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In This Edition

Joan Walsh reports, "Donald Trump Jr. Might Be a Criminal. He Is Definitely a Liar."

Uri Avnery goes, "Eyeless In Gaza."

Glen Ford discovers, "Black America Is 'Pro-Peace,' But Its Politicians Work For The War Party."

Chris Hedges with an absolute must read, "Eating Our Way To Disease."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Should Lousy, Low-Wage 'Jobs' Count As Jobs?"

John Nichols finds, "Donald Trump's Proposal to Partner With Putin on Cybersecurity Is a Joke."

Ralph Nader gives, "A Clarion Call For Our Country's Pillars To Demand Justice."

John Pilger returns with, "Palestine Remains 'The Greatest Moral Issue Of Our Time.'"

Norman Solomon writes a letter in, "'Think Through The Implications Of Our Actions': An Open Letter To Rep. Barbara Lee."

David Suzuki discovers, "Orca Survival Depends On Protecting Chinook Salmon."

Charles P. Pierce says, "It's No Exaggeration To Say Human Civilization Is At Stake."

David Swanson points out, "Major Mistake Found In Congressional Creation Of Space Army."

Amy Goodman reports, "Donald Trump's Climate Change Denial Ignites Grass-Roots Resistance."

Vice-Chairman Kris Kobach wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich examines, "The Art Of The (Trump And Putin) Deal."

Matt Taibbi concludes, "North Korea Isn't The Only Rogue Nuclear State."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion says, "Secretary Of Interior Announces $400 Million Initiative To Preserve Self For Future Generations To Enjoy," but first, Uncle Ernie introduces, "President Alzheimer."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mike Keefe, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Darron Cummings, Adel Hana, Evan Vucci, Sam Rodgers, Yonhap News, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

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President Alzheimer
By Ernest Stewart

"Donald Trump is either a very devious, liberal, performance artist, or mentally ill. There is no middle ground." ~~~ Mrs. Betty Bowers

"In many ways, it is hard for modern people living in First World countries to conceive of a pandemic sweeping around the world and killing millions of people, and it is even harder to believe that something as common as influenza could cause such widespread illness and death." ~~~ Charles River ~ The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic: The History and Legacy of the World's Deadliest Influenza Outbreak

"I try to stay out of politics." ~~~ Ivanka Trump

Got to pay your dues
if you want to sing the blues
And you know it don't come easy
It Don't Come Easy ~~~ Ringo Starr

Not since old Dementia head RayGuns have we had such a man as Trump. Ronnie at least had Nancy and her Astrologers to guide us when Ronnie went "away" and let Mommie run the country! It got so bad that toward the end I thought they were using one of Disney's animatronic robots from the Hall of Presidents instead of RayGuns! Here are the signs of Alzheimers:
*Change in sleep patterns, often waking up at night
*Delusions, depression, and agitation
*Difficulty doing basic tasks, such as preparing meals, choosing proper clothing, and driving
*Difficulty reading or writing
*Forgetting details about current events
*Forgetting events in one's life history and losing self-awareness
*Hallucinations, arguments, striking out, and violent behavior
*Poor judgment and loss of ability to recognize danger
* Using the wrong word, mispronouncing words, or speaking in confusing sentences
*Withdrawing from social contact
I was torn between calling this column "President Alzheimer" or "President Dementia" as he shares traits of both. Here are the signs of Dementia:
*Difficulty concentrating and planning things
*Memory loss and confusion
*Short attention span
*Lack of motivation
*Personality, mood and behavioral changes
*Delusions or hallucinations
*Muscle weakness, stiffness, or paralysis
*Slow and unsteady movements
*Trembling in arms and legs
*Sleeping difficulties
*Aggression and frustration
I went with Alzheimers because he got ten out of ten for Alzheimer's signs but only 8 out of 13 for signs of Dementia. Either way America, we are sooooooooo screwed! Where's Nancy now that we need her?

In Other News

I came across an excellent copy of the War of the Worlds the other day, the rock opera version by Jeff Wayne from 1978 with folks like Richard Burton doing the narration and musicians such as Justin Hayward, Phil Lynott and David Essex adding to the mix. As you know if you've read the book, heard the opera, or the radio play or saw the several movies is that the Martians had taken Earth and there was nothing we could do to stop them, but they all died when they ran into some Earth germs and diseases. Their systems couldn't adapt.

By a strange coincidence did I mention one of the wonders of global warming is all that ice at the poles is melting and along with the rise in tides, many new and exciting diseases are now being unleashed; some that predate man. In fact, one upon a time, there were huge herds of dinosaurs roaming Alaska so diseases from that area forward will soon be unleashed upon mankind. It may take a while to get down to that level, except, of course, along the coasts where the hills are collapsing due to a higher water level and the heat, uncovering ages of plagues and dinosaur bones. On a more recent stratus the 1918 Spanish flu that killed more people, than died in all of WWI is thawing out somewhere right now! Half a billion people contracted the virus and estimates on deaths range from 50 to 100 million people, while WWI killed 17 million with 20 million wounded, a mere piker by comparison to the pandemic!

Meanwhile, out in California, it's that time of year to "burn baby burn," again. So far this year they already had over 1200 major fires, which is up a good 25% over last years record breaking season. Even though they've had good rain this year the 5 previous years of drought left water everywhere running off into rivers causing floods, and mud slides instead of soaking in. It has helped this years crops but has done little for next year and beyond because to provide water to 40 million Californians they've had to suck so much ground water out that there's not a lot left. Most of what fell never sank in, and is now gone. (Here in the Great Lakes we've had plenty of rain and the lakes are up again for another season!)

At the very same time there are scores of fires blazing through Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, as well as in British Columbia where the Canadians are battling over 200 fires. But don't worry, America. Donald Trump is doing nothing to stop any of this, and is instead, making things worse. Are you feeling great yet, America?

And Finally

Our national embarrassment took it a step further than usual at the G-20 summit. Ivanka Trump spent part of her weekend sitting around a table with the Chinese, Russian and Turkish presidents, the German chancellor and the British prime minister, when daddy took a sudden powder. Let's overlook, for the moment, her obvious lack of any diplomatic credentials, not to mention daddy's love of nepotism. Just think about what I said above about Trump's Alzheimer's.

Ivanka sat around the table and dished the dirt with Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Angela Merkel and Theresa May. One official who was watching the session told the Bloomberg news agency she had taken her father's place on at least two occasions on Saturday.

As you can imagine condemnation of her starring role on the world stage was swift. Maxine Waters, a Democratic congresswoman from California, told the US news channel MSNBC:
"It does not make good sense. Here you have the president of the United States at the G20, representing us as the leader of the free world, and so he's going to play politics and give his daughter a chance to have a place in the sun and to be seen at a very important meeting that she knows nothing about.

"She cannot in any way deal with those members who are there representing those countries. She doesn't know anything about these issues."
Zerlina Maxwell, former director of progressive media for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, told MSNBC:
"It's completely inappropriate. What qualifications and experience does Ivanka Trump have in her background that should put her at the table with world leaders like Theresa May and Vladimir Putin? Literally a foot over from Vladimir Putin. This just goes to, I think, the level of inherent corruption in this administration."
The historian Anne Applebaum was quoted by Agence France-Presse as criticising what she called "an unelected, unqualified, unprepared New York socialite" being seen as "the best person to represent American national interests."

Curiouser, and curiouser, the further down the rabbit hole we go!

Keepin' On

As Ringo once sang, "You know it don't come easy;" and ain't it the truth, my brothers and sisters? It's not that I mind the long hours and impossible odds that we face, year after year after year, fighting the 1%. I'm used to it. I can do a 60 hour week standing on my head, which might explain why there's no money in my pockets!

While I can barely scrape by for myself, I can no longer afford to pick up the tab for the magazine. Thankfully, I have sponsors that pick up about half of the cost; however, the folks I owe the money to for the magazine aren't satisfied with half of their money; they want it all, every penny, every time it's due, no excuses what-so-ever!

Hence, here I stand again, cap in hand, hoping you will help us out with a donation to keep the magazine going - digging into stories, listening at keyholes, fighting the good fight for all of you. I'm not a corpo-rat goon, so there is no corpo-rat welfare for me, just an ever-tightening noose on the throat of the American people, put there by our own government. If you'd like to be kept informed of their games, who ya gonna call? Who can you trust? Who has never lied to you, regardless of the cost? If you answer those questions with Issues & Alibis Magazine, then send what you can, as often as you can, and we'll keep up the good fight! Just visit the donations page and follow the instructions. You'll feel better when you do!


11-30-1977 ~ 07-08-2017
Thanks for the laughs!


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) 2017 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.

Donald Trump Jr. speaks with his father during a campaign stop in Indianapolis, April 27, 2016.

Donald Trump Jr. Might Be a Criminal. He Is Definitely a Liar.
The Trump team has repeatedly denied meeting with Russian operatives. Whoops.
By Joan Walsh

Did Donald Trump Jr. confess to a crime this afternoon? And if so, does he even know it?

Since Saturday, Trump Jr. has been windmilling wildly, trying to defend himself against a series of New York Times stories about a June 2016 meeting between young Donald, his father's campaign manager Paul Manafort, brother-in-law Jared Kushner (now a senior Trump adviser), and a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya. At every step, he's made things worse for himself, and perhaps his father. But on Monday he may have delivered the knockout punch-against himself.

Just as the Times published a shocking new piece detailing e-mail messages sent to him by Rob Goldstone, a music publicist, promising "very high level and sensitive information" about Hillary Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," Donald Jr. released the entire e-mail chain himself, on Twitter. In it, he appears to be committing the crime of accepting campaign help from a foreign government. Gleefully.

"If it's what you say I love it," Trump quickly replied to Goldstone, adding, "especially later in the summer," in what seems to be a reference to when the campaign might deploy such damaging information against its opponent. Goldstone, who represents Russian singer Emin Agalarov, the son of Aras Agalarov, a real-estate tycoon who is a crony of both Trump Sr. and Vladimir Putin, told Trump Jr. that both Agalarovs were urging the meeting with a "Russian government attorney," and he added, tantalizingly, "I can also send this info to your father via Rhona [Trump's longtime assistant Rhona Graff] but it is ultrasensitive so wanted to send to you first."

The subsequent e-mails show Donald Jr. quickly pulling together a meeting with Manafort and Kushner. When the meeting time got changed, Trump e-mailed the thread to both Manafort and Kushner, retaining the subject line: "Russia-Clinton: private and confidential." So much for earlier Trump claims that the men had no idea what they were talking about. After three days of increasingly worse news about Donald Jr., Donald Sr. finally issued a statement: "My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency." Then he coldly referred questions to Donald Jr.'s lawyers.

Both Trump and Goldstone told the Times Tuesday that the meeting with Veselnitskaya was a bust. She had no information about Clinton, they claim, and merely delivered an "inane" statement on the Magnitsky Act and Russia's reactive adoption restrictions. For her part, Veselnitskaya admitted to NBC on Tuesday that the Trump team indeed sought damning information about Clinton, but she claims she didn't have it, and merely wanted to talk Russia policy. She also insists she has no ties to the Kremlin, which seems untrue, as she is one of the most prominent Russian lobbyists in attempts to repeal the Putin-loathed Magnitsky Act, named for a Russian accountant who discovered corrupt financial dealings among Putin-connected Russian oligarchs, and died, allegedly of a beating by guards, in prison.

It should also be noted: There is no reason to believe either Veselnitskaya's or Trump and Goldstone's insistence that the Russian attorney provided no damaging information about Clinton obtained by the Kremlin. All three have been proven to be inveterate dissemblers.

