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In This Edition

Juan Cole finds, "Saudi Arabia Erases Science, Blocks Progress at Bonn Climate Summit, Pushing Dirty Oil ."

Norman Solomon returns with, "After Biden's Sharp Decline, Wall Street Investors Reassessing Other Blue Chips."

Glen Ford says, "We Are Already Late To The Great Black Reparations Debate."

Amy Goodman interviews, "Noam Chomsky: Democrats May Have Handed Trump The 2020 Election."

Jim Hightower asks, "Is Healthcare More Important Than Healthcare Profits?"

John Nichols reports, "Our Truest And Best Patriotism Welcomes Radical Idealism."

James Donahue talks, "About Our Freedom Of The Press."

William Rivers Pitt concludes, "Joe Biden And Chuck Todd Lose The Second Democratic Debate."

David Suzuki asks, "Can Caribou And Industry Coexist?"

Charles P. Pierce says, "Somehow, The Statue Of Liberty Hasn't Yet Been Fitted For A Straitjacket."

David Swanson explores, "The Fourth Of July Is For Making Fun Of Canada."

Tucker Carlson wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich wonders, "Should We Abolish Billionaires?"

Jane Stillwater examines, "Reproductive Freedom."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst dishes out, "A Rash Of Lies," but first Uncle Ernie warns of, "Lying Donald's 4th Of July."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Clay Jones, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Jim Watson, Drew Angerer, Brendan Smialowski, AFP, Polaristest, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Jane Stillwater, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Lying Donald's 4th Of July
By Ernest Stewart

"There's a reason that no president before Trump has turned July 4th into, well, what Trump is turning it into. And that reason isn't that they didn't love America enough or understand what makes this country great. Instead, they understood that there is a very fine line between patriotism and nationalism." ~~~ Chris Cillizza

"Under the compromise struck at the last minute on Saturday, heads of state from 19 of the 20 countries backed the Paris agreement, while the United States secured a carve-out under an 'agree to disagree' framework-the same solution as in previous G20s since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected." ~~~ Politico

"In the end what maters is what's good for the United States and you deal with bad people a lot of the time in order to help your own country." ~~~ Tucker Carlson

"For it is in giving that we receive." ~~~ Francis of Assisi

To understand Lying Donalds need for his military "parade" you have to understand who he admires and I'm not talking about Putin, or Kim Jong un or Mohammed bin Salman although he truly adores these monsters. No, I'm talking about his boyhood hero, the one that Lying Donald's second wife Marla Maples spilled the beans on, Der Snifter! Marla said that Lying Donald kept a book of Hitler's quotes and sayings by his bed and every night he would lie awake and read the book, over and over. And who loved a parade more than Adolf? Maybe Stalin?

A military parade? This is the kind of parade that dictators around the world use to try to intimidate their enemies and, more importantly, their own citizens. Consider that no other president has ever used the 4th of July for his own benefit!

To have tanks and jets from Air Force One to F-35s and F-22, all the stealth planes, and the Navy's Blue Angels, to parade past Lying Donald's luxury hotel is money ill spent, and a total waste of taxpayer dollars. That money could help in eliminating homelessness and poverty in our country.

The purpose of this parade is to let Trump play dictator for a day, further eroding democracy and pushing our country even closer to authoritarianism. This display is not normal nor what we do in a democracy.

As we shall see this had little to do with the 4th of July and everything to do with Lying Donald ego, and who will pick up the tab for this? The Rethuglican Party? Lying Donald? Can you guess who will pay for this photo op? Right you are, you and me will get the $10s of millions of dollars of bills. There will be a private box, grand stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial, not for the like of us, but just for the uber wealthy who will watch the larger of two fireworks programs that Donnie wants, at a cost well over a million dollars, with his fireworks show three times the size of the peoples.

All of this just so Lying Donald can orgasm like he thought he saw Emmanuel Macron do during the French parade. And if this wasn't bad enough, Donnie's going to regale us with a speech about how great he is. Oh, and that spinning sound behind Lying Donald when he is giving his speech, will be Lincoln spinning in his grave!

In Other News

I see that over the weekend, the climate system sounded simultaneous alarms. Near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean in northwest Russia, "the temperature surged to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius)." Meanwhile, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history!

By themselves, these are just data points. But taken together with so many indicators of an altered atmosphere and rising temperatures, they blend into the unmistakable portrait of human-induced climate change.

Saturday's steamy 84-degree reading was posted in Arkhangelsk, Russia, where the average high temperature is around 54 this time of year. The city of 350,000 people sits next to the White Sea, which feeds into the Arctic Ocean's Barents Sea.

In Koynas, a rural area to the east of Arkhangelsk, it was even hotter on Sunday, soaring to 87 degrees (31 Celsius). Many locations in Russia, from the Kazakhstan border to the White Sea, set record-high temperatures over the weekend, some 30 to 40 degrees (around 20 Celsius) above average. The warmth also bled west into Finland, which hit 77 degrees (25 Celsius) Saturday, the country's warmest temperature of the season so far.

The abnormally warm conditions in this region stemmed from a bulging zone of high pressure centered over western Russia. This particular heat wave, while a manifestation of the arrangement of weather systems and fluctuations in the jet stream, fits into what has been an unusually warm year across the Arctic and most of the mid-latitudes.

In Greenland, for example, the ice sheet's melt season began about a month early. In Alaska, several rivers saw winter ice break up on their earliest dates on record.

Across the Arctic overall, the extent of sea ice has hovered near a record low for weeks.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is at a record high, Europe is in the midst of a hellish heat wave, and extreme weather is ravaging large swaths of the globe, but Lying Donald dismissed the need for climate action during the G20 summit in Japan on Saturday and falsely claimed that air and water in the U.S. are the "cleanest" they have ever been. I'd like to meet Lying Donald's dealer as Zeus only knows that try as I might, I've never been that high!

Donnie told reporters during a press conference Saturday morning that he is not ignoring the threat of the global warming, but he doesn't want to take action to confront the emergency because such a move would "threaten corporate profits."

"So we have the best numbers that we've ever had recently. I'm not looking to put our companies out of business."
Which is of course, a lie, under Lying Donald both our air and water have deteriorated.

"I'm not looking to create a standard that is so high that we're going to lose 20-25 percent of our production. I'm not willing to do that. We have the cleanest water we've ever had, we have the cleanest air-you saw the reports come out recently. We have the cleanest air we've ever had. But I'm not willing to sacrifice the tremendous power of what we've built up over a long period of time, and what I've enhanced and revived."

Ergo Lying Donald knows the truth but if he tried to save the world it would cost him a dollar or two, therefore, screw Mother Earth!

And Finally

Tucker Carlson the fascist political commentator who has hosted the nightly political talk show Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News since 2016. Before that Tucker wrote articles for the Weekly Standard and who is a little to the right of... wait for it... wait for it... Darth Vader, without Darth's redeeming values or social skills.

You may recall that Tucker went to North Korea with Lying Donald and has spent the time since defending Lying Donald for his love affair with practically every fascist dictator on the planet.

Some of Tuckers statements include:
It's a disgusting place obviously, so there's no defending it. On the other hand, you know you've got to be honest about what it means to lead a country; it means killing people.

"Not on the scale the North Koreans do, but a lot of countries commit atrocities, including a number that we're closely allied with.

"It's not necessarily a choice between the evil people and the brave people.

"It's a choice, most of the time, between the bad people and the worse people."

Tucker praised Mr Trump, who he said was "far less sentimental about this stuff and maybe I think..more realistic about it."

Mr Carlson described the international attitude towards Kim Jon Un as "a kind of dorm room [stance]: 'oh they're so mean!'"
I could go on and on, but life is short so, Tucker Carlson wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

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

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

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


09-04-1946 ~ 06-29-2019
Thanks for the music!

10-15-1924 ~ 07-02-2019
Thanks for the design!

01-20-1929 ~ 07-03-2019
Thanks for the laughs!


