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In This Edition

Juan Cole reports, "Trump Brings US And Iran To Brink Of War With Crisis He Created."

Ralph Nader oversees, "Congressional Interns And Congress Redirections-A Meeting."

Glen Ford finds, "The Ruling Class Will Not Tolerate The Sanders-Led Assault On Austerity."

Naomi Klein returns with, "Forget Bernie vs. Warren. Focus On Growing The Progressive Base And Defeating Biden."

Jim Hightower asks, "Why Are Corporate Bosses Smiling?"

John Nichols finds, "A Lawless Court OKs Legislative Lawbreaking."

James Donahue explores, "An Alternative To Impeachment."

William Rivers Pitt examines, "The White Man's Biden."

David Suzuki concludes, "Avoiding Climate Chaos Means Zeroing In On Emissions."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "Sarah Huckabee Sanders Was An Arrogant Liar On Behalf Of A Corrupt Administration* ."

David Swanson endorses, "Soldiers Without Guns."

Former spokes-weasel Sarah Huckabee Sanders wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich reports, "The Center Of American Politics Is On The Left."

Jane Stillwater visits, "NYC's New 9-11 Museum."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Panicky Trump Brothers Seek Podiatrist Notes After Dad Sends Troops To Middle East" but first Uncle Ernie asks, "World War Three Over A Flying Camera?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of David Horsey, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Eric Baradat, Saul Loeb, Christina Carter, Rob Stanley, Dustin Chambers, Joe Skipper, Chip Somodevilla, Drew Angerer, AFP, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Jane Stillwater, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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World War Three Over A Flying Camera?
By Ernest Stewart

"Don't worry about a thing, everything's under control, don''t worry about a thing." ~~~ Lying Donald

"Microbes literally support all life on Earth. Maintaining and preserving these incredible communities has to be our highest priority if we intend to maintain the existence that we want on this planet." ~~~ Tom Crowther ~ environmental scientist with ETH Zurich.

"The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence." ~~~ Sarah Huckabee Sanders ~ June 29th, 2017 in a White House press briefing

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." ~~~ Winston Churchhill

Is it just me, or did Lying Donald lose his mind, again? That is, if he has any mind to lose? One wonders! While Lying Donald was committing war crimes against Iran, Iran had the audacity, to shoot down one of our 'flying cameras' which Lying Donald thought was a pretty good reason for starting WWIII. But then, supposedly, thought it over, and then, called it off, before it was launched.

Was Lying Donald bluffing, or was he serious? Either way, he's got to go before he kills us all! Lying Donald said:
We'll over look the "cocked and loaded" and "sights" which should have been "locked and loaded" and "sites" because life is short!

Lying Donald went on to say, "Fortunately, the drone Iran hit was unmanned. There was no man in it... we didn't have a man or woman in the drone. We had nobody in the drone." The hell you say Donnie! Someone should tell Donnie that a drone means, according to Websters, "an unmanned aircraft or ship guided by remote control or onboard computers." Oh my!

Apparently, Lying Donald didn't know that when you bomb people, you will kill people. For example his air strikes in Syria, Yemen and the like didn't kill a soul as they were all in fun? And this Bozo has his finger on "the" button, I mean, what could go wrong, America?

In Other News

I see where research is raising serious concerns about climate change's impact on the world's tiniest organisms, and scientists say much more attention is needed. That's the trouble with global warming, it's ALWAYS something going wrong, now at the microbe level!

All life on Earth evolved from microorganisms in the primordial slime, and billions of years later, the planet's smallest life forms-including bacteria, plankton and viruses-are still fundamental to the biosphere. They cycle minerals and nutrients through soil, water and the atmosphere. They help grow and digest the food we eat. Without microbes, life as we know it wouldn't exist.

Now, global warming is supercharging some microbial cycles on a scale big enough to trigger damaging climate feedback loops, research is showing. Bacteria are feasting on more organic material and produce extra carbon dioxide as the planet warms. In the Arctic, a spreading carpet of algae is soaking up more of the sun's summer rays, speeding melting of the ice.

Apparently, deadly pathogenic microbes are also spreading poleward and upward in elevation, killing people, cattle and crops. So many documented changes, along with other alarming microbial red flags, have drawn a warning from a group of 30 microbiologists, published Tuesday as a "consensus statement" in the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology.

The microbiologists, in their statement, warned about changes they're already seeing and called for more research to understand the potential impact. The statement "puts humanity on notice that the impact of climate change will depend heavily on responses of microorganisms, which are essential for achieving an environmentally sustainable future."

"Microbes literally support all life on Earth," said Tom Crowther, an environmental scientist with ETH Zurich, who was among the signers of the statement. "Maintaining and preserving these incredible communities has to be our highest priority if we intend to maintain the existence that we want on this planet.

What's known is that global warming increases microbial activity, driving global warming feedback loops,"
Crowther said.

His research has showed that accelerated microbial activity in soils will significantly increase carbon emissions by 2050. In another study, he showed how global warming favors fungi that quickly break down dead wood and leaves and release CO2 to the atmosphere.

Other warning signs from the microbial world include spreading crop diseases that threaten food security, microbial parasites that threaten freshwater fish, as well as the fungal epidemic wiping out amphibians world wide.

Global warming effects everything on the planet bringing many unpleasant changes from the microbe level on up and they all play a roll in making Mother Earth untenable for humans. And the more we know, the scarier it becomes, like the old motto for "Mars University," "Ne Vetus Scientia" or "Knowlede Brings Fear!" I wonder how scary it will have to become before we start to do something about global warming, don't you, America?

And Finally

As I'm sure that you know by now spokes-weasel Sarah Huckabee Sanders has bit the big one of being Lying Donalds spokes-weasel, and has gone back to her Arkansas trailer park and started up her lucrative meth dealership again. Yes, I know, that was a lie, I think? But what's wrong about lying about Lying Donalds professional liar? Shouldn't what goes around, come around? Methinks it should.

Sarah, was Lying Donald's second spokes-weasel after Sean Spicer and now Sarah has been replaced by Stephanie Grisham. Grisham loves "trolling the press" and driving drunk (shes pled guilty to two DUIs) so she should fit in very nicely.

However, Sarah is the liar of the hour and for the thousands of lies that she told in Lying Donalds name, she wins this week's Vidkun Quidling Award. Sarah feels qualified by all the lies that she's told to run for the governorship of Arkansas!

Keepin' On

As you may have noticed that a couple of regulars are missing from this week's magazine, i.e., Heather Digby Parton and Chris Hedges are gone. They are first of many that will be leaving as time goes by.

The internet isn't free, some of your favorite authors will be missing as we have to pay for their publishing rights in order to publish them. You'll have to look them up yourselves and may have to pay to read them on their sites. The same goes for some cartoonists.

We'll still keep fighting the good fight like we always have, as we're in it to the end. If you think that what we do is important and would like to see us keep on, keeping on, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep telling you the truth!


12-24-1918 ~ 06-23-2019
Thanks for the music!

04-25-1974 ~ 06-24-2019
Thanks for the music!

11-30-1945 ~ 06-24-2019
Thanks for the film!

05-19-1938 ~ 06-25-2019
Thanks for the film!

08-02-1943 ~ 06-26-2019
Thanks for the film!


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks to the media at the State Department in Washington, DC on June 13, 2019. Without any concrete or
reliable evidence at the press conference, Pompeo accused Iran of being behind attacks on two tanks in the Gulf of Oman
earlier that day, and said it was taking the case to the UN Security Council.

Trump Brings US And Iran To Brink Of War With Crisis He Created
With so-called "maximum pressure" and severe sanctions, the U.S. president has created a dangerous mess that now threatens the lives of millions
By Juan Cole

The warmongers on Trump's national security team apparently convinced him to set in motion an aerial strike against Iran Thursday in retaliation for the downing of a US drone over waters claimed by Iran.

Then at the last minute-according to reporting by Michael D. Shear, Eric Schmitt, Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman at the New York Times-Trump seems to have listened to generals who warned him that things could spiral out of control, even into war. He issued a stand down order. At least for now.

It isn't even clear that there was a casus belli. On domestic issues, the U.S. press is locked into an one-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand disastrous story-telling mode that has enormously benefited those pushing falsehoods such as that cigarettes don't cause cancer or putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere does not cause global heating.

