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In This Edition

Norman Solomon reports, "Biden Refuses To Mention The Worsening Dangers Of Nuclear War. Media And Congress Enable His Silence."

Ralph Nader examines, "US China Policy: A Perilous Arms Race Instead of Waging Critical Cooperation."

Leonard Pitts Jr. asks, "If Republicans Didn't Throw Trump Under The Bus, Why Would Dems Dump Biden?"

Jim Hightower says, "It's Not Just Trump: The Whole GOP Has Embraced His Craziness."

William Rivers Pitt finds, "Saudi Arabia Is Using Biden's Visit And Sports-Based PR To Hide Its Crimes."

John Nichols says, "Trump Was The 'Central Figure' Who Set The Coup In Motion."

James Donahue wonders, "Do We Reincarnate From Past Lives?"

David Swanson imagines, "If Democrats Didn't Suck."

David Suzuki reports, "Despite Record Profits And Prices, Oil Industry Greed Is A Bottomless Pit."

Charles P. Pierce says, "The Jan. 6 Committee Can't Let Steve Bannon Bring The Circus (Back) To Town."

Juan Cole reports, "As Biden Visits Saudi Arabia, GAO Report Spotlights Deadly US Role In Yemen Disaster."

Robert Reich asks, "The Republican Party Is Terrible. So Why May Democrats Lose To Them This Year?"

Thom Hartmann wonders, "Is Ron DeSantis Getting Ready To Pull A Jeb Bush?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Waterford Whispers News reports, "All The Shit I've Done And It's Some Chap Feeling An Arse That Brings Me Down," but first, Uncle Ernie exclaims, "Arsenic From The Great Salt Lake Is Poisoning Salt Lake City!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Gary Markstein, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Columbia Pictures, Engin Akyurt, Liu Jie, Xinhua, Yasin Ozturk, Nathan Howard,Kevin Dietsch, Mandel Ngan, Mohammed Hamoud, Alex Wong, Mohamed Hassan, Jim Hightower, Twitter, Pixabay, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, YouTube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments -

The Quotable Quote -
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To End On A Happy Note -
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Arsenic From The Great Salt Lake Is Poisoning Salt Lake City!
By Ernest Stewart

"We need to be more aggressive in how we use water and how we manage water in the state. We live in one of the driest states in the nation and we need to act like it." ~~~ Laura Vernon ~ the Great Salt Lake coordinator at the Department of Natural Resources

I see where water in Utah's Great Salt Lake has fallen to its lowest level ever recorded, authorities announced this week, a result of the ongoing drought impacting the western United States which scientists warn has been exacerbated by global warming.

The average depth of the massive saltwater lake, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, fluctuates naturally with the seasons and local precipitation.

But the economically and environmentally important basin has never been this low since records began in 1847, when Mormons first arrived to establish Salt Lake City.

The previous record-low was set in October 2021, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said in a press release Tuesday.

"This is not the type of record we like to break," Joel Ferry, executive director of Utah's Department of Natural Resources, said in the joint statement.

"Urgent action is needed to help protect and preserve this critical resource. It's clear the lake is in trouble," he added. Based on trends from prior years, "lake levels will likely continue to decrease until fall or early winter when the amount of incoming water to the lake equals or exceeds evaporative losses," the USGS said. According to estimates published by Utah state government, the Great Salt Lake contributes up to $1.3 billion annually to the local economy, through a wide range of industries including mining, fish farming and tourism.

The lake's depletion could also threaten the large number of migratory birds which stop there every year, and could have serious health repercussions for the local population.

Scientists warned recently that dangerous arsenic-rich sediment lies along the lake bottom and could be spread by the wind when exposed to the air. With more of the lake bottom exposed arsenic winds push arsenic into your nose, mouth and lungs.

Almost the entire American west is in the grip of a major drought, which has resulted in reduced water flow to rivers and dramatically lowered the levels of key reservoirs including Lake Mead and Lake Powell.

Climatologists note that there is historical precedent for droughts lasting longer than 20 years in the region, but that their severity has increased because of rising global temperatures due to human activity. Global warming strikes again!


01-08-1923 ~ 07-08-2022
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07-29-1942 ~ 07-08-2022
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02-01-1940 ~ 07-13-2022
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Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2022 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand-up comic, dj, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter. My most recent book is, The Red Kings Horror (2022)

Biden Refuses To Mention The Worsening Dangers Of Nuclear War. Media And Congress Enable His Silence
By Norman Solomon

I've just finished going through the more than 60 presidential statements, documents and communiques about the war in Ukraine that the White House has released and posted on its website since Joe Biden's State of the Union address in early March. They all share with that speech one stunning characteristic -- the complete absence of any mention of nuclear weapons or nuclear war dangers. Yet we're now living in a time when those dangers are the worst they've been since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

You might think that the risks of global nuclear annihilation would merit at least a few of the more than 25,000 words officially released on Biden's behalf during the 100 days since his dramatic speech to a joint session of Congress. But an evasive pattern began from the outset. While devoting much of that speech to the Ukraine conflict, Biden said nothing at all about the heightened risks that it might trigger the use of nuclear weapons.

A leader interested in informing the American people rather than infantilizing them would have something to say about the need to prevent nuclear war at a time of escalating tensions between the world's two nuclear superpowers. A CBS News poll this spring found that the war in Ukraine had caused 70 percent of adults in the U.S. to be worried that it could lead to nuclear warfare.

But rather than publicly address such fears, Biden has dodged the public -- unwilling to combine his justifiable denunciations of Russia's horrific war on Ukraine with even the slightest cautionary mention about the upward spike in nuclear-war risks.

Biden has used silence to gaslight the body politic with major help from mass media and top Democrats. While occasional mainstream news pieces have noted the increase in nuclear-war worries and dangers, Biden has not been called to account for refusing to address them. As for Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, party loyalties have taken precedence over ethical responsibilities. What's overdue is a willingness to insist that Biden forthrightly speak about a subject that involves the entire future of humanity.

Giving the president and congressional leaders the benefit of doubts has been a chronic and tragic problem throughout the nuclear age. Even some organizations that should know better have often succumbed to the temptation to serve as enablers.

In her roles as House minority leader and speaker, Nancy Pelosi has championed one bloated Pentagon budget increase after another, including huge outlays for new nuclear weapons systems. Yet she continues to enjoy warm and sometimes even fawning treatment from well-heeled groups with arms-control and disarmament orientations.

And so it was, days ago, when the Ploughshares Fund sent supporters a promotional email about its annual "Chain Reaction" event -- trumpeting that "Speaker Pelosi will join our illustrious list of previously announced speakers to explore current opportunities to build a movement to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all."

The claim that Pelosi would be an apt person to guide listeners on how to "build a movement" with such goals was nothing short of absurd. For good measure, the announcement made the same claim for another speaker, Fiona Hill, a hawkish former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council.

Bizarre as it is, the notion that Pelosi and Hill are fit to explain how to "build a movement to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons" is in sync with a submissive assumption -- that there's no need to challenge Biden's refusal to address nuclear-war dangers.

The president has a responsibility to engage with journalists and the public about nuclear weapons and the threat they pose to human survival on this planet. Urgently, Biden should be pushed toward genuine diplomacy including arms-control negotiations with Russia. Members of Congress, organizations and constituents should be demanding that he acknowledge the growing dangers of nuclear war and specify what he intends to do to diminish instead of fuel those dangers.

Such demands can gain momentum and have political impact as a result of grassroots activism rather than beneficent elitism. That's why this Sunday, nearly 100 organizations are co-sponsoring a "Defuse Nuclear War" live stream -- marking the 40th anniversary of the day when 1 million people gathered in New York's Central Park, on June 12, 1982, to call for an end to the nuclear arms race.

That massive protest was in the spirit of what Martin Luther King Jr. said in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964: "I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction."

