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In This Edition

Norman Solomon warns, "Pelosi And McConnell Are Inching Us Closer To Nuclear War."

Ruth Conniff joins us with, "Trump's Dangerous, Dishonest Game On The U.S.-Mexico Border."

Glen Ford says, "Russiagate Implodes, Pleasing Trump But Leaving The Left In The Cold."

David Swanson sings, "NATO Interrupted."

William Rivers Pitt explains, "How To Find Hope In The Age Of Trump."

John Nichols demands, "The Right To Vote Should Be Guaranteed By The Constitution."

James Donahue wonders, "Have We Found Evidence Of Life On Mars?"

Juan Cole reports, "75% Of Scotland's Electricity Now Green; All Cars Electric By 2032."

Heather Digby Parton explores, "Trump's 2020 Vengeance And Cruelty Campaign."

David Suzuki reports, "Children Are Fighting For Their Future. We Must Support Them."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Connecticut Might Represent The Future Of American Criminal Justice. Alabama Is The Hellish Present."

Ralph Nader with a must read, "Look How the Real Trump Is Endangering America."

Jim Hightower examines, "The Unnatural Disasters Pushing Farmers Off The Land."

CMS head Seema Verma wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich tells, "Trump's Remorse (on April 1)."

Chris Hedges returns with, "Only The Struggle Matters."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "William Barr Reads 'Moby-Dick,' Finds No Evidence Of Whales" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "The House Judiciary Committee May Use Subpoena To Get All Of Muller's Report."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Bill Day, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Brian McFadden, Mr. Fish, David Clarke, Cliff Owen, Brian Snyder, Alex Wroblewski, Anders Hellberg, Johannes Eisele, Wikimedia Commons, 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 House Judiciary Committee May Use Subpoena To Get All Of Muller's Report
By Ernest Stewart

"It's a 400-page report, right? We could give them 800 pages, and it wouldn't be enough. They'll always come back and say it is not enough." ~~ Donald tRump

"Pollution from human activities is changing the Earth's climate. We see the damage that a disrupted climate can do: on our coasts, our farms, forests, mountains, and cities. Those impacts will grow more severe unless we start reducing global warming pollution now." ~~~ Frances Beinecke

"The Medicaid program was designed for aged or blind or people living with disabilities, pregnant women and children, but now that we've put all these able-bodied individuals (on Medicaid), the program needs to be changed to be more flexible. People that are living in poverty want a pathway out of poverty. They don't want to be in that situation. And so what we're trying to do with the Medicaid program, with allowing states to develop programs that give people an opportunity for job training, for community service ... and giving them the skills that they need." ~~~ Seema Verma

"Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more." ~~~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.

I see where the Donald has changed his tune about releasing the full Muller report like he called for so many times and thus begins the cover-up. While Muller didn't want to convict tRump as he didn't even get tRump's testimony as tRump would have been caught in a series of lies, however the report does contain obstruction of justice, abuse of power and corruption in the White House which Barr will never release on his own! Lying Donald said:
The House Judiciary Committee authorized its chairman on Wednesday to use a subpoena to try to force the Justice Department to give Congress a full copy of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller's report and all of the underlying evidence used to reach his conclusions.

The chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, said he would not immediately issue the subpoena. But the party-line vote won by Democrats who control the committee ratchets up pressure on Attorney General William P. Barr as he decides how much of the nearly 400-page report to share with lawmakers.

In his opening statement Mr. Nadler said, "I will give him time to change his mind, but if we cannot reach an accommodation, then we will have no choice but to issue subpoenas for these materials."

The House Judiciary Committee also approved subpoenas for five former White House aides who Democrats said were relevant to an investigation into possible obstruction of justice, abuse of power and corruption within the Trump administration.

They included Donald F. McGahn II, a former White House counsel; Stephen K. Bannon, the president's former chief strategist; Hope Hicks, a former White House communications director; Reince Priebus, the president's first chief of staff; and Annie Donaldson, a deputy of Mr. McGahn.

The House Judiciary Committee sharks can smell the blood in the water, and it's only a matter of time before they bring crooked Donald to justice!

In Other News

Not many people realize that the Arctic plays a critical role in maintaining a safe and stable global climate, with its reflective sea ice that sends significant incoming solar radiation safely back to space and its permanently frozen tundra that secures ancient stores of carbon dioxide and methane.

But the Arctic is warming at twice the global average, threatening to break what may be the weakest link in the chain of climate protection. The amplified Arctic warming is causing the reflective sea ice to melt, exposing darker water that absorbs more incoming solar radiation. It also is causing permafrost to thaw, releasing carbon dioxide and methane. Both processes are self-reinforcing feedback loops, in which initial warming feeds upon itself to cause still more warming. Feeding warming and making it stronger is not a strategy for success. Remember Alasks drunken forests because of thawing permafrost?

The recent UN Arctic report synthesizes existing research to show that even if climate emissions were halted today, Arctic warming would continue for at least two decades. This is due to past and present emissions and the return of heat stored in the ocean, where 90 percent of the warming we've caused ends up. Of course, the emissions are continuing and will continue!

Fast mitigation at scale can still slow future Arctic warming, starting with immediate cuts to the short-lived climate pollutants-black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons. Cutting emissions of these short-lived pollutants immediately can reduce the rate of Arctic warming by up to two-thirds. Fast cuts to carbon dioxide also are important, but over the next two decades they will actually add warming. This is because co-emitted cooling aerosols from fossil fuels like coal wash out of the atmosphere in days to weeks and unmask existing warming, while much of the carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years to continue causing warming.

Thanks to capitalism we're pretty much doomed, as long as they can make a buck off of pollution, they will, come hell or high water, they will.

And Finally

This week's Vidkun Quisling Award winner is Seema Verma. Seema is tRumps choice to run the CMS. She is the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Last week, the depths of Verma's corruption were exposed when an investigative report revealed "that she spent millions of taxpayer dollars on hiring Republican communications consultants to 'bolster her public profile.'" Verma's agency already has around 24 in-house communications staff, but apparently that wasn't enough for her. She saw the opportunity to funnel huge sums of money to her political buddies, and eagerly took it.

Verma does have good reason to be concerned about her public image. Her tenure running Medicare and Medicaid has been marked by attacks on both programs and their beneficiaries. Since these programs are extremely popular, attacking them is a great way to get a "terrible reputation." Seema is an Indian, no, not the American kind, and considers herself from the "Brahmins" class and imagines all the people on Medicare and Medicaid to be from the "Untouchable" or "Dalits" class!

She comes to tRump from the auspices of Mike Pence. When he was governor of Indiana, he paid her firm $3.5 million of taxpayer money to design a Medicaid program that forced beneficiaries to "pay premiums or go without needed care." You may recall that Medicaid is specifically intended for people who can't afford health care. Simultaneously, Verma's firm was paid an additional $1.2 million by the Hewlett-Packard corporation, which had contracts to administer the Medicaid program she designed. Remember that when you go to buy a computer! Her work in Indiana, foreshadowing her tenure at CMS, was the height of both cruelty and corruption. Rumor has it that she and Mike Pence spent a few hours by themselves behind locked doors! Ergo, Seema wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award! Brahmins

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!


01-20-1922 ~ 03-29-2019
Thanks for the film!

08-28-1948 ~ 04-01-2019
Thanks for the read!

01-23-1949 ~ 04-01-2019
Thanks for the laughs!


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

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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell.

Pelosi And McConnell Are Inching Us Closer To Nuclear War
By Norman Solomon

When Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell teamed up to invite NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to address a joint session of Congress, they had every reason to expect the April 3 speech to be a big hit with U.S. media and political elites. The establishment is eager to affirm the sanctity of support for the transatlantic military alliance.

Huge reverence for NATO is matched by how dangerous NATO has become. NATO's continual expansion - all the way to Russia's borders - has significantly increased the chances that the world's two nuclear superpowers will get into direct military conflict.

But in the United States, when anyone challenges the continued expansion of NATO, innuendos or outright smears are likely.

Two years ago, when the Senate debated whether to approve bringing Montenegro into NATO, the mud flew at Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky after he showed up to object. An infuriated Sen. John McCain declared on the Senate floor: "I have no idea why anyone would object to this, except that I will say - if they object, they are now carrying out the desires and ambitions of Vladimir Putin, and I do not say that lightly."

Moments later, when Paul said "I object," McCain proclaimed: "The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin."

With those words, McCain conveyed the common madness of reverence for NATO - and the common intolerance for anything that might approach a rational debate on whether it's a good idea to keep expanding an American-led military alliance to, in effect, push Russia into a corner. Doing so is understandably viewed from Russia as a dire threat. (Imagine a Russian-led military alliance expanding to Canada and Mexico, complete with some of the latest missile systems on the planet.)

Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall - and the quickly broken promises by the U.S. government in 1990 that NATO would move "not one inch eastward" - NATO has been closing in on Russia's borders while bringing one nation after another into full military membership. During the last three decades, NATO has added 13 countries - and it's not done yet.

NATO members "have clearly stated that Georgia will become a member of NATO," Stoltenberg asserted days ago while visiting the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. He added: "We will continue working together to prepare for Georgia's NATO membership." For good measure, Stoltenberg tweeted on March 25 that he was "delighted to observe the joint NATO-Georgia exercise" and "honored to meet veterans & serving soldiers," adding that "Georgia is a unique partner for #NATO & we are stepping up our cooperation."

Very few members of Congress can be heard raising any concerns about such reckless expansion. The Senate is key, because adding a country to full NATO membership requires Senate approval.

My colleagues at have just launched a constituent email campaign on this issue. In every state, people are contacting their senators with individual emails urging them to oppose NATO expansion. Such constituent pressure needs to escalate.

But lobbying is only part of what's needed. As NATO marks its 70th anniversary next week with a range of activities - including a White House welcome for Stoltenberg on Tuesday, his speech to Congress the next day and an official "celebration" on April 4 - counter-actions including forums and protests as part of a "No to NATO" week will be happening in Washington.

A statement from the campaign says that "NATO and a just, peaceful and sustainable world are incompatible.... It is an unjust, undemocratic, violent and aggressive alliance trying to shape the world for the benefit of a few." Such evaluations of NATO in the real world are a far cry from the adulation that will be coming from mass media next week.

Trump's decision to roll out the White House red carpet for NATO's secretary general is consistent with the administration's actions during the last two years. Media narratives that fixate on occasional warm rhetoric from Trump about Russian President Vladimir Putin have fueled illusions that Trump isn't pursuing aggressive anti-Russian policies.

While many Democratic politicians and U.S. media outlets have portrayed Trump as soft on Russia and uncommitted to Western militarism, such claims don't hold up to facts. Trump and his top deputies have repeatedly affirmed a commitment to NATO, while his overall policies (if not always his rhetoric) have been dangerously bellicose toward Russia.

In an email message to the D.C. area encouraging participation in "No to NATO" events next week, RootsAction pointed out: "Trump has evicted Russian diplomats, sanctioned Russian officials, put missiles practically on Russia's border, sent weapons into Ukraine, lobbied European nations to drop Russian energy deals, left the Iran agreement, torn up the INF Treaty, rejected Russia's offers on banning weapons in space and banning cyberwar, expanded NATO eastward, added a NATO partner in Colombia, proposed adding Brazil, demanded and successfully moved most NATO members to buy significantly more weapons, splurged on more nukes, bombed Russians in Syria, overseen the largest war rehearsals in Europe in half a century, condemned all proposals for a European military and insisted that Europe stick with NATO."

When NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg gives his speech to the assembled members of Congress next Wednesday, you can count on the House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader to be right behind him. The bipartisan enthusiasm will be obvious - in tribute to a militarized political culture that is vastly profitable for a few, while vastly destructive in countless ways. Only public education, activism, protests and a wide range of political organizing have the potential to disrupt and end the reflexive support for NATO in Washington.

(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."

U.S. industries-especially agriculture but also construction, food service, and hospitality-are heavily dependent on Mexican and Central American labor.

Trump's Dangerous, Dishonest Game On The U.S.-Mexico Border
Trump is the mean drunk at the family dinner, throwing his weight around, hurling insults and threats, while everyone cringes and hopes that his rage will subside, knowing that nothing good will come from a confrontation
By Ruth Conniff

For Mexico, living with the United States in the Donald Trump era is like being in a relationship with an abusive spouse.

Trump is the mean drunk at the family dinner, throwing his weight around, hurling insults and threats, while everyone cringes and hopes that his rage will subside, knowing that nothing good will come from a confrontation.

Take, for example, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's reaction to Trump's recent threat to close down the entire U.S./Mexico border:

"We are going to help, to collaborate. We want to have a good relationship with the government of the United States. We are not going to argue about these issues." Mexicans understand something many Americans do not: that our two countries are inextricably interdependent. Mexico counts on trade with the United States, as well as the remittances Mexican workers send home from their jobs-which surpassed oil exports as the largest single share of Mexican Gross Domestic Product. And the United States needs Mexico, too. Mexico is our third-largest trading partner. Halting the flow of goods across the border, even for a short time, will do significant economic damage to the U.S. economy.

How do you think all that ripe produce arrives in the grocery store all winter?

"First, you'd see prices rise incredibly fast. Then... we would see layoffs within a day or two," Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in Nogales, Arizona, told The Washington Post, when asked what would happen if Trump closed the border. "This is not going to help border security."

The truth is, immigrants coming across our southern border to not pose any national security threat to the United States. On the contrary, U.S. industries-especially agriculture but also construction, food service, and hospitality-are heavily dependent on Mexican and Central American labor.

"They're taking our jobs," Trump has said of the undocumented immigrants who come across the U.S./Mexico border. "They're taking our money. They're killing us."

These claims are demonstrably false.

Undocumented immigrants also commit crimes at a lower rate than U.S. citizens. A 2015 study by researchers at University of California - Irvine concluded that less-educated, native-born men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-nine had an incarceration rate more than triple that of foreign-born Mexican men, and five times greater than foreign-born Salvadoran and Guatemalan men.

Drugs do flow into the United States from other countries-but they mostly arrive through legal ports of entry.

Multiple studies show that undocumented workers from Mexico and Central America have a net positive effect on the U.S. economy. "Undocumented immigrants are not displacing U.S.-born workers. Rather, they are filling jobs that few Americans are interested in pursuing," notes a 2018 report by the bipartisan New American Economy research group.

Because the vast majority of undocumented immigrants in this country are able-bodied adults who are working and having taxes withheld from their paychecks, and because they are ineligible for federal benefits, the report explains, they contribute to Medicare and Social Security, without ever drawing from those programs. Nor do undocumented immigrants' use of schools or hospital services cause a net drain on public programs, compared to the significant boost they give to local economies where they work and spend money.

So why is Trump stoking panic over illegal immigration and threatening to damage the U.S. economy by closing the border? By pointing his finger at immigrants, Trump gives anxious, displaced U.S. workers-the "forgotten men and women of this country," as he has called them-a scapegoat for their problems.

But the problems that afflict economically insecure Americans-especially the rural and small-town voters who helped elect Trump-are not caused by immigrants.

If Trump wanted to help the Rust Belt and the rural Midwest, he could address decades of policies that have accelerated the collapse of family farms and small businesses, and support sustainable, local economies.

Instead, for all his posturing about pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Trump's renegotiated deal with Mexico and Canada continues to favor multinational corporations.

Since Trump took office, his tax-cut and deregulation policies have also helped multinational corporations, big banks, and the very rich, at the expense of family farmers and small-town businesses.

Likewise, if Trump wanted to address the flow of migrants to the United States from Central America, he could promote local economic development and freedom from corrupt, repressive rightwing governments, and the rise of violent gangs that have made life unbearable for people in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, sending them fleeing for their lives.

Instead, Trump is doing the opposite. Along with closing the border, he has announced he is cutting off support to the Central American countries that so many migrants have fled. He is even cutting support for anti-gang programs that could address the most immediate threat.

The same global economic forces are bearing down on people in other countries and on people in the United States, causing migrants to seek work up north and blue-collar and rural voters to lose their farms and factory jobs.

After NAFTA, about two million Mexican farmers lost their land and livelihood. Many came North to seek work in the United States. U.S. farmers, meanwhile, are suffering from the "get big or get out" regime exacerbated by NAFTA-low prices and ever-bigger factory farms-that have caused an epidemic of family farm bankruptcies across the Midwest.

In the Midwest, where dairy farmers hired Mexican workers to fill the labor void when they had to increase production and the size of their operations to survive, even people who voted for Trump appreciate the deep interdependent relationship they have with Mexican workers. A growing food-sovereignty movement is demanding policies that protect the land and local economies, so people in both countries can make a living and so we aren't all subject a dirtier, uglier food system dominated by Big Ag.

With his fixation on the "threat" posed by migrant workers from Central America and Mexico, Trump sidesteps all of that. He pretends we are not all connected, and seeks to divide and distract us. Recognizing what he is doing is the first step toward ending Trump's abusive relationship not just with Mexico but also with us, the citizens of the United States. The real threat to Trump's power isn't at the border but the ballot box.