We must also note that none of this confirms the story told by the four major US intelligence agencies-that the Russian government directed the hacking of Democratic Party e-mail accounts to hurt Clinton. The "incriminating" information that Goldstone promised had to do with Russian officials contributing, illegally, to Clinton's campaign-information that never apparently materialized. So far, none of the conversations revealed by Trump Jr. or the Times has involved reports that the Russians hacked into Democratic officials' e-mail accounts and/or were offering to disseminate those e-mails. There will likely be many more details necessary to substantiate any kind of legal or political case against Trump himself.

Some experts say Trump Jr. committed a crime, violating a law prohibiting foreign nationals from providing, and Americans from receiving, "anything of value." Election-law expert Rick Hasen concludes "there's a lot for prosecutors to sink their teeth into. Pretty close to the smoking gun people were looking for." Pretty close-but not quite. It's also not clear who would charge Trump with this potential violation of the law-or what penalty he would pay.

There are many strands to follow here. The very same day as young Donald and top Trump officials took the meeting with Veselnitskaya, the candidate himself tweeted, for the first time, about the 33,000 e-mails that Clinton declared personal and didn't provide to FBI investigators. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the clandestine pro-Trump efforts of Peter W. Smith, a wealthy conservative lawyer who's been a GOP gremlin since the early Clinton administration. Smith tried to confirm reports that the Russians indeed obtained those Clinton e-mails, and to retrieve them. It's possible that Trumps Jr. and Sr. had an early heads-up on that rumor. (Smith, 81, died two weeks after talking to the Wall Street Journal.)

So many things are possible. Donald Jr. has changed his story about the meeting with Veselnitskaya three times, at first saying it was about adoptions, then admitting he was hoping for Clinton dirt, and on Tuesday coming semi-clean (at least via an email thread) about the whole tawdry and possibly illegal search for Russian dirt on the former secretary of state. Meanwhile, Jared Kushner has had to amend his government security forms three times, to disclose new information about meetings with Russians that he had forgotten, including this one. The Times stories have benefited from cooperation from "White House advisers"-of which Kushner is one-which raises the question of whether someone in Trump's inner circle is out to get his older son. There may be more changes to come in the storyline from Trump Jr. and Kushner. If the Times has this kind of information, I would imagine that special counsel Robert Mueller has much more. We still don't know what the outcome will be.

But the Trump family's repeated claims to know nothing about Russian meddling in the election, and Jared Kushner's (thrice-revised) insistence he had no meetings with any Russians, at all, have been exposed as lies. Republicans still don't care. Senator Ted Cruz called in a "nothing-burger" on Tuesday afternoon, a talking point he borrowed from Hungarian Nazi-admirer Sebastian Gorka, who said the same thing today (before Trump Jr. released his e-mails). It seems like every time the GOP goes out on a limb to defend the Trump team, the Trump team returns the favor by leaking or confirming more evidence to the contrary.

This is unlikely to end well for Republicans, though we may not be close to the end. We can only hope it ends soon enough to end well for the rest of us.
(c) 2017 Joan Maureen Walsh is an American author, editor, writer and blogger. She was an editor-at-large of before becoming National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, and does political analysis for MSNBC.

Eyeless In Gaza
By Uri Avnery

I HAVE a unique confession to make: I like Gaza.

Yes, I like this far-away corner of Palestine, the narrow strip on the way to Egypt, in which two million human beings are crowded, and which is closer to hell than to heaven.

My heart goes out to them.

I HAVE spent quite a lot of time in the Strip. Once or twice I stayed there with Rachel for a couple of days. I became friendly with some people whom I admired, people like Dr. Haidar Abd-al-Shafi, the leftist doctor who set up the Gazan health system, and Rashad al-Shawa, the former Mayor, an aristocrat from birth.

After the Oslo agreement, when Yasser Arafat came back to the country and set up his office in Gaza, I met him there many times. I brought to him groups of Israelis. On his first day there he sat me on the dais next to him. A photo of that occasion now looks like science fiction.

I even came to know the Hamas people. Before Oslo, when Yitzhak Rabin deported 415 Islamic activists from the country, I took part in setting up protest tents opposite his office. We lived there together, Jews, Christians and Muslims, and there Gush Shalom was born. After a year, when the deportees were allowed back, I was invited to a public reception for them in Gaza and found myself speaking to hundreds of bearded faces. Among them were some of today's Hamas leaders.

Therefore I cannot treat the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip as a faceless gray mass of people. I couldn't stop thinking about them during last week's terrible heat wave, about the people languishing in awful conditions, without electricity and air conditioning, without clean water, without medicines for the sick. I thought about those living in the houses severely damaged in the last wars and not repaired since. About the men and women, the old, the children, the toddlers, the babies.

My heart was bleeding, and was asking who was to blame.

Yes, who is to blame for this ongoing atrocity?

ACCORDING TO the Israelis, "the Palestinians themselves are to blame." Fact: the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has decided to reduce the electricity supply to Gaza from three hours a day to two. (The electricity is supplied by Israel and paid for by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.)

This seems to be true. The conflict between the Palestinian Authority, ruled by Fatah, and the Palestinian leadership in Gaza, ruled by Hamas, has come to an ugly climax.

The uninvolved bystander wonders: how can that be? After all, the entire Palestinian people are in existential danger. The Israeli government tyrannizes all Palestinians, both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. It keeps the Strip under a strangling blockade, on land, in the sea and in the air, and is setting up settlements all over the West Bank, to drive the population out.

In this desperate situation, how can the Palestinians fight each other, to the obvious delight of the occupation authorities?

That is terrible, but, sadly, not unique. On the contrary, in almost all liberation struggles, something similar has happened. During the Irish struggle for independence, the freedom fighters fought against each other and even shot each other. During our own struggle for statehood, the Haganah underground turned Irgun fighters over to the British police, who tortured them, and later shot up a ship bringing recruits and arms to the Irgun.

But these and many other examples do not justify what is happening now in Gaza. The struggle between Fatah and Hamas on the backs of two million people condemns these to inhuman living conditions.

As an old friend of the Palestinian people in their fight for liberation, I am deeply saddened.

BUT THERE are more partners to the atrocious blockade on Gaza.

Israel can blockade the Strip only on three sides. The fourth side is the Egyptian border. Egypt, which has in the past fought four major wars against Israel on behalf of the Palestinian brothers (in one of which I was wounded by an Egyptian machine-gunner) is now participating in the cruel blockade on the Strip.

What has happened? How did it happen?

Everyone who knows the Egyptian people knows that it is one of the most attractive peoples on earth. A very proud people. A people full of humor even in the most trying circumstances. Several times I have heard in Egypt phrases like: "We do not like the Palestinians very much, but they are our poor cousins, and we cannot abandon them under any circumstances!"

And here they are, not only abandoning, but cooperating with the cruel occupation.

All this why? Because the local rulers in Gaza are religious fanatics, just like the Muslim Brothers in Egypt who are the deadly enemies of today's Pharaoh, General Abd-al-Fatah al-Sisi. Because of this enmity, millions in Gaza are punished.

Now rumor has it that Egypt would relent, if the Gazans accept an Egyptian stooge as their ruler.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza is completely dependent on the Egyptian blockade. Proud Egypt, which claims to be the leader the entire Arab World, has become the handmaiden of the Israeli occupation.

Who would have believed it?

BUT THE main responsibility for the atrocity in Gaza falls, of course, on us, on Israel.

We are the occupiers - a novel type of occupation by blockade.

The justification is clear: They want to destroy us. That is the official doctrine of Hamas. The mouse hurls terrible threats against the elephant.

True. But...

But like all religious people, they find a hundred different ways to cheat God and get around His prohibitions.

Hamas has declared that if Mahmood Abbas made peace with Israel, and if the Palestinian people confirmed the peace by plebiscite, Hamas would accept it.

Also, Islam allows for a Hudna (armistice) with infidels for any length of time - 10, 50, 100 years. After that, Allah is great.

In many hidden ways, Israel does cooperate with Hamas, especially against the even more extreme Islamists in the Strip. We could easily reach a modus vivendi all along the line.

SO WHY must the people in Gaza suffer so grievously? No one really knows. Because of the mental laziness of the occupation. Because that's what we are used to doing.

Here is a mental exercise: What if we did the very opposite?

What if we announced to the people in the Gaza Strip: the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is now paying for only two hours of electricity a day. But seeing your suffering, Israel has decided to provide you with electricity for 24 hours for free.

What would be the effect? How would Hamas react? How would it affect the level of violence and security costs?

For the long run, there are many Israeli and international plans. An artificial island in the Mediterranean opposite Gaza. An airport on the island. A deep-sea port. Peace in fact, even without declarations.

I believe that this is the wisest way to proceed. But wisdom has little chance.

IN THE meantime, the atrocity goes on. Two million human beings suffer inhuman treatment.

And the world? Alas. the world is busy. It has no eyes for Gaza. Better not to think about that awful place.
(c) 2017 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Black America Is 'Pro-Peace,' But Its Politicians Work For The War Party
By Glen Ford

The United States is at war with the very concept of the rule of law among nations, and constitutes the most imminent threat to the survival of the human species. Washington's outlaw doctrine of "humanitarian" military intervention, championed by Bill Clinton and elevated to a defining national principle under Barack Obama, marks the U.S. as "a rogue state, a state that is completely rejecting international norms," says Ajamu Baraka, of the Black Alliance for Peace. "There is no legal right for the United States to be in Syria, but yet they are in Syria with no domestic opposition."

Instead, much of what should constitute the "domestic opposition" to Washington's flagrant crimes against peace is consumed with an obsession to punish Russia for imaginary offenses against a fictitious American "democracy."

Ajamu Baraka calls for "a restoration of the commitment to the rule of law on the part of the US authorities" -- a minimal demand that should resonate with all civilized peoples, most especially Black Americans, for whom U.S. law has always been riddled with "exceptionalisms." However, the Black political (Misleadership) class now takes its cues from the CIA, NSA, FBI and other spook agencies currently allied with the Democratic Party -- the most abject capitulation to evil imaginable.

On the world stage, the United States has declared itself above the law, as if it had already completed the conquest of the globe. Thousands of U.S. troops are implanted on Syrian soil, the better to arm, train and protect the Islamist jihadists that act as foot soldiers for U.S. imperialism in the region. Washington has no plans to leave, even after ISIS, the purported rationale for the U.S. presence, has been reduced to small guerilla bands. "We call that ISIS 2.0 - an insurgency, rural," said General Stephen Townsend, commander of the U.S.-led "coalition" in Syria. "So I think we'll still be here dealing with that problem set for a while."

Townsend's forces are laying trip-wires for nuclear war with Russia, whose eminently legal presence in Syria is at the request of that country's government. That the U.S. has been enabled to invade and occupy a sovereign state "with no domestic opposition" is a testament to the collapse of progressive politics, in general, and the moral debasement of a Black political class that is utterly at odds with its own people's history. Tethered mouth and foot to the Democratic wing of the rich man's duopoly, the Black political class has disavowed and defiled the legacies of W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King. They have trashed the sacred essence of the Black Liberation Movement: solidarity with other peoples oppressed by white supremacist capital.

Solidarity has its own value, but it also earns reciprocity. In abandoning solidarity with those oppressed by the United States -- comprising an ever-growing proportion of the world's people -- Black America sacrifices the moral authority to expect support for our own struggles. We are left alone to fend off the beast, here in its belly.

It is widely understood that U.S. rulers felt compelled to appear amenable to Black demands in the Fifties and Sixties because of concerns about how the rapidly decolonizing world viewed race relations in the United States. Dr. Gerald Horne, the Black historian who has studied African American political alliances dating before the War of Independence, maintains that it serves Black people's interests to "ally -- as our ancestors did -- with the prime antagonists of US imperialism," including, in various epochs, the British, French, Spanish, and later, the Soviets and Third Word revolutionary movements.

In Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil, his 1920 global sequel to The Souls of Black Folk, the public intellectual and political activist W.E.B. Du Bois laid out his case for solidarity among the oppressed peoples of the planet:

"I believe that armies and navies are at bottom the tinsel and braggadocio of oppression and wrong, and I believe that the wicked conquest of weaker and darker nations by nations whiter and stronger but foreshadows the death of that strength."
Malcolm X urged Blacks to think in terms of "human," not "civil" rights, and to take their case against the U.S. to the United Nations -- as did Paul Robeson, earlier. The credo of Malcolm's Organization of Afro-American Unity, released on February 21, 1965, the day he was assassinated, stressed the need for internationalist solidarity:
"The Organization of Afro-American Unity will develop in the Afro-American people a keen awareness of our relationship with the world at large and clarify our roles, rights, and responsibilities as human beings. We can accomplish this goal by becoming well-informed concerning world affairs and understanding that our struggle is part of a larger world struggle of oppressed peoples against all forms of oppression. We must change the thinking of the Afro-American by liberating our minds through the study of philosophies and psychologies, cultures and languages that did not come from our racist oppressors. Provisions are being made for the study of languages such as Swahili, Hausa, and Arabic. These studies will give our people access to ideas and history of mankind at large and thus increase our mental scope."
Two years later, Dr. Martin Luther King told a crowd at New York City's Riverside Church why he was "Breaking the Silence" on the U.S. war against Vietnam.
"I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for 'the brotherhood of man.' This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ.... To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war."
Dr. King saw clearly that foreign wars are incompatible with domestic progress.
"I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such."
Black Panther Party leader Huey P. Newton took solidarity to a "higher level," making common cause with those against whom the United States makes war. U.S. imperialism is the enemy of all mankind, therefore: "We join the struggle of any and all oppressed people all over the world, as well as in this country, regardless of color, who are attempting to gain freedom and dignity."

These are voices of the Black Radical Tradition, the tradition that has made African Americans the most anti-war constituency in the United States, but which the Black Misleadership Class consistently betrays. For these infinitely self-centered creatures, even the Mother Continent is unworthy of basic human empathy, much less solidarity. No one has been more intimately involved, over a longer period of time, than Susan Rice in the U.S. sanctioned genocide of at least six million Congolese. From 1996, as a national security staffer and Under Secretary of State for African Affairs under Bill Clinton, to the Obama administration, Rice has dutifully facilitated the bloodbath in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the hands of U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda. Her service on behalf of this genocide, and other slaughters, earned Rice a shot at becoming Obama's secretary of state, when Hillary Clinton left the job, in 2012.

Republicans mounted a campaign against Rice, claiming she was culpable for the jihadist attacks in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya. (Actually, the GOP failed to nail her on the real Benghazi crime, which involved transfer of Libyan weapons to jihadists in Syria.) Despite her well-known role in the worst genocide since World War Two, most of the Congressional Black Caucus supported Rice's bid to become the top U.S. diplomat -- including Barbara Lee (D-CA), the most "anti-war" member of the CBC.

Six million dead Africans are not worth one Black face in a high State Department place, as far as the hideous Black political class is concerned.

The year before, in 2011, more than half of the Congressional Black Caucus voted to continue the bombing of Libya, which had once been Africa's most prosperous and generous country.

Only three members of the Black Caucus (and just 5 Democrats) are co-sponsors of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's Stop Arming Terrorists Bill, designed to halt U.S. proxy jihadist wars in Syria and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

The Black Caucus is at opposite ends of the spectrum from the Black Alliance for Peace. "The first thing that has to happen is for the United States to stop supporting those elements that are committed to perpetuating the conflict [in Syria], to stop supporting those elements that many people define as terrorist elements, and to be serious about a real diplomatic solution to this issue," said Ajamu Baraka. Clearly, the Congressional Black Caucus is in solidarity with U.S. imperialism, not with the victims of Washington's lawlessness in the world.

However, the Black Radical Tradition is not dead. The Black Is Back Coalition, in its 19-point National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, calls for "U.S. Out of Africa, Asia and Latin America.... In addition to U.S. military withdrawal to within its own currently recognized borders, we demand an end to U.S. proxy wars, drone attacks and political subversion of governments and people's movements around the globe. Given that the U.S. was the first nuclear power, is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, and has never renounced First Strike, we demand U.S. nuclear disarmament without preconditions--unilaterally, if necessary."

The coalition also demands reparations and immediate forgiveness of debt for the formerly colonized world, the right to independence for the Palestinian people, and cessation of all U.S. aid to Israel.

Other grassroots Black organizations have been true to the Black Radical Tradition and its ethos of solidarity with the oppressed. But, the closer one gets to the Democratic Party, the less peace-oriented Black organizations become. Among the establishment Black civic organizations -- which behave like annexes of the Democratic Party -- peace has no priority whatsoever. However, even the Movement for Black Lives is weak on peace. The M4BL's closest approximation to an anti-war plank pledges to:

"Use upcoming international opportunities and human rights mechanisms to expose the systemic human rights violations inflicted on black communities, the linkages between people of African descent in the US with other Black people around the world, make connections with oppressed people globally, and chip away at American exceptionalism."
In Syria, Washington is playing with nuclear war, and everywhere in the world, the U.S. rejects the very notion of international law. The Movement for Black Lives better get busy with its "chipping away" project.
(c) 2017 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Eating Our Way To Disease
By Chris Hedges

In July 1976, the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, chaired by Sen. George McGovern, held hearings titled "Diet Related to Killer Diseases." The committee heard from physicians, scientists and nutritionists on the relationship between the American diet and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Six months later, the committee released "The Dietary Goals for the United States," which quickly came to be known as the McGovern Report. "Decrease consumption of meat," the report urged Americans. "Decrease consumption of butter fat [dairy fat], eggs, and other high cholesterol sources."

"The simple fact is that our diets have changed radically within the last 50 years ...," McGovern said when the report was released. "These dietary changes represent as great a threat to public health as smoking. Too much fat, too much sugar or salt, can be and are linked directly to heart disease, cancer, obesity, and stroke, among other killer diseases. In all, six of the ten leading causes of death in the United States have been linked to our diet. Those of us within our government have an obligation to acknowledge this."

The response to the report was swift and brutal. The meat, egg and dairy industries lobbied successfully to have the document withdrawn. They orchestrated new hearings, supplying a list of 24 experts approved by the National Livestock and Meat Board, so that, in the words of Wray Finney, then the president of the American National Cattlemen's Association, the public would get "a balanced, correct view of this whole matter." A new report was released in December 1977. This second edition insisted that "meat, poultry and fish are an excellent source of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals." The Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs was abolished. Its functions were taken over by the Agriculture Committee. "The Agriculture Committee looks after the producers of food, not the consumers, and particularly, not the most needy," wrote The New York Times. And when Sen. McGovern, who had already angered the Democratic and Republican leaderships with his 1972 insurgent campaign for the presidency, was up for re-election in South Dakota in 1980, he was defeated by James Abdnor, a cattle rancher and well-funded spokesman for the meat industry.

Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn-whose documentary "Cowspiracy," about the environmental impact of the animal agriculture industry, led me to become a vegan-recently released a new film, "What the Health," which looks at how highly processed animal products are largely responsible for the increase of chronic and lethal diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer in the United States and many other countries. Both films are available on Netflix.

The companion book, also titled "What the Health," written by my wife, Truthdig Book Editor Eunice Wong, lays out in even greater detail how the animal agriculture industry intimately joins with the pharmaceutical industry, the medical industry, health organizations and government agencies to mask and perpetuate the disastrous effects of animal products on our health. The animal agriculture industry, like the fossil fuel industry or any other branch of the corporate state, profits at the expense of our health and even our lives. Many corporations and our government have a lot invested in keeping us sick.

"We sometimes joke that when you're doing a clinical trial, there are two possible disasters," one biotech stock analyst told The New York Times. "The first disaster is if you kill people. The second disaster is if you cure them. ... The truly good drugs are the ones you can use chronically for a long, long time."

In the book "What the Health," Wong writes, "The public's willingness to endure lifelong pharmaceutical use is called, in industry lingo, 'compliance.' And we are compliant. In 2014, the US spent $374 billion on pharmaceuticals. That's more than the combined gross national products of New Zealand and Bangladesh. It's also well over 200 percent of what the US federal government spent on education in 2015."

For long excerpts from the book "What the Health," click here. For the trailer of the documentary movie of the same title, click here.

Corporations invest heavily to promote the nation's unhealthful diet. "The meat, egg, and dairy industries," economist David Robinson Simon says in an interview in the book, "spent, in one year, at least $138 million lobbying Congress alone."

"It's money well spent for these industries," Wong writes. "A $1 industry contribution usually results in a $2,000 return as federal subsidy payments."

"You have a $5 billion stent industry," Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a renowned cardiologist, says in the book. (A stent is a permanent wire mesh inserted into an artery to prop it open.) "A $35 billion statin [cholesterol-lowering] drug industry. They don't want that to go away. Look, if I'm in the middle of a heart attack, there's no question that I want a man or a woman with great expertise in stents by my side. They will save my life and a lot of my heart muscle. But the 90 percent of stents being done electively? There is zero evidence that you can prolong life or protect against a future heart attack with stents."

"Of every US federal income tax dollar in 2015, 28.7 cents went to healthcare," Wong writes. "That's the biggest single chunk of the dollar, larger now even than the military (25.4 cents). Compare that to 3.6 cents for education, and 1.6 cents on the environment. Talk about priorities. And yet for all that healthcare spending, the US has the lowest life expectancy among 12 high-income nations, and some of the worst health outcomes."

Early in the film, a news broadcast announces, "The World Health Organization this morning has classified processed meat, such as bacon and sausage, as carcinogenic, directly involved in causing cancer in humans. ..."

Andersen discovers that processed meat has been classified by the cancer agency of the WHO as a Group 1 carcinogen, along with tobacco, asbestos and plutonium.

In fact, Wong writes in the book, "... every 50 grams of processed meat eaten daily [on an ongoing basis] raises your risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent. Fifty grams is less than two pieces of bacon, or two slices of ham. ... [E]ating meat only 4 times a week [on an ongoing basis] increases your cancer risk by 42 percent, according to an Oxford study."

"No more than 10-20 percent of risk for the primary causes of death come from our genes," Wong writes. "Only about 5-10 percent of cancer cases are attributable to genetic defects, with the other 90-95 percent rooted in lifestyle and environment. Colon cancer, the second most lethal cancer in the country, is the cancer most directly affected by what you eat. According to WHO, 80 percent of all heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes can be prevented."(The book's extensive footnotes facilitate research by readers on the scientific and medical studies cited.)

"The reason we know cancers like colon cancer are so preventable is because rates differ dramatically around the globe," Dr. Michael Greger says in the film. "There can be a 10-, 50-, 100-fold difference in colon cancer rates, from some of the highest measured in Connecticut, down to the lowest rates in Kampala, Uganda, for example. There are places where colon cancer, our No. 2 cancer killer, is practically nonexistent. It's not some genetic predisposition that makes people in Connecticut die from colon cancer while people from Uganda don't. When you move to a high-risk country, you adopt the risk of the country. It's not our genes; it's our environment."

"We can change the expression of our genes-tumor-suppressing genes, tumor-activating genes-by what we put into our bodies," he goes on. "Even if you've been dealt a bad genetic deck, you can reshuffle it with diet."

