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In This Edition

Juan Cole considers, "Trump's Economic War On Iran."

Norman Solomon warns, "Corporate Team Of Rivals: Harris Now In Top Tier With Biden To Prevent A Progressive Nominee."

Glen Ford compares, "Sanders Vs The Endless Austerity Regime."

Michael Winship covers, "Trump's Big, Wet Fourth Of July Picnic."

Jim Hightower explains, "How To Get Congress To Reform Our Broken Healthcare System."

John Nichols reports, "Governor Evers Just Outwitted Vos And The GOP."

James Donahue examines, "Humanity Is Under Attack - Defining The Enemy."

William Rivers Pitt finds, "Progressive Candidates Are Rising. Establishment Media Are Terrified."

David Suzuki concludes, "Yes, We Can Resolve The Climate."

Charles P. Pierce says, "John Roberts's Legacy Is Finished If He Revives The Census Citizenship."

David Swanson reviews, "Official Secrets: Best Movie So Far This Year."

Mark Sanchez vice president of the San Francisco school board wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich counts, "The 4 Biggest Conservative Lies About Inequality."

Jane Stillwater explores, "Your Vaccine Preservative."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Bolton Calls For Forceful Iranian Response To Continuing U.S. Aggression," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "So Much For The U.S. Constitution."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mike Keefe, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Drew Angerer, Tom Tomorrow, Tom Williams, Atta Kenare, Chip Somodevilla, Hasan Zahra, Mandel Ngan, Rhona Wise, AFP, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Jane Stillwater, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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So Much For The U.S. Constitution
Three Republican judges overruled the emoluments clauses
By Ernest Stewart

"No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State." ~~~ Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 8 ~ US Constitution

"The atmosphere is far from isolated and interacts with other elements of the so-called 'Earth system,' such as the oceans, ice caps and even the ground beneath our feet, in complex and often unexpected ways capable of making our world more dangerous. We are pretty familiar with the idea that the oceans swell as a consequence of the plunging atmospheric pressure at the heart of powerful storms, building surges driven onshore by high winds that can be massively destructive. Similarly, it does not stretch the imagination to appreciate that a warmer atmosphere promotes greater melting of the polar ice caps, thereby raising sea levels and increasing the risk of coastal flooding. But, more extraordinarily, the thin layer of gases that hosts the weather and fosters global warming really does interact with the solid Earth - the so-called geosphere - in such a way as to make climate change an even bigger threat." ~~~ Bill McGuire ~ is professor emeritus in geophysical and climate hazards at UCL

"Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice." ~~~ Henry Louis Gates Jr

"The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own." ~~~ Lao Tzu

I see where a constitutional challenge to President Trump's continued ownership of his businesses has been ordered dismissed by a federal appeals court.

The case was brought by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland, arguing that Trump had violated the domestic and foreign emoluments emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution by accepting money from state and foreign governments via his Washington D.C. hotel and business empire.

The emoluments clause, is a provision of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 8) that generally prohibits federal officeholders from receiving any gift, payment, or other thing of value from a foreign state or its rulers, officers, or representatives. Trump is definitely excepting cash from foreign governments!

A three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled unanimously that the attorneys general did not have the standing to bring the lawsuit, and instructed a lower court to dismiss the lawsuit. Did I mention that all three judges were appointed by Republican presidents? Judges Paul V. Niemeyer was appointed by Papa Smirk as was Dennis W. Shedd and A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr was appointed by Lying Donald, imagine that.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington opened just months before Trump took office. The lawsuit alleged that the president profits from spending by foreign and state governments there. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has called the emoluments clauses "our nation's original anti-corruption laws."

Fortunately this case is not the only emoluments challenge against President Trump. Another federal court is still considering a lawsuit brought by Democratic members of Congress.

In regards to which Lying Donald tweeted:
As with all things Rethuglican, the fix is in!

In Other News

I was sitting out on the deck roasting a brat on the barbie for lunch, watching passing ships on the river when I took my sun glasses off to look through the binoculars at the big laker passing by when I notice that the river wasn't a bright blue like it usually is on a sunny day. When I looked up I saw, from horizon to horizon what I took to be very high light clouds but if it were clouds it would have blocked out the sun a bit yet the shadows on the deck were dark as usual. I wondered what this meant?

As I went down into the "man cave" to watch the news and weather I found why it was so strange outside. The weatherman explained that what we were seeing was smoke from Alberta where fires have been raging since March. Alberta is 1800 miles from here!

So you know what I did after lunch, right? Yes I looked into it and so far this fire has burned over 1,985,800 acres. Like our Northwest, Alberta is a rain forest, but like the US Northwest it isn't getting the snow and rainfall that it normally gets, ergo the forests that were pretty much immune to fires, are no longer so. Only along the Pacific coasts with their consistant fog banks are the forrest fairly safe. Go inland where there has been a drought and the forests are burning, so when it does rain, the hillsides that were being held in place by the trees and grasses, start giving way turning into mud slides.

Meanwhile, over in California, it's starting to separate along a minor fault line. Most scientist agree that global warming is playing a part in producing earthquakes. This may sound far fetched, but an earthquake fault that is primed and ready to go is like a coiled spring, and as geophysicist John McCloskey of the University of Ulster is fond of pointing out, "all that is needed to set it off is - quite literally - the pressure of a handshake."

The low pressure of a hurricane, not to mention the hard rain which can lubricate a fault as can a heavy rainstorm, which we get more of with global warming too! For example, large earthquakes have a tendency to follow exceptionally wet hurricanes or typhoons, most notably the devastating quake that took up to 220,000 lives in Haiti in 2010. It is possible that floodwaters are lubricating fault planes, or that the erosion of landslides caused by the torrential rains acts to reduce the weight on any fault below, allowing it to move more easily.

As you can see it's always something with global warming. It effects millions of things on Mother Earth in ways that you can't imagine, until they happen. Either we are going to end global warming, or global warming is going to end us!

And Finally

I see where San Francisco will spend up to $600,000 to paint over historical artwork at a public school depicting the life of George Washington, a mural once seen as educational and innovative but now criticized as showing Washington as a racist and degrading for its depiction of what we did to black and Native American people. The "Life of Washington" was painted by Victor Arnautoff 83 years ago.

Arnautoff is considered to be one of the foremost muralists in the San Francisco area during the Depression. The San Francisco School Board's decision to paint over his mural is prompting some to worry that other artwork from the so-called New Deal era could face a similar fate because of changing sensitivities.

In addition to depicting Washington as a soldier, surveyor, statesman and signer of the Declaration of Independence, the 13-panel, 1,600-square foot mural at George Washington High School contains images of white pioneers standing over the body of a Native American and slaves working at Washington's Mount Vernon estate in Virginia. We can't have the truth known about the "father" of our country can we?

The raging voice behind destroying this work of art is Mark Sanchez the vice president of the school board. I wrote Mark the following email...

Hey Mark,

Boy did you just fuck-up, huh? Can't have beautiful left wing art that tells the truth in a fascist place like San Franciso can we? I know, it must be hard to lie to the students when the truth is glaring them right in the face, eh? That spinning noise you maybe hearing, is Victor Arnautoff, spinning in his grave!

I get it, you're only following ze orders, ya? While I hate your war on art, I must admit, I do admire your jack boots and that Trump armband is to die for, quite literally. What's up next Mark, planning on bombing the Louvre, they have lots of Degenerate art in there too!

So let's hide the fact the Washington was a brutal slave master, not to mention, a genocidal maniac, who became the richest man in the country by slaughtering Indian tribes to take and sell their land to new white settlers. He even slaughtered the tribes that fought beside him in both "The French and Indian War" as well as the "Revolutionary War." Can't have the truth told by a beautiful piece of art, can we Mark? Hitler would be so proud of you, Mark! But, do cheer up, as you have just won the "Vidkun Quisling Award," the magazine's weekly award for the biggest traitor in America! I bet your mother would be proud? Can I get an Heil Trump, Mark!

Ernest Stewart
Managing Editor
Issues & Alibis magazine

If you'd like to give Mark a piece of your mind write him at:

Keepin' On

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

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

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


02-06-1931 ~ 07-09-2019
Thanks for the film!

04-01-1957 ~ 07-10-2019
Thanks for the film!


