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In This Edition

Norman Solomon asks, "Who's Afraid Of Nina Turner?"

Ralph Nader sees, "Inside Bezos - A Five-Year Old Boy - Outside, A Cunning Extraterrestrial Profiteer."

Margaret Kimberley is, "Standing With The Cuban People."

Jim Hightower explores, "The Grand Larceny Of Bank(er) Robber."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Mitch McConnell Is Threatening To Stifle Debt Ceiling Vote To Get What He Wants."

John Nichols reports, "India Walton: 'Finally We'll Be Able to Put Resources Behind All of These Bold, Visionary Ideas'."

James Donahue says, "Still Expecting Jesus - Don't Hold Your Breath."

Bill McKibben returns with, "No Alberta, Don't Be Sad, We Love You Really."

David Suzuki reports, "The Climate Is Changing Rapidly, But The Oil Industry Isn't."

Charles P. Pierce demands, "Bob Moses Deserves A Statue In The United States Capitol."

Juan Cole reports, "Tunisia's President Just Made The Kind Of Coup Trump And US Republicans Plotted (And Are Plotting) Against President Biden."

Robert Reich wonders, "Why Aren't Biden And the Democrats Going All Out For Democracy?"

Naomi Klein returns with, "Stuck In The Smoke As Billionaires Blast Off."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, " Republicans Protest Lack Of Rioters On January 6th Commission," but first, Uncle Ernie considers, "A Slow And Wavier Jet Stream."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Joel Pett, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Steven Bernard, Kris Krug, Alex Wong, NOAA, Tom Williams, Robert Elfstrom, Ben Nelms, Villon Films, David Suzuki Foundation, CQ-Roll Call, Black Agenda Report, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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A Slow And Wavier Jet Stream
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"When the jet stream becomes slow and wobbly, high-pressure systems and low-pressure systems grow in magnitude and get stuck in place." ~~~ Michael Mann ~ Pennsylvania State University.

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

I see where scientists are saying that the shifting pattern of the jet stream is exacerbating the effects of global warming

Fires, floods, heatwaves and droughts. The deadly weather that has unfolded in recent weeks has left climate scientists shocked and concerned that extreme events are arriving even faster than models predicted.

In southern Oregon, a fire over an area 25 times the size of Manhattan has raged for weeks, aided by a record-shattering heatwave. In China, floods left 51 dead after a year's worth of rain fell in a single day, in the central city of Zhengzhou causing more than $10bn in damages.

And in Russia, a state of emergency has been declared in Yakutia in the Far East, where authorities are creating artificial rain by seeding clouds with silver iodine in an attempt to put out more than 200 fires.

Climate scientists say the severity of these events is simply "off scale" compared with what atmospheric models forecast, even when global warming is fully taken into account.

"I think I would be speaking for many climate scientists to say that we are a bit shocked at what we are seeing," said Chris Rapley, professor of climate science at University College London. "There is a dramatic change in the frequency with which extreme [weather] events occur."

From the deadly flooding in Germany last week, to scorching heat in Canada, and a deluge in the Black Sea region, the pace and scale of catastrophic damage has been almost unimaginable, even for experts who have spent their lives studying it.

One driver behind many of these events is the shifting pattern of the jet stream, a fast-flowing band of air that governs weather in the Northern hemisphere. It is becoming slower and wavier, particularly in summer months.

Torrential rain in Zhengzhou, the central Chinese city that is home to the world's largest iPhone assembly plant, was described by the local weather authorities as being an event that surpassed anything ever recorded. That's a years average rainfall in one day!

"When the jet stream becomes slow and wobbly, high-pressure systems and low-pressure systems grow in magnitude and get stuck in place," explains Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

This means heatwaves and drought (linked to high pressure systems) and flooding (linked to low pressure systems) both become more persistent.

The phenomenon, known as "planetary wave resonance," is behind the recent heatwave in North America, for example, where temperatures in Western Canada hit a scorching 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

It also contributed to the extreme heat in the Russian Arctic region, where extensive wildfires are producing toxic smoke that has blanketed the city of Yakutsk, a port city in Siberia, more well known as one of the coldest winter cities on the planet. The fires have caused one of the world's worst air pollution events, generating dangerous levels of particulate matter.

Mann is worried that current models do not reproduce the jet stream behaviour accurately. "This means they are underestimating the magnitude of the impact of climate change on extreme weather events," he says.

"While the overall warming of the planet is pretty much in line with climate model predictions from decades ago, the rise in extreme weather events is exceeding the predictions," Mann notes.

The world has warmed about 1.2C on average since pre-industrial times, but that warming is unevenly distributed, with the Arctic region warming about three times faster than the rest of the world largely because of the loss of reflective snow and ice.

This Arctic heating has a big impact on the jet stream, which is governed in part by the temperature difference between cool polar air and warm tropical air.

In Germany and Belgium, the slower jet stream is one factor that contributed to the flooding this month that led to the death of more than 120 people and destroyed towns and villages.

"We had a low-pressure field over central Europe which did not move, it was persistent and long-lasting. Normally our weather patterns moved from west to east," said Fred Hattermann, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.


06-09-1926 ~ 07-24-2021
Thanks for the laughs!

01-23-1935 ~ 07-25-2021
Thanks for fighting the good fight!

05-19-1949 ~ 07-28-2021
Thanks for the music!

05-03-1936 ~ 07-28-2021
Thanks for the inventions!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

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

Who's Afraid Of Nina Turner?
By Norman Solomon

Nina Turner is very scary -- to power brokers who've been spending big money and political capital to keep her out of Congress. With early voting underway, tensions are spiking as the decisive Democratic primary race in northeast Ohio nears its Aug. 3 finish. The winner will be virtually assured of filling the seat in the deep-blue district left vacant by Rep. Marcia Fudge when she became President Biden's HUD secretary. What's at stake in the special election is whether progressives will gain a dynamic champion in the House of Representatives.

For the Democratic Party establishment, the specter of "Congresswoman Nina Turner" is alarming. The former national co-chair of the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign has a proven capacity to stir fervent energy on the left around the country. Her ability to inspire at the grassroots is far beyond what mainstream party leaders can do.

All politics is local when the votes are finally counted -- but in the meantime, this contest is a national clash of political forces. Turner's endorsements include 15 progressive House and Senate members along with numerous left-leaning organizations. Her main opponent, Shontel Brown, has supporters who include the upper ranks of Democratic Party leaders as well as corporate heavy hitters.

Hillary Clinton's mid-June endorsement of Brown was later eclipsed by the third-ranking House Democrat, majority whip Jim Clyburn. He recorded a TV ad for Brown with a swipe at Turner while identifying himself as "the highest-ranking African American in Congress." In the process of throwing his political weight against Turner -- who is a strong advocate of Medicare for All -- Clyburn didn't mention his exceptional record of receiving hefty donations from the pharmaceutical industry.

Last fall, a newspaper in his home state of South Carolina, the Post and Courier, spelled out details under the headline "Clyburn Has Taken More Than $1 Million in Pharma Money in a Decade, Far Surpassing Peers." The paper reported that Clyburn "has collected more in the last decade from powerful political action committees attached to the pharmaceutical industry than anyone else in the House or Senate." Clyburn has been vocally in tune with his benefactors, warning against Medicare for All and "socialized medicine."

That Clyburn would try to undercut Turner's campaign is logical, especially given her emphatic support for Medicare for All. Likewise, one of her major campaign planks -- calling for "environmental justice" and "re-inventing our energy and transportation systems through a Green New Deal" -- would hardly appeal to the fossil-fuel mogul who is the biggest funder of the Democratic Majority for Israel super PAC, now intervening with huge ad buys to defeat Turner.