In the film, Andersen visits the American Cancer Society website. In a section of the site called "Basic Ingredients for a Healthy Kitchen," recommended foods include extra-lean hamburger, ground turkey breast, chicken breast, fish, eggs and cheese.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) in its "Diabetes Meal Plans" was no better. The U.S. has the highest diabetes rate among 38 developed nations, according to the International Diabetes Federation. The ADA recommended to the estimated 29 million Americans with diabetes that they eat dishes such as "Moroccan Lamb Stew, oven-barbecued chicken, Asian pork chops and barbecued meatballs." Eating one egg a day can triple the risk of death among diabetes sufferers. And consumption of eggs doubles the risk of prostate cancer progression among men with that disease. This is probably why, as the book points out, "90 percent of scientific studies on dietary cholesterol are currently paid for by the egg industry." "Diabetes, of all the diseases, may be the most affected by meat," Dr. Garth Davis says in the film.

"There is probably more confusion around what causes Type 2 diabetes than around any other disease, among doctors, patients, and the media," says Dr. Michelle McMacken in the book. "People don't understand that high blood sugar is a symptom of diabetes. It is not the cause of diabetes. The foods most clearly linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes are processed meat, like bacon, hot dogs, cold cuts, salami, pepperoni, ham, sausage. There's a number of studies showing that the more processed meat there is in your diet, the more likely you are to get Type 2 diabetes. And of all the foods, whole grains are the most protective against the disease. The root cause of diabetes has to do with our insulin not working properly, which is very directly related to extra body fat. Until that message gets out, we're never going to break the cycle."

The American Heart Association posted recipes for "Grilled Chicken and Vegetables," "Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Spinach" and "Steak Stroganoff," along with recommendations to eat low-fat dairy and skinless poultry and fish and to buy cuts of beef labeled "choice" or "select" rather than "prime."

Andersen and Kuhn found that these major health organizations received large donations from the animal agriculture industry, fast food chains such as McDonald's, soft drink companies such as Coca-Cola, and pharmaceutical corporations.

The American Heart Association, Wong writes, "has received money from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Live Stock and Meat Board, Subway, Walgreens, Texas Beef Council, Cargill, South Dakota Beef Industry Council, Kentucky Beef Council, Nebraska Beef Council, Tyson Foods, AVA Pork, Unilever, Trauth Dairy, Domino's Pizza, Perdue, Idaho Beef Council, and fistfuls of pharmaceutical companies-the usual suspects like AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, and Merck, which spent $400,000 to fund an AHA program teaching 40,000 doctors to 'treat cholesterol according to guidelines.' "

One of the main sponsors of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the National Dairy Industry. AND, which is the nation's largest trade group for registered dietitians, publishes so-called Nutrition Fact Sheets for the public. The food industry writes these Nutrition Fact Sheets for its own products and gives $20,000 for each of these sheets to AND.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, one of the lead scientists of the China-Cornell-Oxford Study, a 20-year study "that found 8,000 statistically significant correlations between eating animal protein and risk of disease in 65 counties in China," is emphatic about the danger of dairy products. He told The Guardian that "cows' milk protein may be the single most significant chemical carcinogen to which humans are exposed." Susan Levin, director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, warned in the book, "Milk, because of what it is [a fluid designed to jump-start the growth of a 60-pound calf into a 1,500-pound cow], makes things grow faster, and that includes cancer cells. This is not a product even in its purest state that you want to consume."

The filmmakers confront spokespeople for the health organizations about funding from the animal agriculture industry, much as they confronted environmental groups in "Cowspiracy." They ask these spokespeople about peer-reviewed, scientific studies showing that plant-based diets dramatically lowered the risks for disease. The administrators in these health organizations, including Dr. Robert Ratner, the chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association, invariably canceled or terminated the interviews once they discover they would be asked about the link between diet and disease.

The idea that chicken is a healthful alternative to red meat is fictitious. A skinless chicken thigh, the book points out, contains more fat-including saturated fat, the most dangerous kind-than over two dozen different cuts of lean beef. Chicken is potentially the most fattening meat. Carcinogens form in chicken and other meats as they are cooked. Chicken is the top source of sodium for American adults because the chicken industry injects poultry carcasses with salt water to increase market weight and therefore prices, while still being able to label its product "100% natural." Chicken contains more cholesterol than a pork chop. And cholesterol is found primarily in lean parts of meat.

"The birds come through on hooks," Dr. Lester Friedlander says in the book in explaining the processing of chicken carcasses, "and then a mechanical arm goes up the cloaca [the opening through which the bird releases urine and feces] and pulls out everything inside the cavity. Unfortunately, when the mechanical arm pulls the intestines out, they often burst. Then all the fecal contamination is inside the bird. At the end of the poultry slaughter line there's a big chill tank to cool the birds down quick so they can get packaged and shipped out. If you have just one of those chickens with broken intestines and fecal contamination, the whole chill tank is contaminated. They call the water in the tank, 'fecal soup.' All the chickens throughout the day, if they don't change the water, are contaminated with feces. Hundreds of thousands of chickens go through that water. And while they're in the tank the chicken flesh soaks up that fecal soup. That's what they call 'retained water' on the chicken label."

"About 90 percent of the nation's retail chicken is contaminated with fecal matter," the book states. "Yes, that includes the kind you buy at your clean, local supermarket. This is according to a 2011 FDA report, which monitored bacteria such as E. faecalis and E. faecium, on meat, concluding that 90 percent of chicken parts, 91 percent of ground turkey, 88 percent of ground beef, and 80 percent of pork chops have fecal contamination."

We need to stop believing the lie that we require animal products in our diet for protein, calcium, iron, omega-3s or any other nutrient. "Every nutrient from meat, dairy, and eggs can be found, in a form that is as healthy or healthier, in plants," as Dr. Neal Barnard points out in the film.

There is one weakness in the film. It focuses at the end on several people suffering from serious diseases who switched to a vegan diet. A few weeks later they appear on screen dramatically improved. The book, unlike the film, makes it clear that the patients did this within a supervised medical program, including liquid fasts before the transition to a whole-foods, plant-based vegan diet, free of salt, oil, sugar and processed foods. Yes, they did improve, but I worry that the scene in the film incorrectly implies that veganism is a miracle cure. Despite this shortcoming, the documentary "What the Health" is tremendously important. We are being preyed upon and poisoned by the animal agriculture industry, working in conjunction with the medical and pharmaceutical industries and our government.

"We are on the cusp of what can truly be a seismic revolution in health," Dr. Esselstyn says in the book. "It's never going to occur because of another pill or operation. That revolution will occur when we in the healing profession have the grit and the determination to share the nutritional literacy that will empower the public to absolutely destroy this common, chronic, killing disease [heart disease]. When somebody orders pizza with cheese or a steak, it will be the same as smoking today. Look how long it took us, but it happened; nobody would even dream about smoking in your house now. It will be the same with food."

"I thought of George McGovern, struggling to present the truth to a society that wasn't ready to hear it," Wong writes. "The animal agriculture industries mercilessly snuffed out-for the moment-his attempt to tell the truth, just as other powerful political forces snuffed out his attempts to bring justice to a war-ravaged nation. ... But things spiral around. A groundswell of awareness is surfacing, and people are feeling the change before they can articulate it. We know there is something terribly broken about the industrial food, medical, and pharmaceutical systems, but most people don't know what it is. It's no wonder, because, as we've discovered, there is an intricate political and corporate apparatus in place to keep us from finding out."
(c) 2017 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Keep up with Chris Hedges' latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

Should Lousy, Low-Wage 'Jobs' Count As Jobs?
Excellent news, folks: Jobs are now plentiful!
By Jim Hightower

As the Associated Press put it, "The US job market has settled into a sweet spot of steadily solid growth." At long last then, the American dream is back for working families, right? No. The AP article later admitted that the jobs market still is missing any "broad acceleration in pay."

In other words, you can find work, but don't expect to be paid. And forget about such "luxuries" as health coverage, pension, sick leave, vacation time, and having a regular schedule. These are not jobs, they're jobettes! Most are in service work - from fast food chains to nursing homes and car washes. Nearly all are poorly paid, temporary, and routinely exploitative.

So many families have been in dire economic straits for so long that they're now having to take such onerous, one-sided terms of employment, which - ironically - increases the power of low-wage corporations! With hundreds of thousands of people scrambling at once to find jobs, the bosses can effectively conspire to hold pay levels down and get away with treating hires as disposable cogs in the corporate profit machine. Indeed, the phenomenally-bloated profits they've been enjoying are largely extracted from the labor of these vulnerable workers they underpay. And in a double irony, corporations rationalize the obscene salaries and bonuses they give to top executives by pointing to those same profits the executives are taking out of the workers' paychecks.

This selfish, self-perpetuating expansion of inequality is no "sweet spot" of solid growth - it's the sign of a severely sick economy... and it will kill all hope of a democratic America unless We the People rise up to reject the plutocratic profiteers and politicians who're inflicting such deadly disparity on our society.
(c) 2017 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

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.

Donald Trump's Proposal to Partner With Putin on Cybersecurity Is a Joke
But the SAFE Act is the real deal.
By John Nichols

Donald Trump is such an erratic, narcissistic, and imprudent commander in chief that he will often, in a matter of hours, come up with a horrible idea, abandon it, and then blow the whole debate up without ever applying a measure of common sense.

Witness the president's sudden show of interest in developing "an impenetrable Cyber Security unit" to guard against "election hacking." After meeting for more than two hours with Russian President Vladimir Putin-during which Trump may or may not have accepted Putin's assurance that Russia did not interfere on the Republican's behalf in the 2016 election-Trump was foraging around for some evidence that he had accomplished anything. The president tweeted: "Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded."

The reaction was not good. Republicans were dumbfounded. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said, "It's not the dumbest idea I've ever heard, but it's pretty close." Florida Senator Marco Rubio argued that "Partnering with Putin on a 'Cyber Security Unit' is akin to partnering with Assad on a 'Chemical Weapons Unit.'" Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse called the whole idea "inexplicably bizarre." Congressman Brendan Boyle, D-Pennsylvania, did more than just complain. He announced that he would introduce legislation to "prohibit the United States from participating in any type joint working group with Russia on cybersecurity efforts."

The whole affair degenerated into such a mess that Trump engaged in a rare attempt at backtracking. On Sunday, he tweeted: "The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen."

Correct. That can't happen.

Congressman Mark Pocan: "We should be doing everything in our power to guarantee the... integrity of our elections."

But a response to cyber threats-both external and internal-is necessary. So, too, is a response to broader threats to the integrity of elections across the United States. Those threats go far beyond concerns that have arisen following allegations of Russian hacking. Trump's tweets are, at best, distractions from all of these issues.

But Congressmen Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and Hank Johnson of Georgia are not distracted. They have introduced a groundbreaking piece of legislation-the Securing America's Future Elections (SAFE) Act-that proposes to safeguard US elections from cyber threats by permanently classifying the integrity and security of elections as a component of critical infrastructure of the country. Arguing that that the United States needs "a comprehensive approach to secure our election process from start to finish," Congressman Pocan says, "By making our elections a top national security priority, we can ensure cybersecurity standards for voting systems are upgraded and require paper ballots with all electronic voting machines. One thing Democrats and Republicans should agree on is that we should be doing everything in our power to guarantee the sovereignty of our county and the integrity of our elections. This bill will do just that."

The change Pocan and his allies propose (with support from key congressional reformers such as Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin) would place election systems in the same category as other critical infrastructure including the power grid, the banking system, and essential utilities. At the same time, the SAFE Act protects against cyber threats by requiring the use of better voting machines that provide paper ballots. And it requires random audits of ballots to thwart wrongdoing and to assure against malfunctions. This is not the final answer to concerns about election integrity and the many challenges facing American democracy. But it is a practical and consequential beginning.