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

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

Iranian men monitor the stock market at Tehran Stock Exchange on July 1, 2019. - Iran's stock market is thriving, despite US sanctions
which have battered its economy and an uncertain future as geopolitical tensions soar in the Gulf. Its main index, TEDPIX, has steadily
risen over the last 12 months, accelerating in the most recent quarter to hit a historic high of 248,577 last week-more than twice its level a year ago.

Trump's Economic War On Iran
88% Reduction in Oil Exports, 6% Shrinkage of Economy
By Juan Cole

The United States is already at war with Iran, squeezing its economy down to nothingness. If another country tried to do this to the US just on a whim and with no UN or international-law basis, the US would certainly launch a war over it. Iran's choices are much more limited because it is a small, weak, Third World country, with not so much as a proper air force. But countries without conventional military capabilities that are squeezed like this by an enemy reply with unconventional tactics.

Trump did this to Iran despite Iran's adherence to the 2015 nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as certified quarterly by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran oil exports before Trump Breach of Treaty and Severe Sanctions of 2017:

2.5 million barrels per day (# 6 exporter in world after Canada)

Iran oil exports in June 2019:

300,000 barrels a day

(# 27 in world, after Equatorial Guinea and Australia)

Iran's economy grew an incredible 12.9% in 2016 after the UN Security Council signed the nuclear deal with Tehran and lifted sanctions.

In 2019, Iran's economy

Under US sanctions will shrink an incredible 6%

Al-Jazeera English reports that "the rial, plummet[ed] by about 60% over the past year. Inflation is up to 37% and the cost of food and medicine has soared by 40% to 60%, according to EU figures."

Note that Trump's sanctions are unilateral. They haven't even been approved by Congress, and are actively rejected by the United Nations Security Council.

They are a form of financial blockade. Physical blockades of this sort are considered legitimate causes for war in international law.

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

Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris addresses the media about migrant
children in front of a detention center in Homestead, Florida on June 28, 2019

Corporate Team Of Rivals: Harris Now In Top Tier With Biden To Prevent A Progressive Nominee
By Norman Solomon

The odds are now very strong that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic presidential nominee. New polling averages say they account for almost 70 percent of support nationwide, while no other candidate is anywhere near. For progressives who want to affect the news instead of just consume it, active engagement will be essential.

Biden is the most regressive Democrat with a real chance to head the ticket. After amassing a five-decade record littered with odious actions and statements, he now insists that the 2020 campaign "shouldn't be about the past"-an evasive and ridiculous plea, coming from someone who proclaims himself to be "an Obama-Biden Democrat" and goes to absurd lengths to fasten himself onto Obama's coattails, while also boasting of his past ability to get legislation through Congress.

As he campaigns, Biden persists with disingenuous denials. During the June 27 debate, he flatly-and falsely-declared: "I did not oppose busing in America." On July 6, speaking to a mostly black audience in South Carolina, he said: "I didn't support more money to build state prisons. I was against it." But under the headline "Fact Check: Joe Biden Falsely Claims He Opposed Spending More Money to Build State Prisons," CNN reported that "he was misrepresenting his own record."

Biden used the Fourth of July weekend to dig himself deeper into a centrist, status quo trench for his war on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. During a repeatedly cringeworthy interview, Biden told CNN that what can't be done includes Medicare for All, tuition-free public college and student debt cancelation. Bernie Sanders quickly responded with a tweet calling Medicare for All, debt-free college and a Green New Deal "the agenda American needs-and that will energize voters to defeat Donald Trump."

No one has summed up Biden's political stance better than Elizabeth Warren, who told the California Democratic Party convention five weeks ago: "Some Democrats in Washington believe the only changes we can get are tweaks and nudges. If they dream, they dream small. Some say if we all just calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses." She added: "When a candidate tells you about all the things that aren't possible, about how political calculations come first . . . they're telling you something very important-they are telling you that they will not fight for you."

Being preferable to Joe Biden is a low bar, and Kamala Harris clears it. But, like Biden, she stands to lose potential support from many self-described liberals and progressives to the extent they learn more about her actual record.

Overall, Harris's work as San Francisco's DA and the California attorney general was not progressive. Lara Bazelon, former director of the LA-based Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent, wrote in a New York Times column early this year: "Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state's attorney general, Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent. Most troubling, Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors."

Last week, Bazelon said: "Kamala Harris claims to be a champion of criminal justice reform. But as a prosecutor . . . she was anything but. She needs to make the case to the voters that her change of heart is genuine. Crucial to that case is reckoning with her past."

That past needs scrutiny, especially since Harris has refused to acknowledge there was anything wrong with it.

"As the top law enforcement official" of San Francisco and then California, the New York Times reported in a February news article, "she developed a reputation for caution, protecting the status quo and shrinking from decisions on contentious issues."

Reporter Kate Zernike wrote: ** "Years before ending mass incarceration became a bipartisan cause, she started programs to steer low-level drug offenders away from prison and into school and jobs. At the same time, she touted her success in increasing conviction rates, and as attorney general remained largely on the sidelines as California scrambled to meet a federal court order to reduce its swollen prison populations. She also repeatedly sided with prosecutors accused of misconduct, challenging judges who ruled against them."

** When Harris first ran statewide, for California attorney general in 2010, "she had campaigned to the right of her Republican opponent on the question of easing the state's tough three-strikes law. Once in office, she declined to take positions on ultimately successful ballot initiatives intended to reduce prison populations-one expanding opportunities for parole, the other reducing many nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors."

** "After the Supreme Court upheld the judges' overcrowding order, the state promised to 'promptly' release a significant number of nonviolent prisoners, giving credit for time served. A delay in meeting that promise drew a judicial scolding in 2014. The state's response proved embarrassing, and unsuccessful: Reducing the prison population, Ms. Harris's office maintained, would hurt California's ability to fight wildfires by shrinking the pool of forced labor."

** "Ms. Harris won praise for releasing statewide data in a way that informed rather than inflamed the brutality debate: It included numbers on the use of police force but also on use of force against officers. She instituted body cameras for police agents who worked in her office, and offered implicit-bias training for police statewide. But she declined to support statewide regulations for the use of body cameras, agreeing with local departments that they should set their own standards. And she did not support a bill that would have required the attorney general to investigate police shootings."

** Early in this decade, responding to the house foreclosure crisis, "the banks agreed to $18 billion in debt reduction that Ms. Harris said would allow California homeowners to stay in their homes, and the national agreement included $2.5 billion for a fund to provide educational counseling and other services for those in danger of foreclosure. But critics, especially on the left, have long said that the settlement was no grand bargain. It did not require banks to pay much out of pocket; $4.7 billion of the $18 billion in relief came from forgiving second mortgages, many of which the banks would have written off anyway because they were so severely underwater, and $9 billion came from homeowners selling their homes for less than the value of their mortgages, meaning that homeowners did not stay in their homes."

The New Republic recently summed up: "From her role in a California prison labor debate to her prosecutions of sex workers," Kamala Harris "has a past of her own to defend."

It's sometimes difficult to gauge what Harris really believes in, especially in light of her tactical backsliding and flip-flops. Longtime observers had no reason to be surprised last week when she walked back her forceful debate position that the federal government shouldn't leave it to localities to assist school desegregation with busing. "Harris muddied the waters," the Associated Press reported, when "she told reporters she too did not support federally mandated busing and supported it only as an option for local governments."

On foreign policy, the little that Harris has to say is often hazy while conforming with mainstream Democratic Party militarism. In the Senate, she has voted for six of eight major military spending bills.

Harris-who cosponsored a bill to withhold U.S. dues to the United Nations because of a UN Security Council resolution that condemned illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank-pandered to AIPAC while delivering 2017 and 2018 speeches to the Israel-can-do-no-wrong organization. While acquiescing to requests from MoveOn and other groups that presidential candidates not speak to AIPAC's 2019 conference in late March, she pulled off a smooth maneuver, as Mondoweiss pointed out: "Harris is a very pragmatic politician, and the conference came to her yesterday! She met leading AIPAC officials at her office and then tweeted her devoted support to Israel."

Harris's tweet shared the news: "Great to meet today in my office with California AIPAC leaders to discuss the need for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, the right of Israel to defend itself, and my commitment to combat anti-Semitism in our country and around the world." But progressive journalist Ben Norton did not share in the upbeat mood as he tweeted: "Far-right Israeli PM Netanyahu just formed an alliance with a literal fascist party, and is bombing people trapped in the Gaza concentration camp right now, but fake 'progressive' Kamala Harris is meeting with AIPAC and praising the apartheid regime."