(c) 2019 Ruth Conniff is a native of Madison, Wisconsin, Ruth joined the magazine as a summer intern working with the late Erwin Knoll and has been part of the team ever since. Ruth Conniff is editor of The Progressive magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @rconniff

Russiagate Implodes, Pleasing Trump But Leaving The Left In The Cold
By Glen Ford

The "Deep State" escalated a dispute within the U.S. corporate electoral duopoly into a geopolitical crisis, an "attack on America"

Robert Mueller has finally put a plug in the noxious fart that has oozed for almost three years from the conjoined bowels of the Democratic Party and the national security state -- but the stain remains, and may yet be lethal to us all.

Russiagate began as a lame excuse for Hillary Clinton's spectacular failure to defeat her supposedly ideal opponent, a "deplorable" straw man who could easily be knocked down by the supremely "qualified" corporate battle axe. As Wikileaks revealed, Clinton campaign chief John Podesta urged Democrats and cooperative media to make Donald Trump a "Pied Piper" of Republicans in the belief that a Democratic landslide would result. Corporate media came through for the Democrats, bestowing a total of $5 billion in free air time on the Trump campaign --more than Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio combined. Thus, the Democrats and Democrat-friendly corporate media gave us the Trump presidency - with decisive help from Black voter suppression by the GOP in Midwestern "swing" states.

However, Russiagate would never have exploded into a screaming marathon of madness were it not for the machinations of the national security state -- the CIA, FBI and spooks like former national intelligence director James Clapper, the man that swore to the U.S. Congress that the government was not "wittingly" spying on hundreds of millions of Americans. Appalled at Trump's campaign rhetoric against U.S. "regime change" and "nation-building" policies and his snipes at NATO, the spies, disinformers and militarists moved en mass into Hillary's "Big Tent." Without their decisive collaboration, "Russiagate" would have soon passed into history as merely a case of electoral losers' sour grapes. The "Deep State" escalated a dispute within the U.S. corporate electoral duopoly into a geopolitical crisis, an "attack on America" and a new "Pearl Harbor."

Simply put, the real rulers of the U.S. empire could not depend on Donald Trump to maintain the momentum of the U.S. military offensive that had begun with Barack Obama's attack on Libya in 2011 and continued with the jihadist proxy war against Syria, the coup that toppled the elected, Russia-friendly government in Ukraine, and the "pivot" against China. It doesn't take an algorithm to figure out that the U.S. is rapidly being eclipsed by the rising powers of the east: China and its geopolitical partner, Russia. At this late stage in the imperial game, the only strong cards Washington holds, are military. Hillary Clinton was "all in" with the global military offensive, including a willingness to play "chicken" with Russia in Syria and Ukraine. The fate of empire could not be left in Donald Trump's erratic little hands, so he was to be hobbled by Russiagate from day one of his presidency. The main objective, however, was not to knock Trump off -- which was always a dangerous long shot -- but to control him, and to keep the war hysteria going.

In that sense, and from the standpoint of the National Security State, Russiagate has been a success. Under Trump, relations with Russia and China have been firmly re-set on State of Permanent Near-War, and Washington has escalated its economic aggressions against Venezuela and Iran to levels that are nearly indistinguishable from military assault.

Thanks to Russiagate, the Democratic Party stepped forward to fill the imperial void that was temporarily created in the corporate duopoly by Trump's takeover of the GOP. The Democrats became the most aggressive wing of the War Party -- as if, for foreign policy purposes, Clinton had not really lost the election, at all. Democrats overwhelmingly supported both of Donald Trump's record-breaking war budgets -- including majorities of the Congressional Black Caucus. Congresswoman Maxine Waters strutted around the Capitol waving an American flag and blabbering about how Vladimir Putin was "continuing to advance into Korea" - apparently confusing that country with Crimea. Ostensible "Black Lives Matter" activists like Shaun King identified fully with former FBI director Robert Mueller and felt "betrayed" by Trump's distrust of U.S. intelligence agencies-- as if Cointelpro never happened, the FBI isn't out to frame "Black Identity Extremists," and the CIA doesn't tell lies for a living.

Having accomplished its purposes, the longest-running of the CIA-FBI's lies has now become inoperative with Mueller's admission that there is no evidence of "collusion" between Trump and the Russians. But the corporate media, the Democrats, and most Republicans continue to insist that the Russian government "hacked" the Democratic National Committee emails and gave the contents to Wikileaks for distribution. That was the CIA's "high confidence" assessment, although the agency's report clearly stated that it offered no "proof." But Wikileaks has always insisted that the DNC data was not electronically hacked, but hand-delivered -- not by Russians or any other state actor. And Wikileaks, unlike the CIA and the FBI, has never been caught in a lie.

The FBI has never attempted to question Wikileaks founder Julian Assange about the nature of the delivery, even though Assange is easy to find, locked up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Neither have they attempted to speak with Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who claims to have accepted the hand-delivery of data on the campus of American University, in Washington, DC. The reason the FBI has avoided talking to the most important witnesses in the case, and that they never inspected the DNC server, is obvious: they know that the whole Russiagate story is bogus.

Any valid investigation would begin with the two most important witnesses, Assange and Murray. There was no investigation, and there will be no judicial resolution of Russiagate because any such proceedings in a court of law would be a disaster for the State. Instead, Russia and Wikileaks were framed in a media show trial.

Selected analysts from three other intelligence agencies signed on to the CIA's "assessment" -- essentially, a theory - that Vladimir Putin himself directed that "hacked" DNC data be transferred to Wikileaks in order to embarrass Clinton and assist Trump. But almost two years ago, four members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), including William Binney, the former NSA technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis, who designed many of the agency's spying and tracking systems, concluded:

"There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee's system on July 5 last year-not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak-a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC's system. This casts serious doubt on the initial 'hack,' as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer."
Rolling Stone writer Matt Tiabbi and lots of other observers think Donald Trump now has a compelling message for his base in 2020:
"Given that 'collusion' has turned out to be dry well, to the ordinary viewer it will look a hell of lot like the MSNBCs of the world humped a fake story for two consecutive years in the hopes of overturning election results ahead of time. Trump couldn't have asked for a juicier campaign issue, and an easier way to argue that 'elites' don't respect the democratic choices of flyover voters. It's hard to imagine what could look worse."
Taibbi believes Russiagate has done more damage to U.S. journalism credibility than the lies told to justify the invasion of Iraq. Maybe. But this is not really about the credibility of media corporations; it's about the legitimacy of the ruling class. The most important function of U.S. corporate media is to fashion narratives that serve the imperial interests of their owners, the ruling class. Ever since Donald Trump smashed his conventional Republican rivals in the primaries and captured half of the governing duopoly, the ruling class has been waging a lop-sided rich man's civil war, with most of the Lords of Capital bent on making Trump a transitory phenomenon. These behemoths of finance interpreted Trump's white nationalist victory, on the GOP side, and Bernie Sanders' phenomenal Democratic challenge to the corporate consensus on austerity as a warning that they had lost control of the narrative - of reality as told to the masses in the exceptional USA. Therefore, in addition to stoking the fires of never-ending war, Russiagate would provide the rationale for a new McCathyism, to justify a purge of dissenting voices from the Internet, the last partially unconquered communications arena.

The purge began only two weeks after Trump's victory at the polls, when the oligarch-owned Washington Post debuted a hit list of 13 leftist web sites deemed "Russian propaganda outlets and sympathizers" by a shadowy outfit called Prop-or-Not. The Post allowed Prop-or-Not's principals to remain anonymous, ostensibly to safeguard them from harm by the blacklisted left-wingers. But we knew this was a ruling class orchestration -- a Jeff Bezos project -- and the beginning of a very cold season for the left in the U.S., as the Lords of Capital and their minions struggled to regain their mandate to interpret reality.

With Mueller's "no collusion" verdict, Donald Trump can claim to have been vindicated in the Russiagate saga, but there will be no respite for the real left -- not to be confused with the phony "resistance" that has run on Kremlin-hate (and Syria hate and Venezuela hate) for the past two years. For the Lords of Capital, taming Trump was just an episode. They see smashing the Left as a necessity, in pursuit of endless wars and austerity.

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

NATO Interrupted
By David Swanson

Wednesday morning an event was held in a building overlooking Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., at an organization called the Center for European Policy Analysis, which is funded by: FireEye, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Bell Helicopters, BAE systems, the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon, National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Mission to NATO, and NATO's own Public Diplomacy Division.

Participating in the event were several foreign ministers from NATO nations, ambassadors to NATO, and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. NATO is designed to vigilantly protect you from numerous imaginary and NATO-provoked dangers, but its events are apparently protected by magic spells, as I just walked in and took a seat.

