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In This Edition

Bill Curry with a must read, "A Depressing Psychological Profile: My Meeting With Donald Trump Shows His Obvious Impairment Has Only Gotten Worse."

Uri Avnery demands, "Anyone But Bibi."

Glen Ford shows, "The Indecency Of The Black Misleadership Class."

Greg Palast explains, "Charlottesville: A Gun In His Face, But He Got The Photo."

Jim Hightower with some good news, "You'll Be Gobsmacked By The Populist Victories Won In This Conservative Colorado Town."

John Nichols concludes, "Trump Blamed The Violence In Charlottesville 'On Many Sides.' Republicans Must Reject That."

William Rivers Pitt with a must read, "We Have Been At War In Iraq For 27 Years."

Ralph Nader says, "Let's Start With Teaching Civic Skills And Actions."

Michael Winship returns with, "Charlottesville Goddam."

David Suzuki finds, "We Only Have One Earth, And We're Overshooting Its Capacity."

Charles P. Pierce declares, "This Is What Happens When Citizens Get Watchful."

David Swanson gives the, "Top 10 Misconceptions About Charlottesville."

Randall Amster returns with, "Cuckoo D'Etat: The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum."

Presidential Assistant Sebastian Gorka, wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich finds Trump, "Making America Hate Again."

Danielle Ryan asks, "What If The DNC Russian "Hack" Was Really A Leak After All?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst returns with, "Apparently, Donald Trump Is A Winner Surrounded By Losers" but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "On Many Sides, On Many Sides."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mike Luckovich, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Clay Jones, Ted Rall, Emil Athanasiou, Zach D Roberts, Gage Skidmore, Chip Somodevilla, Pablo Martinez, Michael Dwyer, Michael B.W. Watkins, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, HBO, 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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On Many Sides, On Many Sides
By Ernest Stewart

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides." ~~~ Donald Trump

"The largest modeled increases in extreme event precipitation occur in central and southwest Arizona, where mesoscale convective systems account for a majority of monsoon precipitation and where relatively large modeled increases in precipitable water occur. Therefore, we conclude that a more favorable thermodynamic environment in the Southwest U.S. is facilitating stronger organized monsoon convection during at least the last twenty years." ~~~ Dr. Thang Luong

"The internet was founded - and continues to survive, in the main - on its democratizing ability to facilitate a free exchange of ideas. Internet users have a reasonable expectation that they will not get swept up in criminal investigations simply by exercising their right to political speech against the government." ~~~ DreamHost

If it's somethin' weird an' it don't look good
Who ya gonna call?
Ghostbusters ~~~ Ray Parker Jr.

Was anyone surprised by Il Douchue's remarks about Charlottesville? Any one at all? How he tried to spread the blame from his base of Nazi's, KKK bozos, and alt-right clowns to the innocent victims of Charlottesville. Sure the cities mayor and police department ignored all the battle gear that the fascist brought but being Southern folks they let it happen, well, you can't bust them if half the police forces are members too! No wonder they gave the stand down order when the fascists started to riot!

No the Trumpster embraced the far right every step of his campaign suggeting the the crowd do something with those protestors, after his minions crawled out from under their rocks to sweep him into office, while most of the Democrats stayed home after the DNC betrayed them as they continue to do so till this day. Klu Klux Klaner David Duke said it best about his hero Il Douche:
"We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in, that's why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he's going to take our country back."
Like Hitler's "Brown Shirts", the neo-nazis were marching through the University of Virginia's campus with their "tiki torches" (How incredibly silly that looked) chanting Blood and Soil and "Jews will not replace us," as Hitler's stormtroopers did, i.e., "Blut und Boden" and "Achtung Juden," There's that history repeating itself again thingie! Oh, and by the way, all of this was being supported to the max by the ACLU who have always been fans of the fascist! Don't believe me, then just ask the folks in Skokie, Illinois what the ACLU put them through on June 25, 1978, even though at the time Skokie was pretty much a Jewish community with one in six citizens being Holocaust survivors! The ACLU fought tooth and nail for years to allow the American Nazi Party to terrorize those Americans. Oh and don't get me started of the ACLU defense of NAMBLA in the murder of a 10 year old boy!

The Lee statue isn't the only confederate traitors statue in Charlottesville. There's one to "Stonewall Jackson," a man so beloved by his troops, that they shot and killed him by "accident" (so the story goes) and one of a confederate solider. Jackson's and the soldier's statues have not been condemned like Lee's has. Lee's staute may not come down either as it's illegal in Virginia to remove a war monument!