The megadonor behind that intervention is "an oil and gas executive who belongs to a billionaire family," the Intercept pointed out days ago. "Stacy Schusterman, heir and chair of Samson Energy, a fossil fuel company that owns at least 11 oil and gas wells in Wyoming, donated $1.55 million to Democratic Majority for Israel in 2019 and 2020, a super PAC that has in turn spent over $660,000 on ads" supporting Brown and attacking Turner.

Those ads have descended into blatant deception. "Brown has gained momentum in recent weeks with hundreds of thousands of dollars in support from the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, who funded flagrantly false mailers smearing Turner," the Cleveland Scene newspaper reported last week. The methodical lies included claims that Turner has opposed universal healthcare -- an assertion that earned the label "wildly dishonest" from Washington Post journalist Dave Weigel and the adjective "sleazy" from Rep. Mark Pocan, chair emeritus of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Democratic Majority for Israel is led by Mark Mellman -- a longtime strategist for AIPAC, the powerful right-wing group more formally known as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which remained closely aligned with Benjamin Netanyahu throughout his long and racist tenure as Israel's prime minister. Another spinoff from AIPAC that's also spending big bucks on advertising against Turner is a rightward-leaning outfit called Pro-Israel America. Its founder and executive director, Jeff Mendelsohn, worked as a high-level AIPAC operative for more than 10 years.

The massive amounts of advertising and vitriol being dumped on Nina Turner leave Israel and foreign policy virtually unmentioned. And she has said little about the Middle East or other aspects of foreign affairs. But her occasional comments have been clear enough to convey principled independence. In a tweet two months ago, during Israel's aerial bombardment of Gaza, she wrote: "Palestinian lives matter." The same week, she expressed solidarity with American Jews and Palestinians who had gathered in front of the State Department to call for an end to Israeli apartheid.

While well-heeled groups that demand unequivocal support for Israel's policies are funding anti-Turner ads, Shontel Brown has gone out of her way to express fulsome devotion to Israel as well as gratitude to Democratic Majority for Israel. Meanwhile, people who actually live in the congressional district have much to consider about the close-to-home records of the two leading candidates. Turner served on the Cleveland City Council and in the Ohio State Senate. Brown is a local elected official and chairs the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.

Early this month, when Cleveland's daily newspaper weighed in with an endorsement, it wasn't a close call. "There is one person in this crowded field who has shown she isn't afraid to stand up to power and to partisan shibboleths, who has the guts to say what she thinks and do what's right for her constituents and country, who is passionate about public service and knows the issues, the personalities, the challenges better than anyone else in this race," the Plain Dealer editorialized. "That person is Nina Turner." In sharp contrast, the editorial described Shontel Brown as "a pleasant but undistinguished member of Cuyahoga County Council who has little to show for her time in office."

But the national forces arrayed against Nina Turner are preoccupied with other matters -- like protecting the pharmaceutical industry's leverage over health care, or maximizing the profits of fossil-fuel companies, or maintaining Israel's power to suppress the rights of Palestinian people. In pursuit of such goals, the mission is clear: Don't let Nina Turner get to Congress.

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

Inside Bezos - A Five-Year Old Boy - Outside, A Cunning Extraterrestrial Profiteer
By Ralph Nader

Jeff Bezos touched down after his 10 minutes, 10 second vertical 66 mile zoom above Earth. He felt so on top of the Earth that he agreed to one-on-one interviews with a gaggle of salivating reporters. Looking over a list of their names, he spotted journalist Greg Galaxy and picked him first.

Galaxy: "Thank you, Mr. Bezos, for calling on me first. There are still zillions of people who don't know who you are. May I describe you as the $200 billion man or $200 B-Man, for short?"

Bezos: "Sure, but you better hurry; it may be more than that by noon, ha, ha, ha!"

Galaxy: "You sure have that distinctive laugh. Anyhow, do you think this Blue Origin zip up and back represents your dreams or is this just another high-profile business venture?"

Bezos: "Let's begin with the dreams, which I had since I was a little five-year old boy. Starting with space tourism we can move toward getting people and heavy industry into space to avert an energy crisis on Earth. We have to build a road to space so that our kids and their kids can build a future."

Galaxy: "Surely you're kidding me, $200 B-Man." "Don't you realize the cosmic complexities and the length of time involved in fulfilling your dreams?"

Bezos: "That's what they told me when I proposed to build the world's biggest business by getting consumers to abandon Main Street, pay me $100 bucks a year to get their stuff later than they could pick it up from the nearby stores, but slightly faster than other companies who only use the mail for deliveries. Ha, ha, ha."

Galaxy: "There's no comparison. Space spells infinite danger. Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars, he says, in case we ruin Earth. The environment on Mars can freeze people to death, not to mention many other lethal threats. It's one thing to dream, another to be delusional, with all due respect."

Bezos: "Ah, Galaxy, ye of little faith. Your skepticism gets me to the second part of your question. THIS IS AN ENDLESS BUSINESS IN THE WIDE-OPEN UNIVERSE, FUNDED BY AMERICAN TAXPAYERS AND RICH, BORED SUCKERS WHO WANT a ten-minute thrill straight up to give meaning to their empty lives. We've already, before printing tickets, got $100 million in ticket sales."

Galaxy: "You shake me up, sir. May I quote you verbatim?"

Bezos: "Ha, ha, ha, with a bullhorn! The New York Times gets it. They called my Blue Origin 'The Amazonification of space, with Big Tech taking over from what was once largely the domain of big government.' This thrust into Space gets free publicity like mad, gets funded by NASA contracts (you should see the fine print), and gives us all the research and development discoveries and benefits. Only in America, Galaxy!"

Galaxy: "I don't mean to be impolite, $200 B-Man, but don't you find it a bit ironic that the great Amazon Forest is on fire, its trees being cut down in the millions every month, and having taken its name free, you're giving up on Earth where you and your family still live?"

Bezos: "Greg, you just don't understand modern business. It's about massive profit margins, minimum tax payment, automated workplaces, government-funded basic research, and government guarantees against risks and losses. The rewards are infinite. The solar system can easily support a trillion humans, which means we would have a thousand Einstein's and a thousand Mozart's and unlimited, for all practical purposes, resources and solar power."

Galaxy: "You just said, 'I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this.' But you're known to want to replace all your workers with robots. Who are you going to thank when that happens?"

Bezos: "I'll thank the robots. By that time, they're able to reply, 'thank you, master.' [Greg thought the big guy was getting a little giddy]. After all, my capsule, New Shepard, took me, Mark, my brother, and two passengers up and down without a pilot - just algorithms, Greg babe, just algorithms. No strikes, no whining, no slacking, no crazy worker demands. (Voice rising) That is a key part of my business plan for the stars, then the galaxies, and the universe!"

Galaxy: One last question: $200 billion man; do you believe in God?

Bezos: "You're looking at him.... for the time being."

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

Standing With The Cuban People
By Margaret Kimberley

The current Black-centered Cuban protest operation is very well orchestrated and if Black people in this country are not careful, they will end up amplifying the dictates of U.S. imperialism.

The Movement for Black Lives has an interesting and sometimes contradictory political history. Popularly known as Black Lives Matter (BLM), they gave birth to a now international rallying cry against anti-Black racism. They are identified with the issue of police violence so much that any protest involving Black people is dubbed Black Lives Matter whether there is any connection with that group or not.

But BLM has also been problematic. Its founders have close ties to the Democratic party and its funding apparatus. Its membership has always been more radical than its leadership, who disclosed that they raised $90 million dollars in 2020 alone. The public accountability came about because their local chapters demanded more transparency and accountability.

Sometimes though they get things right, as happened when BLM released a statement demanding an end to the 60-year long sanctions imposed by the U.S. against the Cuban government and its people. The impetus for their statement came after a well orchestrated psy-op was carried out against the Cuban government.

