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In This Edition

Norman Solomon reports, "The Empire Strikes Back At The Left In Buffalo And Cleveland."

Ralph Nader gives, "Mind-Stretching Summertime Book Recommendations."

Jesse Jackson says, "Voting Rights: The Movement For Justice Will Not Be Deterred."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Can GOP Autocracy Outlaw American Democracy?"

William Rivers Pitt says, "It's Time To Stop Trying To Redeem Patriotism."

John Nichols concludes, "Ron Johnson Needs To Come With A Warning Label."

James Donahue explores, "The Great American Oligarchy."

David Swanson seeks, "The Way Between."

David Suzuki wonders, "Are World Leaders Waking Up To The Urgency Of The Climate Crisis?"

Charles P. Pierce reports, "The Company Behind the Keystone XL Pipeline Would Like $15 Billion Of Your Money, Please."

Juan Cole reports, "Kuwait Is The Hottest Place On Earth; Lytton, Canada Was Right Behind It, And Then It Burned Down; This Is Not Normal."

Robert Reich explains, "Real Patriotism On This July 4th."

Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan examine, "Juneteenth, July 4th, And The Vestiges Of Slavery In America."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Out-of-Practice Trump Forgets To Strand Rally Crowd In Parking Lot," but first" Uncle Ernie wonders, "Are Time Bombs Ticking Away In The Arctic?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Gary Markstein, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Paul Souders, Salwan Georges, Mandel Ngan, Alex Edelman, Anna Moneymaker, Alana Adetola, Karen Bleier, Shannon Stapleton, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Are Time Bombs Ticking Away In The Arctic?
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"Ensembles continuing to suggest the potential for yet another significant Western heatwave in 7-10 days, this time centered more directly on northern/central California (though would be hotter than usual elsewhere as well, including up West Coast into BC. ~~~ David Swain ~ Weather West

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

Away out west from California to northern Canada they are having a heat wave like no other since, perhaps, the time when dinosaurs roamed the arctic! And guess what? There's another one on it's way!

The next event is still too far out for forecasters to nail down details but meteorologists said preliminary reports indicate conditions won't be as severe as they were in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Canada where hundreds of people died amid sweltering record-breaking temperatures.

"The ENS and GEFS suites continue to advertise a 1.5-2sigma 500mb Ridge taking hold on the Southwest next week, which would put much of California, and the Desert in a significant heatwave," Remy Mermelstein, a researcher at Cornell University's Environmental Systems Lab wrote on Twitter, referring to weather forecast models. "Not as bad as the last one, but not too fun."

The forecast from the National Weather Service's Bay Area office also stated, "It should be noted that this round of heat will not be as extreme as what the PacNW just saw, but hot nonetheless."

And finally here's a bit of global warming that you probably never considered and while it's just a sci-fi movie it still makes some good points. I'm talking about the just released "The Tomorrow War" on Amazon's prime video. The Tomorrow War tells the tale of a ship load of planet clearing monters that have been trapped in the ice is northern Russian in a ship that crashed a 1000 years ago and thanks to global warming it thaws out and releases the monsters on the world!

The Tomorrow War is a time-travel story about a hero sent from one year to another in order to stop a global threat. The twist this time around is that the hero is sent forward in time from the present, rather than backward from a post-apocalyptic landscape. To fight for 7 days in a world 30 years in the future where humans are fighting a losing war against a horde of alien monsters known as "White Spikes."

The "White Spikes" are named for the bone-like projectiles they shoot from their limbs. The Spikes don't appear to be particularly intelligent: They don't use tools, and until late in the film, it's not even clear how they arrived on the planet. But they are winning the battle against humanity, and projections show that our species has precious little time to live. So, in order to recruit more fighters to keep the war effort going, the humans of the future look to the past, drafting mostly inexperienced present-day folks to fight and die against the Spikes. I'll leave at that point so as not to spoil it for the folks that haven't seen it. But in real life there are various real diseases that are trapped in the melting arctic ice that are every bit as deadly as the "White Spikes." Viruses that we have no immunity against, viruses that could make Covid look like the good old days!


04-24-1930 ~ 07-05-2021
Thanks for the direction!

11-14-1950 ~ 07-05-2021
Thanks for the music!

04-12-1957 ~ 07-06-2021
Thanks for the film!

06-24-1936 ~ 07-07-2021
Thanks for the film!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

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

Nina Turner and India Walton

The Empire Strikes Back At The Left In Buffalo And Cleveland
By Norman Solomon

The two biggest cities on the shores of Lake Erie are now centers of political upheaval. For decades, Buffalo and Cleveland have suffered from widespread poverty and despair in the midst of urban decay. Today, the second-largest cities in New York and Ohio are battlegrounds between activists fighting for progressive change and establishment forces determined to prevent it.

For Buffalo's entrenched leaders, a shocking crisis arrived out of the blue on June 22 when socialist India Walton won the Democratic primary for mayor, handily defeating a 15-year incumbent with a deplorable track record. "I am a coalition builder," Walton said in her victory speech that night. But for the city's power brokers, she was a sudden disaster.

"This is organizing," Walton said as rejoicing supporters cheered. "When we organize, we win. Today is only the beginning. From the very start, I said this is not about making India Walton mayor of Buffalo -- this is about building the infrastructure to challenge every damn seat. I'm talking about committee seats, school board, county council. All that we are doing in this moment is claiming what is rightfully ours. We are the workers. We do the work. And we deserve a government that works with and for us."

To the people running City Hall, the 38-year-old victor seemed to come out of nowhere. Actually, she had come out of grassroots activism and a campaign that focused on key issues like "food access," "pandemic recovery," education, climate, housing and public safety. And for corporate elites accustomed to having their hands on Buffalo's levers of power, there would not be a GOP fallback. Mayor Byron Brown had appeared to be such a shoo-in for a fifth term that no Republican bothered to run, so India Walton will be the only name on the November ballot.

Alarm sirens went off immediately after election night. The loudest and most prominent came from wealthy (net worth $150 million) real-estate developer Carl Paladino, a strident Trump supporter and former Republican nominee for governor, who became notorious in 2016 for racist public comments about Michelle and Barack Obama. Walton's victory incensed Paladino, who made it clear that he vastly preferred the black incumbent to the black challenger. "I will do everything I can to destroy her candidacy," Paladino said, and he urged fellow business leaders in Buffalo to unite behind Brown as a write-in candidate.

In tacit alliance with Paladino while keeping him at arm's-length, Brown announced on Monday evening that he will mount a write-in campaign to stay in the mayor's office. Brown cited among his mayoral achievements "the fact that the tax rate in Buffalo is the lowest it's been in over 25 years." Then he began scaremongering.

