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In This Edition

Thomas Hartmann finds, "The Latest Massacre Shows The Second Amendment Model Of 'Slave Patrols' Is Still In Effect."

Ralph Nader watches, "Trump's Effective Intimidation Of The Powerful Federal Reserve."

Glen Ford says, "American Exceptionalism = Mass Murder."

Michael Winship says, "Debating Democrats, Please, No Fighting In The War Room."

Norman Solomon concludes, "There's Nothing Moderate About "Moderates." A Primary Example Is Joe Biden."

John Nichols exclaims, "Jewish Activists Tell Trump, 'Never Again' Is Now!"

James Donahue examines, "America's Endless Wars."

William Rivers Pitt wonders if, "War Is Hell. Why Are We Waging An Endless One?"

David Suzuki reports, "Deniers Deflated As Climate Reality Hits Home."

Charles P. Pierce says, "It's Just That Kind Of Morning. It's Morning In America."

David Swanson orates, "The Myths, The Silence, And The Propaganda That Keep Nuclear Weapons In Existence."

Ohio state Rep. Candice Keller R/Butler wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich examines, "The Myth Of The Rugged Individual."

Jane Stillwater visits, "The Other Philadelphia."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Trump Escalates Baltimore Attacks With Rambling, 3-Hour Press Conference Tearing Into Edgar Allan Poe," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Let's Put An End To Mass Shootings."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mike Luckovich, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Ed Hall, Tim Evanson, Michael Reynolds, Scott Olson, Mario Tama, Dunk, Jane Stillwater, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Let's Put An End To Mass Shootings
By Ernest Stewart

"When a country with less than five percent of the world's population has nearly half of the world's privately owned guns and makes up nearly a third of the world's mass shootings, it's time to stop saying guns make us safer." ~~~ DaShanne Stokes

"Global average temperatures from July 1 to July 31, 2019, surpassed the previous record for the hottest month ever, which was set in July 2016. This is even more significant because the previous hottest month, occurred during one of the strongest El Ninos ever." ~~~ U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

"Those people aren’t even buried yet and she came out with these comments. ... She should resign because she doesn’t represent our party. She doesn’t represent me, she doesn’t represent our community, she doesn’t represent the state or the country." ~~~ Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones ~ about Rep. Candice Keller

"No one has ever become poor by giving." ~~~ Anne Frank

In the 220 days from January 1st through August 9 there has been at least 249 mass shootings in the Unites Snakes! That is more than one mass killing a day every day since New Years. Most were committed by right-wing loonie toons egged on by Lying Donald!

For once I agree with Lying Donald when he said, these mass shooters are "mentally ill monsters." Funny thing is, Lying Donald signed a bill revoking Obama-era gun checks for people with mental illnesses, and now the chickens have come home to roost! Funny thing is that Lying Donald left that out of his speech on mass shooting. Funny thing that, eh?

How many times has Lying Donald whipped up his base of fascist thugs and nut cases to do just what those two morons did last week-end. One said that it was Lying Donald's rhetoric that drove him on.

Since 2019 isn't a leap year there are 365 days this year so at the current rate we may expect at least another 145 mass shooting if things go as they have been going, and all the politicians have to offer the victims are their thoughts and prayers. In other words there will be absolutely nothing done as long as "Moscow Mitch" rules the Senate!

The Second Amendment gave American's the right to bear arms if they were members of a state militia, that was put in there so that slave owners could control their slaves. Since there are no legally owned private slaves, only the government can own slaves, there is no need of militias, but let's keep the ownership of guns legal but make that only for flintlock rifles and such that were the arms in question in 1776. One shot and then you have to reload which will take upwards of a minute. While that won't stop people from killing each other it will put an end to mass murders, no matter what Lying Donald says!

In Other News

I see where July was the hottest month ever, not just the hottest July but the hottest month ever. Sure it's been hotter on Earth than July, you may recall that dinosaurs used to roam Alaska! But July was the hottest month on record since we began recording temperatures some 140 years ago! As Ed McMahon used to ask Johnny Carson, "How hot was it Johnny? This is just some of the temperatures from around the world in July...

"In Belgium

Trains were disrupted.
Ozone pollution peaked.
A zoo fed tigers iced chickens and bears iced watermelon to keep them safe.
The country's all-time high was recorded in Kleine-Brogel at 39.9 C or 104 F, higher than the previous record of 38.8 C or 108.8 F set in June 1947.

In China

More than 500,000 suffered from widespread droughts.
Cases of heatstroke spiked in Shanghai.
Electricity consumption shot to new highs in many cities in Guangdong province.
Record-setting highs were registered in a dozen cities, including Beijing and Chongqing.

In France

Paris was on red alert.
Residents were asked to look out for vulnerable elderly.
A nuclear power plant suffered an outage.
At least five people died because of the heatwave.

In Germany

The Rhine's water levels dropped, causing disruption for river traffic.
The Danube's water levels fell, stranding ships.
The country hit an all-time high of 40.5 C in Geilenkirchen, that's 104.9 F.

In Greenland

The country's ice sheets are melting at a rate projected by pessimistic climate models to happen in 2070.

In India

Chennai, a city of 9 million, ran out of water.
The country's monsoon rains were weaker than normal.
Delhi extended school vacations.

In Japan

At least 11 people died because of the heatwave.

In the Netherlands

The country reached an all-time high of 39.2 C or 102.6 F near Breda, exceeding the previous high of 38.6 C or 101.5 F set in August 1944.

In Norway

Norway recorded an all-time high at 35.6 C, or 96.1 F equaling a record set in 1970.

In Portugal

Wildfires were ablaze in central Portugal and the Algrave.

In Russia

The country declared an emergency after it couldn't bring huge swathes of wildfires in Siberia under control.

In Spain

Villages near Madrid were evacuated because of wildfires.

In England

Planes were canceled.
Trains were delayed.
People fought over access to an outdoor pool.
The country's all-time high was broken, reaching 38.7 C or 101.7 F in Cambridge.

In America

128 million people were given excessive heat warnings.
70,000 homes and businesses in New York suffered a power outage.
All-time high temperature records were set in six places.
The heatwaves caused at least six deaths.
Wildfires raged in Alaska.

" All this happened with a global average temperature rise of about 1 C compared to the pre-industrial period. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that, at current trajectory, the world will warm between 3 C and 4 C by 2100.

Makes you wonder what is it going to take for politicians throughout the world to come to their senses and start to do something to stop global warming before it's too late? The only way that the U.S. is ever going to do something is to get rid of Lying Donald. If not in 2020 we are truly doomed!

And Finally

I see where a Southwest Ohio politician has stirred anger for a Sunday post on Face Book in which she blamed mass shootings on "drag queen advocates," "homosexual marriage," open borders and even former President Barack Obama.

In the Facebook post, Ohio Rep. Candice Keller complained about liberals playing the "blame game" after every shooting and asked why not place the blame where it belongs. I place it right at her doorstep! The Republican lives in Middletown, about 30 miles south of Dayton, where a gunman killed nine people early Sunday.

Keller, in the post, placed the blame for mass shootings on "the breakdown of the traditional American family(thank you, transgender, homosexual marriage, and drag queen advocates); fatherlessness, a subject no one discusses or believes is relevant; the ignoring of violent video games; the relaxing of laws against criminals(open borders); the acceptance of recreational marijuana; failed school policies(hello, parents who defend misbehaving students): disrespect to law enforcement(thank you, Obama)."

Oh, and did I mention, that Candice is a white supremacist? I know, what a surprise, eh? Therefore Candice wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

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

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

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


11-27-1936 ~ 08-03-2019
Thanks for the music!

02-18-1931 ~ 08-05-2019
Thanks for the read!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

U.S. President Donald Trump, beneath a portrait of populist President Andrew Jackson, speaks before the swearing-in of Rex Tillerson as 69th secretary of state
in the Oval Office of the White House on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Tillerson was confirmed by the Senate earlier in the day in a 56-43 vote.

The Latest Massacre Shows The Second Amendment Model Of 'Slave Patrols' Is Still In Effect
Like his presidential hero Andrew Jackson, who owned enslaved people and bragged about murdering Native American women and children, Trump speaks to an exclusively white audience
By Thom Hartmann

February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images) While, in the wake of the El Paso murders, the media and most of our politicians are acting shocked-"shocked, I tell you!"-that there are armed racists in America who are trying to terrify people of color, the reality is that it's pretty much always been that way here in the United States. And until white Americans and the media they control acknowledge that simple history, we won't be able to do the things we must to change it.

While we need rational gun control, this isn't a gun control issue.

While we need economic security to be more widely shared, this isn't an economic issue.

While we need universal, free, high-quality K-PhD education, this isn't an education issue.

While the Republican Party needs to repudiate the "Southern Strategy" that has animated their racist base since 1968, this isn't a political issue.

Encompassing all of the above, what we are confronting in America right now is the continuation of policies put into place by white people, to control and exploit Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans, since the arrival of Africans in 1619 and the codification of slavery into North American law in 1662.

The institution of slavery can only exist in a police state. Without a constantly vigilant and well-armed force of men (and the rare, occasional woman) patrolling the towns and roads, slaves will rebel and put an end to their own enslavement.

As Sally Hadden notes in her brilliant book Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas, slaveholding regions had institutionalized police-patrol systems specifically to "regulate" enslaved persons more than 100 years before American independence.

In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, the colonial government passed laws in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their white male employees to be members of the Georgia militia and those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who might be planning uprisings.

As Carl T. Bogus wrote for the University of California Davis Law Review in 1998, "The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search 'all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition' and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds."

James Madison even rewrote the Second Amendment into its current form during the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention in response to that state's largest slaveholder, Patrick Henry, demanding that Virginia's slave patrols be explicitly protected.

While slavery as an institution was abolished after the Civil War by the 13th Amendment ("except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted",) the organized and systematic domination of people of color for the benefit of whites continues to this day. And the enforcers of that system-both formal and informal-are still very much with us.

