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In This Edition

Norman Solomon explains, "Why Israel Blows Up Media Offices And Targets Journalists."

Ralph Nader says, "Biden: End Your Co-Belligerent Backing Of Israeli War Crimes."

Jesse Jackson remembers that, "One Hundred Years Later, The Mark Of History Still Scars Tulsa."

Jim Hightower reports, "The Plutocrats Cry, People Cheer."

William Rivers Pitt warns, "Republicans Are Against Science, Elections, Democracy, Journalism - And You."

John Nichols reports, "More Than 500 Of The Staffers Who Got Biden Elected Demand That He Defend Palestinian Rights."

James Donahue is, "Honoring Victims Of Senseless Wars."

David Swanson reports, "Activists Cover Israeli Consulate Steps In Toronto With River Of 'Blood.'"

David Suzuki wonders, "Does Fracked Methane Deserve 'Natural' Label?"

Charles P. Pierce finds that, "Daniel Ellsberg Is 90 Years Old And Still Causing Trouble."

Juan Cole reports, "Irish Parties And People Demand Expulsion Of Israeli Ambassador, Fines For Importing Settler-Made Goods."

Robert Reich says, "Workers Matter And Government Works: Eight Lessons From The Pandemic."

Thom Hartmann returns with a must read, "Blowing Up the Billionaires' Con That's Shattering America."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports,"Trump Orders Kevin McCarthy To Go To Prison In His Place," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "The G7 Agrees To End Funding For Coal Production."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of David Horsey, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Kemal Jufri, Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto, Library of Congress, David Seibold, Mandel Ngan, Chip Somodevilla, Nicholas Kamm, Daniel Oberhaus, Greenpeace, Britta Pedersenpicture Alliance, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, You Tube, Black Agenda Report, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

Children play by the beach near a coal power plant in Java.

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The G7 Agrees To End Funding For Coal Production
By Ernest Stewart

"Cancel all global coal projects in the pipeline and end the deadly addiction to coal. Phasing out coal from the electricity sector is the single most important step to get in line with the 1.5C goal." ~~~ Antonio Guterres ~ UN secretary-general

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

I see where the G7 agrees to stop overseas funding of coal to limit global warming. Member states pledge to keep temperature rise to 1.5C relative to pre-industrial times US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry meets Germany's foreign minister Heiko Maas ahead of the G7 climate pledge on Friday on coal.

"International investments in unabated coal must stop now," the G7 environment ministers, including the Biden administration's John Kerry and the UK's Alok Sharma, said in a communique on Friday. They pledged to take "concrete steps" to end new direct government support for international thermal coal power generation, where no effort is made to capture the emissions.

The strongly worded statement sets the stage for more climate pledges when G7 country leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden, meet in Cornwall next month.

"This commitment sends a clear signal to the world that coal is on the way out," said Sharma, the president of the COP26 climate summit. "We have all agreed to accelerate the transition away from dirty coal capacity." I bet that this really pisses off Lying Donald and his flunkies!

Coal mining has come under pressure this week after the International Energy Agency said that no new coal mines should be needed if the world is to cut emissions to net zero by 2050.

The G7 countries also pledged to make "accelerated efforts" to limit global warming to 1.5C relative to pre-industrial times - a major shift from previous statements that focused on limiting warming to 2C, a slightly easier target.

"This is the first time we have come together with a public statement about 1.5C," said Kerry, the US climate envoy, who urged all the world's major economies to follow suit.

The 2015 Paris accord binds all signatories to limit warming to "well below" 2C, and also says that 1.5C - seen as a stretch target - would be even better.

"This is a watershed moment ...There's a tremendous difference between 1.5C and 2C," said Alden Meyer, a senior associate with think-tank E3G.

However, the ministers failed to reach any concrete agreement on climate-related aid to developing countries, which is shaping up to be one of the thorniest issues at the UN COP26 summit in November. They reiterated the goal of mobilising $100bn annually by 2025, which remains unmet, but did not outline plans for helping developing countries financially beyond 2025.

There had been concerns that the G7 might be unable to make a clear commitment to end international coal financing if Japan did not support the pledge, as it was seen as the most reluctant due to its reliance on coal.

On Friday, Kerry noted the "work that we did with Japan, and Japan's important steps and important effort to find unity on the road ahead."

The move increases pressure on China as a heavy consumer of coal. The communique also came just days after the publication of the International Energy Agency's landmark report that called for an end to all new coal, oil and gas exploration.

Kerry said the group believed "very deeply" in the importance and significance of the IEA report.

Ministers said they would phase out new financing for international fossil fuel energy projects, "except in some limited circumstances." But they noted that natural gas may be needed to help with the transition to cleaner fuels "on a time-limited basis."

Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, said the action on fossil fuels "needs to go much further, ending all new coal, oil and gas projects at home as well as their financing internationally."

The commitment to end overseas coal funding, she added, "leaves China isolated globally with its ongoing international financing for the most polluting fossil fuel."

While this agreement if far from perfect, it is, at least, a step in the right direction!


11-20-1946 ~ 05-24-2021
Thanks for the film & stage!

03-20-1930 ~ 05-25-2021
Thanks for the laughs!

03-27-1945 ~ 05-25-2021
Thanks for the film & stage!

12-03-1988 ~ 05-26-2021
Thanks for the film & music!


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Until the next time, Peace!

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

Why Israel Blows Up Media Offices And Targets Journalists
By Norman Solomon

Israel's missile attack on media offices in Gaza City last weekend was successful. A gratifying response came quickly from the head of The Associated Press, which had a bureau in the building for 15 years: "The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today."

For people who care about truth, that's outrageous. For the Israeli government, that's terrific.

The AP president, Gary Pruitt, said "we are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza."

There's ample reason to be horrified. But not shocked.

Israel's military began threatening and targeting journalists several decades ago, in tandem with its longstanding cruel treatment of Palestinians. Rather than reduce the cruelty, the Israeli government keeps trying to reduce accurate news coverage.

The approach is a mix of deception and brutality. Blow up the cameras so the world won't see as many pictures of the atrocities.

Of course, there's no need to interfere with journalists documenting the also awful -- while relatively few -- deaths of Israelis due to rockets fired by Hamas. In recent days the Israeli government has spotlighted such visuals, some of them grimly authentic, others fake.

The suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tragically real on both sides, while vastly asymmetrical. During the last 10 days, as reported by the BBC, 219 people have been killed in Gaza. In Israel, the number was 10. In Gaza, at least 63 of the dead were children. In Israel, two.

In the midst of all this, shamefully, President Biden is pushing ahead to sell $735 million worth of weapons to Israel, a move akin to selling more whips and thumbscrews to torturers while they're hard at work tormenting their victims.

On Wednesday, a few members of Congress introduced a bill that seeks to do what the Israeli targeting of media seeks to prevent -- the galvanizing of well-informed outrage. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Mark Pocan introduced a resolution opposing the sale of those weapons.

"For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions," Ocasio-Cortez pointed out.

Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, said: "The harsh truth is that these weapons are being sold by the United States to Israel with the clear understanding that the vast majority of them will be used to bomb Gaza. Approving this sale now, while failing to even try to use it as leverage for a ceasefire, sends a clear message to the world -- the U.S. is not interested in peace, and does not care about the human rights and lives of Palestinians."

