Please visit our sponsor!










Bookmark and Share
In This Edition


Dahr Jamail reports, "Sea Turtles Offer Dire Warning of Oceans' Crisis."

Uri Avnery explores, "Princely Visits."

Glen Ford concludes, "Black Caucus Support For Anti-Lynching Law Is A Sham."

Norman Solomon explains, "What Joe Crowley's Defeat Has To Do With Democratic Party 'Superdelegates.'"

Jim Hightower concludes, "A Wall Won't Fix Immigration."

John Nichols says, "Ben Jealous Is Ready to Make Maryland America's Laboratory of Democracy."

James Donahue examines, "A Creeping Enslavement Of The People."

William Rivers Pitt declares, "With Kennedy Gone, The Supreme Court Is Now A Subsidiary Of Trump, Inc.."

Heather Digby Parton reports, "The Dotard Reassures The Cult."

David Suzuki finds, "Caribou Science Denial Cripples Conservation Efforts."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Tell Me More About Civility."

David Swanson tells, "Why Ocasio-Cortez' Platform Is So Great."

Jane Stillwater reviews, "Kiddie Jails."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "How To Prevent Future Trumps."

Chris Hedges introduces, "America The Failed State."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Foreigners Unsure Why Anyone Would Want To Travel To U.S. At This Point", but first Uncle Ernie sez, "The Supreme Court Commits Treason."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Gary Markstein, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Noel Celis, Susan Walsh, Brendab Amialowski, Patrick Semansky, Sandy Huffaker, Olivier Douliery, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, 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."













Bookmark and Share

Visit me on Face Book

The Supreme Court Commits Treason
By Ernest Stewart

"I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God." ~~~ U.S. Constitutional Oath

"The newspaper headlines may shout about global warming, extinctions of living species, the devastation of rain forests, and other worldwide catastrophes, but Americans evince a striking complacency when it comes to their everyday environment and the growing calamity that it represents." ~~~ James Howard Kunstler

"The kids don't understand the intricacies that are involved with deportation and immigration court. They do understand that they have been separated from their parents, and the primary goal is to get back with people they love." ~~~ Lindsay Toczylowski

"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." ~~~ Gloria Steinem



So much for swearing to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. With it's approval of tRump's treasonous act the five justices who approved that treasonous act are all guilty of treason, Sure so is tRump but this must be his 100th or perhaps 1,000th act of treason, so for him, it's just par for the course!

The Court's opinion in Trump v. Hawaii, affirming Donald Trump's Muslim ban, allows the United States to act in flagrant violation of international law, not to mention the Constitution of the United States, something that tRump and the Court swore an oath to protect. It's a funny thing, that the four dissenting justices didn't mention this in their dissenting opinions. Funny, huh?

tRump's travel ban violates two treaties to which the United States is a signature: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Sure, tRump never met a treaty that he didn't want to break, or at least pull out of, but unlike the Supreme Court justices Trump wouldn't know the Constitution if it jumped up and bit him on the ass! However, the justices are supposed to know all about it!

What should send them all to the gallows is the violation of US domestic law under the "Supremacy Clause of the Constitution," ((Article VI, Clause 2)) which states quite clearly that treaties "shall be the supreme law of the land." Need I repeat that again for those of you on drugs? No, I think even you get it! We cannot break the treaty's that we signed on to, to do so is in violation of the oath all five have sworn to. What will happen with their treason, nothing of course, as Dubya said about the Constitution, "I don't give a god damn, I'm the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way. Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it's just a god damn piece of paper!"

So, what will you do about this treason, America? My guess is, absolutely nothing!

In Other News

You may recall my articles on the cruise liner Crystal Serenity which has been sailing between Alaska and New York City since 2016. The Crystal Serenity is slightly larger than the Battleship Bismarck. I knew that it wouldn't long before commercial freighters and tankers would be plying those waters too!

As shipping lanes open up in the Arctic due to vanishing sea ice, this untouched haven for marine creatures will be exposed to the new threat of boat traffic. You see, it's always something!

Whales are particularly vulnerable as noisy ships interfere with their communication and cause fatal collisions.

In a new Nasa-funded study, a team of American researchers have identified for the first time the risks posed to Arctic mammals as ships containing freight and tourists enter their habitat.

"We know from more temperate regions that vessels and whales don't always mix well, and yet vessels are poised to expand into this sensitive region," said lead author Professor Donna Hauser, a marine ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

"Even the North Pole may be passable within a matter of decades. It raises questions of how to allow economic development while also protecting Arctic marine species."

The Arctic is experiencing unprecedented changes as warming proceeds at a rate two or three times faster than the global average, melting vast expanses of ice. However, many in the shipping industry see this as a business opportunity. Yes, let's make an extra buck and destroy the arctic!

Current estimates suggest weeks could be knocked off international journeys using these newly opened lanes. Already, ships unescorted by icebreakers have begun to cross the previously impassable northern sea route.

Professor Hauser and her colleagues looked at 80 populations of seven mammal species native to the Arctic, including polar bears, seals and whales.

They found over half the populations identified to be at risk as ships come crashing into their territory, and whales such as narwhals, belugas and bowhead whales are particularly threatened.

"Narwhals have all the traits that make them vulnerable to vessel disturbances - they stick to really specific areas, they're pretty inflexible in where they spend the summer, they live in only about a quarter of the Arctic, and they're smack dab in the middle of shipping routes," said co-author Dr Kristin Laidre, a polar scientist at the University of Washington.

You can see how global warming is a never ending disaster. The longer it goes on and the hotter it gets the worse it will become for all life on Earth and tRump is happy to destroy us all as long as there is a buck in it for him. Sometimes I'm glad, that I'll be dead soon and won't live to see the worst of global warming. However, my children, grand children and their children will. I don't rant about global warming for myself, but for the generations to come. Wake up, America, while you still can!

And Finally

From our, "It's always something" department, just when you thought that tRump couldn't be any more sleazy, evil and stupid, he says, oh yes I can, and starts sending the kids he kidnaped and who crossed the border on their own to trial so that they can be deported. Sure it about half teenagers but it's also children as young as three. Children who haven't a clue about what's going on and what's about to happen to them. I'm going to repeat that again, for those of you on drugs...

Trump's not only putting babies in cages, but he's putting them on trial!!!


I know, WTF!

The 2,000-plus children will likely need to deal with court proceedings even as they grapple with the ongoing trauma of being taken from their parents.

"We were representing a 3-year-old in court recently who had been separated from the parents. And the child - in the middle of the hearing - started climbing up on the table," said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles. "It really highlighted the absurdity of what we're doing with these kids."

The children being detained under tRumps new "zero tolerance" policy, though, are facing immigration proceedings without mom or dad by their side.

"The parent might be the only one who knows why they fled from the home country, and the child is in a disadvantageous position to defend themselves," Toczylowski said.

Given the trauma the children faced in their home country that spurred their families to flee and the pain of being separated from a parent, the expectation that children can mount a legal defense is "unconscionable," said Dr. Benard Dreyer, director of the division of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine.

"It's certainly grossly inappropriate," said Dreyer, who is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics advocacy committee. "I'm ashamed that we're doing this.

Trouble is, as sleazy, evil and stupid as this is, you know tRump is capable of going even lower than than this. I wonder are you tRump-bots still happy that you voted for Hitler? I know, a stupid question, of coures, you're as happy as can be! Oh, and thanks for all of you for sitting out the last election, this is all on your bloody hands! Get registered and vote in the primaries and in November. If we don't take the House or The Senate back come November putting babies on trial will seem like the good old days!

Keepin' On

I'm beginning to think that Fatherland Security is monitoring my mail box, which would explain why I got PO Box #1. Even a Fatherland Security spook can remember that number. It sure would explain why, like Old Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, the box is empty again!

You can do what Dubya, Barry and tRump have failed to do, keep the truth from coming out. If we can't raise $2400, you will have accomplished what they failed to do, shut us down. I know that some of you love to take it right up to the end and then jump in and save the day after putting us through "dem changes." If that's your plan, so be it; like I've said, I'm here for the long haul, if you are too, if not, I'm gone like the wind. We've raised all but $2400 of the $6600 we need to pay our bills.

If you want to keep reading the truth, while every other news source is lying their asses off for the 1%, whether they mean to, or not, then please send us what you can as often as you can, and we'll be here 24/7/365 for you and yours!

*****


06-20-1948 ~ 07-02-2018
Thanks for the Music!



05-15-1947 ~ 07-03-2018
Thanks for the Photos!



01-27-1954 ~ 07-05-2018
Thanks for caring!


*****

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

****** We've Moved The Forum Back *******

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) 2018 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.




Olive Ridley sea turtle hatchlings inside a plastic water basin before being released at a beach in Morong in the Bataan province of the Philippines, on January 7, 2016.



Sea Turtles Offer Dire Warning of Oceans' Crisis
By Dahr Jamail

Wallace Nichols, a marine biologist who has been studying sea turtles and plastic pollution in the oceans for nearly 25 years, is worried.

"It used to be that when we found a rare piece of plastic on a nesting beach or tangled around a turtle, we'd pick it up or remove it and all would be right in the world again,"<>/I> he told Truthout. "But the problem steadily and steeply worsened to the point that now we can spend all day endeavoring to clean up the plastic in and on the same beaches, come back the next day and start all over again. Nearly all turtle necropsies produce internal plastics."

Nichols, who is also a senior fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy and author of Blue Mind, says he used to try to estimate how many sea turtles were impacted by plastic pollution, but now the answer to him is simple: "All of them, 100 percent," he said. "But that number should be 'none of them,' zero percent."

Nichols believes sea turtles have become the poster species for what he calls the "runaway carbon economy."

"We're talking about animals that spend much of their lives in the wildest, most distant and uninhabited parts of the ocean, yet they still ingest and swim through plastic out there," he said. "Then nesting beaches and even the sex ratios of baby sea turtles are impacted by climate change, and their feeding and nursery areas are being transformed. That's a big wake-up call."

But that is just the tip of the iceberg of other issues besetting Earth's oceans, and all of them are cause for Nichols's wake-up call.

Nichols believes, as he put it, "Our mismanagement of the carbon economy during the past century has put the 'blue economy' - one based on water and far more important to life on Earth - at risk."

By "blue economy," he is referencing a widely used term for the economic contribution of the oceans and coasts to the overall global economy, along with the imperative that humans address the sustainability of the oceans.

Nichols said that, taken together, human-caused climate disruption, plastic pollution, oil and fuel spills and leaks, and industrial agriculture have significantly altered life on our planet.

