses helping to tackle climate change, over one in 10 (12%) investors are planning to move investments to societal, corporate governance or environmental (ESG) related funds this year. A further 17% plan to move investments in 2022 or later.

Three in 10 (28%) investors are considering higher risk/higher return investments that tackle climate change, and 70% of investors would even avoid investing in a business with a negative environmental impact.

With a tenth of (9%) investors overall currently holding ESG investments, this surge of non-sustainability driven investors moving funds to investments tackling issues such as climate change, will see the ESG market alone double in size in 2021.



03-10-1943 ~ 03-30-2021
Thanks for the film!

11-30-1930 ~ 03-30-2021
Burn Baby Burn!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

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

The Liberal Contempt For Martin Luther King's Final Year
By Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen

The anniversary of his assassination always brings a flood of tributes to Martin Luther King Jr., and this Sunday will surely be no exception. But those tributes -- including from countless organizations calling themselves progressive -- are routinely evasive about the anti-militarist ideals that King passionately expressed during the final year of his life.

You could call it evasion by omission.

The standard liberal canon waxes fondly nostalgic about King's "I have a dream" speech in 1963 and his efforts against racial segregation. But in memory lane, the Dr. King who lived his last year is persona non grata.

The pattern is positively Orwellian. King explicitly condemned what he called "the madness of militarism." And by any reasonable standard, that madness can be diagnosed as pervading U.S. foreign policy in 2021. But today, almost all politicians and mainstream media commentators act as though King never said such things, or if he did then those observations have little to do with today.

But they have everything to do with the USA now in its twentieth year of continuous warfare. The Pentagon's constant bombing in the Middle East and elsewhere is the scarcely noticed wallpaper in the U.S. media's echo chamber.

What compounds the madness of militarism in the present day is the silence that stretches eerily and lethally across almost the entire U.S. political spectrum, including the bulk of progressive organizations doing excellent work to challenge economic injustice and institutionalized racism here at home.

But as for the institutionalized militarism that terrorizes, wounds and kills people overseas -- overwhelmingly people of color -- a sad truth is that most progressive U.S. organizations have little to say about it. At the same time, they eagerly and selectively laud King as a visionary and role model.

King didn't simply oppose the Vietnam War. In an April 4, 1967 speech at New York's Riverside Church delivered exactly a year before he was assassinated -- titled "Beyond Vietnam" -- he referred to the U.S. government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and broadly denounced the racist and imperial underpinnings of U.S. foreign policy. From Vietnam to South Africa to Latin America, King said, our country was on the "wrong side of a world revolution" -- suppressing revolutions "of the shirtless and barefoot people" in the Global South, instead of supporting them.

King critiqued the economics of U.S. foreign policy, complaining about "capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries." And he castigated U.S. federal budgets prioritizing militarism: "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

Mainstream media today pretend that King's anti-militarism pronouncements were never uttered, but that was not the case in 1967. Condemnation was swift, emphatic and widespread. Life magazine denounced the "Beyond Vietnam" speech as "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi." The New York Times and Washington Post both published harsh and patronizing editorials.

Today, it's not just a problem of elite media -- but also a vast spectrum of organizations that are taking a dive in the fight against the warfare state. This problem undermines the political resonance and social mission of countless organizations that do wonderful work but are betraying a crucial part of the living legacy of Dr. King, whom they never tire of claiming to be emulating and venerating.

This crisis is now heightened under the Biden administration. In an ominous echo of the mid-1960s, when King began speaking out against the warfare state, the kind of split between somewhat progressive domestic policies and militaristic foreign policies that occurred under the Lyndon Johnson presidency now appears to be occurring under the presidency of Joe Biden.

In the persistent "guns vs. butter" reckoning, it's clear that federal funds needed to uplift poor and working-class people as well as our planet keep getting diverted to militarism and war.

Dr. King pointed out that, in effect, what goes around comes around. As he put it, "the bombs in Vietnam explode at home." But there is a dire shortage of large progressive organizations willing to say that the bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere have been exploding at home for two decades.

Twenty-first century bombs that have been exploding overseas, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, also explode at home in terms of the further militarization of the economy, police, culture and consciousness -- as well as the misdirection of vital resources to the Pentagon rather than human needs.

"It challenges the imagination to contemplate what lives we could transform if we were to cease killing," Dr. King said as the Vietnam War raged. The massive U.S. military budget still functions the way King described it -- "some demonic, destructive suction tube." Yet the silences across so much of the U.S. political spectrum, including the liberal establishment and a great many progressive groups, persist in contempt of what Martin Luther King stood for during the final year of his life.

(c) 2021 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death"and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

(c) 2021 Jeff Cohen is an activist, author and co-founder of He was an associate professor of journalism and the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, and founder of the media watch group FAIR. In 2002-2003, he was a producer and pundit at MSNBC. He is the author of "Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media."

The Covid Warning Signal We're Ignoring Could Be Disastrous
Covid may soon be the least of our worries
By Thom Hartman

As more Americans are getting vaccinated, there's a sense of relief washing over the country that's almost giddy. But we're not out of the Covid woods yet, and, in some ways, it's distracted us from a frankly much larger crisis.

Our planet is screaming a message at us, and Covid is part of that communication. The death of nature and the appearance of Covid are all part of the same thing.

I'll never forget the day the trucker called into my radio show. It was at least a decade ago, and he identified himself as a long-haul trucker who regularly ran a coast-to-coast route from the southeast to the Pacific Northwest dozens of times a year.

"Used to be when I was driving through the southern part of the Midwest like I am right now," he said, "I'd have to stop every few hours to clean the bugs off my windshield. It's been three days since I've had to clean bugs off my windshield on this trip. There's something spooky going on out here."

The phone lines lit up. People from Maine to California, from Florida to Washington state shared their stories of the vanishing insects where they lived. Multiple long-haul truckers listening on SiriusXM had similar stories.

We had just moved to Portland at that time, living on a floating home in the Willamette River, and the air was filled with bugs and swallows, small insect-eating birds that fly as fast and sometimes as erratically as bats. A neighbor had a "swallow house," a box on a pole by the side of her home with a dozens small holes in it where the swallows made their nests.

A bit more than a decade later, now living on the Columbia River in Portland, I haven't seen a swallow in at least two years. The swarms of gnats, the mosquitoes, butterflies, beetles and moths that marked spring and summer for most of my 70 years, from Michigan to Vermont to Georgia to Oregon, all seem to have largely vanished.

But that's only part of the story.

The insect apocalypse that the world is now experiencing and the Covid pandemic are all of one cloth. We humans have exceeded the capacity of this planet that we have conquered, and it's beginning to bite us back.

For the first several hundred thousand years of human history, our population slowly grew to around 5 million people at the dawn of the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago. From that moment to 1800, our population crept up to 1 billion. The 2nd billion only took 130 years: 1930. The third billion took only 30 years: 1960. The fourth billion we hit in 15 years in 1974, and the fifth billion took only 13 years: 1987. Today we stand on the verge of 8 billion people.