As usual, Israel's latest killing spree can avail itself of deep pockets provided by U.S. taxpayers, currently $3.8 billion a year in military assistance. An article published last week by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace makes a strong case that the massive subsidy is legally dubious and morally indefensible.

Not many members of Congress can be heard calling for an end to doling out huge sums to the Israeli government. But some progress is evident.

A bill introduced last month by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, H.R.2590, now has 21 co-sponsors and some activist momentum. Its official purpose flies in the face of routine congressional evasion: "To promote and protect the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and to ensure that United States taxpayer funds are not used by the Government of Israel to support the military detention of Palestinian children, the unlawful seizure, appropriation, and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank, or further annexation of Palestinian land in violation of international law."

Right now, the government of Israel is exerting deadly force on a large scale to underscore an assertion of impunity -- in effect, wielding power to subjugate Palestinian people with methodical disregard for their basic human rights. The process involves reducing as much as possible the eyewitness news coverage of that subjugation.

Israeli leaders know that truth about human consequences of their policies is horrific when illuminated. That's why they're so eager to keep us in the dark.

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

A Palestinian man holds books he picked up from amid the rubbe of the Kuhail building
which was destroyed in an early morning Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on May 18, 2021.

Biden: End Your Co-Belligerent Backing Of Israeli War Crimes
To know about what is happening daily, you do not need to rely on the evidence compiled by the U.S. mainstream media... just take it from the Israeli media and Israelis themselves.
By Ralph Nader

As Senator, Vice President, and now President, your self-promoted/displayed empathy has a problem. You can't seem to connect the Israeli military powerhouse's occupation to the oppression and destruction of innocent Palestinian civilians, illegal seizure of Palestinian land/water, and daily violations of U.S. and international law. Israel's military is deliberately bombing these families, the offices of American media, international medical facilities, and many local hospitals and water and electricity facilities with fighter jets and missiles made in America.

To know about what is happening daily, you do not need to rely on the evidence compiled by the U.S. mainstream media or foreign reporters on the ground in Gaza or your own intelligence agencies, just take it from the Israeli media and Israelis themselves.

Stop repeatedly mumbling the usual mantra to escape your presidential responsibilities for the military weaponry and political cover, including the U.S. Veto at the U.N. By your failure to act you have backed this Israeli-initiated aggression, as you have invariably favored prior illegal Israeli military attacks against U.S. ally Lebanon, and Syria and Iran in recent decades.

Although the Netanyahu regime prohibits Israeli journalists from entering Gaza or the West Bank to report reality, enough of the Israeli media carries the horrific devastation in Gaza with casualties and critical property destruction hundreds of times greater than that inflicted by the primitive Hamas rockets, 90% of which are shot down by the U.S.-funded "iron dome" anti-missile systems. The rest, with very few random exceptions, fall onto the desert floor, sometimes back into Gaza.

Israel needs these feeble, homemade rockets as the pretext for its massively greater attacks again and again against the civilian population during the past fifteen years. How else can it engage in such slaughter of entire extended families asleep in their crowded homes, destruction of schools, health clinics, media offices - against what the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has called a wholly defenseless, captive people? Israel is just defending itself, you keep saying, ignoring the imperial racist premise in that statement.

As Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) declared this week: "These atrocities are being funded by billions of our own American tax dollars while communities like mine in St. Louis are hurting and are in need of life-affirming investment here at home."

The expanding Jewish Voice for Peace, whose views represent a larger polling of American Jews than does AIPAC, joined over 70 U.S. advocacy groups in support of a Congressional resolution opposing your latest $735 million weapons shipment to Israel. You know federal law prohibits U.S. weapons delivered to a foreign country from being used for offensive purposes - a law continually and openly violated by Israel with impunity.

Having such precision instruments of war, and because it has Gaza under the strictest, most intrusive surveillance of any encircled, besieged territory in history, Israeli destruction of critical civilian infrastructure - electricity, water, sewage, and medical facilities - can be considered deliberate. The Israeli military knows about every street, home, apartment building, business, and government site, including who moves inside this tiny enclave. They have embedded spies, informants, a 24/7 electronic watch, and even updated Palestinian DNA samples. Indeed, Israeli government spokespersons boast about giving warnings to the occupants of some of the targets, such as those in the 14-story building housing AP, Al Jazeera, many residential apartments, and doctors' offices, before turning it into rubble. They know exactly what they are striking - warnings or no warnings. So far, half of the fatalities are children, women, and those sick from the raging, Covid-19 pandemic, who have little or no access to vaccines.

You have two dozen Democratic Senators demanding a ceasefire and you still will not come out strongly for a transition toward a vigorous peace process leading to your stated two-state solution. You have none of President Eisenhower's steadfastness who in 1956 declared a firm stop to the aggressive Israeli, French, and British bombing of Suez in Egypt.

You know full well what started this latest round of hostilities. Read this excerpt from the New York Times:

" was the outgrowth of years of blockades and restrictions in Gaza, decades of occupation in the West Bank, and decades more of discrimination against Arabs within the state of Israel, said Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Israeli Parliament and former chairman of the World Zionist Organization. 'All the enriched uranium was already in place,' he said. 'But you needed a trigger. And the trigger was the Aqsa Mosque.'"
Mr. Burg was referring to the Israeli police invasion of the 8th century Aqsa Mosque - Islam's third holiest site - during Ramadan, tear gassing and wounding over 300 praying faithful with stun grenades and rubber bullets. Together with Israeli street gangs in East Jerusalem and the intensifying displacement of Palestinian families there, the provocations proved to be the tipping point for panicked Palestinians.

You know this and much more from your confidential briefings. Still, you are hesitating. You are intimately aware of why Prime Minister Netanyahu timed and choreographed these bloody, brutal assaults. It is to position himself more successfully in forming a governing coalition of extremists to avoid a fifth election and ward off an ongoing prosecution for corruption by Israeli law enforcers. He provoked, for his political ambitions, the terrifying of the country he leads.

I am attaching an open letter I sent to President Obama on December 19, 2016, asking him to adopt Jimmy Carter's urgent plea for you to take "the vital step - to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership." As you know, Mr. Carter negotiated the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. He referenced President Obama's support of the long-standing United Nations Resolution 242, which called for a "complete freeze on settlement expansion on Palestinian territory that is illegal under international law." In 2011, President Obama also made clear that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines" as two states.

In dire contrast, your Administration has been signaling a diplomatic withdrawal from this conflict to focus on China and East Asia. You'd be well advised to generate some residual fortitude, and empathy, and uphold the legal responsibility to reverse your total support for whatever Israel has done since you began your Senate career in 1973.

Enclosed: An Open Letter to President Obama: Decision Time For Israeli-Palestinian Peace - December 19, 2016.

(c) 2021 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).

This June 1921 photo shows the aftermath of the the Tulsa Race Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

One Hundred Years Later, The Mark Of History Still Scars Tulsa Today
No one has been held responsible for the Tulsa massacre that left hundreds of Black people dead and their prosperous community in ruins.
By Jessie Jackson

Memorial Day marks one year since the murder of George Floyd by the hands of the Minneapolis police. This week also marks the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, a brutal government-aided leveling of a prosperous African American community for which there still has been no accounting and no justice. Few even know about the massacre. It hasn't even been taught in the Tulsa public schools until this year. Although 100 years old, the massacre poses questions of justice and of decency that America cannot avoid.