In 2022, the real possibility of such a hell for the entire world has become unmentionable for the president and his enablers. But refusing to talk about the dangers of thermonuclear destruction makes it more likely.

(c) 2022 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."

Photo taken on July 7, 2022 shows the Commerce Department building in Washington, D.C., the United States.

US China Policy: A Perilous Arms Race Instead of Waging Critical Cooperation
The forces for muscular peace and cooperation must show there is an alternative path to secure the common interests of the two nations.
By Ralph Nader

Did the Biden officials know what they were doing when they announced a broad expansion of export controls on China? China is the world's second-largest economy, which is intricately intertwined with the economy of the U.S. and other nations. This is mainly due to U.S. multinational companies exporting huge slices of our manufacturing economy to China for its cheap labor.

Both U.S. political parties have chosen a militant path without an exit strategy-one that must please Lockheed Martin and the rest of the military-industrial complex.

What is the White House and the Department of Commerce thinking? China is not Venezuela nor is it Russia, a weak and dependent economy with a GDP smaller than Italy. Do these brazen Bidenites realize the consequences of a grand list of technologies and knowhow being barred from China?

As the dominant imperial world power, the U.S. is struggling to understand how to deal with an aggressive rising power like China building spheres of influence around the world through exports, loans, development contracts, and technical assistance. It's okay that we have military bases in over 100 countries whose leaders know the U.S. as the premier overthrower of elected governments with policies displeasing to Washington and Wall Street.

As a result, the Bidenites are unleashing export controls, arrived at through administrative secrecy, that will surely invite black markets, high-tech smuggling, and retaliation to make these controls a nightmare to enforce.

Provoking China to play its own cards is not smart. China, thanks to the greed of coddled and subsidized U.S. drug companies, produce much of our pharmaceuticals. These companies have left America, for example, with no production domestically of antibiotics-certainly a national security priority!

China possesses "rare earth" minerals and produces technology crucial to our own defense and high-tech industries. Its government allows U.S. factories to be built in China on the condition of a flow of latest "technology transfers." Ask General Motors. How are export controls-based on asserted national security grounds-going to work, other than to accelerate a new arms race? "We need to retain technological overmatch" declared Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, adding that export controls "are at the red hot center of how we best protect our democracies." Tell that to the mass victims of the next round of viruses from China due to our minuscule weak public health programs and early detection systems, while we spend more than 2 ½ times as much as China on our military budget having had a huge head start in past years.

The New York Times reports that U.S. officials also don't like China's deep surveillance of its people. It is as if surveillance capitalism (See, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Professor Shoshana Zuboff) and the NSA's dragnet violations of the 4th amendment are chump change.

China is already in the front ranks of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and quantum computing. To declare a cold war on China's access to technology, as a Commerce Department official said, "that advance the country's scientific advancement" including on foreign companies that use some U.S. products, is ludicrous. Aren't they aware of the traditional open exchange between scientists all over the world, not to mention China's own allies or collaborators in this regard?

What is also well known, but not uppermost in people's minds, is that China, Russia, and the U.S. have embedded malware in each other's cyber worlds that if triggered could cause catastrophe. The concern about China's tens of billions of dollars invested in U.S. Treasury bonds should also be an issue for Mr. Biden.

Another calculation underweighted is the quiet opposition to export controls by U.S. companies that salivate over the present and future profits with Chinese trade-Apple CEO Tim Cook (who, by the way, makes $833 a minute on a 40-hour week) got a special waiver treatment from Trump, continued by Biden, for importing tens of billions of dollars annually of iPhones and computers from its Chinese contractors without tariffs.

This is another way of noting that export controls invite both raw corruption and special lobbying for waivers. They were tried by the U.S. against the old USSR, which developed elaborate circumventions.

So here we go again. Of course, certain lethal products need to be embargoed by all countries protective of their people. The U.S is expanding its so-called "entity list" cutting off hundreds of foreign companies and groups from certain U.S. technologies unless U.S. suppliers get licenses to sell goods to them. Don't these government officials know that blacklisted companies can mutate through other corporations chartered in tax havens or dictatorships abroad?

U.S. belligerence will be met with more Chinese belligerence and vice versa as the perils and risk increase.

William Hartung (See, Center for International Policy) points out-a far brighter future would come from intense U.S. and China cooperation on the climate crises, averting pandemics, ocean preservation, and international arms accords including cybersecurity. Wage peace and pursue mutual self-interest as if our children and grandchildren matter.

Where is our Department of Peace, once advanced by Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), when we need it?

Relations between major nations are shaped by momentum in one direction or another. Both U.S. political parties have chosen a militant path without an exit strategy-one that must please Lockheed Martin and the rest of the military-industrial complex.

The forces for muscular peace and cooperation must show there is an alternative path to secure the common interests of the two nations. That's called robust diplomacy in this era of recurring pandemics, expanding ransomware, bloated military budgets, and interconnected economies.

(c) 2022 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super -Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

If Republicans Didn't Throw Trump Under The Bus, Why Would Dems Dump Biden?
The rest of us should be angry that their rights can be arbitrarily taken: We should also be concerned.
By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Our story so far . . .

The Extreme Court just gutted reproductive rights, shredded a New York law that helped keep guns out of public spaces for more than a century and crippled the Environmental Protection Agency in the face of a global climate crisis.

Georgia may soon send to the Senate former football star Herschel Walker, last seen claiming the Green New Deal would make America's "good air decide to float over to China's bad air." Amazingly, he would not be the dumbest Republican in Congress.

Many observers fear, as election deniers run to become election officials all over the country, that 2024 could be the last time Americans cast a meaningful ballot. Fascism is on our doorstep.

So does it matter that Joe Biden is old?

The realization seems to have struck Democrats all at once that the president, born Nov. 20, 1942, is no spring chicken. If elected to a second term, which he seems intent on seeking, he would be 86 years old when he left office. The famously ancient Ronald Reagan, by comparison, was a mere child of 77 when his White House years came to an end.

In recent days, the president's age - and concern over his subterranean poll numbers - have fueled debate among the party faithful on the feasibility and desirability of another term. The New York Times has not been laggard in reporting on it. "Should Biden Run in 2024?" asked one headline. "At 79, Biden is Testing the Boundaries of Age and the Presidency," declared another. A Monday story was headlined, "Most Democrats Don't Want Biden in 2024, New Poll Shows." A Tuesday opinion column by Michelle Goldberg made it explicit: "Joe Biden Is Too Old To Be President Again."

It is worth noting that Biden was elected for one reason above all: to not be Donald Trump. In that, he has succeeded. Decency, predictability, stability and maturity have all returned to the White House after a four-year exile.

None of which, unfortunately, puts gas in your tank or baby formula on your shelves. And Biden has had the profound misfortune of reaching office only to find, hemmed in by the usual Republican obstructionism and kneecapped by the mulish intransigence of putative Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, that there is little he can do with it. Nor is it at all clear that things would be different if he were 40 years younger.

Not to deny Biden's failings or to dismiss concern over his advanced years. Certainly there would be, in normal times, plenty of room to argue both.

But the point is, these are not normal times. And if, as the saying goes, you don't change horses in the middle of a stream, you sure as heck shouldn't do it in the middle of a tsunami.

On Monday, Stuart Stevens, a veteran Republican operative, took to Twitter begging Democrats to understand this.

"As a former R. consultant," he wrote, "I bear responsibility for the democracy eating monster the party became, so I get Dems don't want to hear this from me. But I'd plead with Dems to rally around [President Biden]. He's your guy. You're going to win with him or lose with him. Make the choice to win."

It is advice Republicans would never need to hear and Democrats can't hear often enough. If we are lucky, there will again come a time when we can afford to argue whether a president is too old or his poll numbers too low. But this is not it. Democracy is under mortal threat.

And you don't hold a debate in a burning house.