The SAFE Act legislation is a response of to reports regarding Russia's aggressive cyber tactics during the 2016 election, one of many concerns related to the ongoing FBI investigation into whether members of President Trump's campaign colluded with Russians to influence that election. But this legislation is about more than that. It is, as well, a response to a wrongheaded vote by the Republicans on the House Administration Committee voted to shut down the Election Administration Committee (EAC), a federal agency created to help states update election systems and security. The SAFE Act reauthorizes the EAC for a period of 10 years and requires a random audit of precincts/wards in each state to ensure there are no discrepancies between paper ballots and electronic ballots.

"Few things are as critical as the integrity of our elections, which is why we must protect one of our most sacred institutions from foreign powers and domestic hackers who seek to undermine and influence our democratic process," says Congressman Ellison, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which Pocan serves as the first vice chair. "The SAFE Act makes our elections a top national security priority, creates cybersecurity standards to protect our voting systems, and ensures accountability to voters. The American people must have full confidence that their votes are protected and counted."

To create that confidence the SAFE Act would:

1. Permanently classify the security and integrity of our elections as essential to the United States' national security interests and allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate election infrastructure as critical infrastructure. This includes storage facilities, polling places, vote tabulation locations, voter databases, voting machines, and other systems that manage the election process. This important classification would place elections systems in the same category as other critical infrastructure including the power grid, the banking system, and other utilities.

2. Authorize the necessary funding for upgrading cybersecurity standards of voting systems, including the software used to operate such systems, and to ensure the security of the manufacturing processes for such components through collaboration with the National Institute for Standards in Technology (NIST) and the Department of Homeland Security. The bill will also ensure cybersecurity for all voter registration databases.

3. Require NIST and DHS to create basic cybersecurity standards for private companies contracted to work on elections systems in the US.

4. Require all electronic voting machines to have a corresponding paper ballot. The EAC would be required to randomly audit 5 percent of wards/precincts in each state to ensure that there are no discrepancies between paper ballots and electronic ballots.

5. Reauthorize the EAC (Election Assistance Commission) for a period of 10 years. The EAC is the most well-equipped agency to deal with election technology issues, such as software patches, for voting machines from private vendors. Eliminating this crucial agency would create an easily exploitable opportunity to hackers.

6. Require the DHS to conduct a review of elections systems yearly beginning in 2018.

"As a fundamental tenet of our democracy, our voting systems are a matter of national security and we must make sure they are not compromised or disrupted by outside parties," said Congressman Johnson, who noted recent reports of an alleged data breach at Georgia's Center For Elections Systems-involving as many as 7.5 million voter records. "Expressing Congress' support to designate our voting systems as critical infrastructure will encourage the Department of Homeland Security and the states to better coordinate, engage, and share resources that will improve the security of our electoral process. The SAFE Act will help ensure the security of our voting systems and preserve public faith in the integrity of our electoral process."
(c) 2017 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

'In times of crisis, routines must be replaced with urgent awakenings,' writes Nader, 'bringing
out the better angels and wisdom from these underachieving pillars of the American community.'

A Clarion Call For Our Country's Pillars To Demand Justice
By Ralph Nader

It is time for an urgent clarion call.

Given the retrograde pits inhabited by our ruling politicians and the avaricious over-reach of myopic big-business bosses, the self-described pillars of our society must step up to reverse the decline of our country. Here is my advice to each pillar: Step up, lawyers and judges of America. You have no less to lose than our Constitutional observances and equal justice under law. A few years ago, brave Pakistani lawyers marched in the streets in open protest against dictatorial strictures. As you witness affronts to justice such as entrenched secrecy, legal procedures used to obstruct judicial justice, repeal of health and safety protections and the curtailment of civil liberties and access to legal aid, you must become vigorous first responders and exclaim: Stop! A just society must be defended by the courts and the officers of the court - the attorney

Step up, religious leaders, who see yourselves as custodians of spiritual and compassionate values. Recall your heroic forebears who led non-violent civil disobedience during the repression of civil rights in the Nineteen Sixties - as with the leadership of the late greats Martin Luther King Jr. and William Sloane Coffin. Champion the Golden Rule for those who don't believe that 'he who has the gold, rules.'

Step up, business people - large and small. Some of you are enlightened and motivated enough to stand tall against the cruel, monetized minds that are harming low-paid workers, cheating consumers, denying insurance to patients, avoiding or evading taxes, swindling investors and undermining communities across the country.

You have good examples from history, including those business leaders who recently quit the US Chamber of Commerce over the necessity to confront climate change or the 150 business leaders who issued strong support for the successful Legal Services Corporation for low-income Americans that Trump's budget would eliminate entirely.

Step up, academic professors and teachers, and protect your students from politicians intent on undermining the public school system and turning its budgets into cash cows for commercial vendors. You can help the cause by demanding that practical civic skills and experience become part of the curriculum. You can demand that Trump's increasingly bloated war budget not be funded at the expense of our children's education and deteriorating physical facilities. You can point out waste and administrative bureaucracy to strengthen this already compelling University professors can establish active brain trusts to educate the public and rebut the avalanche of fake news and political insults.

Step up, doctors and nurses, in whose trust is placed the lives of millions of people. Polls show over half of you want full Medicare for all with free choice of physician and hospital. This should come as no surprise since it is much more efficient, eliminating much of the bookkeeping and lengthy billings that drain your time away from practicing healthcare. Above all, Medicare for all saves lives and prevents trauma and disease when people can afford early diagnoses and treatment.

Already prominent economists, business magnates like Warren Buffett and over 60 percent of Americans want single payer. Your strong voices together can sober up those politicians in Congress hell-bent on coarse pullbacks that will make the present situation even worse and more perilous. Imagine our elected, well-insured, representatives pushing a huge tax cut for the rich, at the expense of hospitals and clinics and big time reductions in Medicaid.

Step up, public relations professionals, who can take an active role in facilitating a public conversation on the need for important social services and reforms that improve their implementation.

Step up, veterans, including high-ranking military, national security and diplomatic retirees, who can advocate for waging peace instead of reckless wars of aggression and other armed force violations of US and international law. Some people incorrectly think that veterans monolithically support all military interventions. But no one knows the horror of war better than those soldiers who have fought them (A large majority of soldiers in Iraq wanted us to get out of that disastrous quagmire in a January 2005 poll).

Over 300 retired generals, admirals and national security officials openly opposed Bush/Cheney's criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Veterans For Peace makes eloquent arguments for waging peace. Now is the time to learn from their experience, stand for smart diplomacy and avoid succumbing to provocations and the boomeranging impacts of Empire.

Step up, members of the media, both corporate and public. Give voice to the vast civil society and citizen groups that are vital to our democracy. They have long been practicing and strengthening democratic practices. Allow their voice of reason, sanity and evidence-based proposals to reach millions of Americans.

Step up, scientists and technologists. You must strongly organize against the corrosive effect of medieval myths about the natural world and habitat-destroying toxins pouring from unaccountable industry.Champion the necessity of science for the people, not for militarism and a global arms race.

Urge the restoration of the acclaimed, non-partisan Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in Congress that Newt Gingrich and his Republicans terminated in 1995, plunging Congress into ignorant darkness and costly, wrongful budgeting.

Step up, students. Show the country your earnest idealism, supported by knowledge and your hope for a brighter future. Fight for tuition-free education, reform of student debt gouging and for an ecologically-benign economy that will work for you and the planet. Really get out the vote for next year!

Step up, leaders of the vast number of charity and service clubs. Without a sense of justice, there will be less charitable resources for ever-increasing needs.

Many of you have the moral authority to speak truth to the power of the one percent, and resist attempts to diminish support to those vulnerable members of our society who most need it.

In times of crisis, routines must be replaced with urgent awakenings, bringing out the better angels and wisdom from these underachieving pillars of the American community. A few leaders can take the first steps and many more will follow your example. Stand tall in support of justice in these trying times.
(c) 2017 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book is Unstoppable, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Palestinians carry a symbolic key with Arabic that reads, "We are coming back Palestine,"
to mark the passing of 69 years since what Palestinians call their "nakba,"
or catastrophe, in front of a United Nations office, in Gaza City, on May 15.
Thousands of Palestinians marked the anniversary of their uprooting almost seven decades ago
when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven out in the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation.

Palestine Remains 'The Greatest Moral Issue Of Our Time'
By John Pilger

Editor's note: This is an abridged version of John Pilger's address to the Palestinian Expo in London on July 8, 2017. John Pilger's film, "Palestine Is Still the Issue," can be viewed on his website.

When I first went to Palestine as a young reporter in the 1960s, I stayed on a kibbutz. The people I met were hard-working, spirited and called themselves socialists. I liked them.

One evening at dinner, I asked about the silhouettes of people in the far distance, beyond our perimeter.

"Arabs," they said, "nomads." The words were almost spat out. Israel, they said, meaning Palestine, had been mostly wasteland, and one of the great feats of the Zionist enterprise was to turn the desert green.

They gave as an example their crop of Jaffa oranges, which was exported to the rest of the world. What a triumph against the odds of nature and humanity's neglect.

It was the first lie. Most of the orange groves and vineyards belonged to Palestinians who had been tilling the soil and exporting oranges and grapes to Europe since the 18th century. The former Palestinian town of Jaffa was known by its previous inhabitants as "the place of sad oranges."

On the kibbutz, the word "Palestinian" was never used. Why, I asked. The answer was a troubled silence.

All over the colonized world, the true sovereignty of indigenous people is feared by those who can never quite cover the fact, and the crime, that they live on stolen land.

Denying people's humanity is the next step-as the Jewish people know only too well.

Defiling people's dignity and culture and pride follows as logically as violence. In Ramallah, following an invasion of the West Bank by the late Ariel Sharon in 2002, I walked through streets of crushed cars and demolished houses, to the Palestinian Cultural Centre. Until that morning, Israeli soldiers had camped there.

I was met by the center's director, the novelist, Liana Badr, whose original manuscripts lay scattered and torn across the floor. The hard drive containing her fiction, and a library of plays and poetry had been taken by Israeli soldiers. Almost everything was smashed, and defiled. Not a single book survived with all its pages, not a single master tape from one of the best collections of Palestinian cinema.

The soldiers had urinated and defecated on the floors, on desks, on embroideries and works of art. They had smeared feces on children's paintings and written-in shit-"Born to kill."

Liana Badr had tears in her eyes, but she was unbowed. She said, "We will make it right again."

What enrages those who colonize and occupy, steal and oppress, vandalize and defile is the victims' refusal to comply. And this is the tribute we all should pay the Palestinians. They refuse to comply. They go on. They wait-until they fight again. And they do so even when those governing them collaborate with their oppressors.

In the midst of the 2014 Israeli bombardment of Gaza, the Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer never stopped reporting. He and his family were stricken; he queued for food and water and carried it through the rubble. When I phoned him, I could hear the bombs outside his door. He refused to comply.

Mohammed's reports, illustrated by his graphic photographs, were a model of professional journalism that shamed the compliant and craven reporting of the so-called mainstream in Britain and the United States. The BBC notion of objectivity-amplifying the myths and lies of authority, a practice of which it is proud-is shamed every day by the likes of Mohamed Omer.

For more than 40 years, I have recorded the refusal of the people of Palestine to comply with their oppressors: Israel, the United States, Britain, the European Union.

Since 2008, Britain alone has granted licenses for export to Israel of arms and missiles, drones and sniper rifles, worth $559 million.

Those who have stood up to this, without weapons, those who have refused to comply, are among Palestinians I have been privileged to know:

My friend, the late Mohammed Jarella, who toiled for the United Nations agency UNRWA, in 1967 showed me a Palestinian refugee camp for the first time. It was a bitter winter's day and schoolchildren shook with the cold. "One day ... " he would say. "One day ... ."

Mustafa Barghouti, whose eloquence remains undimmed, who described the tolerance that existed in Palestine among Jews, Muslims and Christians until, as he told me, "the Zionists wanted a state at the expense of the Palestinians."

