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In This Edition

Chris Walker reports, "Leaked SCOTUS Draft Ending "Roe" Argues Abortion Isn't Part Of US History."

Ralph Nader says, "Biden Democrats Are Deer In The Headlights Against Dishonest GOP Onslaught."

Margaret Kimberley concludes, "The Poor Peoples Campaign Dishonors Martin Luther King."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Why Would We Let Wall Street 'Care For' Our Pets?"

William Rivers Pitt reports, "QAnon And Other Far Right Elements Are Already Shaping The Upcoming Midterms."

John Nichols asks, "Who's Winning The Democratic Senate Contest?"

James Donahue wonders, "Did The World Flood Or Was It Something Else?"

David Swanson finds, "The Poor People's Campaign Pushes War Propaganda."

David Suzuki says, "Take A Hike! It Might Help You Heal."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Mike Esper Didn't Think Voters Deserved To Know That Trump Wanted To Turn D.C. Streets Into My Lai?"

Juan Cole reports, "India's Unprecedented Heat Wave Blights Wheat Crops, Adding To Global Bread Shortages."

Robert Reich says, "One By One, Republican Midterm Candidates Are Falling Into Line With Trump."

Thom Hartmann wonders, "A Third Of America Is Lost To Hate: Is It Time To Move On."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Florida Bans Schools From Teaching Anything Besides Misadventures Of Best Friends George Washington And Jesus Christ," but first, Uncle Ernie exclaims, "The Water Crisis In The Western US Is Getting Worse!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Emad Hajjaj, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Kevin Dietsch, John M Lund, Tumisu, John C. Goodwin, Jim Watson, Tasos Katopodis, Juliane Liebermann, Bob Christie, Jim Hightower, Twitter, 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 -

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

Lake Mead water valve is exposed for the first time amid historic drought

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The Water Crisis In The Western US Is Getting Worse!
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"The Lake Mead water shortage declaration was made because the lake is at its lowest level since it first began to fill in the 1930s, a result of overuse and of two decades of drought in the Southwest that have reduced runoff into the river." ~~~ Henry Fountain

I see where as the extreme drought gripping the American West enters its 20th year, water levels in Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the U.S., which supplies water to tens of millions of people, are at their lowest since the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.

Water flowing down the Colorado River fills Lake Mead and Lake Powell - another critical reservoir in the West - and the river system supports more than 40 million people living across seven Western states and Mexico. Both reservoirs provide drinking water and irrigation for many communities across the region, including rural farms, ranches and native communities.

During the past month, the water level in Lake Mead has continued to plummet, leaving it at roughly 30% of capacity and exposing the top of an old intake valve. At maximum capacity, the lake sits at 1,299 feet above sea level. On Wednesday it was measured 244 feet below that, at 1,055 feet above sea level.

On the same day, as a result of the lake's falling water level, the Southern Nevada Water Authority activated a new low-lake-level pumping station completed in April so the state will continue to be able to supply residents with water. Something that Las Vegas did several years ago to keep the water flowing there.

"It's the worst it's ever been," Colby Pellegrino, deputy general manager of resources of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week regarding the ongoing drought.

This week, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California issued restrictions on roughly 6 million customers that are set to begin on June 1 due to water shortages in Lake Mead and the Colorado River. The restrictions prohibit residents from watering lawns and plants more than one day per week.

You may recall that the federal government declared its first-ever water shortage for the Colorado River in mid-August of last year, triggering cuts to the amount of water Arizona was able to draw from it. Since then, the situation has only gotten worse, with water levels dwindling at Lake Powell, another major reservoir on the Colorado River.

Last week, seven Western states that rely on the Colorado River for water agreed with a recommendation by the Department of the Interior requesting that they implement conservation measures like the ones put in place in Southern California. While states like Washington saw sufficient rainfall this winter to alleviate drought conditions, portions of states like Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado continue to experience extreme drought.

"Not only is this drought continuing to chug along, it's proceeding at as full-steam pace as it ever has been," Parker Williams, a climate scientist at UCLA, told National Geographic.

Williams is an author of a new study published in Nature Climate Change that shows that warmer temperatures linked to excess greenhouse gas emissions have made the Western drought 40% more severe, and that the current drought will likely drag on through 2030.

With the drought expected to continue worsening as temperatures rise, water levels in Lake Mead are expected fall even further. The danger, according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, is that if the lake's elevation falls below 895 feet, the "Hoover Dam can no longer release water downstream to California, Arizona, and Mexico." Makes you wonder what those 40 million people who rely on Lake Mead, will drink? I don't have those problems as I live about ten miles down stream from the largest fresh water lake in the world, Lake Michihuron, the lake so nice, they named it twice!


01-11-1946 ~ 04-30-2022
Thanks for the music!

08-11-1951 ~ 05-01-2022
Thanks for the music!

05-19-1943 ~ 05-01-2022
Thanks for fighting the good fight!

06-28-1960 ~ 05-04-2022
Thanks for the music!


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.

Activists in support of and against abortion rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Leaked SCOTUS Draft Ending "Roe" Argues Abortion Isn't Part Of US History
By Chris Walker

The United States Supreme Court is poised to undo nearly half a century of precedent protecting the right to abortion throughout the country, according to a leaked draft opinion written by one of its conservative justices.

On Monday evening, Politico reported that it had received a copy of a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, an ardently anti-abortion justice who was appointed by former President George W. Bush. The document, which was drafted in February, is labeled as a first draft of the majority opinion of the Court.

Politico cautioned that the draft opinion may not necessarily be the final ruling of the Court. "Deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been fluid," the publication stated. "Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled."

Yet according to a source that spoke with them, Politico reported that at least five conservative justices of the Court were still committed to supporting Alito's draft opinion as of this week.

The justices heard oral arguments on the case in question, Dobbs v. Jackson, in December, after the state of Mississippi instituted a 15-week ban on abortion. In their deliberations, the state's conservative counsel sought to overturn a previous ruling from the High Court, Roe v. Wade, which was decided in 1973 and recognized abortion as a fundamental right for residents in every state in the nation.

Alito's draft opinion, however, overturns that decision, stating that it was "egregiously wrong from the start."

"We hold that Roe and Casey" - another subsequent Supreme Court ruling that recognized abortion rights but placed new restrictions on them - "must be overruled," Alito wrote. "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."

The ruling, if it is indeed the final decision of the Court, would remand "authority to regulate abortion" to state governments, Alito added. Currently, 22 states have statutes that would ban abortion right after a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe.

Originally, the Court, through its decision in Roe, made abortion access the law of the land through a penumbra of rights mentioned in the Constitution - including the 14th Amendment's Due process clause and the Ninth Amendment's recognition of additional rights that exist but were not necessarily enumerated in the document. Alito's ruling contradicts that decision, stating, in part, that Roe should be overturned because the Constitution doesn't make an explicit statement saying abortion is a protected right. His opinion further errantly states that the right to an abortion is not "deeply rooted" in our nation's history while in fact, abortion was widely practiced in the U.S. from the 18th century until its criminalization in 1880.

Moreover, as Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern noted after the draft ruling was published, Alito's ruling also suggests that other more recent decisions from the Court - including the recognition of marriage equality and even a ruling from two decades ago barring states from banning or regulating same-sex relationships - were errantly decided.

"He says that, like abortion, these decisions protect phony rights that are not 'deeply rooted in history,'" Stern tweeted.

Several social media users also noted that the same reasoning Alito made in his draft ruling could be used to dismantle the rights to birth control, which were recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 Supreme Court ruling that also relied upon the penumbra of rights argument.

Following the announcement of the draft opinion's findings, several abortion rights activists spoke out against it, urging action should the Court undo Roe and even before it had the chance to affirm Alito's order as law.

"It's past time to vote out every official who stands against the pro-choice majority," tweeted Laphonza Butler, president of Emily's List.

Writer and feminist Roxane Gay lamented the Alito draft order, noting that it disrespected basic rights on human autonomy.