(c) 2022 Leonard Pitts Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004. He is the author of the novel, Before I Forget. His column runs every Sunday and Wednesday in the Miami Herald. Forward From This Moment, a collection of his columns, was published in 2009.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference about the mass shooting at Uvalde High School on May 27, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.

It's Not Just Trump: The Whole GOP Has Embraced His Craziness
The GOP as a whole has mutated from a conservative party with some extremist factions to effectively proclaiming itself the Party of Extremism.
By Jim Hightower

In the 1990s, the sharp-witted Texan and renowned progressive writer Molly Ivins regaled (and appalled) readers with her reports on the tragicomic awfulness of George W. Bush's two terms as the Lone Star State's governor. His tenure was notable for his deep ignorance, frat-boy arrogance and flagrant servility to corporate interests. But those very qualities made America's moneyed powers decide that-Wow!-wouldn't he make a dandy president? Molly warned the general public about the folly of that choice, but in the 2000 race, W's patrons stuffed him with money, buffed him up with a glossy coat of PR Shinola, pulled off a flagrant post-election political heist in Florida ... and squeegeed him, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and that whole regime of horrors into office.

Many Americans soon began expressing astonishment at how shallow, imperious, and dangerous Bush & Co. were proving to be, leading Molly to say with a heavy sigh: "Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention."

Don't look now, but another Texas gubernatorial goober, named Greg Abbott, is coming at you, insisting that he should be your next president. Sadly, Molly is gone, but I knew her well enough that I think I can speak for her on this matter of national import: "Oh, hell no!"

Excuse the redundancy here, but right-wing extremism has become extremely extreme, and Abbott is vying to be the "extremiest" of all. A clue to his loopiness is his vituperative anti-abortion absolutism, forcing victims of rape to give birth to their rapists' spawn. Not a problem, proclaimed Abbott, for he's the Lone Star Wizard. He declared that he intends to go out and arrest all rapists-get this- before they rape anyone!

Abbott, a governor with no talent for governing, has run up a record noted for spectacular program failures, corporate bootlicking, widening inequality, corruption, political buffoonery... and so awful much more. If that's your idea of a president, there he is.

Perhaps you remember Sen. Barry Goldwater, the GOP's fringy, far-right-wing 1964 presidential nominee who famously said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Today, however, the core of the Republican Party has gone so far beyond the fringe that they would boo Goldwater's right-wingism as insufficiently rabid. Instead, their new rallying cry is: "Nuttiness in the defense of extremism is no vice."

The GOP as a whole has mutated from a conservative party with some extremist factions to effectively proclaiming itself the Party of Extremism. Its mainline officialdom (governors, congressional leaders, state reps, judges, party chairs, et al.) are no longer just winking at such antidemocratic, far-right groups as neo-Confederates, paranoid "replacement" theorists, secessionists and QAnon cultists-they are openly embracing the crazy. Hoping to enlist the raw political fervor of dogmatic rightists, local, state and national Republican establishments are mainstreaming the extreme: Parroting many of those groups' wilder claims, adopting their code words and endorsing their adherents for elected and appointed offices. And, of course, all of this fanatical horsepower is quietly being hitched to the party's true purpose of entrenching the supremacy of corporate and moneyed elites.

Now, this extremism is about to erupt in the GOP's presidential primary, for a whole covey of these cooing right-wingers have fantasies of taking the groups' radical agenda to the White House. All of them are trying to out-extreme each other with raw meat bigotry and autocratic posturing, but two wannabes have emerged as both the most bullish and bullying: Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida.

For months, these big state governors have been locked in a far-right kook-off including outlawing free speech, banning books, viciously attacking immigrants, preempting local elections and governments and denying health care to poor people. Bear in mind that Abbott and DeSantis are not merely pontificating, posturing, and promising what they might do in the White House; as governors they're actually practicing it right now!

I don't know if Abbott and DeSantis are the worst that the GOP will try to put in the Oval Office in 2024, but please pay attention now, for today's Republican elites intend to pull our democracy down into the plutocratic, autocratic and theocratic maelstrom they are creating.

(c) 2022 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

A human rights activist holds a sign protesting Saudi Arabia during an event to rename the street outside
the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Jamal Khashoggi Way on June 15, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Saudi Arabia Is Using Biden's Visit And Sports-Based PR To Hide Its Crimes
By William Rivers Pitt

A little after 9:00 pm Eastern tonight, President Biden will board Air Force One for a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia. "When I meet with Saudi leaders on Friday," Biden wrote in a Saturday editorial for The Washington Post, "my aim will be to strengthen a strategic partnership going forward that's based on mutual interests and responsibilities, while also holding true to fundamental American values."

Wince. It is impossible for a U.S. president to avoid sounding morally constipated whenever the topic of the Kingdom comes up. Saudi Arabia's human rights record is altogether hideous and has been for decades. Osama bin Laden was from Saudi Arabia, 15 of the 19 hijackers that day were Saudi citizens, and those hijackers had ties to Saudi officials - yet the U.S. "decided that Saudi Arabia, its strategic partner in the Middle East, had no role in the attacks," CNN reported in 2021. There is also Saudi Arabia's horrific war in Yemen, which was significantly supported by the U.S. The gruesome murder and dismemberment of journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi remains unresolved, but our own intelligence community agrees it was a hit ordered by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Biden will be shaking his hand in three days.

Why is Biden going? Oil and war weapons, of course. Saudi Arabia is a top weapons sales client of the U.S., and the "pariah" status Biden wanted to saddle the Kingdom with did not sit well with the lobbyists, not to mention the bomb industries they represent. There is also politics in this trip: The country and the world are teetering on the edge of recession, and the president has decided to forego a number of Saudi-related campaign promises in order to pull as many levers as possible to knock the price of gasoline down before the midterm elections turn into a Republican rout. It probably won't work.

"The president has justified his trip as a necessary move to promote stability in the Middle East and to deter Russian and Chinese aggression," writes Post publisher Fred Ryan. "But the president should know meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, as he is known, will give the Saudi leader exactly what three years of Saudi PR campaigns, lobbying expenses, and even a new golf league have not: a return to respectability. This undeserved absolution will, in turn, only undermine the foreign-policy goals Biden hopes to achieve."

Ah, yes. Golf. We've heard of greenwashing and pinkwashing - sneaky advertising tricks to disguise the activities of polluters and LGBTQ haters - but Saudi Arabia is the first country I've heard of to deploy golfwashing as a means of rehabilitating its reputation. If you don't follow the game, you probably haven't heard about the LIV scandal, but it's been a hyper-controversial nine-days wonder in the rarefied atmosphere of professional golf. Reputations have been ruined, friendships have been destroyed, and Tiger Woods turned down a near-billion-dollar offer to participate. As he is already a billionaire, he can do that shit. Heady stuff indeed.

"Golf is a good walk spoiled." Mark Twain is generally but inaccurately credited with coining that line - Twain died 38 years before the quip appeared in print - but whoever did say it was more right than they knew. The game's most revered clubs have served as citadels for establishment racism and sexism. The average course in the U.S. uses more than 300,000 gallons of water a day according to Audubon International, and courses in desert climates can go through a million gallons a day maintaining golf's required and environmentally harmful monoculture ecosystem. That system also requires massive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and all of this takes place over about 150 acres of land that some might argue would be better used for affordable housing or public green space. At present, there are more than 9,000 operating golf courses and country clubs in the U.S. alone, many of them exclusive members-only establishments.

It should go with saying that golf for the most part is a game aimed at the rich, involving exorbitant green fees to get on the course in the first place, an unwieldy and expensive bag of clubs, (plastic) spiked shoes, and the cost of a golf cart if you want to spoil the walk from the jump. Golf for the most part is a throwback, a far less dangerous cousin to thoroughbred horse racing and heavyweight boxing, a post-WWII-era venue for poor folks to watch "the elite" do their thing.

What, you may be asking, does this all have to do with Saudi Arabia?