We get by with a little help from our friends!
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For late breaking news and views visit The Forum. Find all the news you'll otherwise miss. We publish three times the amount of material there than what is in the magazine. Look for the latest Activist Alerts. Updated constantly, please feel free to post an article we may have missed.


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

If any of this makes you angry, there are ways to fight back against Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia Erases Science, Blocks Progress at Bonn Climate Summit, Pushing Dirty Oil
Saudi Arabia's oil is actually worthless because it is toxic to our planet, but the markets bestow on it a value because people are still driving gasoline cars
By Juan Cole

Saudi Arabia actively blocked sinking island nations and other small countries facing climate catastrophe from foregrounding their problems at the Bonn climate summit that just wrapped up.

Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists has been attending the summit and wrote,

"During the negotiations, Saudi Arabia blocked substantive discussions called for by a large number of vulnerable developing countries on the implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on the Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Celsius released last October. But while they may have succeeded in short-circuiting formal discussion of the report, the Saudis can't prevent scientific fact from continuing to drive the heightened awareness amongst governments"
The threatened small states wanted to highlight last October's report by the International Panel on Climate Change chartered by the United Nations, and according to the BBC, the threatened countries wanted to "include reference to the scientists' conclusion that carbon emissions would have to be reduced by 45% by 2030." The US, Poland, Australia, Iran and Saudi Arabia swung into action in a bid that one attendee called an attempt to make the IPCC climate report "invisible" and cast doubt on its validity.

Climate change denialism, in other words, is trying to take over the very international vehicle for addressing our climate emergency.

Most of the governments meeting at Bonn sought implementation of the Paris climate accord and made preparations for the COP 25 climate conference this coming December in Santiago, Chile. Saudi Arabia was there only as a spoiler, since it is the world's top petroleum exporter and is single-handedly responsible for 11% of the global emissions from the transportation sector. That is, this one country is helping wreck our planet with its poisoned product, and it wouldn't even let the island nations it is sending to Davy Jones' locker so much as complain about it.

Meyer notes that Trump's breach of the Paris Agreement meant that he pulled $2 billion in funding for climate initiatives, and that he left the US delegation ineffective. It is state governors, some businesses, and civil society who now carry on work on the Paris Accord, not the US federal government, which is pushing dirty, destructive coal.

If any of this makes you angry, there are ways to fight back against Saudi Arabia. The next time you buy a car, if you can afford it, make it electric. Or switch to public transport. Saudi Arabia's oil is actually worthless because it is toxic to our planet, but the markets bestow on it a value because people are still driving gasoline cars. We need to get off gasoline if we are to pull the plug on the sinister forces, whether domestic like the Koch brothers, or international like Saudi Arabia, which are putting the only earth we have into a pressure cooker and turning up the flames.

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

Traders gather around a post as they wait for shares of Slack to start trading at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE),
June 20, 2019 in New York City. The workplace messaging app Slack will list on the New York Stock Exchange this morning.
Shares of Slack were surging more than 60 percent over its reference price in early afternoon trading.

After Biden's Sharp Decline, Wall Street Investors Reassessing Other Blue Chips
Like any other stock, Wall Street is looking for a winner it can own
By Norman Solomon

Investors are pondering where to put their money this week after the sudden decline in the assessed value of presidential candidate Joe Biden.

On Wall Street and in other corporate quarters where financiers were heavily invested in Biden, hopes have eroded in recent days amid reduced investor confidence. Some prominent donors began to openly question the wisdom of devoting more capital to the national marketing campaign for the former vice president.

After the leading blue chip closed sharply lower at the end of last week, even declaring "my time is up," many top investors felt overexposed and looked for shelter. Gathering new topline data and considering several prospectuses that had been previously submitted, investors are now reassessing assets and liabilities as well as potential growth in market share during the next quarter and beyond.

Venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, powerful CEOs and other wealthy individuals-sensing a political emergency that may require swift and decisive action-are moving to widen financing spigots for Kamala Harris. With contingency planning, there is elevated interest in Pete Buttigieg. One previously hot startup, Beto O'Rourke, is now considered to be too underperforming to warrant reinvestment.

The overarching goals are to quickly shore up capitalization of aligned political products and to implement sustained brand enhancement. While great appreciation remains for Biden's nearly five decades of massive financial benefits to investors, some have concluded that he is now unreliable in view of current political turbulence.

Yet Biden is hardly in penny-stock territory. Many rich investors remain bullish on the former vice president. Politico reported Sunday that "sources say Biden walked away with a $1 million haul after two fund-raisers in San Francisco alone this weekend." One of those gatherings drew about 200 wealthy guests to the backyard of a former Twitter vice president for global media, Katie Jacobs Stanton.

But an erstwhile Biden fundraiser, Tom McInerney, didn't show up at the Stanton poolside event, even though he was listed on the invitation. McInerney, who was a member of Biden's national finance committee, said he notified the Biden campaign on June 20 that he would no longer fundraise for it, citing the candidate's recent fond comments about segregationist senators. (Actually, Biden had been on the record for many years with such warm reminiscences. And in a report first published on April 11, CNN had exposed Biden's letters to racist senators in 1977 and 1978, seeking support for his legislation against school busing for desegregation.)

Quoting McInerney as saying that "I would imagine I'm not alone," CNBC reported on the day after Biden's debate pratfall: "While McInerney is the first financier to publicly withdraw his support after Biden's controversial round of comments, the loss is significant because it could be a harbinger of further defections."

Overall, market conditions have abruptly changed, in the midst of fierce competition for big-investor dollars.

The New York Times did some candid reporting in mid-June under the headline "Wall Street Donors Are Swooning for Mayor Pete. (And They Like Biden and Harris, Too.)" The story explained that "the behind-the-scenes competition for Wall Street money in the 2020 presidential race is reaching a fevered peak . . . as no less than nine Democrats are holding New York fund-raisers in a span of nine day." And, "with millions of dollars on the line, top New York donors are already beginning to pick favorites, and three candidates are generating most of the buzz"-Biden, Harris and Buttigieg.

The Times reported: "Interviews with two dozen top contributors, fund-raisers and political advisers on Wall Street and beyond revealed that while many are still hedging their bets, those who care most about picking a winner are gravitating toward Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, while donors are swooning over Mr. Buttigieg enough to open their wallets and bundling networks for him."

At the same time, the newspaper noted, "Not everyone is chasing Wall Street cash: Two candidates in the top tier of polls, [Bernie] Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have railed against the financial industry and opted against the kind of fancy fund-raisers with catering and $2,800 admission prices that lubricate the donor industry."

The antipathy is mutual: Wall Streeters understand that Sanders and Warren would be bad investments anyway.

In sharp contrast, the Times summarized a bit of the investment frenzy: "Hamilton E. James, the executive vice chairman of Blackstone and a top fund-raiser, hosted Mr. Buttigieg at his home on Thursday. The short-selling hedge fund manager James Chanos will hold an event for Mr. Biden on Monday. And on Tuesday, Marc Lasry, the hedge fund manager and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, is gathering checks for Ms. Harris. Co-hosts of that event include Blair W. Effron, an investment bank co-founder and an influential Democratic financier, and Ray McGuire, vice chairman of Citigroup."

Deep-pocket investors are lined up from coast to coast. The night before she gave a speech at the California Democratic Party convention a month ago, Kamala Harris held a campaign fund-raiser at the San Francisco home of oil billionaires Ann and Gordon Getty, with the price of admission reportedly up to $28,000. While Harris was attending that fund-raiser, the San Francisco Chronicle observed, "Sanders was stopping by the Latino and labor caucuses at the convention."

For his part, Biden skipped the California state party convention entirely. But the same weekend, he sent top aides to the same city to meet with "more than two dozen bundlers-people who raise money from high-dollar donors-at the San Francisco home of Sandy Robertson, co-founder of private equity firm Francisco Partners," CNBC reported. "Other financiers at the private huddle included Richard Blum, an investment banker and husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein; veteran trial lawyer Joseph Cotchett; Steve Westly, founder of tech investment firm the Westly Group; Denise Bauer, former U.S. ambassador to Belgium; and Wade Randlett, the president of Dashboard Technology."

