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In This Edition

Norman Solomon explains, "Why Corporate Democrats Are Desperately Trying To Keep Nina Turner Out Of Congress."

Ralph Nader demands, "Leaves Must be Canceled. All Hands On The Congressional Deck."

Jesse Jackson returns with, "It's Time for a New Good Neighbor Policy Toward Latin America."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Will Jeff Bezos Return To Earth A Better Human?"

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Terrifying UN Draft Climate Report Urges Total Transformation Of Our Way Of Life."

John Nichols remembers, "Mike Gravel Told Americans What Was Being Done In Their Name Without Their Consent."

James Donahue considers, "Spiritual Highways In American Mythology."

David Swanson orates, "Guided Missiles, Misguided Policies, And Changing Direction Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love WWIII."

David Suzuki concludes, "Indigenous Land Back Movement Charts Better Way Forward."

Charles P. Pierce says, "I'm Not Sure This Exorcism For Trees In The Home Depot Lumber Aisle Is Theologically Sound."

Juan Cole examines, "Gaslighting The Pentagon."

Robert Reich explains, "Why So Much Wealth At The Top Threatens The US Economy."

Amy Goodman returns with, "Key Witness In US Case Against Julian Assange Admits To Lying To Get Immunity."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Waterford Whispers News reports, "Biden & Putin Argue Over Whose Country Has Worst Reputation," but first" Uncle Ernie wonders, "Did Global Warming Cause Miami Condo Collapse?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jimmy Margulies, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Ana Fernandez, Fernando Souza, Tom Williams, Roll Call, Drew Angerer, Land Back video series, Ramin Talaie, SOPA Images, 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-

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Did Global Warming Cause Miami Condo Collapse?
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

Run to the hills,
Run for your life!
Iron Maiden ~~~ Run To The Hills.

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 wonder could the increasing assault of king tides and sea level rise have contributed to Miami condo collapse?

Saltwater and brine-soaked air settle into the pores of coastal construction, growing a rusty crust around the steel skeletons that reinforce oceanfront structures. It weakens the bonds between metal and concrete creating cracks and crumbles in vulnerable areas.

Some building experts wondered if that kind of environmental assault supercharged by climate change could have played a role in the catastrophic collapse at the 40-year-old Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Fla.

"Sea level rise does cause potential corrosion and if that was happening, it's possible it could not handle the weight of the building," said Zhong-Ren Peng, professor and Director of University of Florida's International Center for Adaptation Planning and Design. "I think this could be a wakeup call for coastal developments."

Sea level rise, the gurgle of more frequent king tide flooding, and changes in soil consistency or location are elements dealt with by any building on a barrier island.

And below the surface - beneath parking garages - the twice-daily pressure of the tides on groundwater could keep a building's foundation wet and on an uneven footing.

The Champlain Towers South Condo has a plump renourished beach and dune to assuage a direct ocean charge and is four blocks from Biscayne Bay.

Still, Albert Slap, president of Boca Raton-based RiskFootprint, said it can be invisible machinations - the push and pull of tides on limestone bedrock - combined with rising seas that can weaken a building's integrity.

RiskFootprint provides assessments for private homeowners and business developments that includes looking at threats from sea level rise, king tides - so-called "sunny day" flooding - and storm surge.

"Even if when the building was built in 1981 the foundation was dry most of the time, with sea level rise pushing groundwater up to the surface, the foundation could be wet enough long enough to soften the concrete," Slap said. "Many of these buildings with underground parking have sump pumps running and that means the foundation is in the water."

As I keep on saying, with global warming there are millions of different things that keep changing that need to be considered as we face a rather grim future. With both south and north poles rapidly melting causing the ocean to rise and play havoc along the coast lines. For example when I lived in Malibu, on the ocean, and not on the cliffs above, a passing hurricane that was 1600 miles out to sea sucked all the sand off my beach leaving a pile of bolders in its wake. Including all the sand around the support beams that supported half of the house! As Iron Maiden once sang, "Run to the hills. Run for your life!"


05-13-1930 ~ 06-26-2021
Thanks for fighting the good fight!

08-07-1965 ~ 06-26-2021
Thanks for the music!

02-26-1939 ~ 06-29-2021
Thanks for the film!

07-09-1932 ~ 06-29-2021
Burn Baby Burn!!


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


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.

Shontel Brown vs. Nina Turner

Why Corporate Democrats Are Desperately Trying To Keep Nina Turner Out Of Congress
By Norman Solomon

When Hillary Clinton endorsed Nina Turner's main opponent last week, it was much more than just an attempt to boost a corporate Democrat. Clinton's praise for candidate Shontel Brown was almost beside the point. Like other power brokers and the big-money PACs now trying to sway the special election for a vacant congressional seat in northeast Ohio, Clinton is doing what she can to keep the deeply progressive Turner out of Congress.

Time is short. Polling shows Turner with a big lead, early voting begins in two weeks, and Election Day is August 3. What scares the political establishment is what energizes her supporters: She won't back down when social justice is at stake.

That reality was clearly audible Tuesday night during the first debate of the campaign, sponsored by the City Club of Cleveland. "I am running to be a voice for change, to uplift the downtrodden, including the poor, the working poor and the barely middle class," Turner began. "You send me to Congress, I'm going to make sure that we tax the wealthy, make them pay their fair share, and to center the people who need it the most in this district."

The contrast was sharp with Brown, who chairs the Democratic Party in populous Cuyahoga County. The discussion of healthcare was typical: Brown voiced a preference for a "public option," but Turner strongly advocated Medicare for All while calling the current healthcare situation "absurd" and "asinine." Brown sounded content to tinker with the status quo. Turner flatly declared: "The employer-based system, the commodification of healthcare, does not work in the United States of America. Almost 100 million people are either underinsured or uninsured right now."

After Brown emphasized that "we have to be able to compromise so we can get some things done," Turner closed with a jab at those eager to block the momentum of her campaign for Congress: "You need to have somebody that will lead this community, who does have a vision and understands being a partner does not mean being a puppet, that working with does not mean acquiescing to.... You will always know whose side I am on."

That's exactly the problem for the party establishment. Its backers know full well whose side Turner is on.

And so, the attacks are escalating from Brown's campaign. It sent out a mailer -- complete with an out-of-focus photo of Turner, made to look lurid -- under the headline "Nina Turner Opposed President Biden and Worked Against Democrats." A more accurate headline would have been: "Nina Turner Supported Senator Sanders and Worked Against Neoliberal Democrats." The Brown campaign's first TV ad, which began airing last month, features her saying that she will "work with Joe Biden... that's different than Nina Turner."

A former editorial page editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Brent Larkin, wrote: "Brown will be a well-financed candidate with deep-pocketed supporters who aren't afraid to play rough. That's because Turner can't be beaten unless opponents plant seeds of doubt about her fitness, convincing voters her harsh criticisms of President Joe Biden would make it impossible for her to get things done for her community. The notion that Biden might punish a constituency important to him because Turner represents that constituency in Congress is far-fetched. During the 2020 campaign, Sen. Kamala Harris was bitterly critical of Biden's civil rights record. Nevertheless, Biden chose her as his running mate, effectively rewarding her with the vice presidency."

Brown's backers are eager to "play rough" because corporate power is at issue. It's not only that Turner crisscrossed the nation, speaking eloquently in support of both of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaigns, serving as a national co-chair during the last one. Powerful backers of the Democratic Party's top leadership -- cozy and enmeshed with corporate America and the military-industrial complex -- realize that "Congresswoman Nina Turner (D-OH)" would significantly increase the leverage of genuinely progressive members of the House. For the Clinton wing of the party, that would be a frigging nightmare.

As the marquee anti-Turner candidate, Brown is leaving the more blatant smears to outfits like the "Protecting Our Vote PAC" (which spent $41,998 in the last cycle in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat now-Congresswoman Cori Bush). The super PAC has released a scurrilous attack ad via Facebook, telling viewers to "Vote for Shontel Brown" -- while claiming among other things that "Nina Turner is not a real Democrat, you can't trust her," and she "has no respect for anyone, not even our president," and "Nina Turner is all about Nina, she doesn't care about Ohio, she doesn't care about getting things done, all she cares about is making noise."

Though some see her only as a firebrand speaker at political rallies, I was in dozens of meetings with her last year when her patient hard work was equally inspiring as she put in long hours with humility, compassion and dedication. I saw her as the real deal when we were colleagues for several months while she worked with as a strategic delegate advisor for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Recalling how she works behind the scenes, I can understand even more why the party establishment is so anxious to block her entry to Congress. While Turner is a seasoned legislator -- she served on the Cleveland City Council and in the Ohio Senate for a total of nine years - she's committed to the meticulous and sometimes tedious work of organizing and coalition-building that, in the long run, can make all the difference for progressive change.

The day that Clinton made her endorsement of Brown, a tweet from Turner served as an apt retort. Saying that she was "proud to be running a campaign focused on the issues that matter most to working people," Turner added: "My district knows all too well that the politics of yesterday are incapable of delivering the change we desperately need."

The next day, underscoring wide awareness that the corporate "politics of yesterday" must not be the politics of tomorrow, the Turner campaign announced that it raised six figures in under 24 hours; Clinton's intervention had been a blessing. Overall, at last report, the Turner campaign has received donations from 54,000 different individuals, with contributions averaging $27.

Dollars pouring into Shontel Brown's campaign are coming from a very different political and social universe. As the Daily Poster reported this week, "business-friendly Democrats" and Washington lobbyists for huge corporations - including "Big Oil, Big Pharma, Fox News and Wall Street" -- are providing big bucks to stop Nina Turner from becoming Congresswoman Turner.