As I point out in my book The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight, in the process of all this population growth we have consumed virtually all of the world's wild spaces. We've harvested the oceans, razed the forests, and are burning thousands of acres of the planet's jungles every hour.

In just my lifetime, more than 80% of all the wild animals on Earth have vanished, and today over a million species are on the verge of extinction. Just since 1970, North America has lost about a third of all our birds. Scientists have declared an insect apocalypse; as that "bottom of our food chain" vanishes, and it's pollinators with it, it threatens the entire web of life on this planet.

Humans, and animals raised by humans for food, are now the dominant species on earth; fully 96% of all mammals on this planet are us and our livestock.

As we drive deeper and deeper into the wild spaces of Earth and simplify formerly complex ecosystems, we're encountering diseases that were only small annoyances to the animals (like bats) that coevolved with them over millions of years. Now they plague us.

AIDS, SARS, Zika, dengue, West Nile, ebola, Marburg, Lyme disease: all have jumped from the wild into large portions of humanity in my lifetime. And now we have Covid.

Our single species is wiping out other species at a rate not seen since the last great extinction when the dinosaurs vanished. This is absolutely unsustainable.

Our climate, which supports human civilization as well as the diversity of life on this planet, is also collapsing purely as the result of humans burning fossil fuels.

At the same time, the industrial activity we use to support this population explosion is, itself, threatening to wipe out humanity. Human sperm counts are collapsing around the world, presumably because of man-made chemicals in our processed foods and packaging. It's so bad that in many nations human "sperm counts are set to reach zero in 2045."

There are things we can do.

Eating dramatically less meat will significantly lessen our burden on the Earth, and shifting from fossil-fuel energy sources to renewables will slow down both the way we're altering the atmosphere and cut the trillions of tons of poison we're pouring into our biosphere every year.

Our modern, younger culture must learn the respect for non-human life and the environment that older indigenous cultures around the world have been trying to tell us about for hundreds of years. Our religions and culture must adapt, as theirs did thousands of years ago when they encountered their own biological and environmental limits.

We must set aside and work fiercely to protect what is left of the natural world now, and mobilize the world to stop the trade in wild animals, the fourth-most-trafficked product on earth behind drugs, weapons and people and the most likely source of Covid.

And we must empower women.

In societies where women have equal political and economic power with men, populations stabilize and, over time, tend to slowly diminish to levels in balance with their immediate ecosystems. But in societies where women are treated as men's property, populations explode.

Widely available birth control technology is essential, but without cultural and religious shifts the "availability" of birth control becomes relatively meaningless.

Most important, we must reform our politics to incorporate notions of sustainability and compatibility with the ecosystems from which we evolved. Policy can become our most potent tool, and it's vital we keep this in mind as we approach the Biden Administration's Build Back Better infrastructure program proposed this week.

Covid is just the last in a long line of diseases that were warning signals to humanity that we've pushed beyond our natural limits. If we don't start listening and acting immediately, it may soon be the least of our worries.

(c) 2021 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

Republicans are intent on holding on to power at all costs, like the Afrikaners in apartheid South Africa.

A Cold Civil War Is Being Waged By Republicans
Republicans who failed to overturn the 2020 presidential election are now trying to prevent future electoral defeats through voter suppression.
By David A. Love

In the US, the right-wing voter suppression efforts reached a level not seen since the era of segregation, when white supremacists in the South had passed laws to deny Black Americans the right to vote and threatened everyone who dared to resist with violence.

The nation is now divided between people who want a multiracial democracy in which every American is allowed and encouraged to vote and those who yearn for an anti-democratic system in which an extremist white minority has unchecked control over everyone else. The latter group is represented by the Republican Party, which is brazenly waging a cold civil war by pushing for unprecedented voter suppression measures targeting minority and marginalised communities.

In response to the Democratic Party's victory in the 2020 presidential and congressional elections, Republican-controlled state legislatures have proposed 253 bills in 43 states that aim to prevent millions of Americans, and especially Americans of colour, from voting in federal and state elections.

In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp signed a law on March 25 that will, among other things, curtail early voting, shorten the length of runoff elections - such as the two Georgia Senate runoff elections in the past election cycle that allowed the Democrats to control the Senate - and make it a crime to provide food or water to people waiting in line to vote. In predominantly Black and Brown Georgia communities, voters waited in line for up to eight hours in the 2020 elections, so these new measures could leave thousands of them unable or unwilling to vote in future elections.

The law also makes producing a photo ID mandatory for absentee voting and gives the Republican-controlled state legislature more control over the administration of elections. According to critics, by expanding the state legislature's influence over the election process, and making it easier for them to remove state and local election officials refusing to collaborate with them, the law makes it easier for the Republicans to overturn legitimate election results that are not favourable to their party and agenda.

Similarly, Florida Republicans are pushing for perplexing voting restrictions, which are trying to fix "problems" that do not exist. Senate Bill 90, the main vehicle for Republican-led voter suppression in the state, for example, proposes to ban the use of ballot drop boxes, to prohibit anyone other than an immediate family member from helping a voter return a mail-in ballot, and to make a request for a mail-in ballot valid for only one election cycle instead of two. Republicans claim all these measures are necessary to prevent election fraud, even though they themselves admit that none of these has ever caused any significant irregularities in voting in past elections. If this bill becomes law, however, it is clear that it would disfranchise many Black and other minority voters, and give the Republicans an advantage.

In Wisconsin, whose prior voter suppression measures have impacted Black and student voters in urban areas, the Republicans are floating a bill that would change requirements for indefinitely confined voters, institute stricter voter ID laws, and bar election funding from private organisations, among a variety of other things.

In Texas, once again under the guise of protecting "election integrity", bills have been proposed to increase the use of "poll watchers" - something that raises the spectre of state-sanctioned voter intimidation. These bills also aim to limit mail-in and curbside voting, restrict officials from offering unsolicited ballots and require people with disabilities to produce a note from a doctor or a government agency to vote absentee - measures that would disproportionately affect voters who are more likely to vote against the Republicans.

In Arizona, a Republican lawmaker, Shawnna Bolick, introduced a bill that grants the legislature the ability to revoke the secretary of state's certification of the presidential election results at any time before the inauguration of a new president. Democratic lawmakers said if the Republican legislature passes the bill, they will work to defeat it by public referendum. The state already has laws in place that restrict minority communities' ability to vote. The Democrats already took two voting provisions - a policy that requires an entire ballot to be thrown out if the ballot was cast at the wrong precinct, and a state law that bans the collection of ballots by third parties, sometimes called "ballot harvesting" - to the Supreme Court claiming that they discriminate against racial minorities in the state.

Iowa, too, enacted a law to preserve "election integrity" and combat election fraud, despite no widespread election fraud being witnessed in the state in recent history. The law reduces the early voting period from 29 days to 20 days, closes polling sites at 8pm rather than 9pm, and requires that mail-in ballots are received by Election Day, rather than postmarked by that day. And voters who do not vote in a single election are purged from the voter roll if they fail to reregister or report a change of address.