"What do you say when nine people can dictate what happens to your body? It's ridiculous and hateful," Gay said. "The court clearly wants to deepen the political crisis in this country and women will pay the price."

Author Mona Eltahawy recognized the underlying causes of Alito's draft ruling, adding that other rights could soon be under attack, too, if it is indeed the eventual opinion of the Court.

"Unless the United States develops the stomach for a long-overdue reckoning with the white supremacist Christian theocracy that has been unabashed in its destruction of #RoeVsWade, abortion rights will not be the only rights it destroyed," she said.

Hours after the report from Politico was published, abortion activists flocked to the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. to protest the draft opinion. According to organizer Vincent Vertuccio, thousands demonstrated against the impending decision. Demonstrators could be heard banging drums and chanting slogans, including "Abortion is health care" and "My body, my choice," outside the building well into the evening.

If the Court indeed upends the protections for abortion that were laid out in Roe v. Wade, it's likely the issue will become a massive one for the midterm elections and Democrats may well seek to capitalize on it. However, many activists (and even some politicians, such as Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders) are calling on the party to act now - to dismantle the filibuster and pass abortion rights protections, essentially codifying Roe, through legislation. A current bill on the matter, however, was blocked earlier this year by Republicans and "moderate" Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).

(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.

The national Democratic Party bureaucrats are inept or bewildered.

Biden Democrats Are Deer In The Headlights Against Dishonest GOP Onslaught
With its record-setting campaign fundraising, the Party can't seem to figure out how to go on the offensive against the overtly lying, cruel, corrupt, law-breaking, Wall Street over Main Street, Trumpian Republican Party.
By Ralph Nader

There is something about entrenched bureaucracies that transcend nations and cultures. When bureaucracies are confronted with unanticipated or new challenges, they freeze - like a deer facing headlights.

Sears, Roebuck and Company saw Walmart coming out of Arkansas for years and spreading all over the country, but the Sears bosses could not adjust to deal with this swarming business model. Sears, once the premium retail and mail order company in the nation, is now almost gone.

The lumbering General Motors (GM) had years to confront the electric car challenge of Tesla. Tiny Tesla took on giant GM, which built electric cars as prototypes long before Elon Musk was born. GM launched the much-troubled Chevrolet Volt and other converted model brands, but Musk isn't losing any sleep over competition from GM or the other giant auto manufacturers. He just reported last quarter sales of over 300,000 electric vehicles, which means expected sales of well over one million dollars in 2022 or 50% over the previous year. Tesla's profits are skyrocketing as well, as more Tesla manufacturing plants open. The GM bureaucracy, under CEO-engineer Mary Barra, just can't put it together no matter its bold promises to convert to all electric vehicles.

Similarly, the national Democratic Party bureaucrats are inept or bewildered. With its record-setting campaign fundraising, the Party can't seem to figure out how to go on the offensive against the overtly lying, cruel, corrupt, law-breaking, Wall Street over Main Street, Trumpian Republican Party. GOP fictions are fabricated and reinforced with wild falsifications - e.g., critical race theory being taught in elementary schools, Democratic politicians wanting to defund the police, Democrats being "socialists," and the latest, that Democrats support teaching gay rights and gay lifestyles to early elementary school children. These accusations have left the Democratic apparatchiks tongue-tied. They can neither come up with easily pummeling rebuttals, exciting slogans, nor even authentic boasting about delivered and proposed social safety net and infrastructure programs that provide necessary assistance. How hard is it to boast about the $300 per month to over 60 million children cut off by GOP Congressional callousness? Or a $15 minimum wage? Or good-paying jobs repairing and expanding public services for all workers also opposed by the GOP?

Article after article in the mainstream media depicts the Democratic Party as depressed, discouraged and predicting their own defeat in the November election. They are searching for effective "messaging" by looking over each other's shoulders.

Bear in mind that many of their Republican opponents are political crooks, law violators and voter suppressors. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), who is in charge of the Senate November campaigns, wants to tax 100 million low-income Americans and sunset Social Security and Medicare. (See, Senator Scott's An 11 Point Plan to Rescue America).

Democratic political operatives are frantic and down in the dumps. Yet they cling to their corporate-conflicted consultancies that are making it worse for themselves. Facing their self-fulfilling prophecies of November doom in the Senate and the House, they are still not welcoming the advice and know-how of the civic community, which fifty years ago worked with the Democratic Party to enact the fundamental consumer, environmental and worker safety legislation.

GOP strategists mock the Democrats regularly as not having a clue as to what ordinary Americans want. Unfortunately, whether it is arrogance, stupidity or historical ignorance, the Dems rarely return calls of civic leaders who know how to connect with Americans where they live, work and raise their families.

Of course, it doesn't help that the mainstream media has excluded the activities and reports by these national and state organizations. They gave coverage to the work of these groups in the past.

Can, at the very least, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its network of related federal and state committees, pollsters, fundraisers and consultants learn from Harry S. Truman in his underdog 1948 presidential campaign against the former prosecutor and New York Governor Thomas Dewey? Pollsters and pundits described Truman as a sure loser and a has-been. Southern segregationists or Dixiecrats walked out of the Democratic nominating convention and formed their States' Rights Party.

These setbacks just got "Give-Em Hell Harry" underway. He called Congress back into session so he could show the public the differences between his policies and the retrograde Republicans. As related in Robert Kuttner's new book, Going Big, Truman pushed "...legislation on housing, aid to education, a higher minimum wage, development and reclamation programs for the South and West, increased Social Security, and expanded public power." With these popular hammers, Truman provoked the fierce opposition of what he repeatedly called, the "do-nothing 80th Congress," controlled by Republicans, and set the stage for highlighting sharp differences with the GOP in his presidential campaign.

Come September 1948, Truman spent 33 days covering 21,928 miles on the railroad campaign trail, attacking the Republicans and their "big money boys." In Dexter, Iowa, Kuttner reports, "he told a crowd of some ninety thousand people" (outdoors):

"I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head before you find out who's hitting you? ...These Republican gluttons of privilege are cold men. They are cunning men...They want a return of the Wall Street dictatorship...I'm not asking you to vote for me. Vote for yourselves."
This was the language of class warfare that still resonates as well in 2022 as it did in 1948 or in 1933. The Democrats can even quote mega-billionaire Warren Buffett who candidly said there is class warfare in America, "...but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

The Democrats have memories of many inept races for the White House and the Congress that they should have won handily over the last 25 years. What they should remind themselves of now is how the FDR, Truman and LBJ Democrats won their elections against much more tame Republicans than the now vicious, snarling, anything goes GOP candidates that have turned themselves into Trumpian lackeys.

(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).

King delivering his speech "Beyond Vietnam" at New York City's Riverside Church in 1967

The Poor Peoples Campaign Dishonors Martin Luther King
By Margaret Kimberley

It is disheartening to hear movement leaders say they are inspired by Martin Luther King while also supporting the U.S. proxy war against Russia. Like all wars it endangers the lives of civilian populations and robs Americans of public resources. King's anti-war stance was uncompromising. He made a hard choice and didn't waiver in his condemnations of U.S. empire.

On April 4, 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave one of the most significant speeches of his career. In "Beyond Vietnam - Time to Break Silence" King declared his unequivocal opposition to the war in Vietnam. His very public break with Lyndon Johnson was greeted with derision, including from his own allies, who believed that the president was an ally who should not be attacked. The NAACP board passed a resolution calling King's statement a "serious tactical mistake" that would neither "serve the cause of civil rights nor of peace." The media joined in the condemnation, with the New York Times characterizing his comments as "facile" and "slander." Even Black newspapers such as The Pittsburgh Courier judged his remarks to be "tragically misleading."

It is important to remember this speech in which he declared that the United States was "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." There are individuals and organizations who routinely claim King's mantle until they fall prey to the war propaganda promoted by the present day purveyors of violence.

The Rev. Dr. William Barber is sadly one such person. In an April 30, 2022 email on the subject Moral Clarity About Our Own Atrocities he made many specious arguments on the issue of war as it pertains to U.S. policy in Ukraine.