When Saudi Arabia - in its quest to rehabilitate its gruesome reputation - recently announced the formation of LIV Golf as a competitor to the PGA Tour (the main organizer of men's professional golf tours in the U.S.), a civil war of sorts erupted. The main impetus provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was money: Its leaders were throwing hundreds of millions of dollars in prize money into every tournament, so you get a check even if you come in 24th place. The PGA does not do this.

Big names like Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson jumped on board, each making unbelievably embarrassing excuses for Saudi Arabia's wretched global activities. "These LIV golfers know the Saudis butchered Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi," writes Rick Reilly for the Post. "They know the Saudis jail dissenters, criminalize homosexuality and oppress women. And in response, the players have sent a message loud and clear: We don't care. We want bigger jets."

Make no mistake: The PGA is not staffed by saints. The institution itself has long been a bastion of racist and sexist ideologies, as Lex Pryor eloquently explains: "If golf is to transform, it must first face the inescapable and foundational truth that while it has meant many things over the years - money, power, leisure - it has above all meant whiteness." Adding insult to insult, spectators at Tour events can expect to pay $18 for a beer.

Now, thanks to LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia, the game stands on the cusp of representing the indefensible obfuscation of butchery and terrorism, and all in the name of more money, please. Golf was never perfect and already has quite a bit to answer for, but the road to that redemption does not pass through the Saudi palace. President Biden is about to find that out the hard way.

(c) 2022 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Former US President Donald Trump appears onscreen during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee
to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, D.C, on June 28.

Trump Was The 'Central Figure' Who Set The Coup In Motion
When Jamie Raskin says that Tuesday's hearing will reveal evidence of wrongdoing by Trump that "cannot really be compared to anything else a president has done," trust him.
By John Nichols

The January 6 hearings began with an assertion by committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) that Donald Trump was at the center of a conspiracy to implement a coup. The seventh hearing of the US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, on Tuesday, has been organized with an eye toward confirming that assertion with devastating clarity. In particular, it will provide details about the former president's participation in a December 18, 2020, White House meeting with what committee member Jamie Raskin has described as a "group of lawyers, of outside lawyers who have been denominated 'Team Crazy' by people in and around the White House." At the meeting, which involved Sydney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Michael Flynn, among others, Trump's most extreme associates plotted to overturn the will of the people. They discussed moves that are often associated with coups, such as the seizure of voting machines from states where Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

Then, said Raskin, Donald Trump confirmed his role as "the central figure who set everything into motion," with a tweet that called his supporters to Washington for what would become the January 6 insurrection.

In the days and weeks before he sent that tweet, Raskin explained, Trump was growing increasingly desperate as his options for holding onto the presidency were narrowed by court rulings, the refusals of Republicans in key states to embrace his outlandish claims, and the mid-December decision by the Electoral College that Biden had won 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232. Raskin, who led the second impeachment trial of the 45th president and who is expected to lead Tuesday's session, said that in the middle of the night on December 19, shortly after the December 18 meeting ended, "Donald Trump sent out the tweet that would be heard around the world. The first time in American history when a president of the United States called a protest against his own government, in fact, to try to stop the counting of Electoral College votes in a presidential election he had lost."

The timeline that Raskin described draws a clear line from Trump's rage at his defeat to his determination to reverse it.

That's critical to the trajectory of the hearings, which have already exceeded expectations when it comes to revealing Trump's failure to respond to the deadly coup attempt as it was underway on January 6. Now, "Trump's treason" in the days and weeks prior to the attack on the US Capitol will be highlighted with what should be sufficient detail to damn him in the eyes of all but the most delusional Americans.

Raskin knows just how to make this case-in the moment, and for posterity.

A distinguished law professor and author before his election to the House, Raskin knows more about the constitutional conflicts that have defined American history than any member of Congress. So when he says that Tuesday's hearing will reveal evidence of wrongdoing by Donald Trump that "cannot really be compared to anything else a president has done," trust him.

Raskin explained over the weekend that Trump's attempted coup involved far more serious conspiratorial activity than the scheming that ultimately forced former President Richard Nixon from office. "It makes the Watergate break-in look like the work of Cub Scouts." As with the Watergate inquiry, the current investigation will feature testimony from a former White House counsel. Though Trump's lawyer, Pat Cipollone, may not be as willing a witness as was Nixon lawyer John Dean, the evidence he provides is likely to be just as devastating. Cipollone met with the committee Friday after a number of hearings in which witnesses described Trump's lawlessness and his madness. After the lawyer's eight-hour deposition, US Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who sits on the committee, said that that Cipollone's account "did not contradict the testimony of other witnesses."

That's a big deal, as the testimony in question was catastrophic for Trump.

Of potentially equal consequence was the sudden decision over the weekend of former White House adviser Steve Bannon to reverse his previous refusal to testify-even if a Bannon committee appearance would in all likelihood be as chaotic as it is weird and troublesome.

The pieces are falling in place. And they are making a case that Trump was, and is, a dangerous authoritarian who needs to be held to account, both legally and in the court of public opinion.

Trump is regularly described as the worst president in American history-even more foul than 19th-century reprobates such as Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson-and his efforts to cling to the presidency after his November 2020 defeat are justifiably understood by members of the January 6 committee as an attempted coup. Yet, because of the political cacophony that Trump and his Republican associates have created over the past seven years, even Americans who disapprove of the former president can become so distracted by the circus that they lose sight of the crisis.

We've all heard the Democratic Party stalwarts and cable TV pundits who complain that, no matter what the hearings reveal, the 2022 midterm elections will be decided by voters who are primarily worried about inflation, the prospect of a recession, and perhaps even a serious resurgence of the coronavirus. Those issues matter a great deal, and it is good to remember that the Watergate controversy played out against a backdrop of economic turbulence that did Nixon's approval ratings considerable harm. But Raskin is right when he says that Trump is in a league of his own when it comes to presidential abuses of office. Tuesday's hearing will establish the link between Trump's antidemocratic ambitions and the coup plotting that will ultimately mark him as a traitor to his oath "to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

(c) 2022 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Do We Reincarnate From Past Lives?
By James Donahue

Over the years I have entertained strange dreams that were so vivid that I had the distinct impression that I was living in two different planes of existence. I don't smoke, but I had a series of dreams in which I was trying to break a smoking habit, but secretly carrying a pack of cigarettes in my pocket.

In yet another vivid dream I boarded a vintage single-engine bi-plane. Once someone turned the propeller to get the motor running, I flew the plane, surprised that I knew what I was doing. I have never flown an aircraft and never had a flying lesson.

Where did these memories come from?

I have always loved the water and in my youth gave careful consideration to spending a life as a ship's master. I even went so far as to join the Merchant Marines and try to get a job on a Great Lakes freighter. There was a recession that year and after spending a few weeks sitting among veteran sailors in a Detroit union hall, I gave up, took a land job and went back to college in the fall. I never lost my interest in ships, I have written extensively about them, and was always the reporter that was an invited guest aboard the Coast Guard vessels operating on the Great Lakes.

It struck me that I might have been a sailor in a past life.

A nephew on my wife's side sat down at a piano as a young lad and began playing as if he were an accomplished musician. Yet he never had a music lesson. Where did he acquire this skill? He has been playing music by ear in his home ever since.

There is a well-documented story about a Louisiana boy, James Leininger, who has had dreams and vivid memories of dying in a burning Corsair fighter after being shot down by a Japanese zero during World War II. He even remembered his name, James Houston and the name of his carrier, the Natoma. A pilot by that name was killed when his Corsair was shot down in 1945. He flew from a carrier named the Natoma Bay.

These are but a few of the things we have noticed over the years that seem to support the belief by some in the reincarnation of souls from lifetime to lifetime. There appears to be some fragment of memory of former lives that attaches itself to newborn babies, giving them memory of lives lived in the past.

