Please visit our sponsor!

Bookmark and Share
In This Edition

Juan Cole asks, "Is Trump Setting The US Up for Further al-Qaeda Attacks By Putting Troops In Saudi Arabia?"

Ralph Nader wonders, "Will Even One Disgusted Republican Mount A Serious Primary Challenge To Trump?"

Glen Ford returns with, "Sanders, Biden And The Electability Scam."

Michael Winship says, "Trump, Go Back Where You Came From."

Jim Hightower examines, "America's Healthcare Border Raiders."

John Nichols remembers when, "It Was Not A Dream, It Was Wisconsin."

James Donahue with a must read, "Living On The Edge."

William Rivers Pitt concludes, "We Got To The Moon. We Can Overcome War And Capitalism."

David Suzuki warns, "Fossil-Fuelled Plastic Production Imperils People And Planet."

Charles P. Pierce reports, "Wilbur Ross Is Sleeping Through The Burglary."

David Swanson asks, "U.S. Troops Back In Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?"

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy R/LA wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "How Corporate Welfare Hurts You."

Jane Stillwater screams, ""H-e-e-e-l-p!!!": Syria, Ilhan Omar And Netroots Nation."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst lists, "Democrats You'd Have A Beer - Or Whatever - With," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Lying Donald Skates Away Again."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jeff Koterba, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Chip Somodevilla, Cheriss May, Mark Wilson, KasH, The White House Pool, urPhoto, Corbus, AFP, Jane Stillwater, Twitter, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

Bookmark and Share

Visit me on Face Book

Lying Donald Skates Away Again
By Ernest Stewart

"Could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?" ~~~ Rep. Ken Buck ~ Co/R

"It was so hot I saw two trees fighting over a dog!" ~~~ Johnny Carson

"Cruz's resolution uses the terms 'antifa' and 'left-wing activists' interchangeably. Most dangerously, it suggests that all manner of dissent could be considered terrorism." ~~~ Caroline Orr ~ National Observer reporter.

"You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." ~~~ John Bunyan

I must admit that I'm not surprised about Mueller's testimony before the House. Rethuglicans trying to confuse the issue, while the Democrats were praising Mueller, no surprises there! Nor, by my count, the 150 or so questions that Mueller didn't answer.

One thing I noticed was when, Mueller confirmed that Trump was not charged with crimes because of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel opinion that presidents are immune from indictment while in office. In others words, Mueller hands were tied from indicting Lying Donald because Lying Donalds "Justice Department" wouldn't allow Mueller to do so.

Rep. Ted Lieu Ca/D asked Mueller, "The reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president. Correct?"

"That is correct," Mueller replied. Oh my!

Of course Lying Donalds went berserk yet again, saying:
So Lying Donald is guilty as charged and because of Lying Donalds puppet Attorney General William Barr nothing will be done unless Nancy Pelosi grows a pair, which isn't likely, as she's been bought and paid for by the corpo-rats, another criminal president, perhaps the worst of them all, skates away from his crimes and nothing will be done about it, nothing. That's America!

In Other News

How do you like global warming, so far? If you think it's hot now, just you wait!

I see where a new study suggests, as the globe warms in the years ahead, days with extreme heat are forecast to skyrocket across hundreds of U.S. cities, perhaps even breaking the "heat index." I remember crossing Death Valley once in July, about noonish. What a rush that was, as the temp was 126 F and the car had no air conditioning. Thank Zeus there was no humidity!

"Our analysis shows a hotter future that's hard to imagine today," study co-author Kristina Dahl, a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement. "Nearly everywhere, people will experience more days of dangerous heat in the next few decades."

The study shows that by 2050, hundreds of U.S. cities could see an entire month each year with heat index temperatures above 100 degrees if nothing is done to rein in global warming. We spent last week in triple digits. I spent most of the time in my man cave/office and only ventured out when I had too, to run to my air conditioned truck and into air conditioned stores.

The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. "This is the first study to take the heat index - instead of just temperature - into account when determining the impacts of global warming," said Dahl.

The number of days per year when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees will more than double nationally, according to the study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Communications.

On some days, conditions would be so extreme that they'd exceed the upper limit of the heat index, rendering it "incalculable," the study predicts.

Erika Spanger-Siegfried, lead climate analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists and report co-author says, "We have little to no experience with 'off-the-charts' heat in the U.S. These conditions occur at or above a heat index of 127 degrees, depending on temperature and humidity. Exposure to conditions in that range makes it difficult for human bodies to cool themselves and could be deadly."

Hot enough for you Johnny?

And Finally

I see where a couple of far-right, fascist, gangsters, i.e., Rethuglican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Ted Cruz of Texas introduced a resolution to designate anti-fascists groups as "domestic terrorist organizations." I wonder do they mean those 4 Democratic female trouble makers? Does opposing Lying Donald make you a terrorist traitor?

In fact, antifa is a constellation of many different activist groupings, with no official leader or clear hierarchy. As The New York Times has noted, "its membership count is impossible to know." That didn't stop the two Rethuglican senators from claiming that "Antifa are terrorists, violent masked bullies who 'fight fascism' with actual fascism, protected by Liberal privilege." Here's what Rafael had to say via his twit:

Antifa, short for "anti-fascist," traces its ideological roots to 1920s and 1930s Germany and supposes that if people had opposed the Nazi Party more aggressively, Adolf Hitler might never have come to power. The ADL reports that many people who act within antifa are anarchist or very left-wing, but that "since Trump's election, some people with more mainstream political backgrounds have also joined their ranks." No kidding?

Although I quoted Rafael he's already won several Vidkun Quisling Awards so this time the dishonor goes to his partner in crime, Bill Cassidy!

Keepin' On

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

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

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


04-09-1932 ~ 07-21-2019
Thanks for the good fight!

01-23-1944 ~ 07-21-2019
Thanks for the film!

02-28-1924 ~ 07-22-2019
Thanks for the adventure!

12-17-1937 ~ 07-22-2019
Thanks for the music!


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

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

For late breaking news and views visit The Forum. Find all the news you'll otherwise miss. We publish three times the amount of material there than what is in the magazine. Look for the latest Activist Alerts. Updated constantly, please feel free to post an article we may have missed.


So how do you like Trump so far?
And more importantly, what are you planning on doing about it?

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Is Trump Setting The US Up for Further al-Qaeda Attacks By Putting Troops In Saudi Arabia?
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Trump is sending US troops to be based in Saudi Arabia, and King Salman has signed off on the paperwork.

Several hundred US military personnel will be at Prince Sultan Air Base, accompanying fighter jets and Patriot missile defense systems.

US troops were first based in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War of 1990-91, when George H. W. Bush assembled a coalition to force Iraq back out of Kuwait, which it brutally occupied and tried to annex in August, 1990.

As Courtney Kube at NBC notes, in 1996, a terrorist bombing at Khobar Towers killed 19 US air force personnel and wounded 400 other persons, and as a result US servicemen were thereafter kept at Prince Sultan Airbase, which the US leased from the Saudis. The then no-fly zone over Iraq was policed from Prince Sultan.

Apparently everyone has forgotten that al-Qaeda made hay over the US military presence in Saudi Arabia. That country includes the twin holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and traditionalist Muslims believe that the second commander of the faithful, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, forbade non-Muslims to live in the holy land.

Usama Bin Laden characterized the US military presence in Saudi Arabia, the monarch of which is the "Guardian of the Two Holy Shrines," as a military occupation by foreign Christians and Jews ("crusaders and Zionists") of the Muslim holy land. Al-Qaeda used this allegation as a recruiting tool, and Bin Laden gave it as one of three major motivations for the September 11, 2001, attacks (the others were the sanctions on Iraq that killed thousands of children and the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem).

After the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq, the US had lots of bases there, and felt no further need for the Prince Sultan Airbase, from which it withdrew. Qatar also offered its facilities, and the US put 10,000 troops into al-Udeid Air Base.

