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In This Edition

Chris Walker examines, "Some GOP Insiders Are Expressing Fear Over Trump's Possible Return to Twitter."

Ralph Nader reports, "Dishonoring Earth Day 2022 With An Oil, Gas, Coal & Nuclear Heyday."

Margaret Kimberley concludes, "Obama Wants Censorship."

Jim Hightower finds, "The Republican Supremes Are Defrocking Themselves."

William Rivers Pitt shows, "Texts To Mark Meadows Reveal Right-Wingers Scheming To Blame "Antifa" For 1/6."

John Nichols explores, "Marjorie Taylor Greene Can't Lie Her Way Out Of The Fact That She Violated The 14th Amendment."

James Donahue considers, "The Abnormal Concept Of Ownership."

David Swanson says, "Idiot Anti-Nukers Will Only Have Seconds To Say They Were Right."

David Suzuki concludes, "Marks Of Time Offer New Ways Of Seeing."

Charles P. Pierce says, "HIV Isn't Over In West Virginia."

Juan Cole reports, "DeSantis Spars With Disney To Make Straight White Christians Think The GOP Is Protecting Their Kids."

Robert Reich explains, "How We Stand Up To Putin And Stop Climate Catastrophe."

Thom Hartmann wonders, "Did Jared Sell Out America & Prospects For World Peace For $2 Billion? And...Nobody Cares?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Florida Judge Rules That Airlines Cannot Require Passengers To Have Tickets," but first, Uncle Ernie studies, "The Pause That Wasn't."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Dave Granlund, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Tomohiro Ohsumi, Allison Joyce, Al Seib, Andrew Brodhead, Kevin Erdvig, Drew Angerer, John Bazemore, Joe Raedle, Kalhh, Jim Hightower, Pixabay, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments -

The Quotable Quote -
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The Pause That Wasn't
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"I know folks are scared about climate change and its impacts. I certainly am at times. But we are not doomed; its a problem we can solve. Let's listen to scientists, and be open to messages of hope as well as despair, not to lull us to complacency but to motivate us to action." ~~~ Zeke Hausfather

I see where a global warming pause that didn't happen hampered climate science The supposed blip in warming fueled climate skeptics and distracted researchers.

There's no doubt that global temperatures are on the rise - a heat-up that is contributing to melting ice rising sea levels and extreme weather.

It was one of the biggest climate change questions of the early 2000s: Had the planet's rising fever stalled, even as humans pumped more heat-trapping gases into Earth's atmosphere?

By the turn of the century, the scientific understanding of climate change was on firm footing. Decades of research showed that carbon dioxide was accumulating in Earth's atmosphere, thanks to human activities like burning fossil fuels and cutting down carbon-storing forests, and that global temperatures were rising as a result. Yet weather records seemed to show that global warming slowed between around 1998 and 2012. How could that be?

After careful study, scientists found the apparent pause to be a hiccup in the data. Earth had, in fact, continued to warm. This hiccup, though, prompted an outsize response from climate skeptics and scientists. It serves as a case study for how public perception shapes what science gets done, for better or worse.

The mystery of what came to be called the "global warming hiatus" arose as scientists built up, year after year, data on the planet's average surface temperature. Several organizations maintain their own temperature datasets; each relies on observations gathered at weather stations and from ships and buoys around the globe. The actual amount of warming varies from year to year, but overall the trend is going up, and record-hot years are becoming more common. The 1995 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, for instance, noted that recent years had been among the warmest recorded since 1860.

And then came the powerful El Nino of 1997-1998, a weather pattern that transferred large amounts of heat from the ocean into the atmosphere. The planet's temperature soared as a result - but then, according to the weather records, it appeared to slacken dramatically. Between 1998 and 2012, the global average surface temperature rose at less than half the rate it did between 1951 and 2012. That didn't make sense. Global warming should be accelerating over time as people ramp up the rate at which they add heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere.

By the mid-2000s, climate skeptics had seized on the narrative that "global warming has stopped." Most professional climate scientists were not studying the phenomenon, since most believed the apparent pause fell within the range of natural temperature variability. But public attention soon caught up to them, and researchers began investigating whether the pause was a real thing. It was a high-profile shift in scientific focus.

"In studying that anomalous period, we learned a lot of lessons about both the climate system and the scientific process," says Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist now with the technology company Stripe.

By the early 2010s, scientists were busily working to explain why the global temperature records seemed to be flatlining. Ideas included the contribution of cooling sulfur particles emitted by coal-burning power plants and heat being taken up by the Atlantic and Southern oceans. Such studies were the most focused attempt ever to understand the factors that drive year-to-year temperature variability. They revealed how much natural variability can be expected when factors such as a powerful El Nino are superimposed onto a long-term warming trend.

Scientists spent years investigating the purported warming pause - devoting more time and resources than they otherwise might have. So many papers were published on the apparent pause that scientists began joking that the journal Nature Climate Change should change its name to Nature Hiatus.

Then in 2015, a team led by researchers at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a jaw-dropping conclusion in the journal Science. The rise in global temperatures had not plateaued; rather, incomplete data had obscured ongoing global warming. When more Arctic temperature records were included and biases in ocean temperature data were corrected, the NOAA dataset showed the heat-up continuing. With the newly corrected data, the apparent pause in global warming vanished. A 2017 study led by Hausfather confirmed and extended these findings, as did other reports.

Even after these studies were published, the hiatus remained a favored topic among climate skeptics, who used it to argue that concern over global warming was overblown. Congressman Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas who chaired the House of Representatives' science committee in the mid-2010s, was particularly incensed by the 2015 NOAA study. He demanded to see the underlying data while also accusing NOAA of altering it. (The agency denied fudging the data.)

"In retrospect, it is clear that we focused too much on the apparent hiatus," Hausfather says. Figuring out why global temperature records seemed to plateau between 1998 and 2012 is important - but so is keeping a big-picture view of the broader understanding of climate change. The hiccup represented a short fluctuation in a much longer and much more important trend.

Long-term climate datasets show that Earth's average surface temperature (combined land and ocean) has increased by more than 1 degree Celsius since preindustrial times. Temperature change is the difference from the 1850-1900 average.

Science relies on testing hypotheses and questioning conclusions, but here's a case where probing an anomaly was taken arguably too far. It caused researchers to doubt their conclusions and spend large amounts of time questioning their well-established methods, says Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol who has studied climate scientists' response to the hiatus. Scientists studying the hiatus could have been working instead on providing clear information to policy makers about the reality of global warming and the urgency of addressing it.

The debates over whether the hiatus was real or not fed public confusion and undermined efforts to convince people to take aggressive action to reduce climate change's impacts. That's an important lesson going forward, Lewandowsky says.

"My sense is that the scientific community has moved on," he says. "By contrast, the political operatives behind organized denial have learned a different lesson, which is that the 'global warming has stopped' meme is very effective in generating public complacency, and so they will use it at every opportunity."

Already, some climate deniers are talking about a new "pause" in global warming because not every one of the past five years has set a new record, he notes. Yet the big-picture trend remains clear: Global temperatures have continued to rise in recent years. The warmest seven years on record have all occurred since 2015, and each decade since the 1980s has been warmer than the one before.


03-22-1934 ~ 04-23-2022
Burn Baby Burn!

08-04-1947 ~ 04-26-2022
Thanks for the music!

11-25-1934 ~ 04-27-2022
Thanks for the film!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

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

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at The Farm at 95 on April 9, 2022, in Selma, North Carolina.