"To see the butchery at Bucha or the massacre at Mariupol and do nothing would be to forfeit any claim to moral authority. We know this instinctively. It is why, despite the political gridlock on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats have acted swiftly to approve historic military aid to Ukraine. In the face of such a moral imperative, it would be anathema for either party to ask, 'How are we going to pay for it?'"

There is no independent investigation of what the Biden administration and corporate media label as "massacres." No one who claims to act in the interests of humanity should praise the historic levels of military aid to Ukraine, an oligarchic kleptocracy under U.S. control which depends upon military and police support from openly neo-Nazi formations. So blatant are the connections that in past years members of congress have moved to ensure that these groups are denied U.S. aid.

Furthermore, Rev. Barber ought to know that questions of funding for domestic needs must always be raised. Joe Biden is requesting $33 billion in aid to Ukraine, which means money for the military industrial complex, after ending stimulus payments and other support for struggling people in this country. Barber opens his email with the story of a woman who lost children in her care to a child welfare agency after the termination of the child tax credit program plunged her into poverty. It is disturbing to see Barber's attempt to have it both ways, demanding help for the poor while also supporting the system that keeps them in their condition.

The child tax credit which kept families afloat disappeared, along with enhanced unemployment benefits, anti-eviction protection, and free covid related treatments to the uninsured. The much vaunted Build Back Better bill is dead and Biden seems uninterested in resurrecting it. It is reasonable to ask the Biden administration for a monetary accounting and for an explanation of how their actions led to a humanitarian disaster for the Ukrainian people, mass theft from Americans' public resources, and a risk of hot war with the Russian Federation.

Barber and the Poor People's Campaign are preparing for a Poor People's and Low-Wage Workers Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls taking place on June 18, 2022. His ill conceived email was meant to bring attention to this event but instead he brought attention to the deep connections that liberal politics has with right wing forces. Barber is not alone in his capitulation as members of congress who claim to be progressive march in lock step with imperialism and austerity which create suffering in this country and around the world.

Then again, perhaps Barber was directing his words to people who support the anti-Russia proxy war in Ukraine.The non-profit industrial complex and the Black political class have cast their lot with the democratic wing of the war party. At this moment they all demand obedience to the status quo which gives a veneer of concern for low wage workers who suffer because of military adventurism personified by the anti-Russia proxy war in Ukraine. What better way to kill two birds with one stone than to mobilize for the poor while also praising what King called the "giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism."

It is sad to see the name Poor People's Campaign, which was launched by Martin Luther King, being used to support the war machine. It is even sadder to see a man like Rev. Barber succumb to the very worst narratives of American exceptionalism and demonization of another nation.

"As we all watch the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine, Americans are aware that the main difference between us and the Russian people is that we see the truth of the human slaughter that is hidden from them by Putin's propaganda."

The U.S. is rife with propaganda emanating from the state and corporate media. What truths do Americans recognize and expose? Sadly, too many of them believe that their nation is superior to Russia while knowing very little about that country or how living standards there compare to theirs. Do Russian police kill three people every day? Do Russians have medical debt? Are they consigned to lifetime debt peonage after attending university? Military spending in their country is a fraction, less than 10%, of what the U.S. spends. Despite all the stories of Russian atrocities and human rights violations it is the U.S. which invaded and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, destroyed Libya in a proxy war, and now is helping its ally Saudi Arabia practice a genocide in Yemen.

We cannot separate the treatment of the marginalized from the foundational inequities present in this country. Barber cannot get justice for the poor and also uphold the contradictions he mentions. His words are troubling and frankly sad. Ignoring their harm is to give them undeserved credence.

(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.

Why Would We Let Wall Street 'Care For' Our Pets?

By Jim Hightower

Question: What does a packet of M&M's and your local veterinarian have in common? Answer: Both are owned by Mars Inc., the global candy monopolist.

Since the 1980s, we've seen massive consolidations in industry after industry - from airlines to newspapers, the internet to candy. These monopolists run roughshod over consumers, workers, communities, suppliers, and our nation's commitment to the Common Good. And now the corporate attitude seems to be, "what the Hell, why not let monopolization go to the dogs?"

This change has been led by "private equity groups." They are corporate-takeover sharks that borrow billions of dollars to buy out, plunder, then sell off the remnants of established businesses. They target enterprises that can be grabbed on the cheap but have assets like a loyal customer base. Then the sharks raise prices on those customers while cutting staff and quality of service.

This has been happening to thousands of local vet practices and hospitals, which have quietly been plucked by Wall Street entities bearing non-descript acronyms like IVC, JAB, KKR, and VCA. At first locals don't notice the takeover, because the corporate outfit not only buys your friendly "Dr. Barry Bones" vet service, they also buy the Doc's name. As an IVC takeover consultant confided: "People like to take their dog to local vets and not feel like it's a corporate machine."

But increasingly, it is. Solo practitioners who became veterinarians to provide friendly, community-based service now must answer to bean counters at headquarters - and, foremost, they must serve profit over animals. Veterinary Center of America (VCA), for example, is one of the most aggressive monopolizers, controlling access to and prices charged by 1,000+ vet facilities in 43 states. In 2017, VCA was taken over by Mars Inc.

One feisty group battling monopolizers is the National Veterinary Professionals Union - Get info at

(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

Roger Stone, former advisor to President Donald Trump, greets supporters after speaking in front of the Supreme Court on January 5, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

QAnon And Other Far Right Elements Are Already Shaping The Upcoming Midterms
By William Rivers Pitt

As usual, Pennsylvania in 2022 finds itself playing the role of fulcrum in American politics. A perfectly divided Senate means every national Senate race that is actually in play will get worked over like a speedbag in a Philly boxing gym, and after the retirement announcement of two-term Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania this year makes the list.

The primary for both parties will be held on May 17, and in both parties, there is the sense that this vote will be a place of definitions. For the Democrats, the race is coming down to ideological differences the House majority has come to know all too well.

Conor Lamb, as a conservative House Democrat, joined with fellow conservative Democrats like his staunch ally, Sen. Joe Manchin, to pull President Biden's domestic legislative agenda apart. Now a candidate for Toomey's seat, Lamb is trying to pass himself off as some sort of "moderate progressive" amalgam, going so far as to distance himself from Manchin on the trail. Few are fooled. He is head-and-shoulders the establishment Democrat in the race, whether he likes it or not.

Meanwhile, actual progressive Lt. Gov. John Fetterman leads Lamb, according to the most recent survey, by a galloping 44 to 23 percent. "It's a huge Senate race," Pennsylvania Democratic Party senior adviser Jack Doyle told NBC 10 Philadelphia. "Depending on what happens, it could dictate who controls the Senate. It's probably the best chance of a pickup for the Democrats."

Old salts like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are becoming increasingly noisy about the real possibility that the GOP could blow a huge opportunity here by nominating easily-beaten mayhem candidates like TV medical celebrity Mehmet Oz just because they excel at pumping Trump's tires. "McConnell is well aware of the GOP's good fortunes this year," reports The Atlantic, "and how easily the party could blow it. 'How could you screw this up?' the once and perhaps future majority leader mused recently in Kentucky. 'It's actually possible. And we've had some experience with that in the past.'"

The Republican side in Pennsylvania is a microcosm of the state of the national GOP. The primaries, as well as the general election in November, are being cast as a bellwether on Trump's hold over the party. Trump has endorsed Mehmet Oz over a tight field of mostly Trump devotees. It is decisions like this that keep McConnell and the old guard up at night.

The governor's office is also up for grabs, and the fight for that nomination has further illuminated the odd place the GOP finds itself. "No matter who wins Pennsylvania's Republican gubernatorial primary, the candidate will probably be someone who supports essentially outlawing abortion, getting rid of mail voting, dramatically expanding fracking, and slashing regulations on drillers and other industries," reports PBS. "Former Congressman Lou Barletta, State Sen. Doug Mastriano, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, and businessman Dave White are all essentially battling to prove who can be most conservative and, perhaps more importantly, most like former President Donald Trump."