When I couldn't take any more of the pro-militarism talk, I stood up and interrupted, holding up a sign reading: "Yes to Peace /" Lots of media cameras were in the room, so there is bound to be video somewhere. (Please share it with me.) I said words to this general effect:

> NATO needs to be shut down, not enlarged. Russia spends a tiny percentage of what NATO nations do on war, and you pretend to be afraid of Russia. We're not buying it. You're provoking dangers. NATO makes up 3/4 of military spending in the world. Its members are also responsible for about 3/4 of foreign weapons dealing — to dictatorships and so-called democracies around the world. NATO wages aggressive wars far from the North Atlantic. The people you can hear chanting outside have had enough. We're not believing these myths anymore.
I continued along those lines for a little while before leaving. We sang songs and spoke to people in the building's lobby and on the sidewalk out front, and did interviews with media from every continent other than North America, before heading off to Capitol Hill where the head of NATO was being welcomed in bipartisan harmony.

NATO is encountering protest everywhere it goes in Washington on Wednesday and will on Thursday as well. Detailed plans are at

(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.

A woman participates in a President's Day protest against President Trump's immigration policy at Union Square on February 18, 2019, in New York City.

How To Find Hope In The Age Of Trump
By William Rivers Pitt

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
-Alfred Lord Tennyson
As readers of Truthout know, I have been on the Mueller report beat ever since Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and the special counsel was appointed nearly two years ago. The report is done now, and all we the people have to show for it is a vapid letter from a political appointee and an existential headache that just won't go away.

During those two years, and definitely in the aftermath of the now-notorious "Barr summary," the country divided itself into camps based on opinions of the investigation. Some saw the whole affair as a cover-up for Clinton's defeat in 2016. Some didn't buy it even without the alleged DNC skullduggery. Others invested an ocean of faith in Mueller, and still others waited and watched with tempered hope. Each group had its own arsenal of facts to deploy in its defense, and when the Barr summary hit, it served as a national Rorschach test for what these groups believed they already knew.

There is another group, larger than all the others combined, for whom the Barr summary was simply a fait accompli. A whole lot of people whose faith in the concept of justice was already torn and frayed are now abandoning even the concept of hope. It isn't difficult to understand why. The people whose bank accounts and political associations allow them to exist above the law don't just win all the time nowadays; they rub their victories in our faces because cruelty and mockery are the new cool for the untouchable few.

Meanwhile, there appears to be no meaningful political opposition inside the Beltway to the ever-increasing severity of that cruelty. "In the absence of any knowable facts, Republicans declare victory and invent their own," wrote Dahlia Lithwick for Slate in the aftermath of the Barr summary. "In the absence of any knowable facts, Democrats declare defeat."

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) provided a perfect example of the practice of mocking cruelty this week during floor debate on the Green New Deal. The outcome of the vote was preordained to favor the career climate denialists in that chamber; it would get no GOP votes, and most every Democrat voted "present" to thwart Mitch McConnell's malicious intentions. Still, there was Lee in the well of the Senate with a poster depicting Ronald Reagan firing a gun with a bazooka strapped to his back while riding a velociraptor that was clutching a huge American flag, all of which was somehow supposed to disprove the existence of anthropogenic climate disruption.

The most immediate reaction to such rank absurdity is to write Mike Lee off as just another far-right Republican brain donor, but that reaction misses the fact that these people pull these stunts with deliberate intent. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) didn't throw a snowball at a Senate page just to "disprove" the existence of climate change; he wanted to make you too angry to think clearly. These people seek and receive the visceral reactions and the emotional disruptions that serve their ultimate ends. They scramble the conversation deliberately because their victory lies within that disruption.

To paraphrase Jean-Paul Sartre, people like Trump, Lee and Inhofe are fully aware of the absurdity of their statements. "They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge," wrote Sartre in his 1946 essay on anti-Semitism. "But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors."

What was true in 1946 is true today: A troll is a troll is a troll. "The crimes of the Nazis have, for some, obscured the extent to which they relied on murderous insincerity and the unwillingness of liberal societies to see the Nazis plainly for what they were," writes Adam Serwer for The Atlantic. "In the 1930s, falling for this ploy might have been understandable; with the hindsight of history, it is incomprehensible that many continue to do so. But it is important to understand that weaponized insincerity was an essential element of fascism from the very beginning."

Nazi comparisons are notoriously facile (paging Mr. Godwin), but the correlation is obvious to anyone who has been paying attention over the last several years... and therein lies the dilemma, because paying attention comes with a vicious personal cost, thanks to these tactics. Those people who refused to believe anything significant would come of the Mueller report were practicing enlightened self-defense.

"I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head," asked Harry Truman, "before you find out who's hitting you?" A great many people have found out, and are now checking out of any emotional investment in the concept of justice because, well, just look around. Ample reasons for despair are jumping off the front pages and pouring from the news networks like excrement from a shattered sewer pipe. One does not need to range very far to find a reason for throwing up your hands.

And that is how fascists win.

One solution to this crisis of the spirit, I believe, is to genuinely connect with other people by trying to help someone within reach of your arm. Working in a vacuum as isolated individuals, none of us can fix Trump, or the Republicans, or the Democrats, or the climate, or the media, or greed, or war, or any of the other massive problems before us.

We can, however, start to connect with each other by finding small ways in our local communities to push back against the ugliness of racism, sexism, nationalism and greed that we can see in our own institutions and from our own windows. We can also connect with activist movements that already have momentum and the capacity to connect us to others working on these issues nationally and globally.

Despair is contagious, and right now it's spreading. To act is to be, and there is so much to do. By helping your neighbor, you will be helping yourself return to a place inside where hope is more than a four-letter word.

(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.

Potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks at an event in Claremont, New Hampshire, on January 18, 2019.

The Right To Vote Should Be Guaranteed By The Constitution
Elizabeth Warren is championing a great idea.
By John Nichols

Elizabeth Warren delivered a stirring call for the renewal of American democracy during a CNN town-hall meeting last week. And it should echo across the 2020 campaign season.

"I believe we need a constitutional amendment that protects the right to vote for every American citizen and to make sure that vote gets counted," Warren declared as she took her Democratic presidential run to Mississippi. "We need to put some federal muscle behind that and we need to repeal every one of the voter suppression laws that is out there right now."

Warren's announcement drew loud applause, and rightly so.

It is not enough to answer threats to voting rights by trying to keep up with every assault on voting rights: from restrictive voter-ID laws to attacks on same-day registration and schemes to limit or eliminate early voting. There needs to be a comprehensive fix.

This is why Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) and former congressman Keith Ellison decided to go to the heart of the matter. In 2013, the Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders proposed a simple amendment to the Constitution of the United States to include a clearly defined right to vote that read:

SECTION 1: Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides.

SECTION 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.

There is nothing radical about that language. It outlines a basic premise of the American experiment, and a concept that the United States has proudly exported. Indeed, when our country has had a hand in shaping the destinies of other lands, as well as international agreements, the primacy of the right to vote has been well understood and explicitly stated.

The Constitution of Iraq, as it was crafted in 2005, guaranteed that "Iraqi citizens, men and women, shall have the right to participate in public affairs and to enjoy political rights including the right to vote, elect, and run for office."

In Afghanistan, the Constitution provides every citizen with "the right to elect and be elected."

The German Constitution crafted in the aftermath of World War II declared that every adult "shall be entitled to vote." In Japan, the Constitution announced: "Universal adult suffrage is guaranteed."

And, of course, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt did so much to establish, declares: "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures."

Most Americans are unaware that they do not have a defined-let alone guaranteed-right to vote.

But this is the case. And this is a serious issue.

"Because there is no right to vote in the US Constitution, individual states set their own electoral policies and procedures," explained FairVote, the national group that seeks to ensure that American elections are free, fair, and representative. "This leads to confusing and sometimes contradictory policies regarding ballot design, polling hours, voting equipment, voter registration requirements, and ex-felon voting rights. As a result, our electoral system is divided into 50 states, more than 3,000 counties and approximately 13,000 voting districts, all separate and unequal."

That has never been acceptable to Pocan, who now serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. With Ellison, who now serves as Minnesota's attorney general, he has kept introducing the right-to-vote amendment.

The movement to enshrine voting rights in the Constitution has drawn support from veterans of the civil-rights movement, such as Congressman John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat who says, "The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool for change that we have in a democratic society, We need to make it simple and easy for every American citizen, who is of voting age, to weigh in on the matters that govern their lives. This bill guarantees that eligible citizens cannot be so easily disenfranchised, and the right of each have a say in the democratic process is protected."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says, "As our civil and human rights democratic movement continues to struggle for full equality for all Americans, it's not obvious that there was a 'before Selma' dimension to our struggle for voting rights, but that there must also be a 'beyond Selma' dimension."

