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In This Edition

Norman Solomon reports, ""Fortress Mentality" Among US Leaders Has Trapped Us In A Cycle Of Militarism."

Ralph Nader is for, "Weaning The State Department From War-Making To Peaceful Robust Diplomacy."

Leonard Pitts Jr. returns with, "Let's Talk About The Nazis."

Jim Hightower says, "Shhh, The Governor Is Listening."

William Rivers Pitt explores, "If Trump Wins In 2024, Christian Nationalism Could Reign Supreme In Government."

John Nichols finds, "Pete Seeger Outlasted The Bastards."

James Donahue considers, "The Brainwashing Of The Masses."

David Swanson is, "Negotiating Peace With Monsters."

David Suzuki exclaims, "For Healthy Habitats, Leave It To The Beavers - And Other Animal Engineers!"

Charles P. Pierce says, "Welcome To Texas, Cradle Of American Theocracy."

Juan Cole warns, "Greenland Loses 6 Billion Tons Of Ice In 3 Days, Harbinger Of Unprecedented Coastal Flooding."

Robert Reich says, "Trump's Attempted Coup Continues - Even After January 6 Hearings Are Over For Now."

Thom Hartmann reports, "Welcome To The Anthropocene - The Age Of Human Die-offs."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Pete Buttigieg Apologizes To Husband After Moaning Name Of Interstate During Sex," but first, Uncle Ernie exclaims, "Talk About A Paradox!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Rick McKee, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, David McNew, Kent Nishimura, Kevin Schmid, Robert Daemmrich, Francesco Ungaro, Ulrik Pedersen, Rebecca Noble, Enrique Meseguer, Jim Hightower, Twitter, Pixabay, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, YouTube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

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Talk About A Paradox!
By Ernest Stewart

"Corporate polluters, their phony think tanks and political toadies like to marginalize environmentalists as tree huggers, or radicals. But there is nothing radical about clean air or water." ~~~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

It's one of the paradoxes of global warming. Burning coal or gasoline releases the greenhouse gases that drive climate change. But it also lofts pollution particles that reflect sunlight and cool the planet, offsetting a fraction of the warming. Now, however, as pollution-control technologies spread, both the noxious clouds and their silver lining are starting to dissipate.

Using an array of satellite observations, researchers have found that the climatic influence of global air pollution has dropped by up to 30% from 2000 levels. Although this is welcome news for public health-airborne fine particles, or aerosols, are believed to kill several million people per year-it is bad news for global warming. The cleaner air has effectively boosted the total warming from carbon dioxide emitted over the same time by anywhere from 15% to 50%, estimates Johannes Quaas, a climate scientist at Leipzig University and lead author of the study. And as air pollution continues to be curbed, he says, "There is a lot more of this to come."

"I believe their conclusions are correct," says James Hansen, a retired NASA climate scientist who first called attention to the "Faustian bargain" of fossil fuel pollution in 1990. He says it's impressive scientific detective work because no satellite could directly measure global aerosols over this whole period. "It's like deducing the properties of unobserved dark matter by looking at its gravitational effects." Hansen expects a flurry of follow-up work, as researchers seek to quantify the boost to warming.

Some aerosols, such as black carbon, or soot, absorb heat. But reflective sulfate and nitrate particles have a cooling effect. For many years, they formed from polluting gases escaping from car tailpipes, ship flues, and power plant smokestacks. Technologies to scrub or eliminate this pollution have spread slowly from North America and Europe to the developing world. Only in 2010 did air pollution in China begin to decline, for example, and international restrictions on sulfur-heavy ship fuel have come just in the past few years.

The new study, submitted as a preprint to Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics in April and expected for publication in the next few months, grew directly out of last year's U.N. climate assessment. It included studies showing aerosol declines in North America and Europe but no clear global trends. Quaas and his co-authors thought two NASA satellites, Terra and Aqua, operating since 1999 and 2002, might be able to help.

The satellites tally Earth's incoming and outgoing radiation, which has enabled several research groups, including Quaas and his colleagues, to track the increase in infrared heat trapped by greenhouse gases. But one instrument on Aqua and Terra has also shown a decline in reflected light. Models suggested a decrease in aerosols is partly responsible, says Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. "It's very hard to find alternate reasons for this," he says. Quaas and his co-authors have now taken things a step further with two instruments on Terra and Aqua that record the haziness of the sky-and therefore its aerosol load. From 2000 to 2019, haze over North America, Europe, and East Asia clearly declined, although it continued to thicken over coal-dependent India.

Aerosols don't just reflect light on their own; they can also alter clouds. By serving as nuclei on which water vapor condenses, pollution particles reduce cloud droplet size and increase their number, making clouds more reflective. Reducing pollution should undo the effect-and using the same instruments, Quaas and his team found a clear decrease in cloud droplet concentrations in the same regions where aerosols declined.

The evidence in the paper is clear, says Joyce Penner, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. "It's remarkable that we're seeing this already," she says. "This is contributing a lot to the climate changes we're seeing in the current era." Just how much this declining reflectivity has boosted recent warming is hard to quantify, says Stuart Jenkins, a doctoral student at the University of Oxford who is also studying the aerosol decline. In forthcoming work, Jenkins will show there's just too much natural variability in the past 20 years to pick out the effect of clearer skies.

Whatever the exact contribution, it is sure to grow as air quality continues to improve around the world. The answer isn't to keep polluting, says Jan Cermak, a remote-sensing scientist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. "Air pollution kills people. We need clean air. There is no question about that." Instead, efforts to reduce greenhouse gases need to be redoubled, he says.

As Meatloaf once sang, "It's always something!"

I thought we were a goner, as it looked like we lost our sponsor of 18 years. I didn't have the money to pay for the space myself. Which is why we didn't publish last week, but Monday they reconsidered and here we are again! For how long, I know not, but for as long as that is we'll continue to lay down the truth. It seems there is no rest for the wicked!


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

FBI Director Christopher Wray (left), NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone, Director of
National Intelligence Avril Haines, CIA Director William Burns and DIA Director Lt.
Gen. Scott Berrier testify before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in
the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 8, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

"Fortress Mentality" Among US Leaders Has Trapped Us In A Cycle Of Militarism
By Norman Solomon

Mainstream media and politics routinely assume that the United States is a well-meaning global giant, striving to keep dangerous adversaries at bay. So, it was just another day at the imperial office on July 19 when FBI Director Christopher Wray declared: "The Russians are trying to get us to tear ourselves apart. The Chinese are trying to manage our decline, and the Iranians are trying to get us to go away."

Such statements harmonize with the prevailing soundscape. The standard script asserts that the United States is powerful and besieged - mighty but always menaced - the world's leading light yet beset by hostile nations and other sinister forces aiming to undermine the USA's rightful dominance of the globe.

A fortress mindset feeds the U.S. government's huge "defense" budget - which is higher than the military budgets of the next 10 countries combined - while the Pentagon maintains about 750 military bases overseas. But victimology is among Washington's official poses, in sync with a core belief that the United States is at the center of the world's importance and must therefore police the world to the best of its capacity. In recent decades, U.S. military power has faced new challenges to retain unipolar leverage over the planet in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse. (Heavy is Uncle Sam's head that wears the crown.) Along with the fresh challenges came incentives to update the political lexicon for rationalizing red-white-and-blue militarism.

Ever since Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave the motto its bigtime national debut in February 1998 on NBC's "Today Show," efforts to portray the U.S. as an "indispensable nation" became familiar rhetoric - or at least a renewed conceptual frame - for U.S. interventionism. "If we have to use force," she said, "it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."

In 2022, such verbiage would easily fit onto teleprompters at the highest levels of the U.S. government. The appeal of such words has never waned among mass media and officials in Washington, as the United States simultaneously touts itself as the main virtuous star on the world stage and a country simply trying to protect itself from malevolence.