"I have also heard from voters that there is tremendous fear that has spread across this community," Brown said. "People are fearful about the future of our city. They are fearful about the future of their families. They are fearful about the future of their children. And they have said to me that they do not want a radical socialist occupying the mayor's office in Buffalo City Hall. You know, we know the difference between socialism and democracy. We are going to fight for democracy in the city of Buffalo. The voters have said that they don't want an unqualified inexperienced radical socialist trying to learn on the job on the backs of the residents of this community. We will not let it happen. It will not stand."

Such attacks, with McCarthyite echoes of Trumpism, are likely to be at the core of Brown's strategy for winning the general election. But he'll be in conflict with the formal apparatus of his party in Buffalo. After the write-in campaign announcement, the chair of the Erie County Democratic Party issued an unequivocal statement about India Walton, "to strongly affirm once again that we are with her, now and through the general election in the fall." It added: "Last Tuesday, India proved she has the message and the means to move and inspire the people of Buffalo. It was a historic moment in Western New York politics. The voters heard her message and embraced her vision for the city's future, and we look forward to working with her and her team to cross that final finish line on November 2."

Two hundred miles away, in northeast Ohio, the clash between progressives and corporatists has been escalating for several months, ever since Rep. Marcia Fudge left a congressional seat vacant when she became President Biden's HUD secretary. Early voting begins next week, and the district is so heavily Democratic that the winner of the Aug. 3 primary is virtually certain to fill the vacancy this fall.

On Tuesday, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, Rep. Jim Clyburn, went out of his way to be emphatic that he doesn't want the frontrunner in the race, progressive stalwart Nina Turner, to become a colleague in Congress. Though nominally endorsing Turner's main opponent, Shontel Brown, the clear underlying message was: Stop Turner.

Clyburn went beyond just making an endorsement. He provided some barbed innuendos via an interview with the New York Times, which reported comments that say something about Clyburn's self-concept but nothing really about Turner. "What I try to do is demonstrate by precept and example how we are to proceed as a party," he said. "When I spoke out against sloganeering, like 'Burn, baby, burn' in the 1960s and 'defund the police,' which I think is cutting the throats of the party, I know exactly where my constituents are. They are against that, and I'm against that."

In fact, Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of programs being championed by Turner, none more notably than Medicare for All, a proposal that Clyburn and many of his big funders have worked so hard to block. "Clyburn has vacuumed in more than $1 million from donors in the pharmaceutical industry -- and he previously made headlines vilifying Medicare for All during the 2020 presidential primary," the Daily Poster pointed out on Wednesday.

The corporate money behind Clyburn is of a piece with the forces arrayed against Turner. What she calls "the commodification of health care" is a major reason.

In mid-June, Turner "launched her television spot entitled 'Worry,' in which she talks about how her family's struggle to pay health care bills led her to support Medicare for All," the Daily Poster reported. "The very next day, corporate lobbyists held a Washington fundraiser for Turner's primary opponent, Shontel Brown. Among those headlining the fundraiser was Jerome Murray -- a registered lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association, which has been backing a nationwide campaign to reduce support for Medicare for All."

Whether Clyburn's endorsement will have significant impact on the voting is hard to say, but it signaled that high-ranking Democrats are more determined than ever to keep Turner out of Congress if they possibly can. His move came two weeks after Hillary Clinton endorsed Brown, who has also received endorsements from the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Joyce Beatty, and the chief deputy whip of House Democrats, Rep. Pete Aguilar. On the other hand, a dozen progressive members of the House have endorsed Turner, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ro Khanna, Rashida Tlaib and Jamaal Bowman, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Carmen Yulin Cruz, the former mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico -- who, like Nina Turner, was a national co-chair of the Sanders 2020 presidential campaign -- is a strong supporter of Turner for Congress. This week, summing up the fierce opposition from power brokers who want to prevent a Turner victory, Cruz used words that equally apply to the powerful interests trying to prevent India Walton from becoming the next mayor of Buffalo: "They're afraid of a politician that can't be bought."

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

Mind-Stretching Summertime Book Recommendations
By Ralph Nader

1. Honor Thy Label: Dr. Bronner's Unconventional Journey to a Clean, Green, and Ethical Supply Chain by Gero Leson. Dr. Leson, Bronner's vice president, tells the inside story of pioneering efforts for "building and scaling" ethical production, cooperating with suppliers in Sri Lanka, Ghana, India, Palestine, and beyond, and embracing Fair Trade and Regenerative organic agriculture.

2. To Be A Water Protector: The Rise of the Wiindigoo Slayers by Winona LaDuke. To readers who take water for granted, read LaDuke, indigenous leader, farmer, advocate, and inimitable storyteller about natives who, beset by ruthless extractive corporations, can't take water for granted. Learn about water protectors in action by the few and for the many.

3. When Reagan Sent in the Marines by Patrick J. Sloyan. A Sloyan classic of on the ground reporting in Lebanon, with broader contexts, and a historical contribution in understanding what happened, why, and the consequences. Certainly a required reading by those in the State Department, the Pentagon, Congress, and peace advocates everywhere.

4. The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town by Brian Alexander. This small Ohio community hospital, struggling to continue, reveals, in the hands of master narrator, Alexander, the sickness, greed, rapacity, and cruelty of the so-called health industry. He exposes "the human cost of the war being waged on Americans by the medical industry, politicians, and big businesses." Single-payer anyone? (See:

5. The United States of War: A Global History of America's Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State by David Vine. It takes an anthropologist, who gets into the field, to describe "the powerful forces that have shaped the permanent system of imperial war in which the United States is trapped today." As Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret) declares: "This book will stir your soul - if you have one left - to action."

6. The Case Against George W. Bush by Steven C. Markoff, with a foreword by Richard A. Clarke, who was special assistant to GWB for national security. Markoff doesn't forget the massive war crimes of GWB who, receiving ample lecture and book advance fees, never looks back on the thousands of U.S. soldiers who lost their lives or their health while causing over one million innocent Iraqi deaths and the pulverizing of Iraqi society, which is in chaos to this day. Markoff wants George W. Bush brought to justice. He makes the case with relentless documentation.

7. Defending the Public Enemy: The Life and Legacy of Ramsey Clark by Lonnie T. Brown Jr. From his time as U.S. Attorney General until his recent passing, Ramsey Clark's remarkably brave engagements for human rights, uncompromising due process of law even for a captive dictator, and the plight of the downtrodden, received scant media attention. This book resurrects the story of an authentic, selfless life of a tireless American advocate for global justice. (Also see the documentary: Citizen Clark: A Life of Principle).