"Our lakes, rivers and oceans are downstream of all of these impacts,"/I> he said. "The results are ocean warming and acidification, sea level rise, dead zones, beach closures, a biodiversity crisis, fisheries collapses, and of course, massive amounts of plastic pollution in places it should never be - such as the guts of sea turtles, birds and whales and mixed into beach sand, sea salt and food."

"Literally Loaded From Throat to Anus With Plastic"

Jeffrey Seminoff is the leader of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's Marine Turtle Ecology and Assessment Program with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

He agrees with Nichols that marine debris like plastics are a huge problem, but added that microplastics are equally bad, given that they suppress immune systems of the marine life that ingests them, as well as causing physiological distress to wildlife. Seminoff also points to ocean acidification as another of his biggest concerns, along with, of course, anthropogenic climate disruption's impact on the oceans.

However, to underscore his point on plastics, as well as Nichols's concerns, Seminoff told Truthout that the day before we spoke, he had conducted a sea turtle necropsy.

"I'm training the Dutch deployment team that, this August, is going to work cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch," Seminoff said. "One of the green sea turtles we just necropsied was literally loaded from throat to anus with plastic. I've never seen so much plastic in an animal before."

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world, located between Hawaii and California. Recent estimates show that in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch alone (and there are at least four other massive oceanic garbage patches around the world), there are more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing an estimated 88,000 tons. That is the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets and includes a plastic count that is equivalent to 250 pieces of debris for every single human on Earth.

According to Seminoff, turtles are a close second to seabirds as the marine life most affected by plastic pollution, because any plastic they encounter they perceive as prey and eat it. Because of this, he said, "The ingestion component is particularly detrimental." Seminoff explained that while sea turtles are incredibly resilient animals, this also means that when we see impacts on them from all of these issues, "Once they start to suffer, as resilient as they are, it is a clear indicator of poor health of our ocean ecosystems."

"Why do we want them to survive?" he asked. "Because if they don't, other things simply won't."

When he lectures about sea turtles or marine mammals, he frames things in the ecological roles of these animals.

"It's profound, in that they are keeping ecosystems in balance, and are playing [the role of] keystone species," Seminoff said. "If you don't have sea turtles in these coastal ecosystems, the ecosystems suffer, because [sea turtles] are incredibly important for the entire system to function in a healthy manner."

Meanwhile, Jason Scorse, chair of the International Environmental Policy Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, where he is also the director of the Center for the Blue Economy, believes the two greatest threats to ocean ecosystems are acidification and commercial fishing.

"Acidification is undermining the entire ecological system, because if the pH gets low enough and these shelled and calcified creatures start dying off in large numbers, that sets in motion a huge cascade effect across the entire ocean system," Scorse told Truthout. "This is the greatest concern of the scientists I know."

Complete Dismantling "of Any Ecosystem Structure"

Each of these experts has dire predictions of what will happen to the oceans (and humans) if the aforementioned crises continue along their current trajectory unchecked.

Nichols noted that he and his colleagues' efforts to save sea turtles around the world have been quite successful.

"Thousands of organizations and legions of conservationists who care deeply have worked tirelessly to save sea turtles," he said. "It gives me a lot of hope. But these larger existential issues are next level and will require our blue movement to step things up."

About "these larger existential issues," Nichols was frank.

"Rather than making predictions of what might come, it's really about what's happening already. Our predictions from 25 years ago are here, now. While we continue to work on solving the problems and fixing what's broken, we are also adjusting to this new planet." Nichols warned that he expects us to lose more life in the oceans, but believes we are obliged to continue to work, individually and collectively, toward a more sustainable economy.

Seminoff was stark in his assessment of what is to come without dramatic and immediate changes. "I see a complete dismantling of any ecosystem structure," he said.

Seminoff used sea turtles to underscore his point. Given that they are a species whose sex is determined by temperature, feminization is a huge issue that is going to get even bigger.

"If sea turtles are having more and more females, populations are going to crash ... they can't be sustained with only one sex," he said. "So that removes an important coastal ecosystem role they play [and] then they are no longer a keystone species keeping other species in check ... like sponges overrunning reefs in the Caribbean, or sea grasses running out of control in the Pacific coast."

Seminoff also cited the albatross.

"We lose them, the whole ecosystem function associated with nesting colonies crashes," he said. "So, one by one, those structures start to erode away, and these are just a couple of examples."

Seminoff pointed out how when one crisis impacts a species and we lose that species, unforeseen consequences of this could come back to haunt us.

"Take acidification, or the marine heat waves: You limit habitat of offshore species, really nuanced things like changes in abundance of sea jellies impacts leatherback turtles, then you have a trickle-down effect from there," he said. "So, the issue is extremely multifaceted. Take any of these single issues and there will be a cascading effect in many unforeseen ways."

Scorse was even more blunt. "It's the Sixth Mass Extinction, and that is not debatable ... it is simple math," he said. "It's not opinion."

What Do We Do?

Five of the G7 nations recently agreed to an ocean plastics charter. The two countries that did not agree were Japan and the United States.

The charter proposed a lifecycle management approach toward plastics in the global economy, which includes making all plastics recyclable by 2030, among other issues.

However, the charter is non-binding.

Seminoff thinks we need to look seriously at offsetting carbon emissions, but admits this is a challenging goal to address internationally.

"Promoting sustainable fisheries and controlling the commercial fisheries is key," he added. "At the individual level, the number of people we can enlist in helping with our own personal decisions as consumers can be a goal. Additionally, not using plastic and Styrofoam, and knowing where your fish come from, are helpful - along with remembering the importance of our individual actions."

Scorse believes making a transition of our global food supply to being plant-based rather than animal-based is equal to or even more important than transitioning away from fossil fuels.

"Obviously, the move away from the fossil fuels is the key challenge to our times, but along with that is a move away from an animal-based food economy," he said. "Even with Trump ... these trends are not going to be stopped because they are grassroots movements and the economics is almost all going in one direction."<>P Scorse believes that anyone keen to reduce their carbon footprint should understand that transitioning to a plant-based diet is the most impactful thing to do.

"From generating waste to ethics to [ocean] dead zones," he said, "the best thing to do is to move to plant-based diets."

As for Nichols, he believes that many, if not most, of the material solutions we need to fix these problems are already "on the shelves" right now.

"Governments can incentivize the transition, and at the very least, stop subsidizing outdated, destructive activities [like the oil industry]," he said. "In many parts of the world, we'd be smart to significantly back up from the water and create public 'blue spaces.' This will give more people access to the vast 'blue mind' public health benefits we get from spending time together by the water but mitigate costly losses that come with rising waters and flooding."

In this way, Nichols sees the necessity of humans turning to the oceans for wisdom and solutions as key to the future.

"It turns out, sharing access to these water-based cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, physical and spiritual benefits is good for the blue economy," he said. "We'll all need that to maintain our mental health and creativity on a hotter, more anxious planet."
(c) 2018 Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.





Princely Visits
By Uri Avnery

PRINCE WILLIAM, Duke of Cambridge, second in line to the British throne, visited Israel this week.

He seems a likable person. He looked like a prince should look, did all the right things, said all the right things, and even ate a watermelon with our mayor on the sandy shore of Tel Aviv.

If the British had not left Palestine 70 years ago, William would now be my prince, too. I remember having a day off from school on his great-grandfather's birthday.

The British had obtained the League of Nations "mandate" over Palestine by posing as the protectors of Zionism (with the famous "Balfour Declaration). But they did not like us very much. The picturesque Arabs, gracious hosts by nature, attracted them much more strongly.

MY OWN relationship with the British crown has always been a bit complicated.

When I was 14 years old, the economic situation of my family compelled me to go to work. I found employment at a lawyer's office. The boss had studied at Oxford, and all our business was conducted in English, a language I had to learn in a hurry, and that I have loved ever since. Some of our clients were members of the British administration.

A few months later, the British hanged a young Jew who had thrown a bomb at an Arab bus. I decided to fill his place and got in contact with the Irgun underground. I was instructed to present myself at a certain school building at a certain time.

When I approached the building, it seemed totally deserted, except for a young couple kissing in the doorway. I was shown my way in the dark and ushered into a room, where I was seated facing a dazzling light. I felt, rather than saw, people around me.

A voice from the darkness asked me several questions, and then it asked: "Do you hate the Arabs?"

"No'" I answered truthfully. Working in the courts I had met a number of Arab colleagues, and they seemed nice people.

For a moment, the people behind the projector were dumbfounded. Then a young woman's voice asked: "Do you hate the British?" Foolishly, I told the truth: "No! I rather like them."

Behind the projector, there was a deep silence. Then the female voice asked: "If you don't hate the British, why do you want to join the Irgun?"

"I want them to go back to Britain and leave us alone." I answered.

Somehow, this answer seemed to satisfy them, and a few weeks later I was received into the organization.

WHY DID the British leave Palestine? There are several possible answers.

Former members of the Irgun and its smaller sister, the Freedom Fighters (known to the British as "the Stern Gang") are convinced that it was their daring assassinations and bomb attacks that did the job, including their bombing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem, which served as a British HQ. Ninety-one persons of both sexes, British, Arabs and Jews, were killed there on July 22, 1946.

However, the official Zionist leadership believed that it was their clever application of political pressure that did the job.

I believe that it was the general change in the global situation. After WWII the British Empire was weak. It could not keep its hold on India, the jewel of the crown, and without India the Suez Canal became less significant. British Palestine was a fortress for the defense of the Canal, and lost its importance without it. With all the violence in the country, the British thought that it was just not worth the candle.

When the bus of my comrades and I in the pre-state army was on its way to our first battles, we sometimes passed buses of British soldiers on their way to Haifa harbor. The usual obscene jokes were exchanged. And that was that.

WHILE THE British prince was touring the country and uttering the fitting phrases about a "just peace", another prince from overseas was doing the same. Jared Kushner, the Jewish son-in-law of President Trump, was also touring the country. He was accompanied by Jason Greenblatt, another Jewish emissary from Trump. This holy pair, who make no secret of their utter contempt for the Palestinians, is supposed to make peace.

How will they succeed where dozens of other initiatives have failed? Why should they have more chance than the dozens who preceded them?

Well, they have a Big Plan. A Plan so Big that cannot be refused. A Secret Plan.

Secret from whom? From the Palestinians, of course. Binyamin Netanyahu was a partner in shaping it. If not actually its author.

Years ago, we had a celebrated theater critic. Once, at the premiere of a new play, he got up after ten minutes and made for the exit.

"How can you write a review if you have not seen the whole play?" demanded an actor.

"I don't have to eat the whole apple to know that it is rotten," the critic answered.

The same is true of a Big Plan. The details that have already leaked quite suffice.