On a happy note folks down in Durham, North Carolina got together and pulled down a confederate statue. On a sad note Trump gave a speech on Monday denouncing racial hatred. However, it looked like he was a hostage reading a statement at gun point. Again SAD! But cheer up, for the very next day he flip-flopped and blamed the victims again and of course the fascists went wild with joy! Pity is, my little goose steppers, they always get rid of the "brownshirts" first! I have no doubt that there is a "Happy Camp" looming in your immediate future!

Unless the Rethuglicans stop goose stepping along with Trump and impeach the rascal we are sooooooo screwed America. Even though that would put the even farther to the right Vice-Fuherer Pence in power. I'm sure that Trumps impeachment, would have Pence on his best behavior rather than follow Il Douche down the drain! One can but hope!

In Other News

I see where as the climate changes, Arizona's monsoon rainfall is becoming more intense even as daily average rainfall in parts of the state have gone down, this, according to a new study. Increasingly, extreme storms threaten the region with more severe floods and giant dust storms called haboobs.

Every summer, rivers of moisture in the lower troposphere, the monsoonal flow, stream into the Southwest from the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California. Nearly every day in midsummer, the sun heats the mountains and the deserts, creating convection. The rising warm air allows thunderclouds to build during the day before exploding into dramatic electrical storms in the afternoon and evening.

But today's monsoons aren't like the ones travelers on Route 66 would have driven through 60 years ago. I remember driving through one in 1968 and it was no "Swiss Picnic!" What must they be like today?

Christopher Castro, an associate professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson said, "During the monsoons, precipitation is coming in more extreme events. What we find is because atmospheric water vapor has increased, especially downwind of the mountain ranges, as these storms grow and organize, they're larger and more intense than they used to be."

That's why winter storms are worse than ever because of this fact of global warming, more moisture in the air, all year round.

According to the National Weather Service, "This summer, southern Arizona experienced its hottest June and wettest July on record. In June, Tucson recorded its first triple-digit daily average temperature. In the days following soaring triple-digit heat in July, monsoonal moisture pounded the Tucson metro area with intense rainfall and flash floods, shattering a daily rainfall record in a single hour on July 15."

The longer Trump makes us wait, the worse it's going to be. Of all the evil, stupid things that Trump has done this is the one that's most likely to get us all killed!

And Finally

One of the things that I find myself doing online is to self-censor my actions. My thoughts are still running rampent but before I speak them out loud I think about how they can be used against me. A way back when I stopped writing fluff pieces and began daring to tell the truth I realized that I had to cool my heals and figure out how to say certain things without having them used against me in a court of law. A charge of sedition with the full weight of the government behind it could ruin your whole day. Ergo, I decided to simply state the facts and let the reader jump to his own conclusion.

This week the Justice Department is demanding that the website-hosting company DreamHost turn over identifying information on visitors to a website used to organize protests during the president's inauguration in January. The company, which is fighting the request in court, believes the search warrant is unconstitutionally broad and a threat to free speech. And digital privacy advocates warn that it could represent a McCarthyesque strategy for identifying political dissidents opposed to President Donald Trump and his administration. You can see why I was concerned. I've always assume that the government was well aware of Issues & Alibis and so I acted accordingly. And as you can see for good reason!

In a blog post Monday, DreamHost talked about its ongoing legal battle with the Justice Department. In what appears to be part of its investigation into anti-Trump protests that turned violent on Inauguration Day, served DreamHost with a search warrant on July 12 related to its hosting of the protest organizing site (a reference to the January 20 inauguration). The company views the warrant's request for information on site visitors as overly broad. "Chris Ghazarian, our General Counsel, has taken issue with this particular search warrant for being a highly untargeted demand that chills free association and the right of free speech afforded by the Constitution. This is, in our opinion, a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority."

It's one thing to lose your job like the alt-right morons found out by posting their Nazi pride in words and pictures on facebook and it's another thing to wind up in the shower line at a "Happy Camp." (A word to the wise, if you find yourself in a "Happy Camp," whatever you do, stay out of those shower lines!)

Therefore, take the time to look before you leap and write something they can take out of context and use against you in a court of law. Not only this week but 20 years from now! As many are finding out about the 1st amendment. As Dubya said: "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!" Also, remember the first principle of political science: "Remember the golden rule! He who has the gold, makes the rules!"