After World War I, a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, named Greenwood grew to be among the wealthiest Black communities in the country. Booker T. Washington called it the "Black Wall Street." Here were successful entrepreneurs, doctors, and lawyers who through hard work and good minds were building a prosperous Black community. The district was lined with Black-owned shops. restaurants, a 54-room grand hotel and the Dreamland Theater. It supported two newspapers and a hospital.

Then on the day after Memorial Day, a white mob gathered to lynch a young Black 19-year-old who had startled a 17-year-old white girl, an elevator operator, in an elevator. Rumors inflated the incident into an alleged rape. Black veterans of World War I rushed to the jail to try to protect the young man from the mob. A shot was fired, and the enraged white mob chased blacks back into Greenwood.

Then the massacre began. The police and National Guard joined the mob rather than enforce the peace. Planes circled overhead to drop turpentine bombs on homes and businesses. As Rev. Robert Turner, pastor of the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church that was torched in the massacre, notes, "The first time in American history that airplanes were used to terrorize America was not in 9/11, was not at Pearl Harbor, it was right here in the Greenwood District."

The 2001 report of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Race Riot of 1921, created by the state legislature, found that the city of Tulsa conspired to destroy Greenwood. According to the commission's report, the massacre destroyed some 40 square blocks. Nearly 10,000 people were left homeless as 1,256 homes were looted and burned down. So too was the thriving commercial district, including the Black hospital.

White hospitals turned away Greenwood's wounded. Many bled to death, including Greenwood's most prominent surgeon. The number of dead is estimated to be as many as 300, but went uncounted. Many were simply dumped in unmarked graves. Ten thousand African Americans were left homeless; some 6,000 were herded into internment camps for weeks. Government officials committed no public money to help Greenwood rebuild. Instead, they opposed any revival, even rejecting offers of assistance from outside of Tulsa.

No one was held responsible for the deaths and injuries, or the millions in property losses. Not one insurance company honored a claim by an African American. City and state officials covered up the crime for decades.

As Dreisen Heath, author of a Human Rights Watch report on the massacre summarized, "The Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa was destroyed, but survivors of the massacre and their descendants are still suffering the consequences. Decades of Black prosperity and millions of dollars in hard-earned wealth were wiped out in hours, but nobody was ever held accountable, and no compensation was ever paid."

Legacy of discrimination

That history lives today. Tulsa is still one of the most segregated cities in the country. The current mayor acknowledges "the history of racial disparity that exists in our city. A kid that's growing up in the predominantly African American part of our city is expected to live 11 years less than a kid that's growing up in a whiter part of the city." Tulsa still suffers from discrimination, institutionalized in the police, zoning laws, housing policies and more.

One hundred years later, the African American community still seeks justice. Rev. Turner marches each week to the city council to demand repair, reparations for the damage done. The state-created commission called for reparations such as direct payments to "riot survivors and descendants," a scholarship fund and a memorial. The Human Rights Watch report on the massacre calls on the Tulsa and Oklahoma governments to provide reparations, including "direct payments to the few massacre victims still living and the descendants," efforts to recover remains from mass graves, and a "comprehensive reparations plan, including targeted investments in health, education and economic opportunities." A House subcommittee has opened an inquiry into what can be done.

The issue of reparations always meets with resistance. Why should this generation pay for the crimes of those who lived 100 years ago? Yet once the massacre is admitted, the violation done to people can't be simply ignored. And the damage incurred-erasing a prosperous Black community and enforcing racially discriminatory policies through the decades-is real.

The mark of history scars Tulsa today. There, and elsewhere in America, there needs to be a process that can officially recognize the injustice, act to repair the damages done, and bring us together, so that our society can continue to make its difficult way to an inclusive, and better America.

(c) 2021 Jesse Jackson is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH.

The Plutocrats Cry, People Cheer
By Jim Hightower

"Outrageous," screeched the US Chamber of Commerce. "It doesn't feel fair," whimpered a top corporate executive.

The wailing by those who run corporate America is not for the plight of the workaday families who've seen their incomes stagnate and even plummet to zero during the past months of the coronavirus pandemic. Rather, this chorus of woe comes from powerful plutocratic interests that have been enjoying windfall profits. Why? Because, they cry, that meanie in the White House, Joe Biden, intends to jack up their corporate tax rate.

But wait didn't Trump and the GOP Congress slash the corporate share of our nation's upkeep nearly in half just four years ago, shifting the burden to the middle class and poor? Yes. And didn't they promise that those cuts would create millions of new jobs? Yes, again - yet corporations got richer and working stiffs got shafted.

Still, here they come again, howling that raising corporate taxes would crash the stock market. Well, the day Biden announced his plan, stock prices did fall... by less than 1 percent. The next day, they bounced right back, and they're still booming.

Moreover, those are crocodile tears the rich are shedding, for they know that - as Biden himself makes clear - his proposed uptick in their tax share "is not going to affect their standard of living at all. Not a little tiny bit." They'll still have their two or three big houses, private jets, and yachts. But, with them paying just a bit more toward the Common Good, our country will be able to reinvest in society's physical and human infrastructure, making America stronger and fairer for all.

That's why there is broad and deep public majorities - even among Republicans - for Biden's infrastructure plan and the taxes to pay for it. For more information go to

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

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on November 17, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Republicans Are Against Science, Elections, Democracy, Journalism - And You
By William Rivers Pitt

Watching the puddle of cowardice grow under Kevin McCarthy and congressional Republicans as they flee the very Capitol sack commission they demanded on January 7, one might think: Surely this is the worst, the bottom? Surely these are the telltale scorch marks in the far clearing of the woods, the remnants of some sinister art at work in the dead of night?

Nope, I realize time and again. It's just Republicans doing their eternal thing right out here for all to see.

This is Republicanism in my lifetime: Watergate and the long departure of Nixon; Gerald Ford and the abrupt pardoning of Nixon; the manipulation of the 1979-1980 Iran Hostage Crisis to assist the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, the smash-and-grab ethos of trickle-down economics and the rise of the radical Evangelical Christian right; the full embrace of militant fundamentalists in Afghanistan; Iran-Contra and all the subsequent pardons by George H.W. Bush upon the advice of Attorney General William Barr; the beginning of a war in Iraq that continues 30 years later; deregulation and environmental degradation at a massive scale as moneymaking policy; Newt Gingrich and the politics of the slashed Achilles heel; the stolen 2000 presidential election; a hole in the sky above Manhattan, a hole in the Pentagon, and a hole in the ground in Pennsylvania; the collapse of the national economy; the invasion of Afghanistan, the re-invasion of Iraq based on a raft of brazen lies; The PATRIOT Act; blanket NSA surveillance and Total Information Awareness; torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay; millions displaced by war in the Middle East, destabilizing the entire region and inviting a caldera of blood and violence; the collapse of the national economy, again; eight years of racist obstructionism during the presidency of a Black man; and, finally, everything Trump, which is its own catalog of fathomless woe.

This is, by necessity, an abridged list. Weaved throughout has been a ceaseless effort to relegate women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, young people, poor people, disabled people and basically anyone who doesn't "belong" in the livid fiction of their Norman Rockwell fever dream to the outskirts of influence and self-determination.