It is not a plan to be accepted by the two sides. It is a plan to be imposed on one side. The Palestinian side.

WHEN THE British left in 1948, there was already a UN plan in place.

Palestine was to be divided into a Jewish and a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as a neutral unit, all these parts united in a kind of economic federation.

The Palestinians rejected the plan. They considered the whole country their homeland, and hoped to regain it with the help of the Arab armies.

The Jewish side accepted the plan without hesitation. Like everyone who was alive in the country at the time, I remember the wild jubilation in the streets. But David Ben-Gurion did not dream for a moment of remaining satisfied with it. He knew that a war would break out, and hoped that our side would enlarge its territory decisively. As indeed happened.

The day after the 1948 war ended, the Partition Plan was dead. A new reality had come into being. The war had partitioned Palestine into three units: Israel proper, the West Bank - which was now a part of the Kingdom of Jordan - and the Gaza Strip, which was governed by Egypt.

Today, several wars later (who is counting?), Israel dominates in different ways all of historical Palestine. And peace seems far, far away.

IN THEORY, what are the alternatives?

Right after the 1948 war, in early 1949, a tiny group of young people in the country, including a Muslim Arab, a Druze Arab and myself (curiously enough, all three of us later became members of the Knesset) devised a plan for the solution: the so-called Two-State Solution. One country, two states - Israel and Palestine, Jerusalem as a joint capital, open borders between all parts, a joint economy.

We found no takers. Everybody was against it: the government of Israel, the Arab states, the USA, the Soviet Union (until 1969), Europe, the Muslim world.

That was 70 years ago. And see the miracle: today that is almost a world consensus. Everybody is for the "two-state solution". Even Netanyahu sometimes pretends to be.

There is no third alternative. It's either two-states or a colonial Jewish state in all the country.

Yared Kushner may well be a genius, just like his father-in-law. But even his brilliant Jewish brain will not find another solution. And all the power of the United States will not suffice to keep the Palestinian people down forever. The Big Plan is just another prescription for eternal war.

I wish that Europe, including the post-brexit Britain, were willing and able to prevent this catastrophe. If I had met the prince on the sandy seashore, I would have told him just that.
(c) 2018 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom







Black Caucus Support For Anti-Lynching Law Is A Sham
By Glen Ford

Lynchings are as much a part of Americana as the 4th of July -- occasions for white supremacist pyrotechnics and celebratory violence. Deep into the 1930s, hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of whites would periodically gather, with their families and picnic baskets in tow, to ritually hang, burn, castrate, riddle with bullets and otherwise mutilate one or more Black men, oftentimes putting Black women and children to the torch, as well. At the turn of the 20th century, the crusading Black activist Ida B. Wells, who documented thousands of extrajudicial murders of Black people, declared "Our country's national crime is lynching." But the U.S. Congress never made lynching a federal crime.

Lynching remains the national pastime. In the 1960s, the U.S. Justice Department revived a nearly century-old practice of prosecuting lynchers on federal civil rights charges, since local authorities often sympathized with -- or were, themselves -- lynchers. In recent decades, however, the feds have grown reluctant to build criminal cases against the usual perpetrators of extrajudicial murder of Black people – the police -- even in the face of a rejuvenated grassroots movement against killer cops. Barack Obama, the First Black President, offered empathy to the parents of Trayvon Martin, musing that the 17 year-old "could have been me 35 years ago," but he failed to bring federal charges against the vigilante that shot him. Obama's two Black attorneys general mounted federal cases against only two killer cops, both of whom had already been indicted by local authorities.

The elected ranks of the Democratic Party have no stomach for a real anti-lynching law, one that would corral the main body of lynchers: the men and women in blue, who kill a Black person every 28 hours. In June of 2014, just months before Mike Brown was shot down by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, the Congressional Black Caucus voted, 32 to 8, to continue the Pentagon's infamous 1033 program, which funnels billions of dollars in battle-grade weapons and gear to local police departments. Barack Obama escalated the militarization of police to unprecedented levels, increasing 1033 program funding 24-fold over his Republican predecessor, George Bush.

The lynchers-in-blue run amuk because they are aided and abetted by the Black Misleadership Class and its Democratic elected representatives in Congress. The Black Caucus in May voted 29 to 11, with 2 abstentions, to make assault on police officers a federal hate crime, effectively elevating cops to the status of a "protected class." (See "Black Caucus Sells Out Its Constituents Again – to the Cops," BAR.)

Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush was among the three-quarters of the Black Caucus that supported the Protect and Serve Act of 2018. Exactly one month later, on June 13, Rush introduced legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime. But, Blacks are already a "protected class" and, although the legislation has symbolic and political value, the feds are already empowered to bring federal civil rights charges that could result in death penalties for crimes "committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin of any person." The government most often simply refuses to use its existing powers.

Rep. Rush's bill does not enhance the already existing federal civil rights statutes that were designed to prosecute cops that commit crimes "under color of law" -- that is, while acting as cops – against persons "on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race," according to FBI investigation guidelines. If Rush's bill were to have more than symbolic value, it would reinforce the "under color of law" aspects of federal civil rights law, to make it easier to convict the police of "hate crime" murders, i.e., lynching -- since they are by far the main perpetrators. But Bobby Rush would not dare to construct a bill that is designed to facilitate the prosecution of cops, a "class" he and three-quarters of the Black Caucus had just provided additional protections.

Thirty-five Black Caucus members joined as co-sponsors of Rush's bill. Almost all of them had voted to continue militarizing the police, in 2014 -- as would all but one of the absolutely putrid CBC members that have since been elected, based on their subsequent behavior. (New Jersey's Bonnie Watson Coleman is the lone exception.) Most of these same Black lawmakers voted in May to make police a "protected class." Only three Black Caucus members that supported Rush's anti-lynching bill DID NOT vote to elevate police to protected status, or to further militarize the cops. They are:

Maxine Waters (CA), Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA), Barbara Lee (CA)
All the rest of the Caucus (Rep. Coleman-Watson excepted) are demonstrably full of crap on the subject of lynching-by-cops and every other form of racist police state oppression.
(c) 2018 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com




Joseph Crowley on Capitol Hill in Washington.



What Joe Crowley's Defeat Has To Do With Democratic Party 'Superdelegates'
Grass-roots pressure to democratize the party-mounting since 2016-is starting to pay off.
Norman Solomon

Conventional wisdom said that powerful Congressman Joseph Crowley couldn't be beat. But his 20-year career in the House of Representatives will end in early January, with the socialist organizer who beat him in the Democratic primary in the deep-blue district poised to become Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The defeat of Crowley shows how grass-roots movements can prevail against the corporate establishment and its vast quantities of cash. The Crowley campaign spent upward of $3 million in the Democratic Party primary. The Ocasio-Cortez campaign spent one-tenth as much. He wielded money power. She inspired people power.

As the 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez was quick to say after her victory Tuesday night, the triumph belongs to everyone who wants social, economic and racial justice. She ran on a platform in harmony with her activism as a member of Democratic Socialists of America and an organizer for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.

In a simple and symbolic twist of fate, the stunning defeat of Crowley came a day before the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party voted on what to do about "superdelegates."

Conventional wisdom said superdelegates-who exerted undemocratic power over the selection of the party's presidential nominee in 2016-couldn't be stopped from putting the establishment's thumbs on the scale again.

But on Wednesday afternoon, the party committee approved a proposal to prevent superdelegates from voting on the presidential nominee during the first ballot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. (The last time the party's convention went to a second ballot was back in 1952.)

As NPR reported, "A Democratic National Committee panel has voted to drastically curtail the role 'superdelegates' play in the party's presidential nominating process. The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee voted 27 to 1 to block officeholders, DNC members and other party dignitaries from casting decisive votes on the first ballot of presidential nominating conventions."

Make no mistake: Those in the top echelons of the Democratic Party aren't moving in this direction out of the goodness of their hearts. Grass-roots pressure to democratize the party-mounting since 2016-is starting to pay off.

But that pressure needs to increase. Corporate power brokers of the national party are in the midst of a tactical retreat, which should not be confused with surrender.

During the latest Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting, former DNC Chairs Donald Fowler and Donna Brazile voiced strong-and in Fowler's case, bitter-opposition to changing the superdelegates status quo. They may have been foreshadowing an escalation of insider pushback before the full DNC decides on rules in late August.

In recent weeks, some of Crowley's kindred corporate Democratic colleagues in the House-angry at the prospect of losing their privilege to vote on the nominee at the next national convention-have been railing against the superdelegates reform proposal. Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia said that "it disenfranchises the elected leadership of the party" and, if adopted, "is going to do terrible damage to party harmony."

A New Jersey congressman, Bill Pascrell, said: "I think this is absolutely an insult to us. We're no better than anybody else, but we stand for election. That has to mean something, that has to stand for something. That's a lot of baloney."

DNC Chairman Tom Perez has become an advocate for blocking superdelegate votes on the first ballot. That has put him in the line of fire from Capitol Hill, as Politico reported in early June: "Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), executive director of the early-1980s Hunt Commission, which created superdelegates, said lawmakers were 'infuriated' by Perez's stance, although he's not sure there's anything that can be done. 'I think there was a good deal of incredulity and some pretty severe criticism,' Price said."

Very few entrenched Democratic officials were willing to criticize the setup when most of the 712 superdelegates made Hillary Clinton the far-ahead "front-runner" by announcing their support for her before a single ballot was cast in a primary or caucus to choose the 2016 nominee.

Now, the huge defeat of quintessential hack Crowley by Ocasio-Cortez underscores the importance and the possibilities of what Bernie Sanders urged during a recent video interview: "Open the doors of the Democratic Party. Welcome working people. Welcome young people in. Welcome idealism in."

Of course, "idealism" is hardly a word that comes to mind when listening to Democratic congressional leaders like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Crowley. No wonder young people's support for the party has been eroding.

"It may take liberals by surprise to hear that a recent Reuters/Ipsos mega poll of 16,000 respondents found that the Democrats are losing ground with millennials" even while "their support for Republicans has remained roughly stable," Guardian columnist Cas Mudde wrote days ago. "While millennials still prefer the Democratic Party over the Republicans, that support is tanking. In just two years, it dropped sharply from 55 percent to 46 percent."

Reviving the Democratic Party will require making the party democratic in the process of winning genuine progressive victories. Ocasio-Cortez is helping to show the way.


(c) 2018 Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."




A woman walk past prototype sections of a border wall between Mexico and the United States under construction on October 5, 2017 in Tijuana, Mexico.