Where, oh where is all this pressure to "be like Trump" coming from?


Roger Stone, the unreconstructed Trump loyalist whosefashion sense could be marketed under "Guilty as Hell," is seeing some weird shit in the skies above the Biden White House.

"Stone asserted that a friend had sent him photos showing a 'satanic portal' appearing over the White House after President Joe Biden took office," reports Kyle Mantyla for Right Wing Watch, "and so he reached out to conspiracy theorist and 'prophet' Robin Bullock to arrange an appearance on [far right pro-Trump podcast] 'Elijah Streams' so he could share the startling news and photos.

"It's very, very clear," Stone said of the pumpkin-colored image of nothing (coincidence?). "It doesn't move, day or night. It's harder to see during the day, but you see it at night. And I'm absolutely convinced about the inherent evil of what's going on in the White House, what's going on in the country.... This is not some practical joke. This isn't some conspiracy theory. I'm absolutely convinced that this is demonic. It is a satanic portal. It is access to this Earth by those who are evil, and only by closing it will we be successful in saving this nation under God."

Most people don't know it, but they've been dealing with Roger Stone in one form or another for the last 50 years. A self-described "dirty trickster," this latter-day Batman villain has poured his poison into the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump. A long-time Trump ally, Stone was convicted on seven felony counts stemming from the Mueller investigation, but Trump commuted the sentence before incarceration began, ultimately pardoning Stone entirely five months later.

Now there's this sudden veer into the realm of Armageddon, and it makes perfect sense.

Two things to know about Roger Stone: 1. He is abnormally ruthless and knows no bottom to shame; 2. He is a creature of the real Republican Party, not the stodgy suits in the Senate or the Fox News TV stars they cater to, but the black bag in the back of the trunk filled with "tools." Men like Roger Stone are prima facie evidence that the bare-knuckle tactics of the John Birch Society are alive and well in the actual mainstream of Republican ideology.

Generally speaking, when you know their names, it means they're doing it wrong. They're like the weird fish who swim the deep and only see the light of day when dragged to the surface by an anchor. Stone is the exception that proves the rule; he did run, and was the face of, one of the most muscular lobbying firms in Washington, D.C. He has "panache," God help us, and loves the camera... yet he is a blooded member of the GOP "Deep State," right alongside people like Matt Schlapp.

Who? Exactly. Question: Do you believe the 2000 election had a direct impact on your life? If so, tip your cap to Mr. Schlapp, who broke into big-time GOP politics by organizing and acting as the on-site leader of the so-called "Brooks Brothers Riot" in Miami. That brazen act of election disruption brought the Florida recount to a halt, ultimately resulting in the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore decision, which I'd say, yeah, has had an impact over the last 22 years on virtually every living thing on the planet. Dig it, Matt: At this moment, I'm writing about you because of you. Beat that with a stick.

Schlapp got anchored up into the light of the news last week when his name came up in a giant CNN document dump regarding the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol. The network got hold of and then published more than 2,000 text messages to and from former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, spanning from the weeks before the assault to the attack itself, and for days afterward.

A text from Schlapp to Meadows on Election Day 2020 jumped out of the tranche: "Pls get 4 or 5 killers in remaining counts. Need outsiders who will torch the place." The language is the kind of hypermasculine tough-guy posturing Roger Stone revels in, and why not? Stone takes personal credit for and towering pride in also authoring the Brooks Brothers Riot, which changed the world forever.

Stone was also eyebrows-deep in the doings before and on 1/6, which changed the world forever, and here is his old Miami pal Schlapp calling the chief of staff on Election Day with instant reaction instructions. Calls like that are like mice: If you see one, be sure there are more. Did I mention Schlapp is also a high-powered lobbyist, just like Stone? I sense a pattern, and a hell of a long association in the shadows of their shared midnight sea.


State Sen. Doug Mastriano is currently the frontrunner for the Pennsylvania GOP's gubernatorial nomination, and he is playing with fire. "When candidates for public office indulge in conspiracy theories like QAnon, it's often with a wink and a nod," reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. "But just weeks before Pennsylvania's May 17 primary election, such ideas are being promoted in plain sight. And high-profile Republican candidates for statewide office are treating talk of a 'global satanic blood cult' like regular campaigning."

Mastriano, for his part, looked over the lay of the political landscape and jumped right in. Last week, he attended a far right Christian conference called "Patriots Arise for God and Country" in Gettysburg. Not long into the program, and as if to define its purpose for all assembled, this happened:

About 25 minutes into the two-day conference, organizers played a video claiming the world is experiencing a "great awakening" that will expose "ritual child sacrifice" and a "global satanic blood cult."

Followers of QAnon believe a global cabal of Democrats and elites are trafficking children for sex and engaged in other demonic activity - but that all of this will soon be exposed. Images associated with the conspiracy theory were on display during the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.

The video showed Friday featured a kind of greatest hits of conspiracy theories that have circulated for decades. It showed images of the Twin Towers collapsing on 9/11 - with the label "false flags." It claimed John F. Kennedy was assassinated because he "knew too much" and posed a "high risk of cabal exposure," that vaccines amount to "genocide therapy," and that Hitler faked his death. It offered other conspiracy theories about the atomic bomb, the Spanish flu, 5G, the 2008 financial crisis - and, of course, the 2020 election.

But, the video said, it is "game over" for the darkness, and thousands will be jailed and executed. It showed images of a guillotine.

That sounds familiar. You don't have to believe, but when you hear it, you know you're listening to an ally. Major GOP candidates like Doug Mastriano are listening, and showing up to join the show. Other high-profile Pennsylvania candidates who made the scene at the "Patriots Arise for God and Country" hootenanny included lieutenant governor candidate Teddy Daniels, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington and former Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis.


A year after the 1/6 insurrection, and what? "I'm absolutely convinced that this is demonic," Stone railed on the "Elijah Streams" broadcast. "It is a satanic portal. It is access to this Earth by those who are evil, and only by closing it will we be successful in saving this nation under God."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Mr. Stone does not believe one word of that. Doug Mastriano might, but Stone? Never.

Remember: He is bereft of shame, and a creature of the real GOP... and nowadays, thanks to Trump's ongoing revolution, strange noises like the ones he's making have basically occupied the party's rhetorical driver's seat. In most Republican regions of this country, in core fortresses like central Pennsylvania and Ohio, such talk is the coin of the realm - again, you may not believe it, but when you hear it, you know you're listening to an ally. These are the people Mitch McConnell and the old-line Republicans fear most, and for good reason.

Stone thinks this is how it's going to be for the party from now on and is getting in on the ground floor, as he did in 1972 by seeding the campaigns of various Democratic presidential candidates with Nixon spies.

Stone is possessed of the kind of cunning that has kept him from turning up in the trunk of a car with a dozen bullets in his head; his instincts, though venomous, have served him well... and now this Bible-blaring pivot. It sounds absurd until you stop and take a good look around at places like Pennsylvania, and the races being run there.

It's getting really weird out there, and the races in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have been sucked into this bizarre wake. While Democrats argue over whether they want to nominate another Manchin clone, Republicans wonder which candidate will bring Hillary Clinton to justice for peddling children out the back of pizza places in Benghazi and Hollywood.

Roger Stone may be ahead of the curve on the party he has served for the term of his life, but he's right where the action is. As the primaries approach, that action promises to get even wilder. Playing the God card hard is the next "logical" step, and Stone is no fool. For him and his allies, it's time to pluck another pigeon.

(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.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is leading the Democratic field for the Senate seat currently held by Ron Johnson, but the race is far from decided.

Who's Winning The Democratic Senate Contest?
By John Nichols

Alex Lasry was in great spirits Wednesday evening at a meet-and-greet event on Madison's west side. The Milwaukee Bucks executive had just received the best poll numbers yet in his bid for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

The latest Marquette University Law School poll had the frontrunner in the race, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, falling to 19%, while Lasry moved up to 16%. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski was at 7%, with Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson at 5%.