8. America's Mighty Medical-Industrial Complex: Negative Impacts and Positive Solutions by Dr. John Geyman. Even if you're not one of the many millions of Americans harmed, defrauded, or denied by the healthcare corporations, the drug companies, and giant taxpayer-subsidized insurers, this clear compelling book will make your blood boil. A former family practitioner, professor of medicine and author of a dozen books on this industry, Dr. Geyman makes the case for Single-payer - comprehensive, lifesaving, less expensive with free choice of physician and hospital. He'll send a free copy of his book, in your name, to your members of Congress if you send him a personal note to your Senator or Representative and demand a considered response. Send your note and the name of your Representative and/or Senators to:

9. Lincolnomics: How President Lincoln Constructed the Great American Economy by John F. Wasik. While revealing as history, Wasik's account about the first Republican President's launches of infrastructure shame the ignorant, obstinate, narcissist Republicans of today who wish instead to build up tyrant Trump's political infrastructure. This is a book to be read and used today.

10. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition). Why not read the dictionary as you read a history or a novel, page by page? It's a wonderful educational immersion that excoriates tedium and opens zillions of windows. (There are also many informative sketches in modern dictionaries).

On the gift shop wall at the American Museum of Tort Law (take a virtual tour at, where there is a sign that declares: "Readers Think and Thinkers Read." They also are more likely to engage in strengthening our deteriorating democracy - a task that is easier than we think. (See, Breaking Through Power, both the book and the eight days at Constitution Hall).

(c) 2021 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

The US Supreme Court on July 1, 2021 upheld controversial Arizona laws that restrict how ballots
can be cast, a decision that could have lasting impact on the voting rights of minorities.

Voting Rights: The Movement For Justice Will Not Be Deterred
Republicans across the country have decided that rather than seeking to win the votes of African Americans and other peoples of color, they would rather pass measures to suppress their vote.
By Jesse Jackson

The right-wing majority on the Supreme Court just undercut the Voting Rights Act again.

Having gutted the section that required pre-approval of state voting laws to protect the rights of minorities to vote in Shelby v. Holder, Republican-appointed justices now have castrated the backup clause - Section 2 - which bans racial discrimination in election practices in Brnovich v. DNC.

The result will open the floodgates even further to the wave of partisan laws that Republicans are pushing in states across the country to suppress the votes of African Americans and other people of color. The right-wing justices continue their assault on the meaning and power of the Voting Rights Act, a triumph of the civil rights movement that Justice Elena Kagan, writing in dissent, noted represents the "best in America."

The reaction against the civil rights movement continues. Every movement for equal justice under the law in this country has been met with a brutal reaction. When reformers tried to limit the spread of slavery into new states coming into the republic, the slave states seceded, launching the Civil War, the deadliest war in American history.

After losing the war, when the federal government began reconstruction to free the slaves and guarantee equal political and economic rights to all, the reaction was brutal, with lynching and terrorism - led by the Ku Klux Klan and others - spreading to suppress the newly freed slaves. In the end, segregation - America's version of apartheid - spread through the south and the hope of the civil rights amendments was crushed.

Now, after the civil rights movement, the Voting Rights Act and the election of Barack Obama, the reaction has been fierce. Across the country, Republican legislators have sought to make it harder for African Americans and other people of color to vote. The long lines that mark inner-city voting sites are a graphic demonstration of the success of those efforts, for many people can't take the hours off from work to cast a ballot.

In each era, the lawless reaction - and blatant violations of the Constitution - have been ratified by disgraceful decisions in the Supreme Court. The court ratified segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson, inventing the doctrine of separate but equal - a concept that existed only in the judge's imaginations not in the realities of any of the former slave states. Voter suppression following the civil rights movement was ratified in Shelby v. Holder and now in Brnovich vs. the DNC, that have essentially gutted the Voting Rights Act, the crown jewel of the civil rights movement.

The so-called "conservative" justices on the Supreme Court are rewriting the laws passed by Congress to serve their own partisan purposes. Now the excuse is to limit voter fraud, even though there is no evidence of such fraud other than in the ravings of partisan politicians.

This struggle will continue. Clearly Republicans across the country have decided that rather than seeking to win the votes of African Americans and other peoples of color, they would rather pass measures to suppress their vote - from discriminatory changes in voting practices, to gerrymandering of districts, to (most dangerously) empowering Republican legislatures to overturn the results of an election.

Once more people of conscience must stand up and organize to protect the right to vote and to counter those who would suppress it. Once more, right-wing justices have written another shameful chapter of judicial ignominy that must simply be overturned. Once more Congress must act to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to counter the brazen efforts of the court's right wing to neuter it. Once more, those standing in the way of equality under the law will find that the movement for justice will not be deterred.

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

Can GOP Autocracy Outlaw American Democracy?
By Jim Hightower

Ralph Waldo Emerson told of a dinner guest who went on and on about the virtue of honesty, offering his own life as a model of perfect rectitude. "The louder he talked of his honor," said Emerson, "the faster we counted our spoons."

That's my reaction to the cacophony of phony piety arising from Republican governors and legislators who are trying to enact more than 250 new state laws to stop Black, Latino, Asian-American, Indigenous, and other non-Caucasian voters from casting ballots. Yet they proclaim, "We're not racists, we're righteous crusaders protecting the sanctity of the vote."

Really? So why are they specifically targeting people of color with their repressive voting restrictions? For example, panicky Republican lawmakers in Georgia tried to outlaw any early voting on Sundays. Odd. Why?

It's a flagrantly racist attack on the Black church. For years, a joyous civic tradition called "Souls to the Polls" has played out in Southern Black churches on Sundays prior to election day. After the sermon and prayers, congregants, ministers, musicians, and others in the church family travel in a caravan to early voting locations to cast ballots. It turns voting into a civic, spiritual, and fun experience. What kind of shriveled soul tries to kill that?

Apparently, the same shameful souls in the Georgia GOP who want to stop local groups from providing water and snacks to citizens forced to wait for hours in line to vote. They're actually trying to make it a crime to give water to thirsty voters! Hey, Republicans: What would Jesus do?

Excuse me, but voting in America should not be made a misery. The goal (and duty) of every public official ought to be maximizing voter turnout - after all, the more Americans who vote, the stronger our democracy. But there's the ugly political truth - Republican officials no longer support democracy.

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

Flags fly near the Washington Monument on the National Mall on July 3, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

It's Time To Stop Trying To Redeem Patriotism
By William Rivers Pitt

Frederick Douglass, the legendary formerly enslaved abolitionist, was invited in 1852 to deliver an address on the meaning of July 4 by the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society. At the time he made his remarks, chattel slavery was still eight years away from the confrontation of the Civil War. Douglass minced no words in explaining his feelings about a nation that had until only recently consigned him to bondage, a nation that continued to enslave millions of people.

"I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July," Douglass proclaimed. "Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future."

