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In This Edition

Dahr Jamail warns, "Self-Immolation As The World Burns: An Earth Day Report."

Uri Avnery remembers, "The Great Day."

Glen Ford concludes, "Russiagate Shows The Democrats' True Corporate, Warmongering Colors."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Remove Trump, Defang Pence: Impeachment Is The Way."

Jim Hightower explores, "The Koch Coup."

John Nichols tells, "What Andrew Cuomo Has In Common With Scott Walker."

James Donahue is, "Dancing Around The Maypole."

Norman Solomon explains, "Why The DNC Is Fighting WikiLeaks And Not Wall Street."

Heather Digby Parton with, "Little Donnie Trump, King Of The World."

David Suzuki reports, "Kinder Morgan Pipeline Controversy Proves Need To Shift Course."

Charles P. Pierce wonders, "The Trump Administration Wants To ... Nationalize The Coal Industry?"

Jane Stillwater sees, "Greed Without Borders: Watching The Deep State Eat Its Young."

David Swanson follows, "Senator Tim Kaine's Brief Run-In With the Law."

Michigan governor Rick Snyder wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich hears, "The Shameful Silence Of The CEOs."

Chris Hedges with a must read, "Chaco Canyon, Chaco Earth."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports "'Politics Was Never This Toxic In The 2010s,' Says Future American While Watching Candidates Battle In 2048 Debate Pits" but first Uncle Ernie looks into "The Crime Family Trump."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Bob Gorrell, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Roy Luck, Kirsty Wigglesworth, Robyn Beck, Seth Wenig, Hazem Bader, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

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The Crime Family Trump
By Ernest Stewart

"To disagree with Trump is to be wrong. To portray Trump in a way that does not fit with his image of himself is to be a loser. It is an approach to life that may work in business (where Trump can walk out and not deal with people who displease him), but government leaders do not enjoy that luxury, especially the president of the United States." ~~~ David Cay Johnston ~ The Making of Donald Trump

"Climate scientists have long pointed to the Southwest as one of the places in the U.S. that is most vulnerable to global warming impacts, especially drought. And if there's one thing that even climate denialists don't dispute, dry things burn." ~~~ Jeff Goodell

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word "doublethink" involved the use of doublethink." ~~~ Winston Smith ~ 1984

"I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy." ~~~ Kahlil Gibran

Got to reading David Cay Johnston new book, "It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America." You may know that David is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who has been following tRump for the last 30 years or so and there is little that David doesn't know about the Donald. For example:
"Here are the key things people should know about Donald Trump. He comes from a family of criminals: His grandfather made his fortune running whorehouses in Seattle and in the Yukon Territory. His father, Fred, had a business partner named Willie Tomasello, who was an associate of the Gambino crime family. Trump's father was also investigated by the U.S. Senate for ripping off the government for what would be the equivalent of $36 million in today's money. Donald got his showmanship from his dad as well as his comfort with organized criminals.

"I think it is very important for religious Americans to know that Donald Trump says that his personal philosophy of life is revenge. He has called anyone who turns the other cheek -- which is a fundamental teaching of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount -- a fool, an idiot or a schmuck. Trump is a man who says things that are absolutely contrary to the teachings of the New Testament. He also denigrates Christians. Yet you see all of these ministers endorsing him.

"I've followed Donald for 30 years, I don't see any evidence that he has changed and he certainly hasn't repented, which is a fundamental Christian obligation.

"He is a racist through and through. He has been found in formal judicial proceedings to discriminate against nonwhites in rentals and employment.

"It's important to understand that Trump is aggressively anti-Christian despite claiming to be one. He is bluntly a racist. Most importantly, he is literally ignorant about almost everything."
I could go on and on but I'm sure you get the point. That makes three in a row America. First the Crime Family Bush, then Obama's family all CIA spies, with Grand Ma running the CIA's Pacific bank, and now the Crime Family Trump. I'm just surprised that we're more like Nazi Germany than we are. The next step is to open all those "Happy Camps" that Dubya had built!

In Other News

I see where Europe may get it's drought areas doubled if they fail to hold back global warming! Global warming will exacerbate soil droughts in Europe - droughts will last longer, affect greater areas, and have an impact on more people. If the earth warms by three degrees Celsius, extreme events could become the normal state in the future.

According to the modelling results of the author team -- which involved scientists from the USA, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom -- if global warming rises by three degrees, the drought regions in Europe will expand from 13 percent to 26 percent of the total area compared to the reference period of 1971 to 2000. If efforts are successful in limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as stipulated in the Paris Climate Protection Agreement, the drought regions in Europe can be limited to 19 percent of the total area. With the exception of Scandinavia, the duration of the largest droughts in Europe will also last three to four times longer than in the past. Up to 400 million people could then be affected. As 40 million people are being effected right now in the southwestern United States.

The reports says:

"Negative consequences can be expected for the Mediterranean region, where the drought regions could expand from 28 percent of the area in the reference period to 49 percent of the area in the most extreme cases. The number of drought months per year will also increase significantly in Southern Europe: 'In the event of a three-degree warming, we assume there will be 5.6 drought months per year; up to now, the number has been 2.1 months. For some parts of the Iberian Peninsula, we project that the drought could even last more than seven months,' says UFZ hydrologist Dr Luis Samaniego, one of the two main authors of the study. His colleague Dr Stephan Thober, who co-wrote the study as the second main author, added: '"A three-degree temperature rise also means that the water content in the soil would decline by 35 millimetres up to a depth of two metres. In other words, 35,000 cubic metres of water will no longer be available per square kilometre of land.' This corresponds roughly to the water deficit experienced during the drought period that prevailed in the summer of 2003 throughout much of Europe. If the three-degrees scenario takes place, drought events of this intensity and extent could therefore occur twice as often in years ahead and become the normal state in many parts of Europe. In future, droughts would even far exceed this normal state; the impact on civil society and the economy would be severe."

Out west the 18 year long drought continues on in some places. Here's the current map:

Meanwhile out in Texas some rivers that used to run till the end of summer are already dry due to lack of snow in the mountains. So who ya gonna believe, America, your lying eyes or der Fuhrer?

And Finally

Some 70 years ago Eric Arthur Blair wrote a book about a future society, a society that I think we're all familiar with today. For those of you who said, "who?" You may be more familiar with the author by his pen name, "George Orwell" and his book was, of course, 1984.

What most folks don't realize that Eric wasn't really writing about some dystopian future but what was going on all around him, in 1948! The language of "doublespeak" was being spoken loud and clear, as it had been in Nazi Germany, in England and here in America as well. To see how all that worked out let's move forward 70 years and see the logical outcome!

Trump, is how it worked out; and you thought the book was a nightmare, huh? Trump is the master of doublespeak as are most all of the politicians in both parties, the majority of the Extreme Court and 99% of the American corporations members as well! I called the "Happy Camps" section of the magazine that instead of American Concentration Camps because mighty Zeus knows that all politicians and most Americas love a good euphemism, a.k.a., doublespeak. In fact most prefer doublespeak to the truth. Most Americans love being plugged into the Matrix where they don't have to deal with reality, especially the truth! Believe this old sooth sayer if you want to piss someone off just dare to tell the truth, I dare ya!

It used to be in days of yore that all the dirty political dealing were done behind closed doors. Now, it's done in the open, right in front of your eyes and you could see it too if you'd take your eyes off of those TV, computer or telephone screens. I get it. Those kittens are really cute and funny, unlike the scary mass murders committed in your name all around the world on a minute by minute bases 24/7/365 by our 1% masters and on your dime too!

So, roll on over and go back to sleep, America and get the justice that you so righteously deserve when those chickens come home to roost! Ask England and France how that's working out for them! Orwell gave the warning, said the sooth but no one was listening. The only good thing that came out of 1984 were songs by Spirit and David Bowie! Go figure!

Keepin' On

Another week and zero chump change in the old p.o. box. I've seen people throw more money than what we owe out the window of their car in order to make room in their pockets. Of course, the person who did that was rich beyond your wildest explanations (See Uncle Ernie's Hollywood Daze)!

Compared to any other Ezine that I am aware of, you get the most bang for your bucks with us, as we could publish for 5 years on what the others require for 3 months; and, in some cases we could go on for 20 years! Plus, you have the added advantage of reading the truth, instead of whatever song and dance some politician gives to the others who publish it word for word, when not a drop of it is the truth.

As this "moving paper fantasy" of a government is about to collapse under it's own weight and take you with it, wouldn't it be handy to know what the truth is and how it relates to you and yours? After being strapped inside a white box car on the way to a Happy Camp is no time to figure out that you've been lied to, nor will it be easy to explain to the kids that mommy and daddy are morons. Perhaps it would be to your advantage to know what's happening before it hits the fans, and be able to avoid the worst of what's to come? If so, you'll want to keep us active in the fight to restore the old Republic and keep the truth that's so hard to find out there coming to you every week. If that's the case, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep fighting the good fight for you!


01-01-1969 ~ 04-21-2018
Thanks for the laughs!


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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) 2018 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.

A man watches the Thomas Fire in the hills above Carpinteria, California, December 11,
2017. The Thomas Fire in California's Ventura and Santa Barbara counties has consumed
more than 230,000 acres over the past week making it the fifth largest fire in the state's history.

Self-Immolation As The World Burns: An Earth Day Report
Dahr Jamail

"Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather," lawyer David Buckel wrote in the email sent to The New York Times just before he performed an act of self-immolation at a park in Brooklyn recently. "Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result -- my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves."

Nationally known for his brilliant work championing gay rights, Buckel had been distressed by what was happening to the planet for years and was also heavily involved in environmental causes. In his suicide note to the Times, Buckel discussed how challenging it was to change things for the better in the world, even with so many people working so strenuously to do so and mentioned how donating to organizations was not enough.

Deciding to bring his life to an end by using fossil fuels for self-immolation to make his point, Buckel's last note read, "Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purpose in death."

To the average person who understands anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), Buckel's act might seem extreme. It is extreme ... but within the context of how truly far along the planet already is (for example, for years now Earth has been seeing 150-200 species go extinct every single day, and half of all of the planet's marine life has been lost since just 1970), it becomes less so.

The rate of underwater melting around the Antarctic is doubling every 20 years, and is on a pace that will see it soon eclipse melting in Greenland to become the single largest source of sea-level rise on Earth, according to a recently published study in Nature Geoscience. This amount of sub-sea melting of the ice continent is far greater than what was previously known, and the ice there is retreating at a rate five times the historical average. This is raising fears of the specter of a worst-case sea level rise of around 10 feet by 2100.

This is one reason why, after another deadly cyclone struck the island group this month, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said that ACD is now brining "almost constant" extreme weather and is literally a threat to the survival of the island nation. Bainimarama told the BBC that his country had entered a "frightening new era" of extreme weather that needed to be confronted.

Things are progressing so fast now with ACD impacts that more than one scientist I've been talking with over the years has shifted from being vehemently anti-geoengineering to either giving it renewed attention, or even outright supporting it. This is, to me, deeply troubling.