The impetus for the return of US troops to Prince Sultan Airbase in Saudi Arabia is the renewed tensions with Iran, which Trump caused by breaching the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman may also have lobbied for this move because Riyadh put Qatar under blockade, and feels at a disadvantage in this struggle because the US base al-Udeid makes Washington tilt toward Doha. But the US should be telling King Salman to make nice with Qatar; it shouldn't be enabling his blockade by coddling Riyadh.

But it is a very, very bad idea.

First, al-Qaeda and kindred movements such as ISIL have not gone away. They will use this move very effectively for propaganda and for radicalization.

Second, Saudi Arabia in 2015 launched a massive and debilitating air war on little Yemen, in which Riyadh is still embroiled. The Houthis who control northern Yemen have managed to get hold of silkworm missiles and have occasionally struck substantially inside Saudi Arabia. The US is inserting itself further into this struggle, and Prince Sultan base could be targeted by the Houthis, though their technology and resources are limited.

Third, given the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it is very bad optics for the US to be opening a base in Saudi Arabia. It looks like an endorsement of the assassination of dissidents.

Fourth, the bigger the US footprint in the region, the more exposed US personnel are to attacks, and hawks like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton will manipulate any such attacks into a reason for the US to go to war with Iran.

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

Republicans must think "crooked Donald" is invincible.

Will Even One Disgusted Republican Mount A Serious Primary Challenge To Trump?
Is their moral courage totally AWOL?
By Ralph Nader

In 1956, then Senator John F. Kennedy authored a best-selling book titled Profiles in Courage, in which he told the stories of Senators in American history who, on principle, bucked the tides of power. Today, some Republican writer or conservative syndicated columnist - George Will or Max Boot - should write a book called Profiles in Cowardliness. It should cover Republican leadership's near total cowardliness in the face of Donald Trump, whom they despise on many fronts. Many in Republican leadership believe he has hijacked their Grand Old Party (GOP).

Clearly the Republicans - except for Rep. Justin Amash, who recently quit the Party after accusing Trump of impeachable crimes - are intimidated by this foul-mouthed president. Republican politicians are cowed by Trump's bellicose personal rhetoric. We have seen this cycle repeat itself countless times, with the media boosting their ratings by recklessly repeating Trump's insults.

Republicans remember what Trump did to Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio during the 2016 Republican primary. They observe how loud-mouthed Donald spews toxic falsehoods at Democrats and gets away with it. Why, Republicans ask themselves, should they take any chances provoking this unstable Twitter Emperor and his ditto-heads on social media whom he deliberately incites? The answer: because patriotism demands action.

Donald Trump acts as if he is above the law - coming off his career as a corporate criminal, he has become a government outlaw. He has always cheated justice. Trump flouts the Constitution, refuses to faithfully execute the laws preventing corporate crimes, and obstructs justice. Just as bad are Trump's ethical and personal failings; he has brought disgraceful personal behavior, serious daily lies, expensive nepotism, denials of grave realities facing the country, bigotry, violent incitement, and disrepute to the White House. All of these failings are why the Founding Fathers gave impeachment authority to the House of Representatives and the authority of open trial to the Senate.

There are many more indictable and impeachable offenses, but the focus here is on why the entire GOP has completely fallen in line. Only former Republican Governor of Massachusetts William Weld has dared to officially challenge Trump in the upcoming Republican primary. This week, former Republican Congressman and Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford announced he is testing the waters for a run against President Trump, emphasizing Trump's huge expanding deficits. It is shocking that so few opponents have emerged considering Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 and remains more consistently unfavorable in the polls than any president in modern times.

Republicans must think "crooked Donald" is invincible. So why try? Plenty of Republican politicians consider Trump to be a clear and present danger to Party and country. They include Former Senators Flake and Corker; current Senator Mitt Romney; former Governor of Ohio John Kasich; former New Jersey Governor and EPA head, under Reagan, Christine Todd Whitman; and former House Speaker Paul Ryan. All have spoken out about Trump's dangerous ignorance and loutishness. All believe him to be unqualified and fear his reckless actions. On trade, immigration, climate crisis, and his open admiration of brutal dictators, they find him appalling.

Yet there are few signs of a serious challenge. In the 1990s, John Kasich was the Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. At the time he was critical of the wasteful, unauditable Pentagon budget then (imagine now). Asked about 2020, Kasich told The Washington Post that he's "never gotten involved in a race that [he] didn't think [he] could win," adding, "things are very volatile in this business and you just cannot predict what might change." Such words hardly signal anything beyond extreme caution.

One would think, these persons and others who could take on Trump (for example, the very popular former Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean) would want to stand up for traditional Republican principles and positions (think about Senator Robert Taft, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, and of course, Abraham Lincoln). In sharp contrast, current Republican leaders almost never criticize Trump publically apart from a mild op-ed (Romney) or the occasional public comments (Whitman).

It gets worse. Apart from William Kristol, Trump's arch-critic, there doesn't seem to be any activity among Republican kingmakers to find a challenger or even consider mounting a third party accountability challenge from the political right.

There is someone, were he younger, who would take on Trump. He is former Republican Senator from Connecticut, Lowell Weicker. He was known in the Senate as a ferocious defender of the Constitution and was prominent during the Watergate hearings that exposed Richard Nixon.

Apart from elected officials, what about those cabinet secretaries and White House chief of staff, whom Trump praised to the skies, before he drove them out with a frenzy of ruthless epithets ("dumb as a rock," etc.)? They know the insides of mad Trump's White House, which would receive media attention.

At the least, Republicans who challenged Trump in the primaries would put Trump on the defensive and hold him more accountable.

Time is passing on the road to November 2020. There are countless Republicans who deeply believe that Trump is a disgrace to his office and a threat to the Republic, as well as to the future of the Republican Party. Who amongst them will stand up and be counted?

Is their moral courage totally AWOL?

(c) 2019 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).

Sanders, Biden And The Electability Scam
By Glen Ford

If Black people were choosing sides in the primary based on ideology and issues, Biden would have little appeal and Sanders would win, hands down.

Joe Biden's corpse-like performance at the Miami debate should have caused the immediate interment of his campaign to the graveyard of presidential history. Biden's longstanding lead in the polls, dating from before he'd even announced his candidacy, was largely due to outsized support among Blacks, who make up between a quarter and fifth of Democratic voters - and 60 percent of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina, the critical "Black" primary state. Kamala Harris masterfully gutted Biden for his opposition to school desegregation, but the stake missed his shriveled white supremacist heart, leaving Biden gasping but un-dead. A Reuters poll conducted in the days after the Miami debacle showed Biden dropping 8 percent among Democrats in general, but that his nationwide Black support was cut in hal, "with about two out of 10 saying they backed President Barack Obama's former vice president, compared with four out of 10 in the June poll."

In heavily Black South Carolina, however, the CBSNews/YouGov poll still gives Biden 39 percent, versus Bernie Sanders (17 percent), Elizabeth Warren (12 percent), Harris (12 percent) and Pete Buttigieg (5 percent), while the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll show's Obama's former vice president pulling 33 percent of the Democratic primary vote, with Sanders at 18 percent, Warren at 14, Harris at 13 and Buttigieg stuck at 5 percent.

Although the corporate media polls are effectively rigged against Bernie Sanders, Biden's appeal among Black voters is real and has survived well-publicized reminders that the Delaware politician has spoken affectionately of arch-racists like the late Mississippi senator James Eastland, whose views on Black people was clearly stated at a rally of the White Citizens Council in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956, as quoted in Robert Caro's Master of the Senate:

"In every stage of the [Montgomery] bus boycott we have been oppressed and degraded because of black, slimy, juicy, unbearably stinking niggers...African flesh-eaters. When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to abolish the Negro race, proper methods should be used. Among these are guns, bows and arrows, slingshots and knives...All whites are created equal with certain rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of dead niggers."
That's the kind of company Joe Biden proudly kept in his three decades in the U.S. Senate - sins of political association for which he should forever be shunned and scorned in Black America. But Biden is now packaged as the most "electable" figure in the Democratic Party, and carries with him the symbolic aura of the white man that Barack Obama chose as his running mate. Once again, as in every primary season of the post-civil rights era, the nation's most left-leaning constituency is willing to discard its own social agenda to support the candidate perceived as having the best shot at defeating the White Man's Party, the GOP.