Eager for lucrative stability in the electoral marketplace, corporate Democratic investors are keen to block threats to their dominance from the Sanders and Warren campaigns. Now that Joe Biden is looking shaky-with a damaged brand and a faltering business plan-prudence requires a new set of calculations. Biden may have outlived his usefulness. If "politics ain't beanbag," neither is political investment.

(c) 2019 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."

We Are Already Late To The Great Black Reparations Debate
By Glen Ford

The following essay was prepared for the 30th annual convention of NCOBRA, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, held June 20 - 23 in Detroit.

2017 is the year that reparations definitively became a "mainstream" issue - meaning, serious candidates for president have been compelled to discuss the need to repair the historical and ongoing damage inflicted on Black people with the complicity of the United States government. Solid majorities of African Americans support reparations in principle: 64 percent, according to a Business Insider poll taken in March of this year, a statistically significant increase over Black pro-reparations sentiment measured in 2014 (59 percent, according to a YouGov survey), 2015 (52 percent, CNN) and 2016 (58 percent, Marist Poll). The Business Insider poll shows that 25 percent of whites, 37 percent of Asian Americans and 42 percent of Hispanics favor reparations - not enough to sway a national referendum on reparations, but almost certainly constituting a majority of the Democratic Party base, 25 percent of which is Black.

These numbers are extremely encouraging, in that they give national political legitimacy to the principle of reparations, which political scientist Michael Dawson writes "has been a central theme of Black political life," and now seems destined to become a staple of the Democratic half of the U.S. electoral duopoly. With a companion bill in the Senate, introduced by New Jersey's Cory Booker in April of this year, the H.R. 40 reparations study measure is now a "real" piece of legislation that can be lobbied in both chambers of Congress. In addition to Booker, presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard and Julian Castro claim to favor reparations, although none of their proposals measure up to even a narrow semantic definition of the word. It is enough, for now, that these politicians acknowledge that a debt is owed to Black people. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has a real chance of becoming president, says he will sign a reparations study bill if it comes across his desk. But he resists endorsing reparations, asking CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "What does that mean? What do they mean? I don't think anyone's been very clear."

It's an honest and sincere question - and one that can only be answered by Black people in the process of a Great Black Reparations Debate. Only Black people can put meat on the bare bones principle of reparations in America. As Frederick Douglass said, "the man who has suffered the wrong is the man to demand redress-the man STRUCK is the man to CRY OUT."

Reparations - repair - must mean measures that are transformative, that lift Black people up from the bottom of the socio-economic-political barrel that the United States government and white society have methodically placed us in through centuries of criminal acts. The runaway slave who joined the Union Army and was part of the unit that captured his former master's plantation was clear on what reparations meant to him. "Bottom rail on top this time, Massah."

The United States was built on the foundation of Black people as the bottom rail -- and keeping them there. In an endemically racist society, we are the institutional definition of the bottom. The mission of genuine reparations must be to eliminate the "bottom" altogether - otherwise, a hostile white society will push Black people back into our "place," once again.

Resources are important, and any reparations scheme that does not have a price tag in the many trillions is an insult to the living and the dead. According to one estimate, the Federal Reserve bank bailout amounted to $29 trillion - to save the criminals that caused the economic collapse! Redressing crimes against the Black people whose unpaid labor created America's wealth is at least as large a project. But reparations is more than material resources; it is the power to use those resources for the betterment of one's people, and to be secure in not being victimized again by the historical oppressor. It means Black self-determination, without which "democracy" is a sham and a farce.

The Great Black Reparations Debate must reach into every nook and cranny of Black America, examining every aspect of Black life in this country -- as well as debating Black Americans' relationship with the rest of the African Diaspora and the world. It is up to Black people - the one's who have been struck! - to propose the programs and structures that not only emancipate us from the bottom, but that effectively abolish such substrata.

Folks need to be instructed to stop asking white or Black politicians to come up with a reparations plan - that's a task reserved collectively for African Americans, after long and exhaustive debate. The United States was built on stolen land and stolen labor. Those are the crimes that must be redressed. Any reparations proposal that leaves current U.S. social, economic and political structures intact only perpetuates the crime and guarantees a relapse into the abyss. The Great Black Reparations Debate must begin before passage of H.R. 40. Ideally, the Black debate should inform those delegated by Congress to study the reparations question. More likely, a Black community that is energized and aroused by the debate will wind up rebuking the politicians, including most of the Black ones, for treating the reparations issue as a chance to declare a symbolic victory for Black people, like the Dr. King holiday. But that's the most African Americans can expect if we fail to organize a Black-wide debate that involves, literally, millions of our people. We're already late.

Black opponents of reparations like political scientist Adolph Reed argue that reparations may be appealing, but isn't worth investing lots of political capital because the non-Black majority of the U.S. will never support truly transformative repair. That's certainly true, if we assume that today's pitiful level of independent Black political mobilization is permanent. Forty million Black people can't change a damn thing unless they argue collectively about what is to be done, and then organize to do it. The Great Black Reparations Debate can be the extended, independent forum for Black people to re-imagine themselves and their place in the nation and the world, and to act collectively to build a new society - one that is fit for our people's habitation. Once such a mobilization is underway, it really doesn't much matter what the corporate servants on Capitol Hill think reparations should look like - because Black people will have our own vision and plan.

In his book Black Visions, Dr. Michael Dawson analyzes the results of an exhaustive political survey of African Americans that he oversaw in 1994. The survey showed that a majority of Black people, while not in favor of politically separating from the United States, nevertheless see Black America as a "nation within a nation." A Great Black Reparations Debate -- actually, a mass discussion of our collective future - is a chance for Black America to start acting like that "nation within a nation."

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

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky: Democrats May Have Handed Trump The 2020 Election
By Amy Goodman

As Attorney General William Barr releases Robert Mueller's long-anticipated report into Russian interference in the 2016 election, we speak with world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author Noam Chomsky about what he sees as the political perils of "Russiagate."

AMY GOODMAN: Can you share your analysis of President Trump? You have lived through so many presidents. Explain President Trump to us and assess the massive response to him.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, Trump is-you know, I think there are a number of illusions about Trump. If you take a look at the Trump phenomenon, it's not very surprising. Think back for the last 10 or 15 years over Republican Party primaries, and remember what happened during the primaries. Each primary, when some candidate rose from the base, they were so outlandish that the Republican establishment tried to crush them and succeeded in doing it-Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum. Anyone who was coming out of the base was totally unacceptable to the establishment. The change in 2016 is they couldn't crush him.

But the interesting question is: Why was this happening? Why, in election after election, was the voting base producing a candidate utterly intolerable to the establishment? And the answer to that is-if you think about that, the answer is not very hard to discover. During the-since the 1970s, during this neoliberal period, both of the political parties have shifted to the right. The Democrats, by the 1970s, had pretty much abandoned the working class. I mean, the last gasp of more or less progressive Democratic Party legislative proposals was the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act in 1978, which Carter watered down so that it had no teeth, just became voluntary. But the Democrats had pretty much abandoned the working class. They became pretty much what used to be called moderate Republicans. Meanwhile, the Republicans shifted so far to the right that they went completely off the spectrum. Two of the leading political analysts of the American Enterprise Institute, Thomas Mann, Norman Ornstein, about five or 10 years ago, described the Republican Party as what they called a "radical insurgency" that has abandoned parliamentary politics.