Yet Harris does not adhere completely to AIPAC positions. She cosponsored the Yemen war powers bill introduced by Bernie Sanders. And she has expressed support for the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama that was canceled by President Trump.

The military-industrial complex might prefer Biden to Harris. But from all indications, that complex would be quite comfortable with a President Harris, and vice versa. The same goes for Wall Street and other big corporate sectors. No wonder they're pouring many millions of dollars into the Biden and Harris campaign coffers.

However tense and testy the current relations between Biden and Harris might be, their falling out is likely to be temporary. "I adore Joe Biden," she proclaimed in mid-spring when he was on the verge of announcing his campaign. Anyone who doubts the prospect of a rapprochement-and even a shared ticket is forgetting how easily campaign-trail conflicts can be jettisoned a little bit down the road. In 1980, George H.W. Bush fought Ronald Reagan for the GOP presidential nomination all the way to the convention, even after losing the vast majority of primaries, and tensions were raw; then came the Reagan-Bush ticket.

Among the Democratic presidential candidates, the viable alternatives to the Biden and Harris corporatist duo are the progressive candidate Elizabeth Warren and the more progressive candidate Bernie Sanders. While Warren is impressive in many ways, I continue to actively support Sanders. As an eloquent essay by Shaun King recently underscored, Sanders-like no other member of the Senate or candidate for-has boldly participated in progressive movements for his entire adult life. That orientation toward social movements is crucial in a time of profound needs for fundamental change, in an era of multiple and concentric crises-from record-breaking economic inequality to extreme corporate greed to racist xenophobia to the climate emergency to rampant militarism and so much more. No matter how distasteful or repugnant, the electoral process is an opening for progressive forces to be influential and potentially decisive.

(c) 2019 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Sanders Vs The Endless Austerity Regime
By Glen Ford

Bernie Sanders must very quickly get serious about building a grassroots movement-type politics on the ground that disrupts the corporate-managed pace, coverage and content of the primary season.

Corporate Democrats have had great success in smothering Bernie Sanders' challenge to the capitalist austerity regime that has eroded U.S. working class incomes and economic security for two generations. Just two years ago, in the wake of his astounding bid to deny Hillary Clinton the Democratic presidential nomination, the Vermont senator was the most popular politician in the country. Although some Democrats blamed Sanders for Donald Trump's even more surprising 2016 election, by the next year the septuagenarian Medicare for All champion's favorability ratings exceeded all others - including among Black voters. Most astonishingly, Sanders had almost single-handedly removed the stigma from the word "socialism" - an amazing feat for a New Deal Democratic reformer who has never advocated anything remotely resembling the overthrow of the rule of capital, and who remains an "imperialist pig" in foreign affairs.

As the 2020 campaign season approached, a great sense of foreboding was evident within the US ruling class. Sanders was by now associated with a whole menu of issues -- Medicare for All, free public college, a $15 an hour minimum wage, and more - that had become popular with majorities of all voters and super-majorities (80 or even 90 percent) of Democrats. With the Clinton machine in tatters and Sanders' supporters presumably eager for another shot at seizing the commanding heights of the Democratic Party, 2020 was looking like a very problematic year for capitalist duopoly politics. The system was already under the deliberately-induced stress of Russiagate, as corporate Democrats and their allies in media and the national security state daily delegitimized the Trump regime. Corporate Democrats were confident - just as they were in 2020 - that they could win the White House by making Trump, himself, effectively the sole issue of the campaign. But first they had to neutralize Bernie and his austerity-busting, super-majority issues, to clear the way for an economic issues-less anti-Trump crusade - the corporate Democratic ideal.

So they simply threw all the shit at hand into the game, simultaneously mobbing and co-opting Sanders with the biggest, most multi-colored crowd of Democratic politicians ever assembled for a presidential race - even larger than the horde that Republican money-bags financed in hopes of derailing Donald Trump, four years earlier. Dollar-drenched corporate hacks like Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris claimed to endorse Sanders' signature Medicare for All legislation, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, once considered anathema by corporatists -- the Bride of Berniestein - was suddenly a darling of party leaders and media.

Sanders has gotten lost in the slosh, as intended. The corporate strategy was to ensure that the super-majorities of Democrats that support Sanders' issues were split among the progressive pretenders, while Joe Biden soaked up the nervous-nellie voters that are desperate to beat Trump with someone - anyone -- "electable." The corporatists' nightmare scenario, that Sanders would rev up his highly energized and youthful 2016 machine, funded by tens of millions in small-contributions, and smash his way to a first ballot victory at the convention, seems far less likely. The corporate media -- now supremely acclimated to close-order political drill by Russiagate -- have acted in near-unison to alternatively ignore or malign Sanders,often pretending he is just not there as they fawn over his mimics, who can be counted on to retreat from corporate-opposed issues once the Bernie-bear has been contained.

In their desperation to blunt Bernie, the Lords of Capital gave Kamala Harris permission to ambush Old Man Biden, who personifies Barack Obama's partially successful Grand Bargain with Republicans, as well as an earlier accommodation with Dixiecrats. Harris rose to the occasion in the last debate, miraculously losing her signature tic-giggle as she committed euthanasia on screen. But it's all in service to the higher corporate purpose. Harris' strategy to diffuse the Sanders vote is much like the "close as a man's belt" battle doctrine employed by the Vietnamese, who would attack the Americans from such close quarters that was impossible for the U.S. to effectively deploy its awesome artillery and air power without hitting their own troops' positions. Harris hung around Sanders belt on Medicare for All, even showing her hand when the corporate debate instigator/moderator asked who among the candidates would abolish private health insurance. (Naturally, she reneged afterwards.) As the emerging Great Corporate Black Hope (Booker is clearly hopeless), Harris offers the African American supermajority that supports Medicare for All a Black face (and a woman) to vote for. At the end of the process, Harris will revert to corporate form. There is only one escape from this fetid and flooded corporate swamp for Sanders. He must very quickly get serious about building a grassroots movement-type politics on the ground, that creates issue-based events that cannot be ignored, involving tens of thousands of people, and that disrupts the corporate-managed pace, coverage and content of the primary season. In short, Sanders must subvert the corporate process and start acting like he really is leading a "revolution," as he tells his supporters. Otherwise, he will be effectively marginalized, despite the super-majorities that support his issues and the transparent dishonesty of his mimics.

If you think this column is supportive of the Sanders candidacy, then you haven't been reading BAR all these years. We are socialists and Black liberationists who do commentary and analysis, and have never backed corporate parties or candidates. The Democratic Party serves its ruling class financiers, and is the main agency of their control over Black America, where the Republicans are irrelevant. As one of the two parties of capitalist governance in the U.S., the Democratic Party will self-destruct before it bucks its corporate bosses. That's why purported "socialists" like Sanders, or the Democratic Socialists that always wind up supporting Democrats, are delusional if they think they can usurp control of the devil's machine - or they are trying to fool the rest of us.

However, Bernie Sanders' non-socialism isn't really important at this juncture in history. The ruling class isn't scared of his socialist pretensions, but will viciously resist New Deal-type reforms that threaten their austerity regime, a global Race to the Bottom that ruthlessly diminishes the living standards and economic security of the masses of people, so that they will accept any job, under any conditions of employment. Capitalist austerity is designed to provide working people with no options but to take what the bosses offer. Austerity regimes gut the social safety nets, not to save money, but to impose abject desperation on working people, so that they will accept the "shit jobs" that are now the norm even in the "most-developed" capitalist countries. The Lords of Austerity are creating a global precariat, defined as "a condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare."

The Lords of Capital oppose single payer health care, not so much in solidarity with their capitalist brethren in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries (capitalists have no problem devouring or sacrificing each other), but because single payer erases the connection between employment and health care, eliminating medical precarity and reducing the bosses' power. Thus, capitalists oppose single payer even though it would dramatically reduce the costs of labor for most businesses. That's why corporate Democrats resist Sanders' menu of reforms despite the fact that 80 to 90 percent of Democratic voters support them.