For all that, the shamelessness on display in Washington, D.C. is novel even by its own putrefying standards. McCarthy, along with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, will spend this week destroying any chance for the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the deadly 1/6 attack on the Capitol. They will do this despite the fact that 35 fellow Republicans in the House voted for the creation of the commission.

They do this because Trump wants them to, despite his internationally broadcast culpability for the riot. They do this because any fair telling of the events would expose the rioters as stalwart Republican voters, and if the commission digs deep enough, it may even reveal some lawmakers' peripheral - and even direct - connections to the attack that put an entire branch of government to its heels in flight for one long winter day.

More than anything, however, they do this with an eye toward November 2022. "Four months after the deadly assault that targeted them and their institution, the two minority leaders in Congress had united against a bipartisan inquiry that would provide a full accounting for the riot," reports The Washington Post. "Like Mr. McConnell, Mr. McCarthy is determined to put Republicans in the House majority next year and himself in the speakership, and he regards an investigation into what happened on Jan. 6 as an obstacle in his path." After the House vote last Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio gave full vent to his spleen regarding the behavior of the Republican minority. "We have people scaling the Capitol, hitting the Capitol Police with lead pipes across the head, and we can't get bipartisanship," Ryan shouted from the House floor. "What else has to happen in this country?"

A pressing question, that. On Monday morning, the Post reported that the Trump administration transformed a small security unit within the Commerce Department into a sprawling counterintelligence operation aimed at Commerce employees. "The Investigations and Threat Management Service (ITMS) covertly searched employees' offices at night, ran broad keyword searches of their emails trying to surface signs of foreign influence and scoured Americans' social media for critical comments about the census," they report.

Consider the course we chart: Republicans attack science because it does not fear their version of God, or their anointed leader. They are attacking the proper teaching of history because it interferes with their advertising. They attack representative government when it doesn't work, but only after trashing it when it does. (So as to make sure it doesn't, lather rinse repeat every two to four years.) They use the government to attack itself, further denuding its effectiveness. They are attacking free elections because they can no longer win a fair national contest. They are attacking nonpartisan journalism for speaking basic fact.

Against science, history, elections, government, journalism and democracy. What's next? Why, you, of course. Are you on The Team? Have you been bathed in the blood of the Lamb? Don't you realize the attack on the Capitol was done to make Trump look bad so they could steal the election with bamboo fibers in Arizona and God knows what everywhere else? There was no insurrection! Trump won the election! Now drink this punch and wait for the word!

Two potential land mines lie along the GOP's present path. If they choose to use the filibuster to kill the January 6 Commission bill in the Senate, that racist old parliamentary weapon will once again be center stage, with even louder calls for its dissolution. Joe Manchin and his cohort of fabulists could stand in the way again, but if the commission is crushed, Manchin will be hard-pressed to maintain his defensive posture regarding the filibuster.

The other bomb has to do with Democratic alternatives to the commission. Kevin and Mitch may well have outsmarted themselves on this one. "If McConnell is successful in blocking the bill in the Senate, however, this isn't the end of the story," reads a recent report from Substack. "Democrats have at least three options they can still deploy, none of which is very palatable to the GOP. Speaker Pelosi has already warned that if the bill does not pass the Senate, she could set up a Select Committee, comprised primarily of Democrats, to conduct the investigation. 'If they don't want to do this,' Pelosi said, 'we will find the truth.'"

The Senate will vote this week on the commission bill. Ten GOP senators will be needed to thwart the filibuster, but only seven have voiced their support to date. Odds are good the bill will die, and then we will be in a place where a political party directly responsible for attacking the federal government has the power to deny a commissioned examination of those events, and can even go on live television and state that what everyone else saw on television that day was "normal tourist behavior."

When it goes down, try not to be too terribly surprised. It's just another chapter in the book, "Republicans Being Republicans."

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

President Joe Biden

More Than 500 Of The Staffers Who Got Biden Elected Demand That He Defend Palestinian Rights
Former Biden campaign and DNC workers demand "concrete steps to end the occupation in pursuit of justice, peace, and self-determination for Palestinians.
By John Nichols

Heba Mohammad poured her energy and her considerable skills into electing Joe Biden president in 2020. As the digital organizing director for the Democrat's campaign in the critical swing state of Wisconsin, she was one of the great mass of young people who powered the Biden campaign to victory. But as the Biden administration has failed to take a firm stand in defense of Palestinian rights in recent weeks, Mohammad has grown increasingly frustrated with the man she did so much to elect. She says she felt "deep dismay watching the president's limited response to what was happening in Gaza."

Mohammad isn't alone. After images of the death and devastation following Israeli air strikes on Gaza filled screens across the United States in mid-May, activists who worked to elect Biden began to communicate among themselves on how to get a message to the president and other senior Democrats about the need for a shift in US policy that focuses on achieving justice for the Palestinian people.

On Monday, more than 500 of these 2020 campaign staffers signed a letter demanding that the Biden administration abandon a status-quo approach to Israel and Palestine that "deprives Palestinians of peace, security, and self-determination." Addressed to the president, the letter explains, "The very same values that motivated us to work countless hours to elect you demand that we speak out in the aftermath of the recent explosive violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, which is inextricable from the ongoing history of occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion."

The letter comes at a point when Biden and his aides have faced criticism from Democratic members of Congress such as Michigan's Rashida Tlaib, Minnesota's Ilhan Omar, and Wisconsin's Mark Pocan for failing to focus sufficiently on the dislocation of Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as Israeli air strikes that have left hundreds dead in Gaza. As in the 1960s, when many of the Democratic Party's savviest officials and ablest activists broke with President Lyndon Johnson over the war in Vietnam, this is shaping up as a moment when dynamic young activists-and more than a few of their elders-are warning that the president and party leaders must wake up to that fact that, as Mohammad says, "from here on out, we will not allow our Democratic officials and candidates to be silent on Palestine."

The signatures on the letter to Biden include those of 10 members of his 2020 campaign's national headquarters staff and eight members of the Democratic National Committee staff during the race. But most of the signers worked at the states where Biden won the presidency-including the five battleground states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Arizona, which flipped from the Republican column in 2016 to the Democratic side in 2020. Drafted by a coalition of Palestinian American, Israeli American, Jewish, and allied former staffers, the letter offers a knowing and nuanced take on the violence in the Middle East, explaining:

We remain horrified by the images of Palestinian civilians in Gaza killed or made homeless by Israeli airstrikes. We are outraged by Israel's efforts to forcibly and illegally expel Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah. We are shocked by Israel's destruction of a building housing international news organizations. We remain horrified by reports of Hamas rockets killing Israeli civilians.

While Israelis had to spend nights hiding in bomb shelters, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had nowhere to hide. It is critical to acknowledge this power imbalance-that Israel's highly-advanced military occupies the West Bank and East Jerusalem and blockades the Gaza Strip, creating an uninhabitable open-air prison. While we should never reduce the loss of human life to numbers, Palestinians have suffered hundreds of casualties, demonstrative of Israel's power over Palestinians and its penchant for disproportionate responses. Israel's protracted refusal to consider a ceasefire also put Israelis in harm's way, prolonging the violence of Hamas's barrage of rockets and Israel's air strikes-a cycle that is bound to repeat itself as long as we allow the status quo to stand, where Palestinians have no freedom and Israel controls their lives in perpetuity.