Now new research with mice at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta has shown that information appears to be inherited biologically in the DNA passed from the mother to the newborn. For instance, the mice pass on learned information about fearful and stressful situations that were endured by the parent.

If the same memories are linked to human DNA, it might explain why some children grow up with a fear of heights, of flying, water or being in confined rooms. In most cases this is not behavior learned by personal experiences confronting the child.

Researchers have recently been studying a strange memory-type of phenomenon that occurs among people who have received heart, liver, kidney or other type of organ transplant. Recipients of transplanted organs sometimes report personality changes, changes in musical preference, and even changes in the foods they like. The DNA of the new body part appears to sometimes introduce these changes.

In my own case, the vivid dreams of flying and failing to give up a smoking habit came upon me shortly after I received several pints of blood after suffering a bleeding ulcer.

The question then: are these strange memories being brought to us from someone else's DNA after it joins with our own, or is It proof of reincarnation from a previous life?

(c) 2022 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

If Democrats Didn't Suck
By David Swanson

If Democrats threw out the filibuster today and rapidly passed legislation over the next 8 months as if they gave a damn - as if they were, oh, I don't know, the Supreme Court - and if they put just what they're increasing the military budget by into their Build Back Better bill, if they put through with majority votes just those items they were elected on that are favored by significant majorities in the country, they'd have done enough by 6 months from now to not lose those elections. And if they kept going, they'd need never lose an election again. The whole premise of keeping the filibuster around to restrain the Republicans is the plan to go on sucking badly for 6 more months in order to lose - combined with the delusion that Republicans are going to be restrained by something that THEY can and will choose to throw out. The Republicans will certainly plan on never losing an election again. Any elections they can't win or rig, they can ask the Supreme Court to fix up for them - and hire Al Gore to explain to us that we should sit back and take it.

If the Democrats were not fundamentally committed to sucking, here's what they might do:

1) abolish Congressional vacations for the next 8 months

2) abolish the filibuster

3) abolish student debt

4) make college free

5) tax billionaires

6) tax quasi-billionaires

7) tax corporations

8) de-fund nuclear weapons

9) pass a major Green New Deal

10) close foreign military bases

11) create enhanced and public Medicare for All

12) restore the minimum wage

13) strip the Supreme Court of major powers assumed by it

14) expand the Supreme Court and fill it with ideal justices just out of law school

15) ban war weapons from individuals

16) ban war weapons from police

17) legislate a universal right to 18th century muskets for members of the National Guard, with no further gun rights for anyone

18) legislate abortion rights

19) ban school prayer

20) ban school sports prayer

21) ban Congressional prayer

22) legislate card-check organizing and ban "right to work" laws

23) legislate paid sick and family leave

24) legislate the inalienable right to vote for all U.S. residents over 16

25) create universal preschool

26) create a decent system of trains

27) create public financing of election campaigns

28) make the test for citizenship possession of a pulse

29) rip down borders

30) abolish weapons sales to foreign governments

31) quadruple non-strings non-military actual humanitarian foreign aid

32) create a department of unarmed nonviolent civil defense

33) ban fracking

34) give back Oklahoma again

35) tax offshoring

36) remove the cap on Social Security taxes and expand Social Security

37) abolish the federal death penalty

38) Decriminalize marijuana

39) Eliminate cash bail and mandatory minimums

40) Ban armed drones, mass surveillance, telemarketing, and Congress Members owning stock

41) Break up high-tech monopolies

42) Make DC and Puerto Rico states

43) Convene hearings at which to hear and learn from nations that handled COVID well

44) Announce a schedule of impeachments of horrendous abusers of power currently and formerly holding high offices in government, including in Congress and on the Supreme Court

45) End the war on Yemen

Do one of those a day for the next 45 days and you're at mid-August. Then keep going. Make clear that you intend to keep going. Make clear that you've decided to copy from Republicans their willingness to act rather than their funders and policies. And then explain to me how the Democrats are doomed to lose the next elections and so had better keep the filibuster in place and rely on Joe Biden vetoes to save the world, as if Biden ever saw something horrible he would veto, as if Biden wouldn't make a key bipartisan principle out of not vetoing, as if the world could survive simply by slowing the destruction rather than implementing the radical changes required, even if Biden would lift a finger to slow it.

(c) 2022 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

The world can't afford to keep building fossil fuel infrastructure and subsidizing the most profitable industry in history.

Despite Record Profits And Prices, Oil Industry Greed Is A Bottomless Pit
By David Suzuki

Canada offers some of the world's most generous support for the fossil fuel industry, but industry executives want more.

Even as they amass record profits, they've asked government to pay 75 per cent of the billions for carbon capture facilities that would potentially keep some CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. (Pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and ammonia would still be emitted, increasing health impacts and costs.)

The federal government has announced a tax credit of around 50 to 60 per cent of carbon capture project costs, as well as allowing companies to generate Clean Fuel Standard credits they can sell. Industry representatives estimate zeroing out carbon emissions, mostly through carbon capture, could cost up to C$75 billion.

Critics say the combined tax and clean fuel credit is "double counting."

"There is no rational way anyone should get a credit for the Clean Fuel Standard, and a 50 per cent tax credit, along with being able to write it off on the royalties, at a time when oil companies are making more money than God," Greenpeace Canada's Keith Stewart told the Times Colonist.

There's a better way to keep not just operating emissions but also emissions from burning fossil fuels out of the atmosphere: stop using coal, oil and gas! Industry executives tout carbon capture, which hasn't worked that well so far, as proof they're reducing greenhouse gases. But they fail to account for the far greater source of polluting, climate-altering emissions: burning their products as intended. In many cases, carbon capture is used as an excuse to continue extracting - and burning - more fossil fuels.

That doesn't mean carbon capture, utilization and storage shouldn't be pursued as one avenue to reducing emissions. But industry should be required to develop and pay for it - as well as for plugging methane-emitting orphaned and abandoned wells.

Canada now has only three large carbon capture facilities, two in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan - all built with considerable amounts of public money. And they're not making a huge dent in overall emissions.

According to a Narwhal investigation, Saskatchewan's $1.5 billion Boundary Dam project - $240 million from the federal government and the rest from Crown corporation SaskPower - has captured just four megatonnes of CO2 since coming online in 2014, far short of its goal of capturing one megatonne per year. The captured carbon is also used for "enhanced oil recovery" - pumped into depleted wells to force more oil to the surface.

In Alberta, Shell's Quest project was supposed to capture 1.2 megatonnes a year but, as the Narwhal points out, "when the carbon it releases is taken into account, Quest eliminates between 736,000 tonnes and 897,000 tonnes each year in net reductions."

Canada's oil and gas industry contributed 191 megatonnes of emissions in 2019 - 26.2 per cent of the country's total - and wants to continue expanding. Extracting and processing oil and gas is Canada's single largest and fastest-growing source of emissions overall. Again, that doesn't include the far greater emissions from burning the fuels.

Carbon capture can be useful in other industries, such as cement, steel and fertilizer production, so there's a case for pursuing the technology, even as we wind down fossil fuels.

But when oil executives boast about their enormous profits (BP chief financial officer Murray Auchincloss said, "we're getting more cash than we know what to do with"), while people pay higher prices for gas and everything delivered by gas-fuelled vehicles, it's appalling that they're going to governments with their hands out for more tax dollars.

It's especially galling considering they've known for decades that their products are polluting air, water and land and driving the climate crisis, but they've continued to downplay and deny the problems while expanding, hoarding trillions of dollars and enriching shareholders. Instead of giving them more, governments should be taxing their windfall profits, as many European countries are doing. Organizations calling for a windfall tax say revenue should be redirected to communities and families most affected by rising prices, and to support workers and communities through a "just transition."

The science is clear: The world can't afford to keep building fossil fuel infrastructure and subsidizing the most profitable industry in history. Investments must shift quickly to more efficient and cleaner energy use and sources.