Black voting behavior in Democratic primary elections is maddeningly contradictory - but only because it reflects the bizarre contradictions of the Black experience in the world's most successful white settler state. (It is also maddening to re-explain this phenomenon every election season - yet Black primary voter "conservatism" seems always to catch the Left by surprise.)

Masses of Black votes can be swayed with symbolic gestures (Kennedy's phone call to the imprisoned Dr. Martin Luther King's wife in 1960) and symbolic candidacies (Obama, the more conservative of the top three Democratic presidential hopefuls in 2008). Symbolism holds outsized importance in a nation founded on the incompatible principles of white supremacy and equality among men - a contradiction that is routinely resolved by placing Blacks and despised Others outside of humanity, so that they may be lynched, imprisoned, expelled or simply demonized for fun and profit, at will. ("Send them back! Send them back!")

In such an endemically dishonest society - ALL of whose foundational assumptions and stories are lies - the language of Power is weighted with symbolism. Historically, much of Black politics has consisted of analysis of white folks' coded public discourse, to decipher the actual intentions of Power - the misreading of which could be fatal to whole communities. (See 1921 Tulsa Massacre, Red Summer of 1919.) In an eternally hostile society, "positioning" becomes a principal "strategy" of the Black political class and a staple of the general Black political conversation. For a people that have always been at the bottom of the social and economic barrel, despite periods of incremental gains, symbolic victories are often the only ones that produce pure joy and delight among the masses (Election Day 2008). A politics of "positioning" favors the interests of the Black upwardly mobile classes, who package their own narrow agenda as the political program of Black people as a whole. It is these "leaders" that take the "seats at the table" of Power when such a positions are made available to Blacks. Their associations with Power, no matter how tenuous, are presented as evidence of Black progress.

In the United States, the bar that distinguishes friends from enemies of Black people is set low. The Arkansas cracker Bill Clinton only had to play the saxophone on a Black man's syndicated TV show to get a tentative thumbs up. Simply by not having white supremacy as its organizing principle, the Democrats have in the last half century become the "Black" party, in both the imaginations of Black people and the propaganda of the GOP (as was the fate of the Republicans during Reconstruction - until they discarded the Black freedmen). Juxtaposed with today's Republicans, the Democrats win Black loyalties by default, as the only electoral option available that is connected to Power.

Ultimately, a strategy of positioning does not confront Power, but hopes to infiltrate and influence the powerful. The Black practitioners of the strategy point to their positions "at the table" as proof of its effectiveness, and that they are dutifully "representing" the Black masses - a circular reasoning that lots of Black folks see through, but despair of an alternative.

"Positioning" relative to Power is a formula for perpetual weakness, since those with real power can change the rules of engagement as necessary, forcing the weak to scramble for a new "position." In 2005, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi prevented her party from holding hearings on Katrina and forbade Black Caucus members from attending Republican hearings on the disaster, fearing that too close an identification with Blacks would ruin the party's chances for recapturing the House in 2006. With the exception of Atlanta's Cynthia McKinney, Black Democrats did as ordered, sacrificing African American interests for the sake of the party's perceived need to downplay its huge Black presence. For the Black Caucus, strategic positioning means Democratsuber alles.

Barack Obama had to prove that he could win in lily white Iowa before a majority of Black voters and the bulk of Black elected officials would support his presidential bid. In the binary corporate electoral arrangement that governs the United States, Black people approach each primary season pondering which Democratic candidate is best equipped to defeat the White Man's Party. Polls and studies have long showed that Blacks are the most left-leaning constituency in the nation on issues of socio-economic justice and peace, but that's not how Black Democrats vote in national primaries, where they tend to support whoever they believe can beat the Republican. "Electability" trumps and displaces ideology. Given the role that money plays in the U.S. electoral game, Black primary voters intent on choosing an "electable" Democrat will support the corporate candidate - not because these voters are "centrist" or corporate-minded, but because their overarching priority is beating the GOP. Thus, during Democratic primary season, many Black voters will seem to have no worldview or mission except as soldiers of the Democratic Party.

Inventing "Unelectability"

Unlike during the 2016 primary contest, Black people are now broadly aware that Bernie Sanders is the Democrat whose politics most closely resembles their own. Polls conducted in 2017 ranked Sanders the most popular politician in the nation, including among Blacks - the only politician, according to Newsweek, "who a majority of voters like." Democrats were aware that polls showed Sanders would have beaten Trump, and by a significantly larger margin than had been predicted for Hillary Clinton. As the new primary season approached, the corporate media conspired (yes, that's the appropriate term) to destroy Sanders' image of electability and to label his signature issues -- supported by supermajorities of Democrats, and by even larger proportions of Blacks - as radical baggage that will tilt the election to Trump. The narrative has succeeded in frightening Black voters, who see defeat of Trump as an existential issue, superseding all others.

Sanders is correct in sticking to his broad attack on concentrated wealth, rather than mimicking Harris , Buttigieg , and now Biden's "Black targeted" campaign promises. Black people already support Sanders signature proposals, and see him as the consummate reformer. They don't need pandering; they have understood the evils of the rule of the rich all their lives. Black people need to believe Sanders can beat Trump.

Sanders is the most "liked" among all the Democrats, according to a Gallup poll conducted after the Miami debate. As Common Dreams reported:

"Sanders led the pack, with 72 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters viewing him favorably. Former Vice President Joe Biden followed at 69 percent. Rounding off the top half of the pack were Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 59 percent, Sen. Kamala Harris at 54 percent, and Sen. Cory Booker at 44 percent."
Prior to his near-death debate experience, Biden was on top, with 80 percent favorability among Democrats. If Black people were choosing sides in the primary based on ideology and issues, Biden would have little appeal and Sanders would win, hands down. And if racial symbolism were as potent today as in 2008, Kamala Harris would be doing far better among Blacks. More than at any time since Ronald Reagan's white nationalist victory in 1980, Blacks see the electability of the Democrat as the paramount consideration. For many, fear is the prime political motivator - but Black fear of Trump should not be mistaken for conservatism. (Nor should white liberal hysteria be equated with "resistance" to Trump's core policies, whose nexus is the boardroom, not the border.)

Electability is actually Sanders' greatest asset. Trump's hold on power is dependent on a slim slice of votes in Pennsylvania and the midwestern states he won in 2016 - less than 100,00 votes. (He must also duplicate the GOP's even larger Black voter suppression schemes.) But polls show Trump is likely to do even better in Michigan and Wisconsin, this time around. Trump's supporters are pleased with his racist style of rule. Only Bernie Sanders offers programs big enough, with immediate impact on struggling families, to convince a small portion of these whites to choose saving their sick mother over stoking their sense of racial superiority. If only a few percent of Trump's blue collar whites in two or three states can be peeled away, the Orange presidency is doomed. Sanders is the only candidate that can do it, and therefore the only electable Democrat.

Black people can readily understand that logic, which also frees them to vote their own, leftish hopes rather than their fears.

That's why the corporate Democrats would rather lose with Biden (or Harris and the rest) than win with Sanders. Because the Lords of Capital will not permit one of their governing parties to be captured by opponents of endless austerity and war - the only program the ruling class has to offer in the 21st century.

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

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Marine One for departure from the
South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC., on Friday, July 19, 2019.

Trump, Go Back Where You Came From
Don't let this presidential pickpocket use cruel verbal assaults to distract you from the truth
By Michael Winship

Every presidential election year, Frontline, the superb investigative TV series on PBS, produces an in-depth look at the Democratic and Republican candidates. It's called "The Choice," and invariably offers some insights that likely you won't see anywhere else.