Only federal intervention can stem this tide of voter suppression and thwart the efforts of numerous states to undermine the electoral process and democracy.

The Democrats in Congress are already pushing for a federal voting rights bill that would expand federal control of local election rules.

The For the People Act aims to introduce universal same-day and automatic voter registration, ease voter ID requirements and expand voting by mail and early voting. The act would also end the gerrymandering of congressional districts, and reform campaign finance and government ethics laws. Another bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act - named after the late civil rights leader and member of Congress - will restore the Voting Rights Act and combat voter suppression and racially discriminatory election laws. "We are witnessing right now a massive and unabashed assault on voting rights unlike anything we've seen since the Jim Crow era. This is Jim Crow in new clothes," said the recently elected Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, while urging his colleagues to pass this legislation.

Endangering the passage of this crucial bill are the antiquated, undemocratic rules and structures of the US Senate, which amplify the power of rural, less populous and former slaveholding states.

Specifically, a senate rule called the filibuster, which requires 60 votes rather than a simple majority to pass legislation, is being used by the Republicans to block Democratic efforts to prevent state-level voter suppression. In the past, this rule was used by white supremacist lawmakers to uphold slavery and racial segregation, deny the rights of Black Americans and block anti-lynching laws. Now it is the most efficient tool they have to stop the Biden administration from passing the For The People Act. Democrats must change this rule if they have any chance of implementing a pro-democracy, pro-voting rights agenda. President Joe Biden recently lambasted the filibuster and depicted it as a relic of the Jim Crow era in the once-segregated South. Yet it is still not clear whether he will be able to annul this rule.

Republicans are intent on holding on to power at all costs, like the Afrikaners in apartheid South Africa. The former party of Abraham Lincoln and emancipation has decided that the best way of dealing with the country's changing demographics and the growing rejection of their core policies is to deny basic citizenship rights to large swaths of the population. And they are not even trying to hide the fact that they only want a specific subset of Americans, who support them and their discriminatory policies, to have a say on the country's future.

Earlier this month, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, for example, criticised Democratic efforts to expand access to voting by baselessly claiming that such moves would provide voting rights to "illegal aliens" and "child molesters." He then revealed the real reason behind his objection: If that happens, he said "[the Democrats] will win and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate and of the state legislatures for the next century."

Around the same time, in a Supreme Court hearing on Arizona voting restrictions, a lawyer representing the Arizona Republican Party explained why the suppression measures are necessary. "Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats," said lawyer Michael Carvin. "Politics is a zero-sum game. And every extra vote they get through unlawful interpretation of Section 2 hurts us, it's the difference between winning an election 50-49 and losing an election 51 to 50."

America travelled down this dangerous path before.

There were hopes for the establishment of multiracial democracy in America in the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. In 1868, only three years after the end of the Civil war, South Carolina became the first US state to have a majority-Black state legislature. By 1877, when Reconstruction ended, it is estimated that as many as 2,000 Black men were holding public office across the country. But the country did not remain on this promising path for too long.

White supremacists swiftly retook control of the South through the anti-Black domestic terror, lynchings and assassinations of Black political leaders, and voter suppression laws including poll taxes and literacy tests. In some states, in order to vote, Black people had to answer ridiculous questions like how many bubbles were on a bar of soap or how many jelly beans were in a jar. Black people were denied the right to vote in the South until the civil rights movement led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Now, the US is repeating the mistakes of history. A right-wing mob tried to take over the US Capitol and deny the winner of a legitimate and just election the presidency. They failed, but now their lawmaker allies are trying to overturn the will of the people through legislation and deny millions of Americans the right to vote. The future of America is at stake.

(c) 2021 David A Love is the executive director of Philadelphia-based Witness to Innocence, a national organization of exonerated former death row prisoners and their families in the US. He is also executive editor of, and a contributor to the Huffington Post and the NBC News site, theGrio. Follow David on Twitter @davidalove

Now, Robots Are Coming For White-Collar Jobs
By Jim Hightower

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

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

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

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

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

President Joe Biden delivers brief remarks to the press during a meeting with members of his cabinet and immigration advisors in the State Dining Room on March 24, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

There's A Path To Ending The Filibuster, If Democrats Move Wisely
By William Rivers Pitt

There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.

There is a whole lot of happy noise coming out of the Biden administration lately, the sum and substance being that this White House - which has "already been transformative," according to Axios - is looking to rassle the historic New Deal and Great Society policy initiatives for their places in the history books.

"President Biden recently held an undisclosed East Room session with historians that included discussion of how big is too big - and how fast is too fast - to jam through once-in-a-lifetime historic changes to America," reads one Axios report this week. "The historians' views were very much in sync with his own: It is time to go even bigger and faster than anyone expected. If that means chucking the filibuster and bipartisanship, so be it."

A second Axios report was even bubblier: "Hosting historians around a long table in the East Room earlier this month, President Biden took notes in a black book as they discussed some of his most admired predecessors. Then he said to Doris Kearns Goodwin: 'I'm no FDR, but...' He'd like to be."

This is, of course, a balm to the ears of progressives who have watched the last 50 years of right-bent trickle-down economic plunder shred the country. However, it bears remembering that the five decades of damage we're facing down has come at the hands of giddily complicit Democrats nearly as often as it has the Republicans.

Two distinct parties became, in a sense, one big corporate party after the old Democratic coalition collapsed, a "centrist" party if you mark the political center somewhere to the right of Richard Nixon. One party favored abortion rights, the other detested them, but when it came to worshiping at the church of supply-side neoliberal economics - "feed the rich" - the two shared a pew and dipped greedily into the same corporate-fattened donation basket.

One of the avatars of that center-right Democratic transformation is none other than President Biden. During his time as a senator, Mr. Biden championed draconian crime bills, drafted ruinous banking bills, and voted to allow catastrophic Republican follies like the invasion and occupation of Iraq. As recently as last September, Mr. Biden was unable to keep his story straight about that war vote, and spent a good deal of his presidential campaign backpedaling vigorously away from much of his record.

These are not "attacks" on Mr. Biden. They are a recitation of black-letter history. It is, therefore, no surprise to see furrowed brows decorating the progressive landscape when the senator from MBNA talks as though he has suddenly been transformed into some Roosevelt-Johnson superbeing. Once bitten, twice shy? We've been bitten more often than the curator of an Arizona rattlesnake farm. Forgive us for being bluntly dubious in the face of such shiny talk.

And yet, the possibilities are enormous, aren't they? Esquire blogger Charles P. Pierce took a hard look one year ago not only at who Biden is, but who he could someday become:

[Biden] has been a loyal party man. This led him, as it did all loyal party folk, into some rather skeevy alliances with some more-than-skeevy people, and it has led him to adopt positions that have come back to bite him as a revived progressive wing asserted itself. That's the way it's supposed to happen, and Biden knows that as well as anybody.