Scientists in several developing countries are now actively studying ways to dim sunshine and slow planetary warming via man-made chemical sunshade, as they see this as less risky than unchecked increases in global temperatures in the absence of global climate action.

Reuters reported that 12 scholars from countries including China, Thailand, Brazil, Bangladesh, India and Ethiopia published an article in the journal Nature recently, stating that since the poor are the most vulnerable to ACD, "Developing countries must lead on solar geo-engineering research."

"The technique is controversial, and rightly so," the scholars wrote of the technique, which involves spraying clouds with reflective sulphur particles high in the atmosphere. "It is too early to know what its effects would be: it could be very helpful or very harmful," they wrote. The same article cited a panel of UN climate experts who called solar geo-engineering "economically, socially and institutionally infeasible."

At the current trajectory of emissions and global growth, Earth is on course to see a minimum warming of 3 degrees Celsius (3 degrees C), or far more, above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100, and the goal of keeping temperature increases "well below" the 2 degrees C as per the 2015 Paris Agreement among nearly 200 countries currently looks unfeasible.

While self-immolation and geo-engineering are extreme, this month's survey of the planet provides the context within which these radical phenomena are taking place.


Due to lack of moisture, a recently published study shows that half of Alberta, Canada's boreal forests could disappear due to ACD and fires by 2100. The study warned that it's possible that even 75 percent of the forest could disappear if conditions become even more extreme. What is particularly worrisome about this is the fact that the boreal forests store massive amounts of carbon, so as they disappear, that carbon is also released into the atmosphere.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Sahara Desert is expanding, thanks in part to ACD, according to another report. The boundaries of this massive desert have grown by 10 percent in the last century, affecting farming terrain near its southern boundary in Sudan and Chad, places already struggling with famine and food scarcity.

Looking a little further south, rainforests, savannahs and woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa have released approximately 2.6 billion tons of CO2 over the last seven years, according to a recent study. The leading causes of this are ACD, deforestation, wildfires and droughts. This is disconcerting because Africa contains one-third of the planet's tropical rainforests.

Other direct impacts on human health from ACD this month are clear. A recent report showed how, as the planet continues to warm, ticks are thriving in more places than ever, which makes Lyme disease the first epidemic of ACD.

Meanwhile, ACD's impacts on animals continue to be prevalent.

A recently published study showed that seabirds are not adapting adequately enough to climate shifts brought about by ACD. As rising temperatures are causing the birds' food sources like insects, vegetation and plankton to appear earlier each year, the bird populations are not able to sync up their breeding and nesting patters in order to adapt to these changes.

Meanwhile, extreme weather's economic toll is making itself known in the US, which experienced three different weather disasters in just the first three months of this year, each with more than a billion-dollar price tag, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data.


The pace of melting ice at or near the poles continues to amaze scientists. A recently published study showed that the Greenland Ice Sheet is seeing its melting nearly double over just the last century. This also means it is melting at its fastest rate in at least the last 4,000 years.

In the US, Western Alaska's sea ice is at the lowest extent it has been since record keeping began. Rick Thoman, a weather service climate scientist, told the Anchorage Daily News that when looking at the long-term records of coastal sea ice from satellite data, whaler's logs and Danish and Norwegian ship records, "Nothing even comes close" to how little sea ice this February and March have just witnessed in that region.

On the sea level increase front, a recently published NOAA report showed that high-tide flooding could literally be happening "every other day" by the end of this century, and showed that already, the frequency that high-tide flooding is occurring has already doubled along the East Coast of the US in just the last 15 years. Another recent report showed how the state of California is facing a massive threat from sea level rise, and indicates that previous flood hazard maps had underestimated the area of land at risk to rising seas by up to 90 percent. The San Francisco Bay Area is going to be particularly hard hit.

Meanwhile, drought across the US continues to persist, and in some places, worsen, as ACD advances.

By early April, a stretch of the Rio Grande River in New Mexico had already dried up, well in advance of summer. Due primarily to record low snowpack, that the river has started to dry up this early in the year is nearly unprecedented.

In Minnesota, another report has warned that ACD will turn Boundary Waters Wilderness Region into "a barren grassland" if human carbon emissions stay the same. As temperatures in that area continue to increase, lush forests are turning into grasslands there, and the waters will disappear with the trees.

A new early-warning satellite system has provided a warning for several countries that are at risk of having their reservoirs shrink from drought to the point that their taps could run completely dry. While Cape Town, South Africa, has featured prominently in the news with its "Day Zero" warning of when the city will run out of water, now countries including India, Iraq, Morocco and Spain could also be seeing "day zero" type water crises as their water reservoirs dry up. For example, Morocco's second-largest reservoir has already shrunk 60 percent in three years due to recurring drought, and its water level is the lowest it has been in a decade. Iraq's Mosul Dam reservoir has seen a long decline and is now down 60 percent from its peak, due to ACD-fueled drought, coupled with demand from Turkish hydropower projects upstream and increasing water demand downstream.

Meanwhile, as the oceans continue to warm and coral bleaching events become more common, another report shows that fish populations along Australia's Great Barrier Reef are collapsing in the wake of ongoing coral bleaching events. Not surprisingly, many of the fish species that live among the coral are dropping off as the corals are wiped out by the bleaching events.

To make matters worse, another recently published study shows that marine heatwaves are increasing in both frequency and duration at an accelerated rate in many parts of the planet, particularly so in Australian waters. The study showed that the number of oceanic heatwave days per year has increased a staggering 54 percent globally, as oceans have absorbed 93 percent of atmospheric heat from ACD.


A recently released book by Heather Hansen shows how the US -- and much of the rest of the planet -- is entering an era of mega-fire, given ACD-fueled droughts and wildfires, along with human encroachment and deforestation.

It has been long known that ACD is amping up the frequency and intensity of wildfires, along with lengthening wildfire seasons, and scientists continue to address these facts.

As though to underscore these points, at the time of writing, forecasters in the US began sounding warnings of dangerous, life-threatening wildfire conditions across parts of the southwest and southern plains whilst firefighters in Oklahoma fought blazes that had already killed two people.

The Associated Press reported that weather conditions in drought-stricken areas of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas are creating "dangerous fire conditions," the likes of which have not been seen in at least a decade.


Amidst a large number of scientific studies recently published, limiting global warming to 2 degreesC will not prevent destructive and deadly ACD impacts as so many people believed it would. Two degrees Celsius warming above pre-industrial baseline temperatures, which was long held as the temperature limit for maintaining a safe and healthy planet, is no longer the case. Just that much of a temperature increase is now understood to bring mass displacement of humans from rising seas, wide-scale shortages of food and water across the globe, and accelerated losses of animal and plant species -- both of which are already plummeting since we are well into the planet's Sixth Mass Extinction.

Meanwhile, during the month of March, high temperature records across Asia fell like dominoes. Pakistan saw 114 degreesF, a high temperature never seen so early in the season. Other records included 110 degrees in Iraq, 104 degrees in Qatar, 104 degrees in Turkmenistan, 99 degrees in Uzbekistan and 96 degrees in Tajikistan.

Denial and Reality

The active ACD denialists of the Trump administration have been busy these last few weeks. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led by fossil-fuel industry hack Scott Pruitt, prepares to roll back laws that required automobiles to be cleaner and more fuel efficient.

Meanwhile, Pruitt's EPA directed staffers to use talking points designed to downplay the role humans play in ACD. The points literally mimic Pruitt's own public statements, as he has consistently denied the human role in the crisis from day one.

Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, another ACD denialist and pro-fossil fuel hack, recently had all National Park Service officials delete every single mention of humans' role in ACD from a report on sea level rise and storm surge.

All of this is almost laughably contradicted by reality.

Four oil giants (Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell) recently acknowledged the global consensus about the reality of ACD (and humans' role in it) to a federal judge.

The country of New Zealand recently announced the cessation of all future offshore oil and gas exploration permits, a move that took oil companies by surprise but underscored how serious the country is about shifting away from fossil fuels.

Climate Disruption Dispatches

This is a good thing, given that a recent report showed the world to be on track to reach 1.5 degreesC warming within a decade from now. Hitting that temperature increase marker means that the planet will have already exceeded one of the key goals in the 2015 Paris climate agreements.

Finally for this month, a recently released study showed that the Gulf Stream current is now the weakest it has been for 1,600 years. The current, known scientifically as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), carries warm water towards the North Pole, where it then cools and sinks, then flows back southwards. ACD is slowing down the cooling of the water as warmer temperatures melt the Greenland ice sheet, which floods the area with less dense freshwater, which further weakens the AMOC.

The report warns that the current could be less stable than previously understood. This is particularly worrisome, given that the AMOC has historically caused dramatic changes in the global climate system.

It was previously believed that a slowing down of the AMOC would take centuries to occur. A collapse of the AMOC could cause Western Europe to experience far more extreme winters, sea level rise along the US eastern seaboard to increase rapidly, and disrupted rainfall across the tropics.

"I think we're close to a tipping point," climatologist Michael Mann told ThinkProgress. Mann called the slowing down of the AMOC as being "without precedent" in more than a millennium, and added, "It's happening about a century ahead of schedule relative to what the models predict."

Reacting to this study, senior scientists warned the Guardian that a disruption to the AMOC must be avoided "at all costs."

Meanwhile, business as usual in harvesting and burning fossil fuels around the planet continues apace throughout the vast majority of countries, particularly within the US.
(c) 2018 Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

The Great Day
By Uri Avnery

TWO DAYS ago, the State of Israel celebrated its 70th birthday. For days we heard about nothing else. Innumerable speeches full of platitudes. A huge festival of kitsch.

Everyone agreed: It was a historic moment, when David Ben-Gurion got up in a small hall in Tel Aviv and declared the foundation of the state.

Everybody still alive from then was asked this week: Where were you at that moment? What did you feel, when history knocked on the door?

WELL, I was alive. And I did not feel anything.

I was a soldier in the new army, which was not yet called "Israeli Defense Army " (its official name in Hebrew). My company had a small encampment of pup tents in Hulda, a kibbutz south of Tel Aviv.

We were to attack an Arab village called al-Kubab, near the town of Ramleh, that night. Stiff resistance was expected, and we were making all kinds of preparations, as soldiers do before a battle, when somebody ran up and shouted: "Quick, Ben-Gurion is declaring the state in the dining hall!" In the dining hall of the kibbutz was the only radio in the vicinity. Everyone ran there, including me.

Frankly, I did not give a damn about the declaration. We were in the middle of a desperate war - desperate for both sides - and we knew that the fighting would decide whether our state would come about or not. If we won the war, there would be a state. If we lost he war, there would be no state and no we.

A speech by a politician somewhere in Tel Aviv would make no difference whatsoever.

But I was curious about one detail: what would the new state be called? There had been several suggestions, and I wanted to know which one was accepted.