State prisons legally enslaving "duly convicted" persons of color; Klan riders and lynching "parties"; cops killing black men for selling loose cigarettes or murdering black children for playing with toy guns; mass shooters raving about "invasion" by Hispanics; white men enforcing segregation by killing black men and boys who look at or date white women: These are the modern incarnations of the old slave patrols that most Americans recognize.

Less easily recognized is the patrolling of America's economic racial divide, from Trump employees marking "C" for "colored" on rental applications so people of color could be denied residence, to the rigorous application of property tax funding for schools to keep poor districts poor, millions of individual corporate actions and thousands of state and local laws still conspire to "patrol" people of color.

Like his presidential hero Andrew Jackson (nickname: "Indian Killer"), who owned enslaved people and bragged about murdering Native American women and children, Donald Trump speaks to an exclusively white audience, in this era via Twitter and a TV network that, judging from the ratings, programs exclusively to white people.

From "very fine people" who are literally Nazis and white supremacists, to "I'll pay for your lawyer" calls for violence, to barely speaking in code with words like "invasion" and "infestation," Trump has cranked up a new generation of white men who, in previous centuries on this continent, would have been enthusiastic members of the police state that protected slavery from rebellion.

The slave patrols never really went away. And the slave patrollers are finding in Trump the president they've been missing since Andrew Jackson passed away.

(c) 2019 Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show.

This independence-except from the big banks-is by design, when the Fed was devised by President Woodrow Wilson over one hundred years ago.

Trump's Effective Intimidation Of The Powerful Federal Reserve
The Fed entrenches the power of the banks without accountability inside Washington.
By Ralph Nader

The Federal Reserve (the Fed)-the United States' version of a Central Bank-is a strange duck. It is the U.S. government's most powerful regulatory agency. It, after all, regulates money and interest rates. Yet, its budget comes entirely from the banking industry and relationships with the financial industry. So Congress, which appropriates money for all other federal agencies, has little leverage over the Fed's operations.

This independence-except from the big banks-is by design, when the Fed was devised by President Woodrow Wilson over one hundred years ago. The Fed, a secretive, private government inside a public government presents problems for a democratic society. The alternative was deemed worse by its boosters, allowing "politics" to determine the Fed's Board of Governors decisions.

It is as if the Federal Reserve/banking complex does not deal with political power by its own definition. The Fed entrenches the power of the banks without accountability inside Washington. Ask Republicans in Congress whether they generally oppose government regulation of a business and most will say "yes." Ask whether they want to deregulate the Federal Reserve and they will say "Of course not." Somebody has to assure monetary stability.

But the Fed's announced quarter of a percent cut in interest rates, which were already low by historical standards at 2.25 to 2.50 levels, will affect people, beyond abstract monetary theories. Tens of millions of Americans who rely on income from their savings accounts and money market accounts will receive less money. Some will jump into the high flying stock market, presumably to get more income and introduce real risk to their principal.

The $2.9 trillion Social Security trust fund will receive less income from lower yielding Treasury Bonds. That's not good for seniors. It is also really bad for pension funds, not to mention the returns on certain life insurance policies.

The Fed mumbled something about the trade war and a recent small decline in manufacturing indices as reasons to head off trouble.

But companies are piling up idle capital without knowing what to do with it other than to spend trillions of dollars on unproductive stock buybacks. There is no shortage of capital. Lowering the interest rate will just encourage more unnecessary corporate debt, with its deductible interest payments, instead of corporations using their available equity.

Venerable business columnist Allan Sloan does not think that a quarter-point cut by the Fed "will generate job-creating investments in the United States by companies that are uncertain about the future because of trade wars, threatened trade wars, interrupted supply chains and other actual and potential instabilities"(See Allan Sloan's article here).

Sloan gave other cogent reasons against a Fed interest rate cut, while conceding that it might help borrowers. That assumes gouging lenders (pay day loans, auto loans, credit card charges) pass the savings along.

Conventional critics of the Fed's cut this week point to already low interest rates and what they call a hefty economy, modest inflation, and a low unemployment rate.

Some former Fed governors called out the Fed for not clearly and specifically explaining its decision to cut rates. As former Fed Governor and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Sarah Bloom Raskin, said: "The Fed has really had a bit of a communications blunder... If Americans don't understand exactly what is happening and why, they may think that Chairman Jerome Powell is caving into presidential bullying."

No kidding. Trump has been pounding the Fed and threatening to take away Chairman Powell's Chair for months. He is demanding sharp reductions in interest rates. He renewed his denunciation after the Fed's quarter of a percent cut this week, tweeting that it was nowhere near enough!

Presidents almost never do this publicly to the Fed. But Trump, the failed gambling czar knows better. Intimidation through the mass media again and again works for Trump.

Although the Fed wanted to resist his pressure, hey, why take greater chances with crazy Donald? Instead, they threw him a bone.

(c) 2019 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

American Exceptionalism = Mass Murder
With permission from White Democrats
By Glen Ford

U.S. police agencies, including the FBI, are incapable of mounting an effective offensive against their soul mates in the armed white right.

In the Age of Trump, the New York Times and other corporate media have discovered that militant white supremacists are over-represented among the practitioners of the nation's peculiar pathology: mass shootings. Patrick Crusius, the El Paso gunman who last weekend killed 22 people and injured dozens, mostly Latinos, was apparently a devotee of the French racist writer Renaud Camus, who warned that whites were in danger of being "replaced" by non-white immigrants. Before going on his Wal-Mart rampage, Crusius posted online that he was resisting "the Hispanic invasion of Texas." The Times notes that the shooter who killed 51 people at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, last March, left a manifesto with the same title as Camus' book, The Great Replacement, which is also thought to have inspired the shooter that killed 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October of last year, as well as the gunman that attacked a synagogue outside San Diego, in April. According to "replacement theory," Jews are the orchestrators of non-white people's incursions on "white" territory. The white supremacists that marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the first summer of Trump's presidency, chanted, "Jews will not replace us!"

The Times article ("The El Paso Screed, and the Racist Doctrine Behind It"), fails to mention an even more influential racist writer, Richard Spencer, leader of the National Alliance and author of The Turner Diaries. Spencer's race war-inciting book sold half a million copies and inspired a generation of white nationalist terrorists, including Tim McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber who killed 168 people in 1995. But Times correspondent John Eligon goes back even farther than that, digging up Madison Grant's 1916 work, The Passing of the Great Race, which argued that Nordic people's were endangered by non-white hordes. Grant's book inspired the Immigration Act of 1924, drastically limiting immigration to the U.S., and was the basis of Adolph Hitler's program to cull unwanted peoples from the human herd. "White supremacy is a global threat," the Timesconcludes, quoting Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League.

But of course, the primary inspiration for Hitler and all the lesser exterminators was not a book, but a social system that grew out of the slave trade, colonial plunder and global white settler colonialism. U.S. Jim Crow created the world's first totally racially regimented society in what became the most powerful and dynamic white settler state. White supremacy, as an ideology, has been half a millennium in the making, reaching its "intellectual" -- as well as economic and military -- zenith right here in the U.S.A. The American "Exceptionalist" version of white supremacy is still a work in progress, having claimed 20 to 30 million lives since World War Two - six million in the Democratic Republic of Congo, alone - and still counting. At least 40,000 Venezuelans have already died from lack of medicine due to strangling U.S. sanctions and outright theft, and tens of thousands more will surely perish as a result of Washington's economic blockade of Iran. Yes, white supremacy is "a global threat," but not in the way the ADL's Greenblatt meant.

Domestically, the U.S. created the world's largest police-prison system, primarily to contain and control its Black, formerly enslaved population, as well as other non-whites within its borders. The vast American Gulag is the most dramatic proof that white supremacy remains a structural bulwark of U.S. society. The dawn of the Age of the Mass Shooter, arriving around the turn of the 21st Century and quickening in pace and intensity of slaughter by the year, shows us that America's history of mass murder is coming home to roost.

The term "American Exceptionalism" is useful because it reveals the method and purpose behind the constant lies that white America tells to justify its barbaric, racist behavior. It is a polity of deflection, projection and wholesale invention, in which the mass corporate media are the most adept practitioners. The contradiction baked into the polity - the absurd proposition that the United States, founded by slave owners and Native American genocidaires, is a citadel of human freedom - is compounded by the racist behemoth's superpower status. Thus, it tells super-lies, on a worldwide scale. Yet all the while, it's more volatile, white male denizens fester in a murderous funk of escalating resentment, feeling daily diminished by the growing presence of darker peoples in a White Man's Country. They see 2044, the year the U.S. Census Bureau predicts Anglo whites will become a minority of the population, as a racial End Time, and are willing to risk their own lives - and take the lives of many others -- to forestall the racial-lingual eclipse.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the New York Times' favorite source on white terror, "Nearly 75 percent of the extremist murders committed in the United States over the past decade were carried out by people espousing white supremacist ideology such as the 'great replacement." But that's surely nothing new. White settler states are created through massive racial violence and sustained by maintaining a white monopoly on violence. Violence is a virtue in America, where white criminals become folk heroes but uppity Blacks are national security threats.

The corporate media, most Democrats and even lots of Republicans are finally using the term "terrorism" to describe the armed white supremacist movement. The latest atrocities have compelled even Donald Trump to condemn "racism, bigotry, and white supremacy." However, U.S. police agencies, including the FBI, are incapable of mounting an effective offensive against their soul mates in the armed white right. That's not the kind of enemy they signed up to subdue. White cops are more racist than their civilian counterparts, according to a study by sociology professor Ryan LeCount, of Hamline University. As an article in Mint Press News reported, last year:

"Altogether, LeCount finds that white police officers indeed possess more racially conservative views than white citizens. For instance, white police are nine times more likely than their white citizen counterparts to believe that black citizens are more violent than white citizens, and they are over three times more likely to agree with the phrase: 'I resent any special considerations that Africans Americans receive because it's unfair to other Americans.' White officers are also 1.4 times more likely to agree that the government is spending too much money on black citizens, and nearly twice as likely to say that racial discrimination is not an obstacle to black citizens' success. And, finally, white cops are 1.4 times more likely to believe that affirmative action programs hurt white citizens, and they are three times more likely to say that the white citizens experience racial discrimination in the workplace."
Black cops, it turns out, are nearly identical to Black civilians in their racial views - and in some instances, somewhat more enlightened.