The main question going forward, especially for those progressive voters who are not necessarily Bernie-or-Bust people, is how sincere do you believe Joe Biden is in his newfound adoption of positions that would have been unthinkable 20 years-or 20 months-before. If he thinks that's where the party's headed, he will go along. His history proves that he will, and that he likely will do it with gusto. (Emphasis added)

"With gusto." Even for a crusty old campaigner like me, that line pops a few goosebumps. So OK, let's say for the sake of argument that Biden means every word, that he intends to take his slim majority in Congress and knock some shit down with it. Nothing would be more welcome, but the second question remains: How?

At some point, the filibuster has to go, even in the face of Mitch McConnell's puny bluster. As it stands, a number of "centrist" Democrats and every single Republican are against this action, though the reticence of those Democrats has begun to waver in the face of the fact that the GOP intends to filibuster everything including the sink in the men's room in order to thwart Biden's agenda.

Just two weeks ago, Biden himself sounded a lot like Joe Manchin when it came to filibuster reform. But if Axios has the right of it, the president has changed his tune dramatically. Angus King of Maine, an Independent senator who caucuses with the Democrats, has likewise moved to the filibuster-abolition camp. More pointedly, he believes those senators who are hesitant to make this change will come around after watching serial GOP obstructionism upend vital legislation like H.R.1, the vast and historic voter protections bill that just passed the House on a straight party vote.

Even stubborn Joe Manchin may have his price regarding the filibuster, and more importantly, he may have already signaled what that price is.

"Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday that he favors a large infrastructure package that would be paid for in part by raising tax revenues," reports NBC News, "a point of contention between the two parties. 'I'm sure of one thing: It's going to be enormous,' the West Virginia Democrat, who is seen as a swing vote in a chamber divided 50-50, told reporters at the Capitol."

Is there room here for a deal? If Biden promises to go full bore on Manchin's massive infrastructure bill in exchange for Manchin and his cohort of "centrists" agreeing to vote an end to the filibuster, it could be hats over the windmill.

Clearly, we are not there yet... but I have a vision in my mind's eye that won't go away. In my vision, the filibuster remains intact for the senate vote on H.R.1, and the bill gets filibustered to death by McConnell or one of his underlings. Thus, the gauntlet is thrown.

Senate Democrats then feed other enormously popular bills - gun background checks, say, or infrastructure - into the maw of the GOP filibuster. Blow by blow, bill by bill, it will become clear even to the stoniest "centrist" Democrat that their own political aspirations will rise or fall on the ability, simply, to get things done.

And then, as tensions peak, a House and Senate coalition, led by the Congressional Black Caucus and fully supported by Mr. Biden, once again puts H.R.1 up for a vote. Their main argument? The hundreds of bills emerging nationwide that seek to obliterate the right to vote for people of color, and for anyone else who does not reliably vote Republican. All eyes turn, again, to the filibuster.

... and after all that? None can say. The way is there, however, eight lanes wide and screaming for boldness.

Who are you, Joe Biden? Are you going to be a president who prioritizes real human needs? If you are, we need you to fight now. Win first, improve people's lives by way of desperately needed progressive legislation, and wait for the lightbulb moments to start flashing all over the country.

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

Senator Bernie Sanders and Rapper Michael "Killer Mike" Render speak in support of the unionization of Amazon in Alabama on March 26, 2021.

What Bernie Sanders Taught Democrats About Labor Solidarity
The senator is back on the front lines-rallying this time with Amazon workers in Alabama. And lots of top Democrats are joining him.
By John Nichols

When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attacked labor unions a decade ago, tens of thousands of workers rallied in defense of the right to organize and collectively bargain. While many national Democrats were cautious about jumping into the fight, Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, went all in with the workers and their unions.

"This is part of the concerted attack on the middle class and working families of this country by the very wealthiest people in America," warned Sanders in 2011. Ripping into Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and other anti-union Republicans, Sanders declared, "These guys want to return us to the 1920s when working people had virtually no rights to organize or to earn a decent living."

With statements, media appearances, and trips to rally with union activists in Wisconsin over the long months of struggle, Sanders took every opportunity to show solidarity in 2011 and 2012. The senator wasn't doing anything radical; he was displaying the basic level of solidarity that should be expected of prominent figures who say they are on the side of the working class.

But Sanders didn't have a lot of company. Democrats were in power in Washington in 2011. Yet, as the Associated Press reported, "White House officials have stayed away from any trips to Madison, the state capital, or other states in the throes of union battles, despite urging by union leaders." Headlines announced, "White House steering clear of union fray: Stakes are high as administration tiptoes around issue."

Flash forward 10 years to the spring of 2021 and another labor struggle: the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union's historic organizing drive at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. Sanders was back on the front lines as the voting on whether to unionize, which concluded Monday, entered its final weekend. The senator arrived in Alabama Friday-with actor Danny Glover and rapper Killer Mike-and told workers, "If you pull this off here, believe me, workers all over this country are going to be saying, 'if these people in Alabama could take on the wealthiest guy in the world, we can do it as well.'"

That was the right message, especially at a point when Amazon is throwing major roadblocks in the way of the organizing drive in a Southern "right-to-work" state. What was notable was that this time, Sanders was delivering the message along with a chorus that included President Joe Biden and a lot of other Democrats who were singing the praises of this particular organizing drive-and of a new wave of union activism.

Early in March, a delegation of House members, including newly elected Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), headed to Alabama. "I want Amazon workers across the country to pay attention because you should be doing the same thing in your workplace," Bowman announced outside the RWDSU union hall in Birmingham. "And we're not stopping with Amazon. This is Lyft, this is Uber, this is Walmart, this is Tesla-all the companies across this country that continue to be abusive and provide terrible work conditions for workers, we stand with you."

In February, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) joined Sanders in signing a letter supporting the organizing drive. They declared, "Amazon's profits have soared by 70 percent over the last year, because of the hard work of your employees. They have put in long hours and risked their own health during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet increased demand, and they deserve to share in the success they have made possible. Amazon's employees have the right to join together to bargain collectively for a voice in their workplace, and to vote to establish their rights to negotiate."

A few weeks later, Biden released a video in which he said, "Workers in Alabama and all across America are voting whether to organize a union in their workplace. This is vitally important. The choice to join a union is up to the workers-full stop."

That wasn't quite the full-throated call to action that Sanders delivered in Alabama. But Biden's message provided an indication of the extent to which Democrats have been abandoning the caution that characterized the party's approach to union struggles after former President Bill Clinton and the Wall Street-friendly "New Democrats" pushed the party in a neoliberal direction in the 1990s. Unions kept backing Democrats at election time in the 1990s and 2000s. But elected Democrats frequently broke with labor on trade policy, failed to deliver reforms that would make it easier to organize unions, and often seemed to be more interested in raising money in Silicon Valley than in walking picket lines in factory towns.