Yet, when it comes to reporting on international security affairs, most U.S. reporting does not fall more than an inch from the Pentagon line of the day (often this dishonesty is the work of editors and publisher-owners rather than the fault of news-gathering reporters, as we saw at McClatchy during the Iraq War).

We heard all about the way Trump attempted to walk back his tough talk, saying that he was sure that Iran shot down the U.S. drone by accident. The statement, like his later stand down order, is a clear sign of the division between him and his warmongering appointees, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.

Trump created this crisis by breaching the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Having pocketed Iran's mothballing of 80 percent of its uranium enrichment program, Trump slapped the harshest sanctions ever seen against any country on Iran, unilaterally and in the teeth of opposition from NATO allies and the permanent members of the UN Security Council. In other words, he screwed Iran over. Europe cannot stop the U.S. sanctions, since they are third-party sanctions and European firms who do business both in the U.S. and in Iran will be fined billions of dollars for their dealings with Tehran.

So Trump's attempts to back peddle from his hard liners are useless as long as the U.S. has a financial blockade on Iran preventing it from selling its petroleum. A naval blockade preventing a country from exporting a key commodity is considered an act of war in international law. It is hard to see the difference between that and an effective financial blockade. Same outcome.

The U.S. press almost never interviews non-U.S. world leaders, especially those to whom Washington is hostile. It is almost as though when it comes to national security reporting, American news outlets go into war propaganda mode. Warmongers in high office know all about this phenomenon and use it to get the wars they crave.

So with regard to the shooting down of the U.S. drone by Iran, I think it is important to hear the Iranian side of the story. It may be false, it may be Iranian war propaganda. We can decide that once we've heard it.

BBC Monitoring translated from a Persian website the statement from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps:

"The Global Hawk surveillance drone took off from one the US bases in the south of the Persian Gulf at 0014 [1944 gmt] and disabled its identification system in a move contravening aviation regulations. It secretly flew from the Strait of Hormuz to Chabahar and on its way back travelling westward, the unmanned aerial vehicle violated the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the region of Strait of Hormuz and started collecting information and spying,"IRGC's statement read . . At 0405 [2335 gmt] and while the intrusive plane was inside our territories, the Guard's aerospace defence unit shot it down."
Source: Fars News Agency website, Tehran, in Persian 0919 gmt 20 Jun 19

In another report, Iran's news service said that a 3 Khordad anti-aircraft missile was deployed against the drone.

If Iran is right that the drone flew into Iranian territory, the incident is still an unfortunate raising of tensions. But if it was over international waters, as the U.S. maintains, Iran was in the wrong.

One problem for these definitions is that the U.S., in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, recognizes only 12 nautical miles off the coast as belonging to the country, whereas many nations claim a much larger portion of the sea along their coasts than that. The U.S. Air Force says that the drone was never closer to the Iranian coast than 21 nautical miles. One of the unfortunate consequences of the hostility of Trump and his capos like John Bolton to the UN and international law is that it makes it harder for the U.S. to insist with a straight face that other countries take these things seriously. Bolton once denied that the UN even exists.

In the absence of an agreement on the UN definition of territorial waters, some sort of U.S. Iran bilateral negotiations would be preferable to cowboying it.

Again, this crisis is of Trump's making. His conviction that he could stiff Iran without consequences, all for the sake of looking tough with his MAGA base, was a serious miscalculation. It is the problem with having an ignorant and yet opinionated man at the helm of the U.S. government. He is guaranteed to make basic mistakes that put the U.S. on a war footing even though that appears to be the last thing Trump wants.

Unfortunately, Iran will provoke again, and next time the U.S. warmongers may win the argument.

(c) 2019 Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

Interns are spending the summer with Congress-the smallest yet most powerful branch of government
in the Constitution-where some 1,500 corporations have undermined the peoples' delegated power.

Congressional Interns And Congress Redirections-A Meeting
In the 15,000 or 20,000 days these young people have, it will be their responsibility to stop the following omnicidal threats to humanity and the natural world
Ralph Nader

On a beautiful, breezy day last week, I spoke to a roomful of Congressional summer interns working in the House of Representatives. The subject was "Corporate Power, Congress and You."("You"referred to the interns as the citizenry).

I noted that they were a special group because they were willing to spend an hour listening to a talk about corporate power. I told them about how small groups of ordinary citizens became leaders in the nuclear arms control movements, the anti-tobacco drives, and consumer rights movement. I also talked about the expansion of equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. I took note that many of them in the room - women and people of color- would not be there if not for their predecessors' tireless efforts to advance civil rights.

No more than one percent of Americans - sometimes far less - made the many advances in peace and justice take hold, backed by a growing public opinion.

In the 15,000 or 20,000 days these young people have, it will be their responsibility to stop the following omnicidal threats to humanity and the natural world:

Climate crisis or climate disruption, which is already wreaking havoc. A student asked me about the 'Green New Deal', which urges dramatic action. I recommend that they make the strong case that we must plan ahead for the sake of the planet. It will cost trillions to solarize our economy and otherwise reduce greenhouse gases, but that pales in comparison to the trillions of dollars that will have to be spent on mitigating the effects of climate catastrophe, which would fundamentally damage our fragile planet. In fact, International Renewable Energy Agency research found that transitioning to renewable energy will save between "$65 trillion and $160 trillion [between now and] 2050." These costs would include spending to save coastal cities from ocean over-runs and all the other violent weather patterns and convulsions in habitat coming on this fragile planet Earth.

A runaway nuclear arms race between countries, which threatens to cause untold destruction. A nuclear arms race can increase the risk of nuclear weaponry being used on innocents, whether intentionally or by accidental computerized launch. Donald J. Trump seems to think that ending our treaties with Russia (without Senate approval) regarding reduction of nuclear war heads will "make America great again."

Global pandemics caused by mutations of viruses and bacteria are a lethal threat. Malaria, dengue fever, and transmittable deadly avian flu are just a few of the diseases that have the potential to spread further because of habitat disruption, tourism, and travel. The U.S. is spending far too little money to protect its people from such invisible disease vectors. Less than a fourth each year of what one redundant aircraft carrier (largely obsolete except for purposes of Empire force projection) costs. While Americans today might not think much of this threat, millions of Americans died in the 1919-1920 flu pandemic.

Endemic poverty and grave inequalities afflict billions of human beings. Roughly one in four children in the world suffers from chronic malnutrition, if not semi-starvation. Most will wither in pain and resignation. Some will be searching for vengeance using physical violence against the institutionalized violence of global corporations and corrupt governments taking their favors.

The emerging corporate fascistic states are dispossessing the citizenry of their rights, remedies, and facilities to organize and express their voices. The U.S. is now a maturing corporate state. Wall Street owns more of Washington and turns our government against its own people while feeding privileges, immunities and gigantic freebies and tax escapes to demanding global companies. When commercial values are allowed supremacy over citizen values, societies decline relentlessly.

I continued my remarks about how corporations have been given by the Federal Courts the same rights as human beings. Even though, neither the words "corporation" or "company"ever appear in our Constitution. Add this corporate "personhood"to the expanding privileges and immunities of corporate power, in these times of corporate crime waves, and equal justice under law between U.S. citizens and Exxon/Mobil or Pfizer or Wells Fargo is a cruel mockery.

I told the students to look at the fine print contracts they sign or click on that have taken away their precious freedom of contract and sometimes their historic right to pursue wrongdoers in court.

What is worse, youngsters grow up 'corporate' rather than grow up 'civic' - think of all the corporate ads they are subjected to that are not contradicted. Young people don't even realize what has been stripped away from their rightful protections.

Interns are spending the summer with Congress - the smallest yet most powerful branch of government in the Constitution - where some 1,500 corporations have undermined the peoples' delegated power. These corporations rent or own a majority of the Senators and Representatives and tell them how to vote on many serious matters.

Yet, as Patti Smith sings, the people do have the power, if they wish to exercise it. People have formidable democratic tools - they are the sovereign power, they have the vote. They own the greatest wealth in the country (vast public lands, public airwaves, and trillions of dollars in pension and mutual funds, which own the stocks of large corporations). The peoples' tax dollars have led to government-sponsored research and development that have spawned the major industries of our times.