When I heard the word "Israel", I left the dining room and returned to cleaning my rifle.

The fierce battle, by the way, did not materialize. When we attacked the village from two sides, the inhabitants fled. We entered empty houses, with the food still warm on the tables. The inhabitants were never allowed to return.

The next morning my company was transferred to the south. The Egyptian army was entering Palestine, and we were to stop them before they reached Tel Aviv. But that is another story.

DAVID BEN-GURION, whose voice I had heard that afternoon on the radio, has by now become the national hero of all times, the man who created the State of Israel. This week a documentary about him was broadcast on television.

The director, Raviv Drucker, an excellent journalist, has produced a very good film. It shows Ben-Gurion as he really was, with all his good and bad points.

Compared to him, his successors in the Prime Minister's office were second rate. Not to mention the present occupant, who is a dwarf.

It was Ben-Gurion who took the decision to declare the foundation of the state at that particular moment, when the last British occupier had left and four neighboring Arab armies were about to enter the country. His colleagues were afraid of the decision and had to be pushed by him.

Frankly, I don't think that this decision was so momentous. If the declaration had been deferred for some months, it would have made no real difference. After we had won the war, though with very heavy casualties, we could have declared the state at any time.

While the documentary is mostly accurate, there are some mistakes. For example, it shows the masses of Tel Avivis cheering in the streets upon the declaration. That is a falsification, though it has been repeated so often that Drucker can be excused for believing it. In fact, the masses cheered in November 1947, when the United Nations decided upon the partition of Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state (and a separate unit in Jerusalem).

When the Jewish state was officially founded on May 14, and Ben-Gurion made that speech, the streets were empty. The young were in the army, their elders were too anxious to cheer.

In that war, some 6300 of us were killed - out of a total Jewish population of 630,000. The equivalent of three million US citizens today. Many more were wounded (including poor me). Losses on the Arab side were even higher in absolute terms.

BEN-GURION'S AFFECTATIONS were many and colorful. He liked to present himself as a great philosopher, and the documentary shows him receiving many hundreds of books, paid for by a rich British Jew - which would be a criminal offense under current Israeli law.

Be-Ge (as we called him) interfered in the conduct of the war, some of his erroneous decisions cost many lives. He also changed the character of the army in ways that we soldiers resented very much.

But all his good and bad decisions were negligible compared to his real historic role: his decision to turn Israel into a bulwark against the rising Arab world.

Of course, the Zionist movement was from the beginning a conscious part of European colonialism. In his book, "Der Judenstaat", the founder, Theodor Herzl, already promised that the state would be "a part of the wall of European civilization against Asiatic barbarism."

But it was Ben-Gurion who turned this vague promise into fact from the first day of Israel. According to his first biographer, he detested the Arabs and Arab culture from his first day in Palestine, suppressed the Arab minority in Israel and refused to draw Israel's borders.

The underlying reason was and is of course, that Zionism from the beginning wanted to dispossess the Arabs from their land in order to create there a new Jewish nation. This was never admitted, but was clear from the beginning.

All Ben-Gurion's successors, up to the present occupant of the office, followed this line. Even on its 70th birthday, Israel recognizes no official borders. Though we have official peace agreements with two Arab states (Egypt and Jordan) and unofficial cooperation with several more, we are hated by hundreds of millions of Arabs and a billion Muslims. And, even more important: we are at war with the entire Palestinian people. That is the real legacy of Ben-Gurion.

I AM not quite objective on this subject. I, too, was at war with Ben-Gurion.

The longer his reign lasted, the more autocratic he became. Altogether, from his assumption of power in the pre-state Zionist movement, he was the supreme leader for 30 consecutive years. No human being can be in power for so long without becoming a bit deranged.

I became the owner and editor-in-chief of a news magazine soon after the war, and began to criticize him sharply: his increasingly dictatorial manner, his colonialist treatment of the Palestinians, his anti-peace policy, his reactionary socio-economic policy and the corruption of many of his followers.

The chief of the security service publicly called me "Government Enemy No.1". On one occasion the security chief (nicknamed "Little Issar") suggested to Ben-Gurion to put me under "administrative detention" - arrest without a court order. Ben-Gurion agreed, but under one condition: that the leader of the opposition, Menachem Begin, would silently agree. Begin refused adamantly and threatened to kick up a stink. He also warned me in secret.

My office was bombed several times, I myself was attacked and my hands broken. (As I have said before, that attack was a blessing in disguise. A young woman named Rachel volunteered to move in with me to help me along for a few weeks, and stayed for 53 years, until her death.)

At the height of our fight, Ben-Gurion ordered the National Theater (Habima) to produce a piece openly directed against me. It showed the vicious editor of a weekly paper, who enjoyed making people miserable. Though he never usually went to the theater, he attended this premiere. The documentary shows him, his wife and colleagues applauding wildly. The piece did not survive three performances.

IT MUST be admitted that he was a very courageous leader. Though a staunch anti-Communist, he let Stalin support Israel with arms during the 1948 War of Independence. He made peace with Germany just eight years after the Holocaust, because the young state desperately needed money. He entered into the famous collusion with France and Britain to attack Egypt (with disastrous results.)

Towards the end, he surrounded himself with young disciples - Moshe Dayan, Teddy Kollek, Shimon Peres and others, and his elderly colleagues became afraid of him. They ganged up on him and threw him out. His efforts to form a new party and stage a comeback ran into the sand. In the end we made a kind of peace.

When we look back today upon his entire career, it must be admitted that his influence on today's Israel is immense. For better and for worse, he laid the tracks on which Israel is still rolling.

Mostly for the worse.
(c) 2018 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Russiagate Shows The Democrats' True Corporate, Warmongering Colors
By Glen Ford

For the Democrats, Donald Trump's surprise Electoral College victory meant that the 2016 election campaign will not end until the next go-round, in 2020, punctuated by a battle for control of Congress, next year. White Democrats cannot accept that the majority of their race (63 percent of white men, 53 percent of white women) voted for Trump -- a truth that does not comport with white Democrats' self-image as leaders of a cosmopolitan, "progressive" America. Greg Palast and others have shown conclusively that the GOP stole the 2016 election the old-fashioned way, through Black voter suppression, just as in 2000 and 2004, but the Democrats are much more comfortable blaming the outcome on a fantastical "collusion" among the Russians, Trump and Wikileaks. This conspiracy theory is abetted by the imperial Deep State, encompassing most of the public and undercover actors of the U.S. foreign policy establishment who fear Trump cannot be relied on to militarily prevent Russia and China from "colluding" to end Washington's imperial hegemony over planet Earth.

In delegitimizing the election (for all the wrong reasons) the Democrats and their corporate media allies have created a crisis of legitimacy for the whole U.S. political order -- which, from a radical perspective, is quite a good thing. Unfortunately, the systems of ruling class social and economic control are not nearly as fragile as the Russia-baiters would have the masses believe and, in any case, have little do with the tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum choices made at the polls by a bare majority of the people every couple of years. The two-corporate-party electoral arrangement negates the possibility of real democratic choice, providing only a menu acceptable to corporate campaign contributors and corporate media gatekeepers. However, it is the illusion of U.S. democracy that is crucial to popular support of the system -- a mirage that dissipates by the day under the relentless onslaught of the "news," as interpreted by the likes of Rachel Maddow.The Russia-baiters are defecating in their own nest -- and claiming the stink comes from the Kremlin and its "useful idiots" here at home: meaning, folks like us at Black Agenda Report, the Black Alliance for Peace, and a short list of other lelft-wing websites.

As a result, over the past year and a half we have witnessed an hysteria of McCarthyism in a nation where there exists only a tiny organized Left, yet where the masses of people have little to no confidence in the institutions and parties of governance -- a political environment that is super-heated by constant threats of all-enveloping war. This suits the militarists and CIA spooks just fine, of course, but also serves the purposes of a Democratic Party that has nothing to offer its base of economically besieged and intensely disaffected voters, most of whom are significantly to the left of the Party on both core economic issues and on questions of war and peace.

Nowhere is the cleavage on critical issues between the Party and its base more evident than in Black America, the most loyal (captive, actually) Democratic constituency, composing a quarter of its reliable voters. For Blacks, there is no two-party system, since the Republicans have chosen to fill the role of White Man's Party. Yet African Americans are far to the left of the Democrats on social and economic justice issues. Most resemble "Swedish social democrats" or are "even more radical than that," according to Dr. Michael Dawson, the esteemed Black social demographer at the University of Chicago. Only 7 percent of Blacks favored an invasion of Iraq if would result in the "death of thousands of Iraqi civilians," compared to majorities of white males, a third of white females and 16 percent of Hispanics, according to the Zogby poll taken in February of 2003.

Although Black people's anti-war sentiments were muffled during Barack Obama's presidency, there is no reason to believe there has been a sea change in Blacks' historic opposition to U.S. military adventures abroad. But the post-2016 Democratic Party now assumes an even more hawkish posture than the GOP, including most of the Congressional Black Caucus, a majority of which votes whatever way House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi instructs. The Democrats backed Trump's obscene war budget, swallowing a death pill for all the big social programs proposed by the party's "left" wing, none of which can survive such military outlays -- and they know it.

The Democrats are -- there's no other way to say it -- full of shit. Their "big" social programs are meant to be poisoned on the vine by trillion-dollar deficits mandated by the Russian "threat" to "our democracy" that is shrieked every day and night by...the Democrats, themselves. Every time they scream "Russians," they are providing the "national security" excuse for why they can't pass the social legislation they claim to champion. Simultaneously, they demonize as "colluders" the radical domestic opposition to these same corporate forces. The Democrats are counting on Russiagate to both bring them back to power and to inoculate them from the wrath of their base when they fail to provide relief from austerity. They will never give up such an elixir.

So, when The Week shouts that Bernie Sanders has "conquered" the Democrats, because a number of his potential competitors, including abject corporate servants like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, have endorsed the idea of Medicare-for-all and the party is now thinking "big" -- think again. Wall Street will force a split in the Democratic Party rather than allow its supplicants to press for a true single payer health care bill or a federal job guarantee. And a split is exactly what is needed.

The Sandernistas will face the same Democratic Party corporate organism in 2020, should their champion's health hold up, as they did 2016. I hope they do well, just as I did in the last go-round, but only in order that they become so ferociously frustrated at the dirty tricks and dirty money of the party's corporate controllers that they make the final break and create a new, social democratic party, potentially the biggest in the country and, hopefully, a true party of its members, rather than a front for corporate backers.