Dr. Mona El-Farra, a physician in Gaza, whose passion was raising money for plastic surgery for children disfigured by Israeli bullets and shrapnel. Her hospital was flattened by Israeli bombs in 2014.

Dr. Khalid Dahlan, a psychiatrist, whose clinics for children in Gaza-children sent almost mad by Israeli violence-were oases of civilization.

Fatima and Nasser are a couple whose home stood in a village near Jerusalem designated "Zone A and B," meaning that the land was declared for Jews only. Their parents had lived there; their grandparents had lived there. Today, the bulldozers are laying roads for Jews only, protected by laws for Jews only.

It was past midnight when Fatima went into labor with their second child. The baby was premature, and when they arrived at a checkpoint with the hospital in view, the young Israeli soldier said they needed another document.

Fatima was bleeding badly. The soldier laughed and imitated her moans and told them, "Go home." The baby was born there in a truck. It was blue with cold and soon, without care, died from exposure. The baby's name was Sultan.

For Palestinians, these will be familiar stories. The question is: Why are they not familiar in London and Washington, Brussels and Sydney?

In Syria, a recent liberal cause-a George Clooney cause-is bankrolled handsomely in Britain and the United States, even though the beneficiaries, the so-called rebels, are dominated by jihadist fanatics, the product of the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and the destruction of modern Libya.

And yet, the longest occupation and resistance in modern times is not recognized. When the United Nations suddenly stirs and defines Israel as an apartheid state, as it did this year, there is outrage - not against a state whose "core purpose" is racism but against a U.N. commission that dared break the silence.

"Palestine," said Nelson Mandela, "is the greatest moral issue of our time."

Why is this truth suppressed, day after day, month after month, year after year?

On Israel-the apartheid state, guilty of a crime against humanity and of more international lawbreaking than any other-the silence persists among those who know and whose job it is to keep the record straight.

On Israel, so much journalism is intimidated and controlled by a groupthink that demands silence on Palestine while honorable journalism has become dissidence: a metaphoric underground.

A single word-"conflict"-enables this silence. "The Arab-Israeli conflict," intone the robots at their teleprompters. When a veteran BBC reporter, a man who knows the truth, refers to "two narratives," the moral contortion is complete.

There is no conflict, no two narratives, with their moral fulcrum. There is a military occupation enforced by a nuclear-armed power backed by the greatest military power on earth; and there is an epic injustice.

The word "occupation" may be banned, deleted from the dictionary. But the memory of historical truth cannot be banned: of the systemic expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. "Plan D" the Israelis called it in 1948.

The Israeli historian Benny Morris describes how David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, was asked by one of his generals: "What shall we do with the Arabs?"

The prime minister, wrote Morris, "made a dismissive, energetic gesture with his hand." "Expel them!" he said.

Seventy years later, this crime is suppressed in the intellectual and political culture of the West. Or it is debatable, or merely controversial. Highly paid journalists eagerly accept Israeli government trips, hospitality and flattery, then are truculent in their protestations of independence. The term, "useful idiots," was coined for them.

In 2011, I was struck by the ease with which one of Britain's most acclaimed novelists, Ian McEwan, a man bathed in the glow of bourgeois enlightenment, accepted the Jerusalem Prize for literature in the apartheid state.

Would McEwan have gone to Sun City in apartheid South Africa? They gave prizes there, too, all expenses paid. McEwan justified his action with weasel words about the independence of "civil society."

Propaganda-of the kind McEwan delivered, with its token slap on the wrists for his delighted hosts-is a weapon for the oppressors of Palestine. Like sugar, it insinuates almost everything today.

Understanding and deconstructing state and cultural propaganda is our most critical task. We are being frog-marched into a second cold war, whose eventual aim is to subdue and Balkanize Russia and intimidate China.

When Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin spoke privately for more than two hours at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, apparently about the need not to go to war with each other, the most vociferous objectors were those who have commandeered liberalism, such as the Zionist political writer of the Guardian.

"No wonder Putin was smiling in Hamburg," wrote Jonathan Freedland. "He knows he has succeeded in his chief objective: he has made America weak again." Cue the hissing for Evil Vlad.

These propagandists have never known war, but they love the imperial game of war. What Ian McEwan calls "civil society" has become a rich source of related propaganda.

Take a term often used by the guardians of civil society-"human rights." Like another noble concept, "democracy," "human rights" has been all but emptied of its meaning and purpose.

Like "peace process" and "road map," human rights in Palestine have been hijacked by Western governments and the corporate NGOs they fund and which claim a quixotic moral authority.

So when Israel is called upon by governments and NGOs to "respect human rights" in Palestine, nothing happens, because they all know there is nothing to fear; nothing will change.

Mark the silence of the European Union, which accommodates Israel while refusing to maintain its commitments to the people of Gaza-such as keeping the lifeline of the Rafah border crossing open: a measure it agreed to as part of its role in the cessation of fighting in 2014. A seaport for Gaza-agreed by Brussels in 2014-has been abandoned.

The U.N. commission I have referred to - its full name is the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia-described Israel as, and I quote, "designed for the core purpose of racial discrimination."

Millions understand this. What the governments in London, Washington, Brussels and Tel Aviv cannot control is that humanity at street level is changing perhaps as never before.

People everywhere are stirring and are more aware, in my view, than ever before. Some are already in open revolt. The atrocity of Grenfell Tower in London has brought communities together in a vibrant almost national resistance.

Thanks to a people's campaign, the judiciary is today examining the evidence of a possible prosecution of Tony Blair for war crimes. Even if this fails, it is a crucial development, dismantling yet another barrier between the public and its recognition of the voracious nature of the crimes of state power-the systemic disregard for humanity perpetrated in Iraq, in Grenfell Tower, in Palestine. Those are the dots waiting to be joined.

For most of the 21st century, the fraud of corporate power posing as democracy has depended on the propaganda of distraction: largely on a cult of "me-ism" designed to disorientate our sense of looking out for others, of acting together, of social justice and internationalism.

Class, gender and race were wrenched apart. The personal became the political and the media the message. The promotion of bourgeois privilege was presented as "progressive" politics. It wasn't. It never is. It is the promotion of privilege, and power.

Among young people, internationalism has found a vast new audience. Look at the support for Jeremy Corbyn and the reception the G-20 circus in Hamburg received. By understanding the truth and imperatives of internationalism, and rejecting colonialism, we understand the struggle of Palestine.

Mandela put it this way: "We know only too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

At the heart of the Middle East is the historic injustice in Palestine. Until that is resolved, and Palestinians have their freedom and homeland, and Israelis and Palestinians have equality before the law, there will be no peace in the region, or perhaps anywhere.

What Mandela was saying is that freedom itself is precarious while powerful governments can deny justice to others, terrorize others, imprison and kill others, in our name. Israel certainly understands the threat that one day it might have to be normal.

That is why its ambassador to Britain is Mark Regev, well known to journalists as a professional propagandist, and why the "huge bluff" of charges of anti-Semitism, as Ilan Pappe called it, was allowed to contort the Labour Party and undermine Jeremy Corbyn as leader. The point is, it did not succeed.

Events are moving quickly now. The remarkable Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) is succeeding, day by day; cities and towns, trade unions and student bodies are endorsing it. The British government's attempt to restrict local councils from enforcing BDS has failed in the courts

These are not straws in the wind. When the Palestinians rise again, as they will, they may not succeed at first-but they will eventually if we understand that they are us, and we are them.
(c) 2017 John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, film"maker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism's highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia.

'Think Through The Implications Of Our Actions': An Open Letter To Rep. Barbara Lee
By Norman Solomon

Dear Congresswoman Lee:

More than a decade and a half ago, your eloquent words and courageous vote set a high bar as you stood up against a war frenzy on the House floor. Three days after 9/11, you implemented the kind of brave wisdom that we desperately need in a world beset by the massive violence of warfare and the overarching dangers of nuclear holocaust.

Since then, like many other people opposed to perpetual war, I've deeply appreciated your leadership in advocating for diplomacy instead of reckless confrontation in international relations. Year after year, following your lone vote against a blank check for war on Sept. 14, 2001, you've been a steadfast voice for the necessity of diplomatic initiatives.

Until now.

Your longtime wisdom is antithetical to the tweet that you sent out after the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin from your official "Rep. Barbara Lee" Twitter account: "Outraged by President Trump's 2 hr meeting w/Putin, the man who orchestrated attacks on our democracy. Where do his loyalties lie?" In mid-September 2001, when you implored the Congress and the country to "think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control," the words of your speech were beacons of sanity in a propaganda storm for war. But now, as I watch a video of those two transcendent minutes, some of your old words echo in a newly haunting way.

Now it falls to peace advocates who read your new words to urge you to "think through the implications" of the political line you've just taken, "so that this does not spiral out of control."

And now, peace advocates must remind you of other insightful words from your historically prescient speech nearly 16 years ago: "Some of us must urge the use of restraint."

Your declaration on Friday that you are "outraged" by a meeting between the presidents of the world's two nuclear-weapons superpowers is the opposite of restraint. Likewise, your baiting of Trump with the question "Where do his loyalties lie?" echoes the accusations of treason hurled at you for years.

Such rhetoric is far beneath you -- and beneath any leader with a responsibility to encourage diplomatic discourse, especially between two nations brandishing huge arsenals of nuclear weapons.

Let's not forget that past top-level diplomacy between Russia and the United States was hardly led by saints. Fifty years ago, Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was the leader of a government far more repressive than the one headed by Vladimir Putin today, while President Lyndon Johnson was in the midst of escalating a mass-murderous war in Vietnam. Yet their Glassboro Summit was notable diplomacy that reduced tensions between the two countries and reduced the dangers of nuclear war.

Now, for whatever reasons, you have opted to participate in a profoundly irresponsible meme that castigates instead of encourages diplomatic discourse between the highest levels of the American and Russian governments.

To use a word from your historic 2001 speech, it's essential that we think through the "implications" of such a political line of attack. They include increasing the likelihood that escalated tensions between Russia and the United States could "spiral out of control."

I've long thought of you as a heroic champion of pursuing alternatives to war and, quite possibly, helping to prevent a nuclear holocaust that scientists believe would render the Earth "virtually uninhabitable." But now, you seem to have lost your way.

To counteract what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism," we must get off a partisan bandwagon when it is heading toward military catastrophe. That requires -- as you so wisely urged in 2001 -- supporting diplomacy, urging restraint and thinking through the implications of our actions today.
(c) 2017 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."

Orca survival depends on protecting chinook salmon

Orca Survival Depends On Protecting Chinook Salmon
By David Suzuki

Two of British Columbia's most iconic species, chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales, are in trouble. The whale depends on the salmon for survival. Is it time to manage chinook fisheries with killer whales in mind?

In marine ecosystems, cause and effect is a challenge. It's almost impossible to claim with certainty that depletion of one species is caused by abundance or lack of another. The general rule is that big things eat smaller things, so any given species will eat dozens of others, even their smaller kin. The southern resident killer whales, also known as orcas, are an exception. Despite their immense intelligence, or perhaps because of it, their diet consists almost entirely of chinook salmon, with only traces of other salmon, and virtually no other fish species.

Every killer whale population has its own unique culture, which includes language, social behaviours and dietary preferences. A large male weighs nearly as much as two Ford 150 pickup trucks. Sustaining this mass of warm-blooded flesh in a cold ocean requires using echolocation to find and capture fish in blackness. Understanding the patterns of their chinook prey is a highly specialized activity passed on through generations of learned behaviour.

After each capture, an orca normally shares the fish with the pod. That's remarkable considering the whale could practically swallow the prey whole. If the 78 southern resident killer whales are to survive, this cultural feeding ritual needs to occur about 1,400 times a day. That's become difficult, as chinook salmon populations that migrate through waters where the southern resident killer whale feed are severely depleted, and the fish are smaller on average than they once were.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada's assessments show most chinook populations in southern B.C. are well below historical levels and continue to decline. In November 2018, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada will determine the status of several populations, and will likely declare many endangered.