History has a keen way of twisting the knife. Note well: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who passed away this week after a lifetime spent inflicting war and sorrow on others, enjoyed for a time the ownership of a weekend cottage and spread named Mt. Misery, near the Chesapeake Bay. It was there that Frederick Douglass reached the limits of his tolerance while still enslaved, and beat the living hell out of a white farmer named Edward Covey.

It was at Mt. Misery that Douglass's owners brutally endeavored to break him for offering his challenge to white power. It was there that he steeled himself against the horrors visited upon him by those who claimed to own him. After winning his fight for freedom, Douglass went on to write himself furiously into the pages of history. Rumsfeld bought the site of Douglass's misery and triumph for $1.5 million, and sold it in 2019 for $2.4 million.

This is our history. This happened.

"America is false to the past," charged Douglass in 1852, "false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future." It is difficult to read these words and not think of our current, strange debate over "critical race theory." One would think the teaching of that which happened would be imperative to our educational priorities, but in these United States, those who control the present fear that knowledge of the past threatens their hold on the future. Thus, the curtain of ignorance is dropped in the name of "patriotism."

Patriotism. The meat and mead of this national holiday that was so thoroughly scorned by a former slave some 169 years ago. What does it even mean? Will it persist as an excuse to avoid bearing honest witness to the clank of slavery's chains, the crack of its whip, or the deliberate massacre of those who called this land home before boats from Europe plowed ashore some five centuries ago? Doesn't this concept of patriotism simply aid us in denying that the rank crimes of the past lay a binding stench upon the present?

If you do not know where you came from, you cannot truly know where you are going, and that means you are lost.

There is a cohort in this country who would have our schoolchildren believe slavery and the genocide of Indigenous peoples were blips instead of foundational institutions, critical to the development of American-style capitalism, and bald statements of policy that have carried forward to this very day. They fear common knowledge of this is "bad for the brand," to use the modern parlance, an offense against the advertising that would have you believe "The American Dream" is something more substantial than what it truly is: a business deal, bereft of morality and therefore capable of anything.

Let us, in this bold and battered century, relinquish patriotism. Let us not cleave to land or the fiction of borders, to flags or an idealized past that gives lie to the innocent blood that feeds our "tree of liberty" even now. Let us, instead, cleave to one another, to our shared humanity, and to the future we may yet salvage once we realize, recognize and thoroughly shun the forces of oppression that have formed the backbone of the United States lo these many long years.

In the name of Frederick Douglass, and every enslaved person who had their voice beaten from them, and all the dispossessed then and right now, let us tell the truth though the heavens fall.

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

Senator Ron Johnson speaks at a news conference with Republican senators to discuss the origins of Covid-19 on June 10, 2021. in Washington, D.C.

Ron Johnson Needs To Come With A Warning Label
When Johnson spreads misinformation about vaccines, he endangers Americans-and makes it harder to end the pandemic.
By John Nichols

Ron Johnson was back at it last week, spreading misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines. At a media event in Milwaukee, the senior senator from Wisconsin raised doubts about the safety of vaccines by misrepresenting data in order to suggest that the shots tens of millions of Americans have received are more dangerous than physicians are telling us.

That's false. Vaccine specialists, infectious disease experts, public health officials, and media fact-checkers have all explained that Johnson is not telling the truth. After the senator misrepresented information from a database for Americans to report reactions to vaccinations-the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System-the national Committee to Protect Health Care blasted him for attempting to "sow doubt about COVID-19 vaccines that could dissuade people from getting vaccinations and protecting themselves against the deadly disease."

Making false claims about vaccines is always dangerous. But, at a time when the coronavirus is again spreading at alarming rates in some parts of the country, physicians and researchers say that the misinformation the increasingly high-profile Republican senator is spreading poses a deadly threat.

According to an analysis based on data from Johns Hopkins University, CNN reported on the eve of the July 4 holiday that "the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases has been going up for six straight days."

Why, at a point when it had seemed that the United States was turning the corner in the fight against the pandemic, are public health officials again raising the alarm? "Looking state by state and county by county, it is clear that communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable," says Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is all true as we monitor the continued spread of the hyper-transmissible Delta variant."

This is a time to get the facts about the safety of vaccines right. Unfortunately, Johnson is deliberately getting them wrong.

"Senator Ron Johnson is putting people's lives at risk here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and nationwide with his unrelenting campaign to spread disinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccinations that protect people," says Dr. Madelaine Tully, a Milwaukee-area family doctor who joined a number of Wisconsin physicians in calling Johnson out. "Instead of recklessly spreading lies, our senator should use his position and his platform to tell people the truth, and that's that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, they are effective and they save lives."

Johnson, who has publicly announced that he will not get vaccinated, is not going to do that. In fact, he's fighting to amplify his false claims.

Johnson is furious with YouTube, the video sharing and social media platform, which last month removed a video in which the senator made wildly inaccurate claims about treatments for the virus and suggested that the Biden administration was "working against robust research" into drug therapies.

YouTube carries content that is often controversial. But the company is strict when it comes to videos that might cause people to endanger themselves. Specifically, it says, "YouTube doesn't allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities' or the World Health Organization's (WHO) medical information about COVID-19."

After viewing a speech Johnson delivered June 3 to the Milwaukee Press Club, a YouTube spokesperson said, the platform's monitors determined the senator had violated its standards. "We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don't allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus."

It's no surprise that Johnson is in hot water for spreading medical misinformation. The senator embraces conspiracy theories regarding everything from the 2020 presidential election (which, despite what Johnson says, Donald Trump lost by 7 million votes) to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol (which, despite what Johnson says, was a violent insurrection carried out by Trump supporters to overturn the results of the election Trump lost).

But his biggest lies have always been about the coronavirus pandemic.

Last fall, after Johnson presided over a series of Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearings that featured testimony from witnesses whom critics identified as "quacks," The New York Times reported, "It is the latest example of how Mr. Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who has used his powerful investigative panel to amplify groundless accusations pushed by President Trump, has now embraced the role of the Senate's leading Covid contrarian."

"Even as some of his Republican colleagues have sought to use their platforms to encourage Americans to take precautions against the spread of the virus and persuade the public that vaccines against it will be safe and vital," the Times explained, "Mr. Johnson has suggested that the dangers of the coronavirus have been overblown and excessively regulated. And twice in the past three weeks, Mr. Johnson has used his gavel on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to elevate voices who public health experts say represent fringe beliefs."

Now, as Johnson stirs more controversy by spreading misinformation about vaccines, a Democrat who is challenging the senator, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, says, "Ron Johnson lied yet again about the Covid vaccine. Sadly, this is nothing new-Sen. Ron Johnson has been spreading dangerous lies about Covid-19 since day one."

Johnson gets angry when he is criticized for getting things wrong. And, of course, he plays the victim. "YouTube's ongoing Covid censorship proves they have accumulated too much unaccountable power," rants the senator.