The U.S. is a nation of 300-plus million people without even one sizeable political party that serves a definable social constituency, other than the very rich: a true desert in which only the bourgeoisie have a voice, controlling both big party megaphones and virtually all the means of communication. Russiagate, a political contrivance manufactured at a time of the empire's perceived crisis -- the unexpected election of the undependable Trumpster – serves only the forces of war and domestic repression. The Democratic Party – "objectively"", the truer and more fully explicit ruling class party in the country," as Paul Street puts it, ever since go-for-self Trump took over the GOP -- is seeking to ride Russiagate into the far sunsets with its suit against Trump, the Russians and Wikileaks. As Glenn Greenwald points out, the suit, seeking damages for the "theft" of its emails, could cripple journalists' ability to expose corporate and government wrongdoing. If the Democratic National Committee is successful, "any media outlet that publishes misappropriated documents or emails (exactly what media outlets quite often do) could be sued by the entity or person about which they are reporting, or even theoretically prosecuted for it, or that any media outlet releasing an internal campaign memo is guilty of 'economic espionage.'" The DNC doesn't give a damn about gutting U.S. journalism. It is an agent of its corporate masters, for whom the rights of property (or, the propertied classes) are sacrosanct -- and that includes the pro-war Sanders camp "progressive," Rep. Keith Ellis, the DNC deputy chair. "As Americans, it is our duty to respond when our democracy is attacked," Ellis tweeted. "The DNC is filing this lawsuit because Russia, and anyone who supported their interference in the 2016 election, must be held accountable."

There has been no great protest from the corporate press, either, reflecting the fact that they are corporate first, and "press" only when the needs of the owners calls for it. And what the oligarchic owners and the U.S. empire need is endless Russiagate and war.
(c) 2018 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Palestinians walk on a poster bearing images of Donald Trump and his deputy
Mike Pence during a demonstration at the al-Quds Open University in Dura
village on the outskirts of the West Bank town of Hebron on December 13, 2017.

Remove Trump, Defang Pence: Impeachment Is The Way
By William Rivers Pitt

As matters currently stand, the odds of Donald Trump being impeached by this Congress are so profoundly minute, they defy even the existence of mathematics. There are no numbers -- here, there or anywhere -- that say such a thing is remotely possible. The federal government is rendered powerless by its own inadequacies; after giving a trillion dollars to rich people, there isn't much else the Republicans in the majority can do, so they are content to hunker in the bunker and see what November brings. Open support for impeachment, even among Democrats, is so gossamer right now that it doesn't cast a shadow in the high noon sun.

Rather than wallow in the riptides of the stormy present, cast your mind forward to the possibilities of the New Year. Imagine Trump -- mired in scandal and in a permanent state of full-throttle temper tantrum -- spending the summer and fall taking a lead pipe to any hopes the GOP had of retaining a majority in either chamber. The House and Senate are lost in a November bloodbath, the House by historic margins and the Senate by a nose. Finally, like the tolling of a funeral bell, the Mueller Report is made public after the special counsel finishes his investigation.

Maybe it's obstruction of justice. Maybe it's collusion with a foreign power to interfere with an election. Maybe it's money laundering. Maybe it's all of these and worse. Come January, a new Democratic Congress with the Mueller Report in hand will almost certainly have the necessary voltage to zap Donald Trump out of his current government sinecure and send him home to Trump Tower to watch his empire fall. As Paul Waldman recently explained in The Washington Post, "He may well be the single most corrupt major business figure in the United States of America." That corruption did not evaporate once he took the oath of office, but stuck fast to him like a kale fart in a hot car.

They will have the goods on Trump, I am mortally sure. Will they act?

For good reason, the very existence of Vice President Mike Pence is enough to derail any serious discussion of the impeachment of Donald Trump. As it stands, the man certainly serves as a potent insurance policy against Article II, Section 4.

When conversations turn to Trump's impeachment, LGBTQ activists and others have rightly raised an alarm about the acute dangers they would face from a President Pence. He could, with the right allies in Congress, push for a "religious objections" bill that legalizes discrimination against LGBTQ citizens, as he did while governor of Indiana. He might push for a bill requiring people who have abortions to hold funerals for the fetus, as he did in 2016. He might sign a bill requiring people seeking abortions to undergo two invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound procedures, as he did in 2013.

Hell yes, there is good reason for concern, and even fear. Pence is the kind of Christian evangelical zealot who would have been right at home putting "pagan" villages to the sword and torch a thousand years ago. His misogyny and homophobia are the stuff of nightmares. He is, very quietly, a darling of the right-wing moneyed elite and speaks their language fluently. Worse, as a former governor and member of the House, Pence actually knows how government works. He does not regularly dismember fellow Republicans in public, and he could easily build coalitions with the worst elements in Congress. With his knowledge and their help, they could pass legislation hateful enough to frighten the Freedom statue off the Capitol Dome.

That is now, today, tomorrow, next week and every week until November. My kid will still be eating her Halloween candy when the midterm deal goes down, and if the numbers hold or get worse for Republicans, it's going to be a whole different conversation at this year's Thanksgiving table. Sure, Pence is terrifying on a number of levels, but if the cookie crumbles just so in November, the beast will be without teeth.

There is ample precedent to support this presumption, in the guise of former President Gerald R. Ford. No historical comparison is seamless, of course, but the example of Ford is highly instructive.

After Richard Nixon resigned the presidency and fled back to California, Ford pardoned him. A few days later, he unveiled a program of conditional amnesty for Vietnam draft evaders. A year later, he presided over the US military's final, staggering exit from that war; Operation Frequent Wind was a frantic evacuation that saw helicopter gunships shoved over the sides of aircraft carriers and into the sea to make room for more refugees. Amazingly enough, Ford got Justice John Paul Stevens onto the Supreme Court. He was shot at more often than any president since George Washington.

That's pretty much it. Gerald Ford's presidential library is one room with a magazine rack and some mints in a dish. Ford didn't do nothing, but he didn't do much. Why?

There are several reasons. The long agony of Watergate, culminating in the concussion of Nixon's resignation, left the nation and the government so exhausted as to be effectively rendered powerless. With only a few scant accomplishments and no signature legislation to his name, Ford spent much of his time in office as an animated placeholder while the country tried to come to grips with what had just happened to it. Moreover, the Democrats in Congress -- cat-wary after Watergate -- watched him like a hawk. Everyone just waited for 1976, when a peanut farmer came along and sent this accidental president back home to Michigan.

As stated, no historical analogy is seamless. Ford was appointed, not elected, and the Congress of that day had yet to be infected by the rancid teachings of Supply Side Jesus. That being said, the similarities and probabilities are too obvious to ignore. If the impeachment of Donald Trump were successfully undertaken in 2019 or even 2020, the aftermath would find Mike Pence frozen like an ant in amber.

The ultimate removal of Trump would be preceded by a massive political upheaval that would leave the Republican Party on fire from stem to stern. The executive branch would be shattered and splattered, cornered into virtual immobility under the Say-No-to-Everything sway of a Democratic majority ... if that Democratic majority decides to show up. Everything on the table this time, Nancy. Keep your powder dry long enough and it turns to dust.

If the proper circumstances combine to allow the removal of Donald Trump from office, President Pence will become a cipher until an election comes along to remove him. He is neither smart enough nor strong enough to overcome the forces of history that will be sluicing through the cracks in his walls. He will be a man-suit stuffed with straw. He will be nothing, and then he, too, will be gone.

So let's do this. Climb on the 'Peach Train.' If you happen to believe there will soon be sufficient evidence to justify the removal of this catastrophe president, don't let Pence chase you off. He might be scary today, but if voters pull his fangs come November, it will get really interesting around here.
(c) 2018 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.

The Koch Coup
By Jim Hightower

The Koch Brothers believe that their great wealth entitles them to rule over the many - so, for decades, they've been running a surreptitious assault on the rules that protect the majority of us from their abuse. From whacking our voting rights to busting unions, their plutocratic intent is nothing less than to pull a coup on democracy, installing a government of, by, and for the super-rich.

They've enlisted a secretive cadre of other billionaires who share their extreme kleptocratic belief that 1) property rights of the rich are more important than the people's political rights, 2) that majority rule is not a good form of governing, and 3) that the "Makers" (as the billionaires dub themselves) should be able to overrule collective actions of the lower classes (whom they call "Takers"). They've created a complex, sophisticated web of right-wing front groups that have already corporatized a slew of our most basic laws and institutions, and they've gained a chokehold on nearly every level of government (including our courts and whole states like Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Texas). To carry out their attacks, they've essentially taken over the Republican party.

Even more shocking than the arrogance of this unprecedented power grab by the conspiracy of billionaires is its quiet success. The Koch Coup crept up on us because it abhorred publicity and couched each move as an independent effort by a separate group. Then the conspirators backed the Supreme Court's outrageous 2010 Citizens United decision, decreeing that unlimited corporate spending is allowed because it's "free speech." Only did Americans begin waking up to the reality that the Kochs were making an assault on democracy itself.

This is Jim Hightower saying... To learn more, check out the extensive Koch web files at the Center for Media and Democracy.
(c) 2018 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

Andrew Cuomo speaks in New York City on April 2, 2018.

What Andrew Cuomo Has In Common With Scott Walker
The New York governor's failure to call a prompt special election to fill a vacant congressional seat disregards democracy.
By John Nichols

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker fought a cynical battle against democracy during the first several months of 2018, until one judge, another judge, and still another judge ordered the hyper-partisan Republican to call special elections to fill a pair of state legislative seats that went vacant late in 2017. The state statutes clearly required Walker to call the special elections, but he kept claiming that he could put the voting off until November.

Walker was wrong, and he finally deferred to the rule of law and called the elections, which will be held June 12.

The Wisconsin Republican's antidemocratic machinations were extreme. But he was not a total outlier. Michigan's Republican governor, Rick Snyder, has refused to call a special election for the legislature and another special election for the US House seat that Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) resigned last fall. Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott, has left a pair of legislative seats vacant. And during the first months of 2018, New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, refused to call special elections to fill 11 legislative seats that went vacant in 2017.

Like Walker, Cuomo faced sharp criticism from public-interest groups and newspaper editorial pages for leaving voters across the state unrepresented-"there's no excuse to delay," declared Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause NY, at the start of January. Cuomo eventually bent to the pressure and called the elections for April 24. But he only did so after it was too late for newly elected legislators to participate in budget deliberations-a delay that insured the governor's control of the process.

Now, however, Cuomo is delaying another special election, and it's an important one. On March 16, New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter died at age 88. One of the most progressive Democrats in the chamber, Slaughter had a remarkable record of progressive advocacy for women's rights, economic justice, and the environment. She was, as well, a highly engaged and effective representative for her constituents in New York's 25th Congressional District-which includes the city of Rochester and surrounding Monroe County.

Slaughter's death left a huge void. And, for more than a month, Cuomo has been slow-walking the decision to fill it.

He should have called a special election immediately, as that is the clear intent of state laws and legal rulings that say special elections must be ordered for congressional seats that come open before July 1 in an election year. Yet Cuomo has so far refused to order a vote and, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, there's talk that Cuomo could "call a special election for the same day as the November 6 general election. That would mean voters would cast separate votes for the remainder of Slaughter's term and a new, two-year term, which would begin next year."