Some GOP Insiders Are Expressing Fear Over Trump's Possible Return to Twitter
By Chris Walker

Insiders within both of the two major U.S. political parties have expressed concern that billionaire Elon Musk's recent purchase of Twitter could potentially result in former President Donald Trump being allowed back on the platform.

Trump was banned from the site more than a year ago for spewing incendiary rhetoric regarding the attack on the U.S. Capitol building by a mob of his loyalists on January 6, 2021. Although Musk has not yet stated whether he would lift Trump's ban from the site, comments he made after his $44 billion purchase of Twitter on Monday seem to indicate that he will move in that direction.

Musk has described himself as an "absolutist" of free speech principles, despite having a documented history of censoring his workers for expressing pro-union sentiments. He recently said in a statement that "Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated."

Both Democrats and Republicans are worried that Musk's purchase of the site could mean Trump's return. According to reporting from CNBC, officials in the Biden White House are "closely watching the deal," and fear that Trump's potential Twitter comeback might result in an increase in disinformation, as the former president frequently used the platform to promote lies back when he was allowed on the site.

"Trump will use Twitter to do far more damage to regain power in 2022 and 2024 while Elon Musk has given no indication that he will do anything to stop him," Mary Anne Marsh, a veteran Democratic strategist, said to CNBC.

Republicans appear to be similarly concerned about the possibility of Trump returning to Twitter. According to a report from Politico, "no one is more petrified" about the potential return of the former president to the platform "than members of Trump's own party."

In a series of calls Politico reporters made on Monday night to Republican insiders, not a single one spoke positively about the possibility that Trump would be allowed to return to the platform. "Every single one of them told us that they hoped the former president stays the hell away from Twitter," the news agency reported.

Republican strategists are worried that if Trump returned to the site, it could hurt the GOP's chances to flip control of either house of Congress in this year's midterm races. While most prognosticators have predicted that Republicans will win, some polls have indicated that the race for Congress will be tight, not the slam dunk that some Republicans have said it will be.

Allowing Trump to resume his erratic tweeting would not work to their advantage, Republicans have said.

"If I'm a Democrat, I'd pray that Elon Musk puts Trump right back on Twitter," one GOP House leadership aide told Politico. A Trump return to the site is "enough to create headaches - and it's enough to probably cost us a couple seats," that aide added.

Trump has claimed that he won't return to Twitter, as he is instead focused on promoting his own social media site, Truth Social. "I want everybody to come over to TRUTH - conservatives, liberals, whatever," Trump said in a Fox News interview this week.

But because Trump's site has failed miserably since its opening earlier this year - and because he filed a lawsuit against Twitter last fall seeking to have his account reinstated - most are guessing Trump will attempt to return to Twitter at some point.

Trump "loved his Twitter. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise," an adviser close to Trump said.

"The lure of Twitter ... may prove as irresistible for Trump," GOP strategist Doug Heye said to Politico, adding that there's "no faster way for Trump to be front and center [in] the political conversation than rejoining Twitter, and he knows that."

(c) 2022 Chris Walker is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analysing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people.

With the onset of the omnicidal fossil-fuel-driven climate catastrophes, leading to even more virulent wildfires, hurricanes,
droughts and floods, the college campuses are now too silent, the streets are too empty, and the Congress too somnolent.

Dishonoring Earth Day 2022 With An Oil, Gas, Coal & Nuclear Heyday
By Ralph Nader

Instead of championing solar, wind and conservation energy, the GOP (Greedy Old Party) is championing the skyrocketing profits and prices for the omnicidal fossil fuel and atomic power companies.

Surging gasoline prices at the pump are not met with excess profits taxes on profit-glutted Big Oil. Rather the GOP and the Democrats are suspending taxes on gasoline sales that are used to repair roads and bridges. An excess profits tax could be used to provide rebates to consumers who are being gouged at the pump.

The case for an excess profits tax is made in a new report, Big Oil's Wartime Bonus: How Big Oil Turns Profits Into Wealth, April 5, 2022, by Bailout Watch, Public Citizen and Friends of the Earth. Profits (and stocks) of companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron zoomed so much that Big Oil, not wanting to moderate their wholesale prices, have spent $45 billion of your money to buy back their stocks this past year and increase the compensation of their bosses.

Unleashing their lobbying forces in Washington, Big Oil and Gas are demanding, the report relates, "faster approval for natural gas pipelines ... and increased drilling on public lands and waters." Biden is opening up more oil and gas leases on public lands even though he reported some 9000 leases already granted are still not being utilized by the oil and gas companies.

The Biden administration is spending $6 billion to shore up aging nuclear plants that safety advocates say should be mothballed.

Washington is silent on using taxes on fossil-fuel price profiteering for more wind, solar and the little mentioned energy conservation retrofits of buildings throughout the U.S. The energy savings and renewable approach would be faster, cleaner, produce more jobs and benefit more directly to Main and Elm Streets USA.

The becalmed Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission should swing into bold action under their anti-monopoly and consumer protection authorities.

It shouldn't have taken Consumer Watchdog in California to sound the alarm on the price manipulation by the five big oil refiners that control 96 percent of the gasoline made in California, led by Chevron. Jamie Court, the dynamic president of Consumer Watchdog, declared: "with California taxes and environmental fees adding about 60 cents per gallon, Californians have long wondered where the extra $1.50 per gallon more they are paying than other US drivers (from 5 to 7 dollars per gallon) goes, and with this legislation (SB1322) we will finally know. California has been an ATM for oil refiners for too long. SB1322 requires California oil refiners to document monthly how much they pay for the average barrel of crude oil they process into gasoline and how much they charge for the barrel of finished gasoline. At 42 gallons per barrel, we will then know how much they are making per gallon of gasoline sold in California, and be able to take back the excessive profits." That is, assuming the completely Democratic Party dominated California state legislature enacts this legislation.

If Democrats do not stand tall in going after gasoline price inflation and other price gouging, the GOP will succeed in putting the blame on the Dems in the November elections. Washington is decades late in cutting our addiction to fossil fuels that are causing the climate crises.

On the first Earth Day in April 1970, over 1500 demonstrations against air, water and pesticide pollution were held on college campuses around the country. With the onset of the omnicidal fossil-fuel-driven climate catastrophes, leading to even more virulent wildfires, hurricanes, droughts and floods, the college campuses are now too silent, the streets are too empty, and the Congress too somnolent.

Congress is on another vacation this week so citizens should be buttonholing their representatives back home and pressing them to take action to counter the fossil fuel industry's greed and to move toward a clean energy future.

Except for the far too small number of authentic advocates pressing decision-makers in government and industry to "follow the science", the country's officials appear too resigned, too attentive to short-term campaign money and political myopia to be stewards of the people, the natural environment and the planet.

If these power brokers need any more evidence of the ominous threat to humanity and its tiny planet, they should read the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said humanity has a "brief and rapidly closing window" to head off a hotter, deadly future." United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world is "sleepwalking to climate catastrophe" as the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and lack of political willpower undermine the necessity to cut greenhouse gas pollution by about half before 2030 and get rid of the carbon footprint by 2050.

It is not as if an abused Nature is not warning homo sapiens daily with unprecedented intensifications of its deadly outbursts and disruptions all around the world.

Once again, given the way our government is structured, it is the Congress - with just 535 members - which can become the rapid engine of energy transformation to the readily known renewable solutions. Solar panels are now seen on rooftops, and windmills on hillsides. Energy efficient technologies are affordable and abundant. Unfortunately, the GOP blocked the infrastructure proposals for clean energy proposed by Biden and the Democrats. Will the voters remember in November?