(c) 2022 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Trump advisor steve bannon goes to court to contest contempt charges

The Jan. 6 Committee Can't Let Steve Bannon Bring The Circus (Back) To Town
Invite a clown, expect a clownshow.
By Charles P. Pierce

Were I running the House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021, and I wanted testimony from the likes of Steve Bannon or Stewart Rhodes, I would insist it be taken on videotape, preferably recorded in the old jail cells in the basement of the Capitol.

The possibility that Bannon-and Oath Keeper Rhodes-would testify lit up the news over the weekend. But the idea that either one would be allowed a public platform is sheer lunacy. Either they would demolish the great sense of dignity that has lent the committee's proceedings so much gravitas and credibility thus far, or they would concoct some wild, ruthless scheme that would blunt the momentum built up assiduously by the committee throughout the past several months. The circus most definitely need not come to town at this point.

And, significantly, this sudden change of heart from Bannon comes just as his trial for criminal contempt of Congress is about to begin. (Jury selection for that exercise is scheduled for next week.) This happy coincidence did not escape the notice of the Department of Justice, which filed a motion to exclude Bannon's sudden change of heart from evidence in that trial on the grounds that it's all self-serving moonshine.

The defendant's last minute efforts to testify, almost nine months after his default - he has still made no effort to produce records - are irrelevant to whether he willfully refused to comply in October 2021 with the select committee's subpoena. Any evidence or argument relating to his eleventh-hour efforts should, therefore, be excluded at trial...The defendant's purported desire to testify now does not erase his past contempt.
Bannon is sui generis among the denizens of Camp Runamok. His delusions are shot through with a more elevated form of grandeur. The previous administration*, and the campaign that put it in office, was staffed by cowards, opportunists, authoritarians, and simpletons. But Bannon was the one who gave the effort its messianic vision. Allowing him a public platform is simply asking for more trouble than he is worth, which never was very much. As the motion puts it:
The evidence's lack of probative value and, instead, propensity to result in confusion and a waste of time on collateral issues in violation of Federal Rule of Evidence 403, is clear when considering the circumstances of the Defendant's sudden efforts to cooperate. First, the Defendant apparently has not told the Committee he wishes to provide documents responsive to the subpoena, Instead, his continued failure to comply with the subpoena's document demand while claiming he now will testify suggests his actions are little more than an attempt to change the optics of his contempt on the eve of trial, not an actual effort at compliance. Second, the Defendant's timing suggests that the only thing that has really changed since he refused to comply with the subpoena in October 2021 is that he is finally about to face the consequences of his decision to default.
So far, the committee's great strength has been its judicious presentation of factual evidence, almost all of it from Republican witnesses of various degrees of reluctance. It also is exactly the kind of thing that Steve Bannon loves to wreck for the sake of wrecking things. He doesn't need help building the hammer with which to do his damage.

(c) 2022 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote -

"The basic issue of an American society which is fair, which is providing opportunity for all, is nowadays being replaced by the correct perception that we're living in a rigged economy - where it doesn't matter how hard you worked, the result will be all the income goes to the people at the very top. It's leading to a lot of frustration and anger, and people want some fundamental changes to the way we do economics and growth."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

A Yemeni girl walks over the rubble of a building destroyed in an airstrike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa on July 7, 2019.

As Biden Visits Saudi Arabia, GAO Report Spotlights Deadly US Role In Yemen Disaster
The GAO reports the mind-boggling statistic that the United States Department of Defense has administered $54.6 billion in aid to Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the Yemen War.
By Juan Cole

President Biden is on the cusp of going off to Saudi Arabia as one part of his upcoming Middle East trip. One of the failures of Mr. Biden has been completely disengaging the US from the Saudi-led war on Yemen, which he had pledged to do. Although there has been a successful two-month ceasefire, the war could flare back up at any time. The Biden administration has vowed only to provide the Saudis with "defensive" weaponry, but there is no firm definition for such things in the US legal code.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a new report on the role of US-provided weaponry in civilian deaths in the Yemen War, many of them the result of war crimes.

Since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and their allies launched a war on Yemen in 2015, some quarter of a million people have been killed (most by disease and hunger caused by the war), and half the population has been made food insecure. Of those killed in air strikes, about 17,000 are known to have been civilian non-combatants, according to the UN. In late January of this year alone, Saudi and UAE fighter-jets, supplied by the U.S., hit three primarily civilian sites, including a hospital and a Houthi a telecommunications corporation. The strikes killed 80 civilians and caused 156 injuries. And that was just one two-week period.

DW reported on one of these January air strikes:

The GAO reports the mind-boggling statistic that the United States Department of Defense has administered $54.6 billion in aid to Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the Yemen War. Somebody should be fired for that right there.

First of all Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are fabulously wealthy oil states and do not need any aid from the US.

Second of all, the aid was in furtherance of a horrible, illegal war, in which the US should never have been involved.

Any aid that involved the transfer of US weapons to the two countries was actually corporate welfare, intended to throw government money to American arms corporations. The bulk of US aid to the Egyptian military junta takes this form- Egyptians never see it, except in the form of Apache helicopters in Egyptian military warehouses.

Although the GAO notes that the US military provided targeting and strategic advice to the Saudis during the war, it neglects to say that where the US advised against hitting targets that would cause severe civilian crises, including bridges and ports, the Saudis often disregarded this advice. The US officer corps in Saudi Arabia grew so annoyed by this behavior that they leaked it anonymously to the Washington Post, to little avail.

One major takeaway of the GAO report is that although according to the US law the Saudis, e.g., are not supposed to use American weaponry to kill or harm civilian non-combatants, whether intentionally or through reckless disregard for civilian life, the State Department has not undertaken any serious study of the way the Saudi-led coalition has deployed those weapons. The GAO writes, "State submitted an initial certification in 2018 that the Saudi and Emirati governments had made efforts to reduce harm to civilians in Yemen, but did not submit two subsequent, required certifications. Although State's initial certification was complete, its supporting documentation-not required by law-did not address all elements required in the certification."

What? State hasn't even bothered to track the US weapons' impact! The GAO says that the Department of Defense has undertaken and published such reports on Yemen. They say that the DoD maintains that the Saudis and UAE have made efforts toward reducing the harm of the war to civilians, which is patently untrue.

The Saudis and UAE launched an air war on the Helpers of God or Houthis in the spring of 2015. The Houthis, a guerrilla movement of a section of militants drawn from the Zaydi Shiit branch of Islam, had taken over the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in September, 2014, and were gradually extending their rule over north Yemen. The Saudis coded the Houthis as proxies of Iran, which is not entirely accurate. They have received some Iranian aid, but the Houthis are primarily a homegrown, nationalist Yemeni movement and there is no command and control structure in common between them and Iran. It was the "Iran proxy war" allegation that convinced the US to provide military aid to the vicious campaign of brutal and extensive bombing conducted by the Saudis, the UAE and others.

There have been bipartisan congressional resolutions demanding that the US dissociate itself from the Yemen War, but they were vetoed by President Trump.

(c) 2022 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

'The working class used to be the bedrock of the Democratic party. What happened?'

The Republican Party Is Terrible. So Why May Democrats Lose To Them This Year?
Some commentators think Democrats have moved too far to the left - too far from the so-called 'center'. This is utter rubbish
By Robert Reich

Much of today's Republican party is treacherous and treasonous. So why are Democrats facing midterm elections that, according to most political observers, they're likely to lose?

Having been a loyal Democrat for some 70 years, including a stint as a cabinet secretary, it pains me to say this: the Democratic party has lost its way.

Some commentators think Democrats have moved too far to the left - too far from the so-called "center." This is utter rubbish. Where's the center between democracy and authoritarianism, and why would Democrats want to be there?

Others think Biden hasn't been sufficiently angry or outraged. But what good would that do? After four years of Trump, why would anyone want more anger and outrage?