Now, with Elizabeth Warren's announcement, a presidential contender has taken up the call, amid growing recognition that Pocan is right to speak of the amendment as an urgent and necessary intervention on behalf of the American experiment.

"A core principle of our democracy is the ability for citizens to participate in the election of their representatives," explains the Wisconsin Democrat. "We have seen constant attempts by some states to erode voting rights and make it harder for citizens to vote. This amendment would affirm the principle of equal participation in our democracy for every citizen. As the world's leading democracy, we must guarantee the right to vote for all."

(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.

Richard C. Hoagland

Have We Found Evidence Of Life On Mars?
By James Donahue

Some say Richard C. Hoagland started the "life on Mars" controversy in 1987 when he published his book "The Monuments of Mars." Others link it to a day in 1996 when it was announced that a Martian rock found in Antarctica appeared to contain fossilized remains of tiny living organisms.

But history buffs know that Percival Lowell, a 19th Century American astronomer, was among the first to propose that living intelligent creatures occupied that planet. It was in 1895 when Lowell, peering through his telescope near Flagstaff, Arizona, observed straight lines on the planet's surface that he perceived to be canals.

Hoagland, however, stirred the imagination of people all over the world after he got his hands on a photograph snapped in 1976 by NASA's Viking Orbiter as it circled the red planet. With some computer enhancement, the photograph showed a mile-wide rock that appeared to be shaped like a human face. The same picture included nearby formations that were both square and pyramid shaped. Hoagland suggested they were the ruins of an ancient city.

Close examination of the area, located in a place known as the Cydonia region of Mars, indeed reveals anomalies that suggest that an intelligent life once built massive structures. Among the most prominent are a large five-cornered pyramid, numerous smaller pyramids, a square form that Hoagland called "The Fort," and several other structures that comprise what he identified as "The City."

Hoagland noted that the buildings show extensive structural damage, mostly from centuries of erosion and decay. But he believes the large five-cornered pyramid has extensive damage on one of its sides from what appears to have been a powerful explosion. He reported a 1000-foot wide crater next to its base, indicating that the area might have been under attack by foreign forces.

Hoagland's ideas received a lot of publicity, but until recently, few others stepped to the plate to give him any support.

Everything changed after Marlin Space Science Systems released images from the Mars Global Surveyor, which later orbited the planet. These pictures give exciting new evidence that intelligent life not only lived on Mars in the past, it may still be there! The pictures included:

--New and improved images of the controversial Cydonia Region that give a more detailed and somewhat frightening new version of the face. While somewhat humanoid, it also has a strange alien appearance.

--Discovery of over 120 sites where gullies and sharp cuts in the surface indicate the existence of flowing water in the very recent past. The planet's topography shows that the Northern Hemisphere is unusually low and flat, indicating that an ocean once covered that half of Mars.

--Small ice caps at the two poles that may or may not consist of frozen water.

--Alterations of color on rocks, that sometimes shift from brown to hews of green and blue suggesting that simple plants or lichens grow on the rocks and react to changing biospheric conditions.

--First photos shot by the Pathfinder land rover on the planet's surface that showed a blue sky. Hoagland noted that within minutes "adjustments" were made to the equipment so that the sky was altered to appear black and the ground shifted from brown to a reddish hew. He believes NASA was not expecting the pictures to show a blue sky and got caught off guard. He suggests on his web site that someone was ordered to change the color of the images.

--Additional anomalies next to the southern ice cap that appear to be the ruins of more buildings and possibly another city. The structures are large, straight lined, and squared in shape.

--Yet another interesting discovery were cracks on the surface in the Northern Hemisphere reveal some unexpected "tube-like" structures passing along the bottom of some of the deep crevices. Famed scientist and science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke said the tubes which reflect sunlight as if they were made of glass and seem to show ribs or supportive framework, are among "the most incredible images ever to come from space."

In an interview with Clarke said he believes the pictures "are pretty convincing proof of the existence of large forms of life on Mars . . . I don't see any other interpretation."

More recently, a photo snapped by NASA's Curiosity Rover depicts an unusually shaped mound high on a hill in the distance. Scott C. Waring, who maintains a daily blog of UFO sightings, suggests this mound, because of its shape, may be a crashed UFO. He notes that the disk is partly buried in the surface of the hill. It measures about 40 meters in width.

Then a new report by a team of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago claims evidence that Mars was once literally inundated with water that flowed in great rivers wider than the Mississippi. The team, headed by Professor Edwin Kite, published its findings in the journal Science Advances in the March 27 edition.

Using data from Curiosity Rover, which has been exploring and sampling the Martian landscape since 2012, the team believes Martian rivers flowed intermittently but intensely over a 4.5 million-year history.

So where did all of this water come from, and where and why did it disappear? These appear to be questions still unanswered as research teams continue to study the planet's climate history. NASA plans to launch a new rover in 2020 that will be making a specific study of an ancient river delta inside the Mars Jezero Crater. And as in earlier rover studies, the search continues for evidence of life on the red planet.

Finally there is another strange twist to events surrounding NASA's Martian adventures. A U.S. spy research team, called the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), recently disclosed that after spending months examining the Global Surveyor pictures, has found what appears to be the lost Global Lander. This craft allegedly crashed landed near the Martian South Pole in December, 1999. Now the agency says the lander appears to be resting on its four extended legs as if it made a proper landing.

The loss of the Global Lander appeared to have been a major embarrassment for NASA at the time of its disappearance. But Hoagland suggested that its recent discovery by a spy organization suggests that our government might have turned the lander's cameras off after it landed. He believes the mission was declared a failure for other reasons.

Hoagland suggests that the lander dropped amidst some kind of plant-like objects that have since been photographed by the Surveyor from miles overhead. These pictures, which also have captured the imagination of Clarke, suggest that something alive has been found on the planet's surface.

"We have to say that if nothing else, the contents of this image are something extraordinary," Hoagland wrote. "Whatever this is, it resides in the South Polar regions just a hop, skip and a jump from the designated MPL (Mars Polar Landing) site.

"And certainly, if this is at all indicative of what's to be found below the receding ice of the South Polar caps, then it is easy to see why somebody at NASA would decide that it was a little too soon for the public to get a first-hand look at it . . . and pulled the plug."

(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.

Scotland also has plans for car parks that charge electric vehicles, having called for the end of gasoline-driven cars by 2032

75% Of Scotland's Electricity Now Green; All Cars Electric By 2032
People who talk about our finding future solutions to the climate emergency are just out of date. The solutions exist, it is just a matter of implementing them, of political will.
By Juan Cole

Scotland added another 6% of green energy in 2018, so that nearly 75% of its annual gross electricity consumption came from renewables, chiefly wind, solar and hydro. Scotland's population is 5.4 million.

The increase in green energy came mainly from new offshore wind.

New offshore wind also allowed the UK to get 33% of its electricity from renewables in 2018. Although the UK is far behind Scotland in the green energy transition, it is nearly 12 times more populous, at 66 million, and so for it to get fully a third of its electricity from green sources is in real numbers a much bigger deal. British carbon emissions fell 3% last year.

Scotland and the UK have further big plans for new floating offshore wind turbines, a technology pioneered off the coast of Scotland by Shell.

Britain as a whole wants to get 30% of its electricity from wind alone by 2030.

Scotland is also doing groundbreaking research and development on wave and tidal energy, which has the advantage of being steady (unlike wind and solar). A small demonstration project is already powering 2600 homes in Scotland, and there are near-term plans to expand it.

People who talk about our finding future solutions to the climate emergency are just out of date. The solutions exist, it is just a matter of implementing them, of political will.

Scotland has that political will. (Truth in advertising, my maternal grandfather was a McIlwee, which I take it makes me an honorary Glaswegian).

Scotland also has plans for car parks that charge electric vehicles, having called for the end of gasoline-driven cars by 2032. The Scotsman says, "Revolutionary vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology will also be employed at the hubs, allowing charged cars to feed electricity back to the smart grid where it can be used to power homes and businesses."

(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.

Trump's 2020 Vengeance And Cruelty Campaign
By Heather Digby Parton

Trump thinks he won last week.

This is how he acts when he wins.

Imagine 2021: President Trump is cutting against historical and political norms on a trifecta of big issues at the heart of U.S. domestic, economic and security policy.

Driving the news:

Trump is seeking to kill "Obamacare" through the courts over the objection of his own attorney general and top GOP congressional leaders.

The White House is publicly pushing the Fed to cut interest rates, something prior administrations never contemplated doing.

The president is again publicly threatening to close ports of entry on the U.S. southern border. "I'm not playing games," Trump said Friday in Florida.