The FBI has always behaved as if armed white supremacists were a potential reserve force to help crush Black rebellions. Last month the Bureau claimed it is abandoning the term "black identity extremism" as a targeted category. Previously, the FBI had defined "black identity extremists as individuals who seek, wholly or in part, through unlawful acts of force or violence, in response to perceived racism and injustice in American society, and some do so in furtherance of establishing a separate black homeland or autonomous black social institutions, communities, or governing organizations within the United States" - a definition that, as I wrote in BAR last May, "encompasses demands for community control of police, schools, or any other 'governing' or even 'social institutions' in the U.S. By such definition, damn near all Black folks are Black Identity Extremists."

Instead, the Bureau is going to throw all "racially motivated violent extremism" into the same categorical pot -- allowing the FBI to duck questions about the relative resources it has committed to dealing with white supremacist violence. The FBI has always given unarmed Black dissent a higher priority than armed white supremacists, a record of repression that did not change under President Obama and surely won't change under Trump.

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

The feigned gladiatorial confrontations CNN hyped in its promotion and then attempted to foment during the actual event serve no one.

Debating Democrats, Please, No Fighting In The War Room
Direct your artillery at the real enemy, not each other.
By Michael Winship

I'm not one of those people who insists that every kid on the T-ball team receive a group participation trophy, sweet as that may be. But equally, my teeth grind when I see a flurry of post-debate articles headlined, "Winners and Losers." They reduce this most important presidential campaign of our lives to a game where a single swing or a miss matters more than the heinous presidency we're enduring or any of the issues vital to all of us terrified about the future for our families and ourselves.

I'm also annoyed by the debate format perpetrated by cable news networks more interested in creating conflict and melodrama than a legitimate discussion. The feigned gladiatorial confrontations CNN hyped in its promotion and then attempted to foment during the actual event serve no one.

Whether Kamala Harris and Cory Booker beat up on Joe Biden, or Elizabeth Warren made a pudding pop out of former Rep. John Delaney is, in the long run of the commonweal, not that important - although I hand it to Sen. Warren, "I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for," was an inspired response.

Thoughts: On Tuesday night in Detroit the much-heralded battle between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders was a non-starter; each was too smart to fall for that hype. And the attempt by so-called moderates to bring the two of them down quickly sputtered out.

As for Wednesday, featuring the second group of ten candidates, maybe I was just debated-out by then, but the evening seemed a fizzle. My friend Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect tweeted, "Only partly due to CNN's idiotic rules, it was a Hobbesian debate: a war of each against all; nasty, brutish and short." Maybe, but to me it felt more like an intramural squabble fought with water pistols; nasty, brutish and squirt.

You can read plenty more in-depth analyses of the evenings elsewhere, but to my mind, as we winnow down the field, Warren, Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have performed the best of the frontrunners-but that much already was true after the first pair of debates in late June. Biden was stronger this time around, even with all the knives aimed at him; Harris was not-she seems better in her professional prosecutor mode than when put on the defensive.

As in June, I thought Julian Castro, Booker and Jay Inslee acquitted themselves well. I had hopes for new entrant Montana Governor Steve Bullock but much of what he had to say seemed packaged and when responding to women on the stage, felt uncomfortably like mansplaining. Exception: justifiable pride in the campaign finance reform he's championed in his home state.

And surprises? In the first round on Tuesday, as others have noted, it was New Age spiritual healer Marianne Williamson. When she made her opening statement, I couldn't tell if she was campaigning for president or a Golden Globe. By evening's end she had made thoughtful statements on guns, racism, reparations and campaign finance reform.

"The issue of gun safety, of course, is that the NRA has us in a choke hold," she said. "But so do the pharmaceutical companies, so do the health insurance companies, so do the fossil fuel companies, and so do the defense contractors. And none of this will change until we either pass a Constitutional amendment or pass legislation that establishes public funding for federal campaigns." Hey, stop making sense.

On Wednesday, it was cyber entrepreneur Andrew Yang who got the crowd's attention. "We need to do the opposite of much of what we're doing right now, and the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math," he said in his opening statement, to laughter and applause. Later, he said that rather than measure the economy by Wall Street highs and interest rates, "The way we win this election is we redefine economic progress to include all the things that matter to the people in Michigan and all of us, like our own health, our well being, our mental health, our clean air and clean water, how are kids are doing. If we change the measurements for the 21st century economy to revolve around our own well being then we will win this election."

For those confused by the discussions of Medicare for All and the cascade of candidate proposals, the debates continue to illustrate how complicated and frustrating the issue of healthcare is - just ask Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, who once produced a healthcare reform flow chart so complex it made the Manhattan Project look like the TV Guide crossword. But this remains a substantive and critical dialogue to be having and as weeks go by, fingers crossed, and with the field growing smaller, all may be clearer. But as mentioned more than once this week, it is vital as well to keep the spotlight on Trump's attempts to completely eliminate the Affordable Care Act, placing millions at risk.

Essential, too, to keep immigration policy at the forefront, although based on what was heard this week, you'd be hard-pressed to realize that almost every one of the Democrats has a comprehensive, immigration reform plan (Keep reminding voters of that-and of the Trump administration's relentless assault of the undocumented and the fact that there was a comprehensive bill in 2013 that passed in the Senate but died in the then-GOP House).

As was said more than once in this week's debates, any one of the Democratic candidates is trustworthier and better qualified for the White House than its current occupant. What's more, as Pete Buttigieg noted, "It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say."

On Tuesday night, Kamala Harris declared, "We have a predator in the White House." But on Wednesday, there was way too much Obama bashing and not enough pummeling of Trump and delineating the daily disgrace of his presidency. Reports of disarray among the Democrats, of splits within the party, arguably play into the hands of the GOP. But there is still time, and history tells us there will be unforeseen plot twists and turns ahead worthy of a Dickens novel.

On November 12, 1991, a year before Election Day, I attended the first Democratic presidential candidates debate of the '92 campaign. It was at the national AFL-CIO convention, and like this week's, held in Detroit.

I sat in the second row and remember thinking that none of them performed very well, that not a single one of them particularly impressed or would make an outstanding commander-in-chief. In fact, I thought the "winner" was the potential candidate who wasn't even there and who eventually wound up deciding not to run at all - New York Governor Mario Cuomo, father of the state's current governor, Andrew Cuomo.

There were six candidates on the stage that afternoon, some of whom you may not even remember-Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, former Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts, former Governors Jerry Brown of California and Doug Wilder of Virginia.

And, oh yeah, one other guy: Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. When the smoke cleared all those weeks and months later, despite scandals surrounding his draft status, marijuana use ("I did not inhale.") and infidelity, he was the president of the United States. Who'd have thought?

A couple of lessons from that story: First, in the immortal words of the late screenwriter Bill Goldman, nobody knows anything. Ignore the pundits and enjoy a happier life.

Second, don't panic. There's still a long way to go, more than 450 days-many more weeks to Election Day than there were the day of that 1991 AFL-CIO debate.

If a week is a lifetime in politics, fifteen months is a millennium-or two. Fasten your seatbelts and hold on tight. You ain't seen nothing yet.

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

How are policies really "moderate" when they perpetuate and increase extreme suffering due to vast income inequality?

There's Nothing Moderate About "Moderates." A Primary Example Is Joe Biden
Biden's record of words and deeds is "moderate" only if we ignore the extreme harm that he has done on matters ranging from civil rights and mass incarceration to student debt and the credit card industry to militarism and war.
By Norman Solomon

The comedian George Carlin liked to marvel at oxymorons like "jumbo shrimp" and "military intelligence." Now, as the race for the Democratic presidential nomination intensifies, reporters and pundits at corporate media outlets are escalating their use of a one-word political oxymoron-"moderate."

As a practical matter, in the routine lexicon of U.S. mass media, "moderate" actually means pro-corporate and reliably unwilling to disrupt the dominant power structures. "Moderate" is a term of endearment in elite circles, a label conferred on politicians who won't rock establishment boats.

"Moderate" sounds so much nicer than, say, "enmeshed with Wall Street" or "supportive of the military-industrial complex."

In the corporate media environment, we're accustomed to pretty euphemisms that fog up unpretty realities-and the haze of familiarity brings the opposite of clarity. As George Orwell wrote, language "becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."

If Joe Biden is a "moderate," the soothing adjective obscures grim realities. The framing was routine hours after the debate Wednesday night when the front page of the New York Times began its lead story by reporting that Biden "delivered a steadfast defense of his moderate policies in the Democratic primary debate."

But, how are policies really "moderate" when they perpetuate and increase extreme suffering due to vast income inequality? Or when they support U.S. wars causing so much death and incalculable anguish? Or when they refuse to challenge the fossil-fuel industry and only sign onto woefully inadequate measures in response to catastrophic climate change?

Biden's record of words and deeds is "moderate" only if we ignore the extreme harm that he has done on matters ranging from civil rights and mass incarceration to student debt and the credit card industry to militarism and war.

Although Biden again tangled with Kamala Harris during the latest debate, she is ill-positioned to provide a clear critique of his so-called "moderate" policies. Harris has scarcely done more than he has to challenge the systemic injustice of corporate domination. So, she can't get far in trying to provide a sharp contrast to Biden's corporate happy talk on the crucial issue of healthcare.

Harris began this week by releasing what she called "My Plan for Medicare for All." It was promptly eviscerated by single-payer activist Tim Higginbotham, who wrote for Jacobin that her proposal would "further privatize Medicare. . .keep the waste and inefficiency of our current multi-payer system. . . cost families more than Medicare for All. . . continue to deny patients necessary care" and "fall apart before it's implemented."