Led by one percent of active citizens in their communities the people - left and right - can achieve a living wage economy, full health insurance, law and order for corporations, a fair tax system, and organizing rights for workers, consumers, and small taxpayers. We can develop solar energy capabilities quicker. Our public budgets can be redirected to critical domestic public works infrastructure and away from costly Empire building abroad.

Students informed me of their focus on electoral reforms, the use of manipulative euphemisms, and opportunities for work in civic engagement. I was encouraged.

Most picked up our materials, including the card on how to reform Congress (see They left the room, I hope, with higher civic expectations for themselves.

(c) 2019 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

The Ruling Class Will Not Tolerate The Sanders-Led Assault On Austerity
By Glen Ford

The whole point of the austerity project is to disempower workers and concentrate wealth at the top. The rulers will kill to keep that dream alive.

With 24 Democrats running for president and most of them lying about their plans for the nation and the world, the current US electoral arena may seem chaotic. But the fog clears dramatically if one understands that the corporate duopoly is designed to systematically narrow the electoral choices available to the populace so that, at end of the process, the rule of Capital remains secure. The duopoly party both facilitates and legitimizes the rule of the rich and is, therefore, a profoundly anti-democratic institution. In such a arrangement, majorities never get what they want -- which is the evil genius of the system. The only path to democracy is over the dead carcasses of the duopoly parties.

This is especially true for the Black polity, whose political life has been all but hermetically sealed within the confines of the Democratic half of the corporate duopoly -- a political prison that the Black inmates mistake for a sanctuary. Nearly every Black political aspiration and vote is systematically channeled through a corporate vetting process whose end result is the utter neutering of Black Power. Under the illusion that corporate Democrats are their protectors, rather than jailers, much of Black America has forgotten how to formulate coherent demands. As a consequence, the Black economic condition relative to whites has deteriorated to 1980 levels under the leadership of a corporate Democrat-controlled Black political class. It is been left to impoverished ghetto youth to periodically register the only effective resistance to the Mass Black Incarceration Austerity State.

The Republican half of the corporate duopoly commands the loyalties of about half the electorate through blatant pandering to white supremacy. By expressly positioning the GOP as the White Man's Party, Donald Trump guarantees himself a viable national constituency that will make no demands other than that he demonstrably share their hatred of non-white Others. To the extent that this constituency puts maintenance of white supremacy above all other aspirations, it represents no threat to corporate hegemony. Historically, such whites have always been eager to cut off their own noses to spite Black and brown faces.

With the "red" Republican half of America neutralized, resistance to the ruling class consensus on never-ending austerity is effectively confined to "blue" America, where the Blacks and browns and "progressive" whites live. But the challenge facing corporate Democrats and their media is daunting. Super-majorities of Americans favor austerity-busting proposals like Medicare for All, free public college and a Green New Deal, as well as higher minimum wages and other measures that would make working people more secure - the diametrical opposite of the future as envisioned by the Lords of Capital.

Austerity has little to do with reducing government debt; corporate Republicans routinely run up trillion dollar deficits with spending on war, corporate subsidies and tax cuts. Austerity is not fiscal conservatism. It is the methodical imposition of progressively lower living standards and greater employment insecurity for the masses in order to weaken working people's ability to reject any kind of job, at any terms of employment, thus channeling ever-greater wealth into the coffers of the oligarchs. Simultaneously, austerity is wholesale privatization of all human relations, eliminating as much of the public sphere as possible -- thus commodifying and financializing all aspects of life.

An austerity planet, with themselves on top, is what the Lords of Capital were seeking when they used their imperial military/economic machinery to set all the working classes of the world in competition with each other, in a Race to the Bottom. The workers of the Imperial Center -- the U.S. and Europe -- saw their wages and living standards decline over the decades, most never suspecting that their own rulers had thrown them into the same boiling labor pot as the despised "gooks," "chinks," spicks" and other wage workers in the Global South, formerly the Third World.

The whole point of the austerity project is to disempower workers and concentrate wealth at the top. If the Lords of Capital were ever to publicly acknowledged such a vision, even the reddest redneck would rise in revolt. But the corporate servants in the Democratic Party know what time it is. Barack Obama was following orders from the oligarchs when he announced, weeks before taking office in 2009, that all "entitlements," including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, would be "on the table" for cutting. The defeated and demoralized Republicans didn't force Obama's hand -- Democrats held both Houses of Congress. Obama openly sought to forge a "bipartisan" austerity consensus, and although his "Grand Bargain" with Republicans was never fully consummated, Obama-era impediments to social spending remain embedded in the legislative structure.

Obama was a protege of Bill Clinton, who ravaged the social safety net for poor women and children while hiring 100,000 more cops and setting the bankers free to blow up the economy eight years later. As the presumptive corporate Democratic nominee in 2016, Hillary Clinton was eager to deepen the bipartisan austerity regime. Bernie Sanders' push for Medicare For All would cause "a terrible, terrible national debate," she said, and would "never, ever come to pass.",/I> Although Clinton prevailed in the primaries, the anti-austerity genie was out of the bottle.

Now Sanders is back, hawking a raft of austerity-busting measures that have not only garnered super-majority support among Democrats, but are attractive to half of Republicans!

The corporate Democrats' duty is to save the oligarch's dream of global austerity from unraveling. Terrified that Sanders might sweep the 2020 primaries, the Democratic Party bum-rushed the Vermont Senator, flooding the field with 24 candidates, outdoing the Republican establishment's 16-candidate bid to stop Donald Trump, in 2016. The game plan was to throw every type of candidate into the mix, appealing to every "identity" constituency, to fragment a Democratic primary base that was as much as 90-percent in favor of Sanders' campaign planks. The bottom line: prevent Sanders from arriving at the Democratic National Convention with enough delegates to win on the first ballot. On the second ballot, the corporate-dependable "super delegates" would kick in to derail the self-styled socialist.

However, simply throwing a multi-colored cast of candidates at Sanders was not enough. They had to mimic his super-majority political program, as well, to further confuse the voters. Loyal corporate hacks pretended to support Medicare for All, including Cory Booker, the biggest recipient of Big Pharma money in the Congress.

Corporate Democratic operatives have mobilized like antigens to bar Sanders, the foreign body, from the nomination, and to diffuse and confuse the national discussion on austerity-busting programs. Since Donald Trump's capture of the Republican Party machinery, the Democratic Party has become the main political instrument of the ruling class. Its capture by leftish elements intent on ending the austerity regime, is unthinkable to the oligarchs. They are determined to defeat and discredit Sanders by any means necessary. The One Percent's austerity dream is at stake.

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

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, left, and Bernie Sanders speak at the NALEO Candidate Forum in Miami, Fla., on June 21, 2019.

Forget Bernie vs. Warren. Focus On Growing The Progressive Base And Defeating Biden
By Naomi Klein

A FEW DAYS AGO, I shared what I thought was a fairly innocuous observation about a fundamental difference between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Warren spends most of her campaign unpacking and explaining detailed policy proposals, many of them excellent, while Sanders splits his emphasis between his own strong plans and his calls for the political revolution he has consistently said will be required for any substantive progressive policy wins.

"Smart policies are very important," I tweeted. "But we don't lose because we lack smart policies, we lose because we lack sufficient power to win those policies up against entrenched elite forces that will do anything to defeat us."

Within seconds, I was in the grip of a full-on 2016 primary flashback. I was accused of being a shill for Bernie and an enemy of Warren (I'm neither). My feed filled up with partisans of both candidates hurling insults at each other: She gets things done, he is all talk; she's a pretender, he's the real deal; he has a gender problem, hers is with race; she's in the pocket of the arms industry, he's an easy mark for Donald Trump; he should back her because she's a woman, she should back him because he started this wave. And much more too venal to mention.

I immediately regretted saying anything (as is so often the case on that godforsaken platform). Not because the point about outside movement power is unimportant, but because I had been trying to put off getting sucked into the 2020 horserace for as long as possible.

Liberals in the U.S. often say the Trump presidency is Not Normal. And yeah, it's a killer-clown horror show. But the truth is that from most outsider perspectives, there is nothing about U.S. politics that is normal - particularly the interminable length of campaigns. Normal countries have federal elections that consume two, maybe three months of people's political lives once every four to five years; Canada caps federal campaigns at 50 days, Japan at 12. In the U.S., on the other hand, there's a total of about nine months in every four-year cycle when politics is not consumed by either a presidential or midterm horserace.