In early July there was a sudden burst of twitter posts using #SOSCuba. There were more than 1,000 posts over two days, with five retweets per second. These automated tweets originated in Spain and were connected with Agustin Antonetti, a right wing Argentinian who used the same methods of subterfuge against Evo Morales in Bolivia and president Lopez Obrador in Mexico. A total of two million #SOSCuba tweets were sent in July.

The online bot attack succeeded and there were protests in Cuban cities on July 11. They were immediately amplified by corporate media around the world. They were modest in size but they were described as being spontaneous and of historic proportions. The media even posted photos of pro-government actions or those which took place outside of the country and represented them as home grown anti-government protests.

The manipulation added a new wrinkle which makes this campaign quite insidious. Suddenly Black Cubans were made the focus of commentary. The right wing Cuban exile community and their allies could not get buy-in for their old regime change argument if people like Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, were the face of Cuban discontent. The Mayorkas family were wealthy business owners in Cuba and when they left ended up living in Beverly Hills. That is not a good look when a high level propaganda operation is needed.

Now a new crop of Black faces have appeared on the Black News Channel on Questlove's Instagram page, and in popular culture. The #SOSCuba tweets were directed to performing artists, some of whom like Yotuel Romero have recorded songs opposing the government. Romero now lives in Miami and the title of his song Patria Y Vida is the slogan used for 60 years by Cubans who are the staunchest opponents of the revolution. This operation is very well orchestrated and if Black people in this country are not careful, they will end up amplifying the dictates of U.S. imperialism.

It is important to clarify what sanctions are and how they are used against Cuba and 38 other countries around the world. Sanctions do more than prevent U.S. individuals, banks, and businesses from doing business with the target nation. The U.S. also targets any nation that dares to defy its edict. Any country considering breaking a U.S. embargo suffers the same fate as the target.

Cubans, Syrians, Venezuelans, Iranians, Nicaraguans and others cannot conduct the international financial transactions that any nation needs in order to survive. Nor are food and medicine exempt from these restrictions. The same people who claim concern for the Cuban people are also in favor of continuing their suffering.

The plight of the Cuban people cannot be separated from Washington's sanctions. Cuban scientists developed their own Covid vaccine, Soberana, which has a high rate of efficacy. But sanctions have left them without enough syringes and they cannot provide their own people with protection from Covid.

The BLM statement was clear and principled. The ongoing blockade is causing great suffering and any critique of BLM in this instance supports U.S. imperialism, whether that is the intention of commentary or not.

The only way to show solidarity with Black Cubans is to expose U.S. aggressions which create misery for them and their fellow citizens. Any claim of concern for their lives which does not include an unequivocal demand for ending sanctions is dishonest and does Washington's bidding.

After releasing their statement BLM was under immediate attack from the self-declared right wing and from liberals who in fact have the same tendencies. The liberals are worse, as they make the case for imperialism under a variety of guises, in this case a desire to help Black people. A new trope appeared overnight, which alleged that the Cuban government is more racist than the one we live under, and that Black Cubans are supportive of the 60-year old war which has devastated their country and their lives.

The latest propaganda campaign against Cuba is well orchestrated and it must not be allowed to succeed. That is why BLM's statement must be defended. They are to be commended for stepping up at a critical moment and exposing an ongoing crime against another nation. That is the responsibility of everyone who claims to care about Cuba or about humanity anywhere in the world.

(c) 2021 Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com.

The Grand Larceny of Bank(er) Robber
By Jim Hightower

Exciting news from Wall Street: Our wealth markets are booming!

Everything from the Dow Jones Average to gold prices are rocketing to new records, showering us with wealth from above. Oh... wait. Maybe you're one of the big majority of workaday Americans who don't own stocks or gold, so maybe you're not celebrating Wall Street's big boom. But just chill, because conventional corporate wisdom assures us that the wealthy will invest their good fortunes in enterprises that eventually will produce trickle-down gains for everyone.

Excuse my rudeness, but let's take a peek at how those who're reaping today's big-buck bonanza are actually investing that wealth. Look at Wall Streeters themselves. The big banks have been making money like... well, like bankers, with their stock prices zooming up by 28 percent just since January. So, how are these moneyed elites spending this windfall? Not by making job-creating investments, but by simply giving the money to their big shareholders, including their own top executives - nearly all of whom are already among the richest people on Earth.

The main way they do this is through a slight-of-hand called a "stock buyback." The honchos simply cash out the bulk of that 28 percent increase in the value of the banks' stock price, using that money to repurchase more of their banks' own stock from lesser shareholders. Hocus-pocus, this manipulation artificially pumps-up the value of the stock these insider shareholders already own - making each of them even richer than rich, although they've done absolutely nothing to earn this increased wealth.

It's not a small scam. JPMorgan Chase is now sinking $30 billion into buying its own stock. Wells Fargo is shifting $18 billion into the scheme, and Bank of America is throwing $25 billion into its buyback. Hello - Wall Street bankers are the biggest robbers in America.

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

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell makes his way to a news conference after the Senate Republican policy luncheon in the Capitol on July 20,

Mitch McConnell Is Threatening To Stifle Debt Ceiling Vote To Get What He Wants
By William Rivers Pitt

If you enjoy the sound of gears grinding and the sight of brazen insurrectionists playing the hurt bird, this week on Capitol Hill is at the top of your menu. It's got everything: traitors running amok, Democrats actually acting like they have the majority and Republicans threatening to take the global economy hostage - again - because it's all they know how to do.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday rammed through a vote to open debate on the portion of President Biden's infrastructure plan that cannot be passed by way of reconciliation. Predictably, the vote was hamstrung by a GOP filibuster and lost 51-49; Schumer himself voted against it in the end, but only because doing so allows him to bring the measure up for another vote.

Bringing this to a vote now was an interesting decision by Schumer. All through the week, allegedly "moderate" Republicans, and more than a few Democrats, begged Schumer to hold off on the debate vote because they were really close to getting the whole thing nailed down, you guys, they swear. Schumer, after apparently having been injected with some form of galvanizing memory juice, was able to recognize foot-dragging when it was right there under his nose, and called for the vote anyway.

Schumer lost, but didn't lose, because the message was clear: This thing is coming, and GOP senators need to decide if they are going to vote against a wildly popular set of bills. It was refreshing to see the majority leader recognize when his colleagues across the aisle are wasting time for the sake of wasting time. This time, he had no truck with it, and now everyone's positions are vividly staked out.

The most significant indication that Republicans were wasting time deliberately because they have few moves left is the fact that they made all sorts of conciliatory "we'll get this done soon" noises after the debate vote failed. If they had the horses to kill the thing outright, they'd say so - and do so - in no uncertain terms. They are using "let's work together some more" the way deep-sea predator fish use phosphorescent lights at the end of an antenna stalk to lure prey in the darkness of the ocean depths. Fortunately, and perhaps only for now, Schumer appears unwilling to take the bait.

On the other side of the building, the move toward an actual investigation into the January 6 sacking of the Capitol building got spicy. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy coughed up five Republican names for the committee, including two terrible Jims: Jordan and Banks. Jordan in particular was an execrable pick, a Technicolor "eff you" to Speaker Pelosi and the whole notion of an actual investigation. Pelosi responded by chopping Banks and Jordan off McCarthy's list, at which point McCarthy had a tantrum and pulled every Republican from the panel. "We will run our own investigation," he said.

The mainstream press responded to this with entirely predictable "Oh Noes Bipartisanship!" noises, but in point of fact, McCarthy appears to have done Pelosi - and indeed the entire country - a great service.