You know the Congressional switchboard number: 202-224-3121. Summon your representatives to your own town hall meetings and directly confront their desire for re-election in the fall. Tell them, for the sake of the world, their country and their state, it is time to shake off whatever invisible chains are around them and do what they and most of America knows has to be done. A clean energy future is better for the climate, the economy, the health and consumer pocketbooks of ALL THE PEOPLE, regardless of their self-described political labels.

When it comes to the ravaging climate disruptions, all people bleed the same color. Summon your Senators and Representatives directly to your community. (See my book, Breaking Through Power: It's Easier Than We Think, Pages 144-145).

(c) 2022 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super -Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a keynote address on the Stanford campus on Thursday, April 21, 2022.

Obama Wants Censorship
By Margaret Kimberley

Barack Obama and his ruling class bosses are losing legitimacy with more and more people. They have decided that censoring information will resolve their problems.

On April 21, 2022 former president Barack Obama gave a speech at Stanford University on the subject of social media. In typical Obamaesque fashion, he didn't state his point plainly. He used a lot of time, more than an hour, to advocate for social media censorship. He only used that word once, in order to deny that it was in fact what he meant, but the weasel words and obfuscation couldn't hide what Obama was talking about.

In 2016 when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump, the candidate she thought easiest to beat, Obama first presented his lament about "disinformation" and "fake news." His real concern was that Trump's victory proved that millions of people paid no attention to or even scorned, corporate media. No major newspaper endorsed Donald Trump, the television networks enjoyed the ratings increases he created, but ultimately believed that a second Clinton presidency was in the offing. None of them knew that some 60 million people would go to polling places and give their votes to Trump. Hence the disquiet in November 2016, when Obama realized that having buy-in from establishment corporate media meant little if their narratives were rejected by people across the country.

Now Obama has to live with his handiwork in Ukraine. He and Joe Biden began the crisis when they partnered with right wing forces there in 2014 and overthrew the elected president. They are struggling to prop up the Ukrainians with billions of dollars while also trying to keep the American people from asking why they don't have child tax credits, minimum wage increases, or student loan debt relief.

Obama's answer is to cut off debate. It took him a long time to say he wants big tech to censor their social media platforms. Instead he trotted out the usual tropes of authoritarian strongmen, China, Russia, and Trump, as threats to democracy. Of course, the lack of democracy in this country has nothing to do with any one individual or foreign government but they are useful targets and everyone is fair game. Lest anyone forget, Trump's Twitter account was removed while he was still in the white house.

The only way out for discredited liberalism is to shut down anyone who might utter inconvenient truths. They have been doing just that for quite some time, and while their targets are ostensibly right wingers such as Trump supporters who claim he didn't lose, it is radical Black and other leftists who bear the brunt of the attack. RT and Sputnik are branded "Russia state affiliated," and they have been disappeared from many platforms. Programs such as By Any Means Necessary, which present a Black left point of view, are disappeared along with them.

Obama's angst is proof that getting rid of RT and Sputnik won't be enough for him and the ruling class he still works for. Biden is in trouble, with low approval ratings, and the non-stop effort to give legitimacy to U.S. actions in Ukraine are proof that Obama has cause for concern.

While Facebook and Twitter are already arms of the state, and restrict access to anyone who strays from their narratives, Obama would like them to do more harm. "But while content moderation can limit the distribution of clearly dangerous content, it doesn't go far enough." The algorithms and opaque rules that kick accounts off of Twitter and Facebook won't do when wholesale censorship is being proposed. Obama openly talks about government regulation of big tech. "... these big platforms need to be subject to some level of public oversight and regulation."

Of course they should be regulated, but as public utilities which guarantee access to everyone. But that isn't what Obama wants. So he uses Vladimir Putin as the all-purpose villain, or China, which he excoriates for conducting the kind of censorship he now proposes.

Of course he still has friends in high places, as the European Union (EU) adopted a law, the Digital Services Act, which requires "illegal" content to be removed from online platforms. "Hate speech" is banned, as is "terrorist content." But how are those criteria defined? It is particularly troubling that an article was added regarding Ukraine: "In the context of the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the particular impact on the manipulation of online information, a new article has been added to the text introducing a crisis response mechanism."

The EU already banned RT and Sputnik. They cannot be accessed in any member nation. The war in Ukraine is definitely a crisis for nations which are lying to millions of people about why it is taking place and about the fact that it could end if the instigators wanted that to happen. They have to lie because they can't punish Russia with sanctions without harming people all over the world. No wonder censorship is in such high demand.

Obama and the European Union and whomever else wants to limit our ability to speak and communicate freely will use every ruse that they can to get approval for undermining the free speech they allegedly respect so much. They will conjure up images of the January 6th mob at the capitol, or Putin, or Trump, or Putin and Trump together to get the public to agree to censor themselves. They'll talk about freedom of speech while doing away with our ability to exercise it in public forums. These are very dangerous times, and former presidents and their partners in crime crawl out of the woodwork with evil intent, all the while claiming to work for our good.

Just know that whatever Obama and the EU want is not good for the public. Their goal is to silence those who oppose them, and long-winded speeches shouldn't fool anyone into thinking otherwise.

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

The Republican Supremes Are Defrocking Themselves

By Jim Hightower

What is so supreme about the Supreme Court?

I mean besides being housed in an imposing marble building, being the final stop on America's judicial train, and having its nine members look photogenically authoritarian in those full-body black robes. And, yes, its existence is written into the Constitution - but so is Congress, and no one thinks of it as anything supreme.

We 330 million Americans are told we must obey "the law," as defined by a half dozen unelected lawyers on this court. Why should we democratic citizens do that? After all, these legalistic elites have no actual power to force their personal beliefs on us - there's no Supreme Court army. In fact, their sole source of power is one that is intangible, extremely fragile, and easily frittered away: Public trust.

We should go along with their rulings only if they appear to be fair and honest, not based on personal whim or partisan ideology, and not meant to extend plutocratic power over the people. As Justice Elena Kagan rightly put it, "The only way we can get people to do what we think they should do is because people respect us."

That's where the present majority of far-right-wing appointees have failed so abjectly. Rather than meeting a lofty standard of judiciousness, all six have pulled the court down into the mire of crass Republican politics. They've corrupted the system and jiggered the law to decree that corporate campaign cash is "free speech," that the state can take over women's bodies, that the Republican Party can unilaterally shut millions of voters out of America's voting booths... and so awful much more that enthrones the few over the many.

Respect? Trust? The Republican court is already down to 40 percent public approval rating, having surrendered its legitimacy to be a governing authority over us.

(c) 2022 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates,"is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on July 30, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Texts To Mark Meadows Reveal Right-Wingers Scheming To Blame "Antifa" For 1/6
By William Rivers Pitt

Once the smoke had cleared from the January 6 Trump-inspired insurrection at the Capitol building, the question of the hour became, "Who was in on it?" A review of more than 2,300 text messages obtained by CNN from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows leaves one asking, "Who wasn't?"

As the mayhem unfolded on 1/6, the texts to and from these Trump loyalists began to sound like they were all watching an adult film for the first time: "Golly, I didn't think it would end like that!" Ersatz innocence in the digital age. It is altogether laughable and terrifying in equal measure.