Lasry referred to the race as just about tied - a fair characterization, as the margin of error in the survey of Democratic voters was plus or minus 6.6%.

But the most significant number in the survey was the 48% undecided figure. With almost half of the likely electorate up for grabs a little more than three months before the August primary, this is a wide-open race. And the fact that Barnes has lost some support, after polling well ahead of the field in earlier polls, is significant.

I still see Barnes as the frontrunner. He's an able campaigner with higher name recognition than his rivals, reasonable fundraising numbers and many of the most coveted endorsements. But Lasry is closing the gap, thanks in no small measure to lavish television advertising - $4.4 million invested so far - and the polished in-person appeal he displayed Wednesday at a bowling alley where a key supporter, state Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, had gathered 50 people to hear the candidate's pitch.

In the last Marquette poll, Barnes led Lasry by 10 points. In the new poll, Barnes shed four points while Lasry added three. But the biggest gainer in the poll was Godlewski, who jumped four points from February. She, too, has begun advertising, though her $1 million outlay so far has been dwarfed by Lasry's spending. The spike in Godlewski's numbers suggests she has room to grow, especially if allies such as Emily's List ramp up their efforts on her behalf.

Nelson's not on air yet, but he continues to mount the sort of grassroots, issue-oriented campaign that has historically had appeal to progressive Democrats. On the day the poll was released, Nelson appeared in Madison's Tenney Park with a crowd of mostly young Sunrise Movement activists who celebrated the former legislator for opposing the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline and supporting the Green New Deal. The next day, Nelson received the endorsement of Our Wisconsin Revolution, the organization of supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and their allies, which is active statewide. Along with the labor union endorsements Nelson has collected, the OWR endorsement suggests he is piecing together the sort of organization that a candidate who lacks a big bank account needs in a crowded primary.

I'd counsel against the punditry that suggests this is becoming a Barnes-Lasry race that pits two Milwaukeeans against one another. What I'd suggest is that the race is becoming more fluid as Democratic voters focus in on the competition. No matter what the polls say, there is every reason to believe that the candidate who can make the best case that she or he can beat Johnson - whom Democrats desperately want to unseat - is still likely to come out on top.

(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.

Did The World Flood Or Was It Something Else?
By James Donahue

Recent discoveries of sunken ruins of ancient cities in three locations around the planet give growing support to the world-wide myth that a catastrophic flood once destroyed ancient civilizations.

The reports from the Book of Genesis to Plato's famous tale of the lost continent of Atlantis, are part of a broad list of stories passed down for thousands of years that suggest a deluge of Biblical proportions really happened.

That archaeologists are exploring newly discovered evidence of ancient cities in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Japan, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of India, and the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cuba is an interesting new development. These discoveries, if they prove to be what they appear, will enhance the argument that the history of human existence is much older than once believed.

British author Graham Hancock claims in his books that everything we know about ancient history is wrong. He argues that civilization didn't start in Sumeria and Egypt around 3,500 BC, but instead, was present 10,000 years before that in great cities that were destroyed by cataclysm.

"We have 600 flood myths around the world," he said in a recent interview with The Guardian. "Archeologists tell us these are meaningless; all they represent are psychological archetypes -- memories of birth, in the case of the flood -- or exaggerations of local river floods."

"The other thing that almost always goes with these myths is the notion of an antediluvian civilization," Hancock said. He explained that antediluvian means stories about "something which existed before the flood and was destroyed by it. I couldn't see any good reason why these universal myths shouldn't be a memory of that event, yet I found that this idea hadn't been explored."

Indeed, the concept of a great civilization that existed in the ancient past, has lacked any real scientific investigation. Yet anomalies, things that just don't support the official "Bible version" of human history, keep popping up as archaeologists, miners and contractors grub around under the surface of our planet.

Such things as the remains of an ancient spark plug, found in a lump of coal mined in California; a solid gold model of a modern jet aircraft unearthed in Mexico; and the silicone calcification of sand in various areas of the world, giving evidence of ancient atomic warfare, are difficult to explain without shedding old tunnel realities.

World mythology is filled with strange stories of ancient civilizations. Not only did Plato leave us the story of Atlantis, a great city that mysteriously sank into what we now call the Atlantic Ocean, but far Eastern cultures have a strange story of the ancient civilization of Mu, located on another lost continent of Lemuria, which disappeared somewhere in the Southern Pacific Ocean. Legend has it that both Lemuria and Atlantis existed at about the same time, roughly 12,000 years ago, and that they were both victims of some kind of catastrophic event.

Dr. Joseph Dillow, in his book "The Waters Above," and Dr. Larry Vardiman in a book, "The Sky is Falling," explore a theory that a thick vapor canopy once surrounded the Earth, creating a perfect climate that made the entire planet lush and green. But they say the Earth was flooded when this canopy collapsed sometime around 8,000 or 10,000 years ago. Dillow uses Old Testament references to support the theory. The writers also note unexplained phenomena, like the discovery of frozen animals in the frigid tundra regions of North America and Russia. These animals, many of them dinosaurs with their meals of grass and flowers still in their mouths, apparently died so quickly they didn't have time to swallow or digest their food.

That the animals were feeding on plants that only grow in warm, temperate climates, and that the list of frozen animals include saber toothed tigers, horses and many other creatures that would not live in such frigid areas, suggests that something extraordinary happened at the moment they perished. Either there was a dynamic pole shift, or something else happened to cause an extreme drop in temperature. It happened so quickly, the animals were stored in a permanent deep freeze that preserved them, intact, for thousands of years.

The vapor canopy theory might explain how the Earth could have had an advanced antediluvian civilization that was suddenly destroyed by a catastrophic flood, but questions about how that fits in with the theory of plate movements and the splitting of a supercontinent called Pangaea into several smaller continents sets the mind spinning. That a recent mapping of the floor of the Atlantic Ocean shows a clear line where the continents of Europe and Africa broke away from North and South America and then slowly drifted apart, gives credence to the supercontinent theory.

If deep water archaeological expeditions someday prove that the sonar images of square, rectangular and triangular shapes on the ocean bottoms of the world are really the ruins of ancient cities, it will only compound the mystery of just what happened.

It is obvious that human origins on this planet are older and more mysterious than we thought.

(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.

The Poor People's Campaign Pushes War Propaganda
By David Swanson

The madness of militarism is a collective madness. Nobody catches it from a single exposure. The repetition that makes anything else unthinkable makes the insane acceptable - and not just acceptable but righteous.

The Poor People's Campaign sent around an email on Saturday with language that could have been churned out by anyone anywhere on the U.S. political spectrum, from the most extreme rightwing warmongers to the warmongers of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. It was signed by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and stated, in part:

"Over the past couple of months, Russia's assault on Ukraine has produced scenes that demand action from people who want to hold onto our humanity. To see the butchery at Bucha or the massacre at Mariupol and do nothing would be to forfeit any claim to moral authority. We know this instinctively. It is why, despite the political gridlock on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats have acted swiftly to approve historic military aid to Ukraine. In the face of such a moral imperative, it would be anathema for either party to ask, 'How are we going to pay for it?'"
I see layers of problems here that seem obvious but must be invisible to most owners of televisions. Where to begin? Weapons are not aid. There are more choices than sending weapons or doing nothing. The propaganda that can persuade advocates of nonviolent action that the only choices in the world are (1) mass killing and (2) nothing, is more frightening than the weapons. The last time there was partisan gridlock on the bulk of what Congress does - namely warmaking - was . . . never; it's never existed. But the bulk of the endless weapons shipping to Ukraine has simply been at the whim of the U.S. President, and pretending that something more democratic has been involved is not helpful - not when talking about "moral authority." But why would anyone talk about such a thing? Morality has no overlap with bowing to authorities. Neither does democracy. Morality also has no overlap with pretending to know things instinctively, which is not a way in which things are known. What is known here is known through having been told it thousands of times through tv, radio, the internet, and word of mouth. But of course this is not a reliable method of knowing things.