Consider FBI Director Wray's rhetoric about official enemies:

"The Russians are trying to get us to tear ourselves apart."
This theme remains an establishment favorite. It dodges the grim realities of U.S. society - completely unrelated to Russia - such as longstanding and ongoing conflicts due to racism, misogyny, income inequality, corporate power, oligarchy, and other structural injustices. The right-wing menace to human decency and democracy in the United States is homegrown, as the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol made chillingly clear.

This month, while the horrific and unjustified Russian war in Ukraine has continued, the United States has persisted with massive shipments of weapons to the Ukrainian government. Meanwhile, official interest in genuine diplomacy has been somewhere between scant and nonexistent. One of the few stirrings toward rationality from Capitol Hill came early this month when Rep. Ro Khanna told The Washington Post: "People don't want to see a resigned attitude that this is just going to go on as long as it's going to go on. What is the plan on the diplomatic front?" Several weeks later, the Biden administration is still indicating no interest in any such plan.

"The Chinese are trying to manage our decline."

Leaders in Washington don't want the sun to set on the U.S. empire, but China and many other nations have other ideas. This week, news of Nancy Pelosi's intention to visit Taiwan in August was greeted with cheers from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, which wrote that she deserved "kudos" for planning "what would be the first trip to the island democracy by a House Speaker in 25 years."

At midweek, President Biden expressed concern about the planned trip, saying: "I think that the military thinks it's not a good idea right now. But I don't know what the status of it is." However, his team's overall approach is confrontational, risking a potentially catastrophic war with nuclear-armed China. Despite dire warnings from many analysts, the U.S. geopolitical stance toward China is reflexively and dangerously zero-sum.

"The Iranians are trying to get us to go away."

Iran's government adhered to the nuclear deal enacted in 2015, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). But the Trump administration pulled out of the pact. Rather than swiftly move to rejoin it, the Biden administration has dithered and thrown roadblocks.

Two weeks ago, Secretary of State Antony Blinken disingenuously announced: "We are imposing sanctions on Iranian petroleum and petrochemical producers, transporters, and front companies. Absent a commitment from Iran to return to the JCPOA, an outcome we continue to pursue, we will keep using our authorities to target Iran's exports of energy products."

In response, Quincy Institute Executive Vice President Trita Parsi tweeted: "Biden is continuing and embracing Trump's max pressure policy, while expecting a different result. All of this could have been avoided if Biden just returned to the JCPOA via Exe order" - with an executive order, as he did to reverse President Trump's withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization.

What continues - with countless instances of repetition compulsion - is the proclaimed vision of the United States of America leading the charge against the world's badness. Beneath the veneer of goodness, however, systematic hypocrisy and opportunistic cruelty persist on a massive scale.

A case in point is Biden's recent journey to the Middle East: The presidential trip's prominent features included fist-bumping with a Saudi monarch whose government has caused a quarter-million deaths and vast misery with its war on Yemen, and voicing fervent support for the Israeli government as it continues to impose apartheid on the Palestinian people.

Leaders of the U.S. government never tire of reasserting their commitment to human rights and democracy. At the same time, they insist that an inexhaustible supply of adversaries is bent on harming the United States, which must not run away from forceful engagement with the world. But the actual U.S. agenda is to run the world.

(c) 2022 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Weaning The State Department From War-Making To Peaceful Robust Diplomacy
By Ralph Nader

Other than being an adjunct booster of overseas Pentagon military operations and refortifying its vulnerable embassies, what does the U.S. State Department stand for and do anymore?

Sometimes it's hard to see much difference with the much larger Department of Defense (DOD). Its more belligerent statements or threats since Bill and Hillary Clinton's days have made the DOD sound almost circumspect.

Recall it was Secretary of State, 'Generalissima' Hillary Clinton, under Obama, who, against the opposition of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, pressed the President in 2011 to unlawfully overthrow the Libyan regime unleashing chaos, violence and mayhem in Libya and in neighboring African nations that still prevails today. (Later, Obama said it was his biggest foreign policy regret.

Our country's founders established the State Department in 1789 to conduct diplomacy (plus consular duties). Its charter explicitly instructs its function to be peaceful relations with other nations.

We now have Secretary of State Antony Blinken who comes from the Hillary Clinton school of routine, unconstitutional and unlawful adventures overseas. He is ignoring the arms control treaties, especially with Russia, that have either expired, are about to expire, or are violated by both Russia and the US and other nations such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Then there are the treaties signed by 100 or more countries to which the U.S. State Department has scarcely made a move for Senate ratification. These include the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the International Criminal Court, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, the Convention on the Cluster Munitions and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Waging peace and conflict resolution should be the State Department's main mission. There is a lot of inherited work for Antony Blinken and a revived foreign service corps to engage big time. Mr. Blinken could press aggressively for 'cease fires' for example, as with Russia's war in Ukraine.

In 2019, former president Jimmy Carter called the United States "the most warlike nation in the history of the world," adding that only 16 years out of our nation's 242 years were times of peace.

Washington and its "military-industrial-complex" (President Eisenhower's words) have set records toppling foreign governments that were duly elected by the people, and propping up right-wing dictatorships in Latin America, Africa and Asia, so long as they obey us and our corporations. (See: War is a Racket by General Smedley D. Butler, 1935).

Against this militaristic mania, you may wish to know about the Veterans for Peace (VFP) organization of which I am a member. VFP is embraced by veterans from all our wars going back to World War II. Its members have written, spoken, picketed and pursued non-violent disobediences against the recent wars of the U.S. Empire. VFP has highlighted the immense harm done to millions of innocent victims in these countries, speaking out against the injuries and illnesses of returning U.S. soldiers. VFP advocates for robust peace missions and enforceable arms control treaties.

I found VFP's short report on the connections between militarism, environmental destruction and climate violence, especially noteworthy. (See,

Veterans for Peace challenges the proliferating impact of militarism and the vast bloated unauditable military expenditures throughout our political economy, culture and educational institutions.

With the leadership of Executive Director Garett Reppenhagen, VFP is planning a major expansion of its activities. Membership is open to non-veterans and they welcome donations. In particular, very wealthy elderly people who are looking for a universal cause to recognize might envision what a new future of peace and social justice looks like for our posterity. They can call Mr. Reppenhagen at 314-899-4514 / 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).

A swastika flag is seen outside of the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on July 23, 2022.

Let's Talk About The Nazis
The original arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant Donham should be served. Justice demands she not evade accountability in Till's lynching.
By Leonard Pitts Jr.

We'll get to the Nazi flags in a moment.

First, however, let us turn to Merriam-Webster for clarification of a point recently made in this space that left a few of you vexed. It came in a passage that noted the right wing's attempted takeover of state voting apparatuses and contended that because of it, 2024 could be the last meaningful election we ever have. "Fascism is on our doorstep," it said. It seemed a self-evident truth, but it didn't sit well with some on the right.

"You have become more hysterical and hyperbolic," said "Jack."

"A great example of why Dems aren't taken seriously any more," said "Eric."

"[Fascism] would be the mask and vaccine mandates," said "James."

Hence, the recourse to Merriam-Webster, where we learn that fascism is, in fact, "a political philosophy, movement, or regime . . . that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader . . . and forcible suppression of opposition."

So let's parse that, shall we? Who do we know who exalts nation ("I am a nationalist, OK?") and race ("I want [President Obama] to show his birth certificate.")? Who can we think of who admires centralized, autocratic government ("[Kim Jong Un] is the head of a country, and I mean, he is the strong head. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.") What recent president so believes in forcible suppression of the opposition that protesters in Washington were gassed and beaten so he could walk through Lafayette Square, while those in Portland were dumped into unmarked vans for unstated reasons by unidentified federal agents?