The list of text correspondents who contacted or were contacted by Meadows in the days before, during and after the attack includes Donald Trump Jr., Mick Mulvaney, Sean Hannity, Reince Priebus, Hope Hicks, Ivanka Trump, Matt Schlapp, Jason Miller, Jared Kushner, Bill Stepien, Dan Scavino, Rick Perry, Brad Raffensperger, Ginni Thomas, Bernie Kerik, Katrina Pierson, Mike Lindell, Kelli Ward, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Mo Brooks, Rep. Andy Biggs, Rep. Scott Perry, Rep. Brian Babin, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, Rep. William Timmons, Rep. Andrew Clyde and Sen. Ted Cruz.

The tone of looming menace in many of the pre-riot messages is hard to miss. One text sent on 11/4 by Matt Schlapp, who made his bones by organizing the "Brooks Brother's Riot" in Florida during the 2000 recount, sounds as if he was all ready to leap back into that role: "Pls get 4 or 5 killers in remaining counts. Need outsiders who will torch the place."

Trump senior adviser Jason Miller on 11/13: "Emailed you Dominion backgrounder. Lots there re: functionality problems, not much there on Dem/Soros conspiracy connections."

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, on 11/22: "Trying to understand the Sidney Powell distancing..."

Mike "Pillow Guy" Lindell on 12/20: "Everything Sidney has said is true! We have to get the machines and everything we already have proves the President won by millions of votes! I have read and not validated yet that you and others talked him out of seizing them.... If true ... I pray it is part of a bigger plan..."

Rep. Scott Perry on 12/26: "Mark, you should call Jeff [Clark]. I just got off the phone with him and he explained to me why the principal deputy won't work especially with the FBI. They will view it as as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done."

Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson on 1/2/2021: "Good afternoon, would you mind giving me a call re: this Jan 6th event. Things have gotten crazy and I desperately need some direction. Please"

Rep. Jim Jordan on 1/5/2021, the day before the riot: "On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all - in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence."

And then the shit hit the fan.

Mick Mulvaney, 1/6: "Mark: he needs to stop this, now. Can I do anything to help?"

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, 1/6: "It's really bad up here on the hill."

Rep. William Timmons, 1/6: "The president needs to stop this ASAP"

Donald Trump Jr., 1/6: "He's got to condem this shit. Asap. The captiol police tweet is not enough. This his one you go to the mattresses on. They will try to fuck his entire legacy on this if it gets worse."

Reince Priebus, 1/6: "TELL THEM TO GO HOME !!!"

Because these people are what they are, the instinct to fight back even if their only weapon is a rubber wrench is a defining attribute. Beginning with Jason Miller and then followed up by Greene and Gohmert, the closing hours of 1/6 saw the formulation of the laughable "It was Antifa!" pushback plan right there in Meadows's text feed:

MILLER: "Call me crazy, but ideas for two tweets from POTUS: 1) Bad apples, likely ANTIFA or other crazed leftists, infiltrated today's peaceful protest over the fraudulent vote count. Violence is never acceptable! MAGA supporters embrace our police and the rule of law and should leave the Capitol now! 2) The fake news media who encouraged this summer's violent and radical riots are now trying to blame peaceful and innocent MAGA supporters for violent actions."

GREENE: "Mark we do'n't think these attackers are our people. We think they are Antifa. Dressed like Trump supporters."

GOHMERT: "Cap Police told me last night they'd been warned that today there'd be a lot of Antifa dressed in red Trump shirts & hats & would likely get violent. Good that Trump denounces violence but could add & well demand justice for those who became violent & well get to the bottom of what group they're with."

Few messages within the Meadows tranche are more disturbing than one from Greene, dated 1/17/21: "In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law. I don't know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him. They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!"

The term, for the record, is "martial law." It means the military takes over the country under the command of the president, who would be Trump for the next three days.

Of course, you cannot have such grim darkness without a tiny dollop of humor. On 1/19, Sean Hannity texted Meadows a Twitter video link of Mitch McConnell denouncing the 1/6 attack: "The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like."

Hannity's one-line commentary: "Well this is as bad as this can get."

No, Sean, "as bad as this can get" will arrive when this calamity graduates to public hearings in Congress, hopefully over a long hot summer.

(c) 2022 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene sits in the courtroom, April 22, in Atlanta, Ga.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Can't Lie Her Way Out Of The Fact That She Violated The 14th Amendment
The Republican representative from Georgia has no place on this year's primary or general election ballot.
By John Nichols

Marjorie Taylor Greene can't spell or tell the truth. But those are not the reasons the name of the Republican representative from Georgia should be stricken from the 2022 midterm election ballot. Amid all the controversy, scandal, and bad theater surrounding Greene, a simple fact is indisputable: When the Republican Party's most fanatical member of Congress gave aid and comfort to the January 6 insurrectionists, she violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

That violation is explicitly disqualifying, no matter what Greene and her defenders may claim.

Greene made plenty of headlines last week, as she attempted to defend her position on the ballot in an Atlanta courtroom, after voters from her congressional district sued to bar her from seeking a second term in the House. In a show of disrespect for the voters and the judicial process, Greene repeatedly claimed that she could not recall incendiary statements she had made and lawless actions she had taken. One of her most remarkable claims was a suggestion that she did not remember whether she had raised the prospect of defeated former President Donald Trump's imposing martial law in order to prevent Democrat Joe Biden from assuming the presidency. That's not the sort of proposal that anyone imagines a member of Congress would forget. But the Georgian chose to peddle the "I don't remember" lie to cover for the fact that she was an active participant in scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

It didn't take long for CNN to produce evidence that Greene had, indeed, discussed having Trump use the power of the presidency to launch a coup.

Records turned over by former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to congressional investigators revealed that on January 17, 2021, just three days before the end of Trump's term, Greene texted a message to Meadows that read: "In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law."

It's "martial law," not "Marshall." But Greene's point still came across, as her message also declared, with regard to Biden and the Democrats, "They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next."

Greene's spelling mishap, along with her refusal to provide truthful testimony in last week's state hearing, confirms her ineptitude and her casual disregard for the rule of law. But those are not the incapacities that need to be proven in order to bar Greene from seeking reelection. Nor are her many false claims about the 2020 election in and of themselves disqualifying.

What disqualifies Greene are her specific violations of the standard outlined by the 14th Amendment. Her texts to Meadows, before and after January 6, 2021, mark her as an active participant in plotting to overturn the election. Even if she were able, with claims of memory loss, to obfuscate her wrongdoing in this regard, she can't change her votes to reject electoral votes from states that backed Biden.

With those votes to reject Electoral College results from Arizona and Pennsylvania, even though election officials, the courts, and duly certified electors had recognized Biden's defeat of Trump, Greene embraced and acted upon the chief demand of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol at Trump's behest. She did so on the evening of January 6, 2021, giving aid and comfort to the insurrectionists after their violent assault on the nation's Capitol had created chaos that left five people dead and at least 138 police officers injured.

Some of Greene's defenders have attempted to discredit efforts by constitutional lawyers with the group Free Speech for People to disqualify Republican members of the House by claiming that the representative has a First Amendment right to lie about the legitimacy of the election. But that's not the point.

Like any American, Greene can mouth what Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refers to as "loony lies and conspiracy theories." But as a member of Congress, who has sworn an oath to "defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and to "bear true faith and allegiance" to that commitment, Greene had a responsibility to reject the demands of the insurrectionists. Instead, she embraced them.