The State Department said the U.S. will cut off aid to the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras - the Northern Triangle. Trump said: "No money goes there anymore. ... We stopped payment." The WashPost reports that the escalation involves hundreds of millions of dollars.

A Trump administration official familiar with the situation told Axios that the president "is definitely serious about" closing the border and "has talked about it quite a few times and wanted to do it several times."

The source said Trump's idea would mean that day laborers could cross the border, but that it would otherwise be a "total no entry."

But administration officials privately say it's unlikely Trump will follow through on his threat, and they acknowledge that they're nowhere near prepared to execute on such a radical plan on the president's threatened timeline of this week.

The widespread view within the White House and at the Department of Homeland Security is that it's a terrible and unworkable idea.

Trump administration officials have been discussing the impracticalities, such as U.S. citizens coming and going across the border.

But Trump wants it. So "it's being looked into, what it could and would look like," the administration official said.

Who knows if he'll accomplish it. But he did accomplish cutting off foreign aid to the three countries. That is inevitably going to make everything worse.

He gets angry when he thinks he's won because he wants revenge for ever having been opposed in the first place. He believes it's "unfair" for him to be questioned.

(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.

Greta ThunbergSwedish student Greta Thunberg, 16, has galvanized a movement, inspiring students worldwide to tell adults their future is at stake.

Children Are Fighting For Their Future. We Must Support Them
By David Suzuki

"And a little child shall lead them." - Isaiah 11:6

At 16, Greta Thunberg may not be a little child, but she's showing tremendous leadership. The Swedish student has galvanized a world movement, pressing adults to remove the blinkers of corporate and political self-interest and recognize that their refusal to respond appropriately to climatologists' urgent warnings is leading to the destruction of a future for all generations to come.

Children don't have a large stake in the status quo so they aren't bound by the constraints of business and politics. They aren't yet part of it, except as budding consumers and victims of political machinations. Children speak from their hearts with an innocence, naivete and idealism only they possess.

For decades, environmentalists calling for government action to transform our energy sources from fossil fuels to cleaner renewables have been marginalized as unrealistic, extremists or anti-business. Even activists have imposed self-restraint in our calls for political action lest we be seen as a threat to jobs, corporate interests or the economy.

Thunberg's laser focus is on what politicians are doing (or not doing) rather than saying. And what they're doing is refusing to take the necessary actions outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's special report in October. It warns that failing to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 11 years will put humanity - and numerous other species - on the road to catastrophe.

The United Nations established the IPCC in 1988 to be the most authoritative source of scientific information on climate change, compiling research from scientists and experts worldwide to inform governments and the public of the current state of scientific knowledge. Because it's intergovernmental, its reports are vetted by countries like Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Russia, which have their own agendas. This makes the reports invariably cautious. Every IPCC prediction (temperature, sea level rise, weather events) over five-year periods has fallen short of what actually occurred.

In 2015, the world - including Canada, which emerged after almost a decade of government denying the issue - committed to keeping global average temperature from rising more than 1.5 to 2 C above pre-industrial levels. To environmentalists' cheers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for keeping to the lower 1.5 C limit.

The IPCC's special report noted the planet has already warmed by 1 C and warned that exceeding 1.5 C warming would cause climate chaos. To avoid that will require a 45 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050. It's a shocking wake-up call. To achieve such a target in a short time means adhering to international commitments on the scale of a world war. Using carbon pricing to reduce emissions, encouraging electric vehicle purchases, installing LED lights and other actions, while important, will not keep us in line with the IPCC target.

In 1988, climatologists were convinced that humans were contributing to global warming, mainly through burning fossil fuels and destroying carbon sinks like forests and wetlands. Their understanding of the physics behind global warming had become increasingly robust since at least 1824, when French scientist Joseph Fourier discovered what would later be called the "greenhouse effect." To avoid catastrophic climate change, scientists led by NASA's James Hansen recommended a 20 per cent reduction in emissions within 15 years of 1988. Had the world taken the threat seriously and acted, we could have avoided the crisis we're in today.

Instead, the fossil fuel industry and its supporters in media, government and "think tanks" campaigned to deny or downplay the threat. Rather than slowing fossil fuel development and investment, they accelerated it, determined to get the last bit of value out of the resources before markets confronted the reality of climate disruption.

Despite the urgency of the crisis, governments, industry and banks continue to invest in and expand fossil fuel infrastructure and development, and emissions continue to rise. "We aren't going to get off fossil fuels overnight," they say, while making few attempts to get off them at all.

Children, inspired by Greta Thunberg, are telling adults their future is at stake. Those who believe short-term economic gain is more important than protecting the biosphere on which all life depends are betraying them and all children.

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

Connecticut Might Represent The Future Of American Criminal Justice. Alabama Is The Hellish Present
The TRUE program is the kind of thing criminal justice reformers must champion.
By Charles P. Pierce

I continue to be intrigued by the place that the issue of criminal-justice reform has in our politics, which is roughly the same as the position held by Ulysses among comp-lit majors-widely admired, but rarely acted upon. It's as though somebody placed the thing in a bell-jar of the finest crystal and put it on a shelf marked "Bipartisan Initiative" so that all the politicians in the country can walk by and admire its beauty on their way to whatever the next fundraiser on the schedule is. I do admire the people on both sides of the big ditch trying to push the same button at the same time.

Take this report from 60 Minutes about a prison in Connecticut.

It's a two year old program based on therapy for 18-25 year old prisoners, whose brains, science shows, are still developing, and their behavior more likely to change. The idea came from Germany where the main objective of prison is rehabilitation and where the recidivism rate is about half that of the U.S.
Make America Germany Again.
Warden Scott Erfe and his staff, assisted by the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice, created a program called T.R.U.E. -- short for truthful, respectful, understanding, and elevating -- that was inspired by Germany's prison system, which focuses on human dignity and rehabilitation. Out of a pool of some 200 applicants, Warden Erfe selected about 50 prisoners between the ages of 18 and 25...Their crimes range from drugs to arson to violent assault. Erfe placed them in a cell block with about 20 respected, older prisoners he tapped to serve as mentors.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy meets with prisoners at the new DUI unit of the Cybulski Community
Reintegration Center in Enfield, Connecticut. Malloy's 'Second Chance Society' which he signed into law in
July 2015, has been described as at the cutting edge of criminal justice reform efforts nationwide.

One of the mentors is a lifer named Isschar Howard, who is in Cheshire because he killed two people.
"All we knew was we was gonna try and stop these young cats from becoming us. 'Cause you don't want this. If there's one thing I'm an expert in, it's screwing up. I have a PhD in consequences. I can tell you what tear gas tastes like. I can tell you what it feels like to watch your family see you get sentenced to life without parole. And I can tell you the decisions I made to get to that. After that the choice is yours...I don't have to die a waste. I tell these guys all the time they give me purpose to live. They give me something to leave behind."
I hope this works. I hope that the citizens of Connecticut continue to fund experiments like this, and not get scared off if one of the inmates from the program gets out and backslides into crime, causing the voters to backslide into the fearful dynamic that made the program necessary in the first place. Because that road leads to Alabama, and a place called the St. Clair Correctional Facility. From The New York Times:
The prison he found seemed virtually ungoverned. Corrections officers disappeared from cellblocks for long periods. Those who were present were often disregarded. With officers absent or ignored, vulnerable inmates, including those who were wounded and bleeding, often pleaded in vain for help, several inmates said. Violence - robberies in dark tunnels, assaults in crowded dormitories, stabbings in cramped cells - was virtually unavoidable. "Like Devil's Island," one current inmate said. Mr. Simon had not been there a month when a man began stabbing him in the face and neck in the middle of the night. He recalled being told afterward by an officer that the man had just been released from the segregation unit: the isolation cells reserved for punishment but increasingly seen as safe havens. "When we let him out of lockup, he said he was going to stab someone to get back in," Mr. Simon said he was told. "But they didn't think he was really going to do it." Locks have been broken at St. Clair since the 1985 riot and are easily "tricked," or opened with prison ID cards. Like the other state prisons, St. Clair has been severely overcrowded for many years, as Alabama has long spent less on inmates than almost any other state. Health care across the system has been "grossly inadequate," a lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center contended. The suit claimed that staff members had given razor blades to suicidal prisoners, and that ill inmates had been placed under "do not resuscitate" orders without their consent.

St. Clair Correctional Facility

The place is clearly a hellhole, understaffed and overcrowded. But it's also a laboratory for the forces behind criminal-justice reform and the forces arrayed against it.
But former inmates and officers at St. Clair say the downward spiral began in earnest in 2010, when Mr. Wise, who had become the warden, was moved out. During his tenure, politicians visited and spoke, religious volunteers were constantly on site, inmates taught anti-violence classes, and rewards such as meals from outside were given. "These are human beings you're dealing with, not potted plants," Mr. Wise said. Or as one retired St. Clair corrections officer, Jacky Mashburn, put it: "Idle hands is the workshop of the devil."