The worst bit is the support (by an advocate for alleviating poverty) for spending money on military weaponry without asking what it costs - in fact making it a moral duty not to ask - and certainly not allowing the U.S. public to have any say in the matter. Barber's point is to suggest that just as the U.S. government has a moral duty to mindlessly buy weapons it also has a moral duty to end poverty. But a basic understanding of the magnitude of military spending would make clear how counterproductive this is.

About $70 billion per year would help eliminate poverty in the United States. Christian Sorensen writes in Understanding the War Industry, "The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that 5.7 million very poor families with children would need, on average, $11,400 more to live above the poverty line (as of 2016). The total money needed . . . would be roughly $69.4 billion/year." With U.S. military spending (across numerous agencies) well over $1 trillion, $70 billion is well under 7%.

The email continued:

"But our moral clarity on the question of Ukraine exposes the contradiction at the heart of American politics for the past 40 years. In 1967, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. told the story of visiting Marks, Mississippi, and meeting a teacher who cut her apple into several pieces at lunch each day so that students who had nothing else to eat could share it for nourishment. In the richest nation in the history of the world, King knew it was a moral contradiction to witness such poverty and do nothing. . . . "
This noble effort to put ending poverty on the same high plane with prolonging and escalating war, risking nuclear apocalypse, and destroying any chance of global cooperation on climate or homelessness or disease or hunger rings false. It's followed by this:
"As we all watch the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine, Americans are aware that the main difference between us and the Russian people is that we see the truth of the human slaughter that is hidden from them by Putin's propaganda."
In fact, there has been thus far since the Russian invasion of Ukraine more antiwar activism in Russia than in the United States, despite far greater risk of punishment in Russia. Barber's evidence of his or "Americans'" superior understanding is not cited, but simply believed in. The old joke of course has the Russian telling the American that he's visiting the United States to learn its propaganda techniques. The American asks "What propaganda techniques?" The Russian replies: "exactly." Russians have tended to be far more aware of the manipulative techniques of propaganda than Americans for a great many years. That doesn't mean that many don't fall for them, or that any generalizations can be made about a national people (or any other mythical concoction). People in the United States to whom it has never occurred that U.S. media might be deceptive have also typically never considered that they might have a moral duty to try to end a war rather than prolong it, to oppose weapons shipments, to oppose no-fly zones, to demand a ceasefire and negotiations, to insist on serious negotiations from all sides, to support international law and courts for all, to prioritize nuclear disarmament, or to insist that governments train populations in unarmed civilian resistance.

Someone once said: "Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on."

One might add to the hurdles we can face the great desire to support people who want to organize nonviolent direct action by poor people against economic and environmental injustice and racism. But I have to believe that we can go on strongly supporting those efforts without going silent in the face of support for war making. Sometimes silence is betrayal.

(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.

When the climate crisis seems overwhelming, and reconciliation seems difficult and distant, healing forests give immediacy and agency.

Take A Hike! It Might Help You Heal
By David Suzuki

If someone tells you to take a hike, thank them. And maybe ask them to join you.> Walking in nature is not only a service to your health; it can also be a deliberate act of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Forest bathing, the act of immersing your senses in nature, was popularized in Japan in the 1980s. Known as shinrin-yoku, it's a form of eco-therapy rooted in knowledge many cultures have long embraced: spending time in nature is good for you.

Science backs it up. A 2019 study of the mental and physical effects of forest bathing on working-age people found "significant positive effects on mental health, especially in those with depressive tendencies." Another study found forest bathing significantly enhanced "people's emotional state, attitude, and feelings towards things, physical and psychological recovery, and adaptive behaviors; and obvious alleviation of anxiety and depression."

Nature heals - in more ways than one.

In the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report in 2015, Saulteaux Cree non-practising lawyer Patricia Stirbys and geologist and international development consultant Peter Croal founded the National Healing Forests Initiative. Combining reconciliation and healing into one immersive experience, they hoped their labour of love would result in a network of healing forests throughout our shared lands.

Today, there are 10 healing forests in Canada. From Gibsons, B.C., to Fitch Bay, Quebec, to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, individuals and communities have set up dedicated green spaces big and small to honour the first inhabitants of that land and their descendants, recognize the children who attended residential institutions, provide education about Canada's tragic past and offer people a chance to begin their own journey toward reconciliation and healing.

What a healing forest should look like isn't prescribed. All that's asked is that it be a quiet green space dedicated to the spirit of reconciliation. They're intended as places for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to gather, meditate, heal and participate in ceremony. The hope is to bring awareness and understanding of Canada's history and legacy of the residential school system and to help people connect with nature and each other.

Each healing forest is different. One is on the grounds of a church. Another is along a public trail. But they all bring people together to connect, share and maybe get inspired to create their own healing forests.

Students at Riverside School in Albert Bridge, Nova Scotia, developed a two-kilometre interactive trail through the woodland next to the school, called the "Knowledge Path." It includes a healing forest. Students have invited Indigenous elders to share their stories at its centre, where benches encircle a concrete medicine wheel. Along the path, decorated with student-built birdhouses and flower gardens, signs with QR codes allow visitors to learn about the plants in English and Mi'kmaw.

In Edmonton's River Valley, Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton hung 1,000 paper hearts from trees along the trail. More than 300 people came together to design the hearts, marking each with a message of reconciliation and insight into Canada's history. Visitors could take a journey through time and the forest. After accidently removing all the hearts, the city apologized and allocated $55,000 for a permanent healing forest.

The David Suzuki Foundation is partnering with the National Healing Forests Initiative this year, providing seed grants to people and groups to help establish healing forests in 10 communities. You can learn more at a webinar on May 1.

When the climate crisis seems overwhelming, and reconciliation seems difficult and distant, healing forests give immediacy and agency. They offer tangible actions everyone can take to promote health, healing and community. With quarantines and lockdowns affecting people worldwide, this community connection is priceless.

You don't need to be a scientist to know the healing power of nature. Nevertheless, scientists agree: this is a critical time for humankind to get outdoors and rekindle our love and respect for the planet. It's also critical for people in Canada to take up the challenge of reconciliation.

Earth is at a tipping point. It's time to heal ourselves, heal from our history and heal the planet before it's too late.

So the next time someone tells you to take a hike, take them up on the offer and invite them to come along on a healing journey.

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

Mike Esper Didn't Think Voters Deserved To Know That Trump Wanted To Turn D.C. Streets Into My Lai?
The Secretary of Defense thought this information would better serve his bank account two years later.
By Charles P. Pierce

I'm beginning to believe that book contracts are a genuine threat to democratic government. Once again, someone who worked at Camp Runamuck is cashing in big time revealing information now that it would have been nice to know at the time. This time around, it's former Secretary of Defense Mike Esper. From Axios:

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper charges in a memoir out May 10 that former President Trump said when demonstrators were filling the streets around the White House following the death of George Floyd: "Can't you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?"... That moment in the first week of June, 2020, "was surreal, sitting in front of the Resolute desk, inside the Oval Office, with this idea weighing heavily in the air, and the president red faced and complaining loudly about the protests under way in Washington, D.C.," Esper writes. "The good news - this wasn't a difficult decision," Esper continues. "The bad news - I had to figure out a way to walk Trump back without creating the mess I was trying to avoid."
So, in June of an election year, the President* of the United States wanted to use the military to create a fcking bloodbath in and around Lafayette Park, and the Secretary of Defense had to "walk Trump back." This is information that the American people might have needed five months later while choosing whether to re-elect the bloodbath dude or not. I don't know what the hell good it does now, except that it benefits Esper's bank account.
Esper enraged Trump by publicly stating in June 2020 that he opposed invoking the Insurrection Act - an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil - in order to quell protests against racial injustice. Michael Bender - then with The Wall Street Journal, now with the N.Y. Times - reported last year in his book, "Frankly, We Did Win This Election," that Trump repeatedly called for law enforcement to shoot protesters during heated meetings inside the Oval Office.
I am willing to stipulate that many of these authors learned these things after the White House had been fumigated in January. Of course, all that does is shift the mantle of cowardice onto the alleged public servants who didn't bring this information forward at the time. Not that this isn't a worthwhile exercise. Everybody in that sorry lash-up failed their duties to the republic and violated their constitutional oaths. But the worse thing is that the American voters were deprived of the fullest possible look at the character for whom they were being asked to vote, and that the only way left for them to find out was if the president* actually followed through on his apparently raging tantrum and turned the streets of Washington into My Lai. That might've even cost him Ohio. Or not.