Bernie Sanders described the situation clearly in a recent mass email: "The political establishment and their super PACs are lining up behind Nina's opponent during the critical final weeks of this primary. And you can bet they will do and spend whatever it takes to try and defeat her."

(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."

The hallways are empty outside the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol, April 29, 2020 Washington, D.C.

Leaves Must be Canceled. All Hands On The Congressional Deck.
An open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
By Ralph Nader

Readers of the Washington Post this past Sunday, many of whom work at least a 40-hour week with short vacations, were informed by reporter Paul Kane about the large number of recess days the Senate and the House are taking this summer. In the midst of a huge backlog of critical legislation - as with the multi-trillion-dollar public and human infrastructure bills and other responsibilities deferred under prior periods of Republican control - these recess periods constitute reckless abandon and endangerment to the country.

Here are Mr. Kane's words:

"When the Senate finishes up Thursday [June 24th, 2021], the chamber will shut down until July 12 for an unusually long Independence Day recess. After returning for four weeks, the Senate is supposed to break by Aug. 6 for more than four weeks of the beloved August recess. That's a nearly 75-day run from late June through Labor Day in which current planning would have senators here voting about 16 days."

"The original House schedule is even more impractical. When members of the House leave town July 1, they are slated to be in session just two of the next 11 weeks."

"Yes, you read that right. From July 2 through Sept. 19, the House is only in session for nine days."

It gets worse. As with other long absences throughout the year, all these recesses come with full pay and with bipartisan concurrence. But there is no agreement on Biden's big-ticket legislative initiatives that should be dealt with, with meticulous detail to assure that whatever passes comes with rigorous oversight by adequate overseers for preventing waste, fraud, and abuse in the Executive Branch departments and agencies. That takes Congressional work.

Even when Congress is in session, Senators and Representatives usually work a three-day week - Tuesdays to Thursdays - with time to rush to nearby campaign offices and dial for campaign dollars.

Committee Chairs could hold hearings during these long recesses. But there are few legislators today like the workhorse Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, William Proxmire, who logged day after day of oversight hearings while his colleagues were on junkets overseas or at rich watering holes, compliments of business lobbyists.

The recklessly limited work time explains, in part, why the Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn't force the Republicans to actually filibuster for all to see on national television their venomous, avaricious opposition to the pro-people, worker, consumer, patient, and children programs they have been blocking. All Senator "NO" Mitch McConnell, the Republicans self-styled "Grim Reaper," does is communicate filibuster threats through the media to Schumer. The Democrats then cave into defeat because of few working days to push for an actual filibuster on the Senate floor.

These luxurious schedules are not set in stone. They were developed last December by the Democratic leadership; those same leaders can put all the 535 members of the Senate and the House to work. They also should deal with appropriations bills, and long-delayed nominees or forthcoming nominees by Biden to head agencies, and the lifting of the federal debt limit to avert a government shutdown, and more.

I think more of the 500 reporters covering Congress full time should do what Paul Kane has done and report these absurdly long AWOLs to the people back home. Editorials can urge people to collar their members of Congress and say:

Go back to work - five, six, or seven days if necessary to do your duties. Get serious lawmakers! You hold in trust the sovereign power of the American people. We have given you handsome pay, benefits, perks, services, staff, and a powerfully air-conditioned Capitol to perform your constitutional duties with due deliberation. You must not end up in frantic deadlines legislating with all the sloppy drafting, unintended consequences, and loopholes for greedy commercial interests.
There is a neglected aspect of all this absenteeism for the Democrats agenda. Staying on the job could let Democrats draw vivid kitchen-table distinctions between them and the corporatist Wall Street over Main Street Republicans with their penchant for grossly under-taxing the super-rich and giant corporations at the expense of (1) middle-class taxpayers, and (2) programs of public services and the private necessity for the impoverished and other families in need through no fault of their own.

So, let's get going Americans. Call your Senators and Representatives. The switchboard number (open 24/7) for Congress is 202-224-3121. The operators, who have to stay on the job, will steer you to your named Senators and Representatives. Tell your members of Congress to camp out on Capitol Hill. Tell them to earn their pay and respect the power given to them by the people.

(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).

People light 500 candles in memory of the 500,000 people who have died so far in Brazil from the Covid-19 virus in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on 21 June 2021.

It's Time for a New Good Neighbor Policy Toward Latin America
President Biden must resist trying to revive a new Cold War with China and using that to undermine progressive governments in South America and side with the industrial oligarchs.
By Jesse Jackson

"America is back," President Biden announced repeatedly in meeting with allies in Europe. The question, of course, is back for what?

Biden has sensibly insisted that we must "build back better" at home and abroad. Our neighbors to the south in Latin America offer a clear opportunity to show that is true. Now more than ever, it is time for a new Good Neighbor Policy toward Latin America.

Donald Trump had little interest in Latin America, other than labeling its refugees as terrorists, drug dealers and rapists. He reversed the initial steps President Barack Obama took to move to better relations with Cuba. He doubled down on crippling sanctions, illegal under international law, on Venezuela, and pushed to overturn the president of the country.

Biden has both an opportunity and an imperative to offer better relations. Latin America has been battered by the economic collapse accompanying the pandemic. Poverty has soared as has the death toll of the Coronavirus, over 500,000 dead in Brazil alone.

Now elections promise to bring a new generation of progressive leaders to power across the hemisphere. Peru has led the way with the election of Pedro Castillo, running on a populist agenda accusing the mining barons of "looting" and promising to tax them to invest in health care and education.

In Brazil, the left is poised to take over from an incompetent and corrupt right-wing government, now exposed for fraudulently conspiring to throw the leader of the opposition, Lula, in jail. In Chile and Colombia, the left looks to be rising in the wake of the right-wing regimes failure.

At the same time, China's influence has expanded, as it has become a leading trading partner and investor in the hemisphere. The recovery of Latin American economies will depend in no small measure on the sale of commodities to China, such as beef from Uruguay, copper from Chile, oil from Colombia and soya from Brazil. Today, Brazil sends 30% of all exports to China, including 80% of its soybean crop and 60% of its iron ore. Nineteen countries have already joined Xi Jinping's signature Belt and Road Initiative, a $1 trillion transcontinental network.

Biden now must choose how to react to these developments. He must resist the easy course of trying to revive a new Cold War with China in the region and using that as an excuse to undermine progressive governments and side with the plantation and industrial oligarchs that have so dominated these countries for too long.

The opportunity is to launch a new chapter of what Franklin Roosevelt termed the Good Neighbor Policy. Let's join China in a competition defined not by battleships and coups but by investments in infrastructure and by increased trade.

As the region's neighbors, we have a big stake in their prosperity and their health. We should be leading the effort to provide and help distribute vaccines against the Coronavirus. We should be helping governments choose their own development projects. We should be mobilizing the region to address the deepening crisis caused by the extreme weather resulting from climate change-and aid the transition to sustainable energy. Saving the rain forests of Brazil surely is a global priority.

As we've found in Central America, desperation will force people to leave their homes and seek ways to save their families. Walls will not stop them, but they have no desire to leave their homes if they can survive in them. Latin America and Canada are still leading trade partners. Our own prosperity and surely our own security are interrelated with their prosperity and security.

In this regard, one clear first step would be to normalize relations with Cuba and end the illegal sanctions on Venezuela which are now contributing to the immiseration of its population. Our policy toward Cuba has failed for decades.

These policies are sustained, of course, by domestic political calculations, particularly the voting blocks of Cuban and Venezuelan expatriates-many of them affluent-congregated in the key state of Florida. But Biden and Democrats are more likely to gain support in the communities with a new generation by changing course, not by continuing what clearly has failed.

Biden has said repeatedly that he understands the world has changed. Surely a good place to demonstrate that is in reviving our relations with our neighbors in this hemisphere.

(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.

Will Jeff Bezos Return To Earth A Better Human?
By Jim Hightower

While Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed, "I have a dream," it was full of lofty ethical stuff like "justice for all" and... well, it was so 1963.

But in today's Facebook-Instagram-Google world of billionaire ethics and expectations, dreams need to glitter with a 2021-ish grandiosity to go viral. So, who better to take us there than that visionary of instant gratification, Jeff Bezos? "Ever since I was five years old," says the mega-billionaire boss man of Amazon, "I've dreamed of traveling to space." Now that's intriguing, because Jeff regularly acts like he is from outer space - so, is this homeward bound?

Bezos can certainly afford the ticket, for today's global pandemic has delivered a financial windfall to him, increasing his personal wealth by $75 billion last year alone. Bear in mind that he didn't have to work harder or smarter to "earn" this bonanza. Indeed, he's retiring as Amazon CEO, but his haul keeps growing as the corporate stock price keeps bloating.

Meanwhile, he bought himself a rocket ship company, and in July he intends to be Customer No. 1 on a tourist fling to the lower edge of space. He and five other high-flyers will take a short suborbital joy ride about 50 miles up in a fully pressurized cabin, then unbuckle and experience weightlessness for about three minutes before scooting back to terra firma.

Imagine how impressed MLK Jr. would've been by Jeff's commitment of his enormous wealth and potential to such a... well, such a flighty dream. For his part, the gabillionaire predicts that his space-capade will make him a new man: "It changes your relationship... with humanity," he says of space travel.

Good, for his relationship heretofore has been one of worker exploitation, tax cheating, and monopoly profiteering. So go forth, Bezos-man - and come back a better human.