In keeping with timeworn rhetoric from corporate Democrats, Harris repeatedly said during the debate that she wants to guarantee "access" to healthcare-using a standard corporate-friendly buzzword that detours around truly guaranteeing healthcare as a human right.

No matter whether journalists call Harris "moderate" or "progressive" (a term elastic enough to be the name of a huge insurance company), her unwillingness to confront the dominance of huge corporations over the economic and political life of the USA is a giveaway.

Whatever their discreet virtues, 18 of the 20 candidates who debated this week have offered no consistent, thoroughgoing challenge to corporate power. Among the contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, only Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are providing a coherent analysis and actual challenge to the realities of corporate power and oligarchy that are crushing democracy in the United States.

(c) 2019 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."

A plaque displays "The New Colossus" poem by Emma Lazarus
in the museum inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Jewish Activists Tell Trump, 'Never Again' Is Now!
By John Nichols

The inspired national activist group Never Again Action, which has become such a powerful presence in protests against the Trump administration's crude assaults on immigrants and refugees, begins with a simple premise: "When Jews say 'Never Again,' we mean it."

Last Thursday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Jewish leaders stepped up. They blockaded the garage entrance to the Milwaukee Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in an act of civil disobedience.

"Our whole lives we were taught, 'You shall not stand idly by,'" explained Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman of Madison's Congregation Shaarei Shamayim. "We refuse to remain silent when migrants face inhumane treatment. We refuse to remain silent when they are forced into filthy, overcrowded detention centers and deprived of basic rights. American Jews came to this country seeking a better way of life and at times fleeing persecution. We stand in solidarity with today's immigrant community. We will protest until our government treats them with dignity."

That solidarity has been on display for some time, as members of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim and their allies have organized to support Voces de la Frontera, the Milwaukee-based immigrant rights group that has played a critical role in making real the promise of "worldwide welcome" made by the Jewish-American poet Emma Lazarus in her poem of the Statue of Liberty ("The New Collosus"):

Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

"This an act of remembrance," explained former state Rep. Sandy Pasch. "'Never Again' in 2019 means we demand that the Trump administration close the camps at the border, shut down ICE, and provide permanent protection for all undocumented immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers."

For many of the Wisconsinites who have joined in this "Never Again" activism, the protests on behalf of immigrants and refugees have a profoundly personal resonance.

"We know that #NeverAgainIsNow," explains Dr. Michael Rosen, a retired professor at the Milwaukee Area Technical College and longtime leader of the American Federation of Teachers local on that campus. "American Jews grew up learning about the Holocaust from survivors in our families or communities, refugees in every sense of the word. Many of us had relatives murdered in the Nazi concentration camps. We are sounding the alarm and directing national outrage where it belongs, to the government's treatment of immigrants."

May these activists, and their American vision, go from strength to strength.

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

America's Endless Wars
By James Donahue

When I was a child the world was at war. They called it World War II since it was the second great war to befall the world in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The United States came out the great victor of that war. Everybody cheered. I remember whistles blowing, church bells ringing and people milling about on the streets. I think we dreamed that it was the end of war and since the United States was the winning nation, we could make sure there would never be another war like that again. We were trusting our leadership in those days.

By the time I was in high school we were at war again, this time in Korea. They didn't want to call it a war and said it was a police action. We were told it was a Communist threat by the North Koreans against the South Koreans who sought a democratic capitalistic system. Nobody won that skirmish. The fighting stopped at the 43rd parallel, the battle line was chiseled in the rock, and military forces spent the next half of the century staring down their gun barrels at each other. The United States military has maintained a presence in South Korea ever since.

When I was in college we were at war yet again; this time in Vietnam. Once again we were told it was a necessary action to stop the spread of Communism in that part of the world. Our forces battled the Viet Cong in a vicious jungle warfare that we could not win. Once again, after 14 years of deadly warfare and the loss of over 58,000 American lives, we came home without a declared victory in 1975.

The Vietnam War was intensified by the Cold War, a "super-power" standoff between the Soviet Union and the United States, both possessing arsenals of enough atomic weaponry to literally destroy the world at the push of a button. A lot of people were turning their root cellars into underground fall-out shelters, thinking that if atomic warfare happened, they might have a chance if they could hide from the radiation. Fortunately such a war did not happen. Since then the formula for building atomic bombs has been passed around and at least eight nations now are known to possess nuclear weapons.

There was a thought that when the Soviet Union fell apart and the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 that the very existence of all those atomic bombs would force peace to the world. Nations would be forced to get along rather than risk the possibility of anyone lobbing a nuclear bomb on an enemy. Unfortunately this was not to be our fate. Instead of banning together to follow a movement to establish a one-world government, the U.S. Military Industrial complex, born during the horrors of World War II, remained an active and major wind of the nation's government. We established military bases all over the world for the purpose of keeping the peace when local mini-wars broke out. Today the United States maintains nearly 800 such bases in over 70 countries.

After the 9-11 attacks the Bush Administration saw fit to launch wars that still are going on in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since then, with the development of robot driven aircraft and drones, we have seen fit to go on bombing missions in Libya and Yemen and are toying with possible wars in Iran and Venezuela.

Because of skilled propaganda the public is still supporting the nation's military exploits, with relatives of lost soldiers justifying the sacrifice as made in "defense of our country." But it doesn't take a genius to notice that we haven't fought a battle since the end of World War II to defend a square inch of the United States. When we broach that subject the retort is that we are preventing a future attack on the home front by fighting the battles overseas. But in our hearts we know this is not true.

War has become big business for the corporations that are developing, building and producing the planes, ships, land vehicles, guns, bombs, bullets and all of the personal materials provided for more than 1,500,000 active personnel in the field and serving at home. The uniformed services now include the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. These divisions are all under the control of the President, who serves as Commander-in-Chief, and the Departments of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Nearly 800,000 people are in the reserves and another 744,000 serve as civilian workers for the Department of Defense. This makes the Defense Department the largest employer in the world.

It should not be surprising that the United States thus feeds the largest military budget in the world. War has become such big business that it may now be impossible to ever enjoy peace in the world. There is too much money to be made the way things are.

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

War Is Hell. Why Are We Waging An Endless One?
By William Rivers Pitt

Friday, August 2, marked the 29th anniversary of Operation Desert Shield, the military action that heralded the onset of the Gulf War in Iraq. That conflict, shifting from one iteration to the next, never ended.

Desert Shield became Desert Storm, which then became a long, violent police action under the Clinton administration. During that period, sanctions against Iraq were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children. Smaller punitive attacks augmented the body count during this time. When confronted with these figures, then-U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright said, "The price was worth it."

After the "election" of George W. Bush and the subsequent terrorist attacks of September 11, the Iraq War entered a new and far more violent stage. The 2003 re-invasion of Iraq, undertaken with a much smaller international coalition and buoyed by brazen lies from U.S. and British intelligence, killed, maimed and displaced millions of civilians.

At almost the same time as active combat was reinitiated in Iraq, the U.S. opened a parallel front in what became known as the war on terror, this time in Afghanistan. In the 17 years since our conflict in that country began, hundreds of thousands of civilians have also been killed or displaced, and thousands of U.S. and coalition troops have been killed or wounded.

The dying has not ended in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"At least two Iraqi people were killed and 20 others injured in a suicide bombing near a Shiite mosque in southwestern Baghdad," Iraqi News reported on July 15. "Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State extremist militants who proclaimed an 'Islamic Caliphate' in Iraq and Syria in 2014."

The violence in Afghanistan, too, is ongoing. "Last year was the deadliest year for civilians during the entirety of the Afghan conflict," reports The Washington Post, "with 3,804 civilian deaths and 7,000 wounded." On Monday, two U.S. soldiers were killed in Urozgan province, bringing the total number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan this year to 14.

"The number of civilians injured or killed in US air strikes in Afghanistan has almost tripled in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the UN," reports The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. "Among the civilian casualties recorded by [The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan] so far this year are ten children, all members of the same family, who were killed with at least three others in a US strike in Kunduz."

The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become the Forever War, and it is not the first of its kind.

U.S. involvement in Vietnam began in 1947, when President Harry Truman announced his government would aid any nation threatened by communism. President Dwight Eisenhower introduced the "domino theory" of communist aggression in Southeast Asia in 1954, and the first U.S. soldiers were killed near Saigon in 1959.

The U.S. war in Vietnam ground on for another 16 years, culminating in defeat with the fall of Saigon in 1975. More than 58,000 U.S. troops were killed in that war, along with millions of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian civilians.

The Gulf War anniversary put me in mind of a note I received from a Vietnam veteran. The veteran, Dennis, shared his story with me because I have written several articles over the years about the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) endured by U.S. servicemembers returning from multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He reached out so that others might know his pain.

Dennis was returning home one perfectly ordinary day when he found himself at a stoplight by the headquarters to a large software company. "As I waited for the light to change," he wrote, "I first sensed more than heard the beating of a chopper's blades." As a corporate helicopter flew overhead and descended into the software company compound, Dennis felt himself coming very suddenly undone.

"As the beating of the blades became louder and more distinct," he wrote, "I could feel the panic rising and could almost envision the adrenaline my body was releasing into my bloodstream. Images of exploding shells and falling men began to strobe across my windshield to the point I almost lost sight of the road."

After many long minutes of tears, shuddering and fear, along with a pill to calm his body, Dennis was able to get himself home. He was in a state of almost complete disorder for the remainder of the day, terrified, senses elevated into full fight-or-flight mode. The medicine, which he always keeps with him for such moments, only took the leading edge off a trauma that had mugged him once again.

"My PTSD is mild compared to many," Dennis wrote. "But it is real. The pain is real and the chokehold it puts on the lives of those afflicted with it oftentimes makes it virtually impossible to even try to live some semblance of a normal life."