Then came the "Sanders for President" campaign of 2016. Previous Democratic candidates had talked about solidarity-Barack Obama even suggested in 2007 that he might, as president, "put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself [and] walk on that picket line with you." But Sanders practiced it. In Iowa, in the summer of 2015, he arrived at a mill in Cedar Rapids, where members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union Local 100G were picketing for a new contract. The senator grabbed a picket sign and joined the line. He kept showing up for strikes-most notably, when 40,000 Verizon workers went out in the spring of 2016-and speaking up for organizing drives.

Sanders never toned it down. He never adopted a cautious stance when it came to backing unions. He kept calling out corporations, demanding wage hikes, and decrying "oligarchy" and "plutocracy." The senator's militancy struck a nerve. Voters liked seeing a serious contender for the presidency on picket lines. It was clear that Americans-especially young people, and working-class people of all backgrounds-were ready for a more passionately pro-labor politics.

In 2018, veterans of the Sanders campaign, including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, started running for and winning breakthrough races for House seats as outspoken advocates for worker rights. They joined labor stalwarts such as Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan, a veteran of the 2011 uprising, Michigan Representative Andy Levin, a former Service Employees International Union organizer, to form a cadre of unapologetically pro-labor Democrats who used their political platforms to endorse union organizing drives and strikes. By the time the 2020 presidential campaign rolled around, labor solidarity was becoming the standard line for prominent Democrats, and it's even more so in 2021 as the Amazon vote approaches.

The question, of course, is whether Biden and Democrat senators are ready to take the next essential step and enact the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act with its protections for workers seeking to organize. That will require a willingness to choose the side of the working class over archaic Senate rules-a real show of solidarity.

For his part, Sanders argues that if barriers to organizing are removed, the workers and the unions are ready.

"I think there is an excellent chance that what we will see are more workers trying to get into unions and workers who are in unions today becoming more militant," he explained when we talked about the impact of the pandemic and the economic turbulence associated with it. "I think, given the disparities of income and the fact that so many workers are working for starvation wages, I think we will see an increase in the number of people who want to join unions and the militancy of those people who today are in unions."

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

Erosion Of Our Freedom
By James Donahue

It is no secret that American's have been giving away their personal freedoms in recent years . . . mostly after 9-11. While silly and ineffective, a lot of the personal assaults by government-hired workers, like those troublesome airport searches and police wiretaps, have been accepted because they give people a sense that Uncle Sam is looking out for our safety. But lately it seems that government imposition has gone too far.

Among the more controversial issues now making the news is the arming of local police departments with military weapons, riot gear, and armored vehicles designed for crowd control. Because the police show up at public demonstrations armed to the teeth, things are getting out of hand. Shots are fired. Innocent citizens are being killed. There has developed an "us against them" mentality, with the people battling armed militia in angry crowds with signs, stones and more recently, they are also armed with guns.

The stripping of the U.S. economy by big banks and corporations and the loss of jobs, coupled with the onset of the COVD-19 epidemic, has left a large segment of the population struggling to make ends meet. Consequently, people are working long hours if they have jobs, and are doing creative things like home gardening and farming to keep food on the table. But some states and cities are passing laws making things like the growing of vegetables in the yard and the building of mini-homes illegal.

The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development recently ruled to prohibit portions of the state's long-standing Right to Farm Act, which gave residents the right to raise small numbers of animals in their yard. The ruling bans the keeping of goats, rabbits, chickens and even beehives within 250 feet of another residence, or on any property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile. Similar laws are on the books in other states.

Some cities are passing laws that are almost making it illegal to be homeless. They were for a while prohibiting sitting or lying down on public streets, sidewalks, parks, or other public property, using public restrooms to bathe, and panhandling. Many cities are now attempting to provide public shelters and meal sites for the homeless, but they are falling short of the growing demand.

As more and more local rules fall in conflict with the way the public is struggling to live, we find more and more public protests occurring. There were the Occupy movements and mass protests against government actions and especially the police killings of unarmed citizens. Thus, the tension between the armed police and the unarmed crowds is rising. The protesters are now starting to show up with guns of their own.

We are watching a dangerous situation unfolding in our nation. Where are leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, who taught peaceful demonstration in place of violence, when we need them?

Oh, that's right. We tend to shoot such leaders.

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

The President Has Not Ended The War On Yemen; Congress Must Do So
By David Swanson

The U.S. House of Representatives (in February and again in April, 2019) and the Senate (in December 2018 and March 2019) have each voted twice with strong bipartisan majorities to end the war on Yemen (vetoed by then-President Trump in April 2019).

The Democratic Party Platform of 2020 commits to ending the war on Yemen.

But Congress has yet to act since the veto threat disappeared along with Trump. And every day that the war goes unended means more horrific death and suffering - from violence, starvation, and disease.

I'm reminded - to take one example from among many similar ones - of how the Democratic state legislature in California passes single-payer healthcare whenever there's a Republican governor, thereby pleasing people without risking actually doing anything.

The same purpose is generally served by party platforms. People put in a lot of serious well-intentioned work, organizing, lobbying, and protesting to get good policies into party platforms, which are for the most part promptly ignored. At least it creates the illusion of influencing government.

Congress has no excuse for the past two months and more of inaction. Were President Biden ending U.S. participation in the war, and were he and various Congress Members serious in their rhetoric about Congressional legislative powers, he would be delighted for Congress to legislate an end to the war. Since Biden is not ending U.S. participation in the war, Congress is obliged to act. And it's not as if we're talking about actual work for the Congress. They just have to hold a vote and say "aye." That's it. They're not going to strain any muscles or get any blisters.

On February 4, President Biden announced in vague terms the ending of U.S. participation in this war. On February 24, a letter from 41 Congress Members asked the President to explain what he meant in detail. The letter also asked the President whether he would support Congress ending the war. The letter requested a response before March 25th. There seems to have been none, certainly none made public.

Biden said on February 4 that he was ending U.S. participation in "offensive" attacks and "relevant" weapons shipments, but attacks (however one characterizes them) have continued (and according to numerous experts could not have without U.S. assistance), and so have weapons shipments. The Biden administration has paused two bomb sales to Saudi Arabia but not suspended or ended all U.S. weapons sales and shipments to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, not removed U.S. logistical and maintenance support for the Saudi military, not demanded an end to the blockade, and not sought to establish a cease-fire and peace settlement.

We're now six years into this war, not counting the "successful" drone war that helped start it. Enough is enough. Deference to a president is not more important than human lives. And what we're dealing with here is not deference, but subservience. This president is not ending a war or even explaining why not. He's just pulling an Obama (that's where you announce the ending of a war but keep the war going).

Yemen today remains the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the United Nations. Over 4 million people have been displaced because of the war, and 80% of the population, including 12.2 million children, are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. To add to the already dire situation, Yemen has one of the worst Covid-19 death rates in the world - it kills 1 in 4 people who test positive.