The ruling class agenda for the future is quite simple: endless war and austerity. Since they have no other vision, and have done fabulously well for themselves over the past 40 years of austerity and war, they tolerate no deviation from the corporate order and will lash out lethally against those that threaten their war-making and austerity-imposing prerogatives. It is unthinkable that the rulers would allow one of their governing parties to fall into the hands of austerity busters. Rather, the Lords of Capital would be compelled to destroy such a party - and govern from another platform -- rather than surrender the institution to folks that actually want to give the people what they want.

The people need to see that contradiction played out in the Democratic Party, the duopoly party whose constituencies are actually eager to make substantive demands on the state. (Republican rank and file whites desire only that their government affirm white supremacy.) It would have been a great political lesson if Sanders' momentum was such that corporate Democrats have to steal the nomination from him in broad daylight, hopefully prompting a mass exit from the party and creation of a new social democratic formation (or a much bigger Green Party). Or, if somehow Sanders won the nomination, we could all watch the corporate players pick up their marbles to form a new "centrist" party, leaving leftish Democrats encamped in the hollow shell. As things stand at this early stage in the process, Sanders may simply wind up an also-ran - allowing the corporate spinners to write the obituary on his "far left" escapades.

Or maybe Bernie will catch fire again, and propel us to the next contradiction.

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

President Donald Trump speaks during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019.

Trump's Big, Wet Fourth Of July Picnic
By Michael Winship

On March 12, 1938, the vaunted German army was to make its triumphant entry into Austria-the infamous Anschluss by which a compliant Austrian government surrendered to the Nazis without a shot.

A grand parade of the Third Reich's might was scheduled for the Austrian capital Vienna but the army's tanks were not as invincible as the generals bragged. They quickly broke down, clogging the roads, stalling the advance, and infuriating Adolph Hitler. And so, French author and filmmaker Eric Vuillard writes in his eloquent essay, The Order of the Day, "the German troops loaded as many tanks as they could onto railroad cars... the trains hauled away the armor the way you'd transport circus equipment." The tanks arrived in Vienna and the parade went on as planned.

It was that image of massive weapons as circus gear that flashed to mind this week when photos were released of tanks on railroad cars in Washington, DC, ready to be placed on display at our National Mall on the orders of Donald Trump. They were part of his plan to hijack the Fourth of July and make our nation's birthday all about him-a "Salute to America," featuring the tanks, military flyovers (including the Blue Angels and Air Force One) and a speech made by the man who calls himself, "Your favorite President, me!" The White House, the Republican National Committee, and the Trump reelect distributed VIP tickets.

As per The New York Times, "Pentagon officials have long been reluctant to parade tanks, missiles, and other weapons through the nation's capital like the authoritarian leaders of North Korea and China. They say the United States, which has the world's most powerful military and spends more on defense than the seven next largest military spenders combined-China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, Britain, and Germany-does not need to broadcast its strength."

Many former military weren't crazy about the idea either. Retired Army Lt. Gen. David Barno, who commanded troops under George W. Bush, told Politico, "This looks like it's becoming much more of a Republican Party event-a political event about the president-than a national celebration of the Fourth of July, and it's unfortunate to have the military smack dab in the middle of that." Retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash added, "The president is using the armed forces in a political ploy for his reelection campaign and I think it's absolutely obscene."

(Mother Jones reported on Wednesday that soldiers assigned to the tanks and other armored vehicles plopped down among our national monuments had been given a card by the Pentagon about what to say to the public, including, "I am proud of my job and my vehicle/tank. I am glad to share my experience with American People.")

Anyone who has ever spent a Fourth of July in Washington knows that it's a festive fun day in the capital, albeit wilting hot and sopping humid, usually above politics, featuring a parade, a folk life festival, grand music, and fireworks. But this year, the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, usually a prime vantage point for watching the skyrockets, and the surrounding parkland were cordoned off for the invited guests so that they could watch our egomaniacal president and the first lady make a grand entrance across a red-carpeted stage at the spot where Marian Anderson sang "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" when she was barred from Constitution Hall by the DAR in 1939, and Martin Luther King, Jr., told an eager crowd in 1963 of his dreams for racial harmony and freedom.

Trump's attempt to wedge himself and his reelection into the festivities-using, in part, taxpayer millions diverted from much needed repairs of the national parks-had the grace of that clown who tries to photobomb a group portrait in the high school yearbook, making faces and wiggling fingers in his ears. The speech, which many feared would be a partisan attack similar to the rants he delivers at his campaign rallies, turned out to be standard if dull rhetoric that sounded more like the third-place winning essay in an eighth grade civics contest than a speech by our putative chief executive. It went on at such monotonous length that CNN actually cut away for a commercial break, something I have never in my life seen happen during a presidential address.

Standing behind a wall of bulletproof glass so rain streaked it appeared he was speaking from behind a car windshield during a cloudburst, Trump was at his best when quoting the eloquence of his predecessors rather than the boilerplate of his speechwriters. (Lincoln's "government of the people, by the people, for the people" was trundled out, but there was no mention of Abe's "malice toward none.") He lumbered through a rambling litany of moments in American history and named its greats, glossing over our sins, thanking all the branches of the military, and presenting notables in the audience who had been brought there, State of the Union-style, to be lauded for their achievements.

(One of them, Clarence Henderson, introduced by the president as among the first to participate in the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins in 1960 and cited by Trump as an exemplar of the success of civil rights, has in recent years been an outspoken Trump supporter and president of the North Carolina chapter of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group that seeks, according to The Fayetteville Observer, "to grow the ranks of conservative Christian black Republicans.")

Aside from the verbal slips he inevitably stumbles into when reading from a teleprompter ("ramparts/airports") there was no groaner of an improvised joke or insult, although given his draft record, the call for young people to join the military was a little rich. That this failure to further embarrass the nation was cause for kudos from Republican leadership and some in the media gives an idea of how low we've let this man set the presidential performance bar.

But as conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin noted in The Washington Post, Trump misconstrues American traditions: "What should be a commemoration of human rights ('All men ... ') and the unwavering faith in the rule of law and in democratic governance in Trump's hands becomes a caffeinated Armed Services Day. He manages to transform a holiday about the greatest experiment in civilian self-government into a garish military Mardi Gras."

So why spend even a moment wringing hands over such an event when there are horrors perpetrated by this regime on an hourly basis that far eclipse some uninspiring oratory and slipshod pageantry? When Trump perpetually lies, makes policy mayhem worldwide, utters dark threats about the homeless and deportations and allows men, women, and children to cluster in overcrowded squalid cells along our southern border?

Why bother? Because, as Eric Vuillard writes of World War II in The Order of the Day, "Great catastrophes often creep up on us in tiny steps." Because on the same day a company donated $750,000 worth of free fireworks for Trump's Fourth of July party, he dropped a tariff on imported Chinese fireworks that same company had been lobbying against. Because every bit of graft like that, every small indignity inflicted, each gesture and symbol of disdain, are reflective of a greater, potentially fatal insult to democracy and a degradation of the greater good that was idealized by the men who signed the Declaration.

Because, Vuillard warns, "We never fall into the same abyss. But we always fall the same way, in a mixture of ridicule and dread."

(c) 2019 Michael Winship is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow for Common Dreams. Previously, he was the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and, a past senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos and former president of the Writers Guild of America East. Follow him on twitter:@MichaelWinship

How To Get Congress To Reform Our Broken Healthcare System
By Jim Hightower

For $3.5 Trillion a year, shouldn't we Americans have a world-class healthcare system? Yet, while we spend the most of any advanced nation in the world to get care (more than $10,000 a year per person), we get the worst results.

No surprise then, that the "Medicare-for-All" idea is now backed by 85 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Independents, and (get this) 52 percent of Republicans! So... why isn't Congress responding to this overwhelming public demand for universal coverage?

I suspect that one big reason for Washington's big yawn over the people's plea for sweeping reform is that our lawmakers do not personally feel the financial pain and emotional distress that are inflicted on millions of regular Americans by a system built on private greed. After all, their health needs are met by a double-dose of the socialistic care that they so furiously deny to our families.

First, they are given big taxpayer-subsidies to cover the cost of their insurance with you and me paying about 72 percent of the price. But, second, there's a secretive medical center located right in the US Capitol building that provides a full-blown system of - shhhhh - healthcare socialism to our governing elites.