Matan Arad-Neeman, an Israeli American co-author of the letter who worked as a campaign organizer in Arizona, said, "As an Israeli American proud to have helped elect Biden in Arizona, I am horrified by the daily nightmare of occupation and apartheid. American inaction on human rights violations by the Israeli government, all while the administration continues to sell weapons to Israel, does not help my family in Israel or keep them safe."

Mohammad, a Palestinian American who worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016 as well as directing digital organizing in Wisconsin last year for Biden, echoed that view, and added, "President Biden must do better. A cease-fire in this latest bombing campaign is welcomed, but Palestinian suffering continues because there has not been a cessation in Israel's blockade of Gaza, land annexation in the West Bank, mass arrests and raids, ethnic cleansing, illegal occupation, and the 73-year cycle of dispossession."

In order to do better, the letter urges the Biden administration to "acknowledge that a temporary peace is not a suitable long-term resolution" and "to take concrete steps to end the occupation in pursuit of justice, peace, and self-determination for Palestinians." Those steps include demanding that the Israeli government "allow a humanitarian corridor in Gaza to allow for the evacuation of the injured, as well as for the supply of life-saving medicines; take action to protect Palestinians in Israel subject to ongoing violent attacks by Israeli mobs that operate with the protection of Israeli police; lift the blockade of Gaza, which has made it an uninhabitable open-air prison; end the forced expulsions of Palestinians in [the Jerusalem neighborhood of] Sheikh Jarrah and from all Palestinian homes across the territories; end settlement expansion in the West Bank."

In addition, the former staffers are urging US leaders to "join our international allies in calling for an end to Israeli violations of international law, or at minimum, stop obstructing efforts by the United Nations to do so" and "ensure U.S. aid no longer funds the imprisonment and torture of Palestinian children, theft and demolition of Palestinian homes and property, and annexation of Palestinian land."

"The Biden administration could take these tangible steps today," says Juliana Amin, a co-author of the letter who helped lead the coordinated campaign in Iowa. "Democratic voters are waiting for their leaders to catch up to an increasingly popular moral conscience on this crisis, which demands accountability for the Israeli government's actions and supports Palestinian self-determination."

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

Honoring Victims Of Senseless Wars
By James Donahue

On Monday Americans all over the nation will be paying homage to the many soldiers that have fallen in battle throughout the bloody history of the United States. There is great tragedy in that so many young men and women have given their lives in wars that were senseless acts of aggression that never should have happened.

The only wars that had any apparent purpose were the American Revolution and World War II. Both seemed to have been unavoidable. All of the other wars, including the American Civil War and World War One could have been avoided.

The odd thing about the First World War is that the kings and royal families of all of the nations that first plunged into that brutal conflict were related to one another. All had been in communication with one another before the war broke out, and all had agreed not to go to war. So why did it happen anyway? That remains a great mystery.

The historical record clearly shows that the United States allowed and expected the Japanese to attack us. In fact, we appear to have provoked the attack and our commanders seemed to have gone out of their way to ignore signs of the impending attack on the morning it happened. Once we were attacked, there was no stopping us from declaring war against Japan.

Since World War II, we have never had a real war brought on by enemy provocation. Our battles in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq were never declarations of war by the United States Congress. They were so-called "police actions" ordered by our presidents.

Korea and Vietnam were billed as attempts to stop the spread of communism. They were both unsuccessful and communism has, in the most part, collapsed on its own. It always was an imperfect political and economic system. Both wars ended in failure. The Korean mess was halted by a truce that never really brought an end to that conflict, and threatens even now to rear its ugly head once more. We left Vietnam in disgrace, having lost the war.

The attack on Afghanistan was a foolish response to the 9-11 attack on the United States by a radical Islamic group that had no allegiance to Afghanistan. The Afghanistan War has now become the longest war ever fought by the United States with a possible end in sight now after 20 years, and we are not fighting the people who attacked us. The war in Iraq was unprovoked and launched by a president who could produce no proof that Iraq was any threat to the United States.

None of the places where our troops have died since World War II have been a threat to the United States. This means that our troops who perished in these terrible wars did not die defending their homeland.

So why are we saying they did?

If the truth were known, these wonderful men and women gave their lives in the prime of their lives to feed the massive industrial military complex that our nation created during World War II. It is big business. And it has become so large in its scope, and so powerful, that we continue fighting wars to feed it.

Strangely, even the former soldiers who returned from these wars, both intact and maimed, appear to think that they were truly doing something important in the defense of their nation. Behold the power of mass brainwashing.

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

Activists Cover Israeli Consulate Steps In Toronto With River Of "Blood"
By David Swanson

More photos here.

Video here.

Toronto, Ontario - Today members of the Jewish community and allies delivered a clear message at the Israeli consulate in Toronto about bloodshed from Israel's violence in Gaza and across historic Palestine.

Rabbi David Mivasair, a member of Independent Jewish Voices, said, "It can no longer be business as normal at Israel's consulates in Canada. The death and destruction inflicted by Israel in Gaza, as well as the heightened violence by Israel across Palestine, cannot be washed away. This belligerence is the latest in an ongoing aggressive 73-year settler-colonization project by Israel across historic Palestine. The ceasefire doesn't end the injustice and oppression."

Since May 10, at least 232 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, according to health authorities, including 65 children. Over 1900 people have been wounded.

Rachel Small, organizer with World BEYOND War, explained, "We are making the violence of Israel's brutal occupation, military attacks, and ethnic cleansing visible right here on the consulate's doorstep. We are making it impossible for anyone to enter and exit Israeli government offices here without directly confronting the violence and bloodshed they are complicit in."

Rabbi Mivasair quoted the Book of Genesis saying, "'The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the earth.' Canadian Jews and others joined today to make sure that cry is heard even if the blood stops being spilled anew. Red paint streaming from the Israeli consulate onto the street in Toronto represents the blood of massacred innocent Palestinian civilians, the blood on Israel's hands. As Canadians, we demand that our government holds Israel accountable for war crimes and stops the Canada-Israel arms trade.

"Jews in our communities in Canada are overcome with grief and anger. Many of us stand in solidarity with our Palestinian siblings. We say loud and clear, 'not in our name.' Israel can no longer continue to commit these atrocities in the name of the Jewish people."

Since 2015, Canada has exported $57 million worth of weapons to Israel, including $16 million in bomb components. Canada recently signed a contract to purchase drones from Israel's largest weapons maker, Elbit Systems, which supplies 85% of drones used by the Israeli military to monitor and attack Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Across Canada, tens of thousands of people in dozens of cities have been on the streets denouncing Israel's violent attacks. The Canadian government received at least 150,000 letters within days following the Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa and Gaza. They call on Canada to hold Israel accountable for its violations of human rights and international law, and to place immediate sanctions on Israel.

John Philpot of Just Peace Advocates says, "The Israeli consulate in Toronto has advertised on several occasions an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) representative available for personal appointments for those wishing to join the IDF, not just those who are required to do mandatory service. The Canadian Foreign Enlistment Act makes it illegal to induce or recruit for a foreign military and Canada Revenue Agency guidelines state that 'supporting the armed forces of another country is not a charitable activity.'"