It is true that YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms have accumulated too much unaccountable power. Monopolistic corporations, be they in the tech sector or any other section of the economy, need to be questioned, challenged, regulated, and where necessary and possible, broken up. And yes, we do need to worry about censorship.

At the same time, some standards have to apply when it comes to the spreading of what could turn out to be deadly lies. What to do? Nelson may have the answer.

After Johnson got called out by fact-checkers for his lies about vaccines, the Democrat said, "The CDC should label this guy a public health hazard."

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

The Great American Oligarchy
By James Donahue

When I was in grade school I remember learning American history the way it is depicted in text books published in the United States. I heard about our wonderful capitalistic, democratic system of government and wondered why our way of life wasn't accepted by nations all over the world. It was hard to understand why the Japanese would hate us so much that they would attack our ships at Pearl Harbor, or that we had to send soldiers to fight Communism in Korea and Vietnam.

Even while I was studying world history in college, I failed to grasp the significance of the U. S. capitalistic system and why it imposed so much hatred against our nation in the world around us. It was not until I got deeply involved in reporting government as a journalist that I began to understand the error of our ways.

Our nation was promoted as a great republic, patterned after a Constitution and Bill of Rights written by men 200 years ago who wanted desperately to establish a way of governing people that guaranteed equality and fairness to everybody. But the United States quickly and secretly slid away from that framework to become another oligarchy; perhaps the most powerful and most deadly of its kind to ever exist.

In case the word oligarchy is foreign to readers, it is described in the dictionary as "a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few."

The U.S. also can be described as a plutocracy, which means a government or state in which the wealthy class rules. Nations operated for years under the rule of kings who lived in luxury at the expense of the heavily taxed working class.

It wasn't until the U. S. Supreme Court's "gang of five" slammed us with the concept of corporate person-hood in its controversial 2010 Citizens United case that the reality of the U.S. oligarchy began to sink in.

Anyone who digs into the real historical history of American finance, and wades through the complexities of understanding the jargon, eventually understands that this nation and perhaps the European Union as well, has been controlled by a handful of rich families for a very long time. Among the great "robber barons" of the Industrial Age were such names as J. P. Morgan, William Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. These were the giants of the coal, steel, railway and oil industries. They wielded great power over all phases of the nation's business, including the functioning of government.

The workers fought back against these kinds of power brokers which led to the establishment of labor unions. Those unions provided the badly needed labor to build the great war engines of the early and mid-Twentieth Century. Thus grew a "middle-class" of Americans who enjoyed a moderate level of wealth previously unknown among the working corporate slaves.

That brief period of middle-class wealth did not last long. We still speak of the middle-class as if it still exists, but these families have dwindled because of the extreme shifts in the world of finance. Jobs have dried up or moved overseas to countries where labor is cheap. Most who have jobs are not earning enough to maintain their old way of living. Even college graduates are struggling to find employment. And obtaining those college diplomas is so costly now graduates find themselves burdened for most of their lives just paying off student loans.

Of course the COVID crisis has intensified the effect on world industry and labor.

This kind of imbalance was never supposed to have happened. The Constitution gives the power of making money to the Congress. Congress also has the power to regulate the value of our money. That document also requires that our money be coined in gold or silver. Paper bills, if used, must be backed by their printed value in gold or silver kept safely stored in government vaults. That was the way our forefathers planned it. It is not how things are done today.

Thomas Jefferson, a former president and one of the framers of the Constitution, once warned that "if we turn our monetary system over to the bankers our children will wake up as slaves to the country we fought to free."

It was on Christmas Eve, 1913, that the very thing Jefferson warned about happened. While many members of Congress were home with their families for the holidays, a key number of congressmen met in special session in Washington to pass the Federal Reserve Act. This is an unconstitutional act that turned over the nation's monetary system to some key international bankers. The act was then signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was convinced by the bankers (or paid by them) that the act would provide a better system of stabilizing the monetary system.

The nation slid into oligarchy after the Federal Reserve came into existence. The rules for printing money were changed. Instead of being backed by legal tender stored at Ford Knox, our bills are now identified as Federal Reserve notes. This means they are loans. Some people doubt if there is any gold left in storage at Fort Knox today. There is nothing left to back up the value of the U.S. dollar except the people's belief in its value.

America's economy has been on a slippery slope ever since. The nation . . . in fact the world plunged into the Great Depression in 1928, we have endured numerous recessions, and the value of the dollar has been steadily declining.

Today the United States has assumed the role of a world bully. Since World War II we emerged with the most powerful military in the world. We used it to fight unnecessary wars and establish military bases in every corner of the globe. Much of our tax money is spent on the military industrial complex. War is where great fortunes are made and built.

The nation has become so dependent on war to stabilize its economy, we have invented non-existent wars.

The War on Terrorism, established after 9-11 and during the presidency of George W. Bush, is an endless manufactured war that gives the Pentagon reason to maintain that military industrial complex, develop costly new weapons, and continue sending troops and our war engine where ever a conflict can be created.

Little money is left to maintain local infrastructure, feed the hungry, or cover the high cost of medicine. The looming destruction of the environment, caused by industrial pollution, was ignored until only recently when we began suffering from extreme weather events. Our elected government leaders are no more than figureheads. They appear to be paid zombies sent to Washington and state capitals to argue over issues but fail to do anything other than what they are told to do by the real shadow government.

It all appears to have been patterned after George Orwell's classic novel "1984."

Many contemporary economists who understand the nature of the corruption occurring in America's system of "high finance" predict a looming collapse. They say our dependence on printed paper money without gold or silver to back up its claimed value is a dangerous game, solely dependent upon the public's belief that the dollar has value.

The U.S. and Russia both appear to have shifted to crude oil to prop up the value of currency. And as we all know, oil is a very slippery substance. Even though the known amount of remaining crude oil in the ground is beginning to run dry, the OPEC Nations have recently chosen to reduce the price of oil. There appears to be a deadly game of chicken occurring in the financial world that may well end in disaster.

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

The Way Between
By David Swanson

For decades I - and, no doubt, everybody else who points out the power and effectiveness of nonviolent action - have had the endlessly recurring experience of being asked "But shouldn't people defend themselves with wars rather than do nothing?" How did wars get to be the only alternative to nothing? If I were to run around shouting "Will you deny people the right to stick slugs up their noses rather than do NOTHING?" approximately 100% of people would think that was a crazier thing to say than that the only responses to violence are (1) mass murder, and (2) nothing. Here's a supposed peace activist last week hoping that if Canada manages to get itself attacked the U.S. will jump into the war.

It's as if there is an impenetrable forcefield around the human head keeping out knowledge of nonviolent action as being action, or indeed as being anything at all - certainly as being more effective than violence. Repetition doesn't seem to work. Explanations bounce right off.