The answer, of course, is Donald Trump, to whom much of the right swears fealty above the Constitution itself. Twenty months after Joe Biden won the presidency in an election that was not close, most of them still insist he did not. As noted previously, a number of those election deniers are seeking - or already hold - offices allowing them to oversee voting in battleground states. And Jonathan Swan of Axios recently reported that supporters of the disgraced former president are planning to fire thousands of career civil servants from government posts and replace them with loyalists should he ooze his way back into office.

Friends, these are structures of fascism. The word describes not "mask mandates," but strongman rule - think Putin, Kim or Castro - in which "Dear Leader" is unbound by such trivialities as the laws, the courts or the ballot. This is what Trump desires to have - and the political right aspires to give him. The rest of us would do well to understand this, given the mortal threat it poses.

And that brings us to the story of the swastika flags - which offers an eloquent rebuke to the denialism so prevalent on the right. It seems Hitler's banners were carried by demonstrators who turned up outside a conservative gathering last week in Tampa. The Florida Holocaust Museum was, not surprisingly, appalled and Turning Point USA, sponsor of said gathering promptly distanced itself. "We have no idea who they are or why they're here," said spokesman Andrew Kolvet.

Which was naive, if not downright disingenuous, for the representative of a convention whose attendees worship Trump like Jesus. But then, he might have choked on the likely truth. Namely, that the Nazis simply sought the company of like-minded people.

And knew just where to find it.

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

Shhh, The Governor Is Listening

By Jim Hightower

Although we haven't even gotten through this year's midterm congressional elections, it's still not too early to start examining some of the characters who hope you'll make them president in 2024.

I know, you don't want to... but we must. That's because corporate elites have already chosen their favorites, and they intend to use massive sums of money, lies, more money, PR slickum, and even more money to slide their toady into the Oval Office, hoping you don't discover until it's too late that their chosen one really is a toad.

Take Ron DeSantis. The GOP's far-right, power hungry, narcissistic Florida governor promises to be the next Donald Trump - only more effective and not as nice. For example, his favorite gubernatorial hobby is the Orwellian practice of monitoring and censoring people's speech and thoughts, culling out ideas he deems objectionable.

"Don't Say Gay," is his most infamous dictate to the state's teachers, but he has also outlawed any teachings that might "denigrate the Founding Fathers." Nor will he tolerate the study of institutional racism in America. Indeed, he has even mandated that social studies textbooks (Get this!) must not include concepts of social justice. Ron adamantly opposes what right-wingers call a "woke" society - he wants one that's asleep.

Sound asleep. He recently rallied his right-wing cadre to ban some math textbooks. Yes, Math! They screech that some real-life topics like wage disparities are being used to make math problems relevant to today's students - so it was Fahrenheit 451 for those books. Thus far, DeSantis' censorship binge has nixed 42 math books for "incorporat[ing] prohibited topics."

Imagine what he could ban as president! Did I mention that DeSantis is also forming his own gubernatorial military force - a state army he can deploy in "emergencies"? What's an emergency? He says he'll decide.

(c) 2022 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates,"is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

An evangelical Christian Donald Trump supporter carries flags at the site of a
"White Lives Matter" rally on April 11, 2021, in Huntington Beach, California.

If Trump Wins In 2024, Christian Nationalism Could Reign Supreme In Government
By William Rivers Pitt

In the movie Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, evil Emperor Palpatine transmits a message to all stormtrooper commanders: "Execute Order 66." Immediately, the troopers begin slaughtering Jedi wherever they find them, and the massacre spans the galaxy. Only a few escape, Yoda being one, and when it is all over, the Jedi have essentially ceased to exist.

A similar idea appears to have been rattling around in the gumball machine that is Donald Trump's mind since the second half of his tenure. It is an executive order they call "Schedule F," which Trump first signed in October of 2020 after his team compiled it in secret. President Biden rescinded the order shortly after taking office, but Trump has made it clear that Schedule F would be central to his first 100 days in office if he wins in 2024.

Schedule F involves nothing less than the obliteration of vast swaths of the federal workforce, who would reportedly be replaced by employees loyal to Trump and his madding MAGA horde. It is the realization of Steve Bannon's war on the administrative state, combined with Trump's apparently bottomless need to inflict chaotic pain in the name of revenge, and would damage the function of the federal government for generations.

There is always a certain amount of employee turnover from one administration to the next; some 4,000 jobs are considered "political," or are part of the spoils system that victorious politicians and parties use to reward loyalty. Recall in March 2017, when Trump ordered then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire 46 United States attorneys. This was an abrupt move, but not unprecedented; my own father was a U.S. attorney in Alabama, a Clinton appointee, and he got broomed out when George W. Bush took office in 2001. More recently, "The Biden administration will begin removing all Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys appointed during the Trump administration, with two exceptions," NBC News reported in February 2021.

This is not that, as Axios's Jonathan Swan has meticulously explained:

Former President Trump's top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is re-elected, purging potentially thousands of civil servants and filling career posts with loyalists to him and his "America First" ideology, people involved in the discussions tell Axios. The impact could go well beyond typical conservative targets such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Trump allies are working on plans that would potentially strip layers at the Justice Department - including the FBI, and reaching into national security, intelligence, the State Department and the Pentagon, sources close to the former president say....

They intend to stack thousands of mid-level staff jobs. Well-funded groups are already developing lists of candidates selected often for their animus against the system - in line with Trump's long-running obsession with draining "the swamp." This includes building extensive databases of people vetted as being committed to Trump and his agenda. The preparations are far more advanced and ambitious than previously reported. What is happening now is an inversion of the slapdash and virtually non-existent infrastructure surrounding Trump ahead of his 2017 presidential transition.

These groups are operating on multiple fronts: shaping policies, identifying top lieutenants, curating an alternative labor force of unprecedented scale, and preparing for legal challenges and defenses that might go before Trump-friendly judges, all the way to a 6-3 Supreme Court.

There are certainly arguments to be made in favor of streamlining the massive federal government bureaucracy, notwithstanding Ronald Reagan's poisoned rhetoric about government being the problem; that line of his has been a plague upon the land since he dropped it, but the idea of increased efficiency is not terrible on its face.

Like so much else in the Republican policy universe, Schedule F is bad news cloaked in a deceptively simple concept. This is not about improving government. It is about transforming government into an engine of Trump's wrath, and would come into play if he returns to the White House just when the GOP is pushing the idea that state legislatures should decide who wins elections. Currently, the Republican Party controls some 30 state legislatures, and Trump still controls the Republican Party.

Besides Trump himself, who would stand to benefit most from such a massive governmental power grab? The answer lies out in the hustings, all the places where loyalty to Trump is not only the coin of the realm, but an actual religious obligation. Insider reports:

According to Christianity Today, Christian nationalism is "the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way." Christian nationalists believe the US is and should remain a "Christian nation." They also believe in freedom of religion, but that Christianity should have a "privileged position in the public square," the outlet reported.

A CNN report published Sunday asserts an even darker side to the ideology, claiming Christian nationalists use theology to justify sexism and racism as a means to attain an ideal White Christian America. The report said such ideas were becoming increasingly common in churches around the nation. After Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, carried crosses or invoked theology to justify their actions, some argued the insurrection also represented a "Christian revolt."

Donald Trump has mastered the art of speaking to the core beliefs of this growing segment of extremist Christianity. "We will not break, we will not yield, we will never give in, we will never give up, we will never, ever, ever back down," he told a worshipful crowd of young conservatives in Tampa on Saturday. "As long as we are confident and united, the tyrants we are fighting do not stand a chance. Because we are Americans and Americans kneel to God, and God alone."

"As young conservatives met inside the Tampa Convention Center," reports ABC News, "a small group of Nazi supporters showed up outside, holding up racist imagery and shouting racial epithets at passersby. The group held up a red Nazi swastika flag, one with the SS logo on it, a Florida state flag, and other signs, including anti-semitic images on posters."