Well, why did that happen? It happened because the Republicans face a difficult problem. They have a primary constituency, a real constituency: extreme wealth and corporate power. That's who they have to serve. That's their constituency. You can't get votes that way, so you have to do something else to get votes. What do you do to get votes? This was begun by Richard Nixon with the Southern strategy: try to pick up racists in the South. The mid-1970s, Paul Weyrich, one of the Republican strategists, hit on a brilliant idea. Northern Catholics voted Democratic, tended to vote Democratic, a lot of them working-class. The Republicans could pick up that vote by pretending-crucially, "pretending"-to be opposed to abortion. By the same pretense, they could pick up the evangelical vote. Those are big votes-evangelicals, northern Catholics. Notice the word "pretense." It's crucial. You go back to the 1960s, every leading Republican figure was strongly, what we call now, pro-choice. The Republican Party position was-that's Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, all the leadership-their position was: Abortion is not the government's business; it's private business-government has nothing to say about it. They turned almost on a dime in order to try to pick up a voting base on what are called cultural issues. Same with gun rights. Gun rights become a matter of holy writ because you can pick up part of the population that way. In fact, what they've done is put together a coalition of voters based on issues that are basically, you know, tolerable to the establishment, but they don't like it. OK? And they've got to hold that, those two constituencies, together. The real constituency of wealth and corporate power, they're taken care of by the actual legislation.

So, if you look at the legislation under Trump, it's just lavish gifts to the wealth and the corporate sector-the tax bill, the deregulation, you know, every case in point. That's kind of the job of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, those guys. They serve the real constituency. Meanwhile, Trump has to maintain the voting constituency, with one outrageous position after another that appeals to some sector of the voting base. And he's doing it very skillfully. As just as a political manipulation, it's skillful. Work for the rich and the powerful, shaft everybody else, but get their votes-that's not an easy trick. And he's carrying it off.

And, I should say, the Democrats are helping him. They are. Take the focus on Russiagate. What's that all about? I mean, it was pretty obvious at the beginning that you're not going to find anything very serious about Russian interference in elections. I mean, for one thing, it's undetectable. I mean, in the 2016 election, the Senate and the House went the same way as the executive, but nobody claims there was Russian interference there. In fact, you know, Russian interference in the election, if it existed, was very slight, much less, say, than interference by, say, Israel. Israel, the prime minister, Netanyahu, goes to Congress and talks to a joint session of Congress, without even informing the White House, to attack Obama's policies. I mean, that's dramatic interference with elections. Whatever the Russians tried, it's not going to be anything like that. And, in fact, there's no interference in elections that begins to compare with campaign funding. Remember that campaign funding alone gives you a very high prediction of electoral outcome. It's, again, Tom Ferguson's major work which has shown this very persuasively. That's massive interference in elections. Anything the Russians might have done is going to be, you know, peanuts in comparison. As far as Trump collusion with the Russians, that was never going to amount to anything more than minor corruption, maybe building a Trump hotel in Red Square or something like that, but nothing of any significance.

The Democrats invested everything in this issue. Well, turned out there was nothing much there. They gave Trump a huge gift. In fact, they may have handed him the next election. That's just a-that's a matter of being so unwilling to deal with fundamental issues, that they're looking for something on the side that will somehow give political success. The real issues are different things. They're things like climate change, like global warming, like the Nuclear Posture Review, deregulation. These are real issues. But the Democrats aren't going after those. They're looking for something else-the Democratic establishment. I'm not talking about the young cohort that's coming in, which is quite different. Just all of that has to be shifted significantly, if there's going to be a legitimate political opposition to the right-wing drift that's taking place. And it can happen, can definitely happen, but it's going to take work.

AMY GOODMAN: The world-renowned linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky, speaking at the Old South Church in Boston last Thursday night.

(c) 2018 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."

Is Healthcare More Important Than Healthcare Profits?
By Jim Hightower

Is Healthcare More Important Than Healthcare Profits? Last year, Donald Trump said something stupid.

Okay, nothing astonishing about that - but this stupid thing did astonish an entire nation, specifically Britain. Apparently, Trump had seen a Fox News report showing people over there protesting about their government-supported National Health Service. See, Trump tweeted excitedly, even the Brits are fed up with the idea of healthcare for all, rejecting a socialized system that, he sneered, "is going broke and not working."

But - oops - the protestors were actually demonstrating in favor of their health service, demanding that the Tory government put "more staff, more beds, more funds" into the public program. Contrary to Trump's ignorance and class hatred of social programs, the British people love their tax-paid system, specifically because it does work. Everyone there is covered, getting quality care regardless of their income levels. And they don't have to fear that they'll be denied service or bankrupted by a ripoff medical system run by and for private insurance giants, hospital monopolies, Big Pharma, and other profiteers.

To see a system that's really "going broke and not working," the president could look at the 44 million Americans (including four million children) who have no health coverage, or at millions of others who're being gouged by ruthless drug makers, denied treatment by insurance bureaucrats, and drowned in debt by surprise medical bills.

The problem with America's healthcare system is - Hello - The System! During the past 30-40 years, its structure has been wholly corporatized perverting healthcare from a human right to just another commodity for sale. It's fundamental flaw is that the corporate purpose is not to maximize health for the many, but to maximize profits for the few.

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

Elliott Maraniss

Our Truest And Best Patriotism Welcomes Radical Idealism
By John Nichols

Twenty miles outside of Burlington, Vermont, in the East Bolton Cemetery, the cracked gravestone of my many greats-grandfather, Augustus Levake, stands watch beneath the Green Mountains. Born Augustus (or perhaps Augustine) Levesque in Riviere-Ouelle, Quebec, in 1754, he was recruited as a young anti-colonialist into the Continental Army at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. He served to the end of that war in the early 1780s and then settled in Vermont, a state where he eventually became a reasonably successful businessman, a hotel owner, a town official and a state legislator. Yet history well recalls him as a radical. For his decision to take up arms against King George III, he had been labeled a traitor by the British - and faced the threat of execution if he ever returned to Canada.

On my mother's side, we trace our family's residence in Wisconsin to the Levakes, who settled in Wyoming Valley in the 1840s. We remember them each July Fourth, because our family has always understood the very American view that it is possible - sometimes necessary - to be both a patriot and a radical.

This is a faith that has run deep in many American families. It is a premise that David Maraniss examines in his brilliant new book, "A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father" (Simon & Schuster). Maraniss recalls the youthful radicalism of his father, Elliott Maraniss, a longtime member of The Capital Times staff, the last five years as editor. The elder Maraniss was named as a communist by an informant, fired from his job and, in the turbulent and unsettling early 1950s, called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. "He was not falsely accused of being a communist because, for a time, he was one," writes David Maraniss. "But didn't being a citizen of this country give him the freedom to affiliate with the politics of his choosing and to write and speak his mind, as long as he didn't betray his country as a foreign agent? Wasn't there an essential radical tradition in America that was propelled by a desire not to destroy but to realize something better and fairer? Was he un-American? What does that even mean? By whose standard? Un-American compared to whom and to what?"

In his wrestling these questions, David Maraniss unearthed the remarkable statement that his father wrote in preparation for his HUAC appearance. Elliott Maraniss repeatedly asked the committee if he could read the statement aloud during the hearing. "We don't take statements," he was finally told. "If you have one written there, we shall be glad to have it filed with the clerk."

And so it was filed away, for more than six decades.

In his book, David Maraniss shares the statement. It is, I would submit, an expression of patriotic thinking that carries particular resonance on a July Fourth that falls in another turbulent and unsettling time. Writing as an honorably discharged World War II U.S. Army captain, a veteran newspaperman and "a loyal, law-abiding citizen of the United States," the elder Maraniss explained, "I was taught as a child and in school that the highest responsibility of citizenship is to defend the principles of the U.S. Constitution and to do my part in securing for the American people the blessings of peace, economic well-being, and freedom. I have tried to do just that to the very best of my ability." Elliott Maraniss expressed his belief that "nobody has the right to question my Americanism - least of all a committee which itself has been called subversive, un-American and anti-labor by the (Congress of Industrial Organizations), of which I am a member, by President Roosevelt and by responsible organizations representing many millions of Americans. I view this committee's attempt to muzzle me and drive me off my job as a direct attack on freedom of the press and the right of newspapermen to participate freely in the political life of the country without fear of reprisal." With the righteous indignation of an American doing battle on behalf of the truest patriotism, he declared, "This committee reflects no credit on American institutions or ideas. Its attempt to enforce conformity of political or economic thought is a long step toward dictatorship that holds the greatest danger to the entire American people. In this country we have never acquiesced in the proposition that persons could be punished for their beliefs."