"We should be thankful that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) just pulled Republicans out of any involvement in the select committee to examine the Jan. 6 insurrection," report Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman for The Washington Post. "In so doing, he ensured that the committee's investigation will both have more integrity and be more likely to undertake a valuable accounting."

The folks at Politico agree: "[McCarthy's] announcement that he would withdraw all his members from the panel unless she reverses course is exactly what a lot of Democrats were hoping for. Now, Democrats (plus Rep. Liz Cheney) can subpoena whomever they want, whenever they want, without any protest. If they decide to have closed-door depositions with Trump White House officials, the former president will have no spies in the room to report back. And the public hearings will be free of GOP complaints."

It's definitely weird to see Democrats go two-for-two in a strategy clash with Republicans, but they will need every once of acumen to deal with the looming fiasco behind door number three. The debt ceiling vote arrives in 10 days - that pesky thing which, if bungled, threatens to turn the global economy into Thanos infinity dust - and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that he will stifle the debt vote to get what he wants.

"Top Senate Democrats accused the minority leader Wednesday of plotting to hold the economy hostage," reports Politico, "after McConnell said he doesn't expect any Republican senators to vote to prevent the U.S. government from defaulting on its loans in the coming weeks."

Of course, Lindsey Graham is more than happy to play pilot fish to McConnell's great white shark. If you feel like you've seen this movie before, it's because you have. Esquire's Charles P. Pierce explains:

In 2010, for the first time in the country's history, the newly elected Republican congressional majorities threatened to trash the country's full faith and credit by refusing to suspend the debt ceiling. This was around when Mitch McConnell infamously referred to the debt ceiling as a "hostage that's worth ransoming." As the economy was still staggering out from under the economic catastrophe of 2008 and 2009, the mere threat of holding the debt ceiling hostage was enough to slow the economic recovery.

Comes now Lindsey Graham and his merry band, just as the entire nation is still staggering under the burden of a revived pandemic and still staggering out from under four years of presidential corruption … flipping the playbook to the same damn page. It is relevant to point out that the debt ceiling was raised three times during the last administration, including in the wake of a budget-busting tax cut, without a peep from Graham or McConnell. Graham says he'll lay out the terms of the extortion next week.

Well, bully for next week. This incipient debt ceiling crunch will almost certainly affect both the infrastructure debate and the 1/6 committee's investigation. McConnell and Graham have signaled they will turn the national and global economies into a garbage fire if they don't like the lay of things. Biden and Schumer are going to have to summon heretofore unheard-of levels of resolve to call this incredibly reckless bluff, which they must do. If they don't, all of this will come to nothing.

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

India Walton: 'Finally We'll Be Able to Put Resources Behind All of These Bold, Visionary Ideas'
The winner of Buffalo's Democratic mayoral primary knows that the key to making the bold progressive change the city needs is control of the budget and prioritization of resources.
By John Nichols

Buffalo's India Walton looks to be on track to become the first socialist mayor of a major American city since Milwaukee's Frank Zeidler left office in 1960. Her breakthrough win in the city's June 22 Democratic primary, in which she beat the four-term incumbent mayor, Byron Brown, put the 38-year-old registered nurse and housing activist in the national spotlight. She'll face strong write-in challenges by Brown and others in the November general election. But if she wins, with a grassroots campaign backed by the Working Families Party, Democratic Socialists of America, and the Erie County Democratic Party, Walton promises to make Buffalo a laboratory of democracy.

-John Nichols

JN: You have a background as an organizer and an activist. How did that help you as a candidate?

IW: I went from being a registered nurse to a community organizer to an affordable-housing developer, and in all of those roles, when we proposed sound policies that would benefit poor and working-class people in the city of Buffalo, our barrier was the City of Buffalo.

So I know that having a person like me in office is going to change so many lives, because finally we'll be able to put resources behind all of these bold, visionary ideas that are going to reduce poverty, increase access to affordable housing, and close the racial wealth and homeownership gap in Buffalo. That's what I'm so excited about.

Those are messages that are resonant with people. Buffalo's the third-poorest city of its size in the nation, and people are tired of being destitute and desperate, frankly. Folks have seen the decline of our city over the last few decades, and it's not gotten better under the current administration, especially for Black and brown, poor, and working-class people. We have shiny buildings downtown, our waterfront and Canalside is beautiful, and that has not translated into any material benefit for people who work the hardest-and folks are tired of that.

JN: Can Buffalo serve as a model for the rest of the country?

IW: Absolutely. A lot of people, when I said I was running as a first-time candidate, they're like, "Well, why mayor? Why not school board, or why not city council?" And I said, "The things that I want to get accomplished don't happen at the school board level or even at the city council level, right?"

Education is vitally important, and I want to do what I can as mayor to help support that, right? City council legislation is vitally important, and I want to work with the city council to make sure that we're passing sound legislation that benefits the majority of Buffalonians. But in order to have an impact on poverty, in order to improve health outcomes and decrease disparities in health care, and in order to close this racial wealth and home ownership gap that I keep talking about, you need the purse strings.

You have to be able to control the budget and the prioritization of the resources of the city, and that happens in the executive office, and that is the reason why I wanted to run for mayor: because we need the purse strings.

JN: If you win in November, you will be the first mayor of a major American city in decades who identifies as a socialist.

IW: It's so exciting. It's so exciting.

There was a term they used to describe socialist mayors in the past: "sewer socialist." They were called sewer socialists because one of the things that they prioritized in Milwaukee was indoor plumbing, right?

So this whole controversy about what socialism means, it just means that government functions in a way that is to the benefit of its residents.

It baffles me that this is a debate that we're having right now, coming out of a pandemic where people are enjoying things like stimulus checks, like SNAP benefits for families with children, like relief from rent and past-due water bills. In 2021, there were families - in the midst of a pandemic when they're saying the single most important thing you can do to stay healthy is wash your hands-and they don't have running water in their homes because they owe some company money.... People know that's not right.

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

Still Expecting Jesus - Don't Hold Your Breath
By James Donahue

Just because the Bible quotes Paul as promising that Jesus is coming back in the clouds to receive his "saints" doesn't mean it is going to happen. Paul was not a follower of Jesus. If the truth be known he was probably the very "Antichrist" that the scriptures warn about.

After Jesus was removed from competition Paul and his son Barnabas traveled the known Roman world and established a religion called Paulinism that was designed to make sure the followers of Jesus never turned Judaism into any kind of spiritual structure. It fooled a lot of people who had probably heard about the teachings of Jesus and were wondering what it was all about. The cult he created was adopted by Emperor Constantine about 200 years later, who changed its name from Paulinism to Christianity.

It was Paul and another member of the House of Ananus, Josephus ben Matthias who wrote much of the text and letters that found their way into the New Testament. These guys invented the magic that was allegedly displayed by Jesus the teacher. They invented the idea that Jesus rose from the dead and promised to come back to take his followers "home."

It's a great story and one that has attracted millions of followers into what has become one of the great world religions. It is popular because it promises a life after death that is far superior than the life we must live here on this planet.

When you study the real history of the Christian church it is shocking to discover just how gullible so many people in the world have been, and that the gullibility has continued for over 2,000 years. Before this, people followed similar god figures like Mithra, Horus, Buddha and Krishna who all lived magical lives, allegedly arose from the dead and some even promised to return. None of them ever kept that promise.

With this information in mind, we look upon a recent Texas Supreme Court decision to allow a family to forego the education of their children. They are making this decision because they believe the Rapture of Jesus is imminent. And if they are all going to be grabbed from the Earth and whisked off into Heaven, why do they need to learn things like reading, writing and arithmetic?

The State of Texas is well known as a place where very illiterate people seem to congregate. That state is the place that elected George W. Bush as its governor. It is the state where new school textbooks that are purposefully rewriting history are being produced. That a state Supreme Court would make such a decision just reinforces this conclusion.