Keepin' On

Zero Ducats in the bucket this week. We still need to raise $1600 by the first week in November and as you can see on any calendar, time is running out. We need your help if we are to keep on keeping on for you and yours. I emptied my retirement fund years ago keeping things going; so, unless you step up, we're gone like the wind. If I put my whole SS check in to pay the bills I'd end up about $2000 short.

So the question is, is what we do for you worth your support? Only you can answer that question. Most of our readers would like to help out, but are as broke as we are. No one makes a penny off their work for the magazine, never have, never will. We are all in this because we have to be; we all realize what is going down and what it means. It means we are screwed; and, unless we do something about it, our end is near!

Therefore, if you think the truth is worth the price, then please send us as much as you can, as often as you can; and we'll keep hipping you to the truth, just like we have, week after week, year after year, decade after decade! We're your source for what's really happening and what it means to you and your family. Who ya gonna call?


12-30-1934 ~ 08-13-2017
Thanks for the film!

12-02-1930 ~ 08-17-2017
Thanks for the art!


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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) 2017 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.

A Depressing Psychological Profile: My Meeting With Donald Trump Shows His Obvious Impairment Has Only Gotten Worse
I didn't get his endorsement when I ran for governor-but the severely troubled man I met has only gotten worse.
By Bill Curry

In 1994, I visited the home of Donald Trump. He was a Democrat then, of sorts, and I was the party's nominee for governor of Connecticut. He'd taken an interest in our state owing to his keen desire to lodge a casino in Bridgeport, an idea I found economically and morally dubious. I had scant hope of enlisting him, but made the trip anyway, thinking that if I convinced him I might win, he'd be less apt to bankroll my opponent.

I arrived at Trump Tower in early evening, accompanied by my finance chair and an old friend and colleague. Stepping off the elevator into his apartment, we were met by a display of sterile, vulgar ostentation: all gold, silver, brass, marble; nothing soft, welcoming or warm. Trump soon appeared and we began to converse, but not really. In campaigns, we candidates do most of the talking; because we like to, and because people ask us lots of questions. Not this time. Not by a long shot.

Trump talked very rapidly and virtually nonstop for nearly an hour; not of my campaign or even of politics, but only of himself, and almost always in the third person. He'd given himself a nickname: "the Trumpster," as in "everybody wants to know what the Trumpster's gonna do," a claim he made more than once.

He mostly told stories. Some were about his business deals; others about trips he'd taken or things he owned. All were unrelated to the alleged point of our meeting, and to one another. That he seldom even attempted segues made each tale seem more disconnected from reality than the last. It was funny at first, then pathetic, and finally deeply unsettling.

On the drive home, we all burst out laughing, then grew quiet. What the hell just happened? My first theory, that Trump was high on cocaine, didn't feel quite right, but he was clearly emotionally impaired: in constant need of approbation; lacking impulse control, self-awareness or awareness of others. We'd heard tales of his monumental vanity, but were still shocked by the sad spectacle of him.

That visit colored all my later impressions of Trump. Over time, his mental health seemed to decline. He threw more and bigger public tantrums; lied more often and less artfully. The media, also in decline and knowing a ratings magnet when it saw one, turned a blind eye. Sensing impunity, Trump revived the racist 'birther' lie. In 2011, he told the "Today" show's Meredith Vieira he had unearthed some dark secrets:

Vieira: You have people now down there searching, I mean in Hawaii?

Trump: Absolutely. And they cannot believe what they're finding.

As Trump recycled old lies, Vieira had a queasy look but no apparent knowledge of the facts. Of course, there weren't any. Trump had no proof of Obama being born in Kenya. (Since there is none.) It's highly doubtful he had any researchers in Hawaii. (It was only after Vieira asked him that he claimed he did.) Later, when Trump's story crumbled, he followed a rule taught by his mentor, Roy Cohn, infamous architect of McCarthyism: Admit nothing. To Trump, a lie is worth a thousand pictures.

By 2016, the private Trump was on permanent public display, raging over mere slights, seeing plots in every ill turn of events and, as always, stunningly self-absorbed. He was called a racist, a sexist and a bully. But his mental health issues were euphemized as problems of "temperament." He lied ceaselessly, reflexively and clumsily, but his lies were called merely "unproven" or, later, "false." The New York Times called the birther story a lie only after Trump grudgingly retracted it. Not till he was safe in office claiming that millions of phantom immigrants cast votes for Clinton did the paper of record use the word "lie" in reference to a tale Trump was still telling.