This humanitarian crisis is a direct result of the Western-backed, Saudi-led war and indiscriminate bombing campaign that have raged against Yemen since March 2015, as well as an air, land and sea blockade which prevents desperately-needed goods and aid from reaching the people of Yemen.

UN agencies and humanitarian organizations have repeatedly documented that there is no military solution possible in the current conflict in Yemen. The only thing the constant supply of arms to Yemen does is prolong hostilities, which increases suffering and numbers of the dead.

Congress needs to re-introduce the War Powers Resolution under the Biden administration. Congress needs to permanently end weapons shipments to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Here's a place where you can tell Congress that.

There's another reason to doubt the sincerity of Congress in acting to end the war on Yemen when it could count on Trump to veto it. Congress isn't ending any of the other endless wars. The war on Afghanistan rolls on, with the Biden administration proposing a peace agreement and allowing other nations and even the United Nations to be involved (which is almost indicative of respect for the rule of law from people still imposing Trump-initiated sanctions against the International Criminal Court), but not removing U.S. troops or mercenaries.

If Congress thought Biden had ended the war on Yemen, sparing it the heavy exertion of parting its lips and uttering "aye," it could move on to ending the war on Afghanistan, or the one on Syria. When Trump sent missiles into Iraq in a public way, there was at least a member of Congress willing to introduce legislation to forbid it. Not for Biden. His missiles, whether quietly blowing up distant human beings or accompanied by a press release, do not result in Congressional action.

One media outlet says progressives are getting "ansty." I may even start getting uppity. But people across western and central Asia are getting dead, and I consider that more important. There's a new caucus in the U.S. Congress made up of members who want to reduce military spending. Here's the number of its members who have committed to opposing any legislation that funds militarism at greater than 90% the current level: zero. Not a one of them has committed to actually exercising power.

The deadly sanctions continue. The tremendous efforts to avoid peace with Iran move forward. The antagonization of Russia and China is rising sharply. And I'm supposedly getting antsy. Antsy?

Here's all I ask regarding the project of keeping the promise to end the endless wars: End a fucking war. That's it. Pick one and end it. Now. (c) 2021 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Healthy Food Systems For A Healthy Planet
By David Suzuki

We have many opportunities to resolve the climate crisis. Food systems are a big part of the puzzle.

We all have to eat. But the ways in which we grow, harvest, process, transport, prepare and consume food are profoundly affecting everything on the planet, from climate to biodiversity to water.

A comprehensive new study finds food systems are responsible for about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The study in Nature Food, by researchers from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, includes a database that examines every stage of the global food chain from 1990 to 2015 by sector, greenhouse gas and country.

Most of the emissions, 71 per cent, come from agriculture and associated land use and land use change, including about 39 per cent from early stages - agriculture, aquaculture, fishing and fertilizer use - and one-third from agricultural land use and change, mainly due to carbon loss from deforestation and soil degradation, including peatland destruction.

The rest are from the supply chain: "retail, transport, consumption, fuel production, waste management, industrial processes and packaging." In industrialized countries, these downstream sectors make up a larger average share.

Agriculture also takes up half the world's habitable land. Livestock accounts for 77 per cent of that (including land for growing feed) while producing only 18 per cent of the world's calories and 37 per cent of total protein. That continues to increase with human population growth: global food production increased 40 per cent between 1990 and 2015. So shifting to more plant-based diets can save habitat and natural spaces while reducing emissions.

Although the study shows the percentage of total emissions from food systems declined, that's only because emissions from other sources - mostly burning oil, gas and coal for energy - increased.

The research has a silver lining. Sonja Vermeulen, program director at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, told Carbon Brief that it shows we can feed the world's eight billion people if we address the problems.

"It is theoretically possible, even with population growth, for everyone in the world to eat a healthy and culturally appropriate diet without transgressing planetary boundaries for carbon, biodiversity, nitrogen, phosphorus and water," she said. "But that will take a lot of effort both technically and politically." (Vermeulen wasn't involved in the study.)

She noted resolving the climate crisis means addressing emissions not just from agriculture (which includes shifting to more plant-based diets) but also from energy and transport.

Although a major share of transport and energy emissions are carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and gas, food systems are more complex. CO2 makes up only half of food-related emissions. Methane makes up 35 per cent - mainly from farming, livestock and rice production and waste treatment. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, but it remains in the atmosphere for a shorter time, so reducing these emissions can have rapid effects.

Interestingly, packaging creates more emissions than "food miles" - 5.4 compared to 4.8 per cent.

The study also found the top six economies are responsible for 51 per cent of global food system emissions: China (13.5 per cent), Indonesia (8.8 per cent), the United States (8.2 per cent), Brazil (7.4 per cent), the European Union (6.7 per cent) and India (6.3 per cent).

The research also "highlights how global food systems are becoming more energy intensive, reflecting trends in the retail, packaging, transport and processing sectors, whose emissions are growing rapidly in some developing countries," according to the FAO. Potent fluorinated greenhouse gases, used in refrigeration and other industrial applications, are rapidly increasing in industrialized countries.

This database helps identify the problems and their sources - a major step toward solving them. A wide range of other research points to solutions.

Farming in less disruptive ways is key. That can be accomplished through restorative agriculture to produce food in ways that don't deplete soils and destroy carbon sinks, and shifting away from diets that rely heavily on animals like cattle and sheep, which require a lot of land and water and produce high methane emissions. (Plant-centred diets are also healthier.)

Reducing emissions related to packaging, transport, storage and processing is also important, as is cutting food waste.

We have many opportunities to resolve the climate crisis. Food systems are a big part of the puzzle. We need to start making changes now!

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

Dr. Birx's CNN Interview Brought An Enormous Temptation Toward Ungovernable Rage
Toward her, toward the previous administration*, and toward the blind alley of stupidity into which our politics have marched so proudly.
By Charles P. Pierce

Dr. Deborah Birx is a helluva witness, which is a good thing because, when it came down to the health of a nation during a worldwide pandemic, as a physician, she was a helluva bureaucrat. Watching her bombshell interview on CNN brought an enormous temptation toward ungovernable rage-toward her, toward the previous administration*, toward the previous president*, and toward the blind alley of stupidity into which our politics have marched so proudly.

A haunting admission by Dr. Deborah Birx in a new CNN documentary that after last year's first infectious wave, the death toll could have been substantially reduced, will prove harrowing for those who lost loved ones. It also throws new scrutiny on the negligent management of the pandemic by former President Donald Trump and his willingness to put economic and political goals above science and the public well-being.

Revelations by Birx, a highly respected international health expert before she became coronavirus response coordinator for the Trump White House, and by her colleagues who spoke to CNN in "COVID WAR: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out," which aired Sunday night, represent the most intimate view yet inside Trump's chaotic and feudal White House when Covid-19 struck. "I look at it this way. The first time we have an excuse," Birx told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. "There were about a hundred thousand deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially."