It is her refusal to respect her oath of office, and the responsibilities that go with it, that places Greene in violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states: "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

That violation is disqualifying. And it is a well-established principle of election law that individuals who are disqualified from serving-those who are too young, who are not citizens, who do not live in the states they seek to represent-cannot be listed at candidates for positions they cannot fill. Greene, as a violator of the 14th Amendment, has no place on this year's primary or general election ballot. Nor, it should be noted, do other members of Congress who gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists on the evening on January 6.

Greene was one of 139 House Republicans who, along with eight Republican senators, supported overturning the election results even after the insurrectionists had stormed the Capitol. More than two years ago, in the immediate aftermath of those votes, US Representative Cori Bush (D-Mo.) proposed H.Res 25, a measure calling on Congress to investigate and expel members of Congress who gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists. "The actions of the Republican lawmakers who tried to overturn the valid results of the 2020 elections must not only be condemned in the strongest possible terms, but I believe the members who attempted to disenfranchise voters and incited this violence must be removed from Congress," said Bush.

That is the proper standard, and it should have been applied by Congress, which failed to consider Bush's resolution. But it can now be applied by state election officials, as Free Speech for People president John Bonifaz has noted when informing those officials that "the mandate of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment must be followed."

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

The Abnormal Concept Of Ownership
By James Donahue

The great wall of division among humanity has always been wealth. And wealth can be interpreted as ownership. Those with wealth possess land, the society's monetary supply, and consequently power.

Imagine living in a society where ownership of "things" does not exist. Believe it or not, such social groups really exist on Earth, but usually in primitive tribal settings. But their very existence strongly suggests that property ownership has been an invention resulting from the rise in social structure into collective behavior among larger numbers of people.

It has been said that when Europeans first stepped on American soil, the natives were puzzled at the idea of "owning land." Some of the languages lacked words to even describe personal ownership of anything.

When my wife and I lived among the Navajo people of the Southwest, we discovered that the natives were attempting to change the tribal name to Dine (pronounced Di-nay), which in the Navajo language means "people of the Earth." They complained that the Spanish gave them the name Navajo, which meant "thief." This was obviously because the Navajo had no concept of personal ownership and used whatever they found to meet their personal needs.

An example of this behavior among the Navajo was often demonstrated during our time with them. While our Navajo hosts generously shared their home, food and resources during our time with them, we discovered that many of the personal items we brought with us, carefully stored in boxes in an out-building went missing by the time we left the reservation. We could not be angry because we understood the mindset of the people. Even the house we were sharing was provided by the United States government. There were no property boundaries in Navajo territory, which spanned four adjoining states.

The great revolutionary socialist Karl Marx, whose books The Communist Manifesto and Capital helped spark the socialist movement, saw the disparity created by capitalism and property ownership. He defined the conflict between an ownership class that controls production and the proletariat, or laborers that slave to produce for the ownership class. He called capitalism the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie" and said it was run by the wealthy classes for their own benefit.

The concepts of communism and some forms of socialism that have evolved since Marx's day go so far as to uphold the idea that private ownership of capital is inherently illegitimate. This is because it always benefits the wealthy over the poor, thus creating domination over the working class.

One unidentified commentator on an Internet website, in examining this subject, wrote: "We're used to thinking of ownership as a given mechanism in life because it's ingrained in the culture and language that forms our mindset."

Indeed, in industrialized nations, workers slave for the monetary rewards that provide food, clothing and shelter for themselves and their families. The dream of every household is to own a small piece of land with a house on it, perhaps a car in the yard, and a collection of domestic comforts within the home. Thus the concept of "ownership" is truly ingrained in our psyche.

But the world concept of private ownership is drastically changing as our numbers increase, the gluttony of having things spreads around the planet, we carelessly pollute and destroy our land, water and air, and the world's natural resources begin to run out.

There was a time when even those of us living in a capitalistic society believed that the air and water and sunlight were free for the taking. Had we lived at an earlier time, we might also have included ownership and use of the land. But even this is disappearing.

The State of Oregon, for example, now has a law on the books that claims all of the water in the state to be government owned. If citizens wish to use the water to farm, divert its natural flow in a stream, or store it in a private pond, they must acquire permission to do so. In Oregon it is against the law to even collect rainwater from the roof of your home unless it is collected in a barrel or tub. Once it hits the ground, the water is state-owned.

As the demand for fresh water has been increasing, its availability has been on the decrease. Natural underground aquifers are drying up. Cities and rural homeowners are drilling deeper and deeper to find well water. Southern California draws water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Colorado River. New York City gets its fresh water from the Catskill Mountains located over 100 miles away.

The appearance of drinking water in plastic gallon bottles now can be found in stores across the land and more and more private corporations are acquiring private access to fresh water sources. As big corporations like Monsanto, Nestle Corp., True Alaska, and T. Bone Pickens buy up water rights around the world, the concept of having to buy the water we drink, and paying whatever the market will bear, is starting to sink in.

If that drink of water is no longer free, what is next? Will wealthy corporations soon find a way to sell us clean air to breathe? If we don't stop allowing industry to carelessly spew carbons and other toxins into the atmosphere, expect to soon be walking around with air tanks strapped to our backs and breathing masks on our faces.

(c) 2022 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

Idiot Anti-Nukers Will Only Have Seconds To Say They Were Right
By David Swanson

There's a lot of funny stuff in politics, but the most ludicrous has got to be these holdovers from the 1980s running around warning that we could all die in a nuclear war. The idiots have not realized that nobody cares, that they look like morons, and that they'll only have seconds in which to point out that they were right. What sort of awards do they expect to be given in the space of a half a minute?

Everybody's going to be about to die in a matter of seconds. Maybe some people will be in lucky places and have a few minutes. Maybe on the edges of certain areas people will get to writhe in pain for hours. Or if it's a small nuclear war limited to one part of the world, and other people are doomed to envy the dead while starving to death under a nuclear winter, tell me who is really going to want to be told that a bunch of people we've never heard of who look like morons were right all along? Who's going to even believe they were right all along and didn't just make up that they'd been screaming the same thing at the top of their lungs for 75 years? Won't we be too busy saying goodbye to our loved ones? Won't we actually blame these people who knew what was coming but were so incompetent at screaming for 75 years that we never even heard them? I mean you'd really have to suck at screaming, right?

So, here's some advice that I offer free of charge to the anti-nukes crowd. Predict things that you can survive. You can even predict climate collapse, but predict it by stages, predict how bad it will get 1 year at a time, see? That way you can take credit and at least have a little clique of weirdos who think you're awesome.

Or, if you want to do better than that, predict actually admirable things. You're into nukes, right? So, predict that the stocks of nuke companies are going to soar. It's not rocket science (get it?) when you just have to buy the stocks that Congress Members tweet that they just bought. Even you nitwits can manage this. If you predict that weapons stocks are going up and you buy them, you will look cool as hell.

You can even predict that sending billions of dollars worth of free weapons to anybody who lives near Russia and hasn't been censored by Youtube will lead to a need for yet more weapons. Now you start looking genius. Take it from me, almost nobody gets this. You can predict that adding more countries to NATO will mean more weapons, plus more Russian hostility, plus more Russian spending on weapons, which will mean more U.S. spending on weapons, which will mean even more countries in NATO. Are you catching on?

I'm letting you in on what is still pretty much the ground floor here. If this goes the way I think, you can even predict that more NATO expansion is needed because of a coming nuclear war, which is bound to . . . oh god damn piss merde jesus hellraiser christ. OK we're back where you jackasses started. But only after many weeks of glory and admiration. Think about it.

You're pretty much just trying to help everyone without any benefit to yourselves. Idiots.