In 2016, the precariousness of Trump's mental health was clear to all with eyes to see, but like extras in a remake of "The Emperor's New Clothes," reporters averted their glances. The day after the election, they were all in a state of shock, like staff at an asylum who woke one morning to find that the patient who thought he was Napoleon had just been named emperor of France. Once he took office, many publications began keeping running tallies of his lies. But all take a more cautious approach to questions of their origins in his deeply troubled psyche. To date, no major network, newspaper or magazine has run an in-depth analysis of Trump's mental health.

The pathologies of American journalism are by now cliches: aversion to policy analysis; addiction to horse-race politics; smashing of walls that once separated news, opinion and advertising; an ideology that mistakes evenhandedness for objectivity. Yet we hear scant talk of reform. The press excels at public rituals of soul-searching but has little taste for the real thing. That said, its reluctance to discuss mental health reflects its virtues as well as its vices. Of major outlets, Fox News does by far the most psychological profiling. (It turns out all liberals are crazy.)

Like the language of politics, the language of psychology is imprecise; the term "sociopath" is as hard to nail down as "liberal" or "conservative." What separates a serial liar from a pathological liar? Mere suspicion from paranoia? Righteous anger from uncontrolled rage? How do we ever tell mental illness from ill character? Our view of any antisocial behavior hinges on whether we view it through a moral, legal or therapeutic lens; to take a human life other than in self-defense is insane, and also criminal and, to many, sinful. Do we treat, punish or forgive? It's so hard to say.

The diagnosis we associate with Trump is "narcissistic personality disorder" (a term that only lately replaced "narcissistic character disorder"). You'll find it in the Diagnostic Survey Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, fifth edition. Back in February, a principal author of the prior edition, Dr. Allen Frances, wrote a letter to the Times rebuking mental health professionals for "diagnosing public figures from a distance" and "amateur diagnosticians" for "mislabeling" Trump with narcissistic personality disorder. Allen says he wrote the criteria defining the disorder and Trump doesn't have it. His reasoning: Trump "does not suffer the disorder and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder."

Frances does what he accuses others of doing. By saying flatly that Trump doesn't suffer a disorder, he diagnoses a public figure we assume - for multiple reasons - he hasn't treated. Nor can he or anyone else tell "from a distance" that Trump doesn't suffer the requisite impairment and disorder. No president ever seemed so impaired or disordered, but we needn't compare him only to other rotten presidents. Trump is the Chuck Yeager of lying, a shatterer of records thought untouchable. That he is frozen in pathological, crotch-grabbing adolescence is well documented; that his judgment is often deranged by rage is self-evident.

This week the world watched two men of obvious, serious emotional impairment in control of ungodly nuclear weapons trade puerile taunts while threatening to incinerate millions of innocent human beings. Donald Trump, having made war on Mitch McConnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nordstrom, China, Mexico, Australia and the cast of "Hamilton," baiting a man who idolizes Dennis Rodman and just murdered his own brother. This is simply unacceptable. We know how Kim Jong-un got his job. It's time we thought about how Trump got his. One answer is that he got it the way authoritarian leaders do in liberal democracies: by exploiting the weakness and naive politesse of the old order. To contain him, let alone remove him, we must relearn the rules of debate.

We can start by distinguishing name calling (bad) from merely naming (which is not just good but vital). I too recoil from quack therapists diagnosing strangers on cable TV. But you don't need to be a botanist to tell a rose from a dandelion. In 2016 Trump compared Ben Carson to a child molester and pronounced him "incurable," but few raised the far more real question of Trump's own mental health. Do we dare not state the obvious? You needn't be an amateur diagnostician to see that Donald Trump is mentally ill.

Trump embodies that old therapists' saw "perception is projection." You can use this handy tool to locate the truth, exactly opposite from whatever he just said. He has a weight management problem, so women are "fat pigs." He can't stop fibbing, so his primary opponent becomes "Lyin' Ted Cruz." His career is rife with fraud so the former secretary of state becomes "Crooked Hillary." He is terrified of ridicule, so Barack Obama is a "laughingstock." When he says America's a wasteland but he'll make it great again, we know his secret fear.