It falls to each generation to confirm the truth of that last line. In doing so, we would do well to commit to memory a few lines from the able wordsmith, whose editing skills and conscience did so much to shape the modern Capital Times.

"The U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights are not simply musty documents in a library. They have meaning only if they are used," wrote Elliott Maraniss. "To betray and subvert the Bill of Rights is the most un-American act any man or committee can do: for that document was brought into being and maintained throughout our history by men who gave their lives and their blood."

(c) 2019 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

About Our Freedom Of The Press
By James Donahue

The First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution is probably among the most important legal documents our forefathers gave us. It protects our freedoms to worship, speak out in public, peaceably assemble and for journalists, it protects our freedoms to gather information and publish it for public inspection.

This Amendment was considered so important it specifically prevents Congress from making any law that overturns this freedom. It was the first Constitutional Amendment adopted by the states and one of the ten amendments that appear in the Bill of Rights. Yet since he has been in office, President Trump has publically attacked the press and the Moslem religion. He appears to have forgotten his oath of office which demands that the president "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

In a published editorial appearing in Politico Magazine, Political Science Professor Corey Brettschneider noted that even before being elected to office, Mr. Trump announced that "We're going to open up those libel laws. So when the New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace . . . we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected."

Since taking office, Mr. Trump has viciously attacked the media for publishing stories and editorial content critical of his policies and his presidential decisions. In fact, Trump and his G.O.P. pals in Washington, and even his public relations personnel have fallen upon the phrase "False News" when such stories appear in print or on television screens. They have used this method of attack so much that there has been a growing distrust by the public of stories they read or hear about on the news. He is even daring to propose the creation of a government owned and operated news network to "overcome" CNN and other media reports.

Brettschneider wrote that Trump's political philosophy "is the demagoguery that the Founders designed the Constitution to protect us against." To date the Supreme Court has held that for a public figure to prove libel against a news outlet, "they must show that the outlet acted with actual malice . . . that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not."

"In a constitutional democracy, it is essential that the press has broad freedom to investigate public officials so that voters have the information needed to hold them accountable" Brettschneider wrote.

Perhaps because of Mr. Trump's public attacks, members of the press have obviously felt themselves steeped in controversy whenever they are compelled to write news stories and editorials that anger public officials. And as a retired journalist with over 50 years of experience covering government, I understand their dilemma.

Indeed, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up when I recently read how the police in San Francisco raided the home and office of freelance journalist Bryan Carmody because Carmody refused to reveal the source of a published news story. The police used a sledgehammer to force open the gate at the home and then seized computers, phones and other devices valued at up to $40,000, Carmody said. Making the assault even worse, the police claimed that they entered the property armed with a court order. This implies that a local judge also acted in total disregard to Carmody's First Amendment right.

Some years ago while working as a bureau reporter for a Gannet Newspaper in Michigan, I also experienced a battle between my office and a District Judge over the source of a news story I wrote that angered the judge. After the judge barged his way into my office and demanded that I reveal my source, my editors backed me to the hilt. They turned the issue over to the company's legal team. The issue was silently taken care of.

The story and others that followed were serious enough that he was defeated when he sought re-election to office the following year.

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

Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris
arrive on stage for the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season, in Miami, Florida, on June 27, 2019.

Joe Biden And Chuck Todd Lose The Second Democratic Debate
By William Rivers Pitt

I would like to congratulate the 2016 presidential platform of Bernie Sanders for winning both halves of this week's twin-bill Democratic presidential debate in a rout. Even without being in the room on Wednesday night, Sanders' then-outlandish 2016 policy ideas on health care and income inequality dominated the discourse.

His positions have not changed in three years, but the elemental nature of the Democratic Party - at least in the guise of most of the other people who took the debate stage this week - has clearly come around to several of Sanders' premier points of view. By being present in the flesh last night, Sanders was able to say for himself what the others have been parroting since the race began. It appears 2016 was a better year than many of us thought.

Joe "Well Guess What" Biden had a bad night, full stop. His long record on the economy, the Iraq war and so much else got dragged from one end of the room to the other. Specifically, Biden's entire reason for being a presidential candidate - I'm the guy who can fight Donald Trump and win - got taken for a long walk off a short pier by Kamala Harris. Harris, the only Black person on Thursday's debate stage, cleaned the ceiling with Biden's toothpaste-ad veneers over his praise for white supremacists and his fight against busing as a means of desegregating schools.

"It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country," said Harris during the exchange. "And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me."

Wham and splatter, as Stephen King once wrote. Biden had little response for Harris, which begs the question of how he will handle a knife-fighter like Trump. The evening's events did not bode well on that score.

This is not to praise Kamala Harris as a candidate; her deeply disturbing record as a prosecutor includes defending wrongful convictions, opposing criminal legal system reforms, and supporting the death penalty. However, if your only metric for a Democratic presidential candidate is their ability to handle Trump in a debate, turn Harris loose in the general election and be sure to have a mop handy when it's over. Her performance last night cemented her position as a top contender, just as Elizabeth Warren's own showing did the night before.

Pete Buttigieg also had a solid outing on Thursday. There are deep problems with Buttigieg's candidacy, including his support of "Medicare-for-all-who-want­-it" (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) and his militarism. His harmful record on racial justice has been grimly underscored by the recent police shooting of Eric Logan by police in Buttigieg's town of South Bend, Indiana.

Yet Buttigieg's response to a question about race and policing was his best moment of the night. When pressed on why he has not fixed the fact that there are so few Black officers in the South Bend police force, Buttigieg responded, "Because I couldn't get it done." It was a rare moment of perfect candor from a politician on a huge stage, and you could have heard a pin drop in the room.

As for the rest of the group, well… let's just say it was clear last night who is running for president and who is running for the vice president slot, a cabinet position, or just for the money.

John Hickenlooper kept warning the audience that socialism will make Republicans angry or something. Michael Bennet's laconic delivery took the punch out of some very decent ideas. Eric Swalwell kept talking about passing torches while he waited for his mom to come pick him up. Kirsten Gillibrand had trouble eluding her Wall Street ties and used serial interruption as a means of appearing relevant. Andrew Yang may have been the smartest person on the stage, but he is going to have to throw some elbows if he wants to get noticed, because the absent necktie was not enough.

Aside from Harris' strong performance, Pete's disarming humility and Biden's slow-rolling flameout, I found Marianne Williamson to be one of the most intriguing people on the stage. When the subject of the concentration camps at the border was raised, Williamson boldly went to one of the core issues of the crisis. "I haven't heard anybody on this stage who has talked about American foreign policy in Latin America," she said, "and how we might have in the last few decades contributed to something being more helpful."

It was a necessary shout-out to a facet of U.S. foreign policy that gets short shrift because it is uncomfortable for the many politicians of both parties who have long supported it. To no small degree, U.S. actions in Central and South America are a reason why so many migrants have been flooding north, and Williamson damn well said it out loud.

Having Marianne Williamson on the stage was like having the internet participate in the debate. That is not an insult; the internet is my office, and it was important to have someone up there willing to say the kind of things that get left out, even by candidates like Sanders and Warren. A friend noted that most run-of-the-mill politicians focus on problems in the branches, while Williamson has a way of looking at the roots. She was a welcome and refreshing presence, even when she was occasionally confusing (and despite some of her eyebrow-raising past statements), and I hope she stays in the race for a while.

Finally, debate moderator and "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd is the kind of person who goes for a walk and gets eaten by bears. The only thing more oblivious to its surroundings during these debates was the table Todd leaned on while he yammered his meandering, incoherent questions at the candidates. On Wednesday, Todd got more words in than seven of the ten participants, and he was only there for the second half of the event. Last night was no better.

Todd was a sallow reminder that, all things considered, this debate was not a representation of how the candidates would govern or even what their positions are; it was a representation of how they are able to perform in an NBC-orchestrated rhetorical game. I mean it: Bears.