Where were you? Where in the unshirted hell were all of you? How did you not consider your duties as physicians, let alone as public servants? More from CNN:
She said that some of those data streams stemmed from Trump's controversial coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, who she eventually refused to attend meetings with, because she did not want to legitimize his position. "At one time, the President looked at the data and understood the data because he wouldn't have shut down the country for 15 days and then another 30 -- but that never really happened again, because there were too many parallel streams of data" Birx said.

"The thing that hit me like a punch to the chest was then all of a sudden he got up and says, 'liberate Virginia,' 'liberate Michigan,' and I said to myself, 'Oh my goodness, what is going on here?' It shocked me because it was such a jolt to what we were trying to do," Fauci said. Fauci's account is in line with statements made by Birx. "The one policy directive he gave to me in April, which was the last time I really had any briefing with him in that kind of way, was, 'We will never shut the country down again,'" Birx said.

Listening to all of this made me recall all the wishful thinking that preceded the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, all the war-gaming that depended on Japan's being unable to mount a sophisticated air offensive and all the American exceptionalism that ended up at the bottom of an anchorage by that afternoon. Everybody thought everybody else was on top of things and, as a result, almost nobody was. From the report of the Roberts Commission, which investigated the abject failure of the defense establishment prior to the attack:
The foregoing messages did not create in the minds of the responsible officers in the Hawaiian area apprehension as to probable imminence of air raids. On the contrary they only served to emphasize in their minds the danger from sabotage and surprise submarine attack. The necessity for taking a state-of-war readiness which would have been required to avert or meet an air-raid attack was not considered.
We were less prepared for this pandemic than the Pacific Fleet was for an air attack on December 6, 1941 and we've only begun to dig for the answers why.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"... in my view this particular piece of legislation is the most consequential piece of legislation for working families passed in many, many decades. And it understands that the working class of this country today is facing more desperation than any time since the Great Depression. It also understands that we don't rebuild our economy, we don't get our kids back into school unless we crush this pandemic. So if you look at this piece of legislation, which is 628 pages, it is really transformative in terms of addressing the needs of working families in our country."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Separation Of Religion And State Declared By Revolutionary Sudan's Once-Muslim Fundamentalist Officers In Peace Deal With Southern Guerrillas
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor - The Sudan Tribune reports that Sudan cemented the separation of religion and state on Sunday. Military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan signed a declaration of principles with one of two remaining rebel groups who had not yet put down their arms and accepted the new transitional government. The group is the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North, headed by Abdelaziz al-Hilu. The agreement was signed in Juba, South Sudan at a meeting hosted by the president of that country, Salva Kiir.

The agreement specified that Sudan would have a lay, federal government that would guarantee freedom of religion and worship, saying that it would be achieved "through the separation from the state of cultural, ethnic, religious and local identities; such that the state shall impose no religion on any person nor adopt an official religion, and such that the state will be neutral with regard to religious and doctrinal affairs and matters of conscience."

Fighting between the old dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir and the southern guerillas had displaced an estimated 400,000 Sudanese in the past decade.

Obviously, the phraseology echoes the US First Amendment as well as the preceding Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's statute on religious freedom in Virginia. I think Americans are often not sufficiently aware of how inspirational their constitution has been for people around the world. The Sudanese have suffered under fundamentalist dictatorship for decades and are as tired of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis as Madison and Jefferson were of the official Anglicans.

Al-Burhan is the leader of the military Sovereignty Council that forms one half of the transitional government. The other half is made up of civilian revolutionaries, including prime minister Abdalla Hamdok, who signed a similar document last fall. The officer corps had been tied to Muslim fundamentalism in recent decades.

Al-Burhan said that the signing was the true beginning for the transitional government of the achievement of real change that would lead to a just peace and would create a state of its citizens, and liberty, and justice. These are the slogans chanted by the revolutionaries in March, 2019, when they overthrew fundamentalist dictator Omar al-Bashir.

Al-Burhan emphasized that the transitional government is determined to achieve the change that the people want and for which they sacrificed, even those who took up arms, and all those who dream of a dignified life.He vowed that a Sudan would be founded on the principles of equality for coming generations, wherein all Sudanese would be proud of a nation in which there was no discrimination between north and south, or religion or ethnicity.

Al-Hilu for his part praised the declaration of principles as the step toward more wide-ranging negotiations toward a democratic Sudan that would respect human reights. In the past four decades the country has been wracked by regional and ethnic violence and even genocide.

Al-Hilu praised al-Burhan for this "bold step" that could lead to the attanment of a permanent peace and a just unity. He considered the signing of the principles by the cabinet, as well, as a sign that there was a will both in the civilian and military wings of the transitional government to perfect the peace.

The agreement also envisages that the guerrillas of the SPLM-N would be made part of the regular Sudanese army.

The declaration of principles was hailed by several Sudanese political parties, including the left-leaning Sudanese Professionals Association that had spearheaded the 2019 revolution.

Despite the confusing title, the guerrilla group represents the provinces of Kordofan and Blue Nile in the southern Sudan, which have substantial Christian and animist populations. Most Sudanese are Muslim. Since the old far southern provinces seceded as South Sudan in 2011, the southern provinces that remained under Khartoum's rule were now the northern part of the south.

Al-Hilu is a fierce proponent of the separation of religion and state and in 2017 established a breakaway faction of the SPLM-N under his leadership that insisted on this principle. Al-Hilu was a disciple of John Garang, the socialist revolutionary who fought for greater southern autonomy. The southern Sudanese guerrilla group he led was more grounded in a desire for "states' rights" than in a particular ideology, but Garang was a secular socialist of the twentieth-century sort, and al-Hilu, despite being of Muslim heritage, took up these ideals, as well.

After its revolution, Sudan has a hybrid transitional government with a military junta co-existing with a civilian government made up of prominent revolutionaries who ousted Muslim fundamentalist dictator Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan's officer corps had backed al-Bashir, even after he was charged with crimes against humanity, and had long tilted toward religious fundamentalism. The officers, however, came to terms with the mass mobilization that ousted him. After all, you can't take hundreds of thousands of people out and shoot them. Al-Burhan's willingness to sign this document may indicate a major shift of thinking among the officers in favor of the separation of religion and state. After all, Sudan is a multicultural society and al-Bashir caused endless trouble, and the break-up of the country, by trying to impose sharia or Muslim canon law, as the law of the state.

Bonus Video:

Al Jazeera English: "Sudan gov't and SPLM-N sign agreement to pave way for peace talks."

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

The Bigot Party
By Robert Reich

Republicans are outraged - outraged! - at the surge of migrants at the southern border. The House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, declares it a "crisis... created by the presidential policies of this new administration." The Arizona congressman Andy Biggs claims "we go through some periods where we have these surges, but right now is probably the most dramatic that I've seen at the border in my lifetime."

Donald Trump demands the Biden administration "immediately complete the wall, which can be done in a matter of weeks - they should never have stopped it. They are causing death and human tragedy."