Late in the presidential campaign Hillary Clinton famously dubbed some large portion of Trump's base a "basket of deplorables." A constant theme and core belief of her campaign was that his campaign was fueled by racism and misogyny, evils against which Democrats stand united. The evils are genuine and enduring, but political corruption and the economic inequality it fosters did at least as much and probably more to fuel Trump's rise.

It's likely that Trump's arrested development also got him white working-class votes, among males especially. The infantilization of the American male is a phenomenon we have been slow to recognize. It is a product of fast-narrowing economic horizons fueled by cultural forces; by beer ads and anti-intellectualism, by addiction and violent video games, and now by Trump, on whom Jon Stewart pinned the fitting moniker "man baby."

Countless surveys say our children are less racist and sexist than our parents. What many may not be is more adult. The issue isn't the bros in the beer ads; we assume they have jobs. It's the tinderbox we create by mixing ignorance and inequality with dashed hopes and an overwrought sense of victimization. They say presidents lead us down the paths we're already on. It's our job to make sure this one doesn't.

One thing Trump has taught us is that the drafters of the 25th Amendment weren't thinking about mental illness. It is unlikely anyone it puts in charge would have the courage to take action. In any case, progressives must put their primary emphasis on crafting a blueprint for political reform and economic justice. While they're at it they could try making better cases on national security and climate change.

They must take another lesson from Trump: to say out loud things they never said before, not as Trump does, but with honesty, decency, reason and specificity. Trump got to be president in part because there were so many things Democrats and the media didn't think or couldn't bring themselves to say. Trump's whole life is a fraud that Robert Mueller may soon expose as a criminal enterprise. His business career was a disaster till a book someone else wrote and a TV show someone else produced made him a celebrity. He then fell into the only line of work he ever prospered in: licensing that celebrity. He does it pretty well, but Zsa Zsa Gabor did it first and Kim Kardashian did it better and neither of them should be president.

In 2016 Trump's real vulnerabilities were his mental health and personal finances. We can now add his proto-fascism and his possible or intended treason to the list. Trump was lucky in the draw. His defects were so monumental, so toxic, we had no protocol for talking about them. There are effective and responsible ways to talk about all such things, but first our media and political elites must find the courage to name them. They know as well as you or I who he is.
(c) 2017 Bill Curry was White House counselor to President Clinton and a two-time Democratic nominee for governor of Connecticut. He is at work on a book on President Obama and the politics of populism.

Anyone But Bibi
By Uri Avnery

THE VULTURES are circling. They can see the wounded man on the ground, and are waiting for his end.

So are the human carnivores - the politicians.

They sing his praises, swear to defend him with all their heart - but in their heads they are already calculating who might be his successor. Each of them mutters to themself: Why not me?

Binyamin Netanyahu is facing the greatest crisis in his long career. The police are about to conclude their investigations. The Attorney General is under huge pressure to issue official indictments. The large demonstrations near the Attorney General's home are growing from week to week.

The Attorney General, the Inspector General of the Police and the Minister for Internal Security were all personally picked by Netanyahu (and his wife). Now even this does not help. The pressure is too strong.

The investigations may drag on for another few months, but the end seems certain: State of Israel v. Binyamin Netanyahu will go to court.

WHEN A member of the government is indicted for a felony, they usually resign, or at least take leave of absence. Not Netanyahu. No sir!

If he resigned, who would guard Israel and save it from the numerous dreadful dangers threatening the state from all sides? The Iranians are promising our extinction, the evil Arabs all around want to kill us, the leftists and other traitors threaten the state from within. How can we survive without Bibi? The danger is too awful to contemplate!

Netanyahu seems to believe this himself. He, his wife and his eldest son behave like a royal family. They buy without paying, travel as guests of others, receive expensive gifts as a matter of course.

Popular humor accompanies all these transgressions. The police has entered this spirit and decorated his files with many zeros.

File 1000 concerns the gifts. The Netanyahus are surrounded by a crowd of billionaires, who compete with each other in presenting gifts. Many jokes were made about the expensive cigars and pink champagne given to the family - until it transpired that their value amounts to tens of thousands of dollars. And the donors expect something in return from the donees.

File 2000 concerns a peculiar matter. Yedioth Ahronoth ("Latest News") was Israel's largest daily newspaper, until Israel Hayom ("Israel Today") appeared - a paper distributed for nothing. It was founded by Sheldon Adelson, an admirer of Netanyahu and the owner of huge casinos in Las Vegas and Macao. It is devoted to the single task of glorifying King Bibi.