When I first watched the 2016 edition, three things struck me as revelatory-aside from that now infamous Omarosa Manigault soundbite from the program that began, "Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump." Yikes.

Today, after two and a half years of a Trump White House, these three remembered moments seem more pertinent than ever. First up was journalist Marie Brenner, who recalled Trump's brother Robert telling her, "Donald was always the kid in the family who would start throwing birthday cake at all the parties, that you would build up a tower of blocks, he would come knock your blocks down."

Second were the memories of classmates at New York Military Academy, where young Donald was sent to deal with his behavior issues. One said that as a teenager, Trump "had a very Hugh Hefner Playboy magazine view of success." Another agreed: "Our lives came from Playboy magazine. That's how we learned about women. That was all of my adolescence. And that's why getting out of military school was difficult. You had to realize that you couldn't just follow the Playboy philosophy."

He added, "The things that we talked about at that time in 1964 really are very close to the kind of way [Trump] talks now."

But the third thing, the one that especially stuck in my head, is something Frontline reported Trump had learned from nature's own Nazi, his martinet of a father Fred. It was a theory, according to the narration, Donald "especially liked."

Interviewed for the documentary, Michael D'Antonio author of The Truth about Trump, says, "This is a very deep part of the Trump story. The family subscribes to a race horse theory of human development, that they believe that there are superior people, and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get superior offspring."

In other words, he embraced eugenics-the science of human selection that's just a hop, skip and a 23 and Me saliva test away from advocating the primacy of a master race.

Which is why what we're seeing now, less than a year and a half before the 2020 election is no surprise. You know the litany: Trump and his father's housing business censured by the Justice Department for racial discrimination; publicly attacking the young Latino and black men of the so-called Central Park Five, even after they were found innocent; ludicrous birther slurs flung at Barack Obama; the Muslim travel ban; offhand bigoted references to "shithole countries," Nigerians in huts and Haitians with AIDS; Charlottesville.

On and on. And now, these attacks on four women of color, four members of the United States Congress told by the president to go back where they came from, even though only one was born in another country and all four are US citizens. While a few of his Republican colleagues voiced disgust at Trump's tweets, most chose to remain silent, equivocate or to double down like the toadying Lindsey Graham, who screamed that Alexandria Octavio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are "a bunch of communists"-sounding not like his late mentor John McCain but a raving, spittle-hurling Joe McCarthy.

(Lindsey and his man crush Trump would do well to heed-but won't-the great Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who in a 1929 dissent wrote, "If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought-not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.")

So yes, Donald Trump is a racist, a white supremacist, a misogynist, a right-wing extremist, and as he goes full tilt into maniacal campaign mode, with nary a GOP voice raised in protest, it's only going to get worse. This is how he thinks he can win reelection and so these current ravings were inevitable. Recent and intentionally misconstrued comments by the women may have sped the onslaught up a bit. As per The Washington Post, he thinks the four are "good foils." But this always was going to happen. Always.

Don't let your outrage at his words dim, but neither let this presidential pickpocket use these cruel verbal assaults-or his jeering rally crowds-to distract you from the truth as he falsely accuses these legitimately elected women of disloyalty and worse. Don't let him deflect your attention from Robert Mueller's congressional testimony this week (which apparently Fox News refuses to carry) or the Jeffrey Epstein pedophilia scandal and the role played by Trump's now former labor secretary Alex Acosta.

Ignore not the ICE raids and the new rules restricting asylum requests and the continuing deplorable conditions in the detention centers, the separation of undocumented families, the failed attempt to cook the census. And keep your eye on which candidates are offering viable plans and solutions for climate change, immigration, health care, the opioid crisis, education and student debt, infrastructure, income and racial inequality.

As for those of you among Trump's vaunted base, the ones to whom he's pitching this poisonous snake oil, do you honest to God think that being given license to attack or mock a person's skin color or religion is more important than having a job, a roof over your head and food and clothing for you and your family? Do you truly believe that Trump's trade wars, tax cuts aimed at his rich cronies and slashing regulations to satisfy corporate fat cats are giving you a better life?

Is having a president who jabs his thumb in the eye of all who don't fawn over him here and abroad and who lacks a moral or honest bone in his body preferable to a leader who is respected here and overseas, who's not a white nationalist but a patriot with an informed worldview embracing diversity and expertise?

Trump needs to return where he came from, and I say that with some hesitation only because that would be New York City and I live here. Even if he's defeated in 2020 we won't have heard the last of him, of course, but at least the power and bully pulpit of the presidency will be denied the bully who currently lives in the White House. We'll put him in a special room where he can throw all the birthday cake and knock over all the toy blocks he wants. Just send him back.

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

America's Healthcare Border Raiders
By Jim Hightower

While Donald Trump fans the embers of xenophobia in our country by demonizing caravans of desperate Latinos headed north from Central America, there are other northern-bound caravans he doesn't mention.

These are US citizens crossing our northern border into Canada, seeking relief from the profiteering cartels that run our country's predatory health system. Specifically, these people are among the millions of Americans who've literally been sickened by the price gouging of pharmaceutical giants.

For example, the Washington Post reports that from 2012 to 2016, drug makers have nearly doubled the US price of life-saving insulin. It's a massive highway robbery that Trump & Company ignore, even though it creates a financial strain so severe that many patients try cheating death by skipping some dosages - an always dangerous gamble.

Outraged and desperate, many diabetics and their families are taking matters into their own hands by making cross-border drug runs into towns just north of the US-Canadian line. They're drawn there by Canada's single-payer healthcare system, which protects consumers from price-gouging. As the Post reported, one small group of Minnesotans recently caravanned from their home into an Ontario border town where they could buy a supply of insulin for about $1,200 - versus the $12,000 they would've been charged in the US.

Good for them, but why should anyone in our incomparably-rich nation have to make border raids to get essential healthcare? As the organizer of this Minnesota caravan put it: "When you have a bad healthcare system, it makes good people feel like outlaws. It's demeaning. It's demoralizing. It's unjust."

We the People must rise up, organize, and mobilize to make healthcare profiteering unacceptable, illegal... and indeed, unAmerican.

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

World-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, left, and Cap Times publisher William T. Evjue were longtime friends.

It Was Not A Dream, It Was Wisconsin
By John Nichols

In his ably assembled and appropriately respectful New York Times review of David Maraniss' "A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father," novelist Kevin Baker praises the author for revealing "a fascinating confluence of America" and marvels at how often "one is bowled over by the vibrancy of that vanished nation."

The book, as readers of this newspaper are well aware, is a memoir and a history that reflects on the journey of David's father, Elliott Maraniss, from 1930s radical to 1950s target of anti-communist zealots to his distinguished tenure at The Capital Times - where in the late 1970s and early 1980s he served as the editor. Baker ruminates on the evocation of time and place that makes "A Good American Family" such a fine read, observing, "It's a world where David's sister listens to a new song called 'Shake, Rattle and Roll,' and the family watches mesmerized as exquisite lines of Detroit cars appear every summer. Elliott's wanderings take him to an Iowa newspaper that grew out of a strike by union typographers. Later, he sees his revered new publisher, William T. Evjue of The Capital Times, in Madison, talking and laughing in his office with Carl Sandburg and Frank Lloyd Wright. Did we ever live in such an America? Did we just dream it?"

Of course, it existed. I grew up in it. I remember wandering around the old Capital Times offices on South Carroll Street as a 10-year-old, when it was still possible to imbibe the mixture of grit and idealism that characterized the newspaper Evjue led from its 1917 founding until his death in 1970. I remember playing in the fields around Wright's Taliesin. I learned from my friend Frank Zeidler that Sandburg had gotten to know Evjue when both were newspapermen in Milwaukee - Sandburg as a contributor to the Social Democratic Herald, Evjue as an ideologically frustrated writer for the conservative Sentinel. Zona Gale, an acquaintance of Evjue and Sandburg from those Milwaukee newspaper days, would in 1921 become the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Like Gale, Edna Ferber wrote for the Journal and, in 1925, Ferber collected her own Pulitzer for fiction writing.