(c) 2022 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Like the light from stars, our actions cast forward, shaping the future.

Marks Of Time Offer New Ways Of Seeing
By David Suzuki

It's not science fiction to recognize that the landscapes we encounter daily, and whatever is in them, can be at various points in a time continuum. Put another way, most of the things we see are stamped with information from years gone by, and the way they are stamped differs greatly.

A wooden table was once a tree. So too, most likely, were the rolls of toilet paper in your bathroom.

Less obviously, some stars in the night sky may have actually burned out years ago. It takes time for light to travel long distances. The photons that reach us from Sirius, the brightest star visible to the human eye, have taken more than eight years to meet our eyes.

In his book Imperium, Ryszard Kapuscinski interviews a 10-year-old girl in Siberia who says you can tell who has walked down the street by the patterns they leave in the air: "One can recognize a great cold, she explains to me, by the bright, shining mist that hangs in the air. When a person walks, a corridor forms in this mist. The corridor has the shape of that person's silhouette. The person passes, but the corridor remains, immobile in the mist."

Some people work to visibly knit the unseen past to the present. This can be done by unearthing historical artifacts or by examining the governing systems that shaped our current world. This occurs through archeology, paleontology and history, but it plays a role in the conservation movement too.

For example, some conservation organizations find creative ways to document what has been lost. Along the Don River in Toronto, an art duo spray-painted blue rivulets and the words "Don was here" onto cement patches where the river and its tributaries had been paved over.

In Bamfield, British Columbia, a wooded area has been dubbed the "ghost forest." Stumps of old growth, logged 100 years ago, still softly stand, returning to soil amid the rows of planted trees.

Some caribou still exist in landscapes where industrial impacts have fragmented their habitat beyond its ability to support them, but those effects haven't caught up to them yet. Scientists have dubbed these caribou "the walking dead." (They bore the moniker before the TV zombies.)

Along the same lines, but hopefully less dire, past decisions (or lack of decisions) we've made about climate emissions not only affect us now, they also stretch into the future. Current efforts aim to tamp down the edges of changes already set in motion.

In unlogged B.C. forests, on the other hand, one can find "culturally modified trees" - cedars that were not logged, but from which Indigenous people stripped triangle-shaped sections of bark, leaving the trees to continue on, though marked - living historical records of cultural practice.

Our current world was built by both materials and ideas. The foundations of our cities, towns and farmlands are the results of both labour and ways of thinking that are sometimes less visible.

At the time of settlement, governing policies dispossessed Indigenous Peoples, the land's original inhabitants - in most instances, relocating them to reservations, so that trees could be cut, fields plowed and metals harvested from Earth's core more readily. It stands that our current displays of wealth are not merely reflections of hard work; accumulation of assets has a long history of benefiting from invisible structures that favour a select few - often colleagues of those in power - at the expense of many others.

When we look around today, we see the results of thousands of small decisions, made in town halls and parliament buildings, decades ago or last week, that continue to privilege economic growth - and usually the status quo - over values to maintain ecological and cultural health.

To some extent, time is a collapsible spectrum. On one end, our human epoch is a mere flash in the journey of the universe. On the other, a decision made in mere minutes to, for example, bury nuclear waste, can have impacts that extend far beyond Indigenous planning for seven generations.

Like the light from stars, our actions cast forward, shaping the future. The atmosphere and ecosystems that we move through will continue to hold our shape long after we've passed through, as does the freezing Siberian mist.

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

HIV Isn't Over In West Virginia
Given conservative enthusiasm for sex ed and the most benign public health measures, I'm not optimistic about a new outbreak.
By Charles P. Pierce

There is no state in the union more ill-served by its state and national politicians than the state of West Virginia. For example, their senior senator has outsized influence in that body and he uses it largely to screw up Democratic proposals that would make life easier for his embattled constituents and keep the planet from burning up, all the while making sure his family coal business is well-tended. The pharmaceutical industry looked at the state's poverty rate and saw a receptacle into which it could dump carloads of opioids until the number of overdose deaths became too great for various authorities to ignore. And now, according to the Mountain State Spotlight, HIV is making a comeback in the age of COVID.

As state resources are concentrated on ongoing HIV outbreaks linked to drug use in counties like Kanawha and Cabell, health rural counties lack key information about the extent of the problem within their borders. Few people are focused on understanding the true scope of infectious diseases associated with drug use in these counties-even the counties themselves because they don't know what's going on.

And even if they did, they're up against new laws that make it harder for them to address the problem with harm reduction programs and a state approach that is geared toward reacting to outbreaks, not preventing them. The result is a spread of HIV around West Virginia. "When I look at these numbers, what I'm seeing is a statewide problem. Because now we've got cases in places like Mason and Pocahontas and Mineral," said Robin Pollini, a substance abuse and infectious disease epidemiologist at West Virginia University. "And to me, that calls for a statewide testing strategy. Because this is no longer Kanawha and Cabell's problem, we're starting to see cases in multiple counties."

Because our collective attention approximates that of a fruit fly these days, HIV and AIDS have been obliterated from the national political conversation. But in the small, rural places, it still can wreak its own peculiar havoc, particularly in a state like West Virginia, which has a public health system that seems to have been designed by salamanders.
HIV cases in West Virginia rose sharply in 2019 and have been elevated ever since. Last year the state had 147 new HIV diagnoses, nine more than in 2020. Kanawha, Cabell, and Berkeley counties accounted for 100 of those new infections. The county with the next-highest number of new cases-five-was Mason County, which had recorded zero in the previous year. Like health department employees in Taylor County,

Mason County Health Department workers also weren't aware of any HIV infections in the county last year."

We've lived and breathed COVID for the last two years," said administrator Jennifer Thomas. "It would be nice if we knew [about new HIV infections]." That's the way West Virginia's system is designed: HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases have long been under the purview of the Bureau of Public Health within the DHHR.

Given the current conservative enthusiasm for rolling back sex education, and the general lunatic assault on even the most benign public health measures in place to fight the pandemic, I am not sanguine about the future of the most effective means of AIDS prevention, which include condom distribution and needle exchange. It's only a matter of time before they come for those, too.

(c) 2022 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote -

"If you paid $1 In federal income taxes, you paid more in taxes than:
AT&T in 2021
Tesla in 2021
Amazon in 2017-2018
Nike in 2020
FedEx in 2020
Dish Network in 2020
Elon Musk in 2018
Jeff Bezos in 2007 & 2011
Carl Icahn in 2016-2017
Yes. It's time to tax the rich."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media during a press conference at PortMiami on April 8, 2021 in Miami.

DeSantis Spars With Disney To Make Straight White Christians Think The GOP Is Protecting Their Kids
As the wealth inequality in the U.S. skyrockets, most voters have less and less in common with the top 1%, making the job of the GOP as political brokers for the latter ever harder. So Republicans are becoming ever more hysterical and phantasmagorical in the threats they try to conjure up.
By Juan Cole

Gov. Ron DeSantis' attack on the Disney Corporation may seem odd, coming from a pro-business governor in a state where Disney is one of the largest employers.

But DeSantis is pushing back at Disney on behalf of big capital, in a roundabout way. The entertainment corporations are problematic for the Republican Party, even though they fund GOP campaigns. Disney donated to DeSantis' run for governor. This is because entertainment is wrought up with identity, and the Republican Party is now made up of identity warriors. As far back as the early 1990s, Dan Quayle ran against the Hollywood "cultural elite" and lambasted the sitcom character Murphy Brown, played by Candice Bergen, for a storyline in which she decides to have a child as a single mother when her fictional husband, a political radical named Jake Lowenstein, refused to settle down into a domestic role. Quayle saw this fictional decision as a slam at male privilege.