Called the OAP (Office of the Attending Physician), it provides a complete range of free medical service for lawmakers. No appointment needed and no waiting - they walk in and doctors, nurses, technicians, pharmacists, and other professionals tend to them right away. No need to show an insurance card, and they never get a bill, but they do get what a former OAP staffer calls "The best healthcare on the planet." Thus, members feel no urgency to restructure a system that's working beautifully - for them.

So, to get good care for all of us, we might start by taking away the pampered care that lawmakers have quietly awarded to themselves.

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

Gov. Tony Evers during the biennial budget action at the State Capitol in Madison.

Governor Evers Just Outwitted Vos And The GOP
By John Nichols

Tony Evers is not a natural politician, thankfully. The veteran educator does not play the game the way that political careerists do. Rather, he eschews personal clashes and backroom maneuvers in favor of a strikingly open and genial pursuit of the common good that is rooted in Wisconsin's progressive tradition.

So far, this approach has proven to be enormously successful.

In 2018, Evers entered a crowded field of Democratic contenders in the race for the party's gubernatorial nomination and was immediately dismissed as too mild, too nice, too old-school to prevail. He won 42 percent of last summer's primary vote, leading the next closest candidate in the 10-candidate field by 26 points.

Evers then took on Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The incumbent had the name recognition, the money and a low-road strategy that combined personal attacks on Evers with divisive anti-immigrant rhetoric borrowed from President Donald Trump. Yet, Evers prevailed, defeating Walker and leading a sweep that saw Democrats win every statewide contest.

Republicans retained control of the state Legislature, thanks to extreme gerrymandering and the infusions of out-of-state campaign money that had sustained Walker. Predictably, they sought to thwart the will of the people. They used a "lame-duck" session power grab to undermine the new governor's position. Then, they proposed to obstruct and undermine Evers' "people's budget."

But Evers outwitted them. He campaigned hard for his budget plan, clearly defining it for Wisconsinites who liked what he was saying about expanding access to health care, spending more on schools, fixing roads and renewing the promise of progressive taxation - by cutting taxes for working families while making corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share. And he made it clear that he was prepared to veto bad budget provisions.

The Republicans buckled. They agreed to so much of what Evers asked for that they faced a revolt by conservatives who said they were giving in to the governor. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald eventually delivered a budget. And it was insufficiently progressive. But Evers then used 78 vetoes of to dramatically improve the document.

The governor moved an additional $87 million into education for an overall increase of almost $600 million for K-12 schools. He restored funding for child welfare programs while thwarting ill-thought GOP schemes on prison building and expanding county jails. He steered money to charging stations for electric vehicles, as part of a plan to reduce auto emissions, while rejecting a GOP plan to spend $2.5 million to study toll roads.

Did Evers get the full "people's budget?" No. But on Wednesday, Evers signed a budget that, he noted, includes substantial "investments in special education, the largest general school aid increase in a decade, increased revenue to fix our roads, and critical investments in broadband expansion, Wisconsin shares, child welfare, rural hospitals, and transit, among other important priorities."

Fitzgerald and Vos were grumbling. But Evers was smiling. And rightly so. The governor had, once again, outwitted his rivals.

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

Humanity Is Under Attack - Defining The Enemy
By James Donahue

Our food is injected with toxic chemicals, the pharmaceutical industry has goaded multitudes into buying and consuming pills that are attacking our bodies, we are ignoring all of the signs that our continued consumption of carbon fuels is heating our planet, and we have been brainwashed to submit to ongoing enslavement by employers and political leaders. What is wrong with this picture?

It is obvious that humanity made a wrong turn a few hundred if not thousands of years ago and we now are rushing headlong toward an obvious train wreck if we don't get off the track we are on. How could this have happened? How do we put on the brakes and change course? And if there is blame to be had, how do we identify the culprits?

The problem has been with us for a very long time. For as far back as we can go in recorded history the majority of the human race has lived under a form of slavery. There were always kings, dictators and religious power figures sitting in ivory towers, forcing the commoners to spend their horrid lives in hard labor, all for the enrichment of those in charge. While the popes, bishops, kings and monarchs basked in great wealth and luxury, the commoners groveled at their feet, hoping to catch a crumb if by chance it fell from their plate.

There have been revolutions. The great American, French and Russian revolts in the Eighteenth Century brought change, but not necessarily for the better. Instead of raising humanity to a more equal footing, the wars led to changes in the way the enslavement was carried out. We rushed into the industrial age, the power figures built the factories, and the masses went to work in them.

In the United States, where the actual ownership of slaves and the question of the state's rights to decide the slavery issue became the catalyst for the great Civil War, Americans were carefully brainwashed to believe we had solved the slavery issue once and for all. We taught our children on the public schools to believe the adage the America was the "land of the free," and we grew up believing that since we were all created equal, if we worked hard for our employer we had a chance for advancement and good lives.

The problem was then, and continues to remain that we have established a culture that requires us to work for an employer. That employer used to be a small family-owned business or industry that co-existed with the people who worked for it. But in recent years those small business have been purchased by outside corporate interests. Those corporations began swallowing one another until almost everything is now owned by a few massive conglomerates that control the manufacture of everything we use, including the food on our table. Those conglomerates have corporate boards and Chief Operating Officers (CEOs) managing their affairs, but they are owned by stockholders who control the flow of the money, determine where the factories they own will conduct their business, who gets to work for them and even the working conditions they must endure.

Because world governments have consolidated to form world trade agreements, the conglomerates now operate freely anyplace in the world they choose.

Suddenly humanity finds itself back where it all began. Everybody is struggling to survive in an uncompromising world controlled by the few people who control the wealth and power. We are still enslaved by this complex system. We still grovel at the feet of the kings, hoping against hope to catch a few of the crumbs that perchance fall from their plates.

There is a grass-roots revolutionary movement occurring. It is going on in just about every corner of the world, but because of the corporate controlled media, we only catch a brief mention of the rioting, the marches, the fighting and the attempts by the common people to overthrow dictatorial and controlling governments. Most of these movements are bloody because those in power are using sophisticated weaponry and their wealth to fight back against antique handguns, swords and pitchforks.

Those people in government positions may only be the tip of the iceberg in this power struggle, however. While they are the visible images of power, they may all be supported by secret, power figures hiding behind the curtain. The real controlling force is hiding within world money markets, power banking systems and secret organizations like the Bilderberg's, all comprised of key figures that control the course of the world.

So if there are secret forces busy pulling the strings of governments, banks and industry, why is the world falling into such disrepair, and why are we suffering from the poisoning of our environment, our food and being thrown into such extreme poverty through no fault of our own? Is there a secret plan afoot here to kill off the human race? If the capitalistic system we have grown accustomed to goes into collapse and our world no longer exists as we knew it, will not the people in charge suffer from the change along with the rest of us? If the world heats to unbearable levels and we go extinct, will they not perish with the rest of us?

There appears to be one of three programs in operation from behind the scenes. Either we have all been so subjected to greed that we just haven't cared about the things that really matter, there is a concerted effort to save the planet via a dramatic reduction of the population or the wild theory that we have all been under the control of alien forces is true. Whichever the reality, we are involved in a dangerous game that appears to be driving us all on a painful path to extinction.

The hope, if any is to be found, it appears to lie in the youth. They have a difficult task ahead of them of saving us all from an insanity that has dominated our thinking for centuries.

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

Predictably, the establishment press swooped in after the Democratic debate and pooped all over the roof.

Progressive Candidates Are Rising. Establishment Media Are Terrified
By William Rivers Pitt

Some things in life are inevitable, it seems. When the sun rises, it does so in the east. When it rains, things get wet. When you drop your smartphone, it lands in such a way as to crack the screen with an audible tink. When progressive ideas are cogently aired before millions of viewers, the "centrist" establishment and their "moderate" mainstream media allies will rally furiously to try and convince everyone how terrifying those ideas are. Inevitable.

The run of days since the first twin-bill Democratic debate has been a study in public political pushback. Certainly, both the first and second nights were deliberately chaotic affairs salted liberally (pardon the pun) with unrefined gobbledygook from moderator Chuck Todd. That being said, the policy initiatives were clearly outlined despite the format. Many of those policy initiatives were dramatically progressive and are, according to a variety of polls, deeply popular with a majority of voters.