It's a spectacle that comes at a steep price. The relentless process of picking electoral winners sucks up intellectual energy, media airtime, movement muscle, and boatloads of money that are badly needed elsewhere. Like organizing to stop war with Iran, for instance. Or supporting movements trying to free migrants from Trump's concentration camps. Or figuring out what a transformative Green New Deal should look like on the ground. Or building international alliances with people in countries facing their own hate-filled authoritarian strongmen.

There's another reason to resist attempts to turn Sanders vs. Warren into a redux of the 2016 primaries eight months before the first vote is cast. Today's electoral dynamics are absolutely nothing like 2016. That was a two-way race between two candidates with radically different records and ideas, in which one candidate's gain really was the other's loss. A winner-takes-all race like that pretty much always turns into some kind of death match.

These primaries are another species entirely. There is a small army of candidates, with two of the leaders running on platforms so far to the left, they would have been unimaginable for anyone but a protest candidate as recently as 2014. The frontrunner, meanwhile, is eminently beatable (especially if Joe Biden keeps showing us exactly who he is, as he did about six times this week).

All this means that for leftists and progressives, the name of the game is not canceling out each other's candidates. It's doing everything possible not to end up with a Wall Street-funded centrist running against a president with the power of incumbency. That means making the case against the idea that candidates positioning themselves as the "safe choice" are in any way safe, whether at the polls or once in office. And it means helping to bring more and more people to one of the genuinely progressive frontrunners. There's plenty of time to worry about vote-spitting down the road - the task now is to enlarge the number of votes available to be split (or combined).

Because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was absolutely right when she said on ABC's "This Week," "We have a very real risk of losing the presidency to Donald Trump if we don't have a presidential candidate that's fighting for true transformational change in lives of working people in the United States." That was clear on the morning of November 9, 2016. In case more proof is required, see the recent devastating elections in India and Australia, where right-wing incumbents won despite predictions to the contrary, as well as the results of the European parliament vote, most notably in France and Italy, where the far right has surged. Again and again, we learn the same lesson: Tepid centrists carrying the baggage of decades of neoliberal suffering are no match for machineries of scapegoating willing to stop at nothing to win. Luca Casarini, a longtime Italian activist who now works on an Italian ship that has rescued dozens of migrants in the Mediterranean, recently put it to me in these harrowing terms: "There is pleasure being taken in the suffering of others. That is what these politicians are selling."

Even on the off chance that Biden did manage to pull off a Macron and win (which he's about 35 years too old for), there is the problem of what he would (and wouldn't) do once in power. "No one's standard of living will change. Nothing would fundamentally change," he told a swanky fundraiser at the Carlyle Hotel - a philosophy he helpfully reiterated, for those at the back: "You beat them. Without changing the system."

AS I'VE SAID before a time or two, in the age of climate breakdown, if nothing fundamentally changes in the political and economic spheres, then absolutely everything is going to change in the physical sphere. Indeed these changes are already well underway. So we either change those human-created systems or the natural systems on which all life depends will ruthlessly force change upon us. Given this and so many other life-and-death crises, would it still be worth substituting Trump for Biden or some similarly compromised runner-up? Without question or hesitation. Getting rid of Trump in 2020 is a civilizational imperative, if only to slow this slide into barbarism.

But what the progressive surge in these primaries is telling us is that we can, and must, do so much better.

For that to happen, the very last thing we need is for the two strongest left/progressive candidates and their supporters to tear each other apart for the next eight or so months, in a desperate bid to discredit a perceived rival. What should be happening instead is exactly what Sanders and Warren have been doing (with only a couple minor lapses): steadily building their bases by talking about ideas and strategies, thereby sharpening the contrast - in policies, track record, and electability - with Biden.

Because despite the various transparent attempts by Democratic power brokers to boost the narrative of a pitched Sanders vs. Warren battle over a finite pot of progressive voters, there is less overlap between the two candidates' bases of support than is commonly assumed.

"Sanders and Warren have competed for months over the party's left flank," Politico recently claimed. In fact, both have dramatically expanded that flank, drawing on different parts of the U.S. electorate. Sanders's base is younger and more multiracial; Warren's is older, whiter, and wealthier, according to a CBS News poll and one from Fox News. Sanders galvanizes traditional nonvoters and is more likely to peel off some Trump voters down the road; Warren is more able to shift former Hillary Clinton supporters to the left.

What is really happening in this race, and this is why the rivalry is being so relentlessly stoked, is that centrist candidates presumed to be frontrunners or at least serious contenders are flailing, and the progressive flank is expanding - to the extent that Sanders and Warren's combined bases exceed Biden's. This is an extraordinary turn of events representing an unprecedented revival of unabashedly left ideas in U.S. politics. In short, it's not 2016, when broad support for Sanders's bold progressive policies took nearly everyone by surprise - it's something entirely new.

None of this is to say that Bernie and Warren are interchangeable. There are big differences between their policies, styles, and world views: on the role of markets and the military; on the depths of our structural crises; on the urgency of standing up to the Democratic Party machine; on the role of outside movement power; and more. These differences are important and should be explored and clarified during this interminable campaign. Like everyone else, I have my own preference (hardly a well-kept secret), and I'll be writing more on that later. We should all also pay close attention to how messages resonate beyond our particular tribes and ideological circles - because beating Trump is paramount.

But as we make these assessments, let's not lose sight of the depths of the shift we are witnessing. Whether it's Sanders's stalwart support for Medicare for All or Warren's plans to break up big tech, neither politician is primarily trafficking in the kind of win-win market based "solutions" that never ask the wealthy to give up much of anything at all. Both are saying to the multimillionaire and billionaire class: You have won enough, now you have to share so other people can thrive.

IT'S ALSO TREMENDOUSLY significant that these sorts of policies are catching fire not during an economic crisis like in 2008, but in an economy that is considered booming by conventional measures. In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the New Deal to solve the most profound crisis in the history of capitalism, one for which markets had no semblance of a solution of their own. Warren is calling for New Deal levels of market intervention, and Sanders is leading a revival of democratic socialism at a time when the economic fundamentals are strong - and that has significantly further-reaching implications. Because it means that when capitalism is doing precisely what it was built to do - produce unprecedented wealth - it is a crisis for both the majority of people and the planetary systems on which we depend.

The threat that this realization represents to establishment players like the Wall-Street-funded Third Way think tank and Center for American Progress is the real reason that both have begun to hold up Warren as a more palatable version of Sanders. It's not because Warren actually has their backing; it's because this revved-up rivalry is viewed as the most effective way to undercut Sanders and, with it, the left's growing base in the party.

There is no question that the elite antipathy for Bernie runs deeper than for Warren, for obvious reasons. Writing on his landmark speech on democratic socialism at George Washington University earlier this month, Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor marveled that "he named capitalism as the culprit and democratic socialism as a solution. What a breathtaking turn of events." And as the very real prospect of an attack on Iran heats up, it's equally clear that Bernie represents the far greater threat to the bipartisan consensus for endless war.

But Warren, because of her track record and her competence, is a threat in her own right. To Wall Street, for whom she has been a nemesis since 2008; to big tech, whose obscene profits and monopoly power would take a hit under her plans to break them apart; to the ultrarich as a class, because of her proposed wealth tax. So make no mistake: For corporate Democrats, the endgame is still to defeat both Warren and Sanders. And in this never-ending and crowded campaign, that effort will shape-shift many times over.

It is true that Biden has had a bad week. But if Biden implodes, there's a phalanx of other candidates, recently seen hopping from one $2,800-a-head Wall Street fundraiser to the next, all with variations on the same reassuring message: I'll change things just enough to fend off the pitchforks and to save you from the social embarrassment of Trump, but not so much that you will notice a thing.

"It is important to rotate the crops," David Adelman, a financial industry lawyer, told the New York Times. He was ostensibly explaining why he had co-hosted a fundraiser for Beto O'Rourke, but in doing so, he also summed up precisely how Wall Street sees Washington: as its plantation. It engineers the seeds, plants them, then reaps what it sowed.