The phrase "cultural elite" was an early 1990s code word for antisemitism. In this instance, it referred to the husband-wife team of Diane English and Joel Shukovsky, the force behind "Murphy Brown." Quayle was heavily implying that WASP, white Evangelical manhood was being eroded by Hollywood Jews who were weak and were surrendering to feminism.

So the white identity warriors are not new in the Republican Party. But their narrative has taken new twists and turns as substantial elements of the party have become entwined with the QAnon cult.

It is true that the purpose of the Republican Party is to represent the 33 million persons who constitute the richest 10% of Americans, who own 70% of the country's wealth. The party is an even more fierce partisan of a smaller group, the top 1%-3.3 million Americans who own $36.2 trillion of the nation's wealth, more than the middle 60% of American households.

The basic problem for the top 10% is that they don't have the votes to win elections, and if they don't win elections then they cannot continue to craft laws that aid in the wealth accumulation of the top 10% (and especially the top 1% or even 0.1%).

For instance, the super-wealthy really wanted the Republicans to cut their taxes in 2017, since that was the purpose for which they bankrolled the GOP into the majority. According to the Center for Public Integrity, at a 2017 confab of Republicans and their rich patrons hosted by the billionaire Koch brothers, the wealthy voiced their frustration that the Republicans had not come through for them:

One wealthy attendee, Texan Doug Deason, who oversees his family's $1.5 billion fortune, was blunt. He declared that his "Dallas piggy bank" was closed for 2017 until Congress achieved both Obamacare repeal and tax reform. "All we were saying was that we were not going to support legislators anymore until they did what they promised to do when they were elected," Deason told the Center.
When you see analyses that the 2017 tax cut affected all social classes, be aware that you are being gaslit. A small tax benefit to middle-class people can't be compared to the huge windfall the law bestowed on the billionaire class. Just notionally- these are not real figures- if someone makes $70,000 a year and pays 24% instead of 26% that person saves $1,400 (though the person will also receive fewer government services). If someone pays taxes on $20,000,000 a year, a 2% decrease in taxes is $400,000. And the person can use that $400,000 to lobby congress to lower taxes on the wealthy even more. It is a perpetual motion machine.

But you have to have a majority in Congress to get this result, and nobody is going to vote for a platform of giving some rich person an extra half-million dollars a year and cutting everyone else's government services, so that highways have potholes and airports are falling apart.

So how do you get 41% of the people to join in with the very wealthy and support their agenda?

In the old days, the Republicans attempted to put together a coalition of property-holders-small business-people and even homeowners-against the workers and the poor. The beauty of Communism for them in the 1950s was that you could just accuse Democrats and unions of being Communists, and the homeowners would vote for you in fear that the Bolsheviks might attack their property the way they did the mansion of Dr. Zhivago in the movie.

But then Russia became a white, Christian plutocracy, and it was hard to get a rise out of people on the Communism issue. Then al-Qaeda and Muslim terrorism were appealed to, but that pretext seems to have worn thin since so many Muslim Americans are physicians, businessmen and scientists, and pillars of the community.

The answer the contemporary Republican Party has hit upon is to stir anxiety among people who think of themselves as white, straight, and Christian. It is no longer enough to make them afraid for themselves or their property.

The Republican Party wants to make them afraid for their children, and especially for the identity of their children.

That is why elements of the party accused Hillary Clinton in 2016 of running a pedophilia ring out of a pizza parlor in Washington D.C. (which eventually got the pizza parlor shot up). That is why the Republican senators hinted around as heavily as they could that Ketanji Brown Jackson had given light sentences to pedophiles.

This tactic is so bizarre on the surface that the corporate news outlets have difficulty taking it seriously, so they often don't see clearly what is going on. As the wealth inequality in the US skyrockets, most voters have less and less in common with the top 1%, making the job of the GOP as political brokers for the latter ever harder. So Republicans are becoming ever more hysterical and phantasmagorical in the threats they try to conjure up.

Preventing teachers from telling white, straight, Christian children that their ancestors enslaved Black people, and preventing teachers from mentioning that some people are gay, are also ploys in this Child Identity McCarthyism. DeSantis is one of the ringleaders in these efforts, having been a longtime white supremacist who ran a racist Facebook group before conning Floridians into electing him.

A dangerous fascism has increasingly taken hold of the American Republican Party, forming an existential threat to our democracy.

Most of the corporate world doesn't care about how the Republicans get into power, and even if they find the politicians' antics distasteful, they just want the tax cuts and corporate welfare Congress can bestow on them.

But the entertainment industry is different. Its CEOs have to care about identity because they market to identities. And they cannot afford to have a lockstep policy of playing only to white straight Christians, since they would lose half or more of their profits. They want gays, atheists and agnostics, and people of color to consume their shows and movies.

Disney at first tried to pretend it made steel and to avoid coming out against DeSantis' "Don't say gay" law aimed at regimenting teachers. But the entertainment industry's employees are diverse, and the employees let the corporate leaders know in no uncertain terms that this ostrich policy was unacceptable. Disney can't afford the bad publicity of strikes and demonstrations by its own employees.

So Disney defied the Republican Politburo, and Chairman DeSantis responded by trying to punish the company by taking away its administrative autonomy. This step may backfire on DeSantis, since he seems to have taken on $1 billion in debt for infrastructure in the area of Disney World. Or rather, he has saddled Florida's taxpayers with it.

The entire struggle, however, points to how a dangerous fascism has increasingly taken hold of the American Republican Party, forming an existential threat to our democracy.

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

How We Stand Up To Putin And Stop Climate Catastrophe
By Robert Reich

How do we stand up to Putin and avert a climate catastrophe at the same time?

Quitting our addiction to fossil fuels. Here's how we get there.

In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the West has snapped a series of sanctions into place.

Russia is the world's second largest crude oil exporter and the primary source of global natural gas. Regardless of the short-term effects on our pocketbooks, over the longer term we need to transition to renewable energies if we have any hope of keeping the earth habitable, and freeing our economy from the influence of geopolitical foes.

This is where carbon dividends come in.

It works like this. We put a hard cap on the amount of carbon we allow into the economy. Permits up to this cap would be issued, and energy companies could buy them in quarterly auctions. At every mine, refinery, and port of entry, these companies would have to use a permit for every ton of carbon dioxide that would be released into the atmosphere once that fuel is burned.

When they run out of permits, they cannot extract or import any more carbon-polluting fuel.

To keep the climate from rising 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels - the goal of the Paris Climate Accord - we need to slash emissions by roughly 90%. Accomplishing this by 2050 would demand reductions of 7.5% per year. Currently we're decreasing at a rate of 1.2% per year.

With a carbon cap, in order to ensure we meet our goals, we could simply decrease the amount of permits issued by 7.5% every year.

But how would we do that without Americans getting clobbered by higher prices at the gas pump? That's where the carbon dividends come in. The revenue from selling the permits will be distributed back to the public as direct payments, no strings attached.

For the majority of middle class and poorer Americans, the dividend will more than cover any increase in fuel prices, and they'll come out ahead. The people who produce the most carbon emissions are by and large wealthy, and can afford the hike in prices.

The earth's capacity to absorb carbon is a natural resource, one we should share equally, instead of giving the wealthy and oil profiteers free reign. Plus, everyone benefits from a cleaner planet.