So it is today with veterans of the Forever War. Suicide has spiked among U.S. soldiers returning from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Veterans Administration has struggled to contend with "the approximately 20 suicide deaths every day among veterans" according to The New York Times. "Veteran suicide is something that's been an incredible thing to watch," said Donald Trump on March 5. "Hard to believe."

Not hard at all, Mr. President, and hardly incredible. War is hell for all who endure it.

Studies of PTSD among soldiers returning from war have been well documented, even as the physical and emotional effects of prolonged exposure to war remain poorly understood by the public. Particularly for civilians affected by the traumas of war, the available data remains sparse. What is available, however, is profoundly disturbing.

"Based on the slim available evidence base, the global number of adult war survivors suffering PTSD and/or MD [major depression] is vast," the European Journal of Psychotraumatology reported in November 2018. "We estimate that about 1.45 billion individuals worldwide have experienced war between 1989 and 2015 and were still alive in 2015, including one billion adults. On the basis of our meta-analysis, we estimate that about 354 million adult war survivors suffer from PTSD and/or MD. Of these, about 117 million suffer from comorbid PTSD and MD. Most war survivors live in low-to-middle income countries with limited means to handle the enormous mental health burden."

I received another note just this week from a veteran who returned from the beginning of the Iraq War more than 20 years ago to become a fierce advocate for his fellow veterans. This soldier, who asked that he remain anonymous, had a simple message: "Please, for the love of God, do anything you can to add your voice to those who oppose sending our troops into the fiery hell of war. If we are to survive as a nation, we must become a nation of peace, not the war machine we now are."

The lessons of Vietnam and its aftermath were not heeded, and another full generation continues to pay the price.

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

Those who continue to spread doubt and confusion about climate science are starting
to look even more ridiculous with their many conflicting, insubstantial arguments.

Deniers Deflated As Climate Reality Hits Home
By David Suzuki

Climate science deniers are becoming desperate as their numbers diminish in the face of incontrovertible evidence that human-caused global warming is putting our future at risk. Although most people with basic education, common sense and a lack of financial interest in the fossil fuel industry accept what scientists worldwide have proven through decades of research, some media outlets continue to publish inconsistent, incoherent opinions of people who reject climate science.

Over the past few weeks, Canada's Postmedia chain has run columns denying or downplaying the seriousness of climate change, by Fraser Institute senior fellow Ross McKitrick, defeated politician Joe Oliver and fossil fuel executive and Fraser Institute board member Gwyn Morgan, who is also former chair of scandal-plagued SNC-Lavalin.

McKitrick, an economist, has also signed the Cornwall Alliance Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, which says, in part, "We believe Earth and its ecosystems - created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence - are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth's climate system is no exception." Other prominent deniers, including Roy Spencer and David Legates, have also signed.

South of the border, the Heartland Institute, a leading U.S. denial organization with ties to Canadian organizations such as the misnamed International Climate Science Coalition, still holds its annual denial-fest. But even that organization is feeling hard times in the face of evidence - similar to the proof that made it walk back its previous support for the tobacco industry to the point that its members now admit smoking is bad but defend vaping and other "smokeless" tobacco industry products.

Heartland's 13th International Conference on Climate Change - held at the Washington, D.C., Trump International Hotel - was down from three days to one. It once attracted more than 50 sponsors, but this year drew just 16 - and one was fake! Fossil fuel companies have also cut funding, realizing denial is not an effective way to gain social licence. Attendance was limited to a couple hundred mostly older white men.

As usual, the conference speakers' reasons for denying climate science were all over the map.

Some simply rejected all evidence. According to British eccentric Christopher Monckton, who has no scientific credentials, droughts, wildfires and hurricanes are decreasing; sea levels are falling, not rising; and rising carbon dioxide emissions are improving life on Earth!

Others argued that CO2 levels aren't rising, while some claimed the planet is cooling. In other words, the arguments were mostly easily debunked, contradictory nonsense in service of the most profitable and polluting industry in human history.

You'd think Heartland would be riding high under a government that shares its anti-science views. But even holding the conference in a Trump hotel blocks from the White House didn't gain it the profile organizers would have liked. Tom Harris, a discredited Canadian fossil fuel promoter who works with Heartland and the International Climate Science Coalition, penned a sad article with fellow denier, Heartland "science director" and convicted criminal Jay Lehr, crying, "no one from the Trump administration will be in attendance," which, they whined, is "a huge loss since ICCC-13 will reveal that neither science nor economics back up the climate scare."

Lehr, a groundwater hydrologist by training, also worked for The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, an organization founded by Phillip Morris and by PR firm APCO Worldwide to cast doubt on the scientific evidence regarding harms caused by tobacco. Harris also worked for APCO Worldwide.

It's getting harder for anyone to deny the reality staring us in the face. Those who continue to spread doubt and confusion about climate science are starting to look even more ridiculous with their many conflicting, insubstantial arguments.

Even some prominent deniers have come around. Political consultant Frank Luntz - who once advised the U.S. government to cast doubt on scientific certainty around climate change and to use the term "climate change" rather than "global warming" because it sounds less scary - now says, "I was wrong in 2001." In recent testimony before the U.S. Senate, Luntz said, "Rising sea levels, melting ice caps, tornadoes, and hurricanes more ferocious than ever. It is happening." Yes, it is happening. And it's time for deniers to accept evidence and reason or get the hell out of the way.

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

Multiple Fatalities In Mass Shooting At Shopping Center In El Paso

It's Just That Kind Of Morning. It's Morning In America.
You go to bed thinking about a mass shooting in Texas and wake up hearing about a mass shooting in Ohio.
By Charles P. Pierce

"By the God of Heaven, we are cowards and jackasses if now that the war is over, we do not marshal every ounce of our brain and brawn to fight a sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land." ~~~ W.E.B. DuBois, 1919.

It's just that kind of morning, when you got to sleep thinking about one mass shooting, this one in El Paso, and you wake up hearing about another, this one in Dayton. It's just that kind of morning, when you go to sleep thinking about 20 dead inside a Walmart in Texas and wake up hearing about nine dead outside a bar in Ohio. It's just that kind of morning. It's morning in America.

Thanks to Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative, we are being reminded that this is the 100th anniversary of a series of events that the country has done a damned fine job of forgetting. In the summer of 1919, in the wake of World War I and with the Red Scare already warming up, the forces of white supremacy engaged all the private and public resources of American society and government in an all-out assault on African-American citizens. It was called the Red Summer and, by the end of it, there had been 25 white-supremacist assaults all over the country. African-American citizens, almost 400,000 of them soldiers who had survived the hell of the Western Front and who had learned to fight there, defended themselves, which only intensified the attacks.

In Elaine, Arkansas, a white mob attacked a group of black sharecroppers who were attempting to organize themselves for better working conditions, and a three-day slaughter ensured, abetted by Army units dispatched to the town, allegedly to keep order. Woodrow Wilson, that thin-lipped overrated bigot of a president, sat idly by while riots reached the steps of the Capitol and 40 people were killed. Chicago exploded after a black teenager was killed. In Omaha, a lynch mob ran riot, demanding the blood of an African American accused of rape. Before finally hanging the unfortunate prisoner, the mob nearly lynched the city's mayor. In all, there were 43 formal lynchings, 13 of which involved the murder of African-American veterans. That was 100 years ago, and, Lord, we've come so very far, haven't we?

Because what happened in El Paso on Saturday, when a white supremacist named Patrick Crusius brought a military-style weapon into a Walmart store and left 20 people dead and 26 wounded, was a lynching. He might have been alone, but his gun was his rope and his bullets were Crusius's mob. He drove eight or nine hours from Dallas to El Paso. He came prepared with eye and ear protection for his mission. He wasn't angry. He was coming to make war on the invading enemy. Pissant war, to be sure. Paranoid war, definitely. But war nonetheless. Patrick Crusius killed 20 more people than died at Fort Sumter. He married the lynch mob to war-fighting, the same way it happened at Wounded Knee or the Warsaw ghetto. With our modern technology of death, we have created one-man einsatzgruppen. Our atomized culture has atomized mass murder. You can be your very own lynch mob.

21 people were killed and 25 were injured in El Paso. At least nine were killed and 26 were injured in Dayton.

As the day went along, we learned more about the rats running around inside his skull. He clearly had marinated his brain in the fevered rhetoric of the modern white-supremacist right. He posted a "manifesto" online that evinced this quite clearly.

"In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion."
This is the common parlance of modern hate; the white supremacists at Charlottesville chanted, "You-and, occasionally, 'Jews'-will not replace us." These are the forces summoned up blithely by the current President* of the United States in recent days because he has no concept of politics without them, and no concept of patriotism in him at all. He is running around the powder magazines of American history, giggling, with a blowtorch in each fist. I honestly don't believe he knows the peril he has brought on the country. I also honestly believe he could care less.

This is the common parlance of modern hate; the white supremacists at Charlottesville also talked about invaders and invasion. These are the forces with which the Republican Party has engaged blithely, supporting this president* in everything he says and does. They are running around the powder magazines of American history, giggling, with blowtorches in all of their fists. I honestly believe they do know what they're doing. I honestly believe they could care less.

This is the third mass shooting in a week, and the 249th of the year. This one was in Texas. In Texas, a sharp-eyed cop could have spotted Patrick Crusius entering the Walmart and asked, "Dude, how come you need a military-style weapon to go to Walmart?" And because this is Texas, an open-carry state, Crusius could've told the cop to pound sand and then sued him for violating Crusius's civil rights. And then he could've gone in and killed people. Here is where I could wax angrily about this country's lunatic attraction to its firearms, but what would be the point?