In a recorded private conversation, Netanyahu offered Noni Moses, the owner of Yedioth, a deal: Israel Today would reduce its size and circulation if Yedioth started to glorify Bibi. Legally, this may amount to bribery.

And then there is File 3000, deep beneath the sea. The German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp (two names well remembered as Hitler's weapons suppliers) builds our submarines. Three, six, nine. The sky - or the sea - is the limit.

What do we need submarines for? Not to sink enemy fleets. Our enemies, such as they are, have no powerful fleets. But they may obtain nuclear missiles. Israel is a very small territory, and a nuclear bomb or two could destroy it. But no one will dream of doing so if they know that out there lurk submarines, which will respond with nuclear missiles within minutes.

The German shipyard, with the support of the German government, sells the submarines to the Israeli navy. No middlemen needed. But there are middlemen who put millions in their pockets. How many pockets? Ah, there we are. Quite a number of pockets, and all these pockets belong to people very close to the Prime Minister.

Perverted minds may imagine that tens of millions have reached the PM himself, perish the thought.

This week, a prestigious TV program aired an investigation, and the picture was shocking. The entire military and civilian environment seems to be infected by corruption, as in a failed African state.

ONE OF the few lessons I have learned in my life is that nobody reaches the top of any profession if they are not devoted to it absolutely, totally.

To get stinking rich, you must love stinking money. Not the things money can buy, but money itself. Like the miser of Moliere, who sits all day and counts his riches. If you also want something else, love or glory, you will not get to be a multi-multi-billionaire.

Don Juan did not care for anything but women. Not love. Just women, more and more of them.

David Ben-Gurion wanted power. Not the pleasures of power. Not cigars. Not champagne. Not several villas. Just power. Everything else, like his Bible club and his reading Don Quixote in Spanish, was just pretense. He wanted power and held on to it as long as he could. (In the end, when he surrounded himself with a praetorian guard of youngsters like Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres, his colleagues ganged up on him and kicked him out, with some help from me.)

A person who wants political power, but also the amenities of life, several villas and a lot of money will not really reach the very top. Netanyahu is a good example.

He is no exception. His predecessor is in prison, and so are several former ministers. A former President of the State was just released from prison (for sexual offenses).

Netanyahu grew up in the a family which was not affluent. So did Ehud Olmert. So did Ehud Barak. So did Moshe Dayan. They all loved money too much.

Sarah Netanyahu, the Prime Minister's wife, is also about to be indicted. She is accused of paying for her extensive private needs with government funds. She is not widely appreciated. Everybody calls her Sarah'le ("Little Sarah"), but not from love. She also grew up in straitened circumstances and was a low-grade air stewardess when she met Bibi in a duty-free shop.

I was lucky. Until my tenth birthday, my family was quite rich. When we fled to Palestine, we soon became as poor as synagogue-mice, but much happier.) ANOTHER LESSON: no one in power should stay there for more than eight years.

People in power attract flatterers. Every day, year after year, they are told that they are just wonderful. So wise, so clever, so handsome. Slowly they become convinced themselves. After all, so many good people can't be wrong.

Their critical senses become blunted. They get used to being obeyed even by people who know better. They become immune to criticism, and even get angry when criticized.

After the 12 year tenure of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a wise and successful president, the American people changed their constitution and limited the terms of the president to two, altogether eight consecutive years. Very sensible.

I speak from experience. I was elected to the Knesset three times. I very much enjoyed the first two terms - eight consecutive years - because I felt that I was doing the right things in the right way. During my third term I felt that I was less keen, less innovative, less original. So I resigned.

Netanyahu is now in his fourth term. High time for him to be thrown out.

THE BIBLE enjoins us: "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth" (Proverbs 24, 17). I do not rejoice, but I shall be very glad if he goes.

I do not hate him. Neither do I like him. I don't think that I have spoken with him on more than two or three occasions in my whole life. Once when he introduced me to his second - not last - wife, a nice young American woman, and once when he saw my picture in a photo exhibition, wearing a pilot's cap. He told me that I looked like Errol Flynn.

My attitude towards him is not based on emotion. It is purely political. He is a talented politician, a clever demagogue. But I believe that he is leading Israel slowly but surely towards a historic disaster.