People can read books and watch movies and hear first-hand accounts of how boycotts and sit-ins and marches and disruptions and strikes and banner-drops and alternative media and rallies and mediation and all variety of creative, courageous actions have changed the world and turned back coups and invasions, and they can accept and acknowledge with neither a glimmer of surprise nor the least diminishment in their ability to go right on declaring war the one and only something that can ever be done.

But what if this forcefield isn't there at birth? What if it never develops at all in societies that don't teach violence? What if each little particle of it is created by every murderous cartoon or war-worshiping movie or subway weapons advertisement or lying history book or news report brought to you by missile makers? What if every exciting kids' book or young-person's adventure story that treats war and violence as the only way to have any real fun, every video game developed by the Pentagon, every sports league's paid pre-game war worship adds just a little speck to the forcefield until it's practically impenetrable?

What if a better approach to raising children than feeding them the muck that makes up war culture but instructing them to not play with guns, were to introduce them to a little peace culture? Kids who have read Rivera Sun's books have been spotted playing at peace-making. Having just read the first two books in a series of hers, I can see why.

In The Way Between, a girl trains in a non-martial art called the Way Between, an art that is physical and mental, about dodging punches, but also resolving disputes, as well as applying nonviolent pressure to systems of injustice. We're gripped by this girl's adventure from the opening lines:

"The Horns of Monk's Hand bellowed low and sonorous. Ari Ara skidded to a halt. As the deep tones rolled around the echoing bowl of the valley, the girl's blue-grey eyes traced the sound back to the stone-carved monastery far below. . . ."
The Way Between and its sequels are set in a fantasy world of great magic and limited technology, yet what happens there makes sense on its own terms and as a guide to what might happen here. In fact, the story follows real-world examples of nonviolent action campaigns much more faithfully than most violent tales follow anything that ever has happened or could happen on earth.

Ari Ara has grown up illiterate in the mountains. Her humor and rebelliousness can be glimpsed in the following instance of her getting out of writing an assignment in class. Asked to read her essay, she replies:

"I didn't do it."

He demanded an explanation.

"It was a matter of life and death," she answered.

"Oh?" he retorted, unconvinced.

"Yes," Ari Ara replied, lifting her pointed chin. "I thought I'd die of boredom if I did it."

The story has many twists and turns and I'd rather not give any of them away. The richness of the lessons in peace-making increases in the second installment, The Lost Heir. There are enemies in this story, but the problem is understood as not arising from the evil of one side, rather from the enmity itself. The problem is the institution of war, not one of its participants. If Ari Ara develops personal enemies, it is not because they come from evil families or nations, and the need is not to humiliate or kill them but to transform them into something other than enemies.

The training that Ari Ara undergoes in the second book is also richer, and I find myself wishing such classes existed in the real world. And why shouldn't they? If people can play Quidditch, surely they can also train in Attar!

To join Rivera Sun in a book club discussing The Way Between, go here.

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

Will increased attention to climate and biodiversity at least spur the G7 countries to up their climate targets and ambitions?

Are World Leaders Waking Up To The Urgency Of The Climate Crisis?
By David Suzuki

Considering the language G7 leaders used going into their mid-June summit in Cornwall, U.K., it's difficult not to be disappointed with the outcome. In what appeared to be a sign they were finally realizing the seriousness of the climate and biodiversity crises, including economic consequences, leaders of the world's seven leading economies were echoing the words of the environmental movement.

Politicians from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. talked about the need to "build back better" from the pandemic and create a "greener, more prosperous future" by protecting the planet, safeguarding people's health and building global resilience against future pandemics, and championing shared values including democracy and human rights, among others.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson even called for a climate "Marshall Plan" - referring to America's massive rebuilding efforts in Europe after the Second World War - under which the richest economies would provide funds to help developing nations drastically cut carbon emissions.

But what the leaders settled on is underwhelming, and some just reaffirms previous commitments. They agreed to cut collective emissions in half by 2030, stem the extinction crisis, end funding for coal projects that don't have a way to capture and store carbon, decarbonize the electricity sector and create a fund to help countries transition from coal. They also agreed to conserve or protect 30 per cent of their countries' land and marine areas by 2030.

But despite calls from the U.K., they failed to specify a deadline for halting coal-fired electricity, instead issuing a vague statement that they would "rapidly scale up technologies and policies that further accelerate the transition away" from coal that doesn't use carbon capture technology.

Some say the G7's weak position on coal will hurt efforts to encourage China to scale back on coal power expansion at the November climate summit in Glasgow. Critics have also argued funding is inadequate for countries that had the least to do with causing the climate crisis but are suffering the most.

Will increased attention to climate and biodiversity at least spur the G7 countries to up their climate targets and ambitions? It's hard to say - the G7 has been pledging to end fossil fuel subsidies since 2009, and those continue.

Let's hope members and all world leaders start to adopt rather than co-opt the environmental movement's language and take the commitment to "build back better" seriously.

Global efforts to resolve the climate and biodiversity crises fall far short of what's needed from all countries, especially wealthy nations that have contributed most to the problems. But growing recognition of the absolute urgency appears to be finally hitting home as decades of stalling have turned what could have been an opportunity into an emergency.

COVID-19 has opened a window onto the systemic failures that lead to ecological and health crises, and inequalities, but it's also shown that countries that rely on science and co-operation can accomplish a lot by mobilizing resources. With rapid advances in energy efficiency and renewable energy and storage, there's no reason we can't marshal what's needed to address the climate crisis.

We've resisted change for so long, though, that significant progress must now come from the top. As good as individual actions are - from driving less and conserving more to eating less meat and turning down the heat - the best action we can take is to put pressure on governments and industry to confront the ecological crises with resolve and determination.

That can mean calling or writing your elected representatives, joining climate marches or simply making informed voting choices. It often takes growing public pressure to wake politicians from their conventional short-term, election-cycle thinking and priorities.

We're already bringing about significant change. The Keystone XL pipeline is cancelled, shareholders have voted to make oil companies more responsible for their contributions to climate disruption, people are divesting from fossil fuels, a conservative government in the U.K. has called for a climate "Marshall Plan" - all largely because of the tireless efforts of committed citizens and activists.

The COVID crisis has roused many to the urgency of the related ecological crises - including politicians, financial leaders, shareholders and CEOs. They've spoken up; now we must hold them accountable to their words and push them to do even more.

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

Demonstrators in front of the white house

The Company Behind the Keystone XL Pipeline Would Like $15 Billion Of Your Money, Please
They're the ones who walked away!
By Charles P. Pierce

This week's edition of Amazing Stories Of Chutzpah comes to us courtesy of a press release from TC Energy, the Canadian gargantua that planned to construct the now-deceased Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel and longtime Republican fetish object. TCE has a bad case of the mad on and it's looking to get paid. Let's let it speak for itself.