(Our apologies at this point to Texas University and the citizens of Austin. This is a place where people of higher intellect are gathering and making their mark. Because a great school such as this exists there, we believe Texas has been taking a bad rap because of the fools that have been making headlines in recent years. Also I should add that my father was born in Texas so I have some root there. It may be why I get so angry when I see people in that state acting like bufoons.)

We don't choose to republish the identity of that illiterate family that chooses to keep their children out of school for religious reasons. They know who they are. We just feel sorry for the nine children in that household who are being robbed of a chance to ever compete for a place in this dog-eat-dog world.

In fairness to the court, it appears that Texas state law does not require home school families to teach state-approved curriculum or to issue standardized tests. This is why the court found no legal ground to prevent those parents from taking the insane route they have chosen.

As one writer so clearly concluded: "The family had better hope that the Rapture really is coming soon - because if it doesn't, they will have produced nine extremely unemployable people."

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

No Alberta, Don't Be Sad, We Love You Really
By Bill McKibben

Some weeks ago, the government of Alberta wrote to me-and apparently to a number of other environmentalists and environmental groups. We are all subjects of an "anti-Alberta energy inquiry," and have the right to respond to charges that are being levelled by a government commission. Alberta, it turns out, has spent three and a half million dollars in an effort to find out whether foreigners are unfairly targeting its oil-and-gas industry. I'm mentioned dozens of times in the draft report, due to be finished this week, and it contains links to lots of articles of mine explaining why the province's vast tar-sands project should be curtailed.

It's like getting a text from an old flame demanding to hear once again why you've broken up. The truth is, I'm not anti-Alberta in the least. I think that it's one of the most beautiful places on the planet, from the ice fields above Jasper to the great delta of the Peace and Athabasca Rivers in Wood Buffalo National Park. I've lectured at its universities, hiked its trails, had Tegan and Sara high on my playlist. Lake Louise! Lake Minnewanka! The Calgary Stampede! Edmonton has the largest mall in North America. Calgary was once voted the world's cleanest city, edging out Honolulu. What's not to love?

But Alberta has an enormous amount of carbon beneath its soil. If it gets dug up and burned, then it will be calculably harder to limit the damage from climate change. The best estimate for economically recoverable oil in the province is about a hundred and seventy-three billion barrels. Burning that much, according to one calculation, would produce about a hundred and twelve billion tons of carbon dioxide, which is twenty-eight per cent of the world's total remaining carbon budget if we want to have a fifty-per-cent chance (not a guarantee-a fifty-per-cent chance) of meeting the climate goals we set in Paris. Lay aside for the moment the devastation caused by mining the sludgy tar sands for oil. There's no way that a country with less than one per cent of the world's population can lay claim to more than a quarter of the atmosphere.

Alberta started feeling pressure with the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have run from the tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico. Indigenous people and Midwestern farmers and ranchers decried the damage to their lands and waters; many others (myself included) joined in to point out the damage that the pipeline would do to the climate. People went to jail, marched in huge numbers, and won: KXL won't be built. In the process, the spotlight cast on the absurdity of the tar-sands project persuaded investors and oil companies around the world to start backing away. Some of the retreat was purely financial: in a world that will need less oil, the attraction of going to a landlocked continental interior and trying to separate petroleum from sand is waning. But some of it was in response to those efforts-banks and oil companies knew that the tar sands were in the spotlight.

This awareness-raising is what the government of Alberta considers unfair. North America has turned into what the Financial Post last week called a "graveyard of mega pipeline projects," despite the government's best efforts-it spent $1.3 billion trying to keep KXL alive. And it has struck back not just at environmentalists but at other parts of Canada: Alberta's former premier, for instance, organized a boycott of British Columbia wine after that neighboring province asked for a review of the oil-spill risk associated with another tar-sands-pipeline project. Various Alberta leaders have regularly threatened to secede, a "Wexit" strategy (a reference to western Canada) that apparently Ottawa takes seriously enough to have invested at least fifteen billion taxpayer dollars in yet another pipeline to the Pacific. Alberta seems to think that it has been singled out for opposition. But the same groups-such as, which I helped found-that fight tar-sands oil have fought just as hard against Australian coal and American fracking, against pipelines that carry Dakotan oil or terminals that would export Appalachian natural gas, and against pipelines across Europe and Africa. The atmosphere can't distinguish Canadian carbon from any other kind; it all heats the planet.

You'd think that the government of Alberta would be grateful. Temperatures are soaring across the province; just three years ago, after a record heat wave, an astonishing wildfire forced the evacuation of all eighty thousand people in Fort McMurray, the center of the tar-sands complex. This month, meteorologists reported that lightning strikes across the region were ten times higher compared with a year before-seven hundred and ten thousand within a single day, as more water vapor in the hot air led to fiercer thunderstorms. "It's comparable to what you would typically see on some of the bigger lightning days in really lightning-prone regions of the United States, like Texas or Oklahoma," an expert explained. Plenty of Albertans know that the planet is heating up-in 2019, thousands of them joined Greta Thunberg at a climate rally in Edmonton-but government and industry can't seem to escape from the dream that their oil boom could just keep going. In fact, they have proposed building a new export terminal in the Arctic Ocean, the ice in which is rapidly melting.

This kind of fight will keep going on around the world, as one region after another realizes that environmental sanity requires it to keep its fossil fuels in the ground. Alberta-highly educated, and blessed with sun and wind-is in a far better position than most places to pivot to a new economy, and indeed there are signs that shift is beginning. But it won't be easy psychologically. Hence the three-and-a-half-million-dollar investment into the anti-Alberta inquiry, not to mention a thirty-million-dollar government "war room" to counter attacks on the oil-and-gas industry, last seen waging a battle against a Netflix cartoon called "Bigfoot Family."

Government of Alberta: nobody hates you. It's just that we can all do the math.

(c) 2021 Bill McKibben is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign and a contributing writer to The New Yorker. He writes The Climate Crisis, The New Yorker's newsletter on the environment.

Smoke stack in Fort McMurray Tar Sands

The Climate Is Changing Rapidly, But The Oil Industry Isn't
By David Suzuki

It's easy to think we're beyond denial over the climate crisis, now that even oil industry executives are talking about taking it seriously. But, as with many politicians, what industry leaders say publicly often belies what they're doing behind the scenes.

An investigation by Greenpeace project Unearthed has drawn the curtain back on this duplicity. Investigators posing as recruitment consultants contacted two senior Exxon lobbyists who revealed the company's ongoing campaign against efforts to address the climate emergency.

During a May Zoom call, Keith McCoy, a government affairs director in Exxon's Washington, D.C., office, admitted the company's public support for carbon pricing was little more than a talking point.

"Nobody is going to propose a tax on all Americans and the cynical side of me says, yeah, we kind of know that but it gives us a talking point that we can say, well what is ExxonMobil for? Well, we're for a carbon tax," he said.

Dan Easley, who left Exxon in January after working as chief White House lobbyist during the previous U.S. administration, talked about the company's wins under Trump, including a corporate tax rate cut, which was "probably worth billions to Exxon."

Under our current system, money is more valued than life. We share a planet, fuelled by the sun, that provides everything we need to live and live well. But we invented a system based on profit and endless growth, one that encourages rapid exploitation of nature, avaricious accumulation and rampant consumerism.

Early 20th century industrialists figured that if everyone drove around in inefficient gas-guzzling behemoths sold as "freedom," it would be a win-win, providing endless profits for the auto and oil industries. And we were off! No worries that fossil fuels - concentrated stores of solar energy that took millions of years to form - are finite and should be used wisely. Who cares that burning them extravagantly creates pollution and drives climate disruption, putting our health and all life in peril?