These forces, and the think tanks they finance, want the Warren and Sanders camps at each other's throats, demoralizing and weakening each other. Because that's exactly how the progressive bloc stalls or shrinks enough for Biden (or some newer political GMO crop) to walk away with it.

The current political map is confusing, there is no doubt. Progressive vote-splitting is a real possibility down the road - but so is vote-combining, and the more progressive voters there are, the more viable that prospect will become. There are multiple routes by which a progressive majority spread over several candidates can be translated into a Democratic ticket that is more progressive than any we've seen in nearly a century, maybe even ever.

There are also multiple ways that the historic opportunity of this progressive surge can be lost. And that loss begins with scarcity thinking, trying to tear each other down, and fooling ourselves into believing that it's 2016 all over again. When in fact, we are somewhere we have never been before.

(c) 2019 Naomi Klein is an award"winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism." To read all her latest writing visit You can follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein.

Why Are Corporate Bosses Smiling?
By Jim Hightower

As that silver-tongued orator George W. Bush once said: "Fool me once, shame on- shame on you. Fool me-you can't get fooled again."

Wise words, indeed, especially when hearing another presidential sales pitch for a trade scam. In the past quarter century, Bill Clinton, George W, Barack Obama, and now the Trumpster have all gushed about the glories We the People would experience if only their signature trade deal is approved. "This landmark agreement will send cash and jobs pouring into the United States," exclaimed Trump when introducing his USMCA last October.

Sharing his exuberance, two self-proclaimed "citizens groups"-the USMCA Coalition and the Pass USMCA Coalition-have sprung up to campaign for Trump's proposal, claiming to be acting "on behalf of American workers." How ironic, since both coalitions are made up of some 200 multinational corporate powers that are together responsible for more than half a million trade-related US job losses under the old Nafta.

Here's the dirty dozen that outsourced the most jobs:

* American Airlines
* Ford
* Motorola
* Boeing
* General Electric
* VF Clothing (Northface, Lee, Timberland, Wrangler, etc.)
* Caterpillar
* General Motors
* Whirlpool
* Dell Computer
* Hewlett Packard
* Intel

In his 2016 campaign, Trump relentlessly trashed Nafta as a "bad joke," rightly noting that it induced corporate giants to abandon US workers and communities. He promised to kill it, but now he gloats that his USMCA will fix Nafta's problems. "This one is a brand-new deal," he exults.

Seriously? So why are 200 offshoring corporate giants smiling, winking, and spending millions of dollars on PR and lobbying campaigns to ram his "fix" down our throats?

(c) 2019 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

Every Wisconsinite, no matter their ideology or partisanship, should be unsettled by the extreme to which the court majority has gone.

A Lawless Court OKs Legislative Lawbreaking
By John Nichols

When the partisan majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the political chicanery of Republican legislators, no one was surprised. Sadly, it was to be expected that the four justices who serve as rubber stamps for the right wing of the state Republican Party (and its major donors) would refuse to overturn "lame-duck" laws that were enacted last December to limit the authority of newly-elected Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Stung by the defeat of Republican Gov. Scott Walker and every other Republican who sought statewide office in 2018, Republican leaders of the state Assembly and Senate refused to accept the results. They called an extraordinary session - during the transition period between the election and the day Evers would be inaugurated - for the purpose of thwarting the will of the voters.

An honest reading of the election results, and of the state Constitution, said that the "extraordinary session" organized by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - who retain control of the chambers thanks to gerrymandering and support from out-of-state special interests - was inappropriate. So the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities and Disability Rights Wisconsin sued to block the power grab.

Unfortunately, the officially nonpartisan Supreme Court, which should serve as a check and balance on lawless legislators, is controlled by a majority of four partisans who have aligned themselves with the lawbreakers. On Friday, those four justices issued a convoluted ruling that essentially said their political cronies have "absolute discretion" to do as they please.

The clear-eyed statement from the bench came in the form of a dissent by the three justices who refused to make the court a rubber stamp for the Legislature. "The Legislature unconstitutionally met in an 'extraordinary session' in December 2018 and therefore (the measures limiting the authority of the governor and the attorney general) are void," wrote Justice Rebecca Dallet, who explained that, "in order to uphold the constitutionality of the December 2018 extraordinary session, the majority opinion subverts the plain text of Article IV, Section 11 of the Wisconsin Constitution."

That section is clear, noted Dallet. It constrains the Legislature from meeting except under two circumstances: (1) "at such time as shall be provided by law," and (2) "unless convened by the governor in special session."

Neither constitutional standard was met.

"It is," Dallet wrote, "undisputed that at the time of its passage, Article IV, Section 11 was understood to place limits on legislative power."

So how did the majority "justify" its decision?

"In its analysis of the meaning of Article IV, Section 11," explained Dallet, "the majority opinion dismisses the importance of the intent of the drafters."

Every Wisconsinite, no matter their ideology or partisanship, should be unsettled by the extreme to which the court majority has gone. The four justices who sided with the Legislature did not act as "originalists" or "constitutional conservatives." Rather, they rejected the original intent of the drafters of the state Constitution in order to permit legislative lawbreaking. That's not conservatism, that's ugliest form of political cronyism.

(c) 2019 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.

An Alternative To Impeachment
By James Donahue

There is all this talk about impeaching Mr. Trump because of his alleged high crimes. But Minority Leader of the House Nancy Pelosi has been reluctant to fire that cannon even though the call for impeachment is getting louder and louder among her compatriots.

Pelosi has implied numerous reasons for avoiding impeachment but the one obvious and unspoken problem is that the Vice President appears to be as nutty if not nuttier than Trump. Removal of President Trump will, by constitutional law, put Mr. Pence in the Presidency. Both men appear to be oblivious to the looming horrors from our heating planet and unwilling to do anything to stop their world-wide quest for more oil and gas. It appears to be that very quest that is triggering our current conflict with Iran that may evolve into all-out war if we are not careful. Mr. Pence has been openly relying on his religious convictions . . . calling for a return of his Savior Jesus in the clouds . . . to save the day.

Older Americans who were around when Congress brought impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinski scandal understand that impeachment does not always result in the removal of the President. Impeachment is actually a trial before the full house and a sitting president may not necessarily lose his elected government seat.

There is, however, another legal way for Congress to remove a wayward President. This involves invoking the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution in the event that the President is showing dangerous signs of mental illness. And there are a number of professional clinicians who are expressing serious concern these days about Mr. Trump's mental health.

Frightened by the President's hubris, narcissism, defensiveness, belief in untrue things, conspiratorial reflexiveness and attacks on opponents, mental health professionals are finally speaking out. The goal is not merely to define the Madness of King Donald, but to warn the public where it will inevitably lead, one writer recently said of Trump.

And Jerry Bowles, in an opinion piece for Huffington Post, wrote of Pence: "He is an unapologetic evangelical social conservative who sees the last 40 years of progress on abortion, gay rights, civil rights, criminal justice reform and race relations as a disaster for the country. Donald Trump might blow up the world, but Mike Pence would set the clock back to 1954. It's hard to say which would be worse."

Indeed, when you look at the Pence alternative, we can understand why Pelosi is having trouble dealing with the call for impeachment.

(c) 2019 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks to a crowd at
a Democratic National Committee event on June 6, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The White Man's Biden
By William Rivers Pitt

The Democrats have a problem. Some unreconstructed ghosts from the party's gruesome racist past are rattling their chains, thanks to yet another very public blunder by former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden, the seeming frontrunner in the 2020 presidential race.

Biden, who apparently hasn't met a vicious conservative he doesn't like and respect, stepped on a whole series of rakes over the last several days, and his standing as the establishment pick for the nomination is setting the party up for another calamity at the polls.

Biden attended a big-dollar fundraiser at the Carlyle hotel in New York on Tuesday, one of several he graced with his presence that day. While unspooling his boilerplate spiel about "civility" and working with hidebound Republicans who are really great you guys, trust me, Delaware's erstwhile favorite son got lost in the weeds of history, white supremacy and institutional racism.

"I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland," said Biden in an ersatz Southern accent. "He never called me 'boy.' He always called me 'son.' Well, guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished."