(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

A protester holds a placard reading "Our house is on fire" during a climate demonstration outside the Hague, Netherlands, on June 24, 2021.

Terrifying UN Draft Climate Report Urges Total Transformation Of Our Way Of Life
By William Rivers Pitt

The western states have been stuck in a blast furnace of hot weather as spring transitions to summer. Record-breaking heat, drought and extreme stress to power grids have almost half the country in deep distress. The last couple of days have seen a small reprieve, but that's about to end.

"The National Weather Service is warning of a 'Record-Breaking and Dangerous Heatwave' hitting this weekend and early next week," reports Brian Kahn for Gizmodo. "Weather models are also coalescing around blistering heat. If the forecasts come to fruition, we're not just talking about a few daily records falling here and there. We're talking about a heat wave for the ages that could absolutely destroy all-time records from Washington to California as well as parts of Canada."

According to a terrifying, massive and excruciatingly detailed report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was obtained by Agence France-Presse (AFP), what is happening out west is not a meteorological fluke, but a hard look at the immediate future of the planet. "Species extinction, more widespread disease, unlivable heat, ecosystem collapse, cities menaced by rising seas - these and other devastating climate impacts are accelerating and bound to become painfully obvious before a child born today turns 30," reports AFP. If the data and conclusions in this IPCC report are accurate, what immediately awaits us is staggering:

By far the most comprehensive catalogue ever assembled of how climate change is upending our world, the report reads like a 4,000-page indictment of humanity's stewardship of the planet. But the document, designed to influence critical policy decisions, is not scheduled for release until February 2022 - too late for crunch UN summits this year on climate, biodiversity and food systems, some scientists say.

The challenges it highlights are systemic, woven into the very fabric of daily life. They are also deeply unfair: those least responsible for global warming will suffer disproportionately, the report makes clear. And it shows that even as we spew record amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we are undermining the capacity of forests and oceans to absorb them, turning our greatest natural allies in the fight against warming into enemies.

It warns that previous major climate shocks dramatically altered the environment and wiped out most species, raising the question of whether humanity is sowing the seeds of its own demise. "Life on Earth can recover from a drastic climate shift by evolving into new species and creating new ecosystems," it says. "Humans cannot."

Beyond the dire warnings contained in the report, the assessment of current efforts to curtail climate disruption is damning. One example offered is the 2015 Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to a 1.5 degree Celsius increase - two degrees at most. This was based on the assumption that the Earth would not warm that much before the year 2100. According to the data included in the report, "On current trends, we're heading for three degrees Celsius at best.... Last month, the World Meteorological Organization projected a 40 percent chance that Earth will cross the 1.5-degree threshold for at least one year by 2026." In other words, nearly every idea floated by governments to address climate disruption is woefully insufficient and out of date. "Current levels of adaptation will be inadequate to respond to future climate risks," reads the IPCC report. Billions face the threat of coastal destruction, drought, famine, fire and plague ... not after 2100, but today, tomorrow and the day after that.

All of this is already happening, and much of it cannot be stopped. This is no longer a theoretical exercise to solve a problem that is 80 years away.

One immediate example is the drought-ridden west, and the massive conflagrations caused by the high heat and dry air. "When wildfires blaze across the West, as they have with increasing ferocity as the region has warmed, the focus is often on the immediate devastation - forests destroyed, infrastructure damaged, homes burned, lives lost," reports The New York Times. "But about two-thirds of drinking water in the United States originates in forests. And when wildfires affect watersheds, cities can face a different kind of impact, long after the flames are out."

While the report takes a dim view of current efforts to curtail climate disruption, its message is not entirely pessimistic. Much of the damage to come is already baked into the situation, yet areas of significant mitigation are possible - but only if action is taken immediately.

"There is very little good news in the report," reads the AFP dispatch, "but the IPCC stresses that much can be done to avoid worst-case scenarios and prepare for impacts that can no longer be averted.... But simply swapping a gas guzzler for a Tesla or planting billions of trees to offset business-as-usual isn't going to cut it, the report warns."

"We need transformational change operating on processes and behaviours at all levels: individual, communities, business, institutions and governments," reads the IPCC report. "We must redefine our way of life and consumption."

Is the United States capable of such a radical transformation? We can't get people to wear masks in order to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones, there are millions of dollars to be made lying to a large segment of the population about issues like climate disruption, and our governing bodies cannot summon the necessary majority to fix a pothole.

Our capitalism is driving everything that is murdering the planet - oil, war, consumption - and that capitalism has powerful defenders.

If the western U.S. goes up in flames like an untended tinderbox and California's huge economy is derailed, if another major city like New Orleans is devoured by a climate storm, if the United States sees a sharp uptick in displaced climate refugees fleeing for their lives, maybe Mitch McConnell will forego the filibuster and let a solution come to a vote, but I am not holding my breath.

I always wince when I hear someone say we are "destroying the planet." The planet is just fine, thank you very much, 4 billion years and counting, and we humans are to this space-bound orb what amounts to an annoying summer cold. "Next up," Earth appears prepared to announce. "Let's see if another species can do better in a few million years. Pardon the mess; the last tenants were real assholes."

For our own sake, for the sake of all life, and in the name of simple enlightened self-interest, we need to change everything about how we exist as creatures on this planet, and we need to do it now.

It is almost, but not quite, too late.

(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.

Mike Gravel Told Americans What Was Being Done In Their Name Without Their Consent
Fifty years ago this week, the senator read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. He never stopped battling war and secrecy. Gravel died on Saturday.
By John Nichols

Mike Gravel was a two-term United States senator from Alaska who refused to play by the rules of the club, a two-time presidential contender who refused to accept the narrow limits of his Democratic Party's debate, and a champion of the public's right to know who refused to be intimidated by lawless commanders in chief.

That is not usually a recipe for success in American politics, and Gravel certainly experienced his ups and downs. So it was that obituaries for Gravel, who died Saturday at age 91, identified the former senator as a "gadfly" with a "flair for the theatrical." He was, to be sure, a frequently controversial figure, who stirred up more than his share of outrage. But his flair for the theatrical served Gravel well, especially when he was striking blows against empire and executive impunity.

That is what Gravel did in the summer of 1971 when he became one of the most significant participants in the Pentagon Papers saga.

Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst turned whistleblower, provoked a national uproar when he provided The New York Times with classified documents that detailed how deliberate manipulations of intelligence and outright lies by successive US administrations had created the quagmire that was the Vietnam War. The Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers on June 13, 1971, and all hell broke loose in the corridors of power.

President Richard Nixon's Justice Department moved to block further publication of the Pentagon Papers. In this moment of uncertainty about what would be revealed, Ellsberg contacted Gravel's Senate office.

Gravel, a 41-year-old war critic who had joined the Senate two years earlier, had been filibustering against extension of the military draft, and Ellsberg told one of the senator's staffers, "I've got some material that could keep him reading until the end of the year." Gravel came to share Ellsberg's view that the Speech or Debate Clause of the US Constitution gave members of Congress immunity from prosecution for revealing the details of classified documents during official proceedings. After obtaining a portion of the Pentagon Papers from Washington Post editor Ben Bagdikian, Gravel planned to read the document into the Congressional Record on the evening of June 29, 1971.

"But he was thwarted when, between 6 P.M. and 9 P.M., a quorum of 51 Senators could not be mustered, and the Senate was forced to adjourn," reported the Times. "Senator Gravel then went across the street to the New Senate Office Building, to the hearing room of the Buildings and Grounds subcommittee of the Public Works Committee. There he convened a session of the subcommittee-of which he is chairman-and began the reading."

Gravel was joined by two other anti-war senators, Democrats Harold Hughes of Iowa and Alan Cranston of California, as well as one of the House's most militant war critics, Representative John Dow (D–N.Y.). Members of the group Vietnam Veterans Against the War were present, along with reporters who had been alerted that something big was about to go down on Capitol Hill.

"I did not seek these papers," announced Gravel. "When they were offered, I accepted them. I have reviewed the papers in my possession and read much of the material. It is a remarkable work."

"In no way am I impairing the security of the United States," declared Gravel, who had spent days reviewing the documents with aides. "It is my constitutional obligation to protect the security of the people by fostering the free flow of information absolutely essential to their democratic decision-making."

The senator proceeded to read from the documents until around 1 am. At that point, a physically exhausted Gravel said he could go on no more. But before he finished, Gravel read from an address he had hoped to deliver on the Senate floor that night.

"People, human beings, are being killed as I speak to you tonight. Killed as a direct result of policy decisions that we as a body have made," Gravel said, as he wept and wiped away tears. "Arms are being severed, metal is crashing through human bodies because of a public policy this government-" He broke off, overcome with emotion. "One may respond that we made such a sacrifice to preserve freedom and liberty in Southeast Asia. One may respond that we sacrifice ourselves on the continent of Asia so that we will not have to fight a similar war on the shores of America. One can make these arguments only if he has failed to read the Pentagon Papers. That is the terrible truth of it all. The papers do not support our public statements. The papers do not support our best intentions."

Gravel moved to insert more than 4,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers into the official record of his subcommittee hearing-establishing what Ellsberg referred to Sunday in a tribute to Gravel, as a "precedent that no one else has taken advantage of in 50 years."

Hours after Gravel's dramatic actions on the night of June 29-30, 1971, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Times and the newspaper resumed publication of excerpts from the documents.