Those clowns should stop showboating and get their resumes in order. If Trump wins in 2024, there could be big government job opportunities for people who believe Jesus signed the Declaration of Independence and the swastika is a Christian symbol. The rest of us, I imagine, will be headed for the hills just like Yoda.

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

Pete Seeger Outlasted The Bastards
By John Nichols

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND - Pete Seeger helped to get the Newport Folk Festival started in 1959 at a time when a lot of venues refused to allow him near a microphone. So it was only fitting that the U.S. Postal Service stamp featuring Seeger was issued last week on the eve of the festival in a special ceremony where the singer was honored for his music and his activism.

The issuance of the stamp, and the ceremony, afforded appropriate recognition to a radical who was once blacklisted for his ideas and his willingness to speak truth to power.

Seeger referred to Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy and the red-baiters of mid-century - particularly the members of the House Un-American Activities Committee that went after him - as "a group of American fascists." And in the 1950s and 1960s, Seeger explained, the American fascists had enough power to silence anyone who disagreed with them.

But history has a way of rewarding the righteous. Seeger's image is on a USPS stamp, while McCarthy's image is in the dustbin of history.

The grip of the "red scare" that was amplified by McCarthy, and of the blacklist associated with it, loosened so slowly that many of its targets - civil rights campaigners, social justice advocates, peace activists and artists - did not live long enough to be "exonerated" in the court of public opinion.

But Seeger, who was blacklisted after becoming an international star in the early 1950s when he was singing folk songs with the Weavers, fought his way back. At the height of the "red scare," Seeger's songs were banned by radio stations, he was dropped by his record label and hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was targeted as a radical who had as a young man aligned with the Communist Party in the days when it was playing a key role in organizing unions, organizing campaigns against lynching and electing members of the New York City Council.

When McCarthy's witch hunt peaked in the mid-1950s, Seeger and others on the left - such as singer and actor Paul Robeson and screenwriter Lillian Hellman - were pushed toward the sidelines of American public life. At the height of their careers, many of the most talented performers in the United States were effectively cancelled by conservatives in both political parties who sought to silence those who were considered to be too ardent in their advocacy for desegregation, strong unions, social welfare, peace and disarmament.

Seeger kept co-writing songs such as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" and "If I Had a Hammer," popularized protest anthems such as "We Shall Overcome," played concerts in union halls and open fields, inspired generations of young singers such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and eventually became a banjo-playing father figure for the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s. But Seeger did not appear on network television until September, 1967, almost 15 years after his blacklisting began. He appeared on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, only to have CBS censors bar him from singing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," which was heard as a protest against growing U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.

Eventually, Seeger became a grand old man of popular music, even as he maintained the radical faith that saw him marching and singing with Occupy Wall Street just a few years before his death in 2014. While he still took the occasional red-baiting jab from the most extreme right-wingers, he was accepted back into the mainstream - especially after Bruce Springsteen recorded his 2006 album, "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions," and toured the country with a band that performed many of Seeger's greatest songs. In 2009, when he performed for President Barack Obama's first inaugural, Springsteen invited a spry 89-year-old Seeger on stage to sing a rousing version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land."

Springsteen would later recall: "That day, as we sang 'This Land is Your Land,' I looked at Pete - the first Black president of the United States was seated at his right - and I thought of the incredible journey that Pete had taken. My own growing up in the '60s in towns scarred by race rioting made that moment nearly unbelievable, and Pete had 30 extra years of struggle and real activism on his belt. He was so happy that day. It was like, Pete, you outlasted the bastards, man!"

Seeger died in 2014 at age 94 and was hailed by then-President Obama for "reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go."

"Once called 'America's tuning fork,' Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song. But more importantly, he believed in the power of community to stand up for what's right, speak out against what's wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be," said Obama. "Over the years, Pete used his voice, and his 'hammer,' to strike blows for workers' rights and civil rights, world peace, and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along."

That was a fine tribute. But there's something even more permanent about a postage stamp - especially the forever stamp that features Seeger's image. It's a reminder, in an age when another group of American fascists is on the march, that we can outlast the bastards - just like Pete Seeger did.

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

The Brainwashing Of The Masses
By James Donahue

Author and video producer Steven Jacobson wrote: "Television is the most powerful weapon of psychological warfare in history. The programming that we are constantly assaulted by throughout our lives conditions us. It programs us to a particular worldview. Now, we may consider it normal because we were born into this system of lies and deception. And because we were born into this situation and our parents were born into it and have suffered from it, we don't know any better."

Jacobson is author of the book Mind Control In the United States. In it he declares: "All the problems in America are the result of people being led to believe things that are not true."

Unfortunately, Jacobson appears to be correct in his claims. While not all television programming is found to be filled with malicious misinformation, most of the news content is either slanted in favor of an ideology, or certain important information is conveniently omitted. Certain high-profile stories may dominate the news while crucial information we should be told about is either avoided or given casual attention.

During my college years I took a journalism class that addressed the problem of biased reporting, how to recognize it, and how to write balanced news stories that allowed the reader to decide what to believe. We were taught that every controversial issue has two sides. A man accused of wrongdoing may be either guilty or innocent. The politician seeking public office may have ideas that a majority of voters like or dislike. A nation's decision to go to war may be justified, or not. It is the job of the media to carefully present all of the available information and always remain on neutral ground while doing so.

That class, and the excellent number of great newspaper editors I worked under during my younger years, helped cement an understanding of fair and balanced reporting. That phrase, "fair and balanced" has been misused by Fox News, perhaps the most slanted of the so-called television information outlets to win the trust of the brainwashed masses. Little about the information and opinions flowing from the lips of the talking heads on that network is either fair or balanced.

As part of our studies for that journalism class, we were required to read a book by Vance Packard titled "The Hidden Persuaders." Even then, when this book was published in 1957, there were subtle forms of propaganda being used to trick us into buying certain products or believing certain political ideals. While television was still in its infancy at that time, the trickery was all around us. They even went so far as to weave sensual images in what appeared to be wholesome promotional pictures and drawings. Remember the Camel cigarette's mascot Joe Camel? He was a cartoon image of the male genitals with a face.

Walter Glenn Moore, in a commentary The Battle For Your Mind, wrote: "The most dangerous form of mind control is subtle, and it is coming from the technology which has been freely given to us on a silver platter - television, movies, internet and music. Drugs, sports, amusement parks and entertainment could also be viewed as subtle mind-altering experiments which tend to change our mental focus from reality to fantasy, producing a trance-like state of life which is similar to that of one who has been hypnotized."

Moore wonders why they call television entertainment "programming." He believes it is designed to do exactly that . . . program our society to behave, dress, and respond in the way certain power figures choose.

The political battle between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump for the presidency exposed the very worst in twisted thinking that has found its way into a highly financed propaganda machine.

Because of the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision declaring corporations qualified to finance campaigns, the candidates for all of the high offices have found themselves flooded with billions of dollars for an advertising blitz unlike anything the nation has ever experienced. The lies, half-truths and hate messages now dominate our television screens, our radio programs and printed publications. It floods our computer screens. Small wonder that the public is confused, angry and ready to strike when they get an opportunity to go to the polls or gather in the streets. But how can an action cast in either direction repair the situation they are in?

Writer David Icke declared: "Most of humanity is in an absolute hypnotic trance that they're put in from cradle to grave by constant repetition of a fake reality." Icke then adds a strange line: "And when we wake up from this, we will not be subservient."

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

Most Shocking From Jan. 6 Hearings: U.S. Comes Out Against Coups
By David Swanson

Negotiating Peace With Monsters By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, July 24, 2022 The two sides in the war in Ukraine have negotiated a deal to at least reduce the starvation in Africa and elsewhere that may result from the war, by agreeing to a means of exporting some grain.

The same two sides had previously reached agreements on prisoners of war.