The real failure of the Democratic party is its loss of the American working class.

As Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg concluded after the 2016 election: "Democrats don't have a 'white working-class' problem. They have a 'working-class problem', which progressives have been reluctant to address honestly or boldly. The fact is that Democrats have lost support with all working-class voters across the electorate."

The working class used to be the bedrock of the Democratic party. What happened?

During the first two years of the Clinton, Obama, and Biden administrations, when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, they scored some important victories for working families: the Affordable Care Act, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example.

But they also allowed the middle class to hollow out and the working class to sink.

Clinton passed free trade agreements without providing millions of blue-collar workers who consequently lost their jobs a means of getting new ones that paid at least as well.

His North American Free Trade Agreement and plan for China to join the World Trade Organization undermined the wages and economic security of manufacturing workers across America, hollowing out vast swaths of the Rust Belt.

Clinton also deregulated Wall Street. This led to the financial crisis of 2008 - in which Obama bailed out the biggest banks and bankers but did nothing for homeowners, many of whom owed more on their homes than their homes were worth.

Obama didn't demand as a condition for the bailout that banks refrain from foreclosing on underwater homeowners. Nor did Obama demand an overhaul of the banking system. Instead, he allowed Wall Street to water down attempts at re-regulation.

Both Clinton and Obama stood by as corporations hammered trade unions. They failed to reform labor laws to allow workers to form unions with a simple up-or-down majority vote, or even to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violated labor protections.

Biden has supported labor law reform but hasn't fought for it, leaving the Protecting the Right to Organize (Pro) Act to die inside his ill-fated Build Back Better Act.

Clinton and Obama allowed antitrust enforcement to ossify, enabling large corporations to grow far larger and major industries to become more concentrated. Biden is trying to revive antitrust enforcement but hasn't made it a centerpiece of his administration.

Both Clinton and Obama depended on big money from corporations and the wealthy. Both turned their backs on campaign finance reform.

Obama was the first presidential nominee since Richard Nixon to reject public financing in his primary and general election campaigns, and he never followed up on his re-election promise to pursue a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United vs FEC, the 2010 supreme court opinion opening the floodgates to big money in politics.

Joe Biden has tried to regain the trust of the working class, but Democratic lawmakers (most obviously and conspicuously, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema) have blocked measures that would have lowered the costs of childcare, eldercare, prescription drugs, healthcare, and education. They've blocked a higher minimum wage and paid family leave.

Yet neither Manchin nor Sinema nor any other Democrat who has failed to support Biden's agenda has suffered any consequences.

Why hasn't Biden done more to rally the working class and build a coalition to grab back power from the emerging oligarchy? Presumably for the same reasons Clinton and Obama didn't: the Democratic party continues to prioritize the votes of "suburban swing voters" who supposedly determine electoral outcomes, and it still depends on money from big corporations and the wealthy.

The most powerful force in American politics today is anti-establishment fury at a rigged system. There is no longer a left or right. There is no longer a moderate "center". The real choice is either Republican authoritarian populism or Democratic progressive populism.

Democrats cannot defeat authoritarian populism without an agenda of radical democratic reform - a pro-democracy, anti-establishment movement. Democrats must stand squarely on the side of working people against oligarchy. They must form a unified coalition of people of all races, genders, and classes to unrig the system.

Trumpism is not the cause of our divided nation. It is the symptom of a rigged system that was already dividing us.

(c) 2022 Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

Is Ron DeSantis Getting Ready To Pull A Jeb Bush?
This scenario isn't just plausible: it's probable. GOP-controlled states are already changing their state laws to allow for it, regardless of how their people vote.
By Thom Hartmann

It appears that Ron DeSantis is getting ready to pull a Jeb Bush: Floridians should get ready.

Jeb, then governor of Florida, famously threw the 2000 election in Florida - with a little help from 5 Republicans on the Supreme Court - to his brother, Texas Governor George W. Bush, who won the election by a mere 537 votes.

Jeb did this through his Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, using voter purges and "spoilage" of Black people's ballots.

For the voter purge, Harris acquired from George W. Bush's Texas a list of all of that state's convicted felons. Like most former slave states, the largest cohort of Texas' citizens are white but the majority of their prisoners - about 2/3rds - are Black or Hispanic.

So, how did Harris and Bush use this Texas felon list - and their own Florida felon list - to purge Black and Hispanic voters off the Florida voting rolls in 2000, and how could DeSantis do the same this year and in 2024?

There's a fascinating detail about the difference in the last names of white people versus Blacks and Hispanics that most folks never even think of. The Bush brothers knew it well, however.

White people draw from a huge variety of nations and languages: Texans and Floridians who are white carry ancestral names that come from dozens of countries - from Russia to Scandinavia, Greece to France, and dozens in between - that all have different languages and thus wildly different last names.

Hispanic people, on the other hand, draw virtually all their names from a single language: Spanish, the tongue spoken by the Conquistadors. The most common in America are Garcia, Rodriguez, Hernandez, Martinez, Lopez, Gonzalez, Perez, Sanchez, Ramirez and Torres: just those ten names account for an estimated 37 million Hispanic Americans.

Similarly, Black people in America disproportionately draw their names from a small pool of southern slave owners and early Presidents who, themselves, were almost entirely English-speaking and of Scotch, Irish and British extraction. The most common Black last names are Williams, Johnson, Smith, Jones, Brown, Jackson, Davis, Thomas, Harris and Robinson, representing some 13 million African Americans.

So, when Bush and Harris wanted to purge mostly Black and Hispanic people from the Florida voter rolls in advance of the 2000 election, they went straight for a felon list, which was disproportionately made of Black and Hispanic names. And George W. Bush was happy to provide one. To make the purge even more effective, the company that Harris hired to compare the Texas felon list with the Florida voter list (on the bizarre assumption that Texas felons were moving to Florida in huge numbers) was instructed to use "loose" comparison of names.

Thus, Texas felon Samuel J. Williams's name on the Texas felon list would have caused every S. Williams, Sam Williams, Samuel Q. Williams, etc., etc. to be flagged as a felon and purged from the Florida voter rolls just in time for the 2000 election.

The well-documented result was that somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 (estimates vary) Black and Hispanic voters were purged from the Florida voting rolls, and thus turned away at the polls on election day.

This produced quite a stink in the days after the election, with Black people across the state, in particular, protesting and the NAACP filing lawsuits against the state. As Jesse Jackson, leading one of the larger protests, noted: "Florida is the Sunshine State. This ballot came out of the bushes."

The purge behind it all, however, was unknown for months until reported on by Greg Palast for the BBC, and even then it wasn't until almost a year later that the enormity of it was uncovered. Even before that was known, though, the LA Times reported that voters complained that "black voters were turned away at the polls because their names were unjustly expunged or missing from voter rolls," and Florida Representative Alcee Hastings protested the count of Florida's 25 electoral votes on January 6th 2001.

Vice President Al Gore gaveled away the objection and declared Bush the winner, something he (and President Jimmy Carter) would later realize was probably not the case.

Even the federal government noticed.

The US Commission on Civil Rights is an "independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency" created by an act of Congress in 1957. Their mission is to study "alleged deprivations of voting rights and alleged discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice."

They conducted an in-depth post-mortem of the 2000 election in Florida, including subpoenaed testimony from both Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Their findings, summarized here, were stark:

* "Black voters were nearly 10 times more likely than nonblack voters to have their ballots rejected."

* "14.4 percent of Florida's black voters cast ballots that were rejected. This compares with approximately 1.6 percent of nonblack Florida voters who did not have their presidential votes counted."

* "Florida's overzealous efforts to purge voters from the rolls, conducted under the guise of an anti-fraud campaign, resulted in the inexcusable and patently unjust removal of disproportionate numbers of African American voters from Florida's voter registration rolls for the November 2000 election."