A Wall Won't Fix Immigration
Until our leaders address the real issues, it's not possible to build a wall tall enough to stop them from coming.
By Jim Hightower

The wailing in our country about the "invasion of immigrants" has been long and loud. As one complainant put it, "Few of their children in the country learn English...The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages...Unless the stream of the importation could be turned they will soon so outnumber us that all the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious."

That's not some diatribe from one of today's Republican congress critters. It's the anxious cry of none other than Ben Franklin, deploring the wave of Germans pouring into the colony of Pennsylvania in the 1750s. Thus, anti-immigrant eruptions are older than the U.S. itself, and they've flared up periodically throughout our history, targeting the Irish, French, Italians and Chinese among others. Even Donald Trump's current proposal to wall off our border is not a new bit of nuttiness - around the time of the nation's founding, John Jay, who later became the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, proposed "a wall of brass around the country for the exclusion of Catholics."

Luckily for the development and enrichment of our country, these past public frenzies ultimately failed to exclude the teeming masses, and those uproars now appear through the telescope of time to have been some combination of ridiculous panic, political demagoguery and xenophobic ugliness.

There is way too much xenophobia, racism and demagoguery at play around illegal immigration, and such crude sentiments are not what is bringing this problem to a national political boil. The GOP leaders seem to be having a contest to see who can be the most nativist knucklehead. Their new "zero tolerance" policy punishing immigrant children by ripping them away from their parents at the border has now morphed into detaining families together indefinitely in "detention centers." Meanwhile, rational Republicans like Steve Schmidt and George Will are either leaving the party or simply not supporting it in its current state.

Democratic leaders, on the other hand, have mostly tried to do a squishy shuffle, mouthing soothing words offering a bureaucratic rigmarole to allow some Dreamers to gain permanent residency in our country or are ducking the issue.

Which brings us to the wall, both figuratively and literally. The fact that we are resorting to the construction of an enormous fence between two friendly nations admits to an abject failure by policymakers, who are so bereft of ideas, honesty, courage and morality that all they can do is to try walling off the problem.

We've had experience here in Texas with the futility of tall border fences. Molly Ivins reported a beer-induced incident that took place in 1983. Walling off Mexico had been proposed back then by the Reaganauts, and a test fence had been built way down in the Big Bend outpost of Terlingua. This little town also happened to be the site of a renowned chili cook-off that Molly helped judge, and it attracted a big crowd of impish, beer-drinking chiliheads.

There stood the barrier, 17 feet tall and topped with barbwire. It didn't take many beers before the first-ever "Terlingua Memorial Over, Under, or Through the Mexican Fence Climbing Contest" was cooked up. Winning time: 30 seconds.

The Mexican government and people are insulted and appalled by the wall; ranchers, mayors, and families living on either side of the border hate it; environmentalists are aghast at its destructive impact on the ecology of the area. Still, it's being built.

The question that policymakers have not faced honestly is this one: Why do these immigrants come? The answer is not that they are pulled by our jobs and government benefits, but that they are pushed by the abject poverty and violence that their families face in their homeland. That might seem like a mere semantic difference, but it's huge if you're trying to develop a policy to stop the human flood across our border. Until our leaders address the real issues, it's not possible to build a wall tall enough to stop them from coming.
(c) 2018 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 HightowerLowdown.org.




Ben Jealous addresses supporters at a primary-election-night party on June 26, 2018.




Ben Jealous Is Ready to Make Maryland America's Laboratory of Democracy
The former NAACP head's big win in a key gubernatorial primary sets him up as a Democrat who can run and win with a bold progressive vision.
By John Nichols

Ben Jealous entered the race for governor of Maryland with a remarkable resume-Rhodes scholar, investigative journalist, past president of the Rosenberg Foundation, founding director of Amnesty International's US Domestic Human Rights Program, youngest-ever national president of the NAACP, high-profile surrogate for the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. But what truly distinguished Jealous as a first-time candidate-and made him a big winner in Tuesday's Democratic primary-was his sharp focus on framing a progressive agenda for Maryland and the nation.

Recognizing that one state can serve as what then-US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis referred to in 1932 as a "laboratory of democracy," Jealous proposed to do in Maryland what is not being done in Donald Trump's Washington-but what could be done in other states.

"It is time for us to dream again. It is time for us to get back to making big dreams real again," said Jealous in a campaign where he emphasized the unique role that a state with progressive leadership can play to solve real problems within its borders and to inspire other states to act.

"We have a rare opportunity right now and hidden inside of it, an obligation," he declared. "We must bring people together across all lines, and make all forms of difference less important: whether it be race, class, region or religion."

Those coalitions, Jealous says, can "create a [single-payer Medicare for All] healthcare system that ensures residents are protected, regardless of what President Trump does in Washington," "end student debt and make it possible for every Marylander to attend community college, public university, or learn a trade for free," "institut[e] new policies statewide that more aggressively address police misconduct and prevent the killing of unarmed civilians," "[make] Maryland a welcoming state to refugees," and "[set] a deadline for 100% clean and renewable energy and provide 21st-century jobs for the Maryland economy."

Few gubernatorial candidates in Maryland or nationally have gone as deep as Jealous has with his run. His campaign, with strong backing from Sanders, the Working Families Party, and unions representing teachers and nurses, has issued detailed position papers outlining progressive policies on health care, education, and building a 21st-century economy. It has highlighted specific agenda items such as raising wages to $15 an hour, legalizing marijuana, and "fighting concentrated poverty." It has been especially serious about climate change and developing a clean-energy jobs, winning endorsements from Bill McKibben, 350.org, and Friends of the Earth Action. And it has invited voters into serious conversations about criminal-justice reform and urban renewal.

Voters were impressed. In a nine-way contest that pitted him against several prominent Democrats with longer histories in electoral politics, Jealous finished with 40 percent of the vote. That put him 11 points ahead of the next-closest contender, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, a favorite of the party establishment who ran with the backing of former governor Martin O'Malley and most of the state's prominent Democratic elected officials.

The solid support that Jealous secured in the primary provided an indication that his big-vision politics really can translate into big vote totals. Now the Democratic nominee must build on the momentum as he heads into a tough fall contest with Republican Governor Larry Hogan.

For Jealous, the key to winning will be mobilization of voters in a state that has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992, and which in 2016 backed Hillary Clinton by a 26-point margin over Donald Trump.

To do that, he has to continue to get voters thinking about how Maryland might lead the nation in a very different direction from the one Trump and his Republican allies are taking. It will not be easy. Hogan is a smart politician; he has distanced himself from Trump on at least some issues. But the incumbent has shown little inclination to innovate-let alone to build the coalitions that might free Maryland and America from the confines of status-quo politics.

"This campaign is about seizing a moment to build a movement to make sure that everyone in Maryland moves forward, no matter what happens in Donald Trump's Washington," declared Ben Jealous, as he claimed the Democratic nomination for governor. "Larry Hogan has no idea what's about to hit him."
(c) 2018 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. 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.








A Creeping Enslavement Of The People
By James Donahue

There appears to have been a master plan underway to destroy access to knowledge and turn the masses of humanity into illiterate surfs to the bankers and corporate bosses who have seized even more control of the wealth. This shift from a time when Americans enjoyed a strong, union-driven middle class life style to the harsh living standards doled out today was a slow process that can be traced to historical events over the last 50 years.

The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling on Citizen's United in 2010 became the trigger leading to a takeover of federal, state and many local governments. That ruling, hinging on long-standing efforts to pack the high court with a majority of judicial voices loyal to big money interests, has helped to fog over fairness in the democratic election process. It gave corporations and big money interests the freedom to spend unlimited amounts for advertising and other political tools and push favored political candidates into key offices on every level of government. The decision by Justice Kennedy to retire has now opened the door for the appointment of even more extreme conservative thinkers on that high court. This then will be the final catalyst for the total takeover of the nation.

Driving the people into a mental state where they might believe the political propaganda has been the result of a three-pronged attack on the acquisition of knowledge. This involved the destruction of the nation's great education system, control of the media and finally the control of the Internet.

The slide into corporate control of the nation's great colleges and universities was among the early stages of this move into a mental breakdown of creative thought. When I attended college in the late 1950s I was able to earn enough money working summer jobs and then doing odd jobs in and around the university to cover the cost of my tuition, books and off-campus rent. I left college debt free. By 1973, according to a recent report in the Atlantic Monthly, the average cost for tuition and fees at a private nonprofit college had risen to nearly $11,000. After this the costs have tripled, climbing to over $30,000. This does not include the price of room rent and food, plus other costs associated with attended college. College graduates now leave school steeped in massive debt that they cannot escape from, even through bankruptcy.

College debts are so massive, and potential earnings for college graduates are so relatively low, that students will be spending most of their working years attempting to pay off that debt. Consequently, many bright potential students are choosing to avoid college rather than get on that ugly treadmill. Graduates find themselves reluctant to go further in debt to buy homes, cars, get married or have children.

How did this happen? The advent of federal student loans has strangely been the catalyst for the big cost increases behind attending college. With the government offering the banks a guaranteed return for their money, lenders are freely dispensing credit to students. And with this release of student loan money, the colleges have been turned into for-profit institutions. They are building new and more lavish facilities, raising staff wages and raising tuition rates accordingly. By 2011 the presidents of 180 private colleges in the United States earned over $500,000 a year according to a report in the Atlantic Monthly.

Public education took a severe hit after George W. Bush entered the White House. He brought the concept of "no child left behind" into the field of using federal money to force students to hit arbitrary scores on standardized tests. This forced teachers to abandon normal instruction and concentrate, instead, on instructing students to prepare for these tests. Failed student test scores reflected on the teacher's ability in the classroom. High school graduates today are often shown to have an inability to list basic information like the names of the 50 states, the names of the presidents, know general history and the functions of the government, or get correct answers to simple mathematics questions. The bad spelling noticed in news headlines, general publications and on social media sites is reflecting on the results of the Bush policies, which we understand remain part of the public education system.

Federal control of the public schools remained in effect until late in 2015 when President Barack Obama signed into law an updated version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that returned power to states and local districts to decide how to fix the troubled schools. This act never quite got off the ground, however, after Donald Trump took office a month later. Among his first acts was to name Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education. This woman, a devout Christian, appears to be working hard to divert federal education dollars from public to private charter schools that put emphasis on the Bible as part of the curriculum. Parents also must pay tuition to enroll their children in charter schools.

The contemporary budget proposed by the president slashes federal funding for many long enjoyed public services, like the public libraries. Most libraries have traditionally depended on getting a portion of fines and court costs paid into the local courts. This money has been supplemented by federal dollars. Librarians are warning that without the federal assistance, they are threatened with closure.