Evjue, the son of Norwegian immigrants, was born in Merrill. Wright, a descendant of Welsh immigrants, was born in Richland Center but spent most of his childhood in the towns across the Wisconsin River from Spring Green where my mother's family settled. Sandburg grew up on the other side of the Wisconsin-Illinois line in Galesburg but came into his own as a young socialist in Milwaukee. Gale was from Portage. Ferber spent her teen years in Appleton before heading to Milwaukee.

For the most part, these men and women were known for their journalistic and literary accomplishments. Yet they were all intensely political people. They were products of a remarkable moment in Wisconsin history when Robert M. La Follette and his allies ushered in an era of radical progressivism that advocated for economic and social and racial justice, opposed imperialism and colonialism, and recognized a need to preserve rather than exploit our natural resources. And, for a time, they made Wisconsin the embodiment of those values. This work was never easy; it was always a fight.

Evjue and his acquaintances and allies, including my great-grandfather and the Capital Times-reading progressives of rural Grant County, maintained their militant faith in a politics that rejected the empty compromises of centrism and corporatism. They made this place over as America's "laboratory of democracy."

States choose their destinies. They are as glorious or as miserable as they decide to be. Wisconsin was not the wealthiest or most well-positioned state during the Gilded Age. In fact, it was exploited rather mercilessly by the grain merchants and the railroad companies of the late 19th century.

But generations of Wisconsinites were inspired by La Follette, a son of the town of Primrose in southwestern Dane County, to throw off what "Fighting Bob" described as the "invisible hand" of "these corporations and masters of manipulation in finance heaping up great fortunes by a system of legalized extortion."

"Think of the heroes who died to make this country free; think of their sons who died to keep it undivided upon the map of the world. Shall we, their children, basely surrender our birthright and say: 'Representative government is a failure'? No, never," declared La Follette when he issued his great call to arms on July 4, 1897, in Mineral Point. "Let us here, today, under this flag we all love, hallowed by the memory of all that has been sacrificed for it and for us, dedicate ourselves to winning back the independence of this country, to emancipating this generation and throwing off from the neck of the freemen of America, the yoke of the political machine."

La Follette died in 1925, having transformed Wisconsin and made it a North Star for the nation. Evjue lived on to 1970. Their legacies have been battered by politicians without conscience, the Scott Walkers and Paul Ryans who used Wisconsin as a springboard for their national ambitions, but they have not been erased. We can still point to them. More importantly, we can renew them. The place of beginning is to recognize that we once lived in an America such as the one Elliott Maraniss witnessed on that afternoon in the late 1960s. It was not a dream. It was Wisconsin.

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

Living On The Edge
America's Cockeyed Monetary Oil Standard
By James Donahue

You can thank Henry Kissinger, the late President Richard M. Nixon and the economic advisors for the Nixon Administration for resetting America's monetary standard and leading us into almost constant warfare in the Middle East. They also awarded us a growing financial crisis that may mean the downfall of the United States as we once knew it.

Kissinger led the nation into this wild plan to quit the former gold standard for establishing the value of the dollar, and replaced it with an "oil standard." That's something economics professors and high school history books don't talk much about and few people are even aware of it. That's probably because it is a very complicated scheme and difficult to understand.

Generally, the value of the American dollar is now based on the amount of oil the United States controls or has in reserve. It no longer has anything to do with the gold held in reserve at Fort Knox or under the Federal Reserve building in New York.

And this may explain why we have been so quick to send troops into Iraq, Afghanistan and the other oil rich Middle Eastern countries. The objective has always been about the oil. It also may explain why the United States has been reluctant to support alternative energy sources even though they are readily available and researchers have warned that we hit "peak oil" in the world in sometime in the last decade.

It also seems to explain the Trump Administration's intense interest in closing in on Iran, the political issues in Argentina, the strange new twist of our relations with Cuba and his executive orders allowing oil and gas exploration off the U.S. coasts and in once protected national parks. These are all oil-rich places and potential unexplored territories.

The whole financial picture is a complex maze of political wheeling and dealing that has been going on in the back rooms of various kingdoms and governments for years. We suspect the entire monetary system has been designed like this as a way of keeping the general public confused and ignorant about the world power plays that have been going on.

There was a deal toward the end of World War II, when delegates from 44 nations gathered at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire and established the U. S. dollar as an international currency. This critical gathering known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, agreed that the dollar was the most stable currency. At the time every dollar was valued at one-thirty-fifth of an ounce of gold, and the gold was held by the U. S. Treasury.

That was then, when America was just emerging from a world war as the most powerful nation on earth. We were sitting pretty with $30 billion in gold locked away at Fort Knox. Most world nations were happily trading in exchange for the U.S. dollar.

Then came the Korean conflict followed by the Vietnam War. Wars cost a lot of money. The Vietnam War alone was estimated to have cost about $500 billion. And when President Lyndon B. Johnson came into power in the 1960s, his administration not only escalated the Vietnam conflict, but declared a second "war on poverty" and established his "Great Society" program. The treasury began printing more money to meet the financial demand, and the US quickly exceeded the value of the gold being held in reserve. Washington knew for years that the old "value in gold" had become unsustainable. What was to be done?

Nixon, led on by Kissinger, established what is remembered as the "Nixon Shock." What they did was sever the Bretton Woods agreement for a gold standard and turn the US dollar into a floating currency as the Treasury continued to print more and more paper money. Thus there developed an artificial value of the dollar. Nixon's plan was to replace the gold standard with something else of equal value . . . oil.

At that time Saudi Arabia was the world's largest supplier of crude oil. In his meetings with the Saudi royal family, Kissinger sold them on a proposal. The United States agreed to provide the Saudis with weapons and also protection from Israel. In exchange, the Saudis agreed to price all of their oil in U.S. dollars only.

The strategy here was interesting, and it worked. With the largest oil producing nation in the world committed to selling oil only in U. S. dollars, the value of the dollar on the world market rose to new heights. It created a global demand for the dollar. Soon most of the other oil producing nations joined Saudi Arabia, and were pricing their oil in dollars in exchange for arms and protection from Israel. Thus the world "Petrodollar" monetary system was born.

The United States, the European nations and many other countries using the petrodollar system have consequently switched from gold to fiat money, which is a primary reason there is a growing economic crisis brewing. Fiat money is money that gets its value from government regulation. Throughout history, any country that attempted to use fiat money always fell to economic ruin.

As a rule, the more popular the world's reserve currency is relative to other currencies, the higher its exchange rate and the less competititve domestic exporting industries become. This in turn creates a trade deficit. The United States is now running the largest current account deficit in the world. This means that there are more imports of overseas goods than there are exports.

In recent years, as conditions became worse, the Federal Reserve was forced to print more money to buy our own debt. This is called monetizing the debt. It is the cause of runaway inflation and the problem is compounding itself with each passing day.

Meanwhile, gold has been increasing in value. Gold has been a major part of international currency exchange for thousands of years. It has been a stable commodity and thus the most successful foundation for establishing a stable value of money. Voltaire warned that paper money "eventually returns to its intrinsic value - zero." Thanks to Nixon and Kissinger, the United States now finds itself struggling against a growing financial crisis that may be impossible to solve. Richared Mills, president of Northern Venture Group, in a recent article for Resource Investor, noted that this is the first time in history that all financial currencies are fiat. "The US dollar used to be gold backed and it was the rock to which all of the world's currencies were anchored. When the US dollar became fiat, all the worlds currencies became fiat."

To compensate for this the European and Russian markets have been turning away from the U.S. dollar and turning instead to the European Monetary System after creating the European Currency Unit (ECU) in 1979. Other systems have been experimenting with bitcoins and other forms of currency.

Mills warned that "the history of fiat money has always been one of failure." He said "Most paper money economies downfall can be linked directly to the cost of financing out of control military growth and its wars."