TC Energy will be seeking to recover more than US$15 billion in damages that it has suffered as a result of the U.S. Government's breach of its NAFTA obligations. The Notice of Intent was filed with the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser. Let us pause here to remind ourselves that NAFTA really did suck pond water in many ways, and that the previous administration*'s adjustment of its font size-or whatever-didn't make it suck any less pond water.

Anyway, Nebraska Democratic chair Jane Fleming Kleeb, who made her bones as an organizer putting together the coalition that won its long battle against the pipeline when the administration cancelled TC's permit, causing the company to announce that it was walking away from the project, answered back on the electric Twitter machine:

What a disgusting yet predictable move from @TCEnergy and Canadian government. America didn't want your pipeline. You took the risk. Taxpayers are not going to pay $15 billion for your failed and risky investment. You lost. This is how capitalism works.
This is a company that treated the farmers and other citizens of Nebraska like doormats for years-surveying their property without permission, running amok in the state legislature, all in pursuit of a death-funnel that would transport the world's dirtiest fossil fuel dangerously close to one of the largest underground freshwater sources in the world, one that already is under stress due to the climate crisis which, experts say, the fuel that TCE proposed to run through its pipeline would exacerbate almost beyond repair. It thought it had the state wired. It was wrong.

It's important to remember that TCE walked away from this project. It gave up, showed the white feather, ran up the white flag, and now it wants $15 billion from American taxpayers for having done so. And the truly hilarious part is that TCE may lose its action because it relied on the previous president*'s having known what he was doing.

This time may be different if TC Energy chooses to proceed with a claim. NAFTA has been replaced by a new agreement - the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Unlike NAFTA, USMCA does not permit Canadian investors to sue the U.S. government (or American investors to sue the Canadian government).

Legacy claims for investments that had occurred prior to the USMCA coming into force are permitted until 2023. But TC Energy's claim may now be weaker because the permit issued by the Trump administration explicitly stated that it could be rescinded, essentially at the president's whim.

That NAFTA even allows this nonsense to get a hearing is one of the elements of that agreement that fairly reeks of pond water.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"Let us wage a moral and political war against war itself so that we can cut military spending and use that money for human needs"
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Kuwait Is The Hottest Place On Earth; Lytton, Canada Was Right Behind It, And Then It Burned Down; This Is Not Normal
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) -Mohammed Haddad at Al Jazeera English reports that in June, at least 23 countries experienced at least 122 degrees F. (50 degrees C.). Haddad's article kindly provides several graphics under a Creative Commons licence, reproduced below.

The earth is heating up because we burn gasoline in our cars and burn coal for heat and electricity, and burn natural gas (though the latter is better than coal by a long shot for the moment).

The hottest year on record globally was 2016. The second hottest was just last year, 2020. The third hottest was 2019. Do you notice a pattern here? The top record-breakers are all recent. That is very not good. We can expect further record-breaking hot years at time goes on.

It is estimated that the climate crisis cost the U.S. $100 billion in 2020 alone.

In the Middle East, the Gulf is hot. I was in Doha, Qatar, once, in early June when it turned 114F. My wife and I had planned to go out to dinner when it was a mere 100F. But when we went downstairs a blast of the 114F hit us in the face, and we just went back upstairs and made something at home.

Haddad says that in June, the city of Nuwaseeb hit 127.7F (53.2C), the hottest temperature recorded anywhere in the world that month. In fact, most of the top 12 hottest Arab cities last month are in Kuwait. They are joined by Basra and Amara in Iraq.

Iraq hit nearly 125F, but that was worse than Kuwait because Iraq has electricity outages. I can't imagine being at that temperature without air conditioning. Ancient Iraq and Iran had cellars to escape to, called sardab, since it is cooler underground. Modern apartment architecture doesn't have that feature. I can remember complaints in Iraq when it was under US occupation that there wasn't enough electricity, and people were saying it would take five years to build new electricity plants. The government never did build enough, though, and there are suspicions that it is because billions in government income disappeared owing to corruption.

Some climate experts are wondering if some places in the Gulf will become uninhabitable. Apparently 150F is kind of the limit for human habitation. People just start dying around that point.

But let's face it, it isn't strange that it is hot in Kuwait, though it is somewhat hotter than it used to be.

What is strange is that it is hot in Canada and the US Pacific Northwest.

The most tragic story here is the small town of Lytton, 95 miles north of Vancouver. When I visited Vancouver once, I was amused to hear it described as Canada's Miami. I found it unlikely that if I were living there, I would very often want to go to the beach (I like it at least in the 80s for that). But, well, silly me. Miami was balmy in comparison last week.

So poor Lytton hit 122F, the hottest temperature on record any place in Canada ever. And it was north of Vancouver. Note that that is only 5 degrees F. cooler than Nuwaseeb, Kuwait!

But then things took an even darker turn, as the high temperatures plus lighting storms sparked wildfires that headed straight for Lytton. People had to flee for their lives before the advancing flames. Two residents are confirmed dead, and more are missing.

It is like a horror movie. The place that used to hold the record for hottest temperature in Canada no longer exists, because it was burned up.

The heat dome that scorched Canada and the US Northwest was certainly intensified and made more likely by the human-caused climate emergency. The smartest man I know on this issue is Michael Mann at Penn State, whom I recently interviewed on his book, The New Climate War. Mann explained in the New York Times:

"Heat waves now occur three times as often as they did in the 1960s - on average at least six times a year in the United States in the 2010s. Record-breaking hot months are occurring five times more often than would be expected without global warming. And heat waves have become larger, affecting 25 percent more land area in the Northern Hemisphere than they did in 1980; including ocean areas, heat waves grew 50 percent."
He said that the warming Arctic allows long-lasting squiggles in the jet stream, forcing it into an "omega" pattern over the Northwest. When I was young, the jet stream used to flow in a relatively straight line from west to east across North America. I always regretted that it seemed to go over Toledo, Ohio, keeping the cold air north. I'm just north of Toledo. Now of course the jet stream has always wriggled and maybe even gotten bent out of shape for short periods of time. But to be pretzeled up into an omega-looking thing for a couple of weeks, that I don't remember.

And yes, as Mann's research shows, the Arctic is also heating up. Yes, the Arctic.

Then Mann said something that I found really scary. He said that our climate models aren't yet sophisticated enough even to have foreseen the omega heat dome. I conclude that lots of kinds of Frankenweather may be on its way that we don't even have the tools to predict.

Another tragedy here is that Kuwait and Canada are both oil states, and neither has done much to reduce carbon emissions-the very greenhouse gas that is causing extreme heat and, in Canada, wildfires.