The odd thing about this - although it happens in every war - is that each of the two sides has negotiated with what it characterizes as irrational monsters on the other side with whom no negotiations are possible.

There's rarely been a war in recent centuries in which each side didn't claim to simply have no partner for negotiations and to be waging all-out war against a monster, while simultaneously negotiating agreements on prisoners of war and adhering to various agreed-upon restrictions on types of weapons and atrocities.

You may want to sit down for this: yes, I have heard the name Hitler. His government negotiated with the WWII allies on prisoners of war and other matters, even while the U.S. and British governments were telling peace activists that negotiating the evacuation of Jews and other targets of Nazi genocide would be impossible.

British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden met on March 27, 1943, in Washington, D.C., with Rabbi Stephen Wise and Joseph M. Proskauer, a prominent attorney and former New York State Supreme Court Justice who was then serving as President of the American Jewish Committee. Wise and Proskauer proposed approaching Hitler to evacuate the Jews. Eden dismissed the idea as "fantastically impossible." But the very same day, according to the U.S. State Department, Eden told Secretary of State Cordell Hull something different:

"Hull raised the question of the 60 or 70 thousand Jews that are in Bulgaria and are threatened with extermination unless we could get them out and, very urgently, pressed Eden for an answer to the problem. Eden replied that the whole problem of the Jews in Europe is very difficult and that we should move very cautiously about offering to take all Jews out of a country like Bulgaria. If we do that, then the Jews of the world will be wanting us to make similar offers in Poland and Germany. Hitler might well take us up on any such offer and there simply are not enough ships and means of transportation in the world to handle them."
Churchill agreed. "Even were we to obtain permission to withdraw all the Jews," he wrote in reply to one pleading letter, "transport alone presents a problem which will be difficult of solution." Not enough shipping and transport? At the battle of Dunkirk, the British had evacuated nearly 340,000 men in just nine days. The U.S. Air Force had many thousands of new planes. During even a brief armistice, the U.S. and British could have airlifted and transported huge numbers of refugees to safety.

Not everyone was too busy fighting a war. Particularly from late 1942 on, many in the United States and Britain demanded that something be done. On March 23, 1943, the Archbishop of Canterbury pleaded with the House of Lords to assist the Jews of Europe. So, the British government proposed to the U.S. government another public conference at which to discuss what might be done to evacuate Jews from neutral nations. But the British Foreign Office feared that the Nazis might cooperate in such plans despite never being asked to, writing: "There is a possibility that the Germans or their satellites may change over from the policy of extermination to one of extrusion, and aim as they did before the war at embarrassing other countries by flooding them with alien immigrants."

The concern here was not with saving lives so much as with avoiding the embarrassment and inconvenience of saving lives. And the inability to negotiate something useful and humanitarian with the opposing monster was no more real than the ability of Ukraine or Russia to negotiate on grain with opposing monsters.

I really don't care whether those who wage wars are called monsters or not. But well-meaning people should stop falling for the pretense that they cannot be negotiated with. The reason that Ukraine and Russia are negotiating on prisoners and grain but not on peace is that at least one of them - but I think it's pretty clearly both - do not want peace. It is quite indisputably not because they cannot possibly negotiate.

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

Scientists determined busy beavers improve ecosystem health

For Healthy Habitats, Leave It To The Beavers - And Other Animal Engineers!
By David Suzuki

Beavers have long been considered nuisances. They knock down trees and block waterways, often flooding areas where humans live and gather. But recent moves to leave the beavers alone show they can enhance and restore natural environments.

Like other animals that create, modify and maintain their environments, beavers are referred to as "ecosystem engineers." In one study, scientists determined busy beavers improve ecosystem health, "increasing species richness at the landscape scale." They found that in New York's central Adirondacks, "ecosystem engineering by beaver leads to the formation of extensive wetland habitat capable of supporting herbaceous plant species not found elsewhere in the riparian zone."

In Europe, many towns and municipalities are reintroducing beavers where they were previously wiped out. In Scotland, beavers were released into a 44-square-kilometre area in 2009 after a 400-year absence. The five-year trial's success convinced the government to allow beavers to remain.

According to Wildlife Trusts, an organization instrumental in European rewildling efforts, beavers and the landscapes they generate benefit people and wildlife by helping to reduce downstream flooding - "the channels, dams and wetland habitats that beavers create hold back water and release it more slowly after heavy rain." They also reduce siltation, and the wetlands sequester carbon, an essential process for fighting the climate crisis.

In Vancouver, where I live, beavers in Stanley Park have created new wetland habitat and reduced invasive species like water lilies. (Some human intervention has been necessary, such as protecting a number of trees with wire mesh, and taking measures to ensure water levels are maintained.)

Beavers aren't the only animals that engineer the worlds around them, often making them more viable for other creatures. Many do, which has led to efforts worldwide to reintroduce species to fulfil the roles they've historically played in maintaining healthy ecosystems. In fact, one could argue that all animals play an active role in shaping the places in which they live, to varying degrees. Some, such as invasive zebra mussels, can negatively reshape ecosystems. (The human animal, of course, has engineered some of the worst impacts!)

According to Janet Marinelli in Yale Environment 360, "In the past two or three decades, research has underscored the importance of large mammals like bison as ecosystem engineers, shaping and maintaining natural processes and sequestering large amounts of carbon." She notes that bison wallowing sculpts "depressions in the ground where water can accumulate and sustain healthy stands of grass."

Marinelli also writes, "coral-reef habitats, created by the ecosystem engineer coral species, hold some of the highest abundances of aquatic species in the world," and, "Prairie dogs are another terrestrial form of allogenic ecosystem engineers due to the fact that the species has the ability to perform substantial modifications by burrowing and turning soil." Their activity influences "soils and vegetation of the landscape while providing underground corridors for arthropods, avians, other small mammals, and reptiles."

Similarly, marine vegetation such as eelgrass is an anchor for healthy marine ecosystems, as seagrasses create and modify structural elements of the sea. As scientist Sarah Berke points out, "structures in marine habitats play myriad well-documented roles, providing living space for other organisms and refugia from predation, increasing heterogeneity, altering hydrodynamic regimes, and altering deposition of sediments and larvae." A David Suzuki Foundation study found that shoreline and eelgrass planting and beach nourishment can substantially reduce erosion and create other benefits for people and wildlife habitat.

Engineering can take many different forms. The most obvious is structural engineering, in which creatures create or modify elements of their habitat. But, as Berke notes, engineers also modify chemical environments and even the levels of light entering a land or seascape. "In modifying light, plankton and filter feeders are analogous to those terrestrial organisms that cast shade, most if not all of which are structural engineers. In terrestrial systems, then, light engineering entirely overlaps with structural engineering, while in marine systems light is largely controlled by organisms that do not create structure." Ultimately, when we lose wildlife populations, we don't only lose the animals themselves; we also lose the version of the world that was shaped, in part, by their agency. The result, like so many of our impacts, is less healthy, more monocultured ecosystems that reflect back only human enterprise.

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

Welcome To Texas, Cradle Of American Theocracy
Billionaire donations are fueling a sprint to the authoritarian right.
By Charles P. Pierce

Good Monday morning, campers. This past weekend, a shining ray of hope burst through the toxic cloud enveloping us all, as Joni Mitchell took to a stage to perform for the first time since 2000. And for the first time since 1969 (!), the stage was the Newport Folk Festival. The driving force behind this little miracle was singer Brandi Carlile, who has done yeoperson's work keeping Mitchell's work alive since the latter's brain aneurysm in 2014. It was enough to make you forget (for a while, anyway) about the gnomish authoritarian theocrats who are running too much of the country's life these days.