These unfortunate exercises of our Second Amendment freedoms come as regularly as do the summer thunderstorms now, and there's no apparent willingness to change that situation on the part of anyone who has the power to do so. The gun debate has gone sterile. In the face of El Paso, and in the memory of Las Vegas, and Newtown, and now, overnight, in Dayton, I got nothing here any more. All I do know is that the gun debate is now taking place in a murderous, half-mad country with a half-mad president* at the helm who needs the country to stay half-mad so he can get re-elected and, thereby, stay out of jail for another four years. He will summon up his own Red Summer, if needs be, and only rhetorically, one hopes. One man is a lynch mob these days. Progress.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business. Large stores, gilt signs, flaming advertisements, will all prove unavailing if you or your employees treat your patrons abruptly. The truth is, the more kind and liberal a man is, the more generous will be the patronage bestowed upon him."
~~~ P. T. Barnum

The Myths, The Silence, And The Propaganda That Keep Nuclear Weapons In Existence
By David Swanson

Remarks in Poulsbo, Washington, August 4, 2019 This week, 74 years ago, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were each hit with a single nuclear bomb that had the power of a third to a half of what NPR calls a low-yield or "usable" weapon. By NPR I mean both the Nuclear Posture Review and National Public Radio, both the U.S. government and what many people dangerously think of as a free press. These so-called usable nukes are for firing from the submarines based nearby here. They are two to three times the size of what destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the U.S. military's plans involve using multiple nukes at once. But they really are tiny compared to other nuclear weapons that the United States and other nations have ready just in case some unfortunate scenario makes completely annihilating ours and other species the wisest course of action. Some U.S. nukes are 1,000 times what was used to vaporize Japanese populations. Each submarine can launch 5,000 times what was dropped on Hiroshima.

But the claim has been that the submarines are for so-called deterrence. Putting so-called small nukes on them and calling those "usable," drops the pretense of deterrence in favor of openly embracing the madness of initiating an exchange of nukes likely to kill us all directly or through the creation of a nuclear winter.

It may sound like I'm joking or mocking when I say that the U.S. government might decide that the apocalypse is the wisest course of action, but in the part of the United States that I live in there are huge bunkers, designed by former Nazis, under hills for various agencies of the government to hide in so as to live marginally longer than the rest of us, and these bunkers would take hours to get to even avoiding rush hour traffic. A decision to kill us all would have to have been made and planned out but not yet acted upon prior to the long commute to the bunkers. This is all part of the policy of first-strike.

And, of course, the President of the United States has tweeted nuclear threats at other countries, something previous U.S. presidents never did. They all made their nuclear threats without the use of Twitter.

When the United States dropped those nuclear bombs on Japan, masses of people were in fact vaporized like water on a hot frying pan. They left so-called shadows on the ground that in some cases are still there today. But some didn't die at once. Some walked or crawled. Some made it to hospitals where others could hear their exposed bones clacking on the floor like high heels. At the hospitals, maggots crawled into their wounds and their noses and ears. The maggots ate the patients alive from the inside out. The dead sounded metallic when thrown into trashcans and trucks, sometimes with their young children crying and moaning for them nearby. The black rain fell for days, raining death and horror. Those who drank water died instantly. Those who thirsted dared not drink. Those untouched by illness sometimes developed red spots and died so quickly that you could watch the death seep over them. The living lived in terror. The dead were added to mountains of bones now viewed as lovely grass hills from which the smell has finally departed.

Some of those who were able to walk were unable to cease moaning and holding their arms out in front of them with the skin and flesh hanging off. To our overly entertained and underly educated society this is an image derived from zombies. But the truth may be just the other way around. Some media critics believe that movies about zombies and other non-human humans are a means of avoiding the guilt or even the knowledge of real-life mass-murder.

When it comes to mass-murder already committed through war, nuclear weapons use is the least of it, and is probably out-paced by the deaths caused by nuclear weapons production and testing and waste and the use of depleted uranium weapons. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as locations to demonstrate the power of nuclear bombs because no high official in Washington had been there and found the place lovely, which is what saved Kyoto, and because the two cities had not yet been firebombed, as had Tokyo and many other places. The firebombing of Tokyo is not less horrible than the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The later bombings of Korea and Vietnam and Iraq, among other places, were far worse.

But when it comes to mass-murder in the future being risked by current actions, nuclear weapons are rivaled only by the climate and environmental collapse to which militarism is such a major contributor. At the pace at which people in the United States are beginning to come to terms with the genocide of the native nations and the horrors of slavery, we might expect an honest reckoning with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki around about the year 2090. By honest reckoning, I don't mean a non-apology from President Obama. I mean a focus in our schools and our civic life on accepting the responsibility for having created the keys to the apocalypse and the taking of appropriate steps to make amends. But 2090 will be too late.

People don't seem to take climate collapse seriously enough to begin moving their corrupt governments on it until it is actually impacting them in the present moment, which is probably too late. If people don't act on nuclear weapons until they experience their use it is definitely too late. A nuclear weapon is not like art or pornography where you can only know it when you see it. And by the time you see it you may cease knowing anything. But even seeing it may not be enough for some people. Sweden recently declined to ban nuclear weapons on the grounds that the treaty doesn't define what they are. Seriously, Sweden, do you imagine that if a nuclear weapon were used on Stockholm there would be a debate as to whether it was a nuclear weapon or not?

Smart observers - perhaps a shade too smart for their own good - doubt the veracity of Sweden's excuse. According to them, Sweden lacks nuclear weapons itself and thus is obliged to do the bidding of those who have them - even though dozens of other countries have refused to do that bidding and have signed onto a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. But this is to attribute logic to madness. And the error is readily exposed by ceasing to attribute representativeness to our governments. If you held a public referendum in Sweden I believe the ban on nukes would gain another nation. We are up against popular support of nuclear weapons, it is true, and more so in some countries than in others. But huge majorities in nuclear and non-nuclear countries, including the United States, have told pollsters they support a negotiated agreement to eliminate all nukes. However, we are also up against corrupt government. And these two problems overlap in the corruption of our communications systems.

I believe we are confronted by myths that must be debunked, by silence that must be broken, and by propaganda that must be resisted and replaced. Let's start with the myths.


We are told that war is natural, normal, somehow inherent within us. We're told this and we believe it, even while knowing full well that most of us never have anything directly to do with war. The U.S. military is struggling to recruit members and worrying that only a small percentage of kids have any family members who've been in the military. And if you are among that small percentage who have been in the military, you are statistically more likely to suffer from moral guilt or post-traumatic stress, to commit suicide, or to shoot up a public place. How can something that most people avoid, and that most of those who don't avoid suffer from, get labeled natural and inevitable? Well, through endless repetition - by government, by media, and by entertainment. Have you ever tried scrolling through Netflix trying to find a movie without any violence? It can be done, but if the real world resembled our entertainment we'd have all been killed a thousand times over.

If we're not told that war is inevitable, we're told that it is necessary, that the United States needs war because of other more backward people. President Obama said nukes couldn't be eliminated in his lifetime, due to the evils of foreigners. But no entity on earth does more to promote war than the U.S. government, which could launch a reverse arms race if it chose. Generating hostility and threats through endless aggressive wars and occupations can only justify more weapons building if we pretend it isn't happening or can't be stopped. If the U.S. government chose to do so, it could join and support (and stop violating and ending) international human rights treaties and courts, disarmament agreements, and inspection procedures. It could provide the world with food, medicine, and energy for a fraction of what it spends making itself hated. War is a choice.

Tad Daley has written: "Yes, international inspections here would intrude upon our sovereignty. But detonations of atom bombs here would also intrude upon our sovereignty. The only question is, which of those two intrusions do we find less excruciating."

Even though we're told that war is necessary, we're also told that it is beneficial. But we have yet to see a humanitarian war benefit humanity. The myth of a future humanitarian war is dangled out in front of us. Each new war is going to be the first one to slaughter huge numbers of people in a beneficial way that they appreciate and are grateful for. Each time it fails. And each time we recognize the failure, as long as the president at the time belongs to the political party we oppose.

We're also told that war is glorious and commendable, and that even those many wars that we wish had never been launched are great services for which we should thank the participants - or catastrophic crimes for which we should nonetheless thank the participants.

The biggest myth, however, is the fabulous and fictional tale that goes by the name World War II. Because of this myth, we are supposed to endure 75 years of disastrous criminal wars yet dump one and a quarter trillion dollars into the hope that in the next year there will be a second coming of the Good War that was World War II. Here are a few uncomfortable facts.

U.S. corporations traded with and profited from Nazi Germany right through World War II, and the U.S. government paid little heed. The Nazis, in their insanity, for years wanted to expel the Jews, not kill them - another insanity that came later. The U.S. government organized big conferences of the world's nations that publicly agreed, for explicitly and shamelessly anti-Semitic reasons, not to accept the Jews. Peace activists pleaded with the U.S. and British governments right through the course of the war to negotiate the removal of Jews and other targets from Germany to save their lives and were told it just wasn't a priority. Within hours of the end of the war in Europe, Winston Churchill and various U.S. generals were proposing a war on Russia using German troops, and the Cold War was begun using Nazi scientists.

The U.S. government was not hit with a surprise attack, a myth used to justify secrecy and surveillance to this day. Peace activists had been protesting the build up to a war with Japan since the 1930s. President Franklin Roosevelt had committed to Churchill to provoking Japan and worked hard to provoke Japan, and knew the attack was coming, and initially drafted a declaration of war against both Germany and Japan on the evening of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines - before which time, FDR had built up bases in the U.S. and multiple oceans, traded weapons to the Brits for bases, started the draft, created a list of every Japanese American person in the country, provided planes, trainers, and pilots to China, imposed harsh sanctions on Japan, and advised the U.S. military that a war with Japan was beginning.