The control of the media involved a series of buy-outs by big corporations at a time when newspaper and television stations were in tough competition with each other and the Internet. Consequently these long established news outlets were suddenly under the direction of corporate bosses who determined the political leanings of the news content. Even worse they determined what the general public was allowed to know. Rupert Murdock's Fox News channel was among the more flagrant outlets for slanted news. Under pressure to compete, the other networks and large newspaper chains have been quick to fall into lock step.

To confuse the public even further, President Trump has re-invented the concept of "fake news," a label he has been quick to place on any story that criticized his presidency. There have been so many accusations of fake news stories in recent months that most people express confusion as to what they can or cannot believe. It was a simple trick used successfully by Adolf Hitler in fascist Germany, and it appears to be just as effective today in Trump's America.

Trump's verbal assault on the nation's newspapers appears to have had a disastrous impact in Annapolis, Maryland. A man shot up the newsroom of the Capital Gazette, killing five people and injuring several others. Did he believe Trump's allegation that the media is a threat to the nation?

Mr. Trump also has threatened to call for the revocation of licenses for television broadcast journalists that report uncomplimentary stories about him. Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, however, said the First Amendment does not give his office the right to revoke any reporter's license based upon specific news stories. Will it be the newly arranged Supreme Court's job to change or even eliminate our freedom of expression?

Finally, we come to the international effort to destroy the Internet. This amazing electronic system of open world communication and seeking valuable news sources has been a bane to world political leaders who like to control the news and hide their misdeeds. Communist China was successful at putting blocks on certain news and information outlets. Other world leaders followed suit.

In late 2017 the Federal Communication Commission voted to repeal the strong net neutrality rules that were maintaining an open and fair internet for everyone. The U.S. Senate voted to overturn the FCC decision, but the House failed to act. Thus the change went into effect on June 11, 2018. From this date on there are no longer restrictions on providers from blocking or slowing content of Internet sites, or giving special treatment to users willing to pay a higher price.

While this quiet assault on Internet freedom has been going on in the U.S., there has been a similar action occurring throughout Europe. There the European Union's parliament legal affairs committee voted this month for legislation that would require a "link tax" on Internet web sites that wish to quote copyrighted materials, and force big information providers like Google and Microsoft to install filters to block users from uploading these materials.

While this appears at first blush to be a law that will affect only European Internet users, think again. The Internet is such an International phenomenon anything that is controlling users in one part of the world could hit Internet users everywhere. Thus the free exchange of news and information throughout the world now appears to be seriously threatened.

As explained by one critic: "The European Commission would require websites to utilize automated content-filtering technology that costs millions of dollars and thousands of manpower hours, likely decimating small online businesses and startups.

"The proposal also makes it impossible to opt out of charging for content, meaning that sites can't share their information for free even if they want to. This law is an attack on the free press and the open Internet."
(c) 2018 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.




Donald Trump listens while Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks during
a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House April 10, 2017, in Washington, DC.



With Kennedy Gone, The Supreme Court Is Now A Subsidiary Of Trump, Inc.
A Tale of Profitable Suffering
By William Rivers Pitt

The news of Justice Anthony Kennedy's impending retirement from the Supreme Court passed through my mind with the hollow sound of doors slamming shut. A conservative Supreme Court majority comprised of Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch and Trump's choice to replace Kennedy will be nothing short of a generational catastrophe for the United States.

Make no mistake about this: Donald Trump is going to tap some Gen-X fascist in perfect health who will perch in Justice Kennedy's seat for the next 40 years like a blossom of deadly nightshade. Allowing Donald Trump to refashion the Supreme Court in the image of his repellent will is just about the worst thing that could possibly happen,because it means the worst is still yet to come. This person will be atrocious, and the Democrats - a few less-than-clever election year quips notwithstanding - will be powerless to stop them.

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the nomination of Merrick Garland, President Obama's choice to replace Antonin Scalia, on the grounds that 2016 was an election year, it was seen as an entirely bogus and unprecedented move. The Democrats raised seven shades of Hell, and lost, and Neil Gorsuch is our reward.

MSNBC's Chris Matthews can yell all he wants about the need for Democrats to fight this next nominee, but there is little they can do even if they were disposed to act at all. They filibustered Gorsuch, and McConnell simply changed the rules for how many votes Supreme Court nominees need to get confirmed.

On Wednesday, McConnell - a master troll in his own right - had the perfect gall to demand, "It's imperative that the president's nominee be treated fairly." It would be funny but for that feeling of falling down an empty elevator shaft.

Speculation as to exactly which racist, hateful, homophobic, misogynistic, pro-corporate, anti-environment, vote-loathing nightmare Trump will pick to replace Justice Kennedy is a waste of energy at this juncture; each name proffered will certainly be more preposterous than the last. Trying to fathom what this new murderer's row majority will do to the country is equally bootless. It will be ruthlessly terrible, details to follow.

Kennedy's Legacy

Coming to grips with the legacy Justice Kennedy leaves behind is almost as difficult as coming to grips with the scalding reality that Donald Trump now has the opportunity to add a second Justice to the high court (with perhaps a third and fourth in the offing, if some retirement rumors prove true). Kennedy's passage through the highest reaches of US jurisprudence has not been dull.

Though it may shame him (one would hope), Justice Kennedy's lasting legacy was printed eight years ago in the majority decision he wrote for the court's calamitous ruling on Citizens United v. FEC. "Independent expenditures," he said regarding the whole concept of legalized political bribery, "do not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption." Perhaps someone, somewhere was more wrong at some point than Kennedy was when he penned that hilariously credulous disaster zone of a decision, but that someone does not immediately leap to mind.

If the United States continues on its current path toward some final New Gilded Age calamity, drowned by a rising climate-driven sea that politicians ignored until their feet got wet because the coal and oil industries paid for the privilege, well, look no further for an explanation than Justice Kennedy's naive belief in the idea that elected officials won't be corrupted by massive sums of untraceable money. Flat-Earthers have more credibility than anyone attempting to make that ridiculous argument, yet here we are.

There have been a number of remarkably awful Supreme Court decisions handed down over the years - Dred Scott, Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific, Buck v. Bell, Bush v. Gore, Plessy v. Ferguson, Korematsu v. US to name but a few - and Citizens United stands tall and grisly among them. Whatever good Justice Kennedy dispensed from the bench may be wiped away in due course after rich people who don't like marriage equality and the right to vote succeed in buying themselves enough politicians to see those great gains scourged from the law.

As we are learning by the hour and the day, it does not take much to obliterate decades of progress. Citizens United made that obliteration so much easier, and if anything, its power is only accelerating. Money, as they say at the bank, makes money.

Justice Kennedy was a noteworthy champion of LGBTQ rights during his tenure, which was capstoned three years ago by the decision he wrote in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark ruling that made same-sex marriages equal under the law. Kennedy, long known for his soaring rhetoric, penned a truly moving stemwinder for the majority in that case:

As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage.... Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
Unfortunately, writes Mark Joseph Stern for Slate, the marriage equality decision may be undone by way of Kennedy's retirement: "The cornerstone of Kennedy's gay rights jurisprudence - Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage case - was a 5-4 decision. Three dissenters - Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito - are still on the court. One, Justice Antonin Scalia, died, but Trump replaced him with Justice Neil Gorsuch, who promptly expressed fierce hostility to gay equality. Trump is all but assured to replace Kennedy with a judge who shares the conservatives' opposition to gay rights."

In the main, however, Justice Kennedy - despite his strange reputation as a "swing vote" on the court - departs with some significant historical baggage. He was no great friend to voting rights, having voted to strike down Section 4 of the all-important Voting Rights Act. Kennedy voted to shut down the recount in Florida during the 2000 election, helped kick Ohio voters off the rolls in Ohio, and voted to uphold or ignore racially gerrymandered districts in North Carolina and Texas. Just this week, he also voted to dismantle the power of public-sector unions in Janus vs. AFSCME.

In short, the dilemma is not that the court is losing Justice Kennedy so much as it is the gloomy question of who will replace him.

The Dangers Ahead

Anything done can be undone, as we have been learning to our collective woe these last two years. Now that Kennedy is on the way out, the fate of Roe v. Wade is thrown into perilous question.

It has long been my personal belief that the national Republican Party would sell the Sixth Fleet to North Korea for a bottle of bad rum before they ever allowed Roe to be overturned. Religion and ideology have nothing to do with it. Roe v. Wade has been, for decades now, an enormous moneymaker for the GOP.

Put a photo of Hillary Clinton next to a fetus into a direct mailer, send it to the GOP base, and that base will vacuum up nickels from between the couch cushions and post them directly to RNC headquarters. A mailer like that is good for five million dollars in 36 hours, easy. The Republicans have cynically ridden the anti-choice passions of their base for all it is worth, literally, to great and ongoing success.

The GOP has taken some hacks at Roe over the years and done serious damage to it, but never to the point that the law itself was thoroughly undone. They had 20 years of Republican presidents to try and undo it - Reagan and both Bushes - and still it stands.

Now, however, we have a president whose entire political philosophy hinges upon handing the GOP base everything it has ever wanted. Trump has never given a damn about the Republican Party and its priorities, any more than the Republicans have ever given a damn about the passions of their anti-choice base, and now he can prime the court to give that base the ultimate prize it has sought for so long: The fall of Roe. Now, for the first time, I fear the worst.

In the coming weeks and months, Donald Trump may very well be officially accused of collusion with Russia, election meddling, obstruction of justice, money laundering and - if Robert Mueller ever gets him in a room and under oath - possibly even perjury.

The question of his ultimate fate may hinge upon the ideological makeup of the high court, which will soon be Trump's court from marble pillar to marble post, save for a small clutch of powerless dissenters. "If the president does it, it's not illegal" may soon become - along with any number of equally heinous notions - the law of the land at last.
(c) 2018 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.







The Dotard Reassures The Cult
By Heather Digby Parton

This is a perfect example of what Timothy Snyder calls "schizo-fascism:

Up is down, black is white:

Evidence newly obtained by U.S. officials points to preparations to deceive the United States about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea's arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs, officials told The Post.

The findings support a new, previously undisclosed Defense Intelligence Agency estimate that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize.

Trump has offered exuberant assessments about progress with North Korea for weeks, declaring in a previous tweet that "there is no longer a nuclear threat" from North Korea. At a recent rally, he also said he had "great success" with Pyongyang.
(c) 2018 Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.




The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has concluded that 81 per cent of boreal
caribou herds are in decline and all woodland caribou ecotypes - boreal, mountain and migratory - are diminishing in Canada.