Yves Engler from the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute indicates that "at the same time as Canadians are being recruited to join the IDF in violation of the Foreign Enlistment Act some registered Canadian charities support the Israeli military in probable contravention of Canada Revenue Agency regulations."

A petition sponsored by NDP MP for Hamilton Centre, Matthew Green, calls upon Minister of Justice David Lametti to undertake a thorough investigation of those who have recruited or facilitated recruiting in Canada for the Israel Defense Forces, and, if warranted, lay charges against those involved. To date over 6,400 Canadians have signed this petition.

(c) 2021 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Cutting methane emissions is a cost-effective way to quickly reduce greenhouse gases and pollution.

Does Fracked Methane Deserve "Natural" Label?
By David Suzuki

On his first day in office, U.S. President Joe Biden announced plans to impose limits on methane emissions from oil and gas the previous administration cancelled.

That's good news. The UN Environment Programme and Climate and Clean Air Coalition's "Global Methane Assessment" said, "Reducing human-caused methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective strategies to rapidly reduce the rate of warming and contribute significantly to global efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C."

Methane is a powerful but relatively short-lived greenhouse gas. Unlike carbon dioxide, which can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, methane breaks down within a decade or so, but it's 84 times more potent in trapping heat over a 20-year period.

Scientists estimate methane has caused about 30 per cent of heating to date, with emissions rising at record rates. Cutting methane emissions is a cost-effective way to quickly reduce greenhouse gases and pollution. The UN report found they could be cut by 45 per cent by 2030 using readily available methods.

According to a Guardian article, "Achieving the cuts would avoid nearly 0.3C of global heating by 2045 and keep the world on track for the Paris climate agreement's goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C." The report also concluded that, because methane causes ground-level ozone, or smog, "a 45 per cent reduction would prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labour from extreme heat, and 25 million tonnes of crop losses annually."

The report estimated 42 per cent of human-caused methane emissions are from agriculture, mainly from livestock flatulence and manure, and rice cultivation. Intentional and unintentional leaks and venting from fossil fuel operations make up about 36 per cent and waste sites cause 18 per cent. Some methane comes from natural sources such as decay in wetlands and melting permafrost. (Various studies, including by the David Suzuki Foundation, found industry and governments consistently underreport oil and gas methane emissions.)

Fossil fuel industry emissions are largely from leaks and venting in development of "natural" gas (which is mostly methane, much of it fracked).

In labelling it "natural gas," industry has convinced people it's benign, or a "bridge fuel" as the world transitions from dirtier sources like coal to renewable energy. That's led governments to tout it as an economy booster and to go into full fracking mode.

For example, B.C.'s 2021 budget confirmed the province will continue to subsidize and rely on the liquefied natural gas industry (mostly fracked methane), one of the province's main sources of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

If methane were truly a bridge fuel, when will we have crossed the bridge? The David Suzuki Foundation and Pembina Institute released a study in 2011 showing that, even then, the transition fuel argument wasn't valid.

Among the simplest ways to rapidly reduce methane emissions are to stop venting and leaks at gas operations (in part by replacing outdated technology), reduce organic waste sent to landfills and improve sewage treatment. Captured methane can be used rather than wasted. A recent Environmental Defense Fund study found half of all methane emissions cuts could be achieved at no net cost - about 80 per cent of those from oil and gas.

Reducing methane from animal agriculture is more of a challenge. People eating less meat, especially cattle, would bring emissions down substantially, but that will take time. Small measures such as changes to feed and better herd management could reduce methane from agriculture by about 25 per cent by 2030, the report estimated.

While changes to diet and agricultural practices can have a range of beneficial effects for climate, the environment and human health, the most efficient, cost-effective way to quickly cut methane emissions and reduce their contribution to global heating is to address fossil fuel industry emissions.

We need federal and provincial regulations to ensure methane emissions drop at least 75 per cent by 2030, including requiring fossil fuel companies to cut them at the source by preventing leaking and venting. And, as with coal and oil, we should be winding down natural gas production and shifting to renewable energy.

"Natural" gas may come from nature, but releasing it into the atmosphere is upsetting the natural balance that makes the planet habitable. There's nothing natural about that.

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

Daniel Ellsberg Is 90 Years Old And Still Causing Trouble
The man behind the Pentagon Papers is back with some horrifying revelations about the American Cold War government.
By Charles P. Pierce

God bless Daniel Ellsberg. He's 90 years old and still causing trouble. From the New York Times:

American military leaders pushed for a first-use nuclear strike on China, accepting the risk that the Soviet Union would retaliate in kind on behalf of its ally and millions of people would die, dozens of pages from a classified 1966 study of the confrontation show. The government censored those pages when it declassified the study for public release.

The document was disclosed by Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked a classified history of the Vietnam War, known as the Pentagon Papers, 50 years ago. Mr. Ellsberg said he had copied the top secret study about the Taiwan Strait crisis at the same time but did not disclose it then. He is now highlighting it amid new tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan.

OK, we already knew that, back in the 1950s and 1960s, there were some genuinely scary people in the United States government. (Operation Northwoods, anyone?) But it's still startling to see how much of their insane scheming they immortalized on paper.
Among other details, the pages that the government censored in the official release of the study describe the attitude of Gen. Laurence S. Kuter, the top Air Force commander for the Pacific. He wanted authorization for a first-use nuclear attack on mainland China at the start of any armed conflict. To that end, he praised a plan that would start by dropping atomic bombs on Chinese airfields but not other targets, arguing that its relative restraint would make it harder for skeptics of nuclear warfare in the American government to block the plan.

"There would be merit in a proposal from the military to limit the war geographically" to the air bases, "if that proposal would forestall some misguided humanitarian's intention to limit a war to obsolete iron bombs and hot lead," General Kuter said at one meeting.

Yes, because nukes are famously restrained in their effects by cyclone fences and guard shacks.

But it's not just the window into what we used to call "brinksmanship"that is so compelling about what Ellsberg is doing this time. Yes, he's once again sharing classified material with us, but he's doing it for a damn good reason.

Mr. Ellsberg said he also had another reason for highlighting his exposure of that material. Now 90, he said he wanted to take on the risk of becoming a defendant in a test case challenging the Justice Department's growing practice of using the Espionage Act to prosecute officials who leak information.

Enacted during World War I, the Espionage Act makes it a crime to retain or disclose, without authorization, defense-related information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary. Its wording covers everyone - not only spies - and it does not allow defendants to urge juries to acquit on the basis that disclosures were in the public interest.

The Espionage Act has deserved a good disemboweling for decades now. It's an authoritarian legacy of the awful President Woodrow Wilson and his completely awful Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. It's a meat ax of a statute that's still stained with the blood of Emma Goldman, for god's sake. It needs to be torn out of the law, root and branch, and something less authoritarian put in its place. In that process, by the way, the presumption should be that a great deal of material that is classified probably shouldn't be. General Kuter, the guy who wanted to nuke the Chinese air bases-but only the Chinese air bases, mind you-has been dead since 1979. I don't think he's liable to object.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"No one is arguing that Israel, or any government, does not have the right to self-defense, but why is the question almost never asked: 'What are the rights of the Palestinian people?'"
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Irish Parties And People Demand Expulsion Of Israeli Ambassador, Fines For Importing Settler-Made Goods
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - The recent Israeli assault on the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the bombardment of Gaza, has stirred passions in the Irish Republic, where public opinion has swung around to be strongly in favor of Palestinian rights and critical of the Apartheid, Occupation government of Israel.