The myth of Pearl Harbor has such a death grip on U.S. culture that Thomas Friedman called a Russian company buying a tiny number of very strange Facebook ads a "Pearl Harbor-scale event," while a Rob Reiner video starring Morgan Freeman declared "We are at war with Russia!" - presumably a war to defend the pristine, ungerrymandered, uncorrupted, internationally admired U.S. election system from the danger of the U.S. public learning how the DNC runs its primaries.

The nukes did not save lives. They took lives, possibly 200,000 of them. They were not intended to save lives or to end the war. And they didn't end the war. The Russian invasion did that. The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that, "... certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." One dissenter who had expressed this same view to the Secretary of War prior to the bombings was General Dwight Eisenhower. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy agreed, saying "The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." In agreement with him were Admirals Nimitz and Halsey, and Generals MacArthur, King, Arnold, and LeMay, as well as Brigadier General Carter Clarke, and Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bard who had urged that Japan be given a warning. Lewis Strauss, Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, had recommended blowing up a forest rather than a city.

But blowing up cities was the whole point, in much the same way that making little children suffer near the Mexican border is the whole point. There are other motivations, but they don't eliminate the sadism. Harry Truman spoke in the U.S. Senate on June 23, 1941: "If we see that Germany is winning," he said, "we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible." This is how the U.S. president who destroyed Hiroshima thought about the value of European life. A U.S. Army poll in 1943 found that roughly half of all GIs believed it would be necessary to kill every Japanese person on earth. William Halsey, who commanded the United States' naval forces in the South Pacific during World War II, thought of his mission as "Kill Japs, kill Japs, kill more Japs," and had vowed that when the war was over, the Japanese language would be spoken only in hell.

On August 6, 1945, President Truman lied on the radio that a nuclear bomb had been dropped on an army base, rather than on a city. And he justified it, not as speeding the end of the war, but as revenge against Japanese offenses. "Mr. Truman was jubilant," wrote Dorothy Day. Weeks before the first bomb was dropped, on July 13, 1945, Japan had sent a telegram to the Soviet Union expressing its desire to surrender and end the war. The United States had broken Japan's codes and read the telegram. Truman referred in his diary to "the telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace." President Truman had been informed through Swiss and Portuguese channels of Japanese peace overtures as early as three months before Hiroshima. Japan objected only to surrendering unconditionally and giving up its emperor, but the United States insisted on those terms until after the bombs fell, at which point it allowed Japan to keep its emperor.

Presidential advisor James Byrnes had told Truman that dropping the bombs would allow the United States to "dictate the terms of ending the war." Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was "most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in." Truman wrote in his diary that the Soviets were preparing to march against Japan and "Fini Japs when that comes about." And what a disaster that would have been. Why did the United States finally invade France? Because it feared the Russians would occupy Berlin on their own. Why did the United States nuke Japan? Because it feared the Russians would do just what they did and bring about a Japanese surrender.

Truman ordered the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th and another type of bomb, a plutonium bomb, which the military also wanted to test and demonstrate, on Nagasaki on August 9th. Also on August 9th, the Soviets attacked the Japanese. During the next two weeks, the Soviets killed 84,000 Japanese while losing 12,000 of their own soldiers, and the United States continued bombing Japan with non-nuclear weapons. Then the Japanese surrendered.

That there was cause to use nuclear weapons is a myth. That there could again be cause to use nuclear weapons is a myth. That we can survive the use of nuclear weapons is a myth. That there is cause to produce and arm nuclear weapons even though you'll never use them is too stupid even to be a myth. And that we can forever survive possessing and proliferating nuclear weapons without someone intentionally or accidentally using them is pure insanity.

Another myth is that of nuclear-free war. I think we sometimes like to imagine that the United States and NATO can go on indefinitely with their wars and bases and threats of overthrow, but with nuclear weapons having been banned and eliminated from the earth. This isn't true. You can't destroy Iraq and Libya, leave nuclear-armed North Korea alone, and seek out war against non-nuclear-armed Iran, not to mention Syria, Yemen, Somalia, etc., without communicating a powerful message. If Iran is ever successfully driven to acquire nuclear weapons, and Saudi Arabia is given them as well, only in a peaceful world will they ever give them up. Even Russia and China will never give up nuclear weapons until the United States stops threatening war - nuclear or otherwise. Israel will never give up nuclear weapons unless it begins to be held to the same legal standards as other nations.


Now let's examine the silence. Most of the promotion of myths happens in the background. It's built into novels and films, history books and CNN. But the overwhelming presence is of silence. Schools are beginning to teach some basic information about ecosystems, climate collapse, and sustainability. But how many high school or college graduates can tell you what nuclear weapons would do, how many of them there are, who has them, or how many times they've nearly killed us all. Even if we do move the monuments to slavery and genocide into museums, will a single one of them anywhere be replaced by a statue of Vasily Arkhipov? I doubt it very much and hesitate even to try to imagine who Rachel Maddow would blame for such a nefarious development.

Of the twin dangers we all face, of nuclear and climate catastrophe, it's rather odd that the one people are finally beginning to belatedly take seriously is the one that requires some serious changes in lifestyles. Nobody would have to live differently at all if we got rid of nuclear weapons. In fact, we could all live much better in every sense if we scaled back or eliminated the institution of war. It's also odd that we separate the two dangers, when militarism is a major cause of environmental collapse as well as being a potential source of undreamed of levels of funding for a Green New Deal on steroids. The trouble is that the separation is mostly performed through silence. Nobody talks about the nuclear threat. When recently asked Governor Inslee whether he would reduce militarism in order to protect the climate, his long-winded answer amounted to a No, but its unprepared nature communicated the more important point: he'd never been asked that question before and probably never would be again.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists puts the Doomsday Clock as close to midnight as it's ever been. Retired mainstream politicians says we must urgently act. The majority of the non-nuclear nations on earth propose that nukes be immediately banned. But still there's mostly silence. It's a silence maintained by distaste for the unpleasant, by macho militarist patriotism, by profit interests, and by the absence of leadership by either big political party or even a faction thereof. In June, the Joint Chiefs of Staff posted online and then quickly removed again a document that said "Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability. . . . Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict." In other words, the lunatics are in charge of the lobotomies, but still we had media silence.

Alongside the silence goes lack of prestige, the idea of nukes as the lowest career track in the military, a realm for those lacking ambition or even sobriety. This ought to terrify the world more than any other form of terrorism. The one time that Congress recently held hearings on the danger of a nuclear planetary demise was just after Trump had threatened North Korea with fire and fury. Members of Congress were in bipartisan harmonious agreement that they were powerless to prevent a president launching a nuclear war. I don't recall whether the word impeachment was even uttered. Congress went back to its usual work, and so did cable news.

It's possible that if a president had invented nuclear weapons out of the blue and proposed to use them, we would finally have discovered something that even Nancy Pelosi deemed impeachable. It's certain that if Trump threatened a journalist on camera with a gun a lot of people would react in some way. But threatening millions of people and potentially all of humanity, well, ho hum. We've got silence to maintain, you know.

Fortunately, there are people breaking the silence. The Ground Zero Center is breaking the silence and protesting the glorification of weapons at the Seattle Seafair, and tomorrow morning at the Trident submarine base - get your nonviolence training this afternoon! Going to court in Georgia are seven plowshares activists who protested at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base on April 4th. This past month peace activists from around the world delivered a cease and desist order to the Buchel Air Base in Germany ordering the nukes illegally kept there by the United States to be removed as required by law.

Also this past month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed numerous antiwar amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, including a couple limiting nuclear weapons construction, one barring violations of the INF Treaty, and one that ought to put an end to weapons at the Seattle Seafair as a byproduct of banning any more weapons parades for Donald Trump on the Fourth of July. There were also amendments passed to end and prevent various wars. For anyone who thought they'd been shouting into a vacuum, here was the House of Representatives spelling out a long list of our demands. But those demands have to face the Senate, the President, and the campaign funders. There's an easy way to email your Representative and Senators about this at


Not all noise is good noise. Let's examine for a minute the third and final problem I listed, namely propaganda. Iran has been working for years on building a nuclear weapon. Russia seized Crimea and chose the U.S. president. North Korea is an irrational, unpredictable threat to the United States. Law abiding people must overthrow the Venezuelan dictatorship and install the rightful coup president. We have a responsibility to continue making Afghanistan a living hell because things might go badly if the U.S. troops left. They're your troops. It's your responsibility. It's a defensive distant foreign occupation, as you can tell from the very name of the industry: the defense industry. The United States cannot engage in espionage or terrorism, only counter-espionage and counter-terrorism - which are against what they are, as you can tell by the names. But U.S. whistleblowers are engaged in espionage and must be imprisoned to protect the freedom of the press. Nobody here would be bothered by missile defense systems lining the Canadian and Mexican borders - after all they'd be defensive. So what is Russia's problem? If Russia keeps failing to comply with treaties in unspecified and unverifiable ways, the United States will have to go on shredding those treaties for the treaties' own good. If the United States were to dismantle its nuclear weapons, the North Koreans would each clone themselves five times, zip over here, occupy us and start taking away whatever was left of our freedoms.

Propaganda is the art of dressing up paranoia to play the role of diligent responsibility.

A third of the U.S. in a recent poll would support nuking North Korea and killing a million innocent people - and presumably untold numbers of non-innocent people. That suggests extreme ignorance of how such an action would impact the United States. It also suggests the social madness generated by skillful propaganda. Yet it is probably an improvement on the percentage of U.S. people who were willing to kill a million Japanese people during World War II. And the U.S. public, in polls, is slowly turning against the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which suggests the potential ability to someday oppose their repetition.

A New York Times op-ed on July 1st was headlined "Iran Is Rushing to Build a Nuclear Weapon - and Trump Can't Stop It." Never mind that Trump has done everything anyone would do who wanted Iran to build a nuclear weapon, the closest the article came to its own headline was the assertion that the author's own speculative prediction "almost certainly means [Iran] will move to build its own nuclear arsenal." If I were to write an op-ed speculating that in the future Seattle would almost certainly fill its streets with coffee and get around by gondola, I guarantee you the New York Times would not slap a headline on it reading "Seattle Is Rushing to Build Coffee Canals - and Trump Can't Stop It." I expect the headline would be "Guy Makes Totally Baseless Prediction."