Caribou Science Denial Cripples Conservation Efforts
By David Suzuki

To its credit, the Forest Products Association of Canada recognizes climate change is a serious threat to forests and habitat, and has vowed the sector it represents "is doing its part to fight climate change through work in our forests, at our mills and through the products we make."

But it appears the association has an ulterior motive. Its climate commitments are spelled out on a website page that focuses on the role of climate change in caribou population declines, and argues a federal strategy to protect at-risk caribou, in part through habitat management, "won't work and will hurt local economies."

There's no climate science denial, but there is caribou science denial. To downplay the urgent need to protect caribou and manage habitat, and to diminish their own role in boreal caribou declines, forest industry associations are using tactics the fossil fuel industry uses to sow doubt and confusion about scientific evidence.

These "strategies of manufactured uncertainty" have "successfully delayed efforts to effectively address the decline of boreal caribou, which is protected under federal, provincial and territorial legislation, and inhibited meaningful dialogue about socially acceptable conservation solutions," according to a new report in the June issue of Wildlife Society Bulletin, "From Climate to Caribou: How Manufactured Uncertainty is Impacting Wildlife Management."

The report, by researchers from Ontario Nature and the Universities of Guelph and Toronto, further states that while the fossil fuel sector is the most prominent purveyor of science denial - with five companies and organizations alone spending US$115 million a year "to avoid new climate policy and regulation" - similar tactics have been used in debates over regulating lead paint, tobacco, DDT, acid rain and chlorofluorocarbons. All employ a "multi-pronged strategy of denial": deny the problem exists, deny its key causes and claim that resolving the problem is too costly.

The strategy also includes vilification of and personal attacks against those who advocate for change. Some have cast efforts to improve caribou habitat policy as "eco-terrorism" and "environmental extremism."

Focusing on Ontario, the researchers show the strategy has been employed in the conflict between industrial logging and boreal caribou conservation. Boreal caribou are listed as "threatened" and are protected under federal species at risk legislation. "Yet, as scientific understanding of the decline of boreal caribou populations has become clearer, and agreement among scientists and governments about habitat management requirements has increased, campaigns of denial have intensified in the public sphere," the report says.

The Ontario Forest Industries Association and others deny boreal caribou are at risk, despite numerous studies showing they are, and claim that "without an adequate understanding how woodland caribou herds use the landscape - let alone a firm grasp of the differences between ecotypes of the subspecies - it is not possible to develop science-based policy."

The report quotes forestry interests that claim industrial logging does not harm caribou and, in fact, may help them, despite contrary evidence from numerous peer-reviewed studies.

A number of organizations, politicians and media outlets have also argued protecting caribou will kill jobs and wreak economic havoc. However, research shows that other factors, such as "structural changes in the demand for forest products, high labour and energy costs, and decline of real net investment in the sector" have caused recent forest industry downturns. Ultimately, if economic growth must come at the cost of boreal caribou survival, it isn't sustainable.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, which assesses species and makes recommendations about their listing under the Species at Risk Act, has examined the available evidence and concluded 81 per cent of boreal caribou herds are in decline and all woodland caribou ecotypes - boreal, mountain and migratory - are diminishing in Canada. A main cause for boreal caribou decline is habitat degradation, mostly from industrial activity, and consequent changes in predator-prey dynamics.

Caribou play an important role in forest ecosystems. With all we know about the animals and how to protect them, we must resist industry's false narrative. As the report concludes, "the debate should now focus on goal-setting and implementation of caribou conservation strategies, including range plans and protection of critical habitat, which have the highest likelihood of achieving long-term caribou persistence while minimizing effects to jobs in the sector."
(c) 2018 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co_founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.








Tell Me More About Civility
The Trump administration* found a disgusting new way to use the official White House Twitter account.
By Charles P. Pierce

Tell Me More About Civility The Trump administration* found a disgusting new way to use the official White House Twitter account. These are from the official White House account on the electric Twitter machine. Your tax dollars at work.

And also...

Go ahead, somebody, lecture me about civility one more time. I dare you.

When they go low, bury them in elephant dung.
(c) 2018 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...



"Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."
~~~ George Santayana









Why Ocasio-Cortez' Platform Is So Great
By David Swanson

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' platform is dramatically better than many may realize. It tackles the greatest evil in existence in a way that no other big-2 congressional candidate's website does and which most do not even mention. And in doing so, it makes serious much of the rest of her socialist platform in a way that even presidential candidate Bernie Sanders did not - a way promoted by the peace movement, the Poor People's Campaign, and Black Lives Matter.

War and war preparations eat up 60% of the funding that Congress members decide on each year. Most candidates, including most progressives, refuse to mention that, even while (in some cases) proposing to somehow fund massive human and environmental programs. When he ran for president, Bernie Sanders was willing to accept the endlessly repeated label of "Tax Increaser" rather than say he'd cut a small fraction of the military to pay for everything he wanted.

By labeling her foreign policy platform "A Peace Economy," Ocasio-Cortez, using a phrase popular with the peace movement, makes the financial connection without shying away from the immoral and criminal and counter-productive character of war. The fact is that war endangers rather than protecting, erodes rights, militarizes police and society, destroys the natural environment, directly kills and injures and traumatizes and harms millions, and - on top of that - does the most damage through the diversion of resources from where they could do good. War is the only place where enough money sits with which to try to protect the environment or to guarantee education or retirement or other basic rights. Candidates who do not mention war spending are not serious about the things they do mention. Many, like the incumbent Ocasio-Cortez defeated, are in the pay of weapons makers as well as just about every other corporate interest.

But there are exceptions, you say! There are progressive leaders! There is The Resistance! Is there? Elizabeth Warren's platform tells us right at the top that some wars are "unavoidable" or in the "national interest." Her top priority is that wars be paid for up-front rather than creating debt. In the next breath she's bragging about weapons production in Massachusetts. Warren wants war-plus, that is: militarism AND diplomacy. She moves on to support for imperialism in the Pacific and fear-mongering over North Korea, justifying troop presence because of existing troop presence plus "economic interests." Offering hypocritical accusations against China as well as North Korea as examples of her desired "diplomacy," Warren proposes militarism plus diplomacy plus sanctions (a very diplomatic tool, don't you know) as the three-part answer.

Warren jumps to pushing Russiagate propaganda, declaring that Russia "hacked" Democratic party emails revealing the DNC's slanting of its primaries against Bernie Sanders (although she doesn't mention that that is what they revealed) and declaring this action to be (1) fact because "intelligence" agencies say so, and (2) an "attack." But before you can take in the WWIII significance, Warren is on to demonizing Iran and backing deadly sanctions there, and supporting U.S. wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Despite massive public pressure to improve, Warren's position on Palestine remains pathetic and delusional, including imagining that some geographic location remains for a second state in a two-state "solution."

To her credit, Warren supports concrete steps to reduce nuclear weapons. But she concludes her platform with more unproven and hypocritical accusations against Russia and the very dangerous and reckless leveling of threats against anyone engaged in "cyberattacks."

Well, sure, you say, there are always exceptions. Warren is an outlier, one of those rare progressives who, like the Women's March, the Climate March, the March for Our Lives, MSNBC, the DNC, and almost every Democratic member of Congress has accidentally missed out on understanding what war and peace are all about. Still, she has the best intentions, and with a little help, and only a small reduction in payoffs from war profiteers, she'd be just as great as, say, Bernie Sanders.

But have you read Bernie Sanders' platform? He, too, opens by proposing that war is sometimes necessary, which is not true. Then he lists wars he opposed the start of and did little to try to end, and wars he supported the start of, came belatedly to regret, and did little to try to end. His top priority is that wars be fought by and funded by a coalition of countries. To his credit, he proposes a shift of some unspecified degree somewhat away from militarism and somewhat toward peaceful foreign relations. But he views the cost of war through U.S. troops and U.S. dollars, never mentioning the vast majority of the victims of U.S. wars. And he goes on about how attacking Afghanistan was justified as an act of revenge (which is not legal, moral, effective - or consistent, as many places could have been attacked on the same basis). Then he jumps to false accusations against Iran, albeit supporting a written agreement rather than a war. His statement on Palestine is nearly identical to Warren's. He fear mongers terrorism, but wants war with murder only, no torture, no lawless imprisonment, no erosion of civil liberties. He wants wars that follow the rule of law, despite the unmentionable fact that under the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact all of these wars are illegal.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you may reply, there are always exceptions, and Sanders has improved on matters of peace and war since his last campaign ended and his possible next campaign has not yet begun. But surely I'm cherry picking. Why don't I look to an actual peace advocate like Congresswoman Barbara Lee who votes against wars and sometimes tries to end them? Despite her webpage being seven years old, Lee's position is indeed far superior to, if shorter and less specific than, Warren's or Sanders'. She focuses on spending and opposes war-making in general. She opposes "preemption," even while in the end believing it theoretically possible to "exhaust all peaceful diplomatic means."It isn't.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' platform is also shorter than Warren's or Sanders', but clear enough so that many specific questions have been answered in general. She avoids mealy-mouthed Washingtonian-nazistic terms like "preemption" (which, in fairness, Lee was quoting from Bush) and denounces aggressive wars as "acts of aggression." Without ever proclaiming herself to be yet another "outsider" in politics, she writes (or approves her staff's or volunteers' writing) as someone who actually has yet to be corrupted by the war-making capital of the earth.

"Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003," she says, "the United States has entangled itself in war and occupation throughout the Middle East and North Africa. As of 2018, we are currently involved in military action in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Hundreds of thousands of civilians in these countries have been killed either as collateral damage from American strikes or from the instability caused by U.S. interventions. Millions more have fled their broken countries, contributing to the global refugee crisis."

Already in one paragraph, Ocasio-Cortez has done six previously impossible-post-Kucinich things before breakfast. She's opposed the wars as a whole. She's listed them. She's included Yemen. She's included Libya. She's named the primary victims and the guilty party. She's named the cause of the refugee crisis. She continues:

"This continued action damages America's legitimacy as a force for good, creates new generations of potential terrorists, and erodes American prosperity. In times when we're told that there's not enough money, Republicans and corporate Democrats seem to find the cash to fund a $1.1 trillion fighter jet program or a $1.7 trillion-dollar nuclear weapon "modernization" program. The costs are extreme: the Pentagon's budget for 2018 is $700 billion dollars: to continue fighting an endless War on Terror and refighting the Cold War with a new arms race that nobody can win."
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is here doing what one generally has to retire in order to do: she's pointing out that the wars create more enemies and hostility and terrorism and danger, rather than more safety and security and peace. The wars are counter-productive on their own terms, on top of everything else wrong with them. She also goes after the "at least they're job-creators" sociopathic line by pointing out that in fact they damage U.S. prosperity along with U.S. moral authority. This is a candidate from a district with much poverty denouncing in the rarest of ways one of the chief causes of that poverty, in a manner that we don't tend to see in candidates from Washington, D.C., suburbs, but which we might start to see from some other places if we make it known that Ocasio-Cortez has this platform and wins on it. She goes on:
"According to the Constitution, the right to declare war belongs to the legislative body, and yet many of these global acts of aggression have never once been voted on by Congress. In some cases, we've even acted unilaterally, without the backing of the United Nations."
In fact, there has been no U.N. authorization for any of the wars in her list above. The U.N. authorized a rescue-from-a-fictional-threat in Libya, not an overthrow. And the Kellogg-Briand Pact does not include the loopholes found in the U.N. Charter that is so often imagined must sometimes apply. But for Ocasio-Cortez to even mention the U.N. Charter is a giant leap forward. Watch what happened when I tried to get Senator Tim Kaine to acknowledge the U.N. Charter's existence. Alexandria goes on:
"America should not be in the business of destabilizing countries. While we may see ourselves as liberators, the world increasingly views us as occupiers and aggressors. Alexandria believes that we must end the 'forever war' by bringing our troops home, and ending the air strikes that perpetuate the cycle of terrorism throughout the world."
Several more breakthroughs here, that is: statements common in the peace movement but unheard of on television or Congressional campaign platforms. She says the U.S. is in the business of destabilizing countries. She cites the world's opinion. She proposes ending the wars (and foreign basing?). She does NOT mean replacing troops with aerial bombing, because she says the bombing must end. And she points out that the bombing generates terrorism rather than snuffing it out. She concludes:
"By bringing our troops home, we can begin to heal the wounds we're opening by continuing military engagement. We can begin to repair our image. We can reunite military families, separated by repeated deployments. We can become stronger by building stronger diplomatic and economic ties, and by saving our armed forces only for when they're truly needed."
And she blows it in the end by proposing that war is sometimes needed. It is not. Yet how far she has come, or failed to retreat, in comparison with the Congress she hopes to join! And think of the legislative actions she must take if she believes in her platform and has the courage of her convictions. She must reintroduce and lobby for long-unseen economic conversion legislation. She must use the War Powers Act to force a vote on each illegal, immoral, disastrous war she has listed and any others like them, she must seek to reduce military funding - perhaps creating legislation along with her one Congressional backer Ro Khanna along the lines of his recent attempted amendment that would have cut 5%. She must seek to block weapons sales abroad and to local police. She must introduce legislation that would make the U.S. military subject to environmental agreements that everyone else is subject to. She must work to replace military "service" as a means to citizenship with free college as a right of the same. She must support diplomacy even when Trump does it. But she must support impeaching Trump for the reasons she already does plus the reasons included in her "Peace Economy" platform.

One Congress member cannot do any of this without a massive public movement that compels other Congress members to do so too. But part of so moving them must be showing our support for one among them who takes the lead. Right now the future Congress member in the lead is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
(c) 2018 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.








Kiddie Jails
Stop in the name of love...
By Jane Stillwater

In the entire history of the whole wide world, has any other country (besides the good old USA) ever before had the cruel and cold heartlessness to drag hundreds of sweet little human babies off to jail? What would Diana Ross have to say about this? "Think it ov-v-er..."

Has America just reached a new world-record low? But -- oh -- no -- wait. Not exactly. The Nazis already did that. And didn't some slavers on the Ivory Coast do it too? Does America really want to be in the same class as, say, Josef Stalin or Pol Pot or that Saudi Arabia guy who is always murdering Yemeni children for fun and profit? Or those evil Zionists who threw young Ahed Tamimi in jail? Apparently so. "Baby baby I'm aware of where you go..." each time a child is jailed. Huddled on cold concrete floors without love or their parents. America goes to Hell in a hand-basket, that's where. "Think it ov-v-er..."

So yesterday I went out to the West County Detention Center (the # 71 bus will deposit you right at its doorstep) to see what was up. Apparently plans are afoot to house immigrants inside of that structure or else in tents next to it. Didn't see any immigrant babies. Didn't see any tents. Didn't see much of anything -- except for a whole bunch of gigantic business warehouses located right down the street. Warehousing people right next to warehousing things? How appropriate is that?

But then I discovered that the detention facility abuts right up against the Pinole Regional Park -- so I hiked around that for a while and took photos of what I could see of the detention center from the rear. Not much.

I also learned that this whole area used to belong to the Ohlone Indians. How ironic is that! Now the Ohlone Native Americans are long gone -- but they are about to be replaced with even more Native Americans. Lest we forget, most immigrants from Mexico and Honduras are Native Americans too. Shouldn't they have first dibs to this land instead of having to sneak into it like thieves in the night? Shouldn't the Ohlone and the Cheyenne and the Sioux also be protesting the cruel and unusual incarceration and torture of their brothers' children? And, BTW, shouldn't the rest of us be protesting this too? We are all our brothers' keepers. "Send not for whom the bell tolls..."

And to quote Diana Ross again here, "Come see about me -- see about your baby." And The Supremes are also right on message when they sing about love. Love is so much more better than hate. Hell, love is better than anything.

But forget about love. This whole miserable ugly sewer-like stain and blot on the history of America is basically ALL ABOUT MONEY. If any of those cruelly-incarcerated immigrant families had been born with silver spoons in their mouths, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. They would have been flown to Washington in private jets and put up in the best hotels. They would have been feted by Congress and served state dinners at the White House using the good china -- no matter what they have done. Members of M-13? Not a problem.

For example, both Netanyahu the Butcher of Gaza and that evil Saudi prince who murders babies in Yemen are treated like royalty in Washington. Why aren't these hard-working decent immigrant families coming to America given the same treatment instead of having their children cruelly ripped away? Ha. In America today, the rich always get richer -- and always at the expense of you and me. Always. It's the law. Just ask the Supreme Court.

PS: If you too want to go "see about your baby" and caravan to one of the many detention centers in the United States that taxpayers are paying for instead of sending their kids to Harvard, there is information on how to do it at http://caravans4ninos.com.

Just form up a caravan, collect some stuffies and blankies for these sad and lonely children and off you go. And thanks.

PPS: And the slogan on my favorite red T-shirt is still as true today as it was the first time I washed it, a decade ago. "Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World Peace in one generation!"
(c) 2018 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!





The Dead Letter Office...





Jeff gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Generalstaatsanwalt Sessions

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 idea of kidnapping children and making them pay for a legal representation or going without, 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 07-27-2018. We salute you Herr Sesions, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump






How To Prevent Future Trumps
By Robert Reich

Why did so many working class voters choose a selfish, thin-skinned, petulant, lying, narcissistic, boastful, megalomaniac for president?

It's important to know, because we need to stop more Trumps in the future.

The answer lies in the interplay between deep-seated racism and stagnant and declining wages. Both must be addressed.

Some white working class men and women were - and still are - receptive to Trump's bigotry. But what made them receptive? Racism and xenophobia aren't exactly new to American life. Fears of blacks and immigrants have been with us since the founding of the Republic.

What changed was the economy. Since the 1980s, the wages and economic prospects of the typical American worker have stagnated. Nearly 80 percent now live paycheck to paycheck, and those paychecks have grown less secure.

Meanwhile, all the economy's gains have gone to the richest ten percent, mostly the top 1 percent. Wealthy individuals and big corporations have, in turn, invested some of those gains into politics.