Our future, however, is on a spectrum. We can add an average of 3.6F extra heat, or we can add an average of 5F extra heat, or 15F. It is up to us. By the way, an extra 3.6F is much worse than it sounds-that is a global average including the oceans (which are cold) and the Himalayas and Antarctica. Any one city, say Phoenix, could shoot up an extra 15F if we go to the max. You wouldn't like Phoenix if it was significantly hotter than it already is; people die of the heat there even now, and sometimes airplanes can't take off because hot air is too insubstantial to give lift to the wings.

(c) 2021 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

Real Patriotism On This July 4th
By Robert Reich

On this 4th of July, many people believe that celebrating America means waving the flag or standing for the national anthem or shouting "America First."

But that's not what real patriotism is.

Real patriotism means sacrificing to keep America going.

It means paying taxes proportional to your wealth. I'm talking to you Jeff Bezos, and you, Elon Musk.

It means paying your workers a living wage so they can thrive. I'm talking to you, Walmart, and you, McDonald's.

It means fully reckoning with how racial oppression and white supremacy have shaped this nation, not whitewashing our history and ignoring racism's continuing legacy. I'm talking to you, lawmakers trying to prevent students from learning the role race has played in our history.

Real patriotism means protecting American democracy and our form of government, not trying to overturn an election that's been upheld by 60 federal courts and the Supreme Court - or seeking to suppress the voting rights of people of color. I'm talking to you, members of Congress who refused to certify the 2020 election, and you, state legislators advancing nearly 400 voter suppression bills, and you - former guy.

Real patriotism means not flooding our politics with big money, so the voices of the people can be heard. I'm talking to you, Charles Koch, and you, Michael Bloomberg.

And it means putting the interests of our country over partisanship, Mitch McConnell.

Finally, real patriotism means using your position of power in the media to inform and educate the public rather than weaponize lies and promote extremism to get more clicks. I'm talking to you, Mark Zuckerberg, and you, Rupert Murdoch.

On this 4th of July, let's commit to real patriotism. It's not easy, but it's the necessary hard work we must undertake to make this country better for everyone.

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

George Washington overseeing his slaves

Juneteenth, July 4th, And The Vestiges Of Slavery In America

By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan

With the ratification of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution in December, 1865, slavery was abolished. Or was it? A new Constitutional amendment currently before Congress aims to settle this surprising question once and for all. Section One of the 13th amendment states, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." That phrase, "except as a punishment for crime," spawned a contagion of arrests and imprisonment of formerly enslaved African Americans, stripping them of their new, hard-won freedom and consigning them again to slavery in the form of prison labor. The practice continues, now nationally, with the modern, multibillion-dollar prison labor industry, operating from the federal prison system on down through local jails and private prisons. Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Nikema Williams intend to bring that to an end.

The two Democrats' proposed Constitutional amendment reads, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude may be imposed as a punishment for a crime." Representative Nikema Williams thinks it has a chance of passing. "This is something that I think could pass on a bipartisan level," Williams, who replaced the late John Lewis in Congress, said this week on the Democracy Now! news hour. "We've seen a willingness of some Republicans to come to grips with our nation's history...once and for all, we're going to end the exception for slavery in our Constitution."

Williams may be right. On Tuesday, 67 House Republicans joined 218 Democrats in passing H.R. 3005, a bill ordering the replacement of a bust of pro-slavery Supreme Court Justice Roger Brooke Taney with a bust of the first African American on the Supreme Court, Justice Thurgood Marshall. Taney wrote the notorious 1857 Dred Scott decision that denied African Americans citizenship, expanded slavery to what were then U.S. territories, and helped propel the nation into civil war.

H.R. 3005 also calls for the removal from the Capitol of statues of any person who voluntarily served the Confederacy, as well as the statues of three notorious white supremacists: former North Carolina Governor Charles Brantley Aycock, who was a lead organizer of a massacre and the violent overthrow of the local, biracial government in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898; James Paul Clarke, a powerful, post-Civil War Arkansas politician, who was a strident white supremacist (Arkansas has already approved the replacement of Clarke's statue and that of another racist 19th century figure with statues of musician Johnny Cash and civil rights activist Daisy Bates - this bill just mandates and accelerates the removal); and the notorious South Carolina racist politician John C. Calhoun, who served as U.S. Vice President, Senator, Congressman, as well as Secretary of State and War at different times. Calhoun died in 1850. He is credited with developing the filibuster as a tool to defend slavery and with being the key intellectual driving the Southern states to secession and civil war.

While Rep. Nikema Williams sees hope in those 67 Republicans who voted to remove these statues, it's worth noting that 120 Republicans voted to keep them right where they are.

Merkley and Williams submitted their amendment on the same day that President Biden signed into law another bipartisan bill, declaring Juneteenth a national holiday. Juneteenth is the name of the annual freedom celebration that commemorates June 19th, 1865, when a Union Army officer announced to enslaved people in Galveston, Texas that they were free - more than two years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Thus freed, Galveston's formerly enslaved people began celebrating, and the tradition has continued and grown for 156 years.

Two weeks after Juneteenth, Americans celebrate Independence Day, marking the day the original 13 colonies formally broke with the British monarchy. Of the Declaration of Independence's 56 signers, at least 41 owned slaves.

Renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass, born into slavery, asked in an 1852 speech, "What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?...The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine."

For many of the more than two million people now imprisoned here in the United States, forced labor is an inescapable fact of life, from those who cook prison meals or toil in fields to California prisoners who risk their lives fighting forest fires.

Adoption of the Abolition Amendment is a necessary step if this country is ever to face honestly the enduring legacy of slavery on which it was built.

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

(c) 2021 Denis Moynihan is a writer and radio producer who writes a weekly column with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
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To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Donald Trump speaks to the crowd at a rally

Out-of-Practice Trump Forgets To Strand Rally Crowd In Parking Lot
By Andy Borowitz

WELLINGTON, OHIO (The Borowitz Report)-Holding his first campaign-style rally in months, an out-of-practice Donald J. Trump forgot to strand the event's attendees in a parking lot Saturday night.

Blaming the failure to strand the rally crowd on "rustiness," a member of Trump's inner circle apologized for not delivering a signature feature of Trump rallies.

"People have come to expect that, at the conclusion of one of our rallies, they will be marooned in the middle of nowhere for hours, often in inclement weather," Harland Dorrinson, a Trump aide, said. "On Saturday night, we didn't get it done." Dorrinson said that the entire Trump team would be conducting a postmortem of the rally to find out why attendees were able to leave the event without incident.

"Saturday night was our first rally in a long time, and we weren't in fighting shape," Dorrinson said. "But that's no excuse. I want to promise all future attendees: if you come to a Trump rally, you will be stranded for hours afterward with no buses anywhere in sight-period."

(c) 2021 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 27 (c) 07/09/2021

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