The senator was not done with the fight just yet, however. Gravel arranged to publish the papers in book form, as The Senator Gravel Edition (Beacon Press), with annotations from academics Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, two of the most prominent anti-war figures of the era. When the Justice Department went after the senator and his publisher, Gravel fought the case all the way to the Supreme Court. While lower courts expressed sympathy for Gravel's stance, the high court's 1972 ruling in the case of Gravel v. United States was a mixed bag. The court majority accepted that the Constitution granted immunity to Gravel for his reading of the papers into the Congressional Record. But it rejected the notion that he had immunity to publish the documents in book form.

By the time the court ruled, Gravel was a national figure who appeared frequently at anti-war rallies and bid briefly for the 1972 Democratic vice presidential nomination. Threats to censure and possibly expel him from the Senate were withdrawn.

Gravel continued to make the case that the people had a right to know what was being done in their name but without their informed consent-in the Senate until his defeat in 1980, and eventually as a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination who made opposition to war and militarism central tenets of his 2008 and 2020 bids.

Gravel never apologized for speaking truth to power. If anything, he became more ardent in his critique of official secrecy.

In the introduction he wrote 50 years ago this summer to the edition of the Pentagon Papers that was published in his name, Gravel summed up his democratic faith, declaring:

The people do not want, nor should they any longer be subjected to, the paternalistic protection of an Executive which believes that it alone has the right answers. For too long both the people and Congress have been denied access to the needed data with which they can judge national policy. For too long they have been spoon-fed information designed to sustain predetermined decisions and denied information which questioned those decisions. For too long they have been forced to subsist on a diet of half-truths or deliberate deceit, by executives who consider the people and the Congress as adversaries.

But now there is a great awakening in our land. There is a yearning for peace, and a realization that we need never have gone to war. There is a yearning for a more free and open society, and the emerging recognition of repression of people's lives, of their right to know, and of their right to determine their nation's future. And there is a yearning for the kind of mutual trust between those who govern and those who are governed that has been so lacking in the past.

(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.

Spiritual Highways In American Mythology
By James Donahue

We noted an odd story about a number of Christians who think US Interstate 35, heading north from Texas through six states into Minnesota, is a "Highway of Holiness" mentioned in the Bible. The Old Testament verse, Isiah 35:8, offers the passage: "A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness." That the verse is found in Chapter 35, has caused the group to link it with the name of the Interstate, which is 35.

With no more of a link than that vague thought, churchgoers in all six states once devoted 35 days of praying alongside I-35. There was a strange belief that to fulfill a "prophecy" of making that ribbon of pavement a Highway of Holiness, there had to be some intense prayer. We guess the idea was to purify and bless the road, somewhat like a Roman Catholic priest sprinkling holy water on it.

We find some humor in the vision, penned by one reporter who observed the rituals, of Christian believers chanting "loudly and vibrantly, making many people in the neighborhood wonder what was going on. They prayed that adult businesses along the corridor would 'see the light' and perhaps close down."

They also prayed for safety from crime for people who traveled and lived along the interstate.

Taking the highway numbers to yet the opposite extreme, we remember traveling Highway 666 that ran north from Gallup, New Mexico, through Colorado and Utah and passing through the heart of the Navajo Nation. The highway connected at the south end with that historic Route 66. By the time we arrived in Arizona, remnants of Route 66 could still be found, but the road had been replaced by Interstate 40.

US 666 was an oddity in its day. The US Highway system has historically assigned odd numbers to north-south to roads, and even numbers to east-west roads. Yet US 666 was always a north-south route. The story was that the number was picked because the highway connected with two other east-west routes and no appropriate odd number was available.

Naturally, with a number like that, US 666 was nicknamed The Devil's Highway, and the Road of the Beast. There was a successful movement among Christian groups to have the highway re-named, so it now is known as US 491.

As far as we know, Highway 666 was never known as a deadly or dangerous route, any more than Interstate 35 is proving to be a holy road into Heaven. The only positive effect of changing the name of Route 666 is that people have stopped stealing the road signs.

(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.

Guided Missiles, Misguided Policies, And Changing Direction Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love WWIII
By David Swanson

Remarks for Peace and Justice Works, June 24, 2021

Thank you for inviting me. I'd like to speak briefly and spend a good deal of time on Q&A. I'd like to start by considering this question: If it's true that madness is more common in societies than individuals, and if the society we live in is aggressively hastening (as I think is well-established) climate collapse, ecosystem devastation, wealth inequality, and institutional corruption (in other words, processes that are clearly counter to conscious, stated desires) is this society perhaps no exception to the rule? Is it perhaps insane? And are there perhaps other interconnected madnesses that we don't see entirely clearly, precisely because we are members of this society?

What about locking huge numbers of people in cages at an expense much greater than giving them good lives? What about devoting land, energy, and resources to feeding animals to feed people, using food that could have fed ten times as many people without the environmental destruction and animal cruelty? What about employing armed and trained killers to tell people they're driving too fast and shouldn't bicycle on the sidewalk? Could it be that lots of stuff a saner culture would call loony looks as normal to us as burning witches, bleeding patients, and exhibiting eugenically awesome infants looked to others in the past?

In particular, what if it just isn't permanently and universally normal and rational to be taking all the steps being taken to hasten nuclear apocalypse? We've got scientists saying the catastrophe is more likely now than ever, and that the nature of it would be worse than ever previously understood. We've got historians saying the near misses are more numerous than ever before known. And yet we've got media outlets informing everyone that the problem vanished 30 years ago. We've got a U.S. government dumping vast treasure into building more nuclear weapons, refusing to foreswear using them first, and talking about them as "usable." One of the key reasons for the danger having supposedly passed is that the number of times the existing stockpiles of nukes could eliminate all life on earth has been reduced - if you can dignify that with the term "reason." Much of the world is clamoring for the elimination of nukes, while another chunk of the world is defending their manufacture, distribution, and routine threats of using them. Clearly, somebody is right, and somebody is crazy. By somebody I mean a whole society, not its individuals, and despite the exceptions.

What about the whole idea of killing people? Killing prisoners to teach them not to kill people? Killing people who look, from the perspective of a distant video camera, like they might be an adult male in the wrong place and near a cell phone suspected of belonging to someone unliked, plus any men and women and children who happen to be nearby? Killing people who cross a border and run from armed fighters? Killing people who get in the way of police and look like their skin has a bit too much pigment? What if the whole practice of killing all of these people has something wrong with it? What if it's as deranged as the doctors who bled George Washington to death, or Phil Collins' belief that he died at the Alamo, or Joe Biden's idea that the U.S. government doesn't interfere in other nations' elections?

What if killing people is certifiably bonkers even in an imaginary scenario in which the United Nations has authorized a good humanitarian war and the people being killed are all wearing uniforms, and nobody's tortured or raped or looted, and every murder is super respectful and free of hatred or animosity? What if the problem is the careful avoidance of peace that gets each war started, not the details of the atrocities? What if "war crimes" as a phrase to say a lot in public so that nobody thinks you're a fascist or a Republican is actually as nonsensical as "slavery crimes" or "mass-rape crimes" because war is a crime in its entirety? What if every war for decades has actually killed disproportionately the so-called wrong people, the elderly, the very young, the civilian? What if there's nothing worse than war that can be used to justify war? What if wars are principally generated by wars and by preparations for wars? If this were true - and I'm willing to debate every claim that it isn't - would there not be something a little bit shy of playing with a full deck to be found in the practice of investing trillions of dollars in the machinery of war?

The case made on the World BEYOND War website is, of course, that the diversion of money into war preparations that make people less safe, not more safe, itself kills vastly more people than have been killed in all the wars thus far. It does this by depriving us of those things we could have spent the money on, things like food, water, medicine, shelter, clothing, etc. If this is true, and if it's additionally the case that war fuels hatred and bigotry and racism, that war and preparations for it devastate the natural earth, that war is the one and only excuse for government secrecy, that the war bases and weapons sales and free training and funding prop up horribly oppressive governments, that the war business erodes civil liberties in the name of some mysterious substance called "freedom," and that war coarsens a culture while militarizing police and minds - if all of this is true, the offense of war that those infected by the madness call "the defense industry" might just be the most coocoo confabulation ever concocted.

This much I've said a billion times. And a billion and five times I've replied to the World War II delusion that you all will ask about as soon as I shut my mouth. No, WWII did not have anything to do with saving anyone from any death camp. The U.S. and allied governments explicitly refused to accept the Jews out of Germany, and for openly antisemitic reasons. No step was ever taken to halt the murders of the camps. The war killed several times what the camps did. The war came about after years of Western arms race with Japan and support for Nazi Germany. U.S. corporations critically supported the Nazis right through the war, for profit reasons and ideological ones. The Nordic race nonsense and the segregation laws and much of the extermination inspiration and technology came from the United States. The nuclear bombs were not needed for anything. Nothing about WWII proves that violence is needed for anything. And if it were needed for opposing Nazism, hiring lots of top Nazis into the U.S. military wouldn't have made much sense. See my book Leaving World War II Behind for the long version.

Now, I want to say something even crazier. Or, if I'm right, I want to say quite sanely that something is even crazier than war. I have in mind the advancement of the risk of World War III, of the first war waged directly between big rich countries since WWII, of a war likely to involve nuclear apocalypse. I don't think most of the people moving the world toward WWIII think of themselves as doing that. But I don't think even the CEO of ExxonMobil thinks of himself as advancing the cause of climate collapse either. If the U.S. president wanted to start WWIII and be aware of doing so, he would simply launch the nukes. But here's what I really want us to think about: if a society wanted to start WWIII without being aware of doing so, what would it do? I know Freud took a lot of flack for saying people had some mysterious death wish even though they would deny it. But I think at this point the burden of proof is on those who would try to prove him wrong, because I don't think an effort to accidentally start WWIII and blame it on somebody or something else would look particularly different from what U.S. society is doing right now.