So, anyway, that happened. We have heard from 20 Democrats, some of whom may not be in the game for much longer, a probable truth made plain even in the eyeblink format of these debates. Those who did not qualify for the show - including Steve Bullock, Seth Moulton, and Wayne Messam - likely won't last long either, which means these mob scene debates could be coming to an end. Some genuine substance might actually be in the offing, but only if the bears up their game. We can dream.

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

Young caribou in front of mountains. Caribou are an 'umbrella' species. When
populations are healthy, so are many other animal and plant species and the forests they share.

Can Caribou And Industry Coexist?
By David Suzuki

The economy-versus-environment debate is wrong-headed in elevating a changeable human construct to the same level or above the natural systems on which our health and well-being depend. And in many cases, it would be more accurate to characterize it as "environment versus corporate interests." Although those interests often align with economic benefits and jobs, sometimes they just mean bigger profits for company CEOs and shareholders at the expense of the common good.

When "economy" is regarded as more than just profit-taking, it can be compatible with environmental protection. With caribou conservation, there can be room for both.

around protecting caribou and their habitat has become polarized. Many industry proponents oppose the requirement that provincial and territorial governments maintain or restore boreal caribou ranges so that at least 65 per cent is undisturbed, arguing this will put jobs at risk. They often rely on exaggerated or false claims, including denying that industry is responsible for the caribou's plight or that problems even exist.

Caribou protection measures are based on research and evidence, and even so, the 65 per cent disturbance threshold only gives herds a 60 per cent chance of persistence. Boreal caribou are threatened with extinction from coast to coast to coast, their populations continuing to decline since the federal Species at Risk Act was introduced in 2002.

Caribou are an 'umbrella' species. When populations are healthy, so are many other animal and plant species and the forests they share. Healthy forests provide services such as filtering water and sequestering carbon, which means protecting caribou and their habitat can safeguard water supplies and help reduce climate-altering carbon buildup in the atmosphere.

Room for Both, a new study by the David Suzuki Foundation, Alberta Wilderness Association and Ontario Nature, demonstrates that caribou conservation and industrial resource activity need not be mutually exclusive. It examines ways for caribou and industrial activity to coexist, and concludes that effective habitat restoration can create economic opportunities and help advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

The report synthesizes research from three studies on boreal caribou in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. It calls for more science-based discourse, better analytic models that take into account caribou conservation values to optimize "least cost" solutions, and recognition of the potential employment value of forest restoration. Past decisions often focused solely on the economic benefits of timber and oil and gas extraction.

Ontario Nature research found that "much of the planned wood supply in forest management units that significantly overlap boreal caribou ranges is not being logged, particularly over the past decade. This raises important questions as to why critical caribou habitat cannot be protected without causing economic hardship."

Protecting undisturbed habitat is key to ensuring caribou populations survive. Habitat restoration is also necessary but has largely been unsuccessful. Targets must be improved, forests must actually be restored rather than just "revegetated" and enforcement has to be stepped up.

According to Room for Both, "restoration in fragmented boreal caribou habitat has the potential to create and replace jobs in northern rural municipalities and First Nations." The research shows restoring habitat disturbed by seismic lines, roads and timber harvesting, among other industrial activities, can create diversified, stabler economies for resource-dependent communities.

Indigenous communities hold valuable traditional knowledge about boreal ecosystems and must have leadership roles in conservation and restoration. This could help advance reconciliation by enhancing Indigenous Peoples' opportunities to get out on the land and participate in traditional livelihoods, especially where ecological degradation and destruction have limited them from doing so.

Resource companies could also benefit from proper caribou conservation. With greater worldwide demand for responsibly obtained and produced products, companies can reap marketplace rewards for responsible practices, as with FSC-certified wood products, and avoid negative financial repercussions such as boycotts and legal challenges.

It's up to governments and industry to ensure caribou survival. This means incorporating habitat protection and restoration into planning and economic modelling, basing discourse on evidence and knowledge rather than exaggeration and fear-mongering, requiring industry and government to share in restoration costs and ensuring subsidies for industry are linked to environmental performance.

We know what caribou need to survive. We know the limits to habitat disturbance. We must incorporate these into decisions around industrial activity to make room for both.

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

Somehow, The Statue Of Liberty Hasn't Yet Been Fitted For A Straitjacket
Notes on the United States president's trip to cultivate his cozy relationship with Kim Jong-un.
By Charles P. Pierce

I have to admit. I'm stumped as to what to say about El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago's most excellent walk across the 38th parallel, Tucker Carlson's presence on the trip, or the deadly thermonuclear side-eye dropped on Ivanka Trump by Christine Lagarde at the G-20 in Japan. The rest of the world got to see exactly what we're being asked to re-elect in 2020. I was surprised not to wake up on Monday morning to discover that the Statue of Liberty was wearing a straitjacket.

As to the first, the handshake between these two very unfortunate haircuts was an interestingly bizarre photo-op, but that's all it was. The administration* has responded by softening its position from a denuclearized Korean peninsula to a nuclear freeze by the North Koreans, which they have no intention of giving the president*, either. Kim Jong-un remains the legacy monster he was raised to be by his monster of a father. Carlson offered the most lucid explanation of the sudden affection that the president* has for his chubby little doppelganger. From USA Today: "On the other hand, you've got to be honest about what it means to lead a country. It means killing people," Carlson continued. "Not on the scale the North Koreans do, but a lot of countries commit atrocities, including a number that we are closely allied with." Not entirely inaccurate in that the United States has made common cause with horrible people, but that "not on the scale of North Korea" covers a multitude of sins. This is a regime that killed a guy with an anti-aircraft gun and that killed another guy by spraying VX in a crowded area of a crowded airport. This is a regime that is currently unresponsive to a massive famine, via The New York Times:

The report followed a joint announcement from two United Nations relief agencies this month that about 10 million North Koreans, or 40 percent of the population, were facing "severe food shortages" after the country had its worst harvest in a decade last fall. The two groups, the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization, warned that North Korea's early season crops like wheat and barley, which will be harvested next month, were likely to suffer from "widespread low rainfall and lack of snow cover, which left crops exposed to freezing temperatures during winter."
Nobody since the death of Pol Pot has been "on the scale" of North Korea.

Meanwhile, the conspicuous involvement of Ivanka in the trip has caused most of the buzz. The videos are embarrassing. The still photos are stunning. The memes are hilarious. And the threat is very, very real. There is no question that the president* sees Jared and Ivanka as his rightful heirs, and even less question about the fact that they see themselves that way. Best to come to grips with this now before she turns the National Archives into a handbag shop.