There's money to be made, the bulk of it concentrated in the offshore accounts of a few.

This summer, "heat domes" spread across western North America, coinciding with record low tides to wipe out billions of hardy intertidal plants and animals such as clams and mussels. June heat records broke worldwide, from northern Europe to India, Pakistan and Libya.

Devastating European floods shocked even the climate scientists who have been predicting them. Parts of Tokyo were drenched by the heaviest rainfall since measurements began.

Last year, another global heat record was broken. If June's record-breaking temperatures are any indication, this year will be among the top 10 hottest, with even hotter years looming.

What the hell are we doing?

Why are we letting industry get away with disrupting the climate past the point of survivability? Why are we letting governments subsidize and promote oil, gas and coal with tax and royalty breaks, pipeline purchases and nonsensical "war rooms" and inquiries? Why do we put up with major media outlets and industry continuing to spread dangerous climate misinformation when the science couldn't be clearer? Why do we listen to deniers at all?

The only necessary conversations about the climate crisis now are about solutions. Because industry and governments have been yammering about a gradual transition for decades while doing as little as possible to transition at all, we've missed the opportunity for "gradual."

Rapid change doesn't mean total disruption or upheaval, if we do it right. In fact, many measures necessary to resolve the climate and biodiversity crises - shifting to renewable energy, electrifying almost everything, increasing energy efficiency, protecting carbon sinks like forests, wetlands and grasslands - would also increase equality and fairness, reduce pollution, improve public health, create good jobs and even prevent pandemics.

It's all interconnected. That means what we do as individuals matters. But, as much as personal measures like conserving energy and switching from cars to active or public transport are important, what's really needed is public pressure. Get involved with others in your community, join climate strikes and actions, write to or call your political representatives and talk to people you know to help build momentum.

People who derive their wealth and privilege from continued, wasteful exploitation of fossil fuels are not going to change overnight. Now we have to.

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

Bob Moses Deserves A Statue In The United States Capitol
From the Freedom Summer to the Algebra Project, his was a truly American story.
By Charles P. Pierce

The life of Bob Moses, who died in Florida over the weekend at 86, was in every sense an American history. In the early 1960s, before all the big speeches and the TV coverage, he left Harvard and a teaching career and moved to Mississippi to register Black voters in some of the most dangerous places in the country. He went there at the urging of another unsung American hero, Ella Baker, and was mentored in the ways of Mississippi by veteran local activist Amzie Moore. In an interview found in Charles Payne's magisterial history of the period, I've Got the Light of Freedom, Moses recalled meeting Moore in a way that possesses a lot of resonance today.

Somehow, in following [Moore's] guidance there, we stumbled on the key - the right to vote and the political action that ensued.

From this, in 1964, came Freedom Summer, a sustained act of public courage unsurpassed in American history. Blacks in Mississippi, behind Bob Moses and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, organized to register voters and end the discriminatory tactics that had prevailed throughout the Jim Crow Era. Some 700 volunteers came to Mississippi to help. Two of them were named Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. They were murdered, along with James Chaney, by a fully Klan-infested local police force and stashed in an earthen dam. Moses had a bounty on his head. Other violence ensued. From the New York Times:

White segregationists, including local law enforcement officials, responded to his efforts with violence. At one point during a voter-registration drive, a sheriff's cousin bashed Mr. Moses' head with a knife handle. Bleeding, he kept going, staggering up the steps of a courthouse to register a couple of Black farmers. Only then did he seek medical attention. There was no Black doctor in the county, Mr. Moses later wrote, so he had to be driven to another town, where nine stitches were sewn into his head. Another time, three Klansmen shot at a car in which Mr. Moses was a passenger as it drove through Greenwood, Miss., Mr. Moses cradled the bleeding driver and managed to bring the careening car to a stop.
Moses knew when to compromise and when not to compromise. He stormed out of the 1964 Democratic National Convention when the party refused to seat the integrated slate of delegates from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, instead offering a watery compromise to clear the way for Lyndon Johnson's coronation. In the 1970s, after working in opposition to the Vietnam War, Moses left the country, moved to Tanzania, and went back to teaching. He spent eight years there, returned to Cambridge, and embarked on a completely remarkable second-act.

In 1982, he partnered with his daughter's eighth-grade teacher to teach algebra to his daughter and several other students since it was not offered in her school. At the time, Moses was back at Harvard, pursuing his Ph.D. in the philosophy of mathematics. Out of this, with some eventual help from the National Science Foundation, came The Algebra Project, a program to make low-income students fluent in mathematics generally and algebra in particular. Employing the same kind of clarity of vision that had made him see the ballot as the means to change Mississippi, Moses saw that the deindustrialization of the northern city and the rise of the information economy could result in generations of poor Black children. In case anyone missed the point, he memorably argued:

We are growing the equivalent of sharecroppers in our inner cities.
The Algebra Project revolutionized the teaching of mathematics and brought it to students that had been ignored for decades. Those are the people to whom Bob Moses had devoted his entire life. He was a genuine hero in the South, and I think we should put up a statue to him in the U.S. Capitol. I hear there's some room now.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt reminded us: "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Tunisia's President Just Made The Kind Of Coup Trump And US Republicans Plotted (And Are Plotting) Against President Biden
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Al Jazeera reports that Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed the prime minister, prorogued parliament for 30 days, stripped parliamentarians of their immunity and appointed himself the country's attorney general in what the opposition branded a coup.

Opposition leaders pointed out that the Tunisian constitution does not grant the president the power to take away immunity from members of parliament and does not provide for parliament to cease being in session.

Elected prime minister Hichem al-Machichi's whereabouts were not known on Sunday evening, but he is reported to have left the prime minister's residence in Carthage. Saied said he would appoint a new prime minister by fiat. The prime minister is elected by parliament.

The speaker of parliament, Rachid Ghanoushi, leader to the pro-Islam al-Nahda or Renaissance Party, branded the actions of Saied in remarks to Reuters "a coup against the revolution and the constitution," and called on the Tunisian people to come out into the streets against the president's high-handed actions. He also called on the armed forces to decline to enforce what he called unconstitutional decrees.

The constitution contains a provision for a special court to settle disputes between the president and the parliament, but Saied has refused to approve the candidates chosen as justices by parliament, ensuring that they could not be empaneled and so second-guess his actions of yesterday.

Ghanoushi says that all of the president's decrees are unconstitutional and that parliament will ignore them and will continue meeting as usual. However, when he tried to go to the parliament building, he was barred by army troops.

The fundamentalist al-Nahda Party has become extremely unpopular in some cities and its headquarters and offices have been under attack by rioters.

In contrast, large crowds of Saied's supporters have dominated the streets of Tunis, the capital (pop. 700,000). They can be seen in news videos celebrating the coup and setting off fireworks. One woman told Reuters she was happy to be free of al-Nahda.

Urban middle and upper class woman in Tunisia often deeply dislike Muslim fundamentalism, which they see as patriarchal and as aiming to constrain their educational and career opportunities and comportment in the public sphere. Many are educated in French and aspire to European standards of women's rights. Al-Nahda is much less repressive in these ways than the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and signed off on a constitution that made women and men equal under the law. It does not go far enough for a lot of secular-minded Tunisian women, however. Tunis is one of the last Muslim cities where large numbers of women resist the turn to veiling that swept the Muslim world from the 1980s forward.

Saied shrewdly struck against democracy at a time when there was very substantial discontent among the public with government performance. Tunisia is wracked by a big coronavirus outbreak, the worst in Africa. Tourism has been devastated by the pandemic, putting many out of work. The economy has suffered from lock downs. The government wanted an International Monetary Fund, but some parties would not accept the terms offered. As usual, the IMF tried to make the government cut subsidies and adopt austerity measures, firing government employees. Saied's coup may in part be an attempt to carry out the IMF directives so as to get the loans.