There is quite a bit to unpack here, so let's take it from the top. Sen. James Eastland (D-Mississippi) was an unvarnished racist and white supremacist, born to wealth, who lived on a massive cotton plantation and devoted his life to maintaining Jim Crow. With his fat cigar and benighted views, Eastland was for many long years the living essence of institutionalized, violent white power in the U.S. "He often appeared in Mississippi courthouse squares," wrote The New York Times in its obituary for Eastland after his passing in 1986, "promising the crowds that if elected he would stop blacks and whites from eating together in Washington. He often spoke of blacks as 'an inferior race.'" The Times obituary was a polite rendering of some very bleak history. "The South will retain segregation," Eastland proclaimed in 1956. "The governor of a sovereign State can use the force at his command, civil and other, to maintain public order, and prevent crime and riots. He can use these forces to prevent racial integration of schools if this is necessary, under the police power of the State, to prevent disorder and riots."

Biden's own staff even thought praising Eastland was an incredibly bad idea. "Aides said they had urged Biden to find a less toxic example," reports The Washington Post.

And then, there is the matter of "boy." When used against Black men, "boy" is a racist pejorative slur meant to insult and diminish their standing as a free adult. When used against white men like Biden, "boy" is merely a noun with no ghastly history attached. Joe Biden missed the point completely, again.

Biden's comments also came just before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) dismissed not only the issue of slavery reparations, but the entire blood-soaked history of slavery altogether. "We've had waves of immigrants come to the country and experience dramatic discrimination of one kind or another," he said on Tuesday.

In Mitch's fetid little mind, immigrants and people kidnapped into chattel slavery are the same thing. If you listen to Joe Biden, however, McConnell is precisely the sort of "civil" Republican we're all supposed to get along with so we can "get things done."

All this happened during the week of Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates Black emancipation in Texas, which came two long years after Abraham Lincoln's proclamation. The old evils never seem to die.

After polishing the turd that was James O. Eastland, Biden proceeded to wallow in the shallow grave of nonsense bipartisanship. "But today, you look at the other side and you're the enemy," he said. "Not the opposition. The enemy. We don't talk to each other anymore. I know the new New Left tells me that I'm, this is old-fashioned. Well, guess what? If we can't reach a consensus in our system, what happens? It encourages and demands the abuse of power by a president."

Biden's verbal slap at the "new New Left," delivered before a roomful of wealthy donors, is actually an attack against voters seeking relief from the policies he championed. They want an end to the wars he voted for, an end to the carceral system he helped build, and relief from the bankruptcy laws he wrote.

Biden was in New York for one reason: To get money from rich people and as many Republican donors as he could corner during cocktails. During the event at the Carlyle Hotel, Biden promised the wealthy assemblage he would not "demonize anybody who has made money."

"You're not the other," Biden told the room. "I need you very badly. I hope if I win this nomination, I won't let you down. I promise you." This was a reprise of the refrain he unspooled in March, when he said, "I love Bernie, but I'm not Bernie Sanders. I don't think 500 billionaires are the reason why we're in trouble."

"If we can't reach a consensus in our system," said Biden in New York, "what happens? It encourages and demands the abuse of power by a president." Everybody got that? If Democrats don't go along with racist, misogynist, fascist, obstructionist, white nationalist Republicans, everything Donald Trump does is their fault because they are "encouraging" him.

Well, guess what? That's bullshit, Joe, and I'm calling you on it.

After all these years in politics, including eight years in the second chair during the Obama administration, Biden would have us believe he is utterly clueless about the wrecker nature of the modern Republican party.

He's not. He is pretending he is in order to pander to white "centrist" voters who still get the warm fuzzies when Democrats blather about bipartisanship in the era of win or die.

Biden wants their money, and he wants their votes in the general election. Because he is the establishment candidate, he is pretending the other Democratic candidates don't exist and is trying to run a general election strategy against Trump alone. According to his plan, his ultimate nomination is a fait accompli.

Only when Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), along with journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, absolutely charbroiled Biden over his praise for Eastland did Biden even recognize the existence of Booker. When he did, he demanded Booker apologize to him for Booker's criticism of the verbal backrub Biden gave to a segregationist.

By attempting to hover above the fray, and by denigrating that "new New Left," Biden is also trying to put daylight between himself and all the land mines buried in his long legislative record. His history on racial justice, the wars, the prison system, the banking industry and so much more are of deep concern to Democratic voters in 2019.

Because he can't fix what he has done, and has no intention to do so if he becomes president, the best Biden can do is pretend none of it is there at all. "I won't let you down," he told that wealthy donor crowd in New York. That should be his campaign slogan, because it is the absolute truth.

Joe Biden was only a senator for so long because the banking industry dug a deep financial moat around his Delaware Senate seat to scare off potential challengers. Biden was their guy, and they made sure he stayed put so he could perform services like writing the bankruptcy bill that ruined so many lives.

Biden's plagiarism flameout during his first presidential campaign in 1988 would have been the undoing of any politician who lacked the protection his banker friends gave him. In 2008, his second presidential campaign didn't make it past the Iowa caucuses.

Despite the current poll numbers, which should be trusted just slightly less than a three-dollar bill after the debacle in 2016, there is little reason to believe this third try will end any different. The coalitions that put Bill Clinton and Barack Obama into the Oval Office have fallen to dust because they failed to blunt Republican plunder, and in many cases aided and abetted the plunderers. Why? They're all cashing the same donor checks Biden was seeking in New York.

Tea leaves are for making beverages, but I'm going to hazard a worthy guess that Joe Biden's general election campaign strategy is going to run into a white-hot buzz saw (again) when he reaches the primaries. The "centrist" Clinton/Obama voting bloc is gone, and in its place stands an activated and motivated coalition of women voters, young voters, voters of color, LGBTQ voters, activists and a whole slew of others who see Joe Biden as a throwback to a doomed and ultimately failed era of Democratic politics.

Joe Biden's tin ear is larger than those SETI satellite dishes listening for signs of alien life beside the Cascade Mountains in California. Candidate Biden is both the elephant parade and the guy with the broom bringing up the rear. The elephants take a dump in the street, the broom guy tries to clean it up, and it's all Joe 3.0.

The Democratic Establishment, in tapping Biden as their standard bearer after the long calamity of the 2016 election, have clearly forgotten the First Law of Holes: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

(c) 2019 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

We have little time to get emissions under control before we lock in so much CO2 and other greenhouse gases that temperatures will rise to catastrophic levels.

Avoiding Climate Chaos Means Zeroing In On Emissions
By David Suzuki

We're caught in a bad cycle. Global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, causing more extreme weather events and temperature swings. Hotter than normal weather in some places and colder in others means more people are using heat and air conditioning, which creates more emissions...

According to a statistical review by oil and gas company BP, carbon emissions rose by two per cent in 2018, faster than any year since 2011, mainly because energy demand spiked higher than renewable energy deployment.

Much of the increase was from China, India and the United States. In the U.S., industrial energy use rose, but so did demand as the country (along with China and Russia) experienced the most days with hotter or colder than average weather since the 1950s. The report says it would have been worse without "extraordinary growth" in renewable energy - 14.5 per cent last year - and a modest increase in electric vehicle use, but renewables need to grow much faster to displace coal and other fossil fuels.

Canada is warming at twice the global average rate - more in the North! But years of inaction and political roadblocks are making it challenging to meet our Paris Agreement commitments. As one of the highest per capita emitters, we can and must do our part to help the world avoid climate chaos. The pathways to get there exist. With political will, we can employ the many available and emerging solutions.

BP group chief economist Spencer Dale said shifting to low-carbon energy systems means changing the power sector, as "it is the single largest source of carbon emissions within the energy system; and it is where much of the lowest-hanging fruit lie for reducing carbon emissions over the next 20 years."

A David Suzuki Foundation report, released at a recent international clean energy conference in Vancouver, outlines 10 proven strategies for Canada to get emissions to or near zero by mid-century. By cleaning up the electricity sector, electrifying sectors like transportation and industry, and using energy wisely, we can avoid the worst impacts of climate disruption while reducing pollution and creating economic opportunities.