People believe that he is devoid of principles, that he will do anything - just anything - to stay in power. That is true. But underneath everything there hide some ironclad convictions - the weltanschauung of his late father, the history professor, whose special field was the Spanish inquisition. Father Benzion Netanyahu was an embittered man, convinced that his colleagues despised him and blocked his career because of his extreme right-wing views. He was a fanatic, for whom even Vladimir Jabotinsky was far too moderate.

The father admired his elder son, Yoni, an army officer who was killed in the famous Entebbe raid, and did not respect Bibi very much. He once said that Bibi was not fit to be prime minister, but could make a good foreign minister - a very shrewd observation.

If Binyamin Netanyahu falls, which seems possible, who will replace him?

Like every clever (and unsure) leader, Bibi has destroyed every likely rival along the way. Now there is no obvious heir around.

But many people are now repeating a slogan: "Anyone, Just Not Bibi!"
(c) 2017 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

If Rep. Barbara Lee is the best of the bunch, our black political class is a rotten barrell.

The Indecency Of The Black Misleadership Class
The ideology of the Black Misleadership Class -- awesomely self-serving and pitifully servile, at the same time -- does not allow for decency, and is wholly unfit to guide politics of 40 million people.
By Glen Ford

When Rep. Barbara Lee made the House vote for sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea unanimous, she snuffed out the last flicker of any independent worldview among the Black political (misleadership) class. Russiaphobia reigns supreme in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), where "auntie" Maxine Waters, who once blamed the CIA for the crack cocaine epidemic, now fills her rhetorical pipe with war-inducing hallucinogens straight from spook headquarters in Langley. Three summers ago, the Black Caucus joined in a unanimous House resolution in support of Israel, effectively cheering the apartheid state at the very moment it was slaughtering 2,500 Palestinians in Gaza.

A month before the resolution on Israel, 80 percent of the Black Caucus voted to continue the Pentagon's massive transfers of weapons and military gear to local police departments, thus endorsing the militarized police occupation of Black communities. It would require a new social movement, initially outside the reach of the Black Misleadership Class, to make the connection between Gaza and Ferguson, Missouri.

The War Party began its absorption of the CBC in 2002, when corporate and pro-Israel moneybags funded the primary election defeats of Representatives Cynthia McKinney (GA) and Earl Hilliard (AL), two of the Caucus' most prominent critics of U.S. foreign policy. It was a pivotal year in the devolution of Black electoral politics, as corporate money made its first serious entrance into local Black Democratic races. By 2005 there existed, for the first time ever, a recognizable right wing in the CBC. Once a small faction, these corporatists now dominate the Caucus, where only 8 to 10 members can be considered reliably "progressive" by any rational measure - and only if foreign policy is omitted from the criteria.

" When it comes to U.S. behavior overseas, the Black Misleadership Class is absolutely indistinguishable from the leadership of the Democratic Party. Their core ideology is "representationalism," which holds that the best measure of Black progress is the number of "Black faces in high places" in all sectors of U.S. society. This narrow worldview meshes quite well with corporate notions of "diversity," with its emphasis on managerial and high profile public positions. For Black corporate- and media-oriented climbers, social transformation need go no deeper than skin color. Radical change in fundamental relations of power is viewed, at best, as problematical, since serious socio-economic shakeups might upset the fragile status of those Blacks newly entered into the fringes of ruling circles (or who imagine themselves to have "arrived.")

The Black "representationalist" worldview is, therefore, inherently conservative at its core. On domestic issues, Black elected officials and other "leaders" must at least give the appearance of responding to mass Black demands for some form of wealth redistribution. This is generally accomplished by paying lip service to the mildest economic reforms offered by the Democratic wing of the corporate duopoly. The Black political class, however, assigns its highest priority to its own relationship to Power, which it conflates with the interests of Black people as a group. They are instantly prepared to accept the harshest reversals in social policy -- and then package it as "the best deal we could get." Welfare "as we knew it" was abolished and mass Black incarceration more deeply entrenched, with hardly a "God Damn!" from the Black Misleadership Class.

At this stage of capitalist decay, the rulers are not prepared to offer anything to the masses -- and especially not in any form that could be seen as directly beneficial to Black people. (White backlash avoidance, at all cost.) Accordingly, the Black Misleadership Class asks only for a gentler austerity. Gone are the days of ritual, election season proposals for a "Marshal Plan for Black America." Such a program is more desperately needed than ever, but Black politicos will make no demands that corporate Democrats would reject, for fear of harming their standing in "the party" and with the billionaires that control it.