A hell of a lot of people tuned in, especially to the Thursday night debate which featured several frontrunners, including Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. According to Nielsen, some 18.1 million viewers tuned in to watch Harris snap Biden over her knee on the second night, making it the most-watched Democratic primary debate in history.

For the establishment press, which flees progressive ideas the way vampires flee garlic, this simply will not do. Like swallows returning to Capistrano, they swooped in after the debate and started pooping all over the roof. This led to the publication of some hilariously fraught news stories and editorials in the bigger papers, none more so than The New York Times, with The Washington Post riding sidecar on this road to progressive perdition.

"With moderate Democrats repeatedly drowned out or on the defensive in the debates," wrote the Times in its opening "Fear the Libs!" salvo, "the sprint to the left has deeply unnerved establishment Democrats, who have largely picked the party nominees in recent decades." Can't have the establishment stripped of its power to pick sure-fire winners like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, now can we?

"Democratic candidates veer left," intoned a Post headline the next day, "leaving behind successful midterm strategy." Got that, everyone? Rather than take an effective strategy and expand on it, these candidates should be standing pat, which is another way of saying they need to be more conservative. The article itself featured a "cheering" Trump after the debates, because his opinion clearly matters most.

Speaking of opinion, no establishment pushback would be complete without a paean to vanilla from the Smart People on the editorial pages.

"Statecraft is soul craft," writes the eternally incorrect Times columnist David Brooks. "Through the policies they choose, governments can encourage their citizens to become one sort of person or another. Progressives want to create a government caste that is powerful and a population that is safe but dependent. Moderates, by contrast, are trying to create a citizenry that possesses the vigorous virtues - daring, empowered, always learning, always brave."

There is so much wrong in that paragraph - even without the spectacular blither about "soul craft" - I'd need an abacus to count the ways. Suffice it to say, it is difficult in the extreme to be vigorous, daring, empowered, learning and/or brave when you are crushed under a mountain of medical or school debt, if you make less money and are harassed at work because you are a woman, if the cops hunt you because of the color of your skin, or if your future was plundered by the wars Brooks vocally supported. You can have all the good "moderate" stuff if you're a rich, white man, however. If that is the case, Mr. Brooks is your guy.

Still not convinced that progressive policy ideas will rain destruction and sorrow down upon you and all you hold dear? Well, conservative Times columnist Bret Stephens is here to shoot the gap for you with an article titled, "A Wretched Start for Democrats," in which he laments the existence of Spanish, among many other apparently bad things.

"They speak Spanish," growls Stephens. "We don't. They are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. We are. They broke the rules to get into this country. We didn't. They pay few or no taxes. We already pay most of those taxes. They willingly got themselves into debt. We're asked to write it off. They don't pay the premiums for private health insurance. We're supposed to give up ours in exchange for some V.A.-type nightmare. They didn't start enterprises that create employment and drive innovation. We're expected to join the candidates in demonizing the job-creators, breaking up their businesses and taxing them to the hilt."

Somewhere in upstate New York, there is a hay field stripped bare for the construction of all the straw men Stephens deployed in that paragraph. It should require only two of the most meager, underachieving brain cells in your possession to surmise who he means when he speaks of "we." The racism and classism on display here is so vast and unrestrained, it should come with a warning label, which, of course, it never does.

"Stephens, of all people, has the predictable gall to say that everyone ELSE is the reason Trump is gonna win in 2020," writes Drew Magary for Deadspin on this execrable Times column. "It couldn't possibly be because supposed guardians of democracy have foolishly offered STEPHENS asylum, helping disseminate his garbage into the mainstream and to act as sentry for the entrenched powers that be, and then paying him handsomely for the privilege."

That is about the size of it, for all of it.

If a full-court press against progressive policy isn't sufficient to drive the hippie hordes into submission, the Times is more than happy to indulge in some sneaky misogyny under the ever-effective banner of "They Say."

"In polling, interviews and focus groups, a portion of the party's voters suggest they're eager to see a woman on the ticket," wrote the Times on Wednesday, "but fear that putting her in the top slot could cost them the White House - again. The question comes up frequently in early primary states, including at events organized for female voters. Much of the concern centers not on what Democratic voters themselves say they want but a prediction of what they believe others will support."

Here we see an example of the classic "Yeahbut" pivot, fueled by the "fear" of what "others" may think about a woman holding the highest elected office in the land. Of course, women candidates face a unique challenge in a nation built on patriarchy and misogyny. To deny this is to deny reality.

Hillary Clinton was dogged by the "Women can't win" trope all throughout her 2008 and 2016 campaigns, and while her own shortcomings - combined with a burn-it-down electoral mood that saw half the country stay home in November - played a large role in her defeat, the power of that trope became a self-fulfilling prophesy which echoes to this day. Despite this, Clinton still won the popular vote by a sizeable margin.

Here's the thing, though: Now ain't then. In 2008, it seemed absurd to believe the country would elect a Black man who, politically speaking, came down with the last drop of rain. Yet the country did so, twice, and that was 11 years ago. To say this is still the same country as it was then, after all that has happened - including the long nightmare of Donald Trump - is also to deny reality.

Articles like this are appearing for two reasons: Frontrunners Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris won that first debate. The two are very different politically, with Warren's record and list of progressive policy ideas far outstripping those of Harris. Yet as women, their strength so far on the campaign trail strikes at the heart of establishment control, and so "women can't win" is erected as a firewall against their potential success.

It's all too clear that the first Democratic debate, for all its myriad flaws, has fired a charge of red-hot fear peppers up the tailpipe of the establishment. These types of articles are rolled out every election season - if you've read one, you've pretty much read them all - but it feels different this time.

Thanks in part to the grotesque performance of the sitting Republican president, whose worst offense against the establishment has been to brazenly give away the game, progressive candidates and their ideas have a historic opportunity to seize control of the narrative in this country. As that narrative has traditionally run through establishment gatekeeper stalwarts like the Times and the Post, they are going to have their timid, hidebound, protect-the-rich-boy's-club say.

All the king's horses and all the king's men may not be able to save this particular Humpty, either. The ocean is coming, everyone knows it now including the deniers, and the problems facing this society have become too glaring to paper over with old ideas and discredited notions. Moreover, the Times, the Post and their establishment peers are not the only media game in town. Nowadays, that fact is truer than ever.

Progressives have the best arguments this cycle, and thanks to the rampant malfeasance of Trump and the Republicans, the country is listening. If it's not already too late, it's definitely right on time.

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

Cyclist in a field with wind turbineResolving the climate crisis by developing, deploying and scaling up solutions
will offer numerous other benefits, from cleaner air and better health to greater innovation and equality.

Yes, We Can Resolve The Climate Crisis
By David Suzuki

There's no shortage of solutions to the climate crisis. Rapidly developing clean-energy technology, reducing energy consumption and waste, increasing efficiency, reforming agricultural practices and protecting and restoring forests and wetlands all put us on a path to cleaner air, water and soil, healthier biodiversity and lower climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

Clean-energy technologies, including energy-storage methods, are improving as costs are dropping. Exciting new inventions like artificial photosynthesis, machines that remove atmospheric carbon to create fuels and windows that convert light to electricity show what people are capable of when we put our minds to resolving challenges.

It's critical that we continue to develop, deploy and scale up solutions, so why are we still mired in outdated ways and business as usual? For decades, experts have been warning about the consequences of rapidly burning fossil fuels, yet greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise as the planet heats up faster.

Europe is in the midst of a record heat wave; Chennai, India, has run out of water; farmers in Canada and the U.S. are seeing diminishing returns after prolonged droughts; refugees are flooding borders as extreme conditions, water scarcity and failing agriculture increase conflict and displace millions - all caused or exacerbated by climate change. Even in rainy Vancouver where I live, the city implemented early water restrictions when the usual spring showers didn't arrive.

People and organizations from the entire spectrum of society are calling for action. Students are marching in the streets, progressive decision-makers are putting climate disruption at the top of the political agenda, and Indigenous Peoples are asserting their rights to protect lands and waters from fossil fuel projects.

In the U.S., more than 70 leading health organizations - including the American Medical Association, Lung Association, Heart Association and College of Physicians - issued a statement urging political candidates "to recognize climate change as a health emergency."" The Canadian Medical Association, Nurses Association, Public Health Association, Association of Physicians for the Environment and the Urban Public Health Network issued a similar statement.