The events in Tunisia on Sunday reminded me powerfully of January 6 and other Trumpian Republican assaults on American democracy.

The QAnon and Nazi mob assembled by Trump on that day celebrated his authoritarian tough talk and backed dictatorship just as Saied's do today in Tunis. Some of them came armed with pipe bombs and they intended to do damage Democrats in Congress, just as Saied's brown shirts are attacking opposition party headquarters.

Trump intended to use his own brown shirts to freeze Congress just as Saied has frozen the Tunisian parliament. Trump did not want a new president certified. Saied doesn't want any interference in his plans to switch out the prime minister.

Just as Mitch McConnell refused to let Merrick Garland come up for consideration as Supreme Court justice, so as to ensure a Republican dominance on the court, so Saied had refused to let justices be confirmed who might overrule him. Trump hoped that "his" justices, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Cony Barrett, would back his efforts to overturn the electoral college vote in key swing states like Michigan and Arizona.

Trump did not appoint himself attorney general but found in Bill Barr the closest thing to a clone of himself. Barr repeatedly ran interference for Trump, including misrepresenting the Muller report so as to sideline it.

American pundits are lamenting the fall of the only government in the Arab World recognized by Freedom House as a democracy, a democracy fought for by youth activists in 2011, some of whom gave their lives for it.

But Americans should realize how close Washington, D.C. came to looking like today's Tunis. The scary thing is that Trump and his minions in Congress and state legislators are preparing to overturn elections in 2022 and 2024. America's most dangerous crisis could be just around the corner.

Bonus video:

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

Why Aren't Biden And the Democrats Going All Out For Democracy?
By Robert Reich

You'd think President Biden and the Democratic Party leadership would do everything in their power to stop Republicans from undermining democracy.

So far this year, the GOP has passed roughly 30 laws in states across the country that will make voting harder, especially in Black and Latino communities. With Trump's baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen, Republicans are stoking white people's fears that a growing non-white population will usurp their dominance. Yet while Biden and Democratic leaders are openly negotiating with holdout senators for Biden's stimulus and infrastructure proposals, they aren't exerting similar pressure when it comes to voting rights and elections. In fact, Biden now says he won't take on the filibuster, which stands firmly in the way.

What gives? Part of the explanation, I think, lies with an outside group that has almost as much influence on the Democratic Party as on the Republican, and which isn't particularly enthusiastic about election reform: the moneyed interests bankrolling both parties.

They fear that a more robust democracy would make it easier for the majority of Americans who aren't wealthy to raise taxes on the wealthy to finance all sorts of things the majority may want, from better schools to stronger safety nets.

So at the same time white supremacists have whipped up fears about nonwhites usurping their dominance, America's wealthy have spent vast sums on campaign donations and lobbyists to prevent majorities from usurping their money.

They've already whipped up resistance among congressional Democrats to Biden's plan to tax capital gains at 39.6% - up from 20% - for those earning more than $1 million. And they're on the way to convincing Democrats to restore the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes, of which they're the biggest beneficiaries.

In recent years these wealth supremacists, as they might be called, have quietly joined white supremacists to become a powerful anti-democracy coalition.

Some wealth supremacists have backed white supremacist's efforts to divide poor and working-class whites from poor and working-class Black and brown people, so they don't look upward and see where most of the economic gains have been going and don't join together to demand a fair share of those gains.

By the same token, white supremacists have quietly depended on wealth supremacists to bribe lawmakers to limit voting rights, so people of color continue to be second-class citizens. It's no accident that six months after the insurrection, dozens of giant corporations that promised not to fund members of Congress who refused to certify Biden as president are now back funding them and their anti-voting rights agenda.

Donald Trump was put into office by this anti-democracy coalition. According to Forbes, 9 percent of America's billionaires, together worth a combined $210 billion, pitched in to cover the costs of Trump's 2020 campaign. During his presidency Trump gave both parts of the coalition what they wanted most: tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks for the wealth supremacists; legitimacy for the white supremacists.

The coalition is now the core of the Republican Party, which stands for little more than voter suppression based on Trump's big lie that the 2020 election was stolen, and tax cuts for the wealthy and their corporations.

Meanwhile, as wealth supremacists have accumulated a larger share of the nation's income and wealth than at any time in more than a century, they've used a portion of that wealth to bribe lawmakers not to raise their taxes. It was recently reported that several American billionaires have paid only minimal or no federal income tax at all.

Tragically, the Supreme Court is supporting both the white supremacists and wealth supremacists. Since Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joined in 2005 and 2006, respectively, the court has been whittling away voting rights while enlarging the rights of the wealthy to shower money on lawmakers. The conservative majority has been literally making it easier to buy elections and harder to vote in them.

The Democrats' proposed "For the People Act" admirably takes on both parts of the coalition. It sets minimum national standards for voting, and it seeks to get big money out of politics through public financing of election campaigns.

Yet this comprehensiveness may explain why the Act is now stalled in the Senate. Biden and Democratic leaders are firmly against white supremacists but are not impervious to the wishes of wealth supremacists. After all, to win elections they need likely Democrats to vote but also need big money to finance their campaigns.

Some progressives have suggested a carve-out to the filibuster solely for voting rights. This might constrain the white supremacists but would do nothing to protect American democracy from the wealth supremacists.

If democracy is to be preserved, both parts of the anti-democracy coalition must be stopped.

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

Stuck In The Smoke As Billionaires Blast Off

Climate inaction was never really about denial. Rich countries just thought poorer countries would bear the brunt of the crisis.

By Naomi Klein

Many people here think they are safe from climate change, the journalist from a German newspaper explained to me. They don't see it as an immediate threat, like Covid-19. They see the Greens as scolds who want to take away their cheap holidays. "What do you have to say to them?" The question came via video call in late June, and I was, at that very moment, pickled in my non-air-conditioned home, gripped by a heatwave that would, before the week was done, kill about 500 people in British Columbia, Canada, and cook perhaps a billion marine creatures on scorching shorelines. Over the years, I have faced many such "why should I care" questions, and I usually try to reach for some kind of moral argument about our responsibility to fellow humans even when we aren't immediately impacted. But because I was far too hot and angry for high-mindedness, what I had to say instead was "Give it a minute."

What I meant was that when it comes to making a political calculus about what people will and will not accept by way of climate policy, it's never wise to count out the Earth as a key actor. Our planet has a way of inserting itself into these calculations, rapidly changing the views of those who imagined themselves to be safe.

That has certainly been the case in Germany ahead of federal elections coming up in September. In June, the Green Party was sliding in the polls, under heavy attack as killjoys for carbon-pricing plans that would threaten beloved vacations in Mallorca (in response to the backlash, the party backed off those tough policies). Less than a month later, the political landscape looks very different. German officials expect the death toll from July's floods to climb to well over 200 people, with many more injured and core infrastructure swept away. Climate change is now at the center of the German election debate, and the Greens are under attack from the climate left for going soft.

When I published "This Changes Everything" way back in 2014, I included a quote from Sivan Kartha, senior scientist with the Stockholm Environment Institute: "What's politically realistic today may have very little to do with what's politically realistic after another few Hurricane Katrinas and another few Superstorm Sandys and another few Typhoon Bophas hit us."

Sure enough, we have experienced another few of those storms, and then a few more. Recent flooding in Henan, China, is being described as the heaviest in 1,000 years, displacing some 200,000 people. It's a good bet that it won't be another thousand years before this kind of disaster strikes again. And then there is the fire and smoke, summer after suffocating summer. California. Oregon. British Columbia. Siberia. Little wonder, then, that a new Economist/YouGov poll finds that for the first time since it began the survey in 2009, U.S. respondents now rank climate change as their second most important political issue - topped only by health care. Climate even beat out "the economy," while crime, gun control, abortion, and education all trailed far behind.