The U.S. military has plans for war on China, and talks about a war on China being perhaps a few years off. They call it a war with China, of course, and can count on Congress Members to saturate us with the idea that China has aggressively threatened U.S. prestige by growing wealthier, or aggressively moved into the waters just off the coast of China. But the fact is that, despite major increases in its military spending as the U.S. has moved bases, troops, missiles, and ships (including what the U.S. Navy ridiculously calls the Big Stick carrier strike group) near China, China still spends about 14% of what the U.S. and its allies and weapons customers spend on militarism each year. Russia is at about 8% of just U.S. military spending and falling. If there were a credible enemy for the U.S. military on this planet you'd be hearing a lot less about UFOs right now. We'll also hear about Chinese violations of human rights, but bombs don't actually improve human rights, and if human rights violations justified bombs, then the U.S. would have to bomb itself and many of its dearest allies as well as China. Also how do you threaten war against someone for how they manufacture products that you buy? Well, maybe making sense isn't the goal. Maybe war is the goal.

If you wanted to bring WWIII closer, what would you have to do? One step would be to make war normal and unquestionable. Go ahead and check that one off. Done. Accomplished. Flags and pledges to them are ubiquitous. Thank yous for a supposed service are everywhere. Military advertisements and paid-for pre-game ceremonies are so omnipresent that if the military forgets to pay for one, people will create one for free. The ACLU is arguing that young women should be added to young men in being forced to register for a draft to be compelled against their will to go to war as a matter of civil liberties, the civil liberty to be completely stripped of all liberty.

When President Joe Biden went off to meet with President Vladimir Putin, both major political parties generally encouraged hostility. The Hill newspaper sent out an email with a video of the movie Rocky, demanding that Biden be Rocky in the ring with Putin. When, despite everything, Biden and Putin behaved almost civilly and issued a tiny little statement suggesting they might possibly pursue some unspecified disarmament, and Biden stopped calling Putin a soulless killer, the two presidents then held a pair of separate press conferences. There were no Russian media questions allowed at Biden's, but U.S. media brought the craziness to both. They hurled nutty accusations. They demanded red lines. They wanted a commitment to war as a response to so-called cyber-war. They wanted declarations of distrust and enmity. They wanted self-righteous revenge for the supposed stealing of the 2016 election and enslavement of President Donald Trump. They would have appeared, I'm convinced, to a disinterested observer from one of the UFOs they're always going on about, to have wanted WWIII.

The U.S. military and NATO have indeed said that war can be a response to cyberwar. At Putin's press conference, he discussed various actual laws, existing and potential. Russia and China and other nations have long sought treaties to ban weaponizing space, and to ban cyberwar. At Biden's press conference, I don't think a single law was mentioned once by anyone. Yet the constant theme was imposing the "rule based order" on others in the name of stability. But nothing boosts instability more than replacing the very idea of written laws with arbitrary decrees from might-makes-right officials who believe in their own goodness - believe it so much that they announce, as Biden did, that were the U.S. government to interfere in anyone else's election, and were the world to find out about it, the whole international order would crumble. We know of 85 foreign elections the United States has blatantly interfered in during the past 75 years, not to mention assassination attempts on over 50 foreign leaders, and we know that in poll after poll the world says it fears the U.S. government above all others as a threat to peace and democracy. Yet the international order does not collapse because it does not exist, not as a set of moral standards based on respect.

If you wanted to move the world closer to WWIII without realizing you were doing it, you could convince yourself that you were simply imposing a Pax Americana for the world's own good, whether the world liked it or not, even while knowing in some back corner of your mind that sooner or later the world would not stand for it, and that when that moment came, some Americans would die, and that when those Americans died, the U.S. media and public would scream for blood and vengeance as if the past many millennia had taught them nothing, and BOOM you'd have what you never even knew you wanted, just like you have the day after browsing

But how to make sure to get those Americans killed? Well, nobody else has ever done this, but one idea would be to station them - and here's a real stroke of genius - with their families along, on bases all over the world. The bases would prop up and control some horrible governments, enraging local populations. The bases would cause environmental damage as well as plagues of drunkenness, rape, and lawless privilege. They'd be sort of giant gated Apartheid communities that the locals could enter to work menial jobs if they got out by sundown. Maybe 800 of these bases in 80 nations or so ought to do the trick. They wouldn't strictly speaking be justifiable in terms of unavoidable future wars, given what can be moved where how quickly by airplane, but they might just make future wars unavoidable. Check that off the list. Done. And almost unnoticed.

OK, what else? Well, you can't very well have a war against enemies without weapons, can you? The United States is now the leading weapons supplier to the world, to rich countries, to poor countries, to so-called democracies, to dictatorships, to oppressive royal despots, and to most of its own designated enemies. The U.S. government allows weapons sales, and/or gives free money with which to buy weapons, and/or provides training for 48 out of 50 of the most oppressive governments in the world according to a ranking funded by the U.S. government - plus plenty of nasty governments left out of that ranking. Few if any wars happen without U.S. weapons. Most wars today happen in places that manufacture few if any weapons. Few if any wars happen in the handful of countries that manufacture most of the weapons. You may think China is coming to get you. Your Congress Member almost certainly thinks China is keenly focused on eliminating his or her right to send free mail and appear on television at will. But the U.S. government funds and arms China, and invests in a bio-weapons lab in China whatever may or may not have come out of it. The weapons dealers do not imagine, of course, that they are bringing on WWIII. They're just doing business, and it's been gospel in Western madness for centuries that business causes peace. Those who work for weapons dealers mostly don't think they're causing war or peace; they think they're serving their U.S. flag and so-called service members. They do this by pretending that most of the weapons companies' customers do not exist, that their only customer is the U.S. military.

All right, the weapons bit is well covered. What else is needed? Well, if you wanted to roll a society into WWIII over a period of years or decades, you'd need to avoid the vicissitudes of elections or popular mood swings. You'd want to increase corruption to the point that shifting power from one big political party to another didn't change anything terribly important. People could have a bit of emergency funding or a new holiday. The rhetoric could vary dramatically. But let's say you gave the White House and the Congress to the Democrats in 2020, what would have to happen for the death train to remain on the tracks? Well, you'd want no actual wars to end. Nothing makes wars more likely than other wars. With both houses having voted repeatedly in the previous Congress to end the war on Yemen, vetoed by Trump, you'd need those votes to cease immediately. You'd want Biden to pretend to sort-of partially end the war on Yemen, and Congress to go mute. Same with Afghanistan. Keep forces there and on surrounding bases quietly, and make sure Congress does nothing in the way of actually forbidding the continuation of the war.

In fact, it would be ideal to block Congress from ever lifting its grubby little paws again as it pretended to do on Yemen when it could count on Trump vetoes. Perhaps it could be permitted to repeal the AUMF (or authorization for the use of military force) from 2002, but keep the 2001 one around just in case it was ever needed. Or perhaps that one could be replaced by a new one. Also, the Senator Tim Kaine scam could be allowed to advance a bit perhaps - this is where Congress itself repeals the War Powers Resolution that specifies how it can prevent wars, and replaces it with a requirement that presidents consult with Congress before feeling free to ignore Congress. The trick is to market this abandonment of the War Powers Resolution as a strengthening of the War Powers Resolution. OK, that should work. What else?

Well, boost military spending beyond Trump levels. That's key. And invite the so-called progressive members of Congress to lots of meetings, maybe even give them a few rides on presidential airplanes, threaten a few of them with primaries, whatever's needed to keep them from actually trying to block military spending. Five of them in the House could block anything the Republicans oppose, but 100 of them putting out a public letter pretending to oppose what they facilitate will do no harm at all. OK, this part's easy. What else?

Well, avoid peace with Iran. What good would that do? Just stall and prevaricate until we're past the Iranian elections and they've got a new super-hostile government, and then blame the Iranians. That's never failed before. Why would it fail now? Keep funding and arming the attacks of Israel on Palestine. Keep Russiagate going, or at least don't renounce it, even if the journalists start appearing - rather than just being - crazy. A small price to pay, and nobody likes the media anyway, no matter how much they obey it.

What else? Well, a major tool that has increasingly proven its worth is sanctions. The U.S. government is brutally sanctioning numerous populations around the globe, fueling suffering, animosity, and bellicosity, and nobody knows it, or they think of it as law-enforcement rather than law violation. It's brilliant. The U.S. government can even impose sanctions, cause suffering, blame the suffering on the local government's efforts to alleviate suffering, and propose a coup as a solution straight from the Rule Based Order (we rule, so we give the orders).

Also we'd better be sure to keep the climate catastrophe on track, and for a number of reasons. First, if the nuclear apocalypse never comes, the climate one will. Second, the climate disasters can be used to fuel international crises that - with enough prodding and arming - can lead to wars. Third, the military can actually be marketed as a climate protector, because, although it's a major contributor to climate change, it can announce how concerned it is and use natural disasters to excuse invasions and establish new bases. And nothing builds up war spirit better than refugees, no matter who caused the horrors that they're fleeing.

Even disease pandemics can help advance the cause, as long as a reasonable and cooperative response to them is avoided. We'll want to balance blaming China with avoiding blaming bio-weapons labs or their international partners and investors. The U.S. government can completely control through the media what possible explanations for the origin of a pandemic are acceptable and which ones are deemed, ironically enough, crazy. What we'll want to avoid is questioning the priority of maintaining labs that can create new tools for wars, and proposing any global solutions to pandemics that might foster cooperation or understanding rather than profit and division.