To their credit, every major political party in Canada has a climate plan, some more detailed than others, and the current federal government has implemented many strong policies, despite its continued approval of fossil fuel projects. But we're still not on track to meet our Paris Agreement commitments.

Here and elsewhere, the fossil fuel industry still rules, enjoying massive government subsidies and tax breaks and government and media promotion. If we understand the problem and its urgency - and mountains of scientific evidence amassed from around the world over decades confirms we do - and we have solutions, why are we so slow to act?

Astonishingly, despite the overwhelming evidence and what people worldwide are clearly experiencing, many still refuse to believe there's a problem, or if there is, that's it's human-caused or urgent. Some may be overcome with denial in the face of such frightening prospects; others have been duped by continuing efforts of the fossil fuel industry and its media and government advocates to cast doubt on the evidence. Some may realize the problem exists but choose to elevate short-term profits and economic gains above the conditions we need for health and survival. Some people are afraid that the necessary changes will cause too much disruption - a prospect that becomes more likely the longer we delay. Others are unwilling to admit that our prevailing economic paradigms no longer fit current conditions.

Fortunately, many people and organizations are refusing to let the barriers stop them. Many reject the propaganda and conspiracy theories and are working hard to develop and implement solutions, and to demand better of our elected representatives.

We're at a pivotal point. Fossil fuels, plastics and private automobiles have brought benefits to many parts of the world, but our wasteful, consumer-oriented ways have also created enormous challenges for humanity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns we have less than a dozen years to cut emissions so they don't build to a point that puts us on a path to climate catastrophe. Resolving the issue will offer numerous other benefits, from cleaner air and better health to greater innovation and equality.

It's time for us all to accept reality and work together to address the challenge.

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

John Roberts's Legacy Is Finished If He Revives The Census Citizenship Question
There is no debate: the question is a Republican plot to win elections. A Republican operative said so.
By Charles P. Pierce

The question of the administration*'s wanting to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not an open one. The administration* wants to add that question for the express purpose of suppressing inconvenient votes through the implicit intimidation of the inconvenient people most likely to cast them. This is not subject to debate. The late Thomas Hofeller, the GOP's king of the complex ratfck, left all the evidence anyone should need on the hard drive of his computer prior to going to that great data mine in the sky. From The New York Times:

Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. And months after urging President Trump's transition team to tack the question onto the census, he wrote the key portion of a draft Justice Department letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act - the rationale the administration later used to justify its decision.
This story popped while the Supreme Court was preparing to rule on the administration's demand for the citizenship question. As far as anyone knows, the Hofeller files did not inform the Court's 5-4 decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, against the inclusion of the question. (The administration*'s bad faith should have been obvious nonetheless. The Constitution mandates the census count "persons," not citizens. But four Supreme Court Justices hand-waved that consideration away.)

Department Of Justice Holds Farewell Ceremony For Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein William Barr's contribution to all this has been thoroughly predictable.

Of course, as is his curious wont, Roberts left a small window of opportunity for the people seeking to suppress those inconvenient votes by inconvenient voters. He said the administration* had the right to include the question as long as it didn't lie so blatantly about why. Since then, of course, thanks to the late Mr. Hofeller's estranged children, we know that the lies were even more blatant than they were before. That's the context in which the case will be decided if and when it comes before the Nine Wise Souls again. And, remember, four of them thought everything was kosher the last time.

On Monday, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, William Barr, the president*'s pet attorney general, delivered himself of the opinion that the administration had found a way to include the citizenship question that would pass muster with Roberts. From the AP, via PBS:

In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to ask the controversial question. Barr would not detail the administration's plans, though a senior official said President Donald Trump is expected to issue a presidential memorandum to the Commerce Department instructing it to include the question...

"I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong," said Barr. He said he believes there is "an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that."