Fishing is not the only threat chinook face, but it has a major impact. Fishing tends to target salmon as they return to spawn - after they've survived, against all odds, through 99 per cent of their expected lives. Those that spawn hold the genetic blueprint to help their offspring withstand current environmental conditions. With far fewer chinook making it to spawning grounds, each survivor is a critical contributor to the next generation. Estimates show commercial and sport fisheries in British Columbia took more than half a million chinook in 2016. For some chinook populations, people harvest well over half the returning fish.

Noise from shipping also hinders the whales' ability to communicate with each other, find prey and avoid danger - by up to 97 per cent in the noisiest areas. Commercial shipping has increased dramatically in recent years. One large ship transits the Salish Sea, on average, every hour of every day of every year.

Federal whale biologists have identified a priority recovery strategy: refuges where orcas can feed without competition from fisheries and that are quiet enough that echolocation is not masked and social behaviours aren't disrupted. These areas are currently being identified and could be established within killer whale critical habitat areas. Many other issues, including pollution, must also be addressed.

Rebuilding chinook populations is critical to rebuilding whale populations, yet there are no recovery plans to increase chinook populations to upper benchmarks, as required by Canada's Wild Salmon Policy. More than 300,000 recreational fishing licences are issued annually in B.C., which creates a formidable competitor to killer whales. Like whales, humans have also learned over generations about the behaviour of their prey.

The federal government is undertaking a scientific review to prioritize killer whale recovery actions. Part of this process involves public consultation. Anyone concerned about orcas should contribute.

Understanding the importance of chinook to killer whales makes it difficult to justify catching them without considering the whales' needs. The complexity of marine ecosystems makes it easy for individuals to point fingers to the myriad other threats such as climate change and habitat destruction. But we must recognize that, collectively, our habits have become destructive to the environment and other species.

The fate of two of British Columbia's most iconic animals and the ecosystems and economies that depend on them rests in our hands.
(c) 2017 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

It's No Exaggeration To Say Human Civilization Is At Stake
Chronicles of the climate crisis.
By Charles P. Pierce

Meanwhile, back on Earth One, we're all pretty well bloody doomed. From New York Magazine:

...when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination. The reasons for that are many: the timid language of scientific probabilities, which the climatologist James Hansen once called "scientific reticence" in a paper chastising scientists for editing their own observations so conscientiously that they failed to communicate how dire the threat really was; the fact that the country is dominated by a group of technocrats who believe any problem can be solved and an opposing culture that doesn't even see warming as a problem worth addressing; the way that climate denialism has made scientists even more cautious in offering speculative warnings; the simple speed of change and, also, its slowness, such that we are only seeing effects now of warming from decades past; our uncertainty about uncertainty, which the climate writer Naomi Oreskes in particular has suggested stops us from preparing as though anything worse than a median outcome were even possible; the way we assume climate change will hit hardest elsewhere, not everywhere; the smallness (two degrees) and largeness (1.8 trillion tons) and abstractness (400 parts per million) of the numbers; the discomfort of considering a problem that is very difficult, if not impossible, to solve; the altogether incomprehensible scale of that problem, which amounts to the prospect of our own annihilation; simple fear. But aversion arising from fear is a form of denial, too.
The piece couldn't be more apocalyptic if the author were writing in a cave on Patmos. Miami and Bangladesh, gone within a century. New York rendered uninhabitable by heat. Millions of refugees, all of them starving, because of massive food shortages.

Oh, and disease, too. Epidemic, civilization-crushing disease.

Ice works that way, too, as a climate ledger, but it is also frozen history, some of which can be reanimated when unfrozen. There are now, trapped in Arctic ice, diseases that have not circulated in the air for millions of years - in some cases, since before humans were around to encounter them. Which means our immune systems would have no idea how to fight back when those prehistoric plagues emerge from the ice. The Arctic also stores terrifying bugs from more recent times. In Alaska, already, researchers have discovered remnants of the 1918 flu that infected as many as 500 million and killed as many as 100 million - about 5 percent of the world's population and almost six times as many as had died in the world war for which the pandemic served as a kind of gruesome capstone. As the BBC reported in May, scientists suspect smallpox and the bubonic plague are trapped in Siberian ice, too - an abridged history of devastating human sickness, left out like egg salad in the Arctic sun.
We have removed ourselves from even the voluntary, palliative limits of the Paris Accords. One of our two major political parties not only doesn't think this is a big deal, but a good portion of that party doesn't think it's happening at all. (One of the great benefits of the piece is that it demonstrates that all the multifarious horrors of the climate crisis already are happening some place in the world; farmers in El Salvador are dying of kidney disease brought on by longterm dehydration.) We have Jim Inhofe, bringing his snowball into the well of the Senate. We have Scott Pruitt, putting together two teams to argue about the science, as if there were a real question about it, and as if Pruitt wasn't an extraction industry sublet for his entire career. Meanwhile, the entire United States defense establishment, not a passel of tree-huggers even on its gentlest day, is running around with its hair on fire.
This is one reason that, as nearly every climate scientist I spoke to pointed out, the U.S. military is obsessed with climate change: The drowning of all American Navy bases by sea-level rise is trouble enough, but being the world's policeman is quite a bit harder when the crime rate doubles. Of course, it's not just Syria where climate has contributed to conflict. Some speculate that the elevated level of strife across the Middle East over the past generation reflects the pressures of global warming - a hypothesis all the more cruel considering that warming began accelerating when the industrialized world extracted and then burned the region's oil.
What's worse is that, within a few days, there will be an organized pushback against this story by all the usual suspects. And Scott Pruitt will still be running the EPA, and the president* will be babbling about more coal, and, in the Pentagon, they are battening every hatch and securing every line, because the oceans don't care who wins this debate, and plagues and starvation are remarkably non-partisan phenomena.
(c) 2017 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...