The lies that we're told about wars are often general and often about past or long-running perma-wars. But there are also lies used to start each war. They are, of necessity, lies about urgency. If a war is not started quickly enough, there is a danger of peace breaking out. One important thing to remember about these lies is that they always answer the wrong question. Does Iraq have weapons? No answer to that question justifies a war, legally, morally, or otherwise. A dozen years after that charade, everyone in Washington D.C., except the spy agencies, erroneously agreed that Iran had a nuclear weapons program, and the debate shifted to whether to have a war or a treaty-like agreement. Did Iran shoot down a drone or attack a ship in the Persian Gulf? These are interesting questions but not relevant to justifying wars.

Here's another: Has this war been authorized by Congress? Of course we want Congress to prevent presidential wars whenever it will. But please please please, I'm begging you, stop saying that you oppose unauthorized wars as if an authorized war would be better or more legal or more moral. Imagine Canada attacking Seattle with carpet bombing. Who would volunteer to dodge the bombs in an effort to locate someone who gave a damn whether the Prime Minister or the Parliament was responsible?

One problem with starting wars is that they could spiral into nuclear wars. Another is that any war, once begun, is much harder to stop than it would have been to prevent. This is due to the propaganda of troopism. We have a majority of veterans saying the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan never should have been started, just like the majority of everybody else. Yet we still have members of Congress intent on continuing the wars in order to do what's called "supporting the troops."

Preventing wars is the way to go. A war on Iran has been prevented several times, and a major escalation against Syria was prevented in 2013.

Preventing nuclear wars is definitely the way to go, or rather the way not to go - the way to remain alive.

But if we think of each proposed war as a potentially nuclear war, it may be easier for us to recognize that none of the supposed justifications offered for the war comes anywhere close to justifying it. While we might somehow be persuaded that some crime justifies a much larger crime, we cannot be persuaded that it justifies extinction.

In the year 2000, the CIA gave Iran (slightly and obviously flawed) blueprints for a key component of a nuclear weapon. In 2006 James Risen wrote about this "operation" in his book State of War. In 2015, the United States prosecuted a former CIA agent, Jeffrey Sterling, for supposedly having leaked the story to Risen. In the course of the prosecution, the CIA made public a partially redacted cable that showed that immediately after bestowing its gift on Iran, the CIA had begun efforts to do the same for Iraq.

We have no possible way of knowing a complete list of countries the U.S. government has handed nuclear weapons plans to. Trump is now giving nuclear secrets to Saudi Arabia in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, the Atomic Energy Act, the will of Congress, his oath of office, and common sense. This behavior is at least as certifiable as subsidies for fossil fuels or livestock, but where's the outrage? Primarily it's focused on the Saudi killing of one Washington Post reporter. If we can at least have a policy of not giving nuclear weapons to governments that kill Washington Post reporters that would be something.

Meanwhile 70 nations have signed and 23 ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We need to keep building support for that around the world and within the nuclear nations. But it needs to be part of our efforts to end all war and to abolish the entire institution of war. Not because we're greedy, but because it is the only way we will succeed. A world without nukes but with the rest of the existing war machinery is not possible. Mikhail Gorbachev wrote three years ago that the time had come to eliminate nukes, "but could it be considered realistic if, after ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction, one country would still be in possession of more conventional weapons than the combined arsenals of almost all the other countries in the world put together? If it were to have absolute global military superiority? . . . I will say frankly that such a prospect would be an insurmountable obstacle to ridding the world of nuclear weapons. If we do not address the issue of a general demilitarization of world politics, reduction of arms budgets, ceasing the development of new weapons, a ban on the militarization of space, all talk of a nuclear-free world will come to nothing."

In other words, we need to end pointless mass killing of human beings regardless of the weapons used, be they nuclear, chemical, biological, conventional, or the so-called soft power of sanctions and blockades. The vision that we've developed at World BEYOND War is not of war with the proper weapons, any more than we have a vision of humanitarian rape or philanthropic child abuse. There are some things that cannot be reformed, that must be abolished. War is one of those things.

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Heil Trump,

Dear Unterfuhrer Keller,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling, and last year's winner Volksjudge John (the enforcer) Roberts.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your attempted cover-up of murdering white supremacists like yourself by blaming gays and Democrats, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Myth Of The Rugged Individual
By Robert Reich

The American dream promises that anyone can make it if they work hard enough and play by the rules. Anyone can make it by pulling themselves up by their "bootstraps."

Baloney. The truth is: In America today, your life chances depend largely on how you started - where you grew up and how much your parents earned.

Everything else - whether you attend college, your chances of landing a well-paying job, even your health - hinges on this start.

So as inequality of income and wealth has widened - especially along the lines of race and gender - American children born into poverty have less chance of making it. While 90% of children born in 1940 grew up to earn more than their parents, today only half of all American adults earn more than their parents did.

And children born to the top 10 percent of earners are typically on track to make three times more income as adults than the children of the bottom 10 percent.

The phrase "pulling yourself up by the bootstraps" itself is rubbish. Its origins date back to an 18th-century fairy tale, and the phrase was originally intended as a metaphor for an impossible feat of strength.

Other countries understand that the family you're born into as well as the social safety nets and social springboards you have access to play large roles.

Children born poor in Canada, Denmark, or the United Kingdom - nations without America's degree of inequality, nations which provide strong social safety nets and public investments - have a greater chance of economic success than children born poor in America.

Individuals in those countries are blamed less for their personal failures and credited less for personal successes.

So, why is America still perpetuating the fallacy of the self-made individual? Because those in power want you to believe it. If everyone thinks they're on their own, it's easier for the powerful to dismantle unions, unravel safety nets, and slash taxes for the wealthy.

It's in their interest to keep the American Dream deeply rooted in our psyche - the assumption that you determine your destiny. So we don't demand reforms that are necessary - paid family and medical leave, for example, or early childhood education, accessible childcare, and policies that lift every family out of poverty.

Let's stop perpetuating this myth of the self-made individual. And let's start rebuilding the American dream by creating opportunities for all, not just those who are already wealthy, privileged, and well-connected.

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

The Other Philadelphia
My trip to Freddie and Tony's
By Jane Stillwater

There was so much to see and do in Philadelphia. Who knew? I stayed in a fourth-floor walk-up in Chinatown and ate beef chow fun at M-Kee, an old-school hole-in-the-wall straight outta Shanghai. Then there was Mueller's Amish bakery for dessert (no, not that Mueller) at the Reading Market. They surely don't skimp on the sugar.

There is a science museum in Philadelphia with a planetarium and an old locomotive train as big as a house -- or even bigger. 350 tons of cast iron, looking pretty much like Darth Vader. I took a whole bunch of photos of it because I couldn't even believe it was real! After avoiding a whole bunch of food trucks selling cheese steaks, I visited Philly's fancy wedding-cake and rococo City Hall next. You gotta see it to believe it.

What should I do next? WWBFD? What would Benjamin Franklin do? Wander over to the Historic District, of course. I even splurged and bought a T-shirt at the Independence Hall gift shop that had a picture of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Hamilton crossing Abby Road and singing, "We all want a Revolution...." So appropriate for today -- although I would be willing to settle for just a Green New Deal. And perhaps an impeachment or two. Oh, and fair elections that haven't been gerrymandered and tampered with by the Repubs, Google, FaceBook, the DNC, the Saudis and AIPAC.

But the jewel in the crown of downtown Philly was definitely the Barnes Foundation -- where they are sitting on at least a billion dollars worth of French Impressionist paintings. My jaw just dropped. Dropped! One gallery alone contained a Picasso, several Monets, a few Cezannes, several Van Goghs, a Modigliani and two or three Degas. And that was just one gallery out of twenty. Apparently this Barnes guy got on the band-wagon early and was able to buy up all these paintings for cheap. Wish that had been me.

And then things got real. I took the #23 bus out to North Philly and then transferred to the #60 bus for another two miles. Why? Because I had just finished reading Elizabeth Acevedo's latest novel and she had mentioned at Puerto Rican restaurant named "Freddie and Tony". Solidarity with Puerto Rico! At least they have the cajones down there to actually stage a revolution when things get too corrupt.

The bus ride was worth it. While the pork chops were a bit over-cooked, the homemade flan was dreamy. And I also got to take a look at the Other Philly -- home of closed schools, used-tire lots, food stamps, dollar stores, high unemployment, homelessness and broken-down cars. Not exactly the type of place you would go in the "Pursuit of Happiness" but folks in North Philly made do. Good for them.

Downtown Philadelphia was beautiful, wonderful and historic as hell. North Philly just looked like the rest of America -- just trying to get by.

It's time for us all to follow the example of Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Washington -- and Puerto Rico -- and also demand an end to corruption in our current federal government as well.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Mike Luckovich ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Trump Escalates Baltimore Attacks With Rambling, 3-Hour Press Conference Tearing Into Edgar Allan Poe
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Criticizing the 19th-century writer as a "death-obsessed weirdo with very little literary talent," President Trump doubled down on his attacks against the city of Baltimore Monday by tearing into Edgar Allan Poe during a rambling, three-hour press conference on the White House lawn.

"This guy was a pathetic loser and boozehound who was too busy crying about his lost love to write any half-decent stories," said Trump during an oftentimes discursive and meandering speech that mocked the "disgusting, cousin-marrying hack" for his "boring" short stories and poems.

"Everyone says The Raven, okay? But a raven? Not very scary. Not scary at all. It's just a dumb bird. Maybe if he had spent less time concerned about internal rhyme schemes and more time fixing the broken and crime-ridden city that he lived in, we wouldn't have these problems in Baltimore right now-he's a disgrace to the Whig Party. Not original. Not smart. And I know a lot of people who love detective fiction, and they all tell me Poe's Dupin character was a disaster, just a complete disaster for the genre."

Media analysts noted that Trump's attacks stand in stark contrast to his habit of routinely heaping praise on Romanticists associated with New York like Washington Irving and Herman Melville.

(c) 2019 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 30 (c) 08/03/2019

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