(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 -

"Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

India's Unprecedented Heat Wave Blights Wheat Crops, Adding To Global Bread Shortages
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - A global wheat crisis has been caused by Russian's invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war there, which has drastically reduced Ukraine's wheat production and exports, while the resultant international sanctions have also somewhat reduced Russian production. Now, there is yet another complication, as the fertile wheat-growing regions of North India have been hit with drought and a severe heat wave. Young wheat plants don't do well with extreme heat. So the wheat crisis just got worse. India is the world's second-largest wheat producer. While it exports little, using the crops to feed its 1.3 billion people, it will now have to import to make up for the loss, increasing demand at a time of shrinking supply.

While India has a hot climate and heat waves have struck it before, this time it is different. India hasn't seen anything like the temperatures in March for at least a century and a quarter, and probably not for millennia. Global temperatures were cooler before we began pumping billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with the Industrial Revolution. This heat wave is part of the global climate emergency.

India's governments- first the colonial British and since 1947 the independent state -have been keeping temperature records all over the country for at least 122 years. 2022 is crashing through many previous records. This was the hottest March since records began being kept.

Aniruddha Gosal at AP notes that a Lancet report last year foound that India's vulnerability to extreme heat increased 15% from 1990 to 2019. India and Brazil are the two countries where most people die annually of heat exposure.

India temperatures April 30 in celsius; 45C = 113F

A recent article by Mariam Zachariah et al. in Geophysical Research Letters finds that:

"The three states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the Indo-Gangetic Plains are the largest wheat producers in India, playing a crucial role in ensuring food security of this densely populated country. Wheat, a winter crop, is reported to be sensitive to heat stress because of rising temperatures and climate change. However, in previous studies, the sensitivity of wheat yield has been mainly explored with respect to the magnitude of temperature. Here, based on statistical analysis of observed temperature and actual wheat production data, we show that the magnitude, frequency and areal extent of agricultural heat stress events are increasing in India's wheat belt, with frequency showing the most pronounced trend . . . Under climate change, chances of below-average wheat production rise by 8%-27% in the worst-case scenario."
So the authors are saying that high-powered modeling shows that not only increased average temperatures in India but also more frequent extreme heat waves have the potential of reducing wheat yields by as much as 27%. They say this is a worst-case scenario, but at the moment we are heading for the worst case scenario of the climate emergency, since nobody is significantly reducing their carbon dioxide emissions, which jumped up last year.

I've lived in India in March and April, and I remember them as blisteringly hot. Admittedly, June before the monsoon rains come is the worst. Even once the rains come, it is still torrid, but you get a little relief until the heat begins subsiding in September. My experiences in India were as a student, so I didn't have air conditioning, and it was a long time ago, when most people there didn't because of the expense. Evaporative or "desert" coolers, which blew air through water and straw, were popular in the hot dry months before the monsoon, though I never felt they did a very good job. Many Indians even today cannot afford air conditioners, and 80 persons died of heat exposure in March as a result.

But in the succeeding forty years, things have changed for the worse, as average global surface temperatures rise because we are burning gasoline, methane gas and petroleum, which are greenhouse gases that keep the sun's heat from radiating back into space. That is stupid of us, just as stupid as fighting wars over territory that we are making worthless by wrecking the earth. Oil is behind both catastrophes, war and the climate disaster.

(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.

'It would be bad enough were Mark Brnovich the exception. But he exemplifies what's happened to the Republican party over the last 19 months.'

One By One, Republican Midterm Candidates Are Falling Into Line With Trump
By Robert Reich

As Trump's big lie of a stolen election began ricocheting across America in November 2020, Arizona's Republican attorney general, Mark Brnovich (pronounced "Burn-o-vich"), spoke out forcefully on national television. He told the public that Donald Trump was projected to lose the swing state, and "no facts" suggested otherwise. (At the time I thought to myself, "Good for him. Maybe more Republican attorneys general will show some spine.")

That was then. Recently, Brnovich - now running for US Senate from Arizona - came on to Steve Bannon's far-right podcast with the opposite message: Brnovich said he was "investigating" the 2020 vote and had "serious concerns". He went on: "It's frustrating for all of us, because I think we all know what happened in 2020," without explaining what he meant by "what happened." (Bannon titled the podcast segment "AZ AG On Interim Report On Stealing The 2020 Election."

It would be bad enough were Brnovich the exception. But he exemplifies what's happened to the Republican party over the last 19 months. Republican politicians who initially told the truth have since then embraced Trump's big lie in order to gain Trump's favor (or avoid his wrath) in their 2022 races. (Brnovich launched his "review" of the 2020 vote in Arizona in response to a widely ridiculed "audit" commissioned by Arizona Republican lawmakers.)

It's the same story with JD Vance, Republican candidate for the Senate from Ohio, who initially told the truth about the 2020 election but then pushed Trump's lie to curry favor with Trump - and was rewarded last week with Trump's endorsement and $10m in campaign funds from rightwing billionaire Peter Thiel.

It's the same with the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, who held on to his scruples for a few minutes after the January 6 insurrection - when he publicly criticized Trump and told House colleagues he'd urge Trump to resign - but then promptly did a 180 and traveled to Mar-a-Lago to display his total loyalty to Trump, even bestowing on his madness a jar of his favorite pink- and red-flavored Starbursts. (McCarthy has denied ever telling his colleagues he'd urge Trump to resign but was caught on tape doing just that.)

And the same for the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, who initially condemned Trump. Early in the morning of 7 January McConnell told the New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin (according to an excerpt released this week from Martin's and fellow reporter Alexander Burns's forthcoming book): "I feel exhilarated by the fact that this fellow [Trump] finally, totally discredited himself. He put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger," adding, "Couldn't have happened at a better time." McConnell vowed to crush the extremist "sons of bitches ... in the primary in 22".

And now? McConnell won't utter a negative word about Trump - or about those extremist "sons of bitches".

Up and down the ranks of the Republican party, the new litmus test for gaining dollars, votes, and the coveted Trump endorsement is to embrace the big lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

For the rest of us - and for posterity - it should be a negative litmus test for politicians to place ambition over principle, narcissism over duty, and cowardice over conscience.

How are Republican voters ever to know the truth when these toadies, sycophants, and unprincipled pawns repeat and amplify Trump's lie? Fully 85% of Republicans now believe it (35% of Americans overall believe it).

The Republican party now stands for little more than the big lie - not for fiscal prudence or smaller government or stronger defense, not for state's rights or religious freedom or even anti-abortion, but for a pernicious deception. The lie is now the life of the Republican party.

How can what was once a noble party - the party of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt - descend to such putrid depths, sowing distrust in our electoral system and in the peaceful transition of power that's at the heart of democracy?

The real question - more in the realm of social psychology than political science - is how one profoundly sick, pathologically narcissistic man, who is obsessed with never losing, has been able to impose his obsession on one of America's two political parties?

Which raises an even more troubling question: How can American democracy ever function when almost all Republican politicians are willing to sell out their oaths to the US constitution in order to kiss the derriere of this demented man? Why are no more than a handful of Republican politicians, such as Representative Liz Cheney, willing stand up to this monstrosity?

This is how fascism begins.

(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

A Third Of America Is Lost To Hate: Is It Time To Move On
Racists and bigots must be called out, labeled and shunned, regardless of how wealthy or powerful they may be. The country needs rebuilding...
By Thom Hartmann

It's time to stop normalizing and accommodating the white supremacists among us. They may be a third of America, but they're the lost third, longing for return to a time we will never revisit.