We all have watched in horror as Texas increasingly becomes Isengard, but instead of orcs, for manufacturing horrendous public policy ideas. Much of the momentum-and a lot of the money-behind this development was supplied by a couple of oil-soaked fundamentalists from the western part of the state. From CNN:

Elected officials and political observers in the state say a major factor in the transformation can be traced back to West Texas. Two billionaire oil and fracking magnates from the region, Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, have quietly bankrolled some of Texas' most far-right political candidates – helping reshape the state's Republican Party in their worldview.
And what, pray tell, is that "worldview"? You had to ask, right?
Former associates of Dunn and Wilks who spoke to CNN said the billionaires are both especially focused on education issues, and their ultimate goal is to replace public education with private, Christian schooling. Wilks is a pastor at the church his father founded, and Dunn preaches at the church his family attends. In their sermons, they paint a picture of a nation under siege from liberal ideas.

"The cornerstones of our government are crumbling and starting to come apart," Wilks declared in a 2014 sermon at his insular church, the Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day. "And it's because of the lack of morality, the lack of belief in our heavenly Father." Texas' far-right shift has national implications: The candidates Dunn and Wilks have supported have turned the state legislature into a laboratory for far-right policy that's starting to gain traction across the US.

("The Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day"? I instinctively distrust religious sects that sound like the product of newspaper mergers in the 1970s.)

This, of course, is nothing new for Texas, which has been screwing up the nation's political biosphere for decades now. Longtime fans of conservative sabotage will recall Mel and Norma Gabler, the couple from Longview who worked to sabotage the textbooks in the country's public schools. (Shined up and modernized, the Gabler crusade lives on in the current book-banning hysteria over Critical Race Theory.)

Now, this long-standing Texas gift for political vandalism has been put into overdrive by people like Dunn and Wilks, who should be raving into dust clouds on some street corner in San Angelo and not enabling mobs who give hell to middle school librarians in New Jersey.

All 18 of the current Republican members of the Texas Senate, and almost half of the Republican members of the Texas House, have taken at least some money from Dunn, Wilks or organizations that they fund. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton have also been major beneficiaries of the billionaires' spending. [...] While Dunn and Wilks focus on state politics, they've also gotten involved in national races. Wilks, his brother Dan and their wives were among the largest donors to super PACs supporting GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz in 2016, contributing a total of $15 million. And Dunn has given millions of dollars to super PACs supporting former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans in recent years.
As CNN points out, the Dunn-Wilks Combine has been less successful backing candidates recently, but that is probably a function of how successful they've been over the past decade. You can push even Texas politics only so far to the right before you end up in the Bahamas.
Defend Texas Liberty's second-largest beneficiary this year has been Shelley Luther, an unsuccessful far-right legislative candidate who attracted national attention after she was arrested for refusing to shut down her Dallas hair salon to comply with coronavirus restrictions. In an interview with CNN, Luther - who proposed banning Chinese students from Texas universities and declared she is "not comfortable with the transgenders" – said that Dunn and Wilks had been integral to her campaign. "Without them, I couldn't have even run," Luther said. But she added that the spending wouldn't have given the billionaires influence over her votes or decisions: "He wants me to do what I say that I represent," she said of Dunn.
They paved parking lots and put up a theocracy.

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

The Quotable Quote -

"What kind of nation are we when we give tax breaks to billionaires, but we can't take care of the elderly and the children."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Icebergs are seen near Ilulissat, Greenland on May 16, 2021.

Greenland Loses 6 Billion Tons Of Ice In 3 Days, Harbinger Of Unprecedented Coastal Flooding
If all Greenland's ice melts, it would raise the seas by more than 24 feet.
By Juan Cole

CNN The Independent reported this week on a massive ice melt in Greenland, with on the order of 6 billion tons of ice lost in three days. The melting was because of a heat wave at the top of the world, caused by our burning coal, gasoline, and methane gas and spewing billions of tons of the dangerous heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

These sorts of events are directly responsible for sea level rise and coastal flooding around the world and in the United States (which has a lot of coast if you think about it). Often it is the poorest and most disadvantaged who will suffer most severely from disruptions like storm surges, coastal erosion, salt water invasion of lagoons, and urban flooding.

A heat wave in Greenland only makes it about 60 degrees F. (15C), when most of us would still feel the need for a sweater. But ordinarily, according to a climate and weather site, "In July the average maximum daytime temperatures are cold and range from 6 degrees C (43 degrees F) in KapTobin to 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) in Angmagssalik. Nighttime temperatures generally drop to 2 degrees C (36°F) in Angmagssalik and 0 degrees C (32 degrees F) in KapTobin. It is one of the warmest months of the year."

So, yeah, 60F/ 15C is a stretch.

I think it was Rene Marsh and Angela Fritz at CNN who came up with the explanation of what 6 billion tons of ice melt looks like, saying it was enough to put the entire state of West Virginia under a foot of water.

A loss of 6 billion tons of ice is worrisome, especially since all this is cumulative. Over time all the surface ice will melt if we go on burning fossil fuels. But we've seen considerably worse, say Marsh and Fritz. In 2019, they explain, a hot spring and summer melted away the ice sheet's surface, sending 532 billion tons of ice into the oceans, raising them permanently by over half an inch (1.5 millimeters).

If all Greenland's ice melts, it would raise the seas by more than 24 feet (7.5 meters).

We can still halt an apocalyptic scenario like that, which would wipe out coastal cities around the world, if we stop spewing out carbon by 2050. The existing CO2 in the atmosphere will all go into the oceans. That will make them acidic and wipe out a lot of marine life, but temperatures would immediately stop rising and would gradually go back to a nineteenth-century normal.

Average sea level has already risen about 9 inches (24 cm.) since 1880, which has put coastal regions and cities under pressure. It doesn't sound like much, but it is a lot. It gets magnified if there is a storm surge, and worsens flooding. Moreover, the oceans are not flat - they are higher in some places than others, and some parts rise faster than others. The ocean at Miami Beach is a full foot higher now than even in 1990, and floods on rain-free sunny days are 4 times more frequent than just three decades ago.

The World Economic Forum found that African-American urban communities are most at risk from sea-level rise, with the risk of flooding in their neighborhoods increasing by 20% by 2050.

Flooding currently costs the US $32 billion a year, but that number is expected to increase substantially if the seas rise at a rapid clip.

We're seeing increasing coastal flooding alerts in places like Maine. Sarah Long at WMTW quotes Meteorologist Donny Dumont: "It makes sense we have more advisories just due to the fact that we are getting more coastal flood impacts . . . Sea level rise is not showing a super rapid increase but it is constant. Every single year we get a couple of millimeters and you add that up over a decade and you're just getting more coastal flooding than you used to." Note that a 10-millimeter increase per decade is nearly half an inch.* But as we saw in Miami Beach, at other places the increases are more dramatic.

In Ghana, the Atlantic Ocean has already surged six feet into the country's interior, threatening to wipe out a whole series of coastal settlements. Coastal erosion is accelerating and the new conditions can interfere with fishing. People's livelihoods are in danger.

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

Trump is encouraging Republican lawmakers in several states to pass legislation allowing them to take over election machinery and ignore the popular vote

Trump's Attempted Coup Continues - Even After January 6 Hearings Are Over For Now
By Robert Reich

The committee has produced history's most detailed account of an American president's cruel and seditious pursuit of power. Even now, Trump continues to push states to alter the outcomes of the 2020 election

The House of Representatives' select committee investigating the January 6 attack has finished its hearings, at least for now.

But Trump's attempted coup continues.

He has not stopped giving speeches to stir up angry mobs with his big lie that the 2020 election was stolen. He gave another fiery address Friday evening in Arizona.

He is actively backing congressional candidates who propound his big lie.

Trump continues to push states to alter the outcomes of the 2020 election. Just last week he urged Wisconsin assembly speaker Robin Vos to support a resolution to retract Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes cast for Biden.

He is encouraging Republican lawmakers in several states to pass legislation allowing them to take over election machinery and ignore the popular vote.