* "[I]n the state's largest county, Miami-Dade, more than 65 percent of the names on the purge list were African Americans, who represented only 20.4 percent of the population."

* "The purposeful use of erroneous listings to promote the state's purging priorities ... raise important questions of fundamental fairness."

* There was "an extraordinarily high and inexcusable level of disenfranchisement, with a significantly disproportionate impact on African American voters."

Had Jeb not pre-rigged the 2000 election in Florida for his brother, Al Gore would have easily won the state and, thus, the White House. We wouldn't have been lied into the war in Iraq, Medicare wouldn't have become privatized through Bush's "Medicare Advantage" scam, and there wouldn't have been another deficit-busting tax cut for billionaires.

In the years since that election, there have been two major changes in the election landscape, as I detail in The Hidden History of the War on Voting.

The first was the passage of the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which introduced what reporter Greg Palast calls "placebo ballots" into the mix.

Part of the problem Bush/Harris had in 2000 was that when Black and Hispanic people were turned away from the polls because their names had been purged, they knew right then and there that they couldn't vote, even though they'd previously been registered. Pissed off, they showed up in the streets.

Now, because of HAVA, when people show up to vote but aren't on the list, they're given what's called a "provisional ballot" that looks identical to normal ballots, but goes into a different box when it's cast.

In most states provisional ballots are rarely counted; to get yours counted (depending on your state) you typically have to present yourself to an elections office and prove both your identity, your residence, and your previous status as a registered voter, all within a few days of the election. Most people never bother, and don't realize that their vote won't be counted.

The second big change was a 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision in 2018 - written by Sam Alito, quoting BS statistics about voter fraud - that authorized states to purge people from their voting rolls if they'd failed to vote in one single election or had failed to return a postcard or letter the state sent out to verify their address. That letter or card is a particular key to this process, a strategy that goes back to Heritage Foundation's co-founder Paul Weyrich's infamous 1980 "I don't want everybody to vote" rant.

In the first year of the Reagan administration, the RNC began an aggressive program to remove Black people from the voter rolls nationwide.

They did it by sending junk-mail-looking letters into Black neighborhoods asking for address verification, and when the letters weren't returned they'd strip those people from the rolls. This process of isolating "undesirable" voters is called "voter caging."

Republicans got particularly aggressive with their Black voter elimination program in the 2004 election, with Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell running the caging operation to help Bush defeat John Kerry (the election that year turned on Ohio).

It's particularly effective in low-income neighborhoods, where renters tend to move frequently but remain in the same election precinct and so should still legally be able to vote.

As The Washington Post noted on October 29, 2004:

"In 1981, the Republican National Committee sent letters to predominantly black neighborhoods in New Jersey, and when 45,000 letters were returned as undeliverable, the committee compiled a challenge list to remove those voters from the rolls. ...

"In 1986, the RNC tried to have 31,000 voters, most of them black, removed from the rolls in Louisiana when a party mailer was returned. ...

"Undeliverable mail is the basis for this year's challenges in Ohio. Republicans also sent mail to about 130,000 voters in Philadelphia, another heavily black and Democratic stronghold."

Later and more sophisticated versions of voter caging, pioneered by Karl Rove associates, involved not just looking for people who'd moved but sending postcards or letters that looked like junk mail but required a reply via the mail. When those letters or postcards aren't returned, voters are taken off the rolls. (Also, check out my "update" at the very bottom of this post, below the videos.)

Alito's 2018 ruling, the result of a particularly aggressive voter caging program run in the previous years at the instruction of Ohio Governor John Kasich, fully legalized the practice, and the GOP has been using it ever since to hold power in pretty much every state they control.

In just the two years between 2016 and 2018, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, Republicans purged over 17 million Americans from voter rolls nationwide. If anything, the pace has picked up since then.

The last time Brian Kemp faced Stacey Abrams for governor of Georgia he purged 107,000 people off the voting rolls just prior to the election, all of them registered voters who failed to return a caging card. He won by 50,000 votes.

Which brings us back to DeSantis.

Florida and Texas are the only two states where the Secretary of State - the person who runs elections statewide - is appointed by the governor. And Ron DeSantis just appointed a doozy, State Representative Cord Byrd.

Byrd is a Trump-humping election denier eager to do whatever DeSantis wants. The law requires the state senate to confirm him, but DeSantis, apparently wanting to avoid the public hearings that Democrats are demanding, is stalling and apparently plans to let him be an "acting" Secretary of State for years, if necessary.

Byrd's wife is also a hardcore rightwing activist who's been a bit more public about their family's politics; around the time of the January 6th coup attempt, she posted to her Facebook page:

"In the coming civil wars (We the People vs the Radical Left and We the People cleaning up the Republican Party), team rosters are being filled. Every elected official in DC will pick one. There are only 2 teams... With Us [or] Against Us."
Following that, she wrote:
"ANTIFA and BLM can burn and loot buildings and violently attack police and citizens. But when Trump supporters peacefully protest, suddenly ‘Law and Order' is all they can talk about! I can't even listen to these idiots bellyaching about solving our differences without violence."
She then posted her upset that some of her Proud Boy friends had been put in Facebook [FB] Jail:
"Why do you think Facebook is throwing people in FB Jail who share information about Proud Boys? (Side note: I must really have great friends cause a whole bunch have been locked up! 😂) I think it's because they've seen a drastic spike in searches and they are worried that people are educating themselves rather than blindly believing what MSM narrative. Anyone have a better theory?"
Byrd himself was the primary sponsor of Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, as well as co-sponsoring a draconian abortion ban, legislation to ban teachers from discussing race, and legislation aimed at trans people and immigrants.

And now he's in charge of Florida's elections.

Ron DeSantis won his governor's seat with less than a half-percent in the 2018 election. And Democrats this year are hugely cranked up, in no small part because of Alito's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade.

DeSantis' presidential ambitions are on the line in this year's battle against, most likely, former Governor Charlie Crist (the primary is August 23rd).

Will he succumb to the same temptation to rig the election for himself, like Jeb Bush did for his brother George?

As Michael Keaton once said in a movie, "Is a frog's ass watertight?"

(c) 2022 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

The Cartoon Corner -

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

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

All The Shit I've Done And It's Some Chap Feeling An Arse That Brings Me Down
By The Waterford Whispers News

BORIS Johnson is said to be struggling with his retirement speech, expected today around lunchtime, with sources close to the outgoing PM admitting that Johnson is 'baffled' by what passes for a last straw around here these days.

"It's incredible to think that you can preside over a party that broke lockdown rules to have a piss-up the night before the Queen buried her husband and get away with it, but one MP who most people have never heard of grabs a lad by the junk in a nightclub and then boom, you're done," mused Arthur Cromford, a janitor at 10 Downing Street and one of the only people to still be standing by Johnson's side today.

"181,000 Covid bodies 'piled high' and he's fine. Setting fire to Northern Ireland, and he's fine. Pensioners sitting on buses all day to stay warm because they can't afford to heat their homes, food banks inundated with requests for help, Brexit revealed as being a pack of lies, shop shelves empty, billions in dodgy Covid contracts for donor," Cromford added before taking another deep breath.

"Banging everything that moves, trying to give mistresses cushy jobs, can't keep track of how many kids he has... and breezed past all challenges. Chris Pincher gets grabby in a nightclub, and Boris is out. It's like if James Bond reached the end of the movie and then got shot in the head by henchman no. 785. Unbelievable".

Meanwhile the Labour Party are set to capitalise on the chaos from the Tory side by making absolutely no gains in support, no headway in the polls and no significant change to the lives of struggling British people whatsoever.

"With the Tory's on the ropes, it's Keir's time to shine!" beamed Labour leader Keir Starmer, before spending ten minutes trying to push his way through a door marked 'pull'.

(c) 2022 The Waterford Whispers News


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 27 (c) 07/15/2022

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