Instead of looking forward, they're stuck to a past that will never be revived, no matter how many elections they rig or people they terrorize or kill.

The America I was born into and grew up in as a kid was a very different place from today. In the 1950s the country was firmly under the control of straight white men:

Blacks (and other minorities, varying by region) were confined to certain parts of town and were routinely beaten, arrested, or even killed for stepping into whites-only areas.

In 1951 only about 15% of Blacks were successful in registering to vote in all of the former Confederate states.

With few exceptions, the only minority faces seen in media were those portrayed as either buffoons or criminals.

Abortion was illegal, and in many states you could go to jail, even if you were married, for possessing birth control of any sort, including condoms, in your own home. IUD's and birth control pills did not exist.

Schools, restaurants, hotels, and most private businesses were racially segregated.

Women (even white women) couldn't sign a contract, get a credit card or open a bank account in their own names without the signature of a father or husband.

Immigration into America was regulated to maintain the country's racial balance.

Gays and lesbians were routinely beaten, imprisoned, raped, and murdered with no consequence to their tormentors.

Police had carte blanche to terrorize and kill minorities of all types.

Since then, a lot has changed:
The browning of America began in a big way in the 1960s with egalitarian changes to our immigration, voting, and public accommodations laws.

The Women's Rights movement picked up steam after the legalization in 1961 of birth control pills and Roe v Wade in 1973, although Republicans have successfully blocked the Equal Rights Amendment to this day.

Full citizenship for LGBTQ people picked up in the 1990s and was finally realized (in law, at least) when Vice President Biden and then President Obama endorsed gay marriage and the Supreme Court ratified it in June of 2015.

Throughout the past 30 or so years as the larger of these changes have been cemented into law and culture, straight white male backlash has grown to the point where, today, white male supremacy is the core product sold on rightwing television and hate-talk radio/podcasts.

That backlash has gone from passive resistance against integration, to the Tea Party, to openly declaring Barack Obama "not a real American," to rightwing media embracing the "Great Replacement Theory" first championed by "America First" actual Nazis 80 years ago.

An effort to realize our nation's founding creed that "all men are created equal" has been twisted in the minds of Trump followers into a sinister plot to deny straight white men their God-given role in American society. Now it's being used to justify political violence (57% of Republicans today say January 6th was "patriotic"), election-rigging, and court-packing.

This idea that Democrats, in addition to drinking the blood of children and embracing "international" Jewish villains (like George Soros), are actively working to "replace" straight white people with people of color and/or LGBTQ folks is particularly poisonous and virulent.

Tucker Carlson, with the approval of the heir to Rupert Murdoch's billions, began this in a big way during prime time on Fox "News." On April 8th, for example, he told his viewers:

"[T]he Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World."
Four days later, Carlson explained to his mostly white Fox audience the Great Replacement Theory and how, in his opinion, Democrats were its main advocates:
"Demographic change," he said, "is the key to the Democratic Party's political ambitions. In order to win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country. They're no longer trying to win you over with their program. ... They don't even really care about your vote anymore. Their goal is to make you irrelevant."
On April 15th, Carlson echoed the Nazi theory that the pinnacle of evolution was, as Hitler preached, the white (Aryan) race:
"Acknowledge the reality of evolutionary biology," he demanded, sliding into the evening news buzzwords that every white supremacist in America instantly recognized. "It is real."

He added:

"They are changing everything, whether we like it or not. A new language, new values, new biology, new curricula, new social mores and hiring standards and body types. A brand-new national population. And then, because that is still not enough change, a whole new system of government. ... What will the consequences of that change, of that revolution be? In your bones, you know the answer. It's terrifying, and it does not have to happen."
Fox's Laura Ingraham also said it out loud:
"Of this my friends you can be sure, your views on immigration will have zero impact and zero influence on a House dominated by Democrats who want to replace you, the American voters, with newly amnestied citizens and an ever increasing number of chain migrants."
Now the chief of the Border Patrol union, Brandon Judd, is even repeating the America-For-Whites-Only theme, saying:
"I believe that they're trying to change the demographics of the electorate; that's what I believe they're doing,"
After the last presidential election white supremacists conspired to keep their leader, Donald Trump, in office by, among other things, trying to murder the Vice President and Speaker of the House in their attempted coup.

This virulent form of white supremacy has also spread to our churches. When PRRI asked if Trump had "encouraged white supremacists," a majority of Black (75%) and Hispanic (68%) churchgoers said yes. But, the pollsters found, fewer than "half of white mainline Protestants (43%) and white Catholics (43%) and only 26% of white evangelical Protestants share this view."

These straight white "Christians" cheered when Trump began the "Birther" movement, terrorized refugee children (many of whom are now lost to trafficking or unknown adoptions), referred to majority-Black nations as "shithole countries," engaged in slurs like "Mexican judge," and repeatedly referred to Black women in Congress as "crazy."

They've been told that as minorities increase their roles in media, politics, and the mainstream of American life and business, that must mean that white opportunities are similarly reduced. They see American society and the distribution of jobs, wealth, and power within it as a zero-sum game, which it very much is not.

Most of the old-timers among them have always been racists; the new adherents to the white supremacist ideology were evangelized on unregulated social media and by rightwing hate radio and TV.

They've so completely taken over the Republican Party that white supremacist senators felt empowered to attack a highly qualified but Black female judge as pro-pedophile. CBS just put one of them on its payroll. They're purging the party of old-line "fiscal conservatives" like Liz Cheney; and the savagely bigoted and anti-gay Ron DeSantis is their new savior.

These people are lost. By and large, there is no hope to redeem or awaken them, and we should stop trying.

Americans and our institutions should stop normalizing them, as if being a member of the GOP means a person is suddenly above also being a white supremacist bigot. Racists should no longer be able to hide behind the sheet of "just being political."

A big step forward happened this past weekend when The New York Times published an extraordinary exposé of Tucker Carlson's "most racist show in the history of cable news."

While programming like Carlson's would have been normal in most of America in the 1950s, it should have no place in our more diverse nation in 2022, regardless of how much money it makes Fox's Australian owners.

Racists and bigots must be called out, labeled, and shunned, no matter how wealthy or powerful they may be.

This is particularly important on the Sunday TV political shows, where they routinely show up and are almost never confronted with meaningful questioning. (There's a reason Trevor Noah chose to call out Chuck Todd...)

And then we must turn to the most important work: getting about the business of governing and moving forward, rebuilding this country from the wreckage of 40 years of Reaganism, while leaving his and Trump's bigoted followers to marinate alone in their own putrid stew.

(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
~~~ Emad Hajjaj ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Florida Bans Schools From Teaching Anything Besides Misadventures Of Best Friends George Washington And Jesus Christ
By The Onion

TALLAHASSEE, FL-Claiming that the public education system indoctrinated students with liberal rhetoric, Florida lawmakers passed a new bill Tuesday that banned schools from teaching students anything besides the misadventures of the two best friends George Washington and Jesus Christ.

"In classrooms across our state, young people have been brainwashed with progressive ideologies, so I am proud to sign this legislation that requires all lessons at every grade level to be about the wacky hijinx of America's first president and his lifelong pal, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," said Gov. Ron DeSantis, detailing how subjects such as biology, history, music, art, algebra, and chemistry must now either be stricken from the curriculum or re-tooled to focus on the story of how the Messiah and the Revolutionary War general first teamed up as young boys to found the United States.

"We must eradicate liberal myths so we can teach children the real history of our nation, like how Jesus fed loaves and fishes to all of Washington's troops at Valley Forge so they could defeat the British army. Understanding this friendship is fundamental to understanding America, but thanks to the left's propaganda, most students these days can't even tell you that President Washington and Jesus were born on the same night in the manger on Plymouth Rock. With this law, our kids can finally learn how Washington and Christ rode around on dinosaurs with their talking bald eagle sidekick, Jerome."

At press time, Florida had reportedly shifted course, banning all books about Jesus and Washington after it was discovered the men were of different races and must therefore have violated segregation laws.

(c) 2022 The Onion


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 16 (c) 05/06/2022

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