This kind of issue ranking is, of course, absurd. The fact that anyone thinks the stability of the planetary systems that support all life can be pried apart from "the economy" or "health" - or much of anything at all - is a symptom of the mechanistic hubris that got us into this mess. If our climate collapses, so does everything else, and that should be the beginning of all discussions on the topic. Still, the poll reflects the reality that something dramatic is changing in public perception: a dropping away of the fantasy of safety in the wealthier parts of the world, as well as the beginnings of cracks in the faith that money and technology will find solutions just in the nick of time.

Climate inaction in the rich world was never really about denial. Belgians and Germans knew climate change was real; they just thought poorer countries would bear the brunt of it. And up until recently, they were right. A few years ago, a well-known meteorologist in Belgium told me that her biggest challenge in communicating the urgency of the climate crisis was that her viewers actively looked forward to having a warmer climate, which they imagined as something closer to the Burgundy region of France. Similarly, Oregon and Washington state, just a couple of years ago, were coping with skyrocketing housing costs as throngs of Californians moved north. Many believed the predictions that the Pacific Northwest would be a big climate winner, with some mapping suggesting that the region would be protected from the drought, heat waves, and fires that were tormenting the southwestern U.S. - while a little more heat and a little less rain would make Washington's and Oregon's chilly, wet climates more like California in its glory days. It seemed not just safer but, to many flush with tech cash, also like a smart real estate move. Well, it turns out that a planet going haywire doesn't behave in linear ways that are easy for real estate agents or ultrarich doomsday preppers to predict. Yes, a warmer world means California's temperatures become more like Mexico's, and Oregon's a little more like California's. But it's also true that everywhere turns upside down. The Pacific Northwest isn't adapted to the kind of heat that is commonplace in Southern California and Nevada, and the lack of air conditioning is the least of it. Salmon - our region's keystone species - need cool water to survive, and young salmon grow up in bodies of fresh water that this summer have warmed up like hot tubs. Scientists fear that many of the young fish will not make it.

If salmon populations collapse, that will trigger a cascade of loss reaching well beyond the commercial fishery. These animals are sacred to every Indigenous culture in the region; they are critical food to iconic (and vulnerable) marine mammals including orcas and Steller sea lions; and they are integral to the health of temperate rainforests, not only to the bears and eagles who feed on them but also to the carbon-sequestering trees they fertilize.

As for the idea that Californians should move north to escape fire, that dream has obviously gone up in flames. Last summer, deadly wildfires forced evacuations just east of Portland, Oregon, and as I write, smoke from the state's Bootleg fire is contributing to the plume that blotted out the sun as far away as New York City. So, no, Oregon is not safe. New York is not safe. Germany is not safe. Nowhere that imagined itself safe is safe.

That was the message from a coalition of nations on the front lines of climate disruption. Responding to the German floods, the Climate Vulnerable Forum issued a statement, signed by Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives.

On behalf of the climate vulnerable countries I would like to express solidarity and offer my support and prayers to the people of Germany as they suffer the impacts of these catastrophic floods. While not all are affected equally, this tragic event is a reminder that in the climate emergency no-one is safe, whether they live on a small island nation like mine or a developed Western European state.
The subtext, of course, was that safety has long been a distant dream for people living in low-lying islands like the Maldives, and that record-breaking heat and floods have been stealing lives, from Pakistan to Mozambique to Haiti, for a good while now. Moreover, if rich countries like Germany and the U.S. had heeded the calls coming from countries like the Maldives (whose government held a desperate underwater cabinet meeting in 2009 in an attempt to raise the alarm about sea level rise ahead of a United Nations climate summit), much of the pain now locked in might have been avoided. The truth is that our planet and its people have sounded a symphony of alarms in past decades; the powerful simply chose not to heed them.

Why? It comes back to those stories so many of us in the rich world have been telling ourselves about our relative safety. That when the climate crisis hit, it would be others (read: Black, brown, Indigenous, foreign) who would bear the risks. And if that turned out to be a bad bet, and the crisis came to our communities, then we would simply move somewhere more protected. To Oregon or British Columbia or the Great Lakes or maybe, if things get really dire, Alaska or the Yukon. In other words, we would do precisely what North American, European, and Australian governments ruthlessly punish and vilify migrants on our borders (including climate migrants) for doing: attempting to get to safety. As water scientist Peter Gleick recently wrote, we are seeing the emergence of "two classes of refugees: those with the freedom and financial resources to try, for a while at least, to flee from growing threats in advance, and those who will be left behind to suffer the consequences in the form of illness, death and destruction."

In this summer of fires and floods, it appears to be dawning on many that even this sinister form of climate apartheid is likely an illusion for all but the ultrarich. As Nasheed said, and as the New York Times echoed in an ominous headline overlaid on a photograph of a burning building: "No one is safe." We are all trapped in this crisis - whether under that relentless pall of smoke, or in a heat that hits like a physical wall, or under rains and winds that will not stop. Even in the United States, built on the foundational lie of the frontier, the climate crisis can no longer be fobbed off on some faraway place or to some far-off future time. We are fresh out of "out theres" - whether spatially or temporally.

Except, of course, for Jeff Bezos, the man who just in case we missed his cartoonish pluri-planetary frontier fantasy, wore a cowboy hat and boots for the joyride and came back gushing about how he had seen the future, and it was toxic space dumps. "We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry, and move it into space and keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is," he said moments after touchdown.

This, right there, is the crux of our crisis: the persistent fantasy, despite all reason and evidence, that there are no hard limits to capital's capacity to keep turning life into profit, that there will always be a new frontier to keep the lucrative game going. As Justine Calma wrote in The Verge, "Sticking unwanted stuff in a place that's seemingly out of sight, out of mind is a tired idea. It's the same old mindset that has dumped industrial waste on colonized peoples and neighborhoods of color for centuries." And it's the same old mindset that convinced residents of Germany and the United States that climate breakdown wasn't an urgent crisis - until it broke all over them.

If it were only Bezos who thought like this, we could ground him, tax him, and be done with it. But he is only the crassest manifestation of a logic that pervades our ruling class: from Sen. Ted Cruz jetting off to the five-star Ritz-Carlton in Cancún, Mexico, while Texas froze to Peter Thiel planning his luxury bunker in New Zealand. And so long as the rich and powerful continue to believe that there is an "out there" to absorb their messes, they are going to fiercely protect the business-as-usual machine that will keep the rest of us burning down here.

(c) 2021 Naomi Klein is Senior Correspondent at The Intercept and the inaugural Gloria Steinem Chair of Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University. Naomi Klein's book "On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal" will be published in September by Simon & Schuster. On September 9, she will appear with Greta Thunberg at an event hosted by The Intercept. To read all her latest writing visit You can follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Joel Pett ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Republicans Protest Lack Of Rioters On January 6th Commission
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Casting a dark cloud over the select committee investigating the January 6th insurrection, congressional Republicans protested, in no uncertain terms, the panel's "utter lack of rioters."

Leading the charge was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who called the commission "little more than a gussied-up festival of anti-riot propaganda."

"Nancy Pelosi's handpicked Democratic panel members all have one thing in common: none of them took part in the riot," McCarthy said. "Without an equal number of rioters on the panel, we'll never get to hear both sides of this thing."

McCarthy said that he had drawn up a list of potential rioters to serve on the commission, including the "QAnon Shaman," Jake Angeli.

"I've spoken to the Shaman, and he's up for it," McCarthy said. "He just got his fur pelts dry-cleaned."

(c) 2021 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 30 (c) 07/30/2021

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