One study found that a quarter million premature deaths would be prevented over the next 20 years in the United States with a carbon fee and dividend program.

I know what you're thinking right about now. Sounds nice, Bob. But it'll never happen. Don't be so sure! The idea is notably popular across the political spectrum.

Carbon dividends were first proposed in 2009 in a bipartisan bill, and subsequent plans have come from both Republicans and Democrats.

And there's already precedent for parts of this program. Since 2009, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has capped and sold carbon permits to power companies in 11 Northeastern states. It is boosting their economies and has proven politically resilient.

And in Alaska, every resident receives between $1,000 and $2,000 annually from the Alaska Permanent Fund, which invests the state's oil royalties. Over 80% of Alaskans say it improves their quality of life.

We treat gas prices as something out of our control, giving dangerous amounts of power to petro-states like Russia - with alarming consequences. By weaning ourselves from gas dependence, we'd gain relief from dirty air that kills millions globally; relief from the constant hemorrhage of government subsidies for fossil fuels and from wars for oil; and, above all, relief from the ongoing destruction of the earth's climate.

None of this is impossible.

The best way to contain Russia, and build a sustainable future, is with a carbon dividend.

(c) 2022 Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

Did Jared Sell Out America & Prospects For World Peace For $2 Billion? And...Nobody Cares?
Have we all been witnessing a young con-man walk away with billions after selling out Yemen, Khashoggi, and the US? With virtually no questions from Congress or the mainstream media?
By Thom Hartmann

After President John F. Kennedy appointed his brother as Attorney General, Republicans freaked out and passed an anti-nepotism law against presidents hiring family members.

When Donald Trump put Jared Kushner into the White House (even after he failed a security clearance), his Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel ruled, essentially, that Trump could ignore the law.

Saudi Arabia was then run by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN), the grandson of the nation's founder, King Abdulaziz; MBN's father, Nayef bin Abdulaziz, had run the country before him.

Like his father and grandfather, MBN was tight with US intelligence agencies and committed to a stable long-term relationship with the United States and Europe.

When Trump came into office in 2017, MBN's cousin, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was merely one of many Saudi princes jockeying for position and power in the kingdom.

At the time Trump appointed Kushner in 2017, US intelligence and the State Department were concerned that if MBS were to overthrow MBN the consequences could be unpredictable for the United States. Kushner, with his new security clearance in hand, would have had access to that information.

Things were getting wild in the kingdom.

MBS wanted to overthrow MBN, and, according to some extraordinary reporting from Vicki Ward (who's Substack newsletter is worth subscribing to), Jared saw an opportunity to go around US interests and help MBS overthrow and imprison his cousin so MBS could seize control of the Kingdom and its more than $700 billion:

"Four well-placed sources," she reports, "say that the primary reason Kushner has now received $2 billion is that he helped MBS depose MBN, knowing that this went directly against what U.S. intelligence wanted or thought was good for national security. (Kushner has always said he did not give U.S. intelligence to the Saudis.)"
Suddenly, the news was full of stories about members of the Saudi royal family who were being held by security forces in fancy hotels, some being tortured and a few even "vanished."

After Kushner met in secret with MBS, America's ally and the ruler of Saudi Arabia MBN was arrested and thrown into prison where he remains to this day.

As a result, Jared's buddy MBS now runs the kingdom and controls its money.

David Ignatius of the Washington Post noted a few weeks after MBS began arresting his royal political foes, apparently using information from inside US intelligence agencies:

"It was probably no accident that last month, Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, made a personal visit to Riyadh. The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy."
Did Jared sell out American interests for $2 billion?
It was with MBS that President Trump negotiated a 2.2 million-barrels-a-day production cut in 2020, when the pandemic had crashed demand for oil.

It was MBS who reportedly said he had Jared "in his pocket."

It was MBS who reportedly had Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi murdered and dismembered by an assassination squad when visiting a Saudi embassy to get a visa to marry his fiance.

And, the New York Times notes, it was Jared who was there for MBS when he needed a friend on the inside: "As the killing set off a firestorm around the world and American intelligence agencies concluded that it was ordered by Prince Mohammed [MBS], Mr. Kushner became the prince's most important defender inside the White House..."

It's MBS who The Wall Street Journal reports is now moving his country "closer" to Russia and China to "punish" President Joe Biden.

It's also MBS who's today refusing to take President Biden's calls about restoring that oil production, which would reduce oil prices and relieve much of the political pressure now on Biden and Democrats as we head toward the 2022 and 2024 elections.

Have we all been witnessing a young con-man walk away with billions after selling out Yemen, Khashoggi, and the United States? With virtually no questions from the mainstream media or Congress?

The son of a professional grifter (Charles Kushner, who was pardoned by Trump) and a minor slumlord, Jared is said to have gotten advice from a PR professional when his father went to prison. Ben Walsh noted for Huffington Post that Jared's dad tells the story that his PR friend advised Jared:

"Step one: Buy a New York newspaper. Don't be too particular.... Any newspaper will do. Step two: Buy a big Manhattan building. Any building will do. Step three: Marry the daughter of a rich New York family. Anyone will do."
Jared, the story goes, then purchased the New York Observer newspaper, overpaid for the 666 Fifth Avenue office building just down the street from Trump Tower, and, now impressively credentialed as a Serious Guy, hooked up with Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

From there it was a straight shot to the White House and then cashing in with $2 billion from Saudi Arabia, authorized by MBS, who had to override his investment advisors to hand the cash to Jared. Which is a crime.

Our Constitution contains two emoluments clauses, both forbidding officials from taking gifts from foreign governments. The most well-known one (in Article II) forbids presidents from taking what could be bribes; the second, from Article I of the Constitution, forbids such behavior by anybody working in the federal government without the explicit permission of Congress:

"[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."
As the Congressional Research Service (CRS) notes:
"The purpose of the Foreign Emoluments Clause is to prevent corruption and limit foreign influence on federal officers. The Clause grew out of the Framers' experience with the European custom of gift-giving to foreign diplomats, which the Articles of Confederation prohibited. Following that precedent, the Foreign Emoluments Clause prohibits federal officers from accepting foreign emoluments without congressional consent."
History will tell us if Jared Kushner sold out his country and damaged prospects for peace in the world by helping MBS rise to power and then push Saudi Arabia toward Russia, just to get his hands on a few billion dollars.

But that history is being written today, and if there was ever a scandal more worthy of a DOJ and congressional investigation than Bengazi or Hillary's emails, this is it.

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

The Cartoon Corner -

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Dave Granlund ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Travellers getting their boarding passes at airline checkin counter

Florida Judge Rules That Airlines Cannot Require Passengers To Have Tickets
By Andy Borowitz

TAMPA (The Borowitz Report)-Calling the provision a "violation of individual freedom," a federal judge in Florida has ruled that airlines can no longer require passengers to have tickets.

Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said that she came to her decision after finding that the United States Constitution makes "no reference whatsoever" to airline tickets.

"The Framers of the Constitution clearly wanted to prevent the infringement of Americans' right to board any airplane they want," the Trump appointee said. "And so I hereby lift the ticket mandate."

As part of her ruling, Mizelle barred the airlines from giving seat assignments, calling that practice a violation of the First Amendment's enshrinement of "freedom of sitting."

The pilot of an airliner travelling from Denver to Chicago announced Mizelle's decision in mid-flight on Wednesday, causing passengers to erupt in applause and wrestle for seats in first class.

(c) 2022 Andy Borowitz


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 16 (c) 04/29/2022

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