Meanwhile, the lives of committee members and their families have been threatened. Witnesses have received gangster-style warnings not to cooperate.

The committee's message to all of America, including Republicans: stop supporting this treachery.

The committee has made that treachery crystal clear.

It has shown the deception behind Trump's big lie, including Trump's attorney general William Barr, saying "I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations" and that promoting it was "a grave disservice to the country."

It has demonstrated non-partisan repulsion toward Trump's attempted coup, even in Trump's White House. As former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson said, "I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic, it was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie."

It has made open appeals to Republican lawmakers to stop supporting the attempt. The Republican vice-chair of the committee, Liz Cheney, warned her Republican colleagues "who are defending the indefensible" that "there will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain."

It has revealed how average Americans fell for Trump's treachery, with disastrous results. Witness Stephen Ayres, who described himself as "nothing but a family man and a working man," participated in the January 6 attack because Trump "basically put out, you know, come to the Stop the Steal rally, you know, and I felt like I needed to be down here."

And it has reminded Americans of their duties to democracy. As committee chair Bennie Thompson put it: "When you're on the losing side, that doesn't mean you have to be happy about it ... but you can't turn violent."

Committee member Jamie Raskin recalled Lincoln's warning that politicians who encourage mobs to rampage and terrorize will destroy the bonds of social trust necessary for democracy to work.

It is impossible to know whether the hearings will lead to criminal indictments and convictions of Trump and his enablers.

But the hearings already appear to have convinced some Trump supporters that he is a dangerous charlatan.

The percentage of Republicans who say Trump misled people about the 2020 election has ticked up since last month, while Trump's enormous fundraising operation has slowed. A New York Times/Siena College poll last week showed that nearly half of Republican primary voters would rather vote for a Republican other than Trump in 2024.

History teaches that it is possible to bring down an American demagogue by putting his wickedness on display for all to see.

In 1954, I watched the Army-McCarthy hearings. The Wisconsin senator Joe McCarthy - whose communist witch hunt was ending careers and debasing much of the US government - had charged the US army with lax security at a top-secret army facility. The army hired Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to make its case.

At a session on 9 June 1954, after McCarthy accused one of Welch's young staff attorneys of being a communist, Welch responded in words that led to McCarthy's undoing: "Until this moment, senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness."

When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, "Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

Almost overnight, McCarthy's immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, 48 years old and a broken man.

Now, the January 6 committee has produced history's most detailed account of an American president's cruel and seditious pursuit of power.

Will it be enough to stop Trump's ongoing attempted coup? That depends on whether Americans heed the committee's implicit plea to ensure that American democracy endures.

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

Welcome To The Anthropocene - The Age Of Human Die-offs
We are stumbling - seemingly oblivious - into the bared teeth of the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch driven by humanity itself. We are walking straight into it and pretending it's not here.
By Thom Hartmann

The world today is on the verge of a major food emergency, provoked in part by Russia's attack on Ukraine but more broadly by the damage heat from global warming is doing to crops worldwide. This is both a crisis and an opportunity. Let's start with the basics. Food is the raw material that makes people. More food, more people; less food, fewer people.

This is a basic law of nature. The insect-eating bird population around us, for example, is a fraction today of what it was 20 years ago because its food - the insect population - has been decimated by pesticides and loss of habitat (their food source), over the past few decades.

Pick any species and the law of nature is the same: more food produces population growth while less food shrinks population (often in brutal ways). It's why areas like desert and scrub that produce little food were, over the past millennia, lightly populated, whereas areas rich with food like forests and seacoasts carried large human populations.

Throughout our lifetimes (and the past four centuries) human population has steadily grown because we hadn't yet hit the new ceilings the agricultural and industrial revolutions gave us to produce and distribute food.

However, this halcyon era is coming to an end because of the climate crisis, provoked by 60 years of senior executives in the fossil fuel industry lying to us and buying off politicians while making trillions pouring their poisons into our atmosphere.

This should not shock us when it happens all around us and millions are starving and homeless, although it almost certainly will because most of the human race has lived for so long within the food abundance created by the widespread use of fossil fuels starting in the 19th century.

Humans reaching the limits of food's ability to sustain population is not a new story; it's as old as humanity itself.

As I wrote in Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture, eight hundred years ago a group of Melanesians sailed to the islands they called Aotearoa and we now call New Zealand. When they first arrived, around the year AD 1200, humans had never before inhabited that island paradise.

Food was everywhere for the taking, particularly a large flightless family of birds called the moa (similar to ostriches). There were so many of the birds, and they were so easily approached, that the archeological record shows that during the first few hundred years of occupation the islanders didn't even need weapons.

No bows and arrows, no spears, no specialized weapons of any sort can be found in the archaeological record from those early times: the birds and many other large animals were so docile that people simply walked up and clubbed them to death with a stick or broke their necks.

A dozen different species of New Zealand moa birds, weighing from under fifty to over five hundred pounds each, provided meat and eggs well in excess of the food needs of the initial Melanesian explorers.

This abundance of food led to a golden age of peaceful human population expansion on New Zealand. The few dozen initial settlers became hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands, all feasting on the huge moa birds.

As their populations grew, the Māori killed the moa in huge numbers: in the Otago District, an ancient killing field was found at Waitaki containing more than ninety thousand moa skeletons. The bones suggest that the birds were clubbed or their necks were wrung.

While this is the largest moa boneyard, several other similar ancient sites have been discovered around New Zealand in the past few decades: as many as a million moa birds, representing hundreds of millions of pounds of meat, were killed by the early settlers, now known as the Maori (or "moa-eating") people.

The Māori population grew and over the next 300 years Maori people spread all across the 103,000 square miles of New Zealand. They lived in peace and harmony, convinced the gods had intentionally brought them to this island and thus showered them with its blessing of a seemingly unlimited supply of food.

But, as inevitably happens to cultures who think they can defy nature, the times of moa for the Maori came to an end. Their moa feast lasted for three to four hundred years but came to an abrupt end with the death of the last moa bird and thus the final and total extinction of all twelve Moa species.

The islanders then began eating other local animals, and in short order they exterminated or brought to the brink of extinction the huia, takahe, and kakapo, all birds ranging from the size of modern chickens down to the size of pigeons.

Along the coast, Māori people hunted the three-ton elephant seal to extinction within those first four hundred years, exterminated the half-ton sea lion (Phocartos hookeri), and from all but the most remote regions wiped out the three-hundred-pound New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri).

Turning to fish, the Maori soon endangered even the ubiquitous snappers, as the archeological record shows the fish skeletons and the hooks used to catch them declined in size rapidly over a hundred-year period following the extinction of the moa.

The easily killed large animals all exterminated, the Maori turned to what were considered famine foods by their seafaring ancestors: roots, tubers, frogs, ferns, rats, and small birds. Along with this change in their diet came a dramatic shift in Maori culture.

Around AD 1600-roughly four hundred years after their initial colonization of New Zealand-the Maori people began building fortresses and constructing tools for organized warfare. The forts, called pas in the Maori language, proliferated across the island.

The primary cultural values of Maori society shifted from cooperation to fighting and killing other humans for the scarce resources left on the island. The arts of war became elaborate, and each community spent enormous time and effort making their pa an impenetrable fortress. Shortly after birth, Maori boys were dedicated to the god of war.

Over the next two hundred years, the Maori's war-bent culture achieved an uneasy stability. They had moved from population explosion in the face of huge food resources to near-famine conditions, then to farming sweet potatoes in the lowland valleys and building forts for standing armies.

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to reach New Zealand and encounter the Maori people, just weeks after he had mapped nearby Tasmania. On December 16, 1642, he wrote in his journal about his one and only encounter with the Maori.