But the president* managed to walk over a painted line without tripping over it. So there's that.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."
~~~ James Madison

The Fourth Of July Is For Making Fun Of Canada
By David Swanson

Yay! It's the Fourth of July! Time to blow some fingers off with firecrackers and laugh at the poor dumb bastards up north who think they got a better deal than the Great American Colonists without having to kill anybody in a War of Independence. Don't the Canadians know that Freedom Isn't Free?

Being FREE, we all know, is not a question of having healthcare or a decent chance of avoiding being shot with a gun. It's not a matter of civil rights or economic security. It's got nothing to do with speaking or organizing or determining the outlines of your life. People who've fled slavery and wars to live in Canada haven't obtained Freedom, only pneumonia and - I suppose - a halfway decent NBA team, and a longer lifespan, and greater security, and better education, and other such worthless muck. The free-est country on earth, on the other hand, has the most people in prison; if that confuses you, you haven't understood Freedom. Being FREE has a simple definition. Being FREE means being something that somebody killed a lot of people for. And, therefore, Canada ain't FREE - though it's working on it.

Sorry, Canada, until you have a bloody effing revolution against the British you have no right to Independence Day sales or even picnics handing out free Freedom crap for mandatory donations. You aren't even a Real country yet, you primitive snowflake patsy pseudo-patriots. I say that in a spirit of brotherly condescension.

Now, it's true that a great many nations - Canada just being the nearest by - have gained what looks like independence without wars. In reality, the American Founding Fathers invented independence with a war. We could perhaps have had all the same advantages without the war, but it was the killing of tens of thousands of people that created Liberty. That's why we keep doing it, liberating people all over the globe. In recent years, the U.S. military has been liberating the f- out of all kinds of people, whether they appreciate it or not.

Back in 1986, a book was published by the nonviolent strategist Gene Sharp, now-about-to-retire Virginia State Delegate David Toscano, and others, called Resistance, Politics, and the American Struggle for Independence, 1765-1775.

Those dates are not a typo. During those years, the people of the British colonies that would become the United States used boycotts, rallies, marches, theatrics, noncompliance, bans on imports and exports, parallel extra-legal governments, the lobbying of Parliament, the physical shutting down of courts and offices and ports, the destruction of tax stamps, endless educating and organizing, and the dumping of tea into a harbor-all to successfully achieve a large measure of independence, among other things, prior to the War for Independence. Home-spinning clothes to resist the British empire was practiced in the future United States long before Gandhi tried it. The colonists might have gone on that way, but they never could have achieved FREEDOM unless they started murdering people.

The colonists didn't talk about their activities in Gandhian terms. They didn't foreswear violence. They sometimes threatened it and occasionally used it. They also, disturbingly, talked of resisting "slavery" to England even while maintaining actual slavery in the "New World." And they spoke of their loyalty to the King even while denouncing his laws.

Yet they largely rejected violence as counter-productive. They repealed the Stamp Act after effectively nullifying it. They repealed nearly all of the Townsend Acts. The committees they organized to enforce boycotts of British goods also enforced public safety and developed a new national unity. Prior to the battles of Lexington and Concord, the farmers of Western Massachusetts had nonviolently taken over all the court houses and booted the British out. And then the Bostonians turned decisively to violence, a choice that need not be excused, much less glorified, but without which there could never have been Freedom - or flag bumper stickers.

While we imagine that the Iraq War has been our only war started with lies, we forget that the Boston Massacre was distorted beyond recognition, including in an engraving by Paul Revere that depicted the British as butchers. We erase the fact that Benjamin Franklin produced a fake issue of the Boston Independent in which the British boasted of scalp hunting. And we forget the elite nature of the opposition to Britain. We drop down the memory hole the reality of those early days for ordinary nameless people. Howard Zinn explains:

"Around 1776, certain important people in the English colonies made a discovery that would prove enormously useful for the next two hundred years. They found that by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called the United States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from favorites of the British Empire. In the process, they could hold back a number of potential rebellions and create a consensus of popular support for the rule of a new, privileged leadership."
In fact, prior to the violent revolution, there had been 18 uprisings against colonial governments, six black rebellions, and 40 riots. The political elites saw a possibility for redirecting anger toward England. The poor who would not profit from the war or reap its political rewards had to be compelled by force to fight in it. Many, including enslaved people, promised greater liberty by the British, deserted or switched sides, completely failing to grasp the concept of True Freedom. In other words, the War for Independence was as valid and respectable a scam as any recent war - and a real fluster cuck for those involved in it.

Punishment for infractions in the Continental Army was 100 freedom-lashes. When George Washington, the richest man in America, was unable to convince Congress to raise the legal limit to 500 lashes, he considered using hard labor as a punishment instead, but dropped that idea because the hard labor would have been indistinguishable from regular service in the Continental Army. Soldiers also deserted because they needed food, clothing, shelter, medicine, and money. They signed up for pay, were not paid, and endangered their families' wellbeing by remaining in the Army unpaid. About two-thirds of them were ambivalent to or against the cause for which they were fighting and suffering. Popular rebellions, like Shays' Rebellion in Massachusetts would follow the revolutionary victory despite the birth of Liberty. Imagine bringing people who actually fought in the War for Independence back to life, sitting them down, and solemnly declaring "Thank you for your service." THAT would be bravery.

The American revolutionaries were also able to open up the West to expansion and wars against the Native Americans, something the British had been forbidding. The American Revolution, the very act of birth and liberation for the United States, was also a war of expansion and conquest. King George, according to the Declaration of Independence, had "endeavoured (sic) to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages." Of course, those were people fighting in defense of their own lands and lives. Victory at Yorktown was bad news for the future of Native American nations. Luckily, they had no Independence or Freedom to lose!

The wars against Native Americans began immediately, as well as wars into Florida and Canada. The War of 1812 was intended to conquer the residents of Canada, who were expected to welcome U.S. invaders as liberators. Their actual response resembled that expectation even less than has the Iraqis' since 2003. Canadians to this day do not grasp how badly they have things. The saps don't even have a Star Spangled Banner.

Have you listened carefully to, or read the full lyrics to the U.S. national anthem? The third verse celebrates killing people who had just escaped from slavery. An earlier version had celebrated killing Muslims. The lyricist himself, Francis Scott Key, owned people as slaves and supported lawless police killings of African Americans. Strip the song down to its first verse, as most people do, and it remains a celebration of war, of the mass killing of human beings, of a war of conquest that failed to take over Canada and instead got the White House burned. And during the course of that valorous piece of blood-soaked stupidity, Key witnessed a battle in which human beings died but a flag survived. And I'm supposed to stand, like an obedient mindless robot, and worship that glorious incident, and it's supposed to matter what I do with my hand, but not what I do with my brain?

I take that back. I'm expected to switch my brain to low-power mode in order to take seriously claims to the effect that militarism protects my freedom, and that I should therefore give up some of my freedom for it. But that's what true Freedom requires. So, if you're allowed any moments off work, head on down to the big celebration, and make your way through the metal detectors (pick up your guns on the other side) and roast some dead animal flesh for the Fossil Fuel Deities. But if you're near a military base, don't drink the water. It's likely to kill you. Even so, you can savor the experience of what FREEDOM tastes like.

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Tucker gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Propaganda Ansager Carlson,

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

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

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump


Should We Abolish Billionaires?
By Robert Reich

America now has more billionaires than at any time in history, while most Americans are struggling to make ends meet. With such staggering inequality, it's fair to ask: should we abolish billionaires?

There are basically only four ways to accumulate a billion dollars - and none of them is a product of so-called free market capitalism.

Billionaires themselves aren't the problem. The real failure is in how our economy is organized.

One way to make a billion is to exploit a monopoly.

Jeff Bezos is worth $150 billion. You might say he deserves this because he founded and built Amazon. But Amazon is a monopoly with nearly 50 percent of all e-commerce retail sales in America (and e-commerce is one of the largest sectors of all retail sales). Consumers have few alternatives.

Nor do many suppliers who sell through Amazon; for the first 25 years of its existence, Amazon wouldn't let them sell at a lower price anywhere else. And Amazon's business is protected by patents granted Amazon by the U.S. government and enforced by government.

If we had tough anti-monopoly laws, and if the government didn't grant Amazon so many patents and trademarks, Bezos would be worth far less.

The same applies to people like George Lucas, Oprah Winfrey, or any other figure whose brands, ideas or creations depend on copyrights and trademarks, which are laws that have been dramatically extended in recent decades.