Not everyone in the Corrections Department - including the new warden, Carter Davenport - appeared to favor this approach. After he arrived, cutbacks began - of chapel nights, programs, rewards, volunteer visits. The staff steadily began withdrawing from the population, officers and inmates said. Prisoners were left to themselves. "Under Wise, bed changes were granted when problems arose," one longtime inmate still in St. Clair said, echoing accounts in affidavits. After the warden left, the inmate said, "if you had a problem, it was, 'Get a knife.'"

The limited capacity of segregation made consistent discipline almost impossible. But that did not mean that punishment stopped altogether. The Equal Justice Initiative lawsuit contains abundant accounts of beatings at the hands of officers on what was described as arbitrary grounds, resulting in stitches and broken bones, and in some cases involving inmates who were shackled. Mr. Davenport, prison officials acknowledge, reported himself for hitting a man who was handcuffed. Mr. Davenport was a "carry-a-big-stick type of guy," said a former officer who recently quit but did not want to be identified because he was looking for work. "But we didn't have the numbers in staffing to do that. And that's when the inmates started figuring out they outnumber the officers."

And, as always with our politics, there's the money.
He described the recent efforts at improving St. Clair as only a temporary fix, "robbing Peter to pay Paul." The construction of modern prisons, he said, is the important first step to making changes that will last, allowing for safer facilities and more rehabilitative programming. But the plan, still making its way through the Legislature, has met with deep skepticism, objections that it costs too much, worries from small towns dependent on prisons for jobs and arguments that it does not address the fundamental problems.
I think that the people working on this issue are some of the most genuinely sincere people in our politics. I think that the people who oppose them-like, say, Senator Tom Cotton, the bobble-throated slapdick from Arkansas-are some of the worst. But we are a country that doesn't do big change anymore. If we won't do it for ourselves-witness the resistance and mockery aimed at the efforts to craft an answer to the existential climate crisis-we sure as hell are unlikely to want to make big change in the way we lock up our criminals. But, dammit, somebody has to keep pushing the rock up that hill.