Rallies have been being held all over Ireland for Palestine during the past two weeks, and even on Friday, after the announcement of the cease-fire, some 23 protests were staged throughout the country. The leftist Sinn Fein has introduced a measure in parliament that will be voted on, on Tuesday, calling "on the government to adopt a resolution to take 'all measures within its powers' to seek 'equal rights' for people in Palestine," according to the online

The 160-seat Irish parliament is dominated by three major parties, each of which won 30-odd seats in the 2020 election- the conservative Fine Gael, the center-right Fianna Fail, and the democratic socialist Sinn Fein. The Greens have 12 seats, and the far left Solidarity has 5.

Sinn Fein spokesman John Brady urged the other parties to support the motion, saying "The Dail must send out an important message that the ongoing actions of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians is unacceptable to the Irish people."

Passions in Ireland ran high even a couple of weeks ago as the Israeli bombing began. Deputy prime minister [Tanaiste] Leo Varadkar of the center-right Fine Gael Party had told parliament, as the conflict heated up in mid-May,

"Annexation, expulsion, plantation and the killing of civilians, deliberately or in terms of collateral damage, is not the behaviour of a democratic state in the 21st century and it is simply unacceptable that such a state or any state should behave in this way."
So reported Daniel McConnell at the Irish Examiner.

The same report quoted member of parliament Mick Barry's demand that the Israeli ambassador be expelled:

"The Irish State has sent observers to the scenes of the mass evictions in east Jerusalem. Do these actions go far enough? They do not. Is it enough to merely call in the ambassador? The ambassador is the representative of a state that is pursuing a policy of systemic racism. The ambassador should be expelled and I put it to the Tanaiste that this should also be Government policy."
Barry is a member [Teachta Dala or TD] of the lower house of parliament from the small socialist Solidarity Coalition.

Gino Kenny, the spokesperson for Solidarity, added,

"Israel has reigned terror and murder on the people of Gaza. In eight days, over 200 people have been killed including 60 children, murdered for doing nothing, murdered because they're Palestinian. The world is watching while the state of Israel conducts collective punishment against the Palestinian people of occupied lands . . . when is the right time to expel the Israeli ambassador to Ireland. If it's not now Taoiseach [prime minister], when is the time?

This has been going on for generations where the Israeli government with impunity has murdered and caused terror to the Palestinian people. We in Ireland should know we have been occupied, brutalized by another oppressor. So when is the time to expel the Israeli ambassador and show solidarity to the world and Palestinian people."

Kenny put his finger on the reason for which Israel is in such bad odor in Ireland. For many Irish viewing a conflict abroad, the question is, which side is playing the British Empire (which brutally occupied Ireland for 400 years), and which side is playing the oppressed Irish? Earlier in its history, Israel looked like the underdog, and had fought its own anti-colonial rebellion against Britain in the 1940s, and many Irish warmly supported it. Since 1977, as the Israeli right wing has become more dominant and its treatment of the militarily occupied Palestinians has started looking an awful lot like a long term colonization of the sort the Irish suffered from, Israel increasingly looks like it is playing the British Empire in this drama.

Barry further called for the lower house to again attempt to pass into law the Occupied Territories Bill that would prohibit importation into Ireland of the produce of Israeli squatter-settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The bill was passed by parliament in 2018 under a previous government but was opposed by the ruling party and blocked on the grounds that it was an opposition bill that would cost the treasury money.

The measure is opposed by the prime minister [Taoiseach] Micheal Martin of the conservative, Christian Democrat Fianna Fail party on the grounds that it would contravene European Union law and prerogatives. Many of his backbenchers, however, are strong critics of Israel.

Not only Solidarity but also the Green Party is pressing for implementation of the Occupied Territories Bill.

Now it appears that the Irish parliament will vote on the question of expelling the Israeli ambassador this week, according to the Jerusalem Post. Many members of parliament in the Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail parties are also strong supporters of Palestinian rights, and will be joined by the Greens and Solidarity.

Despite the stance of many of his party colleagues, Taoiseach Martin is also opposed to expelling the Israeli ambassador, and likely could find ways to block the measure even if it is voted in. But that it has risen as an issue to the point where it is even being voted on tells you how incensed many Irish are about Israel's actions.

Bonus video:

Dublin Protests In Solidarity With People Of Gaza

(c) 2021 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.

Workers Matter And Government Works: Eight Lessons From The Pandemic
By Robert Reich

Maybe it's wishful thinking to declare the pandemic over in the US, and presumptuous to conclude what lessons we've learned from it. So consider this list a first draft.

1. Workers are always essential.

We couldn't have survived without millions of warehouse, delivery, grocery, and hospital workers literally risking their lives. Yet most of these workers are paid squat. Amazon touts its $15 minimum wage but it totals only about $30,000 a year. Most essential workers still don't have health insurance or paid leave. Many of their employers (including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, to take but two examples) didn't give them the personal protective equipment they needed.

Lesson: Essential workers deserve far better.

2. Healthcare is a basic right.

You know how you got your vaccine without paying a dime? That's how all health care could be. Yet too many Americans who contracted Covid-19 got walloped with humongous hospital bills. By mid-2020, about 3.3 million people had lost employer-sponsored coverage, and the number of uninsured increased by 1.9 million. Research by the Urban Institute found that people with chronic disease, Black Americans, and low-income children were most likely to have delayed or forgone care during the pandemic.

Lesson: America must insure everyone.

3. Conspiracy theories can be deadly.

Last June, about 1 in 4 Americans believed the pandemic was "definitely" or "probably" created intentionally, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Other conspiracy theories have caused some people to avoid wearing masks or getting vaccinated, causing unnecessary illness or death.

Lesson: An informed public is essential. Some of the responsibility falls on all of us. Some of it on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms that allowed such misinformation to flourish.

4. The stock market isn't the economy.

The stock market rose throughout the pandemic, lifting the wealth of the richest 1 percent who own half of all stock owned by Americans. Meanwhile, from March 2020 to February 2021, 80 million in the US lost their jobs. Between June and November 2020, nearly 8 million Americans fell into poverty. Black and Latino adults were more than twice as likely as white adults to report not having enough to eat: 16 percent each for Black and Latino adults, compared to 6 percent of white adults.

Lesson: Stop using the stock market as a measure of economic wellbeing. Look instead at the percentage of Americans who are working, and their median pay.

5. Wages are too low to get by on.

Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. So once the pandemic hit, many didn't have any savings to fall back on. Conservative lawmakers complain that the extra $300 a week unemployment benefit Congress enacted in March discourages people from working. What's really discouraging them is lack of childcare and lousy wages.

Lesson: Raise the minimum wage, strengthen labor unions, provide universal childcare, and push companies to share profits with their workers.

6. Remote work is now baked into the economy.

The percentage of workers punching in from home hit a high of 70% in April 2020. A majority continue to work remotely. Some 40 percent want to continue working from home.

Two lessons: Companies will have to adjust. And much commercial real estate will remain vacant. Why not convert it into affordable housing?