That would also mean that more than 700,000 people living in a multiracial, multiethnic New York congressional district would be without representation for at least eight months-a third of a congressional term-at a volatile moment in American history when the House is regularly in session and voting on critical issues.

This notion is so offensive to the basic premises of representative democracy that Democratic, Republican, and non-aligned voters who live in the district have filed a federal lawsuit arguing that Cuomo's failure to act represents an abandonment of the governor's "constitutional duty" to call prompt elections to fill vacant positions.

"This is public-interest litigation in which each of the named plaintiffs, each of whom is experiencing irreparable harm by being denied: representation, the opportunity to vote, as well as other constitutional and civil rights," explains the lawsuit, which details conflicts with federal and state constitutional mandates and state laws, including guarantees of equal protection.

According to the lawsuit, Governor Cuomo's "failure to obey the aforementioned legal mandate has the effect of disenfranchising voters and depriving them of their constitutionally protected rights."

The suit raises valid concerns about a denial of democracy by a Democratic governor whose disregard for the rights of voters in New York is strikingly similar to that displayed by a Republican governor in Wisconsin.
(c) 2018 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Dancing Around The Maypole
By James Donahue

Rituals welcoming the end of winter and the entrance of spring were common among the Celtics and Germanic people of ancient times. The celebration of May Day, another cross-quarter day marked among the pagans living in the Northern Hemisphere, has been pictured as children happily dancing around a Maypole, their hands clutching a bright colored ribbon attached to the pole.

Maypoles were popular throughout Europe. During the May Day celebration, people danced around the pole. Often a brass band was playing. The practice was abandoned and in some cases declared illegal after Christianity arrived.

The name May Day took on a new meaning during the Nineteenth Century when working class people engaged in a struggle to force employers to improve working conditions. Workers sought eight-hour work days, safer working conditions and better pay.

The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, during its national convention in Chicago in 1884, marked May 1, 1886, to be the date when a legal day of labor would be no more than eight hours. The next year, in 1885, various Knights of Labor locals backed up that proclamation and threatened to support the idea of an eight-hour work day by strikes and demonstrations.

When the big day arrived, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses in the United States walked off their jobs in what became the first May Day event in history. The epicenter for the union strikers was Chicago, where 40,000 workers struck their jobs. There were demonstrations and fiery speeches in the streets.

The protests grew. More and more workers walked off their jobs in the following days. Then on May 3, 1886, the police intervened at the McCormick Reaper Works where the Steelworkers Union workers were striking. Police used clubs, the strikers responded by throwing rocks, and finally the police began firing into the crowd. Two workers died and many others were injured in what is still remembered as the Haymarket Massacre.

The capitalists despised what became known as an anarchist movement. The media supported big business interests and anarchism became synonymous with socialism and un-American activity.

The unions in America and throughout Europe grew in power and helped create what has been called the Middle Class. May Day evolved into International Workers Day. But as we all know, big corporate powers have slowly eroded the power of the unions. With international trade agreements that have allowed large industrial corporations to move operations overseas in search of cheap non-union labor, shipments of goods into North America without paying tariffs, and with the invention of "right-to-work" states (where workers are not required to join unions to have jobs), unions are disappearing. And with them are going the Middle Class.

The significance of May Day has been all but lost.
(c) 2018 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds a banner during a demonstration in
March outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Assange has gone silent on social media after
his internet connection at the embassy was unplugged because of remarks about the arrest of a Catalan politician.

Why The DNC Is Fighting WikiLeaks And Not Wall Street
By Norman Solomon

Exactly 200 days before the crucial midterm election that will determine whether Republicans maintain control of Congress, the Democratic National Committee filed a 66-page lawsuit that surely cost lots of money and energy to assemble.

Does the lawsuit target purveyors of racist barriers to voting that block and deflect so many people of color from casting their ballots?


Well, perhaps this ballyhooed lawsuit aims to ensure the rights of people who don't mainly speak English to get full access to voting information?

Unfortunately, no.

Maybe it's a legal action to challenge the ridiculously sparse voting booths provided in college precincts?

Not that either.

Announced with a flourish by DNC Chair Tom Perez, the civil lawsuit-which reads like a partisan polemic wrapped in legalisms-sues the Russian government, the Trump campaign and operatives, as well as WikiLeaks and its founding editor, Julian Assange.

It's hard to imagine that many voters in swing districts-who'll determine whether the GOP runs the House through the end of 2020-will be swayed by the Russia-related accusations contained in the lawsuit. People are far more concerned about economic insecurity for themselves and their families, underscored by such matters as the skyrocketing costs of health care and college education.

To emphasize that "this is a patriotic-not partisan-move," Perez's announcement of the lawsuit on April 20 quoted one politician, Republican Sen. John McCain, reaching for the hyperbolic sky: "When you attack a country, it's an act of war. And so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay, so that we can perhaps persuade the Russians to stop these kind of attacks on our very fundamentals of democracy."

Setting aside the dangerous rhetoric about "an act of war," it's an odd quotation to choose. For Russia, there's no "price to pay" from a civil lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. As the DNC well knows, any judgment against such entities as the Russian Federation and the general staff of its armed forces would be unenforceable.

The DNC's lawsuit amounts to doubling down on its fixation of blaming Russia for the Democratic Party's monumental 2016 loss, at a time when it's essential to remedy the failed approaches that were major causes of Hillary Clinton's defeat in the first place. Instead of confronting its fealty to Wall Street or overall failure to side with working-class voters against economic elites, the Democratic National Committee is ramping up the party leadership's 18-month fixation on Russia Russia Russia.

After a humongous political investment in depicting Vladimir Putin as a pivotal Trump patron and a mortal threat to American democracy, strategists atop the Democratic Party don't want to let up on seeking a big return from that investment. Protecting the investment will continue to mean opposing the "threat" of detente between the world's two nuclear superpowers, while giving the party a political stake in thwarting any warming of the current ominously frigid relations between Moscow and Washington.

In truth, the party's Russia fixation leaves significantly less messaging space for economic and social issues that the vast majority of Americans care about far more. Similarly, the Russia obsession at MSNBC (which routinely seems like "MSDNC") has left scant airtime for addressing, or even noting, the economic concerns of so many Americans. (For instance, see the data in FAIR's study, "Russia or Corporate Tax Cuts: Which Would Comcast Rather MSNBC Cover?")

But even some of the congressional Democrats who've been prominent "Russiagate" enthusiasts have recognized that the lawsuit is off track. When Wolf Blitzer on CNN asked a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jackie Speier, whether she believes that Perez and his DNC team "are making a big mistake by filing this lawsuit," the California congresswoman's reply was blunt: "Well, I'm not supportive of it. Whether it's a mistake or not we'll soon find out." Speier called the lawsuit "ill-conceived." The most unprincipled part of the lawsuit has to do with its targeting of Assange and WikiLeaks. That aspect of the suit shows that the DNC is being run by people whose attitude toward a free press-ironically enough-has marked similarities to Donald Trump's.

Early in his presidency, Trump proclaimed that news media are "the enemy of the American people." Of course, he didn't mean all media, just the outlets providing information and analysis he doesn't like.

What Perez and the DNC crew are now promoting via the lawsuit is also harmful, though more camouflaged. The lawsuit's key arguments against WikiLeaks are contrary to the First Amendment, and they could be made against major U.S. newspapers. Unauthorized disclosures are common, with news outlets routinely reporting on information obtained from leaks, hacks and various forms of theft.

Just as the government's criminal prosecutions for leaks are extremely selective, the DNC position is that a media outlet that's despised by a powerful party could be sued for potentially huge sums.

But-unless it's functionally shredded-the First Amendment doesn't only protect media outlets that powerful interests believe are behaving acceptably. That's why the Nixon administration was unable to prevent The New York Times and Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

Now, the DNC lawsuit's perverse "logic" for suing WikiLeaks could just as easily be applied by any deep-pocketed group that wants to strike back at a publisher for revealing "stolen" information that harmed the aggrieved party.

In view of the national Democratic Party's deference to corporate power, we might see why the DNC is taking the current approach. It would be a much steeper uphill challenge to actually champion the interests of most Americans-which would require taking on Wall Street, a key patron of both major political parties.

Nor would it be easy for the Democratic Party to advocate for U.S.-Russia detente that could reduce the risks of nuclear conflagration. Such advocacy would enrage the kingpins of the military-industrial cartel complex as well as most of the corporate-owned and corporate-advertised news media.

How much easier it is to make some political hay by targeting Russia with a civil lawsuit. How much more convenient it is to show utter contempt for the First Amendment by suing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

A loud and clear message from the Democrats' 2016 election debacle is that hoping for working-class votes while refusing to do battle against corporate exploiters of the working class is a political dead end. "The mainstream Democratic storyline of victims without victimizers lacks both plausibility and passion," says an independent report, "Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis." Six months after the release of that report (which I co-authored), the DNC still is unwilling to polarize with elite corporate interests, while remaining extra eager to portray Russia and WikiLeaks as liable for the 2016 disaster.

So, unfortunately, this assessment in the "Autopsy" remains all too relevant: "The idea that the Democrats can somehow convince Wall Street to work on behalf of Main Street through mild chiding, rather than acting as Main Street's champion against the wealthy, no longer resonates. We live in a time of unrest and justified cynicism towards those in power; Democrats will not win if they continue to bring a wonk knife to a populist gunfight. Nor can Democratic leaders and operatives be seen as real allies of the working class if they're afraid to alienate big funders or to harm future job or consulting prospects."

Willingness to challenge Wall Street would certainly alienate some of the Democratic Party's big donors. And such moves would likely curb the future earning power of high-ranking party officials, who can now look forward to upward spikes in incomes from consultant deals and cushy positions at well-heeled firms. With eyes on the prizes from corporate largesse, DNC officials don't see downsides to whacking at WikiLeaks and undermining press freedom in the process.
(c) 2018 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."

Little Donnie Trump, King Of The World
By Heather Digby Parton

This story in the New Yorker about the former national security adviser H.R. McMaster illustrates why this president is something unique in our politics. He is a symptom of the Republican descent into madness but he is something different from them as well. He brings something to their toxic stew that actually transforms it in substantial ways. It's not that they are better, per se, but the challenges they present fit into a paradigm we understand and can mitigate through our common understanding of politics. This is not that:

When Trump assumed office, N.S.C. staffers initially generated memos for him that resembled those produced for his predecessors: multi-page explications of policy and strategy. But "an edict came down," a former staffer told me: " 'Thin it out.' " The staff dutifully trimmed the memos to a single page. "But then word comes back: 'This is still too much.' " A senior Trump aide explained to the staffers that the President is "a visual person," and asked them to express points "pictorially."