Zeroing in on Emissions is the first report to come out of the Clean Power Pathways project, a collaboration between the Foundation and researchers at the universities of Victoria and Regina.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says CO2 emissions must reach zero by 2050 to avoid more than 1.5 C of temperature rise. As the BP review and Zeroing in on Emissions conclude, that means much faster development and deployment of cleaner energy, especially for power generation. BP also calls for fossil fuel solutions, like switching from coal to natural gas and relying on technologies like carbon capture and storage, but the Foundation's report finds energy efficiency and renewable energy will get us there faster and at a lower cost, although carbon capture is still necessary.

Canada has a head start. Our power sector already generates a considerable amount of energy with hydro, wind and solar, but we aren't yet tapping all the available options. Saskatchewan, which has Canada's highest wind and solar energy potential,, spent $1.5 billion on carbon capture and storage to keep burning coal, with poor economic and health outcomes.

Greater electrification and renewable energy deployment means investing in energy storage, smart grids and better transmission and distribution systems. We can even use hydro dams and reservoirs to store clean energy.

Distributed energy with technologies like rooftop solar and battery storage for homes and businesses can create energy independence and reduce reliance on dirty fuels like diesel in remote communities. Other solutions include energy efficiency; designing compact, livable communities; levelling the playing field with a steadily escalating price on carbon pollution to drive innovation and clean technology; supporting vulnerable workers and communities during the transition; and shifting away from our obsession with constant growth to focus on well-being.

Further opportunities exist in agriculture, waste, land-use change and forestry, which were beyond the Foundation report's scope.

We have little time to get emissions under control before we lock so much CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that temperatures will rise to catastrophic levels. Even the oil companies know this. The solutions are there; we just need the will to employ them.

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

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Was An Arrogant Liar On Behalf Of A Corrupt Administration*
With "farewell drinks" on her behalf, the elite political media once again shows it will not stop pretending everything is normal in a time of larval tyranny.
By Charles P. Pierce

Remember Richard Clarke, in his appearance before the 9/11 Commission, when he prefaced his testimony with an apology? "Your government failed you," he said. Well, in my capacity as spokesman for my entire profession, let me apologize for the following item. Your media has failed you. From the Washington Post:

Anita Kumar, a Politico White House correspondent who helped put together the farewell drinks, told the Erik Wemple Blog, "I'm actually really happy with the turnout - it's huge." She added: "And it taught me two things: One, we did the right thing, the thing that we always knew was right that I kind of second-guessed for a minute with all the criticism, which is, we're meeting with the people that we cover. And it's important - you have to talk to the people you cover. That's it."
The relentless desire of the elite political media to pretend that what we're experiencing is just politics as usual, that it conforms to the usual forms and fashions, and that, you know, the pendulum always swings the other way, (insert mandatory extraneous platitude here) is almost charming in its hopeful and child-like simplicity.

First of all, this is not a normal administration*. It is a larval tyranny.

Secondly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was not a normal White House spokesperson. She was an embarrassingly bad liar and an embarrassingly arrogant countrified know-nothing running cover for a criminal gang, and everyone who attended this nightmare with canapes should be fired forthwith and replaced with someone who has covered organized crime for a living.

Sanders was a truthless spin artist for a corrupt administration*.

Erik Wemple is a fine media reporter, but he's just very wrong here:
Yet an important distinction should be taken into account. Journalists convey their sense of right and wrong in their work product, not in the appointments on their professional calendar. Sanders has a history of lying and poorly serving her country, but, well, journalists have a grand tradition of meeting up with liars - and slimeballs and felons and losers and scammers. That's what they do.
"Meeting up with" people is not the same thing as organizing a farewell soiree for a truthless woman who fronted for a a bunch of crooks and bunco artists. (And I wonder how some of the people who cover this White House feel about having how they do their jobs equated with how SHS did hers.) And the problem with the highlighted sentence above has been demonstrated time and time again-from Sally Quinn's memorable Not Our Kind dismissal of the Clintons, to the closing of the ranks around Scooter Libby because he shopped at the same grocery stores they did, to the continued presence in public of that bag of rank old sins that is Henry Kissinger. A courtier press is not saved by its work product. It is inherently corrupt.

And, lo and behold, even at this worthless hootenanny, SHS stayed true to form, stiffing Wemple when he asked her about the many lies on which she built what's left of her career.

ERIK WEMPLE BLOG: Do you feel you were honest with the media?

SANDERS: Hey, Erik, I just don't think this is the appropriate venue, but I appreciate you being here tonight.

Well, then, piss off, Elly May.