If Mills is right, Americans should be very worried. It appears that our political leadership has been leading us on a road to financial disaster. It all began with Nixon and our government has not chosen to change its course ever since.

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

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin takes his last step off the Eagle lunar module onto the surface of the Moon.

We Got To The Moon. We Can Overcome War And Capitalism
By William Rivers Pitt

"For me, the most ironic token of [the first human moon landing] is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads, 'We came in peace for all Mankind.' As the United States was dropping seven and a half megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity. We would harm no one on a lifeless rock." - Carl Sagan

My little girl loves the moon. When she sees it, whether full in borrowed light or a waning sliver as crooked as her grin, everything stops while she looks up, and up. Sometimes she finds it in the blue sky of early morning or late afternoon and always asks me why it's there, now. I always reply, "Because it fell asleep on the job," and she always laughs.

"We sent people there once," I told her when the Super Blood Wolf Moon practically pulled up a chair for dinner last January, and she was agog. "Really? Isn't it far?" she asked. "Very far," I told her. "Farther than Grandma and Grandpa's house?" she asked. Sparing her the metaphysics of how far one actually has to travel in body and spirit to reach southwestern Pennsylvania from any point on the compass, I simply replied, "Way, way farther than that."

She was impressed as she turned back to gaze upon the wolf moon's vast face as it rose sideways in majesty behind a line of skeletal winter maples. Watching something that large move - actually being able to measurably perceive its motion - has always left me as astonished as my daughter was in that moment. I understand the science, but it remains a kind of magic to me.

A few beats of silence later, she asked, "How'd we do it?"

How indeed.

Half a century ago today, NASA pulled off what was at the time the most magnificent pool shot in the history of manipulated physics, and did so using computer technology that would get laughed out of the room now by any high-end smartphone in the land.

The Apollo 11 moon landing was the culmination of an effort to fulfill a murdered president's promise. While the endeavor itself was entirely militaristic in scope and design - using Nazi ballistic science and scientists to achieve space superiority over the U.S.S.R. was both means and end - there was a grand quality to it, a pride not of nation but of species in the sheer scope of that staggering accomplishment.

Eyes that looked up millions of years ago through the crevice of Olduvai Gorge at the strange orb hanging in the night now stared back from that luminous sphere upon the blue-green promise of Mother Earth, because we said we were going, and we went. In the maelstrom of violence, assassination, racism, war and protest that roiled the nation 50 years ago today, Apollo 11 seemed a triumph without peer. It was a mighty thing we had done.

And yet, as ever, hard reality intervenes. The trope of an America that dares to do mighty things is a bald tire, as those mighty things almost always come with a towering body count. The bounty of the colonized South was bought through watering crops with the sweat and tears of slaves, and the riches of manifest destiny rolled West on train rails lubricated with Native blood. These, too, were mighty things.

Celebrations of our national audacity, more often than not, require an absence of full knowledge to maintain a sense of patriotic purity. The moon landing is no exception, coming as it did within the context of a criminal war in Vietnam that had been prolonged by the political machinations of a lawless president.

The mighty thing that is war, in all its permutations, is what the U.S. does best, and landing living humans on the lunar surface was an extension of the profitably deadly Cold War conflict being played out in the jungle far below. All the moon rocks and triumphalist cinematic retellings of the tale cannot bury this fact.

It has been said that something which can be destroyed by the truth must be destroyed by the truth. I would not destroy the astonishment of the accomplishment we mark today, but instead seek to augment it. Indeed, it seems doubly miraculous that a species so bent on mutual nuclear destruction could have summoned the wherewithal to slip the surly bonds of Earth, stand upon the most foreign of soil and return home to tell the tale.

Like my daughter, I stand in awe before the moon. Though I am flush with the knowledge of what lurks behind and beneath so much of our allegorical "greatness," that lunar light still remains to me a beacon of almost limitless possibility. We did that. Because we did, we can do other things, and perhaps snatch back the meaning of greatness from those who have cloaked it in avarice, plunder and violence.

"Suffice it to say, all of us now, if we live long enough, are likely to become climate refugees at some point," writes Dahr Jamail for Truthout, "whether it be from lack of food and water, rising seas, wildfires, smoke, or extreme weather events. For many, their time as climate refugees has already begun."

The ocean is coming, and we must find greatness to contend with it before it ends us. Our global dependence on the poison of fossil fuels must be broken in a comprehensive paradigm shift that will require greatness to accomplish. Overcoming the deep-seated cannibalism of capitalism will be part and parcel of these endeavors, and will require greatness even to survive laying an existential challenge to so muscular a force.

"We choose to go to the moon," said President Kennedy a little more than a year before Dallas. Fifty years to the day after his vision was achieved, we must choose to explore another space, one that lies within ourselves. It is the space between fear and courage, between inaction and purpose, to plant a new flag upon the greatness that awaits us. The moon will light our way, if we but look up, and up.

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

The massive volumes of plastic we throw away end up in landfills, waterways and oceans, devastating
wildlife and marine health. It breaks down into smaller particles that end up in the food web.

Fossil-Fuelled Plastic Production Imperils People And Planet
By David Suzuki

Canadians care about the environment. We recycle, compost, take pride in our spectacular natural areas and understand the threat of climate disruption. But we also use more energy and water and produce more garbage per capita than any nation.

In 2017, Canadians produced 1.33 billion tonnes of waste - 36.1 tonnes per person - with only 20.6 per cent treated or recycled, according to a study by 24/7 Tempo based on World Bank data. Much of that is industrial waste, especially from the oil industry, but household waste is also a problem.

Despite municipal recycling programs, we ship boatloads overseas. Now, some is coming back. The Philippines recently returned 69 shipping containers of what was supposed to be plastic for recycling but was mostly household garbage. Cambodia wants to send back 11 containers, also mislabelled as plastic for recycling, and Malaysia has returned a container. Countries including China, India, Vietnam and Taiwan have banned or restricted waste imports.

Much exported material isn't even recycled. It gets burned or dumped into rivers. Most countries, including Canada, ratified the 1989 Basel Convention, aimed at reducing waste, disposing of it in the country where it was generated and exporting it only if the receiving country gives "prior informed consent." In May 2019, countries voted to amend the convention to ban exporting hazardous and household wastes to developing countries; Canada opposed the amendment.

At the same time, our government announced it will ban non-essential, single-use plastic items starting in 2021, although it hasn't released details. EU nations have already agreed to ban plastics including "cutlery, plates, straws, ear swabs, plastic balloon sticks and drink stirrers" by 2021. Other countries and jurisdictions have either banned or agreed to ban a range of items, including plastic bags. Some are facing challenges. Victoria, B.C.'s plastic bag ban was overturned after a court challenge from the Canadian Plastic Bag Association.

The real problem is that we produce too much. Remember, the first of the Rs is reduce. Plastic products are a ubiquitous, profitable offshoot of the fossil fuel industry. Because societies are driven by consumerism, profit and constant growth, the impetus is to make more rather than less, for everything from packaging to straws.

The massive volumes of plastic we throw away - much of it unnecessary - end up in landfills, waterways and oceans, devastating wildlife and marine health. It doesn't biodegrade but breaks down into smaller particles that end up in the food web - including in us.

A huge problem is discarded fishing gear, which entangles more than 100,000 seabirds and marine animals such as whales, dolphins, sea turtles and seals yearly, often killing them. Researchers estimate that 600,000 to 800,000 tonnes of "ghost" gear ends up in the oceans every year, by accident or deliberately. According to the UN, "Some of the abandoned nets can be as big as football pitches," and "can take up to 600 years to break down, shedding microplastics as it degrades" - trapping marine life all the while.

To support the federal ban on single-use plastics, the Green Budget Coalition, representing 22 environmental organizations including the David Suzuki Foundation, is recommending the government invest in public education and compliance initiatives, support for zero-waste business investments, mapping pathways to a "circular" economy, and implementing a program to prevent and recover ghost fishing gear. A circular economy is regenerative by design; products are built to last, to be re-used, repaired or remanufactured, or to have materials recovered.