"The lack of clarity" is just nifty, isn't it? Things were very clear. The administration* was lying its sagging ass off and Roberts, whatever you think of him, caught them at it. Since then, the size of the deceit and bad faith has expanded publicly, and still the administration* is going to try again. And the attorney general is on board, too. Roberts has to know that, if he lets this pass this time around, he goes into the toolbox permanently, right next to Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. His legacy goes in there with him. He's already got Citizens United, McCutcheon, and Shelby County hanging from around his neck. We bear the chains we forge in life, Chief.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"Bill Clinton was a pretty good president for a Republican."
~~~ Michael Moore

Official Secrets: Best Movie So Far This Year
By David Swanson

The true story of British whistleblower Katharine Gun is public. The new movie dramatizing that story, with Keira Knightley in the starring role is called a thriller. And that it is.

How can a known event be made into a suspenseful thriller? In part this is possible because the story is a complex one that few know the details of, and in part because most people don't know anything about anything. There's too much information in the world, and most of it is useless or worse. The story of a whistleblower who took great risks to expose the greatest possible crimes by people holding the most power in the world is not the bit of information that has been most repeated over the past 16 years since it happened. In fact, it's hardly been mentioned at all in corporate media.

I recommend not reading anything about Katharine Gun until after you see Official Secrets. And what I write about the movie here will avoid revealing much at all. But feel free to go watch the movie first and then come back to this.

The movie has no fights, no shootings, no car chases, no monsters, no nudity; and the closest thing it has to demonized villains you love to hate are actual politicians in actual television clips that the characters in the movie watch on their TVs. And yet, the movie is thrilling. It is gripping.

The film's director Gavin Hood also directed a god-awful piece of propaganda called Eye in the Sky. He claimed to intend it to raise important moral questions, while in fact it purported to justify the most immoral actions on the basis of a fantastic scenario that has never existed in the real world and never will. But that interest in moral questions has now borne fruit. Official Secrets is a dramatic confrontation of moral choices, and an important model because the protagonist makes a wise and courageous choice each time.

The official "trailer" for Official Secrets reveals that the general context is U.S. and U.K. lies about reasons to attack Iraq in 2003. Katharine Gun leaks evidence of wrongdoing in an attempt to prevent a war that she expects to be disastrous. Her colleagues don't act. Her superiors don't act. A whistleblower is a rarity. But others do help, without whom the leak would have accomplished nothing. Peace activists help with the leak. Journalists work to confirm the story. Government officials help to confirm it, and to allow it to be published. A newspaper that openly and explicitly supports launching the war, values the news scoop as a reason to consider publishing the story. Even a lawyer who since then has done more for justifying drone murders than any movie, takes a stand for peace.

Gun continues to worry about preventing a war, but also worries about her colleagues who come under suspicion for the leak. Should she admit her guilt, clear her colleagues, and verify the story? What will best confirm the story for the public? What will best promote future whistleblowing? Does the fate of her colleagues even weigh into a matter that threatens many thousands or millions of lives? Does the fate of her marriage or of her husband, who could be put at risk? How does she draw the distinction that all whistleblowers draw between something so evil that it crosses a line and all the dubious work she has done for years without protest? The film thrusts us into all of these questions and many more.

If Gun is caught, or if she turns herself in, should she plan to plead guilty and obtain the lightest penalty? Or should she plead not-guilty and seek, through a trial, the exposure of government documents that would further expose the criminality of the war - at the risk of a lengthy prison sentence? What will achieve the best outcome in the long run? If the war happens anyway, but shamefully and clearly illegally without global support or a UN vote, will that be a failure? Can courage inspire others to blow the whistle, even if the goal is not achieved? What if the courage is quickly forgotten? What if it's made known potentially to vastly more than ever knew about it, through a movie that's widely viewed years later?

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Mark Sanchez vice president of the San Francisco school board

Heil Trump,

Dear Vizeprasident Sanchez,

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 to cover up the real George Washington by destroying art that depicts the truth, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The 4 Biggest Conservative Lies About Inequality
By Robert Reich

Even though we're heading toward levels of inequality not seen since the days of the 19th century robber barons, conservatives keep lying about what's happening and what to do about it. Here are their four biggest lies about inequality, followed by the truth.

1. The rich and CEOs are America's job creators, so we dare not tax them.

The truth is the middle class and poor are the job-creators through their purchases of goods and services. If they don't have enough purchasing power because they're not paid enough, companies won't create more jobs and the economy won't grow. The giant Trump-Republican tax cut for corporations and the rich hasn't trickled down to ordinary Americans. It's just made the rich even richer.

2. People are paid what they're worth in the market, so we shouldn't tamper with pay.

Wrong. Four decades ago, CEOs of big companies got 30 times the pay of typical workers. Now they get 361 times their workers' pay. It's not because they've done such a great job, but because they control the compensation committees of their boards. They're using corporate profits to buy back even more shares of stock so their total compensation rises even more. And, they're monopolizing the economy at the same time.

Meanwhile, most American workers earn nearly the same today as they did forty years ago, adjusted for inflation. That's not because they're working less hard now, but because they don't have strong unions bargaining for them, as they did then.

3. Any child can make it in America with enough guts, gumption, and intelligence, so we don't need to do anything for poor and working-class kids.

The truth is we already do next to nothing for poor and working class kids. Their schools don't have enough teachers or staff, their textbooks are outdated, they lack science labs, their school buildings are falling apart. We don't help with costs of child care. We don't invest in early childhood education. We spend less educating poor kids than we do educating kids from wealthy families.

4. Increasing the minimum wage will result in fewer jobs, so we shouldn't raise it.

In fact, studies show that in states where the minimum wage has been increased, the number of jobs increases. That's because minimum-wage workers have more money to spend - resulting in more jobs, and also saving employers money on employee turnover.

America's lurch toward widening inequality can be reversed. But doing so will require bold political steps. And the American public must know the facts.

So don't listen to the right-wing lies about inequality. Know the truth, and act on it.

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

Your Vaccine Preservative
The gifts that never stop giving
By Jane Stillwater

Wait, what? Pharmaceutical companies now have vaccine commercials running on our TVs -- right next to all those other phony drug propaganda campaigns? "Ask your doctor if this vaccine is right for your child...." Except now there's another weird twist to their game.

At the end of all those other drug commercials that we are forced to watch, there comes a point where some trust-worthy-sounding voice-over guy is spozed to tell us what the side-effects are. You know what I'm talking about, right? And yet what actually follows in Big Pharma's new vaccine commercials is just dead airtime. Total silence. What? No side effects are even mentioned? No side-effects even exist? Nothing could ever possibly go wrong? Really? Not even an "Ouch" from your baby? How can that possibly be?

It's because our very own CDC has actually passed a law telling us that vaccines never have to list their side-effects. Never. Huh?

But does objecting to all this new false reality automatically make me one of those ostracized media-lepers with the dread label of "Anti-Vaxxer"? No, no, no and no. Truth be told, I actually sort of like vaccines.

So many horrible and deadly diseases have been prevented due to the wonderful invention of vaccines. If they had been around at the time of Columbus, for instance, approximately 20 million "New World" natives wouldn't have died painfully from small pox.

And just imagine how different medieval Europe would have been if GlaxoSmithKline, Merck or Pfizer had just come up with a vaccine against Black Plague back in the day.

And the reason that I myself haven't spent most of my life vegetating in some gross Iron Lung or limping around with a withered arm or shrunken leg is because someone invented a polio vaccine.

However, my own polio vaccine was administered orally. And my small pox vaccine was administered topically. But that was old-school For most vaccines nowadays you get shots -- shots that go directly into your bloodstream. 72 different doses of injected vaccines are currently required for our babies and little kids alone. 72 doses going directly into their cute little bloodstreams, each one swimming in a preservative usually consisting of aluminum, formaldehyde and one of the main ingredients in "Round Up".

That's gotta hurt.

But, wait. That's not even anywhere near the end of us getting shot up. There's even more shots to come! Now the pharmaceutical industry informs us that we also gotta have a measles booster every five years and a flu shot every winter for the rest of our lives.

None of that bothers me however. I've already been given the polio vaccine and the small pox vaccine. And I've already actually had the mumps, chicken pox and measles. I don't need flu shots because I never get the flu. I'm good. I never have to be injected with sleazy vaccine fillers and preservatives for the rest of my life. The pharmaceutical industry hates people like me. We are not their gift that keeps on giving.

But our children and grandchildren are.

And apparently Americans can live with that.

But suppose -- just suppose -- that those gross fillers and preservatives in vaccines do cause autism> altzheimers, eczema, multiple sclerosis, androgyny, Parkinson's, ADHD, increased auto-immune diseases, the sudden and weird increase in "childhood cancer" and a whole list of other health issues that have cropped up so heavily since 1989, the year that Congress allowed vaccine manufacturers to become far less regulated and leashed. Shouldn't we be just a little bit upset that no research is being done on possible side effects? That we just take Big Pharma at its word? Seriously?

Everyone gets their knickers all in a twist because certain breakfast cereals may contain a Round-Up ingredient -- yet no one seems to care when we pump this same dangerous ingredient into our babies' bloodstreams? What's up with that?

And we are all sternly warned not to cook with aluminum foil due to health risks -- and yet aluminum is still a major preservative in those vaccines that are shot right into our helpless babies' veins on the very day they are born and then for the rest of their lives -- but nobody seems to mind about that either? We live in a very strange world.

But even if Congress actually did force Big Pharma to finally allow science to actually do any research on the side-effects of vaccines' preservatives -- and even if this research did prove that Round-Up, aluminum and formaldehyde actually did have side-effects when shot directly into the human bloodstream, none of this research would effect me. I'm safe. Your babies aren't safe. You yourself aren't safe. But I am. I'll never be required to get another shot. Or be guilt-tripped, shamed or brainwashed into getting any more shots either.

Vaccine fillers and preservatives are truly the gifts that keep on giving -- to Big Pharma only, over 60 billion dollars in profits recently. But all we get are...shot.

Shouldn't we be doing something about this disaster? If nothing else, for instance, let's demand that pharmaceutical companies invent vaccines we can swallow instead of getting shot with. Chocolate flavored vaccines? Sure, why not.

PS: Let's suppose, just suppose for one minute, that the rapid increases in all these miserable diseases that currently effect us actually are the result of all those yucky fillers and preservatives gleefully administered to you in a constant life-long parade of vaccine shots? Drug companies would be (and are) totally delighted with that situation too. Now almost every single red-blooded American in this great land will now constantly require ADHD medications, eczema creams, Alzheimer pills, heart medications and on and on and on. Endlessly. Drug profits through the roof! Better run out and buy stock.

PPS: I actually have done some of my own personal (sort of) scientific research on this subject. For instance, one of my daughters received the MMR vaccine and immediately developed eczema -- which she still has to this day, 30 years later. Yuck.

Further personal research: I also gotta confess that I actually did get vaccinated a few more times -- with disastrous results. When I went into the Peace Corps back in 2009, they forced me to get a whole bunch of shots. "Either that or you go home." Oh. Okay. Just like all those thousands of American soldiers who were forced to get all kinds of shots during Bush Senior's dirty little Gulf "war" -- and who later got all kinds of horrible life-long reactions as a result.

The good news? Thanks to the Peace Corps I am now theoretically protected from catching rabies, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, diphtheria and tetanus -- plus I also shot up with vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella and polio (which I'd already had) for good measure. The bad news? I passed out cold after each shot -- and then became so disoriented over the next few months that they had to ship me back home anyway. It was almost like having Altzheimers -- or being autistic.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Mike Keefe ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Bolton Calls For Forceful Iranian Response To Continuing U.S. Aggression
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Demanding that the Middle Eastern nation retaliate immediately in self-defense against the existential threat posed by America's military operations, National Security Adviser John Bolton called for a forceful Iranian response Friday to continuing United States aggression.

"Iran cannot sit idly by as the American imperialist machine encroaches on their territory, threatens their sovereignty, and endangers their very way of life," said Bolton, warning that America's fanatical leadership, steadfast devotion to flexing their muscles in the region, and alleged access to nuclear weapons necessitated that Iran strike back with a vigorous show of force as soon-and as hard-as possible.

"The only thing these Westerners understand is violence, so it's imperative that Iran sends a clear message that they won't be walked over. Let's not forget, the U.S. defied a diplomatically negotiated treaty for seemingly no reason at all--these are dangerous radicals that cannot be reasoned with. They've been given every opportunity to back down, but their goal is total domination of the region, and Iran won't stand for that."

At press time, Bolton said that the only option left on the table was for Iran to launch a full-fledged military strike against the Great Satan.

(c) 2019 The Onion

The Gross National Debt

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 28 (c) 07/12/2019

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