(c) 2019 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I'm proud of it."
~~~ Paul Krugman

Soldiers Without Guns
By David Swanson

A new film by Will Watson, called Soldiers Without Guns, ought to shock a great many people -not because it utilizes a yet more gruesome form of violence or bizarre form of sex (the usual shockers in movie reviews), but because it recounts and shows us a true story that contradicts the most basic assumptions of politics, foreign policy, and popular sociology.

Bougainville Island was a paradise for millennia, inhabited sustainably by people who never caused the rest of the world the slightest trouble. Western empires fought over it, of course. Its name is that of a French explorer who named it for himself in 1768. Germany claimed it in 1899. In World War I, Australia took it. In World War II, Japan took it. Bougainville returned to Australian domination after the war, but the Japanese left piles of weapons behind -possibly the worst of the many forms of pollution, destruction, and lingering effects a war can leave in its wake.

The people of Bougainville wanted independence, but were made part of Papua New Guinea instead. And in the 1960s the most horrible thing happened -worse for Bougainville than anything it had previously experienced. This event transformed Western colonial behavior. It was not a moment of enlightenment or generosity. It was the tragic discovery, right in the middle of the island, of the largest supply of copper in the world. It wasn't harming anyone. It could have been left right where it was. Instead, like the Cherokees' gold or the Iraqis' oil, it rose up like a curse spreading horror and death.

An Australian mining company stole the land, drove the people off it, and began destroying it, creating in fact the biggest hole on the planet. The Bougainvilleans responded with what some might consider reasonable demands for compensation. The Australians refused, laughed in fact. Sometimes the most apocalyptically doomed perspectives ward off alternatives with contemptuous laughter.

Here, perhaps, was a moment for courageous and creative nonviolent resistance. But people tried violence instead -or (as the misleading saying goes) "resorted to violence." The Papua New Guinean military responded to that by killing hundreds. The Bougainvilleans responded to that by creating a revolutionary army and waging war for independence. It was a righteous, anti-imperialist war. In the film we see images of fighters of just the sort still romanticized by some all over the world. It was a horrific failure.

The mine ceased operating in 1988. Workers fled back to Australia for their safety. Mine profits were reduced, not by compensation to the people of the land, but by 100%. That may not sound like such a failure. But consider what happened next. The Papua New Guinean military escalated the atrocities. Violence spiraled upward. Then the military created a naval blockade of the island and otherwise abandoned it. This left behind impoverished, disorganized, heavily armed people with belief in the power of violence. That was a recipe for anarchy, so much so that some invited the military back, and a bloody civil war raged for almost 10 years, killing men, women, and children. Rape was a common weapon. Poverty was extreme. Some 20,000 people, or one-sixth of the population, were killed. Some brave Bougainvilleans smuggled medicine and other supplies in from the Solomon Islands, through the blockade.

Fourteen times peace negotiations were attempted and failed. A foreign "intervention" didn't look like a viable option, as foreigners were distrusted as exploiters of the land. Armed "peace keepers" would have simply added arms and bodies to the war, as armed "peace keepers" have often done around the world for several decades now. Something else was needed.

In 1995 women of Bougainville made plans for peace. But peace did not come easily. In 1997 Papua New Guinea made plans to escalate the war, including by hiring a mercenary army based in London called Sandline. Then someone in an unlikely position suffered a fit of sanity. The general in charge of the Papua New Guinea military decided that adding a mercenary army to the war would simply add to the body count (and introduce a group he had no respect for). He demanded that the mercenaries depart. This put the military at odds with the government, and the violence spread to Papua New Guinea, where the prime minister stepped down.

Then another unlikely person said something sensible, something one hears almost daily in U.S. news media without it ever being meant seriously. But this guy, the Australian Foreign Minister, apparently actually meant it. He said there was "no military solution." Of course, that's always true everywhere, but when someone says it and actually means it, then an alternative course of action has to follow. And it certainly did.

With the support of the new prime minister of Papua New Guinea, and with the support of the Australian government, the government of New Zealand took the lead in attempting to facilitate peace in Bougainville. Both sides of the civil war agreed to send delegates, men and women, to peace talks in New Zealand. The talks succeeded beautifully. But not every faction, and not every individual, would make peace back home without something more.

A peace keeping contingent of soldiers, men and women, actually properly named "peace keeping," led by New Zealand and including Australians, traveled to Bougainville, and brought no guns with them. Had they brought guns, they would have fueled the violence. Instead, with Papua New Guinea offering amnesty to all fighters, the peace keepers brought musical instruments, games, respect, and humility. They did not take charge. They facilitated a peace process controlled by Bougainvilleans. They met people on foot and in their own language. They shared Maori culture. They learned Bougainvillean culture. They actually helped people. They literally built bridges. These were soldiers, the only ones I can think of throughout all human history, whom I'd actually like to "thank for their service." And I include in that their leaders, who -remarkably to someone used to seeing people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo on TV -were legitimately not blood-thirsty sociopaths. Also remarkable in the story of Bougainville is the lack of involvement by the United States or the United Nations. How many other parts of the world might benefit from such lack of involvement?

When it came time for delegates from around Bougainville to sign a final peace settlement, success was uncertain. New Zealand had run out of funds and turned the peace keeping over to Australia, which made many skeptical. Armed fighters sought to prevent delegates from traveling to the peace talks. Unarmed peace keepers had to travel to those areas and persuade armed fighters to allow the talks to be held. Women had to persuade men to take a risk for peace. They did. And it succeeded. And it was lasting. There has been peace in Bougainville from 1998 until now. The fighting has not restarted. The mine has not reopened. The world didn't really need copper. The struggle didn't really need guns. Nobody needed to "win" the war.

(c) 2019 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

The Dead Letter Office-

Sarah gets caught in a lie

Heil Trump,

Dear Speichenwiesel Sanders,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling, and last year's winner Volksjudge John (the enforcer) Roberts.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your telling thousands and thousands of lies to cover up der Fuhrer's lies, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Political Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 07-13-2019. We salute you Frau Sanders, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Center Of American Politics Is On The Left
By Robert Reich

Donald Trump, Fox News, and Republicans in Congress label proposals they disagree with "fringe,""radical,"or "socialist." Well, let's see where the American people actually stand:

On the economy,76 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the super-rich, including over half of registered Republicans. Over 60 percent favor a wealth tax on fortunes of $50 million or more. Even Fox News polls confirm these trends.

What about health care? Well, 70 percent want Medicare for All, which most define as Medicare for anyone who wants it. 60 percent of Republicans support allowing anyone under 65 to buy into Medicare.

92 percent want lower prescription drug prices. Over 70 percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada.

On family issues, more than 80 percent of Americans want paid maternity leave. 79 percent of voters want more affordable child care. And that includes 80 percent of Republicans.

60 percent of Americans support free college tuition for those who meet income requirements.

62% think climate change is man-made and needs addressing.

84 percent think money has too much influence in politics. 77 percent support limits on campaign spending. And that includes 71 percent of Republicans.

I could go on.

So why do the powerful call these policy ideas "fringe,"or "radical,"or "socialist?

Money. Many of these initiatives would cost them - requiring either higher taxes on the rich (many could be achieved by repealing the giant Trump tax cut for the wealthy and corporations), or regulations that might cut into their corporate profits.

So you can bet that as these proposals become even more popular, the powerful are going to intensify their attacks.

But just remember: the "center"is not halfway between what most Americans want and what big corporations, Wall Street, and the super-wealthy want.

The "center"is what the vast majority of Americans want.

(c) 2019 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

NYC's New 9-11 Museum
Where is all the melted stuff?
By Jane Stillwater

Here's something I didn't actually realize until I was actually inside of the National 9-11 museum in Lower Manhattan -- that this impressive new museum is actually built on the actual site of this dreadful catastrophe. It's an extremely well-designed museum that will overpower your heart with sad emotions and make even the most veriest skeptic start to tear up.

But despite all its profound emotion-generating capabilities, the museum itself fails to answer my most basic question. "Where is all the melted stuff?"

I saw battered stuff, broken stuff, blown up stuff, tragic stuff and awe-inspiringly heroic stuff -- but nothing that was actually melted.

We Americans have been told again and again and again that the burning fuel from the jet planes caused a whole bunch of six-inch-thick steel girders to melt from the heat, thus causing both towers to collapse.

Inside the museum, they showed us lots of steel girders. They showed us lots of huge steel beams and lots of gigantic steel pillars. And I looked very closely at each and every one of them. No sign of melting at all. Where was the wax-candle effect that we've been told about constantly for the last 19 years? Coulda fooled me.

Maybe it was just me but the entire museum seemed to be designed and constructed to un-intentionally refute everything that we had been told for so long about all that melted steel. The museum's exhibits themselves seemed to be working very hard to convince us that our leaders' national narrative about what happened on September 11, 2001 was only a construct, a mythology solely designed to drag America into 19 gruesome years of Endless War (so far) -- and thus fleece our pockets. "Mission accomplished."

Surely I couldn't be the only one who happened to notice the extreme lack of melted stuff at this museum? Apparently I am.

But with regard to our great sorrow for the victims of this terrible catastrophe that was generated by all the individual photos of the victims and by a Vietnam-memorial-style wall listing all of their names? That was so tragically real. We were all crying by the time we left the museum. It had been clearly designed to create those sad emotions. Deliberately mis-directing our anger away from reality and off into sadness? You be the judge.

But after having visited this museum, I now have no problem imagining the bottomless sorrow that millions of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Gaza, Libya, etc. must be feeling as well. They too have suffered their own 9-11s, almost daily -- thanks to us.

PS: How many and various false-flag "wars" have been shoved down our patriotic American throats over the years? Let me count the ways. "Remember the Maine." And just who exactly really started that brutal war on Korea? Huge lies about the Gulf of Tonkin incident? Add that to the list.

Bin Laden in Afghanistan. WMDs in Iraq. Libya needed to be rescued for "Humanitarian Reasons" and now it too is a failed state. "Rebels" in Syria who are actually al Qaeda operatives who get paid by the Saudis and weaponized by NATO. Occupied Gaza sent firecrackers over the Zionist border -- which we are told were practically ICBM missiles and so Gaza must be taught a lesson by raining thousands of tons of white phosphorus down on its hospitals and schools. Yemen's on fire because of...I forget what. So Wall Street can sell more weapons to the Saudis? "Duh, yeah."

And now there's this new mysterious drone strike on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Wait, what? Which country routinely uses drones? Hint: It's not Iran. But, hey. America got its dirty little war after the USS Maine lie. America got its dirty little war after the Tonkin lie. America got its dirty little war after the WMD lie. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But do the rest of us want a dirty little war on Iran too? Hopefully not.

Most of us here in the USA are finally starting to realize (I hope) that American troops and resources are already stretched too thin. Thousands of our troops are currently stationed next to Venezuela and inside Syria, Afghanistan and about 800 other places around the world, including our own southern border. Geez Louise. Exactly how many sons and daughter do we even have left to send off to "war" on Iran too?

Maybe it's time that we ourselves start protecting both our own sons and daughters and everybody else's sons and daughters from being victims of future 9-11s all over the world. Because Wall Street and War Street sure aren't gonna do it for us. Let's start by voting for pro-peace candidates like Tulsi Gabbard.

(c) 2019 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Cartoon Corner-

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

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Panicky Trump Brothers Seek Podiatrist Notes After Dad Sends Troops To Middle East
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-In a state of panic after their father dispatched troops to the Middle East, Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., have both sought medical notes from a Manhattan podiatrist.

According to an official statement from Donald Trump, Jr.,'s spokesperson, John Barron, Jr., the two Trump boys obtained the medical notes "out of an abundance of caution." The podiatrist's notes, which were made public by Barron, paint a picture of two otherwise healthy young men with foot problems that can only be described as dire.

According to the podiatrist, Eric Trump is unable to operate his feet while chewing gum, while one of Donald Trump, Jr.,'s feet appears to be permanently lodged in his mouth.

(c) 2019 Andy Borowitz

The Gross National Debt

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 26 (c) 06/28/2019

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