As a result, big money now calls the shots in Washington - getting subsidies, tax breaks, tax loopholes (even Trump promised to close the "carried interest" loophole yet it remains), and bailouts.

The near meltdown of Wall Street in 2008 caused a recession that cost millions their jobs, homes, and savings. But the Street got bailed out and not a single Wall Street executive went to jail.

In the two years leading up to the 2016 election, I revisited many of the places I had visited when I was labor secretary in the 1990s.

People told me the system was "rigged" against them. A surprising number said they planned to vote either for Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump - the two anti-establishment candidates who promised to "shake up" Washington.

But Trump's racism and xenophobia focused the cumulative economic rage on scapegoats that had nothing to do with its causes. It was hardly the first time in history a demagogue has used this playbook.

If America doesn't respond to the calamity that's befallen the working class, we will have Trumps as far as the eye can see.

A few Democrats are getting the message - pushing ambitious ideas like government-guaranteed full employment, single-payer health care, industry-wide collective bargaining, and a universal basic income.

We also need ways to finance these things, such as a carbon tax, a tax on Wall Street trades, and a progressive tax on wealth.

To accomplish all this we have to get big money out of politics.

Even if "Citizens United" isn't overruled, big money's influence can be limited with generous public financing of elections, full disclosure of the source of all campaign contributions, and a clampdown on the revolving door between business and government.

Trump isn't the cause of what's happened to America. He's the consequence - the product of years of stagnant wages and big money's corruption of our democracy combined with a long legacy of racism and bigotry.

If we really want to stop Trump and prevent future Trumps, we will need to address these causes of Trump's rise.
(c) 2018 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 www.robertreich.org.









America The Failed State
By Chris Hedges

TORONTO-Our "corporate coup d'etat in slow motion," as the writer John Ralston Saul calls it, has opened a Pandora's box of evils that is transforming America into a failed state. The "unholy trinity of corruption, impunity and violence," he said, can no longer be checked. The ruling elites abjectly serve corporate power to exploit and impoverish the citizenry. Democratic institutions, including the courts, are mechanisms of corporate repression. Financial fraud and corporate crime are carried out with impunity. The decay is exacerbated by the state's indiscriminate use of violence abroad and at home, where rogue law enforcement agencies harass and arrest citizens and the undocumented and often kill the unarmed. A depressed and enraged population, trapped by chronic unemployment and underemployment, is overdosing on opioids and beset by rising suicide rates. It engages in acts of nihilistic violence, including mass shootings. Hate groups proliferate. The savagery, mayhem and grotesque distortions familiar to those on the outer reaches of empire increasingly characterize American existence. And presiding over it all is the American version of Ubu Roi, playwright Alfred Jarry's gluttonous, idiotic, vulgar, narcissistic and infantile king, who turned politics into burlesque.

"Congress works through corruption," Saul, the author of books such as "Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West" and "The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World," said when we spoke in Toronto. "I look at Congress and I see the British Parliament in the late 18th century, the rotten boroughs. Did they have elections? Yes. Were the elections exciting? Yes. They were extremely exciting."

Rotten boroughs were the 19th-century version of gerrymandering. The British oligarchs created electoral maps through which depopulated boroughs-50 of them had fewer than 50 voters-were easily dominated by the rich to maintain control of the House of Commons. In the United States, our ruling class has done much the same, creating districts where incumbents, who often run unchallenged, return to Congress election after election. Only about 40 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are actually contested. And given the composition of the Supreme Court, especially with Donald Trump poised to install another justice, it will get worse.

The corruption of the British system was amended in what Saul called "a wave upwards." The 1832 Reform Act abolished a practice in which oligarchs, such as Charles Howard, the 11th Duke of Norfolk, controlled the election results in 11 boroughs. The opening up of the British parliamentary system took nearly a century. In the United States, Saul said, the destruction of democracy is part of "a wave downwards."

The two political parties are one party-the corporate party. They do not debate substantive issues. They each support the expansion of imperial wars, the bloated military budget, the dictates of global capitalism, the bailing out of Wall Street, punishing austerity measures, assaulting basic civil liberties through wholesale government surveillance and the abolition of due process, and an electoral process that has cemented into place a system of legalized bribery. They battle over cultural tropes such as abortion, gay rights and prayer in schools. We elect politicians based on how we are made to feel about them by the public relations industry. Politics is anti-politics.

The Republican Party built its political base in these culture wars around Christian fascists, nativists and white supremacists. The Democratic Party built its base around those who supported workers' rights, multiculturalism, diversity and gender equality. The base of each party was used and manipulated by elites. The Republican Party elites had no intention of banning abortion or turning America into a "Christian nation." The Democratic Party elites had no intention of protecting workers from predatory corporatism. Everyone was sold out. The ascendancy of a populist right, dominated by racists and bigots, is the inevitable product of the corporate coup d'etat, Saul said. He warned we should not be complacent because of President Trump's imbecility. Trump is immensely dangerous. "The insipid," Thomas Mann wrote in "The Magic Mountain," "is not synonymous with the harmless."

"How could a civilization devoted to structure, expertise and answers evolve into other than a coalition of professional groups?" Saul asked in "Voltaire's Bastards." "How, then, could the individual citizen not be seen as a serious impediment to getting on with business? This has been obscured by the proposition of painfully simplified abstract notions which are divorced from any social reality and presented as values."

"The rational elites, obsessed by structure, have become increasingly authoritarian in a modern, administrative way," he wrote in another section of the book. "The citizens feel insulted and isolated. They look for someone to throw stones on their behalf. Any old stone will do. The cruder the better to crush the self-assurance of the obscure men and their obscure methods. The New Right, with its parody of democratic values, has been a crude but devastating stone with which to punish the modern elites."

All despotic regimes, Saul said, carry out their final battle for control by contending against public officials and government bureaucrats, the so-called deep state, which views the rise to power of demagogues and their sleazy enablers with alarm. These traditional courtiers, often cynical, ambitious, amoral and subservient to corporate power, nevertheless engage in the decorum and language of democracy. A few with a conscience win minor skirmishes to slow the rise of tyranny. Despots see these courtiers and democratic institutions, no matter how anemic, as a threat. This explains the assaults on the State Department, the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education and the courts. Despots use their appointees to undermine and destroy these institutions, mocking their existence and questioning the loyalty of the professionals who staff them. The reviled and neutered public employee surrenders or walks away in despair. Last year, the entire senior level of management officials resigned at the State Department. Resignations continue to bleed the diplomatic core, as they do at other agencies and departments, and last week included James D. Melville Jr., the U.S. ambassador to Estonia, and Susan Thornton, the nominee to be assistant secretary for East Asian affairs.

"For the President to say the EU was 'set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,' or that 'NATO is as bad as NAFTA' is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it's time to go," Melville said in the post that announced his resignation.

Once a process of deconstruction is complete, the system calcifies into tyranny. There remain no internal mechanisms, even in name, to carry out reform. This corrosive process is being played out daily in Trump's Twitter rages, lies, smears and the barrage of insults he levels against public servants, including some of his own appointees, such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as well as institutions such as the FBI.

Witnessing this, Saul berates the American press too, which he said willingly plays its part in the charade for ratings and advertising dollars.

"Trump gives these astonishingly Mussolini-ish press conferences," he said. "He says to the press, 'Shut up. Stop!' The press screams at him like a mob, a bunch of cattle. How can they be taken seriously? It is like the end of the Roman Republic. Important political leaders from the Senate, along with their rivals, would move around Rome with 50 people to protect them. Scenes, exactly like Trump's interactions with the press, defined the end of the Roman Republic. Nobody knew what was going on. There was no dignity. You can't have a democracy without a level of respect and dignity. You only have chaos. This chaos eventually leads to a call for autocratic order. Trump benefits from the confusion, even though he resembles a cartoonish figure out of a funny novel, a character from Jean Genet's 'The Balcony,' although without the self-awareness."

Trump's decision to launch a trade war-Canada will impose punitive measures on $12.63 billion worth of imported American goods in response-is an example of the damage a despot who has little understanding of the economy, politics, international relations or law can do. These self-inflicted wounds, Saul warned, see despots intensify attacks on the demonized and the vulnerable, such as Muslims and the undocumented. Despots frantically scapegoat others for their mess, often inciting violence among their supporters to placate an inchoate rage.

"I've always opposed trade deals not because I oppose trade," Saul said, "or because I thought they were about getting a fair balance in the trade, but because the trade deals were about something else. They were about deregulation. They were about handing power to corporations and banks. They weren't about trade. Trump has again and again attacked the Canadian dairy system. Nobody has stopped to ask him, 'Why are you opposing this instead of adopting it for yourself?' A lot of American dairy farmers would like to have the Canadian system."

"The free market approach to agriculture produces a surplus that drives prices down and destroys the income of farmers," Saul said. "There are two ways of responding to this. One of them is subsidizing. Europe, following the old social democratic approach, subsidizes their agricultural sector. This drives down the income of farmers, so [the governments] subsidize [agriculture] more. They have enormous surpluses. Periodically, they're throwing millions of tomatoes on the streets."

"The United States claims it embraces the free market, but it does the same thing as the Europeans," Saul said. "It too heavily subsidizes the agricultural industry. This leads to American dairy farmers producing too much milk. This economic argument says the way to win is to mass-produce cheap goods. This is the Walmart argument. You're not selling your milk or cheese for enough to make a living. The end result is, even though you subsidize them, the farmers go bankrupt. They commit suicide. You have terrible unhappiness in the [U.S.] dairy community."

"We have a very efficient management system in Canada that keeps the prices up, not so high that working-class people can't buy milk and cheese, but it keeps the prices up high enough that farmers can make a proper living," Saul said. "Because farmers can make a proper living they're not committing suicide. What Trump is saying to Canadians is that they should give up a system that works so Canadian farmers can commit suicide with American farmers."

"The problem with the Western world is surplus production," Saul said. "We're in surplus production in almost every area. But there is a terrible distribution system where people around the globe suffer and die from starvation. This is a distribution problem, not a production problem."

Saul said the imposition of tariffs and the crude insults Trump uses against American allies-he called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "dishonest and weak"-are rapidly destroying America's clout and standing in the global hierarchy. This behavior is having very negative political, economic and social consequences for the United States.

"The whole world, the Western world in particular, invested enormously in the idea that the United States is the leader," Saul said. "The idea that the United States is to be admired. What's sad about it is Americans take it for granted that the world loves them. They've never analyzed the responsibilities that come with being the leader. It's what you expect from a good parent. You act in a certain way. People want to identify with the United States. It's been that way since the Second World War. All this is being thrown away. Like or dislike Obama, he rebuilt a great part of the world's admiration for the United States. I know what his failures were. But I also know his strengths. He was a president who was capable of acting and talking like the intelligent, civilized American that everyone wants to admire."

"But there's always a shadow to the bright tower," Saul went on. "Trump's feeding that shadow. 'Americans are stupid. Americans are corrupt. Americans are not educated. Americans can't be trusted.' The whole list. The longer the chaos goes on, the worse it gets."

The collapse of the legislative and executive branches of government has now been accompanied by the collapse of the judiciary. The loss of an independent judiciary, Saul warned, is especially ominous.

"The biggest problem in the United States is a very powerful and deeply corrupted Supreme Court," Saul said. "This will set patterns for decades. It will be hard to undo the evil being put into place."

Saul despaired, at the same time, over the Trump administration's attack on public education, which he called "the most fundamental service of government when it comes to a democracy."

"What holds democracy up?" Saul asked. "What makes democracy work? Public education is number one. A well-educated citizen. [Secretary of Education] Betsy DeVos is undoing that. There is a special place for her in hell."

U.S. trading partners and allies such as Canada and European states will, he said, reduce their dependence on the American market. The traditional strategic and political ties to Washington will be steadily weakened. And when the next financial crash comes, and Saul expects one to come, the United States will be bereft of partners when it needs them most.

"If you treat your closest allies as a threat, who is going to stand with you?" he asked.
(c) 2018 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Keep up with Chris Hedges' latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/chris_hedges.




The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Gary Markstein ~~~








To End On A Happy Note...





Have You Seen This...






Parting Shots...





Foreigners Unsure Why Anyone Would Want To Travel To U.S. At This Point
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Shortly after the United States Supreme Court upheld Donald J. Trump's controversial travel ban, millions of people from other countries expressed puzzlement that anyone would want to travel to the United States at this juncture.

In interviews with people from around the world, respondents said that the travel ban struck them as unnecessary, because the United States was not currently on the list of the top hundred countries to which they would consider travelling.

When asked to name the reasons they felt that a travel ban was superfluous, many of those interviewed cited the United States's gun violence and crumbling infrastructure, as well as its broken educational and health-care systems, while others singled out its President's startling disrespect for democratic norms and human rights.

Given those views, most of the foreigners interviewed said they found the news of the Supreme Court's decision baffling. "When I heard that the United States was having a travel ban, I assumed that was to keep people from leaving," one respondent said, echoing the sentiments of many.
(c) 2018 Andy Borowitz




Email:uncle_ernie@issuesandalibis.org


The Gross National Debt


Iraq Deaths Estimator


The Animal Rescue Site






















Issues & Alibis Vol 18 # 26 (c) 07/06/2018


Issues & Alibis is published in America every Friday. We are not affiliated with, nor do we accept funds from any political party. We are a non_profit group that is dedicated to the restoration of the American Republic. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of Issues & Alibis.Org.

In regards to copying anything from this site remember that everything here is copyrighted. Issues & Alibis has been given permission to publish everything on this site. When this isn't possible we rely on the "Fair Use" copyright law provisions. If you copy anything from this site to reprint make sure that you do too. We ask that you get our permission to reprint anything from this site and that you provide a link back to us. Here is the "Fair Use" provision.

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."