"Our country is being destroyed!" he adds.

In fact, there's no surge of migrants at the border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended 28 percent more migrants from January to February this year than in previous months. But this was largely seasonal. Two years ago, apprehensions increased 31 percent during the same period. Three years ago, it was about 25 percent from February to March. Migrants start coming when winter ends and the weather gets a bit warmer, then stop coming in the hotter summer months when the desert is deadly.

To be sure, there is a humanitarian crisis of children detained in overcrowded border facilities. And an even worse humanitarian tragedy in the violence and political oppression in Central America, worsened by U.S. policies over the years, that's driving migration in the first place.

But the "surge" has been fabricated by Republicans in order to stoke fear - and, not incidentally, to justify changes in laws they say are necessary to prevent non-citizens from voting.

Republicans continue to allege - without proof - that the 2020 election was rife with fraudulent ballots, many from undocumented immigrants. Over the past six weeks they've introduced 250 bills in 43 states designed to make it harder for people to vote - especially the young, the poor, Black people, and Hispanic-Americans, all of whom are likely to vote for Democrats - by eliminating mail-in ballots, reducing times for voting, decreasing the number of drop-off boxes, demanding proof of citizenship, even making it a crime to give water to people waiting in line to vote.

To stop this, Democrats are trying to enact a sweeping voting rights bill called the For the People Act, which protects voting, ends partisan gerrymandering, and keeps dark money out of elections. It already passed the House but Republicans in the Senate are fighting it with more lies.

On Wednesday, the Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz falsely claimed the new bill would register millions of undocumented immigrants to vote and accused Democrats of wanting the most violent criminals to cast ballots too.

The core message of the Republican party now consists of lies about a "crisis" of violent immigrants crossing the border, lies that they're voting illegally, and blatantly anti-democratic restrictions on voting to counter these trumped-up crises.

The party that once championed lower taxes, smaller government, states' rights and a strong national defense now has more in common with anti-democratic regimes and racist-nationalist political movements around the world than with America's avowed ideals of democracy, rule of law, and human rights.

Donald Trump isn't single-handedly responsible for this, but he demonstrated to the GOP the political potency of bigotry and the GOP has taken him up on it.

This transformation in one of America's two eminent political parties has shocking implications, not just for the future of American democracy but for the future of democracy everywhere.

"I predict to you, your children or grandchildren are going to be doing their doctoral thesis on the issue of who succeeded: autocracy or democracy?" Joe Biden opined at his news conference on Thursday.

In his maiden speech at the State Department on March 4, Antony Blinken conceded that the erosion of democracy around the world is "also happening here in the United States."

The secretary of state didn't explicitly talk about the Republican Party, but there was no mistaking his subject.

"When democracies are weak... they become more vulnerable to extremist movements from the inside and to interference from the outside," he warned.

People around the world witnessing the fragility of American democracy "want to see whether our democracy is resilient, whether we can rise to the challenge here at home. That will be the foundation for our legitimacy in defending democracy around the world for years to come."

That resilience and legitimacy will depend in large part on whether Republicans or Democrats prevail on voting rights.

Not since the years leading up to the Civil War has the clash between the nation's two major parties so clearly defined the core challenge facing American democracy.

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

Capitol Police Officers Sue Donald Trump Over Injuries Sustained At Jan. 6 Riot
The lawsuit is the first to be brought against the former president by Capitol Police officers
by Kaity Assaf

As a result of the Jan.6 insurrection, two U.S. Capitol Police officers say they suffered serious physical and emotional injuries and are now suing former President Donald Trump over his role in inciting the mob of his supporters who attacked officers during the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby filed the lawsuit on Tuesday arguing that Trump "inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed and aided and abetted" the insurrection. Both officers claim that they have suffered >physical and emotional injuries" as a result of the Capitol riots.

"[Blassingame] is haunted by the memory of being attacked, and of the sensory impacts -- the sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of the attack remain close to the surface," the complaint says. "He experiences guilt of being unable to help his colleagues who were simultaneously being attacked; and of surviving where other colleagues did not."

The document goes on to suggest Trump's rhetoric at the "Save America Rally" likely influenced rioters' actions. Just before the angry mob headed to the U.S. Capitol, the former president encouraged them to "fight like hell" to contest the election results.

Hemby and his fellow officers say they were chased up the steps of the Capitol's East Front and pressed against doors there as rioters broke through barriers, according to the complaint. He was "crushed against the doors" in an effort to stop the mob from getting inside the building.

"[T]hey struck him with their fists and whatever they had in their hands," the complaint states. "Things were being thrown at him, and he was sprayed with chemicals that irritated his eyes, skin and throat."

The officers, who both live in Maryland, are seeking compensatory damages of at least $75,000 apiece and punitive damages of an unspecified amount. The Justice Department has said dozens of police officers were hurt during the hours of violence and are pursuing criminal cases against many of the rioters. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was one of five people who died in connection to the attack.

The complaint comes after Trump was impeached (for the second time) on charges of incitement of insurrection and the lawsuit is the first to be brought against the former president by Capitol Police officers.

(c) 2021 Kaity Assaf is an Intern at Salon

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Bob Englehart ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Democrats Signal Openness To Restoring Filibuster To Original Form As Drawn-Out Striptease

By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In a sign of growing party consensus on Capitol Hill, reports confirmed Friday that all 50 Senate Democrats have signaled their openness to restoring the filibuster to its original form as a drawn-out and highly provocative striptease act.

"The filibuster is nothing but a tool for obstruction without the old rules requiring senators to hold the floor with a slow, exotic dance routine in which they gradually remove all their clothes," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), explaining why he believes the practice of stalling a piece of legislation for hours at a time must be accompanied by a lawmaker seductively peeling off one garment after another, only to hide his or her body from view behind a fan of ostrich feathers until three-fifths of the senators invoke cloture and bring the show to a close.

"This is what sets our chamber apart from the House: a rule that empowers the minority to use a gradual buildup of sexual arousal to stop a bill. Say what you will about my colleague Ted Cruz, but when he ripped off his tearaway three-piece suit to Ginuwine's "Pony" and revealed those pink glitter pasties during his filibuster to defund the Affordable Care Act, we were all impressed with his determination to bump and grind for his principles."

According to congressional aides, Democrats are still debating the smaller details surrounding merkins and nipple tassel requirements.

(c) 2021 The Onion

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 14 (c) 04/02/2021

Issues & Alibis is published in America every Friday. We are not affiliated with, nor do we accept funds from any political party. We are a non_profit group that is dedicated to the restoration of the American Republic. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of Issues & Alibis.Org.

In regards to copying anything from this site remember that everything here is copyrighted. Issues & Alibis has been given permission to publish everything on this site. When this isn't possible we rely on the "Fair Use"copyright law provisions. If you copy anything from this site to reprint make sure that you do too. We ask that you get our permission to reprint anything from this site and that you provide a link back to us. Here is the "Fair Use"provision.

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."