OK, isn't this enough? What else could be needed? Well, you can't very well put WWIII straight onto the stage unrehearsed, can you? We'll want to have some full-dress rehearsals, major ones, the sort that could accidentally morph into the real thing - the biggest ones ever in Europe and in the Pacific. And more missiles in place near Russia and China, and more nations invited into NATO - especially some of those right on the border of Russia that Russia says it would never sit still for. War in Ukraine is too obvious. How about a coup in Belarus perhaps? What you want is to risk WWIII without jumping straight in with both feet. After all, the other guys need to start it. Let's think. How did the U.S. get into WWII?

Well there was the Atlantic Charter. Let's make a new one. Check. There was sanctioning and threatening Japan. Make that China. Check. There was supporting Nazis in Germany. Make that Ukraine. Check. There were big new bases and ships and planes and troops in the Pacific. Check. But history doesn't repeat exactly. There are many opportunities. Drone murders and bases and so-called anti-terror operations across Africa and Asia. Coups and destabilizations in Latin America. Plenty of hot spots. Plenty of weapons. Plenty of propaganda. Cyberwars anywhere at anytime and who can say who started them for sure? War is getting easier and easier.

Now let's ask a different question. What would U.S. society look like if it wanted to avoid WWIII? Well, it would drop the exceptionalist schtick and join the world, stop being the biggest holdout on human rights treaties, stop being the biggest vetoer at the UN, stop being the biggest opponent of the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice, start supporting the rule of law instead of the #RuleBasedOrder, start supporting democracy at the United Nations instead of as a word you say in speeches, and prioritize cooperating in global efforts to address environmental and health issues.

In a United States intent on avoiding WWIII, you'd see masses of people demanding the money be moved from militarism to human and environmental needs, you'd see opposition to militarism across the population as well as from movements that are directly impacted by militarism and generally pretend they aren't, such as environmentalism, anti-poverty, immigrants' rights, civil liberties, and transparent government movements. You'd see moves to demilitarize, close foreign bases, close domestic bases, divest funding from weapons, convert war industries to peaceful and sustainable industries. You'd see people who appeared on television and were right about upcoming wars allowed to appear on television again rather than being banished to blogs and the bottom dregs of Facebook algorithms. You'd see lying about wars treated as something other than the top qualification to lie about more wars.

You'd see a lot more basic straightforward reporting on wars, including what's called the humanizing of people. I've never understood what people supposedly are prior to being humanized, but it seems they're decidedly not humans. Take, for example, a seven-year-old boy in Yemen who tells his mother that he wants to go to school. His name is Chakir and he speaks with a bit of difficulty caused by funny teeth and bad habit. But that's not why his mother doesn't want him to go to school. She's afraid of missiles. She teaches Chakir at home. He sits at a little wooden desk next to the dining table, and he pretends to be at school. His mother loves him and finds him adorable and enjoys having him there, although she gets tired, needs a break, and knows school would be better. But then the buzzing grows louder. Chakir crawls under his desk. He smiles. He tries to think it's funny. But the buzzing gets even louder. It's straight overhead. Chakir starts to cry. His mother gets down on her knees and goes to him. When Chakir is finally able to get some words out, he says "It's not safer here than at school. It's not safer here than at school, Mommy!" The drone passes over. They're still there. They've not been obliterated. The next day, Chakir's mother allows him to board a bus to school. The bus is struck by a U.S.-supplied missile via the Saudi military and U.S. targeting. Chakir's mother buries part of one of his arms, which is found in a tree. Now he's humanized. But they're all humans. The victims are all humans, though if the media won't humanize them, people will deny it to themselves. In a society bent on avoiding war, the humanizing would be relentless. And when it wasn't, protests would demand it.

Of course there is a wide gap between driving hard toward WWIII and proceeding to abolish all militaries. Of course it can only be done by stages. But when the stages are not understood as steps away from apocalypse and in the direction of sanity, they tend not to work very well, even to backfire. War has been so reformed and perfected that people imagine guided missiles killing only and exactly those who really need killing. We can't survive much more reforming of war. The United States could radically scale back its militarism, destroy all of its nuclear weapons, and close all of its foreign bases, and you'd see a reverse arms race among other nations as a primary result. The United States could simply stop selling weapons to others and see militarism rolled back significantly. The United States could withdraw from NATO and NATO would vanish. It could stop badgering other nations to buy more weapons, and they'd buy fewer weapons. Each step toward a world beyond war would make such a world appear more reasonable to more people.

So, that's what we're working on at World BEYOND War. We're doing education and activism to build a culture of peace and to advance demilitarization around the globe including through divestment of funding from weapons and through efforts to close bases. We're also working to align more movements and organizations against war by making the connections across divisions, such as by pressuring the conference scheduled for November in Scotland to stop excluding militarism from climate agreements, and working to demilitarize domestic police forces. I'm not sure we shouldn't be also developing alliances with mental health workers, because either war is crazy or I am. I ask only that you take your time in deciding which.

(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.

Issac Murdoch holding "It has begun" artwork.

Indigenous Land Back Movement Charts Better Way Forward
By David Suzuki

Indigenous Land Back Movement Charts Better Way Forward By David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington The Indigenous "Land Back" movement isn't new, but it's gaining increasing public attention and support.

In this time of facing uncomfortable truths about past and ongoing harms inflicted on Indigenous Peoples and others, it's important to understand the history of colonial oppression, and the roots and goals of Land Back and what it means.

It's not just about land. In the first of three short Land Back videos (about 12 minutes each) - "Past," "Present" and "Future" - Ojibwe journalist Jesse Wente says, "It's about self-determination for our Peoples here that should include some access to the territories and resources in a more equitable fashion, and for us to have control over how that actually looks."

Throughout Canada's history, Indigenous Peoples have been forced from the lands that sustained them for millennia to ever-diminishing "reservations" so colonizers could exploit "resources." Even national parks, including Jasper and Banff, and municipal parks like Vancouver's Stanley Park, were created after the original people living there were expelled.

As Jasper's website says of the park's creation in 1907, "Indigenous peoples were considered incompatible with nature and so couldn't live in, hunt, or harvest within park boundaries. First Nation and Metis peoples were physically removed from the landscape, blocked from accessing it and banned from harvesting plants and animals, holding gatherings and accessing cultural sites."

Most federal and provincial Crown lands are viewed as storehouses of timber, oil, gas and minerals to be exploited and mostly exported. Indigenous Peoples have no say over what happens on most of it, so land defenders have to step in.

Wente argues that Canada was established more as an "extractionist corporation" than a country.

Anishinaabe storyteller and artist Bomgiizhik agrees: "When Canada formed and became its own country, they created something called the Indian Act, which was to force people off their traditional lands, have them contained onto reservations and then filtered into colonization so that they would never, ever become a threat to resource extraction."

As with the recent finding of 215 children buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential School (and evidence of many more throughout the country), growing awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the appalling foster care and "'60s scoop" systems and more, these issues are not history; they're ongoing, with impacts that continue through generations.

Ultimately, Land Back is about confronting these colonial abuses and charting a new path. But it holds different meanings for different people.

Anishinaabe-Ininew 4Rs Youth Movement co-ordinator Ronald Gamblin writes in a blog, "When I hear Indigenous youth and land protectors chant 'Land Back!' at a rally, I know it can mean the literal restoration of land ownership. When grandmothers and knowledge keepers say it, I tend to think it means more the stewardship and protection of mother earth. When Indigenous political leaders say it, it often means comprehensive land claims and self-governing agreements. No matter what meaning is attached, we as Indigenous nations have an urge to reconnect with our land in meaningful ways."

It's about responsibilities as well as rights. Beverly Jacobs, acting dean at the University of Windsor's law faculty and a member of the Haudenosaunee Confederation, says Indigenous laws are about responsibility, relationships and reciprocity. "It isn't until we bring in the colonial law that all of a sudden we're talking about rights," she says, noting that rights are based on the individual whereas Indigenous law is based on responsibility to "all our relations," including land.

That's important, as western ways are unsustainable. "It's not that the Earth can't sustain all of humanity. It's that the Earth can't sustain what humans are doing," Wente says.

The goal is to move forward together, not return to some idealized past. "Every relationship evolves, and our relationship with land has to be one that accepts our modern circumstances as Indigenous People," Anishinaabe-Metis associate professor Aimee Craft says.

Bomgiizhik says Canada must listen to Indigenous Peoples not just when they're protesting or blockading. "How we're going to win is by people working together and actually getting on the land and building sustainable economies with their bare hands."

Land Back is rooted in Indigenous Peoples' rights and responsibilities, but it's also about finding a better way forward for everyone who lives here.

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

Two men shop for lumber at a Home Depot store in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on Thursday, April 8, 2010 Home Depot is the largest us home improvement retailer.

I'm Not Sure This Exorcism For Trees In The Home Depot Lumber Aisle Is Theologically Sound
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court declined to take up a case on an issue it didn't want to talk about.
By Charles P. Pierce

Before we get to the beginning of whatever this week has in store, can we just ask what in the name of Apollo's pancreas is going on here? From KDKA in Pittsburgh:

The Dickson City Police Department said around 3:30 p.m. on June 21, they responded to people holding an exorcism in an aisle at a Home Depot on Commerce Boulevard. Police added that the ritual was in the lumber aisle, and the demonstrators were doing it "for the dead trees." The people involved were escorted out of the store by police.
Folks, I'm as ecologically aware as anyone who grew up in the age of instantly obsolete plastic crap can be, but I'd like to address the profound theological question at the heart of this event. An exorcism is a solemn rite the purpose of which is casting out evil spirits. It's not a memorial service, although in some unfortunate cases, it may result in one. It is not a magic spell that allows 2x4s to become a whole tree again. And it will not bring down the curse of the Almighty upon Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, or the poor sod at Register 3 who's just trying to get a price check on some lock washers. Get with the program, people. It's all fun and games until someone's head turns all the way around.