(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-

"Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of the people tempered by fear."
~~~ William E. Gladstone

Look How the Real Trump Is Endangering America
Ralph Nader

Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent almost two years to produce a $25 million report that is a flat tire. Still unreleased in full to the American people, Trump's acolyte, Attorney General William Barr, a longtime friend of Republican Mueller, gave us what Trump long craved-by stating that "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities" during the 2016 election. As for obstruction of justice by Trump, Attorney General Barr cryptically burped, that "The Special Counsel states that 'while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him"-whatever that means. Give people the whole report now, as the House of Representatives voted 420 to 0 to do.

What a farce and distraction this whole exercise turned out to be! Mueller's assigned subject was Trump. So, does this prosecutor demand to interview Trump, to subpoena Trump? No. Does this special investigator conclude with any legal recommendations at all? No. He just wants to be forgotten as he slinks away into deliberate silence (unless he is made to testify before the House Judiciary Committee).

Really, what should we have expected from someone who, as FBI Director, testified before Congress as part of the Bush/Cheney regime, pushing for the criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003?

The assignment to Mueller was doomed from the start. Its charge was far too narrow and proof in such matters is very difficult to find. Intent to collude requires direct examination of the President himself. But why would Trump have to collude at all? The Russians interfered in his favor in various ways to the detriment of Hillary Clinton and all he had to do was accept such foreign largess.

An inquiry into Trump and all his business deals and business proposals with various governments point to Trump's disregard for the law. By the way, whatever happened to the IRS audit that Tricky Donald kept using as an excuse in 2016 for not releasing these voluminous tax records depicting suspicious relations that Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston has written about for years (see his book The Making of Donald Trump)?

The endless speculation and successful prosecutions of Trump's associates largely focused on ancillary lies and thefts not leading directly to the White House.

Trump couldn't have distracted the mass dittohead media any better from his true crimes. Those include unlawful war-making, corruption, wasting public funds, and unlawfully handcuffing or firing the federal "cops" whose job is to save the lives, health, safety, and economic assets of all the American people from big corporate predators across the land.

Consider all the print, TV, and radio time the mass media used on the Mueller Russian probe compared to Trump's cruelty and viciousness from his brazen "deregulation," or open flouting of statutorily mandated government missions.

These policies have directly harmed innocent children, the elderly, patients, consumers, and workers and have wreaked environmental ruin, polluting the air, water, and soil with lethal toxins. He proudly took away protections leaving defenseless humans to suffer more deadly coal dust, coal ash, and coal pollution.

He has blocked our government's responses to the climate crisis looming everywhere.

He has gotten away with massive federal deficits caused by his tax holidays for corporations and the rich, including the Trump family. Take that, next generation of Americans!

He backs for-profit colleges who have committed serial crimes against their impoverished students while heavily subsidizing these corporations with your tax dollars.

He is pushing to weaken or eliminate modest controls over imperial Wall Street, upsetting even Wall Streeters like Timothy Geithner, setting the stage for another Wall Street collapse on the economy, causing workers to lose their pensions and savings, before they, as taxpayers, are required to again bailout the Wall Street speculators and crooks.

He lies repeatedly about current realities, falsely brags about conditions he is actually worsening. He opposes any increase in the frozen federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and does not adequately enforce fair labor standards. He has hired and personally profited from many undocumented workers while attacking their presence in the U.S.

He pays more attention to one golf ball than he does to the estimated $60 billion in annual wage theft or $350 billion a year in the health industry's computerized billing fraud, or the gouging drug prices he falsely promised the people he would reduce.

Never mind impeachment, millions of Trump's victims, regardless of how they voted in 2016, should demand his resignation. A million-people march should surround the White House and peacefully make this demand repeatedly.

Enough of lying Trump's slimy bigotry and his snarling, hateful, bullying speech always directed at the powerless. Enough of his destructive impact on millions of children imitating his coarseness toward siblings and parents who, when admonished, blurt out that the President says this and does that. That daily acidic intrusion into family life-a cultural time bomb-has yet to properly interest the media.

Cheating Donald J. Trump has gotten away with everything in his failed businesses and his Electoral College-caused Presidency. In so doing, he has taught us much about ourselves, how much we tolerate with chronic indifference to the flaying of the rule of law, and the principles of decency, helpfulness, peace, and justice.

He has taught us about the costs of not doing our political homework, of staying home civically and electorally. He has taught us that if we do not look ourselves in the mirror, the three horsemen of fascism, lawless plutocracy, and oligarchy will run our beloved country into the ground, if not over the fiscal cliff.

(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).

The Unnatural Disasters Pushing Farmers Off The Land
By Jim Hightower

As a farmer told me, "You can still make a small fortune in agriculture, but you have to start with a large fortune."

Farmers tend to be optimistic pessimists. The odds are against them - the bankers, bugs, monopolists, weather, and sorry politicians. Yet they keep at it, battling the odds to nurture the seeds that bring us an abundance of foods. Coping with natural disasters is to be expected, but it's the unnatural disasters of rigged economic policies and unrestrained corporate profiteering that slam the door on good, efficient family farmers.

Now in the sixth year of plummeting prices, farmers are producing more, getting less... and going broke. For example, it costs dairy farmers on average $1.92 to produce a gallon of milk, but monopolistic buyers pay them only a-buck-32 per gallon. No surprise then that since 2000, half of America's dairy farmers have been squeezed out of business. Overall, farmers' profits have fallen by almost half in the last five years, so farm debt, bankruptcies, and suicides are rising again towards the calamitous levels of the 1980s farm crisis.

A central cause of today's spreading farm depression is the increasing monopolization of all things farmers must buy (from seeds to machinery) and monopolization of the markets that buy from them. Just four biotech giants, for example, control 63 percent of all commercial seeds sold in the world; four meat processors control 84 percent of the US beef market, and four global traders control 90 percent of the entire world's grain sales.

This monopolistic structure is robbing farmers, ransacking rural vitality, and ripping off consumers. Yet, Congress and Trump are coddling the robbers, ransackers, and rip-off artists. To help counter their insanity, join forces with the grassroots power of FarmAid at

(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-

Seema gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Administrator Verma,

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 change Medicare and Medicaid from government to private insurance programs, 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 05-18-2019. We salute you frau Verma, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's Remorse (on April 1)
By Robert Reich

Today at a Rose Garden ceremony belatedly celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon, President Trump said he regretted that thousands of children were still being held in custody at the U.S.-Mexican border, many without adequate medical care. "It is a tragedy, and I am totally responsible," he said. He went on to say "I created a crisis at the border solely to fuel my base of supporters, for no reason other than my own political survival."

After an awkward moment of silence, Mr. Trump said "I have lied again and again to the American people - about voting irregularities in the 2016 election, about the motives of my Democratic critics in Congress, and, yes, about my knowledge of and agreement to Putin's role in helping me become president." Wiping his eyes, Mr. Trump then commenced a string of apologies. "I apologize for criticizing the FBI and Justice Department when they were only trying to do their jobs," he said. "I apologize for calling the press 'enemies of the people,'" and "I apologize for criticizing judges who I disagreed with but were working honorably within our Constitutional system of checks and balances."

Mr. Trump went on to express regret for "personally profiting from my presidency, and for appointing people - including my daughter and son-in-law - who have also profited from their offices." He also said "I should never have tried to end the Affordable Care Act, on which millions of Americans depend." Turning to foreign policy, he said "I should never have praised blood-thirsty dictators while criticizing America's traditional friends around the world."

Then, nearly breaking down, Mr. Trump expressed remorse "for sowing hate and division in America." He said "I have put a cloud over this presidency and disgraced this great country, for which I will feel ashamed for the rest of my life." He then announced he was resigning the presidency effective immediately. "I hope my decision begins a process of healing," he said, brushing away tears. "I hope April 1, 2019 will be remembered as the day I came clean."

(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

Only The Struggle Matters
By Chris Hedges

PARIS-In the small chapel to the right at the entrance of the neoclassical Church of Saint-Sulpice is a large mural by Eugene Delacroix. The painter, at the end of his career and suffering from the tuberculous laryngitis that would soon kill him, depicted a story from Genesis. "Jacob is travelling with the flocks and other gifts he is taking to his brother Esau in the hope of appeasing his anger," Delacroix wrote in 1861 when the painting was completed. "A stranger appears, blocking his path, and engages him in a fierce struggle - The holy books see this struggle as a symbol of the trials God sometimes sends His chosen ones."

Delacroix shows the stranger-an angel-and Jacob wrestling in a sunlit clearing in a thick forest. Jacob, bent with exertion, the muscles on his back tense, attempts to push back against the angel, who stands implacably upright. The mural, created with layers of paint and bold, thick brush strokes that would later inspire the Impressionists, was Delacroix's final testament to the inherent struggle-a struggle he was acutely aware he would soon lose-with mortality.

Delacroix asks us what constitutes victory in life. What gives life meaning? How are we to live? Why struggle against forces that we can never overcome? In the biblical story, Jacob is crippled in the long night's fight, then blessed at dawn by the departing angel. He begs the angel's name. But that name remains unspoken. Delacroix painted the inscription "Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink," from Psalm 69, over the entrance to the Chapel of the Holy Angels, which holds two other murals by Delacroix portraying clashes with angels. On the ceiling is the Archangel Michael driving the demons from heaven. On the wall opposite Jacob and the angel, Heliodorus is attacked by angels as he attempts to steal the treasures from the temple in Jerusalem. A large window in the church's stone wall spills sunlight over the paintings.

"Painting taunts and torments me in a thousand ways," Delacroix wrote in his journal in 1861, seven months before completing his work at Saint-Sulpice. "... [T]hings that seemed to be the easiest to overcome present appalling, interminable difficulties. How is it, then, that instead of casting me down, this eternal combat lifts me up, not discouraging, but consoling me?"

Our worth is determined, the painter attempts to show us, not by what we do in life, but by what we do with what life gives us. It is the ferocity and steadfastness of the struggle that exalt us, especially when we comprehend that victory is ultimately impossible. This wisdom would be echoed by Albert Camus almost a century after Delacroix when he wrote that life required us to "etre a la hauteur de son désespoir"-rise up to the level of our despair.

Three Saturdays ago France experienced its 18th consecutive weekend protest by the gilets jaunes, or "yellow vests," against President Emmanuel Macron's austerity measures, tax cuts for the wealthy and privatization of public services. Members of the masked and violent Black Bloc had infiltrated the yellow-vest protest on the Champs-Elysees. A few dozen Black Bloc people smashed windows of luxury shops and torched Le Fouquet, one of the city's best-known restaurants. Police, who inexplicably waited to intervene, eventually used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters. The images of the clashes and property destruction were repeatedly broadcast throughout the following week. The police chief would be fired. Macron, who during the mayhem was skiing in the Pyrenees, would ban protests on the Champs-Elysees and order 6,000 counter-terrorism soldiers deployed outside government buildings. The pleadings by yellow-vest organizers for Black Bloc activists to separate themselves from the nonviolent protests were effectively drowned out by the state's successful demonization-bolstered by the broadcast media-of the protest movement as a threat to public order and security.

As clashes took place on the Champs-Elysees, some 20,000 demonstrators thronged the streets outside the old Paris Opera House to protest the government's refusal to address the crisis of global warming. My wife and I were in this nonviolent crowd, which was largely ignored by the press for the more colorful scenes of newspaper kiosks going up in flames on the Champs-Elysees. The Black Bloc in France, as in the United States, is a gift to the security and surveillance apparatus. I suspect the French police waited to intervene until the camera crews could get enough dramatic footage. The goal of any counterinsurgency campaign is to villainize protest movements, paint them as violent and dangerous to limit their appeal, reduce their numbers and use them as justification to ban any dissent.

Revolution is not about catharsis. It is not about joining a masked mob to "get off" on property destruction. That is protest as adolescent narcissism. It celebrates a self-destructive hyper-masculinity that also fuels many in the police and military. It alienates those within the power structures who, if revolution is to succeed, must be pried away from defending the ruling elites. It produces nothing but fleeting protest porn, which Black Bloc activists watch with self-admiration. And the state loves it.

"We are attached to constitutional rights, but we've got people who through all means quite simply want to make a wreck of the republic, to break things and destroy, running the risk of getting people killed," Macron said after the disturbances.

The yellow vests returned the next weekend in Paris and other cities in France. But the numbers had fallen by half. The peaceful marches were again disrupted by Black Bloc activists, shattering windows and throwing bottles. The yellow-vest protesters deride the Black Bloc contingents as the casseurs, or wreckers. Yellow-vest marchers have taken to waving white flags as a symbol of nonviolence. It appears to be a losing battle.

France has been in an official state of emergency since the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. The current crisis has only increased the presence of squads of heavily armed soldiers patrolling the city. The threat of terrorism, whether from radical jihadists or cliques of Black Bloc activists, is used by France and other states that seek to crush basic civil liberties and dissent in the name of national security. Macron, who is deaf to the plight of the working class and serves as a French instrument for the global social inequality orchestrated by corporate elites, is pushing significant sectors of the population off the streets and into the arms of the neofascist Marine Le Pen, with whom our corporate masters can make an accommodation, just as they have with Donald Trump. What they fear is a popular uprising. What they fear is losing power. If it takes alliances with repugnant neofascists and demagogues to retain control they will make them.

The brutality of our corporate executioners grows by the day. They will stop at nothing, including wholesale murder, to consolidate power and amass greater profits. Blinded by hubris, driven by greed, disdainful of democracy, foolishly believing their wealth will protect them, they will herd us over the cliff unless they are overthrown.

Delacroix was right. It is the struggle that matters. Not the outcome. I was where I should have been that Saturday in front of the Paris Opera House. Yes, our cries were not heard. Yes, it may be futile. But the fight is what makes us human. It gives us dignity. It affirms life in the face of death. "This eternal combat" brings with it, as the painter knew, a strange kind of consolation that lifts us up to the level of our despair.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Bill Day ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

William Barr Reads 'Moby-Dick,' Finds No Evidence Of Whales
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Attorney General William Barr has just read the classic American novel "Moby-Dick," by Herman Melville, and found that the book contains "no evidence whatsoever of whales," Barr stated on Tuesday.

The Attorney General issued his statement on the absence of whales in the Melville classic in a two-paragraph book report released to the news media.

"Those who read 'Moby-Dick' looking for whales will be sorely disappointed," Barr wrote. "There are no whales here."

To illustrate his point, Barr quoted the book's first sentence: "Call me Ishmael."

"As you can clearly see, that sentence does not have a whale in it," Barr wrote.

The Attorney General indicated that he hoped his report would put an end to "reckless speculation" about the existence of whales in "Moby-Dick." "It's time to move on," he wrote.

Barr disclosed that, after waiting years to read "Moby-Dick," he was able to finish reading it in approximately fifteen minutes.

(c) 2019 Andy Borowitz

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 13 (c) 04/05/2019

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