"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."
~~~ H.G. Wells ~ The Outline of History

Major Mistake Found In Congressional Creation Of Space Army
By David Swanson

Even CNN struggles to stay solemn, neither laughing nor vomiting, at news of Congress creating a new branch of the U.S. military to fight wars in space.

Of course, one purpose of militarizing space, which other nations have long supported banning by treaty, has for the United States long been to facilitate more unstoppable attacks on various corners of the little planet earth.

But another stated purpose of this legislation is to "guard the galaxy." Here's where a massive miscalculation has been found in the plan.

The U.S. Department of Defense has long since learned that by imposing itself on some corner of the globe it quickly generates something to "defend" against. Bomb a capital, overthrow a government, occupy cities, kick in doors, and before long, lo and behold, there's an enemy threatening to "aggressively" attack U.S. occupying forces, which are then compelled to "defend" themselves.

But the Pentagon is apparently so self-centered that it commits a Nakba Error in its understanding of this process of defensive aggression. That is to say, it believes its actions are all reactions to the blowback it creates, and it simply overlooks the requirement for any such blowback to be produced that there be people inhabiting the territory assaulted.

The space cowboys who won the West imagined there were no Native Americans, but simultaneously could not have "won" had there not been someone there to lose.

So off traipses the new U.S. Space Corps to defend the galaxy, completely unperturbed by the fact that no known life forms inhabit any of it outside the earth. The assumption in the halls of Congress appears to be that even in outerspace if you aggressively start "defending" the hell out of planets and stars, aggressive aliens will retroactively materialize and be cited in a UN resolution.

Assuming that no enemies are generated by the Space Corpse, if only because there are no life forms to be found, this new branch of the U.S. military will have an enormous point in its favor over various other branches, which are constantly generating hostility and terrorism everywhere they go.

The question for activists on terra firma will then be: Do we try to shift funding from the Marines or Air Force to the Space Corps, as a strategic possible win, or do we stick with the principled stand of trying to move money away from all such insanity and into such down to earth programs as sustainable energy, education, and housing that comes with air and gravity?
(c) 2017 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.

Donald Trump's Climate Change Denial Ignites Grass-Roots Resistance
By Amy Goodman

As "Russiagate" becomes a full-blown conflagration threatening to consume Donald Trump's presidency, his denial of human-induced global warming continues to threaten a planet already on fire. The world reeled on June 1 when Trump made good on his campaign promise to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. Since then, governments around the world, from the largest nations to the smallest hamlets, have joined together in criticism of the move, vowing to accelerate their own commitments to combating climate change, with or without Donald Trump and the U.S. The time remaining to prevent irreversible climate change is short.

Donald Trump was notably isolated at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg last week. Over 100,000 protesters marched despite a massive and at times violent police crackdown. Inside, the 19 other world leaders took a stand against Trump's rejection of the Paris climate agreement. Yet, as the group Oil Change International pointed out this week, the G-20 nations, collectively, provide $72 billion in subsidies annually to the fossil-fuel industry-four times what they spend on renewable energy.

"While it's excellent that the other G-20 leaders put Donald Trump in a corner," Oil Change's Alex Doukas said on the "Democracy Now!" news hour, "it's not enough to simply confront his climate denial. These leaders have to act. They need to be putting their money where their mouths are." Oil Change details the subsidies in a report published during the recent summit, "Talk is Cheap: How G20 Governments are Financing Climate Disaster." Oil Change is calling on G-20 governments to end all fossil-fuel subsidies by 2020, and move the funds into support for renewable energy.

Most of the pollution released since 1988 comes from just 100 companies, according to another just-released report, the "Carbon Majors Report 2017." It notes, "Since 1988, more than half of global industrial greenhouse gasses (GHGs) can be traced to just 25 corporate and state producers." China's state-owned coal industry tops the list, along with others like Saudi Arabia's and Iran's petroleum companies. Corporations like ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron also are among the worst polluters. As the G-20 wrapped up, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she "deplored" the U.S. government's exit from the Paris agreement. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, made his exit to Istanbul, Turkey, to receive a lifetime achievement award from the World Petroleum Congress, where he called the oil industry "marvelous," before heading to Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, back at home, the impacts of global warming are everywhere. In the North American West, from near the Mexican border up into British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska, wildfires are raging. The U.S. government's interagency National Wildfire Coordinating Group listed 109 active wildfires in the U.S. alone. In Phoenix last month, when temperatures reached 120 degrees F, smaller jets were unable to take off or land, and American Airlines canceled close to 50 flights, all because the air was too hot. At higher temperatures, asphalt can melt, making runways unusable.

The Union of Concerned Scientists just published a comprehensive study on the increasing impacts of sea level rise on U.S. coastal communities. "By 2035, about 170 communities-roughly twice as many as today-will face chronic inundation," the report states. By 2100, the number climbs to almost 500 communities-some as large and economically vital as Galveston, Texas, most of greater New Orleans (we've seen what one hurricane can do there), Miami and Boston. Climate change, along with human overpopulation and consumption, is responsible for the Earth's sixth mass extinction, which scientists this week labeled an ongoing "biological annihilation."

There is even more breaking news about climate change-ice-breaking news. A section of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica has broken off; that's an iceberg the size of Delaware, four times the size of London. Scientists predict that if all Antarctic ice melts, global sea levels could rise by as much as 160 feet. The climate action group has launched a petition to name the new iceberg "Exxon Knew 1," referring to allegations that ExxonMobil covered up its research on climate change for decades.

Because many of the polluting corporations among the Carbon Majors are publicly traded, they can be influenced by shareholder actions. The movement to shift money from fossil-fuel corporations toward renewable energy is called "Divest/Invest." As of December 2016, investors have pledged to move over $5 trillion. While the U.S. government has withdrawn from the global climate action pact, under the banner "We Are Still In," seven states, including California and New York, have been joined by hundreds of cities and thousands of businesses and universities, committed to reducing carbon emissions.

Donald Trump may have won the Electoral College in 2016, elevating his climate change denialism to dangerous heights. But the resistance is real, strong and growing, and that cannot be denied.
(c) 2017 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now,!" a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 750 stations in North America. She is the co"author of "Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times," recently released in paperback and "Breaking The Sound Barrier."

The Dead Letter Office...

Kris gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Deputy Vice-Fuehrer Kobach,

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 plan to remove all Democratic voters from the voter registration rolls, 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 "Republican 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 Fuehrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuehrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 07-29-2017. We salute you herr Kobach, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Art Of The (Trump And Putin) Deal
By Robert Reich

Say you're Vladimir Putin, and you did a deal with Trump last year. Whether there was such a deal is being investigated. But if you are Putin and you did do a deal, what might Trump have agreed to do for you?

1. Repudiate NATO. NATO is the biggest thorn in your side - the alliance that both humiliates you and stymies your ambitions. Trump seemed intent to deliver on this during his recent European trip by bullying members about payments and seemingly not reaffirming Article 5 of the pact, which states that any attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all. (He's backtracked on this since then, under pressure from Congress.)

2. Antagonize Europe, especially Angela Merkel. She's the strongest leader in the West other than Trump, and you'd love to drive a wedge between the United States and Germany. Your larger goal is for Europe to no longer depend on the United States, so you can increase your influence in Europe. Trump has almost delivered on this, too. Merkel is already saying Europe can no longer depend on America.

3. Take the United States out of the Paris accord on the environment. This will anger America's other allies around the world and produce a wave of anti-Americanism - all to your advantage. You'd also love for the whole Paris accord to unravel because you want the world to remain dependent on fossil fuels. Russia is the world's second-largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia, and biggest exporter of natural gas. And the oil and gas industry contributes about half the revenues to your domestic budget. And, hey, there's also all those Arctic ports that are opening up now that the earth is warming. Trump has delivered on this.

4. Embark on a new era of protectionism. Or at least anti-trade rhetoric. This will threaten the West's economic interdependence and loosen America's economic grip on the rest of the world. Trump is on the way to delivering on this one.

5. End the economic sanctions on Russia, imposed by the United States in 2014. Oil production on land is falling so you want to tap the vast petroleum and gas reserves offshore in the Arctic. In 2011, you and ExxonMobil's Rex Tillerson, signed a $500 billion deal to do this. But the sanctions stopped it cold. Trump has promised to lift them, but he hasn't delivered on this yet, because he has got to cope with all the suspicions in America about his deal with you. Once it dies down, he'll end the sanctions. In the meantime, he'll give you back the two compounds that were seized by the Obama administration when the U.S. intelligence discovered you'd interfered in the election.

And what might you have agreed to do for Trump in return?

Two things: First, you'd help him win the presidency, by hacking into Democratic Party servers, leaking the results, sending millions of fake news stories about Hillary to targeted voters, and tapping into voter lists.

Second, after he was elected, you'd shut up about your help so Trump wouldn't be impeached and convicted of treason.

In other words, if you did a deal, you both still have every incentive to fulfill your side of it. That's the art of the deal.
(c) 2017 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 website is

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un celebrating after an intercontinental ballistic missile is blasted off from an undisclosed site on July 4th.

North Korea Isn't The Only Rogue Nuclear State
Nuclear weapons are about to be made illegal worldwide, but good luck hearing about it at home
By Matt Taibbi

As if the last few years weren't bad enough, we now have a real nuclear crisis.

North Korea's loony regime of Kim Jong-un conducted a successful missile launch test - landing about 60 miles south of the Russian city of Vladivostok, according to some reports - marking a frightening nuclear escalation that has heightened tensions across the planet.

We're learning what happens when two rampant narcissists who love to play with military toys butt heads.

That this first serious confrontation in ages is happening now is ironic, given that a little-reported showdown about the use of nuclear power will soon take place in the U.N.

A draft of a U.N. treaty to ban all nuclear weapons is about to be voted on. It has the support of 132 nations and is very likely to pass, at which point the United States will soon once again be in technical violation of a major international agreement, as it long has been with regard to the International Treaty banning land mines.

While practically the ban may not accomplish much, it matters a little when we violate treaties, at least intellectually speaking. North Korea's violation of similar international agreements is at the crux of the international consensus against allowing the country to have a nuclear program in the first place.

This is what Steve Snyder, the senior fellow on U.S.-North Korea relations for the Council of Foreign Relations, wrote last year about why North Korea must never be allowed to have nukes:

"The United States cannot accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state for normative reasons; North Korea had signed onto the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear state and then abandoned the treaty in order to pursue nuclear capabilities. Tolerating North Korea's nuclear status would be equivalent to setting a precedent for other NPT signatories to violate the treaty."
The problem with this argument is that from the point of view of many non-nuclear countries, the United States itself, along with other nuclear club countries (particularly Russia), has been in continuing violation of the original nuclear non-proliferation treaty, as drafted in 1968.

The treaty has been mostly very successful. Since 1970, when it went into effect, only four more countries - Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea - are known to have developed nuclear weapons, and only one, North Korea, was at any time a signatory.

The signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968.

Israel, India and Pakistan were three of just four U.N. member states to originally refuse to sign the treaty. North Korea, meanwhile, pulled out of the treaty in 2003, almost exactly a year after it was put in the crosshairs by George W. Bush in the infamous "Axis of Evil" speech. It had long been suspected of pursuing a secret development program.

One of the reasons the NPT was long seen as successful is that over the decades, it did inspire the main actors - particularly the United States and Russia - to move toward disarmament. Through a variety of programs, nuclear stockpiles have been drastically diminished, down to about 14,900 warheads worldwide, or two-thirds less than their high point in the mid-Eighties.

Russia and the United States didn't just reduce their stockpiles out of goodwill. They did so in part because moving toward global disarmament was a major component of the original bargain of the non-proliferation treaty.

The original treaty is quite clear. Article VI reads as follows (emphasis mine):

"Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."
The "nuclear club" countries, however, have lately reneged on their end of the "let's move toward disarmament" plan. The most recent news in the U.S., of course, is that both of our major political parties have supported a massive, trillion-dollar "modernization" program that would significantly enhance rather than reduce existing stockpiles.

This slowing of the disarmament movement began during Barack Obama's last term, coinciding with the collapse of relations between the U.S. and Russia. Particularly since 2011, when the U.S. and Russia concluded the "New START" treaty on the reduction of each others' arsenals, dialogue has almost completely ended on the subject.

Whatever you want to point to as the reason - the much-condemned Russian adventurism in Ukraine, or maybe the 2012 passage of the Magnitsky Act sanctioning Russia for human rights abuses, a law that outraged Putin and inspired a vicious ban on American adoption of Russian children - communication between Russia and the United States had long ago dropped to almost nil. This was before last summer's election, the DNC hack or the rise of Trump.

As a result, the two countries who maintain about 90 percent of the world's warheads have stopped talking about nuclear reduction, and the rest of the world - which was promised disarmament - has noticed, leading to protest moves like this new treaty ban.

"The ban movement is an expression of frustration on the part of the non-nuclear countries," says Steve Andreasen, a security consultant for the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

A former director for defense policy and arms control at the Security Council in the Clinton years, Andreasen says the collapse in relations between the U.S. and Russia has stalled the move toward disarmament that was at the heart of the original non-proliferation treaty.

"You can't talk about non-proliferation without talking about the U.S.-Russia relationship, and the U.S.-Russia relationship has been in decline since New START," he says.

A lack of dialogue on the nuclear front between Russia and America is an extremely negative development, given that our two countries have nearly blown up the planet by accident multiple times, in underreported incidents.

The most serious of these was probably 1983, when a Soviet satellite mistakenly detected the launch of five American minuteman missiles headed toward Russia. Only the high-stress judgment of a 44-year-old Soviet lieutenant colonel named Stanislav Petrov prevented a massive counter-launch and the probable deaths of millions.

"I had a funny feeling in my gut," Petrov said years later, explaining his determination that the signal was faulty. "When people go to war, they don't do it with five missiles."

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signing the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty in 1987.

It got worse. Years later, in 1995, now-Democratic Russia's occasionally sober president Boris Yeltsin actually had the nuclear football open after the Russians mistook a Swedish scientific rocket for an incoming Trident missile. Yeltsin had six minutes to make a decision. It ended up being one of the few right calls he made during those years.

A few years later, then-Secretary of the Russian Security Council Alexander Lebed said in public that Russia had flat-out lost 100 "suitcase" nuclear devices. I later had the opportunity to ask Lebed about this in person, and the now-late general's one-word answer - buivaet, or "it happens" - still occasionally keeps me awake at night.

Stories like these were tolerable as long as there was some kind of plan to amp down the existential threat posed to all of us by these WMDs, the only ones not yet banned by international treaty. But this decade has seen the opposite happen, leading to all sorts of issues.

The calculus for small countries like North Korea is not hard to understand. On the one hand, they see the nuclear powers not moving toward disarmament as planned. On the other, they see countries like the United States routinely sweeping into countries like Libya and Iraq - who either abandoned or never started nuke defense programs - to pursue "regime change" policies.

As such, many smaller countries may feel like developing nukes is the only way to ensure their sovereignty. This pushes us into situations like this mess with North Korea.

Complicating the problem in North Korea is that the United States has long taken the position that it will not sit down at the negotiating table with the North Koreans until they pledge to disarm. But the situation is so severe now that the only way to get something done might be to dial down the macho, drop the preconditions and agree to sit at the table with the man John McCain calls the "crazy fat kid," Kim Jong-un. The chances of that sort of move coming out of this White House don't seem high.

"Sitting down at the table, dropping the preconditions - that takes a measure of courage that goes beyond tweeting," says Andreasen.

Moreover, Trump is not likely candidate to make any sort of move to put nuclear disarmament back on track. On more than one occasion he's talked about using nuclear weapons approvingly, like it's a realistic option. In the giant catalogue of evidence that he's nuts, his views on nukes are on page one of the first chapter - the very craziest thing about him.

"It is an absolute last stance," he said once, before adding, "I use the word unpredictable. You want to be unpredictable."

Nut-jobs like Kim Jong-un, and Trump for that matter, are the exact reason why 132 countries are right, and the only truly safe number of nuclear weapons is zero. Surely only dumber leaders await us in the future, and we should do our best to leave them with as small an arsenal as possible.
(c) 2017 Matt Taibbi is Rolling Stone's chief political reporter, Matt Taibbi's predecessors include the likes of journalistic giants Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O'Rourke. Taibbi's 2004 campaign journal Spanking the Donkey cemented his status as an incisive, irreverent, zero-bullshit reporter. His books include Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion, Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire.

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...

Secretary Of Interior Announces $400 Million Initiative To Preserve Self For Future Generations To Enjoy
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In an effort to safeguard the treasured official against further weathering, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced a $400 million initiative Tuesday to preserve himself for future generations to enjoy.

"This measure is a crucial step toward ensuring that our children and our children's children are not forced to live in a world where they cannot bask in the natural beauty and breathtaking splendor of me," said Zinke, adding that it would be "a national tragedy" if people as soon as a few decades from now were deprived of his majestic blue eyes.

"From shoring up my rapidly diminishing hair reserves to reinforcing the cracks and faults that have developed across my face and body, the funding will help protect this great Cabinet official for many, many years. Without the proper care, I could very soon deteriorate to the point where our country is left with no Ryan Zinke at all-and how will we explain that to our grandkids?"

Zinke went on to say it would be a grave injustice if the closest future generations ever got to his spectacular grandeur were a mere archived photo from the Interior Department website.
(c) 2017 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 17 # 27 (c) 07/14/2017

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