Anyway, I have long been of the opinion that there are some cases that the Supreme Court declines to take up simply because the Nine Wise Souls don't want to talk about the facts of the case. I think this may account for what happened on Monday. From the Washington Post:

In a 2-to-1 decision last August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said the school board had practiced sex-based discrimination and violated the 14th Amendment by prohibiting Grimm, a transgender student, from using the bathroom that aligned with his gender identity. His high school offered a single-stall restroom as an alternative. Judge Henry F. Floyd wrote that the 4th Circuit, which covers Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and the Carolinas, was joining "a growing consensus of courts" finding that the Constitution and federal law protects transgender students "from school bathroom policies that prohibit them from affirming their gender." Floyd framed the case in historical terms.

"The proudest moments of the federal judiciary have been when we affirm the burgeoning values of our bright youth, rather than preserve the prejudices of the past," Floyd wrote. "How shallow a promise of equal protection that would not protect Grimm from the fantastical fears and unfounded prejudices of his adult community. It is time to move forward."

(I'd like to pause here and commend Judge Floyd, who certainly had his Wheaties that morning. Zounds!)

As the Fourth Circuit maintains, this kind of issue was settled a year ago when the Court ruled that gender identity was indeed covered under federal anti-discrimination law. In his opinion, however, Justice Neil Gorsuch specifically said that the ruling did not cover bathrooms and locker rooms, and other similar facilities. The lower courts subsequently applied the ruling to those very things, and now the Supreme Court says that's none of its business. Which makes me wonder if the majority last June wasn't giving the lower courts the ol' nudge-nudge, wink-wink on the issue. Personally, I think that the nine highest legal minds in the country simply didn't want to spend a lot of time talking about who used what bathroom. Not while there are still voting rights to destroy, anyway.

(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-

"The problems we face, did not come down from the heavens. They are made, they are made by bad human decisions, and good human decisions can change them."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Tucker gives the corporate salute

Gaslighting The Pentagon
Tucker Carlson, who called Iraqis 'Monkeys,' Poses as anti-Racist in defending White Supremacy from "Pig" Gen. Milley
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Fox white nationalist (there, I've been redundant and repeated myself) Tucker Carlson once called Iraqis "semiliterate primitive monkeys," managing to be racist, anti-Arab and Islamophobic all at once.

Now Carlson is posing as an anti-racist. Funny thing, though. He isn't out there apologizing for his racism against Iraqis.

Then there was that time when Carlson advocated for the odious anti-Semitic "replacement theory" that rich Jews are bringing in immigrants to the US to "replace" "white people:"

"Now, I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical. If you use the term replacement, if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots with new people, more obedient voters from the third world, but they become hysterical, because that's, that's what's happening actually."
"Democrats" (he means rich Jews) are not bringing in immigrants to replace "white people."

Carlson is objecting to Gen. Mark Milley's remarks before Congress in which the general said he wanted to understand the roots of white rage.

Carlson replied,

"Hard to believe that man wears a uniform. He's that unimpressive.

Notice he never defined white rage, and we should know what it is. What is white rage?

Well . . . it's one of those diseases that only affect people with certain melanin levels. It's a race-specific illness."

This sort of allegation is called gaslighting, an attempt to convince the victim that they heard something different than they did.

Milley was not saying that only whites suffer from rage. He was saying that some whites suffer from rage, and he wants to understand why. One of the whites who suffers from rage is Tucker Carlson. I know why he does. It is a very good paycheck for a privileged white trust fund baby, and it also helps his bosses, the Murdochs, whip up further white rage.

Since Carlson says he doesn't know what white rage is, here's a clip that might illustrate the phenomenon for him. Some white rage involves attacking and brutalizing the police, as at the Capitol insurrection: MSNBC: "Feds Release More Capitol Riot Video Of Attack On Police"

Carlson continues:

"So Mark Milley reads Mao to understand Maoism, he reads communists to understand communism. But, interestingly, he doesn't read white supremacists to understand white supremacy. Why not? Go to the source. He'd be fired for that instantly, and that's the one thing he doesn't want. So he reads about White rage as if it's totally real. It's a medical condition."
Carlson's twisted logic is on full display here.

First, he accuses Milley of not reading the white supremacists in the same way he read Mao, to understand the enemy. So he seems to be admitting that white supremacy exists and is an enemy of the United States just as Maoism was. And he admits that supremacists write pamphlets justifying their ideology.

Then he says that Milley would be fired for reading those white supremacist tracts.

Then he denies that white rage exists at all.

But if it doesn't exist, what drives the white supremacists? If it doesn't exist, why did Tucker demand Milley read them?

It is a clear sign of the decline of the American Right that where once it would have lambasted Milley for reading Mao and Marx, it now skewers him for not also having read Timothy McVeigh.

Why does Milley care about white rage? It is a problem in his own ranks. In 2017 at Charlottesville, the Neo-Nazi who rammed his car into Heather Heyer and killed her for protesting Fascism had tried to join the U.S. Army and washed out of basic training.

Travis Tritton wrote at the Washington Examiner at the time,

"The Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley, said early Wednesday morning his service will not tolerate "racism, extremism or hatred" among its soldiers and that it is "against our values and everything we stood for since 1775."

This week, it was learned that the man accused of driving a vehicle into counterprotesters, killing one of them, failed out of Army basic training two years ago."

The killing of Heather Heyer, about which Carlson has never complained, might just be an example of the white rage he insists does not exist (or which he insists does not exist on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, but the rancid pamphlets of which he demands we read on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays).

Carlson then went for the big ratings with a schoolboy rant against Milley, "He is not just a pig, he is stupide."

Wikipedia informs us,

"Milley graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics in 1980 after completing a 185-page-long senior thesis titled "A Critical Analysis of Revolutionary Guerrilla Organization in Theory and Practice". Milley also holds a Master of Arts degree in international relations from Columbia University and another Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. He is also an attendee of the MIT Center for International Studies Seminar XXI National Security Studies Program."
I've lectured at the Seminar XXI Program and only the brightest and most promising young officers are even invited.

So, Princeton BA and MAs from Columbia and the Naval War College.

There are things Milley can be criticized for, including his stroll in combat fatigues with Trump for the Bible photo op. His intelligence, however, is not one of them.

Carlson was kicked out of a Swiss boarding school, did a BA at Trinity College, then applied to join the CIA but was rejected. Maybe not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

Also, Milley is a decorated war hero whereas Carlson is a pampered chickenhawk.

In the end, Carlson's fit of pique is based on the position that criticizing white supremacy is a form of racism. The illogic and bad faith of this position reeks like the garbage outside the Fox "News" studio in New York. Even worse, it reeks like the garbage inside the Fox studios.

Bonus Video:

MSNBC: "McCaffrey Blasts 'Terrible' FOX News Attacks On Gen. Milley"

(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.

Why So Much Wealth At The Top Threatens The US Economy
By Robert Reich

Policymakers and the media are paying too much attention to how quickly the U.S. economy will emerge from the pandemic-induced recession, and not nearly enough to the nation's deeper structural problem - the increasing imbalance of wealth that could enfeeble the economy for years.

Seventy percent of the US economy depends on consumer spending. But wealthy people, who now own more of the economy than at any time since the 1920s, spend only a small percentage of their incomes. Lower-income people, who were in trouble even before the pandemic, spend whatever they have - which has become very little.

In a very practical sense, the U.S. economy depends on the spending of most Americans who don't have much to spend. That spells trouble ahead.

It's not simply a matter of an adequate "stimulus." The $2,000 checks contained in the American Rescue Plan have already been distributed and extra unemployment benefits will soon expire. Consumer spending will be propped up as employers add to their payrolls. Biden's spending plans, if enacted, will also help keep consumers afloat for a time.

But the underlying imbalance will remain. Most peoples' wages will still be too low and too much of the economy's gains will continue to accumulate at the top, for total consumer demand to be adequate.

Years ago, Marriner Eccles, chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1934 to 1948, explained that the Great Depression occurred because the buying power of Americans fell far short of what the economy could produce. He blamed the increasing concentration of wealth at the top. In his words:

"A giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. As in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."
The wealthy of the 1920s didn't know what to do with all their money, while most Americans could maintain their standard of living only by going into debt. When that debt bubble burst, the economy sunk.

History is repeating itself. The typical Americans' wages have hardly increased for decades, adjusted for inflation. Most economic gains have gone to the top, just as Eccles's "giant suction pump" drew an increasing portion of the nation's wealth into a few hands before the Great Depression.

The result has been consumer spending financed by borrowing, creating chronic fragility. After the housing and financial bubbles burst in 2008, we avoided another Great Depression only because the government pumped enough money into the system to maintain demand, and the Fed kept interest rates near zero. Then came the pandemic.

The wealth imbalance is now more extreme than it's been in over a century. There's so much wealth at the top that the prices of luxury items of all kinds are soaring; so-called "non-fungible tokens," ranging from art and music to tacos and toilet paper, are selling like 17th-century exotic Dutch tulips; cryptocurrencies have taken off; and stock market values have continued to rise even through the pandemic.