The phenomenal boom in fossil fuel-derived plastics coincided with the rise of oil and gas and auto industries, where one goal is to burn and use as much fossil fuels as possible, keeping profits and economies humming. We're now seeing the consequences of this rapid, relatively recent juggernaut: climate chaos, dying oceans and pollution everywhere - even where humans aren't.

Bans on single-use plastic items won't solve everything, but they're a good step and help raise awareness about our wasteful ways. We have numerous ways to drastically reduce plastic use, and to make better, longer-lasting products, even creating plastics with biodegradable materials such as plant cellulose.

Let's not take our abundant resources and territory for granted. "Disposable" should be unacceptable. In a finite world, everything has to go somewhere.

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

Wilbur Ross Is Sleeping Through The Burglary
The Secretary of Commerce can scarcely be found awake, but his department is still up to (incompetent) mischief.
By Charles P. Pierce

Wilbur Ross Is Sleeping Through The Burglary The Secretary of Commerce can scarcely be found awake, but his department is still up to (incompetent) mischief. In case you were wondering how Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross managed to forget about divesting his considerable personal assets before taking his job at Camp Runamuck, the explanation, thanks to Politico, is now clear. Ol' Wilbur was asleep at the time.

The Commerce Department has reached its apex of dysfunction under Wilbur Ross, according to four people with knowledge of the inner workings of the department. The 81-year-old Commerce secretary, who has for months endured whispers that he is on the outs, spends much of his time at the White House to try to retain President Donald Trump's favor, the sources said, leaving his department adrift...

"Because he tends to fall asleep in meetings, they try not to put him in a position where that could happen so they're very careful and conscious about how they schedule certain meetings," said the former outside adviser. "There's a small window where he's able to focus and pay attention and not fall asleep." A Commerce official disputed that characterization, saying that Ross has frequent afternoon meetings, including "long" meetings on the census.

Trying to stay on the good side of El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago would be an exhausting enterprise even for a man half Ross's age. But, apparently, in the middle of a costly trade war, and with the White House desperately trying to game the 2020 census, the Commerce Department is essentially adrift.
"With our ongoing trade wars and the census looming, Commerce needs functional leadership in order to be effective, and right now they just don't have it," said Theo LeCompte, a former top Commerce official in the Obama administration who speaks often with former colleagues.

One common complaint: Ross, a successful investor before Trump tapped him for his current job, isn't frequently seen in the building talking to employees or rallying them to do good work. "He's sort of seen as kind of irrelevant. The morale is very low there because there's not a lot of confidence in the secretary," said a former outside adviser to Commerce who is still in touch with many employees inside the department. "He's not respected in the building."

Ross was awake long enough to catch the solar eclipse with the now-departed Jeff Sessions.

Even when Ross is awake, his track record indicates that he's not inclined to protect his department's prerogatives against White House meddling. Despite losing in court every time it arrives there, the sub rosa purpose of the citizenship question remains curiously alive. From the Waco Tribune-Herald:
At least one Waco resident has received the 2019 Census Test, which is a 10-question survey sent out to 480,000 households in the U.S. to test the "operational effects of including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census," according to a press release the Census Bureau published last month. The 2019 Census Test randomly assigns households to two groups and asks them to respond to 2020 Census questions. One group's list includes the citizenship question.

"Findings from the nationwide test will assist in determining updates to 2020 Census operations, such as how many census takers are needed to follow up with nonresponding households and how to better communicate with households about the 2020 Census," the press release states. But Waco attorney Alan Nelson is not buying that. He represents the resident who received the survey, and his client is of Hispanic origin, he said. "It appears to be targeting minorities," Nelson said. "They get this census test, which is supposed to measure the impact of the 2020 Census, but they have a question on there which, in my opinion, is illegal and at a minimum in great dispute."