"By the time I left, we had these cards," the former staffer said. They are long and narrow, made of heavy stock, and emblazoned with the words "the white house" at the top. Trump receives a thick briefing book every night, but nobody harbors the illusion that he reads it. Current and former officials told me that filling out a card is the best way to raise an issue with him in writing. Everything that needs to be conveyed to the President must be boiled down, the former staffer said, to "two or three points, with the syntactical complexity of 'See Jane run.' "

Given Trump's avowed admiration for despots, and the curious deference that he has shown Putin, his staff was worried about the March 20th phone call. Putin had recently been elected to another six-year term, but American officials did not regard the election as legitimate. Staffers were concerned that Trump might nevertheless salute Putin on his sham victory. When briefers prepared a card for the call, one of the bullet points said, in capital letters: "do not congratulate."

Trump also received a five-minute oral briefing from his national-security adviser, Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster, who goes by H.R. Before McMaster delivered the briefing, one of his aides said to him, "The President is going to congratulate him no matter what you say."

"I know," McMaster replied.

Trump takes pride in being impervious to the advice of experts, and he had no personal affection for his national-security adviser. McMaster, who had learned to pick his battles, chose not to raise the matter of Putin's election. The President took the call alone in the White House residence, but McMaster was listening in on a so-called drop line. Sure enough, Trump did not read or did not heed the briefing card, and congratulated Putin.

This is different.
(c) 2018 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.

Kinder Morgan office tower, Houston

Kinder Morgan Pipeline Controversy Proves Need To Shift Course
By David Suzuki

On March 31, an underwater pipeline carrying oil to a refinery in Balikpapan, Indonesia, broke, spreading crude over 20,000 hectares of Balikpapan Bay. Some of it ignited, killing five fishermen. Area residents experienced health problems including nausea, vomiting and respiratory difficulties, and marine life and mangroves were also devastated.

In mid-January, an Iranian tanker carrying more than 111,300 tonnes of natural gas condensate hit a cargo ship, caught fire and sank in the East China Sea in one of China's richest fishing grounds. The accident killed all 32 of the tanker's crew and left an oil slick bigger than Paris - more than 100 square kilometres. Researchers say the spill and fire killed phytoplankton, marine mammals, fish and birds and will have long-lasting consequences.

Meanwhile, in North America and elsewhere, pipeline accidents continue to spew gas and oil into the environment, polluting air, water and land, and affecting wildlife and habitat, as well as human communities. Tanker, pipeline and drilling rig accidents have devastated ecosystems and endangered human health and lives worldwide, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Alaska coast to the Niger Delta.

As disastrous as those accidents are, the consequences of the products reaching their destinations are also horrendous, as burning fossil fuels spills massive volumes of climate-disrupting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. With the rapacious rush to exploit every bit of gas, oil and coal before the reality and consequences of climate change become too devastating to ignore, we're likely to see ever-increasing accidental and deliberate fossil fuel contamination.

In the midst of it all, we have Canadian provincial and federal governments bizarrely claiming that expanding oilsands production and pipelines is not only in keeping with our national and international climate commitments, but is actually necessary to them! The government of my home province, B.C., while standing firm in protecting the province's interests against Kinder Morgan's obsolete Trans Mountain pipeline project, thinks increasing fracking for the energy-intensive, methane-spewing liquefied natural gas industry is the way to go.

If short-term economic gain, a relatively small number of jobs and the priorities of shareholders in mostly foreign-owned companies are more important to the national interest than ensuring that people and ecosystems here and around the world remain healthy and alive, something is wrong.

If people, especially those in positions of power, truly understood the severity and urgency of the climate crisis, they would be doing everything possible to confront and resolve it. But it appears many don't even want to understand. It's easier to go along with business as usual, while implementing some half-hearted plans and talking more than acting, than to make the difficult choices to ensure our species survives and thrives.

Most discussions among governments, industry and media about Texas-based Kinder Morgan's pipeline project don't even mention climate change. It's mostly just shouting about the need to get Canadian resources to foreign markets and threatening economic and trade sanctions for not bowing to the wishes of industry and its supporters - even though using the resources at such a rapid pace is making the world increasingly less hospitable to humans.

One can sympathize with the federal government, which is already facing some provincial opposition to its climate policies and is likely to face more after a number of upcoming provincial elections. The Alberta government is also in a difficult position, struggling to hold power in a province where many people are blind to the realities of global warming and have an overblown sense of the oil industry's relative, and declining, importance.

For the federal government to argue that the pipeline is necessary to keep Alberta on-board with its climate plan is short-sighted when the party leading in Alberta polls opposes key elements of the plan.

The push for expanded fossil fuel development and infrastructure that will lock us in to unsustainable fuels and industry for years to come shows an appalling lack of imagination and courage on the part of those we elect to represent our interests.

Our natural landscapes, wildlife, coastlines, waters, air and climate are too important to risk for short-term gain. We must stand together against the Kinder Morgan pipeline project and all fossil fuel expansion. We have better ways to create jobs and economic opportunity.
(c) 2018 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

The Trump Administration Wants To ... Nationalize The Coal Industry?
This won't end well for the planet.
By Charles P. Pierce

Now that we've all survived another Earth Day, it's time for Inside Climate News to start delivering the bad news by the truckload again.

The Arctic's frozen permafrost holds some 15 million gallons of mercury. The region has nearly twice as much mercury as all other soils, the ocean and the atmosphere combined, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. That's significantly more than previously known, and it carries risks for humans and wildlife. "It really blew us away," said Paul Schuster, a hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Boulder, Colorado, and lead author of the study.

Mercury (which is both a naturally occurring element and is produced by the burning of fossil fuels) is trapped in the permafrost, a frozen layer of earth that contains thousands of years worth of organic carbon, like plants and animal carcasses. As temperatures climb and that ground thaws, what has been frozen within it begins to decompose, releasing gases like methane and carbon dioxide, as well as other long dormant things like anthrax, ancient bacteria and viruses-and mercury.

"The mercury that ends up being released as a result of the thaw will make its way up into the atmosphere or through the fluvial systems via rivers and streams and wetlands and lakes and even groundwater," said Schuster. "Sooner or later, all the water on land ends up in the ocean."

Stupid nature. Who thought up that system anyway?

Back a few years, when I spent a week in Arctic Alaska, the thaw in the permafrost was already a serious problem for the people living there. Because it was a major barrier to the vicious winter storms, having it soften up meant great chunks of land mass were being washed away. Not only that but, for the subsistence hunters in the area, the permafrost traditionally functioned as a wintertime refrigeration unit. The meat gathered from seals on the pack ice-which is another problem, but for another day-would be buried in what the people there called "the Eskimo freezer."

Beyond that, scientists have been warning for decades that there were all manner of things that would've been better left frozen in the earth. (In 1998, scientists found partial specimens of the virus that caused the 1918 flu pandemic in bodies that had been buried in the permafrost in Norway.) Now we find that, in addition to massive amounts of carbon that our atmosphere does not need to have released into it, there also is this huge amount of mercury, more than the scientists anticipated finding.

The mercury risk won't be isolated in the Arctic either. Once in the ocean, Schuster said, it's possible that fisheries around the world could eventually see spikes in mercury content. He plans to seek to a better understand of this and other impacts from the mercury in subsequent studies. The permafrost in parts of the Arctic is already starting to thaw. The Arctic Council reported last year that the permafrost temperature had risen by .5 degrees Celsius in just the last decade. If emissions continue at their current rate, two-thirds of the Northern Hemisphere's near-surface permafrost could thaw by 2080.
Of course, the current administration* is right on the job, as usual. Its plans to fight the climate crisis are coming into focus and one key element is...nationalizing the coal industry.

Wait, what?

From Bloomberg:

Now, more than a half century later, Trump administration officials are considering using the same statute to keep struggling coal and nuclear power plants online, according to four people familiar with the discussions who asked for anonymity to discuss private deliberations. Under the approach, the administration would invoke sweeping authority in the 68-year-old Defense Production Act, which allows the president to effectively nationalize private industry to ensure the U.S. has resources that could be needed amid a war or after a disaster. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, urged President Donald Trump to employ the statute in a letter Wednesday. "If you don't have the grid filled with the power that's needed 24/7, you're in trouble," he said in an interview. It's "an emergency national concern and for the national defense of our country."

Harvard University. "This statute did not contemplate the sort of use that apparently now the administration is considering."

Rather than scouring tout les Toobz for all that vintage Republican snark accusing the previous administration of "picking winners and losers," I'll just point out that moving heaven and earth-you should pardon the expression-to keep the coal industry alive is both futile and destructive. Getting the government into the actual business of causing the climate crisis is probably the logical last step for the anti-science denialism that has become an article of faith among conservative politicians, a step right off a cliff in Alaska that wasn't there five years ago.
(c) 2018 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...

"Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it"
~~~ Salvador Dali

Greed Without Borders: Watching The Deep State Eat Its Young
By Jane Stllwater

Ever since before TV was even invented, there's been a really huge reality show being broadcast here in America. It's called "The Deep State Show". And yet despite its consistent rating as the longest-running reality show ever and even despite its presence in every single aspect of our lives, the average American has hardly even heard of it and never even gets to watch it either. Nobody here ever asks their friends the next day, "Hey, did you see the latest episode of 'The Deep State Show' last night?" In fact, nobody in America has hardly even heard of the Deep State Show before -- until now.

Why now?

Because, although the Deep State has been successfully eating its young in other parts of the world for the past century or so, it appears there are almost no more young in the rest of the world left to eat and so now it has started to eat ours too.

"You need to define your terms, Jane," you might say. Why? Defining one's terms is boring. But okay. I'll give it a shot. It's the freaking military-industrial complex. It's Wall Street and War Street. It's those dudes in three-piece suits who plot ways to steal the resources out of all the other countries on earth -- and now that the rest of the world has been pretty much sucked dry, they have come after America's resources too.

It's the guys who live in penthouses and drive Ferraris yet get their knickers all in a twist when the rest of us Americans even dare to drive a used Hyundai or buy a fixer-upper out in the sticks. It's those greedy welfare capitalists who won't let the rest of us have a safety net too. That's who it is. Capisce?

Let's move on.

In our desperation these days, we more savvy Americans are actually starting to question the Deep State. And so the Deep State Show throws us a scapegoat, a bone. All fingers now point to Donald Trump instead of to the actual men behind the curtain. Duh.

All this talk about building a border Wall and about uppity Black people is just to get us to hate each other instead of hating the worst reality show ev-ah. And yet what is at stake here is our own reality as well as the Deep State's. It is our young that are now getting eaten.

Well, now that I've got all that off my chest, what happens next? I wanna go down to Guadalajara. "How's that going to help?" you might ask next. Because thousands of people from Central America and Mexico, the ones who have already had their young eaten by The Deep State Show decades ago, are now trying to come to America and show us, "This is what it looks like to have your hopes and treasures destroyed. This is what you too will look like in another couple of years, after the Deep State has had its way with you too."

So. Hundreds of people have been marching through Mexico in the last month. They have gotten as far as Guadalajara and are now on their way to Tijuana, carrying banners that read stuff like, "We want our lives back!" And I want to join them. Why? Because I don't want my young to be eaten by no greedy old dudes on a reality show either. And neither should you.

PS: If anyone actually knows anything about how I can actually get to Guadalajara and join the march, please let me know. And please don't tell me to ask Donald Trump -- or ask the Deep State Show either.
(c) 2018 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

Senator Tim Kaine's Brief Run-In With the Law
By David Swanson

On April 20, 2018, Senator Tim Kaine told an audience at the U of Virginia that missiles into Syria were illegal because not authorized by Congress, leaving everyone to imagine Congress could have made such a thing legal. Kaine gave a long speech on the legality of war without ever mentioning that it is illegal. So I asked him, and he admitted as much. He offered no way in which Congress could have made the missiles legal. He claimed wars are legal if a puppet "invites" you, a claim not supported by written law and not relevant to attacking Syria.

The fact is that the same line of text that gives Congress the war powers in the U.S. Constitution also gives it the power to hire pirates - except that everybody admits you're not supposed to do that. War also was banned, first and in its entirety by the Kellogg-Briand Pact, second and with limited exceptions not met by any recent wars by the UN Charter, as I pointed out to Senator Kaine.

Kaine is to be applauded for opposing Pompeo and for opposing war on Yemen. I hope he will actively pursue THOSE causes.

But promoting the idea that Congress has the power to legalize a crime, the greatest crime in the judgment of Nuremberg, is shameful.

In his remarks at the Miller-Center-sponsored event in the Rotunda on Friday, Kaine antidemocratically opposed war votes prior to elections, because popular opinion might have some influence.

He described non-state targets of U.S. wars as not following the Geneva Conventions, as if that were a variation from what some other party does.

He said he wanted cyber attacks, including the attack on U.S. elections of which he accuses Russia, treated as war.

He said that the United States today is closer than it's been in 30 years or more to a war against a nation - as if Syria were not - as he admitted within 5 minutes - a nation, and as if Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Yemen did not at least used to be nations.

He said that he and John McCain had lifted their bill to unconstitutionally strip away the powers of the War Powers Act word-for-word from the work of the Miller Center. His new AUMF with Senator Corker is also by two people with ties to the Miller Center.

He said all of this matters because of the "troops," with never a mention of the vast majority of the victims of U.S. wars, who are the people who live where they are fought.

He claimed that Rep. Barbara Lee agrees with him, which was at least a stretch.

And he said of Trump's recent attack on Damascus - and these are his exact words - "It's illegal because he didn't come to Congress." Forgive my American, but that is pure bull. Congress has no power to make such a thing legal. Senator Kaine needs to stop telling people it does.
(c) 2018 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

The Dead Letter Office...

Rick gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Gouverneur Snyder,

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, 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 many attempts to kill off the black folks in Flint, 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 06-02-2018. We salute you Herr Snyder, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Shameful Silence Of The CEOs
By Robert Reich

Congressional Republicans would be more willing to stand up to Trump if their major financial backers - big business and Wall Street - had more backbone.

Ever since 1971, when the then future Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell urged corporations to mobilize politically, corporate money has flooded Washington - most of it into Republican coffers.

Today, big corporations and Wall Street essentially own the Republican Party. In the 2016 campaign cycle, they contributed $34 to candidates from both parties for every $1 donated by labor unions and all public interest organizations combined.

They donate far more to Republicans than do extremists like the Koch brothers, and have far more influence over the GOP than does the Tea Party.

Which means the CEOs of America's largest firms have the power to constrain the most dangerous, divisive, and anti-democratic president ever to occupy the Oval Office.

So why don't they? What explains their silence?

Consider Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States. Dimon also chairs the Business Roundtable - the most influential confab of major CEOs in America, founded in 1972, just after Powell urged CEOs to mobilize.

Dimon has gone out of his way not to criticize the mad king. While he "strongly disagreed" with Trump's equating white supremacists to protesters in Charlottesville last summer, he also counseled "not to expect smooth sailing" in the first year of a new administration.

Now well into Trump's second year, with the sailing more treacherous than ever - Trump has fired most of the adults around him and grown even more erratic and unhinged - Dimon is even more conciliatory.

Asked last week how Trump is doing, Dimon gushed."Regulatory stuff, good." The potential summit with North Korea, a "great idea." He regrets his 2017 prediction that Trump would be a one-term president, telling Fox Business "I wish I hadn't said it, I was talking probabilistically."

Dimon's reluctance to criticize Trump is particularly curious given Dimon's public laments about widening inequality, the explosion of student debt, America's growing racial divide, the failure of inner-city schools, and the expenditure of "trillions of dollars on wars."

One obvious explanation is found in the money rolling in from the GOP's new tax law and Trump's frenzy of deregulation. Profits have soared at JP Morgan and at other big banks and corporations. Compensation for Dimon and other CEOs has exploded.

Never underestimate the power of a fat compensation package to buy up scruples. From the perspective of Dimon and other CEOs, what's not to like about Trump and the GOP?

It turns out, plenty. As the Republican Party moves toward Trump's looniness - his xenophobia, isolationism, attacks on the press and on truth, conflicts of interest, anti-Muslim and racist provocations, climate-change denials, proposed cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, and evisceration of the constitutional divide between church and state - Jamie Dimon and his ilk could come out big losers.

Let them try to sustain corporate profits as America slides towards authoritarianism. Try to maintain comfortable lifestyles as America descends into angry populist tribalism.

Besides which, don't Dimon and other CEOs have a moral responsibility to sound the alarm?

I'm old enough to recall a time when CEOs were thought of as "corporate statesman" with duties to the nation. As one prominent executive told Time Magazine in the 1950s, Americans "regard business management as a stewardship," acting "for the benefit of all the people."

CEOs of that era formed the Committee for Economic Development to champion such causes as universal pre-kindergarten and campaign-finance reform.

Today's CEOs finance a larger part of our political system, yet they won't take a stand to save it.

The socially-conscious Committee for Economic Development has withered, while the profit-obsessed Business Roundtable (and its louder cousin, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) have become dominant.

The corporate statesmen of the mid-twentieth century have been replaced by sycophantic Dimons of the twenty-first - at a time when we need statesmen more than ever.

Democracy is fragile. Two weeks ago, Hungary's far-right governing party, Fidesz, gained a huge victory in national elections, further tightening Prime Minister Viktor Orban's grip on power - signaling an end to Hungary's independent press and a deepening threat to its democracy.

If the leaders of American business remain silent about what Trump's is doing to American democracy, they will be complicit in its demise.
(c) 2018 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

Chaco Canyon, Chaco Earth
By Chris Hedges

CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, N.M.-A bitter wind whipped down the 10-mile-long Chaco Canyon, kicking up swirls of dust among the thorny greasewood and sagebrush bushes. I ducked behind one of the towering sandstone walls in the three-acre ruin, or Great House, known as Pueblo Bonito, to escape the gusts. I was in the section of the 800-room complex where burials took place. Treasure hunters and archaeologists have uncovered in these ruins and tombs delicate white-and-black painted ceramics, flutes, ceremonial sticks, tiny copper bells, inlaid bone, macaw and parrot skeletons, cylindrical jars with the residue of chocolate that would have been imported from Mexico, shells and intricate turquoise jewelry and sculptures. From this vast, bureaucratic and ceremonial complex, the Anasazi-a Navajo word meaning ancient ones or possibly ancient enemies-dominated the Southwest from about the year 850 until the society collapsed in about 1150.

The Chaco ruin, 6,200 feet above sea level, is one of the largest and most spectacular archeological sites in North America. It is an impressive array of 15 interconnected complexes, each of which once had four-to-five-story stone buildings with hundreds of rooms each. Seven-hundred-pound wooden beams, many 16 feet long, were used in the roofs. Huge circular, ceremonial kivas-religious centers dug into the earth, with low masonry benches around the base of the room to accommodate hundreds of worshippers-dot the ruins. It rivals the temples and places built by the Aztecs and the Mayans.

Radiating from Chaco is a massive 400-mile network of roads, some 30 feet wide and still visible in the haunting desert landscape, along with dams, canals and reservoirs to collect and store rainwater. The study of astronomy, as with the Aztec and the Maya, was advanced. Petroglyphs and pictographs on the canyon walls often record astrological and solar events. One pictograph shows a hand, a crescent moon and a 10-pointed star that is believed to depict a 1054 supernova, and one of the petroglyphs appears to represent a solar eclipse that occurred in 1097.

A few thousand priests and ruling elites, along their retainers and administrators, lived in the Great Houses or palaces. They oversaw the trade routes that stretched to the California coast and into Central America. They maintained the elaborate network of lighthouses whose signal fires provided rapid communication. They built the roads, the long flights of stairs carved into the rock formations, the bridges, the wooden ladders to scale the towering cliffs, and the astronomical observatories that meticulously charted the solar observations to determine the equinoxes and solstices for planting and harvesting and for the annual religious festivals when thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, would gather. The buildings in the complexes were oriented to solstitial or cardinal points, a difference the anthropologist Stephen H. Lekson believes denoted not only competing cosmologies but competing political ideologies.

"Chaco was the political capital of a well-defined region that encompassed most of the Four Corners country, with more than 150 outlying Great Houses scattered over an area about the size of Ireland," Lekson writes.

But this complex society, like all complex societies, proved fragile and impermanent. It fell into precipitous decline after nearly three centuries. The dense forests of oak, pinon and ponderosa pines and juniper that surrounded the canyon were razed for construction and fuel. The soil eroded. Game was hunted to near-extinction. The diet shifted in the final years from deer and turkey to rabbits and finally mice. Headless mice in the late period have been found by archaeologists in human coprolites-preserved dry feces. The Anasazi's open society, one where violence was apparently rare, where the people moved unhindered over the network of well-maintained roads, where warfare was apparently absent, where the houses of the rich and powerful were not walled off, where the population shared in the spoils of empire, was replaced with the equivalent of gated, fortified compounds for the elites and misery, hunger, insecurity and tyranny for the commoners. Dwellings began to be built in the cliffs, along with hilltop fortresses, although these residences were not close to the fields and water supply. Defensive walls were constructed along with moats and towers. The large, public religious ceremonies that once united the culture and gave it cohesion fractured, and tiny, warring religious cults took over, the archaeologist Lynne Sebastian notes.

Lekson, a professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado in Boulder, believes the Anasazi rulers during the decline increasingly resorted to savage violence and terror, including the public executions of dissidents and rebels. He finds evidence, much of it documented in Steven A. LeBlanc's book "Prehistoric Warfare in the American Southwest," that "Chaco death squads" were sent out across the empire. LeBlanc writes that at Yucca House, a Chaco Great House near Mesa Verde, as many as 90 people were killed and tossed into a kiva and at least 25 showed signs of mutilation.

"Chacoan violence, concentrated and brutal, appears to represent government terror: the enforcement of Chaco's rule by institutionalized force," Lekson writes in the article "Chaco Death Squads" in Archeology magazine. "Violence was public, intended to appall and subdue the populace. Chacoan death squads (my term, not LeBlanc's) executed and mutilated those judged to be threats to Chacoan power, those who broke the rules."

The anthropologist Christy G. Turner, who specialized in osteology, the study of human bones, in his book "Man Corn" cited "cannibalism and human sacrifice as conspicuous elements of terrorism." In short, as Lekson writes, "the death squad killed you, cut you up, and then ate you in front of your relatives and neighbors." The term "man corn" comes from the Nahuatl word "tlacatlaolli," which Turner defined as a "sacred meal of sacrificed human meat, cooked with corn." Debra Martin goes on to argue in a paper titled "Violence Against Women in the La Plata River Valley, A.D. 1000-1300" (located on the periphery of the Chacoan empire) that there is evidence of battered women who were perhaps slaves.

The Anasazi elites, no longer willing or able to provide social services or competent governance and plagued by shortages of natural resources, kept extracting unsustainable tribute. They resorted to harsher and harsher forms of repression. By the end, they were hated. The civilization suffered a severe drought in the year 1130. It was the final blow. The impressive structures would lie abandoned until they were discovered by the nomadic Navajos some 600 years later. The Navajos did not reoccupy the buildings, many of which contained skeletal remains, because they believed them to be filled with evil spirits.

"Parts of Chacoan society were already in deep trouble after 1050 as health and living conditions progressively eroded in the southern districts' open farming communities," David E. Stuart writes in his book "Anasazi America." "The small farmers in the south had first created reliable surpluses to be stored in the great houses. Ultimately, it was the increasingly terrible living conditions of those farmers, the people who grew the corn, that had made Chacoan society so fatally vulnerable. The farmers simply got too little back from their efforts to carry on. Thus, great-house society emphasized other trade partners and supported new, lower-cost suppliers on its northern tier. This final trade network likely was focused on the continued well-being of the elites rather than the general welfare of its regional society."

As the economic and social situation deteriorated, the elites accelerated the building of roads and Great Houses. They held more elaborate rituals and built more kivas. This is typical of decaying societies. The great Mayan city of Tikal was constructed over a period of 1,500 years, but its most impressive temples and towers were erected during its final century. These grandiose projects and spectacles were meant to project power and immortality. They exacerbated, however, the suffering of the impoverished farmers and workers and the decline of diminishing natural resources.

"At the bitter end of the Chacoan era, many elites remained in their great houses, probably trying to hold on to the past, rather like Scarlett O'Hara trying to hold on to Tara in Gone with the Wind," Stuart writes. "But the farmers who had brought in the corn harvests were long departed, like the slaves who had supported Tara before the Civil War. Chacoan society collapsed, the framing pillar of its once great productivity shattered. The beleaguered Chacoan farmers had buried their babies one last time. Then they abandoned Chaco Canyon and most of its outlying great houses."

"Prosperity, social integration, altruism, and generosity go hand-in-hand," Stuart adds. "Poverty, social conflict, judgmental cynicism, and savagery do, too."

Collapse, as Joseph A. Tainter points out, is "a recurrent feature of human societies." Complex societies create centralized bureaucratic structures that exploit resources until exhaustion and then prove unable to adapt to scarcity. They create more sophisticated mechanisms to extract depleted resources, evidenced in our own time by the decision of the Trump administration to open up the lands around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park to fracking. In the end, the technologies and organization that make the rise of complex societies possible become the mechanisms that destroy them.

The fate of the Anasazi replicates the fate of all complex societies. The collapse came within one or two decades after the peak. As Jared Diamond writes in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," the trajectories of complex societies "are unlike the usual course of individual human lives, which decline in a prolonged senescence. The reason is simple: maximum population, wealth, resource consumption, and waste production mean maximum environmental impact, approaching the limit where impact outstrips resources."

"Civilization is an experiment, a very recent way of life in the human career, and it has a habit of walking into what I am calling progress traps," Ronald Wright writes in "A Short History of Progress." "A small village on good land beside a river is a good idea; but when the village grows into a city and paves over the good land, it becomes a bad idea. While prevention might have been easy, a cure may be impossible: a city isn't easily moved. This human inability to foresee-or watch for-long-range consequences may be inherent to our kind, shaped by millions of years when we lived hand to mouth by hunting and gathering. It may also be little more than a mix of inertia, greed, and foolishness encouraged by the shape of the social pyramid. The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general population begin to suffer."

We in 2018 are beset with signs of impending collapse. The droughts, wildfires, flooding, soaring temperatures, crop failures, poisoning of the soil, air and water, and social breakdown from global warming are leaving huge segments of the world's poor without adequate food, water and security. Desperate migrants are fleeing the global south. Crisis cults carry out nihilistic acts of terrorism, often in the name of religious beliefs. Our predatory elites, who have retreated to their own versions of Anasazi Great Houses, with access to private security, private education, private medicine, private transportation, private sources of water and food and luxury items that are unavailable to the wider population, have walled out reality. Their hubris and myopia, as well as blind obedience to an ideology-global capitalism-that benefits them but accelerates social and environmental destruction, mean they have only bought a little more time before they succumb like the rest of us.

The poet V. B. Price, surveying the Chaco ruins in his poem "Time's Common Sense," understands the urgent message these stones impart. He writes, in part:

At Chaco I know I am not alone
I know I have heard even Homer
Weaving the tides of his stories,
And Sappho singing lullabies alone in the night,
Heard the footdrums in Rinconada
Like ancient surf through the stone.

This is the place
Where the past remains.
Utterly changed,
the landscape
is the same.

The future happens so fast,
It's too fast to dread.
And now
the future is as good
as already over again.

There is one crucial difference between the Anasazi and our complex society. The collapse of past civilizations like the Anasazi's was localized. There were always new lands to conquer, new natural resources to plunder and new peoples to subjugate. Our age is different. There is no new world left.

We can no longer live on the capital of the natural world and instead must learn to make do with the interest. This means the end to reliance on fossil fuels and the animal agriculture industry. It means adopting a simplicity that rejects the ethos of capitalism and the hedonism and gluttony that define the consumer society. It means a communal society in which inequality and income disparity are not extreme. If we continue to live as if the future does not matter, our society, like that of the Anasazi, will fracture and die. We will vanish from the earth in an act of global suicide.

The human species faces its greatest existential crisis. Yet, our elites replicate the imbecility, arrogance and greed of past elites. They hoard wealth. They shut us out from circles of power. They use brutal forms of repression to maintain control. They exhaust and poison the ecosystem. The longer the corporate elites rule, the longer we fail to revolt, the less chance we have to endure as a species. Settled or civilized life is less than 10,000 years old. Our peculiar human social construction is but a nanosecond to the universe. It may prove to be a brief and fatal experiment. Perhaps, as Franz Kafka wrote, "There is hope; though not for us."
(c) 2018 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
~~~ Bob Gorrell ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