If these were shortened, these people would be worth far less, too.

A second way to make a billion is to get insider information unavailable to other investors.

The hedge-fund maven Steven A. Cohen is worth an estimated $12.8 billion. Now, how did he do it? According to a criminal complaint filed by the Justice Department, insider trading at Cohen's SAC Capital was "substantial, pervasive, and on a scale without known precedent in the hedge fund industry."

" Eight of Cohen's present or former employees pleaded guilty or convicted for using insider information. Cohen got off with a fine, changed the name of the firm, and apparently is still at it.

A third way to make a billion is to pay off politicians.

The Trump tax cut was estimated to save Charlesand David Koch- each of whose net worth is estimated to be about $50 billion - and their Koch Industries - 1 to 1.4 billion dollarsa year,not even counting tax savings on offshore profits and a shrunken estate tax.

The Kochs and their affiliated groups spent an estimated $20 million lobbying for the Trump tax cut, including major donations to politicians.

Not a bad return on investment: More than a billion dollars a year back for $20 million put in.

Koch Industries has also been a major beneficiary of government programs to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, provide roads and access to virgin growth forests, use eminent domain to seize private land for oil and gas pipelines, get oil subsidies, and profit off federal lands.

A fourth way to be a billionaire is to get the money from rich parents or relatives.

About 60 percent of all the wealth in America today is inherited.

That's because, under U.S. tax law - which is itself largely a product of lobbying by the wealthy - the capital gains of one generation are wiped out when those assets are transferred to the next, and the estate tax is so tiny that only 0.2 percent of estates were even subject to it in 2017.

America is creating a new aristocracy of people who never worked a day in their lives.

Let's abolish billionaires by changing the way the economy is organized.

This doesn't mean confiscating the wealth and assets of the super rich. It does mean getting rid of monopolies, stopping the use of insider information, preventing the rich from buying off politicians, and making it harder for the super-rich to avoid paying taxes.

In other words, creating a system in which economic gains are shared more widely.

Entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos would be just as motivated by say, a $100 million or even $50 million.

But the cost to our democracy of billionaires with enough wealth and power to dictate the rules of capitalism for their own benefit is incalculable.

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

Reproductive Freedom
Let's stop calling it "abortion"
By Jane Stillwater

I was mindlessly channel-surfing through a bunch of TV stations the other day when suddenly there was this rabid televangelist sternly haranguing me about the holy sanctity of life before birth and also the holy sanctity of life once we get too old to do anything else but just lie around in a coma. "Abortions and do-not-resuscitate directives are anathema," he screamed at me. But all the rest of us between birth and the ICU are fair game? Apparently so.

Drop bombs on us, ambush us on school playgrounds, make our food radioactive, drown us with floods and tornadoes and sea-level rises, drive our veterans to mass suicide, frack our water supply, starve our children, deprive us of life-saving healthcare -- hey, that's okay. Just as long as nonviable fetuses and comatose elders are safe.

Why do so many Americans think like that today? That the teachings of Jesus strictly apply to the unborn and the undead -- but not to the rest of us?

And while we still are on this unpleasant topic, let's also talk about the word "abortion". That is such an ugly and heartless word. Let's give it another, kinder, gentler, more humane name. Let's call it "Reproductive Freedom" instead.

For my grandmother's generation, there was no reproductive freedom at all. No choices other than a diaphragm or a condom, both of which were hard to get. Or a coat hanger. Or being forced to raise a dozen unwanted children and then finally die in childbirth. Or die trying to avoid it. "Keep them barefoot and pregnant." My grandmother herself ended up having a "nervous breakdown" after her husband died in a flash flood and she was left with three young children to raise in poverty all by herself.

And also there's the sad case of my great-grandmother who had given birth to ten children by the age of 36. I have a photograph of her and eight of her kids (more to come, unfortunately). And she already looks like hell, frankly -- a haunted and scary hell. Old beyond her years. No facelifts for her!

I myself had never planned to have children. After graduating from college, I went into the Peace Corps and then planned to attend graduate school after that. But with no easy access to birth control.... "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

But that was then. Not now. Yet. Back to the future. Let's take a closer look at all those present-day guys who are working so hard to eliminate reproductive freedom for women -- men like the above-named televangelist. Those very same guys who fight so hard to protect their own freedoms? Freedom to use our beloved flag as an excuse to throw helpless babies into concentration camps? Freedom to demand open-carry of semi-automatic weapons? Freedom to get all pissed off if they might be deprived of their right to bomb Iran and start World War 3?

And yet these very same grumpy old men are absolutely the first ones to deny us women of our own right to freedom. "No reproductive freedom for you!" They want all us women to look like my great-grandmother -- before we even reach age 40? So they can have the freedom to dump us and go hunt for a new trophy wife?

That sucks eggs.

We women should be in open revolt regarding our future (and present) loss of Reproductive Freedom. Ladies, let's not end up like our grandmothers! And let's fight for our daughters while we're at it too.

PS: I will be visiting Philadelphia from July 9 to July 16. What the freak does one do in the City of Brotherly Love besides touring the Liberty Bell? Did W.C. Fields get it right? "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." And I'll be attending the annual Netroots Nation convention there and staying in a fourth-floor walk-up in Chinatown. That will be a hecka lot of stairs. I hate stairs.

I'm sincerely hoping that my favorite presidential candidates will all be speaking at the convention -- just to make W.C. Fields jealous. Tulsi Gabbard is my favorite candidate. She is totally pro-peace and would make a great soldier-president. The prez we have now avoided the draft. Tulsi served her country and is still serving in the National Guard.

And speaking of presidents and changing the tropes that we call stuff by, I.C.E's ghastly holding pens for babies and children at our southern border have gone far beyond just labeling them "concentration camps" -- and even past calling them "Gulags". No, it's gone beyond that. We can now officially call it "Genocide". According to the UN Genocide Convention, "When one group forcibly transfers the children of one group to another group" and/or practices "institutionalized neglect," that group is deliberately committing genocide.

It's time to stop all this horror. Americans need to stop acting like Nazis -- where only the unborn are safe.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Clay Jones ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

A Rash Of Lies
By Will Durst

President Trump has been called many things. A short-fingered vulgarian. Mister Misdirection. The Cheater-in-Chief. Vlad's ventriloquist dummy. Boss Tweet. Herr Gropenfuhrer. The Oval Office Oompa Loompa. But the most apropos moniker to throw at him is, the King of Lies.

According to the Washington Post, the former New York City real estate developer is closing in on 11,000 lies since taking the Oath of Office. Which occurred approximately 900 days ago, averaging out to a bit more than 12 lies a day. And that's in public. We have no idea how many lies he tosses towards staff or family or himself.

And yes indeed, you are correct, sir: "liar" is so pejorative. Let's call him a serial fibber. A fabricator. Deceiver. Falsifier. Prevaricator. Pseudologist. But whatever you call it, Donald Trump is the undisputed heavyweight champion of lying. Holds the Guinness Book World Record for making stuff up. Orange-man speak with forked tongue.

Some lies are political, ie; claiming he was against the Iraqi War when multiple examples of him saying the opposite exist. Some lies are just to pump the brand such as when he said the head of the Boy Scouts called to say he gave the best speech ever at a national gathering, something the Head Scout said never happened. Some lies are pure animal instinct. To maintain and move on. Going to release his tax returns after his audit. Longest... audit... ever.

Others are inexplicable. What reason would he have to say his father was born in Germany when the man was born in New York? Nobody cares. But he keeps saying it. Perhaps simply a little self-delusion to reinforce his love of sauerkraut?

He lies and then he lies about lying and then he lies about lying about lying. Even if he said he were lying, he'd be lying. Which is metaphysically difficult. He lies to the press and then believes what he reads. Since it's him being quoted, it must be true.

He lies because it is his nature. He lies because he's good at it. He lies to stay in practice. He lies to keep opponents off balance. He lies because he is never held accountable or forced to suffer a consequence by either the Republican Party or his base. He lies because he can.

If ever caught in a lie, he just denies it. Even though there's tape of him saying it out loud. In a press conference after Helsinki he said he didn't see any reason why Vladimir Putin would interfere in our elections and after everyone, including his own staff, flipped out, he said, what he meant to say was, "he didn't know why he wouldn't have," which doesn't make any sense.

In a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos he said he didn't see anything wrong with accepting dirt on opponents from foreign powers and that he would do it again. The very day after the interview aired, he said he never said that.

The man is responsible for more bad lies than all of his golf courses put together after a month-long strike by the groundskeepers. He goes so far beyond pathological liar, psychologists are going to name a new condition after him. Karma mandates it be something that comes with a nasty rash.

(c) 2019 Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed comedian, columnist, and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For past columns, commentaries and a calendar of personal appearances, please, please visit:

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 27 (c) 07/05/2019

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