Wake up, Wilbur. Thieves are in the house.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment."
~~~ Bertrand Russell

U.S. Troops Back In Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?
By David Swanson

The First Gulf War back in 1990 was a big huge success. One of the things it accomplished was a major U.S. troop presence in Saudi Arabia. Muslims around the world were outraged. Bombs were repeatedly set off at Khobar Towers where troops were stationed. In 1998 Osama Bin Laden declared:

"For over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples. . . . The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies - civilians and military - is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim."
In 2001, the World Trade Center in New York was destroyed and the Pentagon damaged. A year and a half later, the United States removed most of its troops from Saudi Arabia, leaving some behind with various excuses and under various euphemistic labels. When Barack Obama was president, the CIA opened a drone base in Saudi Arabia from which to murder people in Yemen with missiles from robotic airplanes. This, of course, stabilized Yemen which has known peace and prosperity ever since, or something. Now, in 2019, the United States is sending more troops into Saudi Arabia again.

What could go wrong?

Well, let's state the obvious in order to move on to stating the obvious. Killing people is insane and evil. Religion is insane and evil (except yours, dear reader). Killing people because of your religion is insane and evil. Nothing whatsoever, no insane and evil killing, can justify any other insane and evil killing.

Now, moving on to the obvious, let me quote from Peace Science Digest: "Deployment of troops to another country increases the chance of attacks from terror organizations from that country. Weapons exports to another country increase the chance of attacks from terror organizations from that country. 95% of all suicide terrorist attacks are conducted to encourage foreign occupiers to leave the terrorist's home country."

I'm not aware of a foreign terrorist threat, attempt, or action against the United States, in which a motivation was stated, where that motivation was anything other than opposition to U.S. military imperialism. Statistically, religion doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. If you occupy another country, people get mad - with or without religion.

This is part of a broader picture of counter-productive self-defeating masochism. Terrorism has predictably increased during the war on terrorism (as measured by the Global Terrorism Index). 99.5% of terrorist attacks occur in countries engaged in wars and/or engaged in abuses such as imprisonment without trial, torture, or lawless killing. The highest rates of terrorism are in "liberated" and "democratized" Iraq and Afghanistan. The terrorist groups responsible for the most terrorism (that is, non-state, politically motivated violence) around the world have grown out of U.S. wars against terrorism.

So, why did I say that the war that launched all of this was a big huge success? Well, it depends on your perspective. If the goal is to sell weapons, putting more troops into Saudi Arabia is brilliant. If the goal is to provoke more violence and get more wars going, nothing could be better. If the goal is persuading people that you are attacking their religion and will listen to nothing other than violence, everything seems right on course. You're winning. Pretty soon, as Trump promised, a lot of us are going to be truly sick of all this winning.

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Bill gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Cassidy,

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 attempt to call all who oppose Lying Donald as terrorists, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 09-28-2019. We salute you Herr Cassidy, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

How Corporate Welfare Hurts You
By Robert Reich

You often hear Trump and Republicans in Congress railing against so-called "welfare programs"- by which they mean programs that provide health care or safety nets to ordinary Americans.

But you almost never hear them complaining about another form of welfare that lines the pockets of wealthy corporations. We must end corporate welfare. Now.

There are several ways corporations get rich on the taxpayer's dime. The most obvious comes through subsidies or tax breaks for certain businesses or industries.

Consider the fossil fuel industry, one of the most profitable and privileged sectors of the economy. Every year, oil companies get to deduct millions of dollars from their tax bills for the cost of new wells, oil exploration, and other drilling and mining expenses.

It's been estimated that repealing these special tax breaks would save taxpayers $39 billion over 10 years.

Other examples of corporate welfare include billions in government subsidies for agricultural conglomerates, pharmaceutical makers, tech giants and defense contractors.

Other industries don't get these benefits. Meanwhile, most families don't even benefit from tax credits and deductions for childcare.

State and local governments are also handing out corporate welfare, often with no strings attached. In 2013, for example, the state of Washington approved a record $8.7 billion handout to Boeing in order "to maintain and grow its workforce within the state." What did Boeing do? In the following years, it laid off more than 12,000 workers in the state.

State and local tax breaks for corporations are estimated to cost local schools almost $2 billion a year in lost tax revenue.

It's argued they create jobs, yet nationwide, not a single new job is created. At most, the jobs are merely moved from state to state.

How do corporations get this corporate welfare? Follow the money. They spend hundreds of millions on lobbying and campaign contributions.

An even more insidious example of corporate welfare occurs when corporations don't pay their workers a living wage. As a result, those workers often have to rely on programs like Medicaid, public housing, food stamps and other safety nets.

Which means you and I and other taxpayers end up subsidizing these low wages so those corporations can enjoy even higher profits for their executives and wealthy investors.

For example, every year, Americans spend an estimated $153 billion in taxes and on programs to subsidize McDonald's and Walmart's low-wage workers.

Here's the bottom-line: When corporations get special handouts from the government, it costs the rest of us. We have to pay more in taxes to make up for these hidden tax breaks, subsidies, and loopholes. In turn, there's less money for good schools and roads, Medicare and national defense, and everything else we need.

So the next time you hear conservatives railing against welfare handouts for the poor, remind them that we should really be cutting corporate welfare - unnecessary and unwarranted aid for dependent corporations.

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

"H-e-e-e-l-p!!!": Syria, Ilhan Omar And Netroots Nation
By Jane Stillwater

While walking down a busy street in Philadelphia the other day after attending the Netroots Nation convention, I rounded a corner and there was Bernie Sanders -- giving a speech to a crowd of protestors who were angry because their only accessible hospital was being torn down by a Los Angeles developer in order to make way for said developer's upscale condominium project. "800 pregnant women are going to have no place to give birth," said Bernie. And cancer patients who are in the middle of receiving their chemo treatments will be thrown out on the street, death swirling around their poor sweet hairless heads. Yikes!

At the Netroots Nation convention itself, I had a wonderful time, learned a lot about politics and even came back home with a bunch of free ballpoint pens. What's not to like! I even got to hear Senator Warren, Governor Inslee, Mayor Castro, Senator Gillibrand and most of "The Squad" speak (AOC couldn't make it). And I'm here to tell you that Ilhan Omar can really walk fast. She covered the space between the speakers' platform and the elevator in an even shorter time than it takes The Donald to tweet out yet another blatant hit on our morality and our paychecks.

I also went to a Netroots symposium put on by the LGBTQ community -- wherein I learned just how nice, vulnerable, friendly and well-informed that Queers can be. They took me under their wings, opened my eyes, gave me a glimpse into how life in the Gay Lane can be -- and even provided free lunch. Philly cheese steaks. Never had it before. Never want to have it again. Shredded beef slathered with Velveeta? No thank you. Even if it is free.

I was also lucky enough to hear Ilhan Omar speak to a small roomful of conference attendees and then take questions after. I, of course, just had to ask a question too. But which one? There are so many questions these days. Death in the Middle East, death in the gulags at our southern border, death in our homeless encampments, death by fire and flood due to climate emergencies....

I got up to the mic, cleared my throat and said, "$700 billion dollars a year to the Pentagon. Seven billion people on Earth. Do the math. Let's give each and every one of us a thousand dollars per year instead of wasting all that money on murder and bombs! Every single year. $1,000 dollars in our pockets. Then and only then will America be safe!" Who would want to harm the goose that is laying all these golden eggs for everyone?

But was that an actual question? C'mon, Jane. Think of an actual question. Ilhan Omar herself is listening! But I was drawing a blank. Finally I just blurted out, "The Syrian people love President Assad because he kept their country from becoming another Libya!" Now where did that come from? Then I turned to the room and cried "He-e-e-e-e-l-p!!" Help us, Netroots Nation. Help us, Rep. Omar. Help us, all you moral Americans and moral people of the world who are kind people and have good hearts. Help us from being destroyed by greedy billionaires, condo developers, racists and murderous war mongers who just love to create collateral damage.

But then at least I didn't totally embarrass myself by screaming "Blue Meanies!"

After my impassioned plea, however, someone came up to me later and started ranting that Assad was a dictator who bombed a million of his own people. No, he didn't. America, the Zionists and the Saudis did that -- with a little help from their "rebel" friends in al Qaeda. "It's well-documented," I added. Boy, did that piss this person off. Wrong answer. I finally managed to escape to the restroom to lick my (psychological) wounds.

Later, in downtown Philly, I got to chatting with a young U.S. Marine. "I will be deploying to Syria in August," he said. What? See? I was right! It is those pesky Americans who are causing trouble in Syria. I rest my case! But at least he doesn't have to worry about being bombarded with Philly cheese steaks over there. They don't have cheese steaks in Syria! Yet. But let's just wait and see what else the Blue Meanies are gonna be up to after August.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jeff Koterba ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Democrats You'd Have A Beer - Or Whatever - With
If you had to pick one of the 20 debate-qualified Democratic candidates to have a beer with, who would it be?
By Will Durst

Back in 2000, the presidential election was tight and much attention was focused on who better related to the public. Al Gore was viewed as an automaton, the product of reverse taxidermy who had to be hosed down every spring with Thompson's Water Sealant. He needed a strobe light at press conferences just to give the appearance of movement. George W. Bush, on the other hand, was a good ol' boy Texan. "Someone you could have a beer with." Of course, the whole nation remained on alert in case we had to take away the car keys.

Ever since, likability has played a pivotal election role. Except in 2016, when the two candidates were as beloved as wounded coyotes fighting over a dead rabbit in a broom closet.

If you had to pick one of the 20 debate-qualified Democratic candidates to have a beer with, you could do worse than John Hickenlooper, who helped found the Wynkoop Brewing Company before stints as Denver mayor and Colorado governor. A man who knows his India Pale Ales and Summer Wheats from his 3.2 percent Utah dishwater.

Beer expertise might not be a prime arrow in the other candidates' quivers, but they all sport individual characteristics that could endear themselves to certain distinct demographics. Some more targeted than others. For instance:

The best guy to sit on a porch in matching rocking chairs to wax poetic about the bad old days; Joe Biden.

Anybody interested in arguing the merits of Texas vs. Iowa barbecue should report directly to Beto O'Rourke.

If you want someone to belt out a couple of choruses of The Internationale with: Bernie Sanders is your man.

Planting a garden of sustainable Swiss chard mulched with leaves and pine straw? Talk to Jay Inslee.

Looking for someone to peer review new regulations for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - see Elizabeth Warren.

If you need to dust the top of a really tall bookcase, give Bill DeBlasio a call.

Curious as to how "Minnesota Nice" differs from "Minnesota Get Things Done," sidle up to Amy Klobuchar.

You want the real skinny on Marcia Clark, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Willie Brown, you need to talk to Kamala Harris.

Rate the skits in The Best of Al Franken on Saturday Night Live DVD with Kirsten Gillibrand.

Hankering to sing some Broadway musical karaoke with a Naval Intelligence officer, check out Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Talk smack about the Alabama Crimson Tide football program with Ohio State Buckeye alumni, Tim Ryan.

Looking for someone who knows someone who might could possibly get you backstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert, how about Cory Booker?

Get down and dirty as to how you'll spend your guaranteed $1,000 a month mostly on gum and candy with Andrew Yang.

Trade loco moco recipes with Tulsi Gabbard.

Discover which of the TV pundit shows has the best snacks in the green room by talking to Michael Bennet.

Discuss the ins and outs of playing The Parent Trap for real with Julian Castro.

For an extremely accurate but sympathetic tarot reading, Marianne Williamson.

Argue where Spiro Agnew ranks on the list of most corrupt Maryland politicians with John Delaney.

Lay odds on who will be the next candidates to follow in his footsteps by quitting the race with Eric Swalwell.

(c) 2019 Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed comedian, columnist, and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For past columns, commentaries and a calendar of personal appearances, please, please visit:

The Gross National Debt

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 30 (c) 07/26/2019

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

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

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

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

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