U.S. presidential candidates in the 2048 debate pits show little civility while savagely butchering their political opponents.

'Politics Was Never This Toxic In The 2010s,' Says Future American While Watching Candidates Battle In 2048 Debate Pits
The Onion

NEO-SEATTLE-Decrying the lack of decorum on display, an American from decades in the future remarked that politics was never this toxic "back in the 2010s," shaking his head as he watched the leading presidential candidates of 2048 fight to the death in blood-soaked debate pits.

A 55-year-old registered voter from the mid-21st century, Luke Jacobs cast his first ballots for president as a young man in 2012 and 2016 and he acknowledged that crude rhetoric and appeals to fear were rampant in those election seasons. But he said it was nothing compared to what he was now witnessing during a 2048 debate broadcast from the 130,000-square-foot stadium where leading candidates from both parties engaged in a vicious, no-holds-barred battle for the White House, mercilessly tearing each other limb from limb with clubs, chains, and knives.

"The debates were hardly perfect when I was young-there was some name-calling and question-dodging-but the dialogue was a lot more civil than it is now," said Jacobs as armor-clad Democrats and Republicans entered the pits for the first 2048 debate, which was being held before an audience that sat behind an electrified fence, chanted the candidates' names, and urged them to slam each other into the sharpened steel spikes that line the arena's walls. "Back then, it was still a war of words. They didn't cut out someone's tongue to keep them from speaking entirely. And no one delivered their opening remarks while holding aloft the severed head of a rival, later crushing it with their bare hands while emphasizing a particular point."

"This really makes me miss the 2010s," Jacobs continued. "The first round in the Healthcare Battles is almost over, and Democrats have spent the entire time pandering to their base by disemboweling their adversaries and throwing handfuls of still-warm viscera into the cheering crowd."

According to reports from the future, Jacobs spent much of the debate explaining to his children that when he was young, the presidential debates had far more substance, and while a candidate in those days might use a two-minute time slot to tear into an opponent verbally, they would never do so physically with a meat cleaver. He added that American political discourse has eroded over the years, making it acceptable for a modern candidate like SkullCrusher (R-OR) to use his 30-second rebuttal on school funding to cut his challenger in half with a chainsaw and toss the dead body onto a pile of skeletons belonging to vanquished candidates from four years earlier.

Jacobs reportedly believes much of the fault lies with the moderators, who in the past managed to ask pointed questions of candidates like Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but are now unable to maintain order when Republican frontrunner Eagle's Wrath and his running mate George Z. Bush impale four of their opponents at once on a flagpole they sharpened to a deadly point. However, he also blamed the questionable tactics of 2048's White House hopefuls, citing the case of a Green Party candidate who, after being denied an invitation to the debates, charged into the pits and blew himself up with a makeshift pipe bomb.

"In the 2010s, it was considered off-limits to drag an opponent's children into the debate," said Jacobs, watching as a 2048 candidate literally dragged an opponent's teenage son into the debate pits and burned him alive with a flamethrower. "Now, they'll do anything to throw a rival off his game. Sure, in the 2016 town hall debate you had Donald Trump trying to intimidate Hillary Clinton by lurking behind her as she spoke, but he certainly didn't sneak up on her and bury an ice pick in the back of her skull. At that time, there were certain ethical lines you just didn't cross." Though he admitted the 2012 and 2016 debates often left him feeling exhausted by the end, Jacobs stressed that they never made him as despondent as he felt at the close of the 2048 debate, when the one remaining Democratic challenger beheaded the Republican incumbent, expertly carved his face off, pulled the bloodied mask of skin and hair over his own head, and shouted that he was now "the one true god-king of the White House."

"You know, even after the most heated, bitter debates of 2016, Trump and Clinton would still shake hands and exchange a few kind words at the end-they had that much decency, you know?" Jacobs said as paramedics finally entered the debate pit to check for signs of life among the towering mounds of human bodies. "But now, you stick out your hand and your opponent immediately rips off your arm and bludgeons you to death with it, right there on the spot. And then they unbuckle their pants and piss on your dead body. There's absolutely zero dignity."

"I don't know how I'm supposed to use debates like this to decide who to vote for," Jacobs added. "I guess I'll just pick whoever's still alive."
(c) 2018 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 18 # 16 (c) 04/27/2018

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