7. Billionaires aren't the answer.

The combined wealth of America's 657 billionaires grew by $1.3 trillion - or 44.6% - during the pandemic. Jeff Bezos, with $183.9 billion, became the richest man in the US and the world. Larry Page, cofounder of Google, added $11.8 billion to his $94.3 billion fortune, and Sergey Brin, Google's other cofounder, added $11.4 billion. Yet billionaire's taxes are lower than ever. Wealthy Americans today pay one-sixth the rate of taxes their counterparts paid in 1953.

Lesson: To afford everything the nation needs, raise taxes at the top.

8. Government can be the solution. Ronald Reagan's famous quip - "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" - can now officially be retired. Trump's "Operation Warp Speed" succeeded in readying vaccines faster than most experts thought possible, and Biden got it into more arms more quickly than any vaccination program in history.

Furthermore, the $900 billion in aid Congress passed in late December prevented millions from losing unemployment benefits and helped sustain the recovery when it was faltering. The $1.9 trillion that Democrats pushed through Congress in March will help the US achieve something it failed to achieve after the 2008-09 recession: a robust recovery.

Lesson: Government must play an active role solving other fundamental problems - ending poverty, reducing inequality, battling climate change, and fighting systemic racism.

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

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's net worth exploded during the pandemic. The company has fought against tax requirements and rights for workers.

Blowing Up the Billionaires' Con That's Shattering America
As this nation recovers from a deadly pandemic and rightwing hate groups that are trying to provoke a second Civil War, let's remember how this all came about. And all for a few extra pieces of gold.
By Thom Hartmann

As we're struggling to recover from Trump's half-million unnecessary Covid deaths here in America, fighting to get a clear picture of how extensive the sedition was among Republicans in Congress around January 6th, and trying to pass legislation to ensure clean and safe elections and put the country back into shape, dark money, foreign oligarchs and rightwing media groups are hard at work tearing this nation apart.

And they're having considerable success.

About 75 percent of Americans trusted the federal government to "do what is right" when polled during most of the last years of the Eisenhower 1950s administration and early years of Lyndon B. Johnson's 1960s presidency.

In 2019, when the Pew Research Center released its most recent poll of public trust in the government, only 17 percent of Americans trusted their government. It's so bad that throughout 2020 armed protesters showed up nationwide to protest the "tyranny" of having to wear masks during a pandemic, and then stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election, all cheered on by the then-President of the United States and multiple rightwing media outlets.

This is no accident; it's the result of a five-decades-long campaign by some of America's richest people to tear apart the governing fabric of our nation, formally kicked off by their man, Ronald Reagan, proudly proclaiming at his January 20, 1981, inauguration that, "[G]overnment is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

Put yourself in the place of the heirs to a multimillion-dollar fossil fuel empire, a situation akin to the "heroic" brother and sister who inherited a railroad from their dad in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged:

If you don't have to pay to dispose of cancer-causing byproducts from your refineries but can simply vent them into the air, and you make more money.

If you can cut wages and threaten employees because they don't have a union, you make more money.

If you can run a pipeline across sacred Native American land atop a major national aquifer with minimal safety oversight, you make more money.

If you can hide your money from the IRS because the agency has had its budget slashed so badly that it can no longer do expensive audits of morbidly rich people, you can keep more of the money you've made.

If you can get the government to cut social programs and public education, thus lowering your taxes, you can keep more of the money you've made.

So how do you pull this off, when every one of these things hurts average Americans?

Easy. Just embark on a 50-year-long campaign, through think tanks, right-wing media, and massive PR efforts to convince average Americans that government is the cause of, not the solution to, their problems. Convince working-class Americans that gutting government is a good thing that will ultimately help them in some mystical, magical way through the incredible "invisible hand" of the marketplace.

Lewis Powell, a lawyer for Big Tobacco, launched the movement to do just this with his infamous memo in 1971, and billionaires have funded and promoted politicians who jump on board the "government is evil" bandwagon ever since.

And it's largely worked, if the "trust in government" statistics compiled by the Pew Research Center since 1958 are accurate.

Years ago I was up late one night watching, as I recall, Bloomberg News on a hotel TV. The American host was interviewing a very wealthy German businessman at a conference in Singapore.

Amidst questions about the business climate and the conference, the host asked the German businessman what tax rate he was "suffering under" in his home country. As I recall, the businessman said, "A bit over 60 percent, when everything is included."

"How can you handle that?" asked the host, incredulous.

The German shrugged his shoulders and moved the conversation to another topic.

A few minutes later, the American reporter, still all wound up by the tax question, again asked the businessman how he could possibly live in a country with such a high tax rate on very wealthy and successful people. Again, the German deferred and changed the subject.

The reporter went for a third try. "Why don't you lead a revolt against those high taxes?" he asked, his tone implying the businessman was badly in need of some good old American rebellion-making.

The German businessman paused for a long moment and then leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees, his clasped hands in front of him pointing at the reporter as if in prayer. He stared at the man for another long moment and then, in the tone of voice an adult uses to correct a spoiled child, said simply, "I don't want to be a rich man in a poor country."

There are a few wealthy Americans who understand this. But the billionaires and foreign oligarchs who fund the Republican Party and right-wing media think it's perfectly fine to rip the financial and political guts out of their own nation and turn its people against each other if it makes them a few extra bucks.

They've funded and facilitated movements like the Tea Party and rightwing paramilitaries, media outlets like Fox News and Breitbart, and organizations like the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, and ALEC. They throw piles of money at Republican politicians, so long as they never stray far from the "deregulate, cut, denigrate" line about American government. They sponsor climate denial to increase their own profits.

And over and over again, they've been successfully pulling this off for the past 50 years. The most recent example is the disaster we're seeing in Arizona where the majority of Republicans in the Arizona Senate, totally owned by rightwing billionaires, went along with Trump and started a phony "audit" to further erode Americans' faith in our government. Reaganism has become Trumpism, and it's all pointing toward destroying faith in democracy in America just to make a buck.

Similarly, a Morning Consult poll about saving Americans from the Covid crisis a few months ago had this headline: "With Congressional Stimulus Fight Looming, 76% of Voters Back $1.9 Trillion Plan, Including 60% of Republicans." Yet every single billionaire-owned Republican in Congress opposed it, and now they're opposing President Biden's efforts to rebuild our infrastructure, both hard and soft.

As this nation recovers from a deadly pandemic that - unnecessarily - killed more than 500,000 of our fellow citizens, and struggles with rightwing hate groups that are trying to provoke a second Civil War, let's remember how this all came about. And all for a few extra pieces of gold.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ David Horsey ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy walk down a flight of stairs from an airplane.

Trump Orders Kevin McCarthy To Go To Prison In His Place

By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-In what legal experts are calling a highly unorthodox arrangement, Donald J. Trump has commanded Representative Kevin McCarthy to go to prison in his place.

Although Trump has denied any and all wrongdoing, he told the House Minority Leader to be prepared to plead guilty if the current criminal investigation of the Trump Organization "turns nasty," sources familiar with the agreement said.

McCarthy, who appeared shaken after agreeing to Trump's demand, nevertheless put the best face on the situation when speaking to reporters.

"I can think of no greater honor than going to prison for this wonderful man," McCarthy said. Behind the scenes, however, congressional sources reported that McCarthy was trying to hammer out an agreement under which Representative Elise Stefanik would go to prison in his place.

(c) 2021 Andy Borowitz

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Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 21 (c) 05/28/2021

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