He sent a small group of his men out in a cockboat to meet the natives. Without warning, the Maori attacked Tasman's sailors as soon as the boat was close to their canoes:

"In which fray three of the Zeehaen's men were left dead and a fourth owing to the heavy blows mortally wounded. The quartermaster and two sailors swam towards our ship and we sent our shallop to meet them, into which they got alive. After this monstrous happening, and detestable affair, the murderers left the cockboat drift, having taken one of our dead in their canoe and drowned another."

What Tasman discovered was that among the Maori protein was in such short supply that they had passed the last human cultural barrier to a food source: cannibalism.

Tasman watched helplessly as his one crewman taken alive by the Māori was beheaded on the beach. The Maori recovered the bodies of the others and roasted them. Horrified, Tasman named the cove Murderer's Bay and sailed away, never to return.

This story of humans wiping out the resources that sustain them has been repeated over and over again throughout human pre-history. It's far more the norm than the exception.

For the first few hundred thousand years of our history (more or less) modern humanity worldwide was limited to an estimated 5 million or so humans. As Daniel Quinn would say, we "lived in the hands of the gods," repeatedly booming and busting our own local populations as we spread to new territories, discovered new food supplies, and then depleted them.

Here in North America the arrival of humanity around 15,000 years ago coincided with a mass die-off of large, easily killed food animals including:

woolly mammoths

Columbian mammoths

American mastodons

three types of ground sloths


giant armadillos

several species of horses

four species of pronghorn antelopes

three species of camels

giant deer

several species of oxen

giant bison

Scientists are still debating whether changes in climate or the human over-hunting "Pleistocene overkill" was most responsible for the extinction of so many animals in such a short period; odds are it was both, as this was toward the tail end of the Ice Age and the climate was rapidly changing.

As David J. Meltzer chronicles in his brilliant new book First Peoples in a New World: Populating Ice Age America, multiple DNA-identified groups of humans moved across North and South America over the following ten thousand years. Many of them simply vanished, their DNA gone forever, leaving not a single descendant to this day.

This boom-and-bust cycle has been the story of humanity since the first modern humans began migrating out of east Africa across that continent, up through the Middle East into Europe and Asia, and across the frozen Barents Straight to the Americas.

Periodic famine has been the norm for humanity throughout most of our history. We find new lands or new resources, exploit them mercilessly until they're exhausted, then fall back into famine and war until a new homeostatic culture/lifestyle is achieved.

It's the most logical explanation, some anthropologists argue, for why Native American societies placed such a high premium - reported in the era of first contact with Europeans in the 16th and 17th centuries - on sustainability. Their distant ancestors had wiped out local food supplies producing famine, inter-tribal conflict, and war.

Most of the subsequently-rebuilt cultures and systems of governance were intentionally designed to prevent a repeat of those traumatic experiences. The most well-known of those is the Iroquois Confederacy that Ben Franklin so admired.

Which brings us to today.

While the agricultural revolution increased the world's population - because farming is so much more efficient at producing food than hunting and gathering or even pastoralism - we'd still only reached a bit over a half-billion people worldwide when Europeans first arrived in North America.

The subsequent industrial revolution - powered by fossil fuels created by hundreds of millions of years of photosynthesis (fossil fuels are simply fossilized plants) - dramatically ramped up our ability to grow and transport food.

Thus, we hit 1 billion people in 1800, 2 billion in 1930, 3 billion in 1960, 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1986, 6 billion by the turn of the century, and today are on the verge of 8 billion people.

Fossil fuels were turned into fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides to grow more food on the same amount of land. They power our planting and harvesting machines, allowing a single person to do a job that previously would have required hundreds, each driving a horse or ox.

In 1820, for example, 72 percent of the American workforce were farmers. By 1850, because of the Cotton Gin and new plowing technologies, that number fell to 64 percent of the American workforce. In 1920, as gasoline- and diesel-powered internal combustion engines began showing up on farms, only 30 percent of us worked on farms. Today, farmers are fewer than 2 percent of us.

And, like the Moa birds, the era of cheap fossil fuels and a stable climate that enabled 2 percent of us to feed the other 98 percent is drawing to a close. Fossil fuels are getting harder to find and more expensive to produce, while climate change is reducing crop yields, melting glaciers that are the source of irrigating rivers, and drying up above-ground reservoirs.

We are stumbling - seemingly oblivious - into the bared teeth of the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch driven by humanity itself. We are walking straight into it and pretending it's not here.

And it's changing how we live, how we govern ourselves, and the nature of relations between nations.

Already, hundreds of millions have become climate refugees and radical weather is destabilizing governments around the world: the Arab Spring, for example, started because the desert across north Tunisia and Syria had moved south and wheat farms were turned into scrub-land, causing the price of that staple food to explode.

A Tunisian falafel street-vendor lit himself on fire in protest, triggering uprisings across the region. The Arab Spring and its subsequent democratic collapse in Egypt and now Tunisia are harbingers of things to come in other parts of the world.

The growth of a food supply parallels the growth of a population. It's one of the few laws of nature that has always applied to humans, even though we ignore it or pretend it doesn't exist.

The agricultural and industrial revolutions, by increasing the available food supply, exploded the world's human population. Over the last two hundred years, advances in medical science and hygiene have additionally reduced the death rate while a whole variety of technologies have increased our food output.

But, like the Maori, we're approaching the end of the free ride. Food, energy, and housing are starting to get very expensive; most of the world has already leaped into this maelstrom.

This isn't run-of-the-mill inflation: it's what happens to an economy when a basic commodity - in this case, the most basic commodity, food - becomes scarce.

The entire GOP refuses to even discuss climate change, while they and Joe Manchin stuff their pockets with fossil fuel money. Meanwhile, the end-stage crisis that's been building ever since the fossil fuel companies learned this was coming and started aggressively lying to us about it - while funding the Reagan Revolution - has arrived.

What happened to the Maori, or Native American communities who overhunted 10,000 years ago, was local. This is now planet-wide. There's no place left to go and start over.

If you thought it was a disgusting spectacle to see the Bundy family stealing federal lands and water at gunpoint, you ain't seen nothing yet. Water wars between states and regions are just around the corner, and soon large parts of America will begin to lose population as their water supplies vanish.

Will we, like the ancient Maori, devolve into an authoritarian and war-based society? Or will we, like the Iroquois, Hopi, and Wendat people, make a conscious decision to live within our means, stop destroying our environment, and fine-tune our governmental systems to meet the needs of all of our citizens?

We are not without resources, and it's always a mistake to bet against human ingenuity. On the other hand, we are facing an unprecedented level of avarice mobilized by billionaires and corporations with more power and wealth than the world has ever seen.

Will they win, and, in the process, set human civilization back millennia? Or will humanity prevail over the forces of greed and destruction and help salvage our biosphere while reinventing our culture and world?

The hour is late, but, scientists tell us, not too late. Our fate - and that of the planet - is still in our hands.

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

The Cartoon Corner -

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Rick McKee ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Pete Buttigieg Apologizes To Husband After Moaning Name Of Interstate During Sex
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In an awkward post-coital conversation addressing an embarrassing faux pas Monday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg reportedly apologized to his husband Chasten after accidentally moaning the name of an interstate highway during sex.

"I'm sorry, I was just caught up in the moment, but I want you to know I don't have any feelings for I-70," said Buttigieg, adding that while he did think about different work colleagues at times, including some of the federally maintained highways that serve the American people, he never did so during intercourse with his husband.

"No, of course I'm here with you. It was just a slip of the tongue that I said the name of a major east-west corridor that stretches over 2,000 miles from Maryland to Utah. I promise, all the maps that I have under the bed are solely for work. Sure, sometimes I get off on Exit 90, but don't we all have fantasies?"

At press time, Buttigieg asked if Chasten would put on the tight-fitting toll collector uniform that the secretary had purchased for him.

(c) 2022 The Onion


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 30 (c) 08/05/2022

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