Corporations don't know what to do with all their cash. Trillions of dollars are sitting idle on their balance sheets. The biggest firms have been feasting off the Fed's corporate welfare, as the central bank obligingly holds corporate bonds that the firms issued before the recession in order finance stock buybacks.

But most people have few if any assets. Even by 2018, when the economy appeared strong, 40% of Americans had negative net incomes and were borrowing money to pay for basic household needs.

The heart of the imbalance is America's wealthy and the corporations they own have huge bargaining power - both market power in the form of monopolies, and political power in the form of lobbyists and campaign contributions.

Most workers have little or no bargaining power - neither inside their firms because of the near-disappearance of labor unions, nor in politics because political parties have devolved from giant membership organizations to fundraising machines.

Biden's "stimulus" programs are fine but temporary. The most important economic reform would be to correct this structural imbalance by reducing monopoly power, strengthening unions, and getting big money out of politics.

Until the structural imbalance is remedied, the American economy will remain perilously fragile. It will also be vulnerable to the next demagogue wielding anger and resentment as substitutes for real reform.

(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

Key Witness In US Case Against Julian Assange Admits To Lying To Get Immunity
By Amy Goodman

One of the main witnesses in Julian Assange's extradition case has admitted he made false claims against Assange in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a bombshell revelation that could have a major impact on the WikiLeaks founder's fate. Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if brought to the U.S., where he was indicted for violations of the Espionage Act related to the publication of classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes. According to a new article in the Icelandic newspaper Stundin, the convicted hacker Sigurdur "Siggi" Thordarson falsely claimed he was a prominent WikiLeaks representative instructed by Assange to carry out hacking attacks, but he was in fact only tangentially involved with the organization. The article suggests the U.S. Justice Department collaborated with Thordarson to generate the indictment for Assange that was submitted to the British courts. "This is just the latest revelation to demonstrate why the U.S. case should be dropped," says Jennifer Robinson, a human rights attorney who has been advising Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010. "The factual basis for this case has completely fallen apart."

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to a major development in the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who the U.S. State Department is pushing to extradite from Britain. Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if brought to the United States, where he's been indicted for violations of the Espionage Act related to the publication of classified documents which many say exposed U.S. war crimes.

Now one of the main witnesses in that extradition case has come forward to admit he made false claims against Assange [in] exchange [for] immunity from prosecution. The revelation came in an interview with the convicted Icelandic hacker "Siggi" Thordarson for a detailed article published by the Icelandic biweekly Stundin. It suggests the U.S. Justice Department collaborated with Thordarson to generate the indictment for Assange that was submitted to the British courts.

U.S. prosecutors issued a new, superseding indictment against Assange in June 2020 that refers to Thordarson as a "teenager" and Iceland as "NATO Country 1" and says Assange encouraged him to, among other things, quote, "commit computer intrusion" and steal audio recordings of phone conversations between Icelandic officials.

The Stundin article cites previously unpublished documents and chat logs showing how Thordarson falsely presented himself as a prominent WikiLeaks representative. Stundin reports that, in fact, quote, "all indications are that Thordarson was acting alone without any authorization, let alone urging, from anyone inside WikiLeaks," unquote.

For more, we're joined by Jennifer Robinson, human rights attorney who's been advising Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010. She, like Julian Assange, is an Australian citizen. She joins us from western Australia.

Jen, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you lay out the significance of this latest revelation and what it should mean, you feel, for Julian Assange?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: This is just the latest revelation of how problematic the United States' case is against Julian Assange - and, in fact, baseless. Of course, as you outlined at the introduction, the evidence from Thordarson that was given to the United States and formed the basis of the second, superseding indictment, including allegations of hacking, has now been, on his own admission, demonstrated to have been fabricated. Not only did he misrepresent his access to Julian Assange and to WikiLeaks and his association with Julian Assange, he has now admitted that he made up and falsely misrepresented to the United States that there was any association with WikiLeaks and any association with hacking.

So, this is just the latest revelation to demonstrate why the U.S. case should be dropped. We have to begin, of course, with the free speech implications. Free speech groups, The Washington Post, New York Times, mainstream media are unanimously against and have denounced this prosecution as a threat to freedom of speech in the United States. But leaving that aside, the factual basis for this case has completely fallen apart. And we have been calling for this case to be dropped for a very long time. And this is just the last form of abuse demonstrated in this case that shows why it ought to be dropped.

AMY GOODMAN: Jen Robinson, why do you believe Thordarson came forward now? He not only granted this exclusive interview to the Icelandic paper Stundin, but he also turned over never-published-before chat logs and new documents of his time as a WikiLeaks volunteer. And talk about his actual prominence within the organization, or lack of it.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: I can only speculate as to why he would choose to come forward now. But, of course, as you know, in January, we won the extradition fight. The judge decided to refuse Julian Assange's extradition to the United States - unfortunately, not on free speech grounds, but on humanitarian grounds associated with his mental health and the oppressive prison conditions that he would face if returned to the United States. The United States, under the Trump administration, sought to appeal that decision, and we are still awaiting a decision from the British court as to whether permission to appeal will be granted. Pending that decision, Julian remains in prison in the United [Kingdom].

So, this is just another indication - we have been calling for this case to be dropped. We have been asking the Biden administration to drop the appeal and allow Julian to return home to his family. And I think this latest revelation will only contribute to that appeal to the Biden administration to put an end to this case. So, perhaps he was motivated on those grounds, but it's hard to say.

AMY GOODMAN: And then, can you talk about Icelandic officials who are now apparently speaking out and saying that the U.S. government is, quote, "trying to use things here [in Iceland] and use people in our country to spin a web, a cobweb that would catch Julian Assange"? The article also reports U.S. government essentially deceived Icelandic officials.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Again, this is demonstrating the significant and problematic abuse that we've seen throughout this case. Not only are we looking at problematic evidence gathering within Iceland, which Icelandic officials have questioned the legality of; let's look at the other forms of abuse we've seen in this case. As we put in the extradition hearing, we now know that Julian has been unlawfully spied upon, his doctor's meetings unlawfully spied upon, us as his legal team unlawfully spied upon. He's had legally privileged material seized by the United States government. As Daniel Ellsberg said in his evidence before the extradition court in the U.K., this kind of abusive conduct by the United States was sufficient back during the Nixon administration to have the entire case against Daniel Ellsberg thrown out for an abuse of process. But in 2021, we are seeing unlawful spying, seizure of legally privileged material, and now a source which admits that he fabricated evidence and lied to the FBI and to the United States about the evidence upon which this indictment is based. This should be more than enough for the United States and for the Biden administration to put this case to rest. It has gone on far too long.

AMY GOODMAN: You also have this situation where Siggi Thordarson has been convicted of sexual abuse of minors and other crimes, including financial fraud. In the interview, he admitted to continuing his crime spree while working with the DOJ and the FBI. What's crucial to understand about his involvement with the U.S. government in trying to get Julian Assange extradited here, where he faces 175 years in prison?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Well, I do think it's significant that the initial indictment for Julian Assange related only to the publications back in 2010, 2011, the Chelsea Manning publications. It was a second, superseding indictment, introduced by the Trump administration, which was based upon Thordarson's evidence. Now, any lawyer and even any layperson would be looking at evidence from a convicted felon, who had been convicted of forgery, fraud and sexual abuse allegations associated with minors. That is a problematic source. Now we have him admitting that he lied to the FBI about that evidence. This raises serious concerns about the integrity of this investigation and the integrity of this criminal prosecution, and serious questions ought to be being asked within the Department of Justice about this prosecution and the fact that it is continuing at all.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what are you demanding right now, Jen Robinson? JENNIFER ROBINSON: We have been asking for a very long time for the Biden administration and the Department of Justice to put an end to this case on principled free speech grounds and on due process grounds. And this is just the latest evidence to show why this case needs to be dropped.

AMY GOODMAN: Jen Robinson, I want to thank you for being with us, human rights attorney who's been advising Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010, speaking to us from Australia.

(c) 2021 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now,!" a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 750 stations in North America. She is the co"author of "Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times," recently released in paperback and "Breaking The Sound Barrier."

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jimmy Margulies ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Biden & Putin Argue Over Whose Country Has Worst Reputation
By The Waterford Whispers News

THE much anticipated summit in Geneva saw the two leaders weigh up who has done the most pernicious meddling in the affairs of other nations, with aides sadly confirming Putin and Biden could not come to an understanding.

"Imagine we meddled in elections like they do? What would the world say?" scoffed Biden, leader of a country with more coups than a chorus of pigeons.

"Imagine we engaged in assassinations and arms dealing like they do?" retorted Putin, leader of a country with more blood on its hands than a hemophiliac stuck in a blender.

There was confusion when asked by reporters what it was like to come face to face with the leader of country run by the rich few who dole out suffering to the masses Biden and Putin both answered 'interesting' at the same time.

Searching for inane talking points to fill the 24 hour news cycle, media outlets turned to body language experts to provide meaningless insight into the leaders' meeting.

"See here - when Putin farts, cups his hands and throws the smell to Biden? Not good," explained expert.

"And when Biden ran towards Putin and lunged into a karate kick? Not ideal for relations," added another.

In order to ensure the leaders safety and trust was maintained, both Biden and Putin had a red sniper's dot trained on their forehead throughout the summit.

After a routine test of the tea being served, Putin said he was personally offended anyone would think he'd poison such an elderly brain addled man.

Elsewhere, Donald Trump was said to be on his 6th tub of ice-cream in a bid to cope with seeing Putin with another US president.

(c) 2021 The Waterford Whispers News

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