In foreign relations, including Africa, the Black Misleadership Class identifies fully with the U.S. imperial project, and seeks to embed itself as deeply (and profitably) as possible in the infrastructure of empire. As per their imperative that Black people be "represented" in all U.S. endeavors, African American politicos applaud the posting of Black generals to AFRICOM, but are unconcerned that the U.S. Military Command virtually occupies the continent. This class cares nothing for the sovereignty -- or even survival -- of African peoples and nations, but seeks only to ensure that the hyper-aggressive superpower presents a "rainbow" face as it attempts to dominate the world: diversity in predation -- and in genocide.

No one has been more intimately involved in the ongoing slaughter of Congolese over the past 21 years than Susan Rice, who was serving as special assistant to President Bill Clinton and senior director for African affairs in 1996, when the U.S.-backed militaries from Rwanda and Uganda invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo. To date, the invaders have caused the deaths of at least 6 million people, the largest genocide since World War Two. Much of Congo's mineral wealth has wound up in Rwanda, on its way to multinational corporations. Under President Obama, Rice became U.S. ambassador to the United Nations where she did everything possible to shield Rwanda and Uganda (and, ultimately, U.S. imperialism) from censure and punishment for the crime of genocide.

These were precisely the credentials that put Rice at the top of the list to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Predictably, Republicans zeroed in on Rice -- not, of course, for her crimes against Congolese humanity, but to make her a foil for the jihadist attack on the U.S. consulate (CIA arms distribution depot) in Benghazi, Libya. The Congressional Black Caucus rallied to Rice's defense, embracing her as a sister in distress. Thanks to Friends of Congo and other activists, all of these Black lawmakers had been made aware of the abominations committed by U.S. allies in Congo, and of the U.S. role in covering up their crimes during Rice's tour at the UN. A handful had served on congressional subcommittees on Africa. But 6 million dead Congolese were of no consequence when weighed against the representational value of yet another Black U.S. secretary of state.

Barbara Lee was conspicuous by her presence among Susan Rice's fawning Black Caucus boosters -- conspicuous in the way that a priest would stand out in a satanic ritual. No decent person could support Rice, an unrepentant top operative in a decades-long genocide, for anything except life in prison or an appointment with the gallows. But, the ideology of the Black Misleadership Class -- awesomely self-serving and pitifully servile, at the same time - does not allow for decency, and is wholly unfit to guide politics of 40 million people.

The Black political class has given electoral politics a bad name. But, that doesn't mean the vote is useless in the struggle for justice and self-determination. The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations holds a national conference at Chicago State University this Saturday and Sunday, under the theme, "The Ballot and the Bullet: Elections, War and Peace in the Era of Donald Trump."

All decent people that value Black liberation are invited, including remorseful Democrats (no Republicans, please).
(c) 2017 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Previously unreleased photos of four neo-Nazis attacking black school teacher De'Andre Harris
with iron bars and lumber in a parking garage in Charlottesville on Saturday, Aug 12.

Charlottesville: A Gun In His Face, But He Got The Photo
By Greg Palast

Don't look away. Four white neo-Nazis are beating a Black man, crawling on the ground, with
their metal poles and a yellow hunk of lumber. The beating continues - there's blood on the pavement.

Our photographer, Zach D. Roberts, continues to shoot - even as a white militant raises a 9mm pistol to his face.

Zach got a shot of the gun and gunman, too. Luckily, the gunman didn't shoot back.

One photo has gone viral internationally. These others we bring you here because they must be seen. Including, for the first time, the gunman.

Welcome to Charlottesville, USA. Trump's America, month eight.

The young victim is De'Andre Harris, a special education teacher in Charlottesville.

According to the President, the violence was perpetrated on "many sides." The only sides I see are the beaters and the beaten; De'Andre on the ground with the alt-Right storm troopers with weapons.

Zach D. Roberts is an investigative photojournalist who has been with the Palast Investigations team for eleven years.

Here is Zach's report:

De'Andre Harris, the school teacher, was walking down the street with friends, trading taunts with the white supremacist demonstrators.

Harris' jibes were hardly fighting words. "Go home! Leave town!" Locals like Harris resented the jack-ass invasion.

That's when fists flew and Harris was slammed by one of the white guys straight into a parking lot barrier so hard the yellow wooden arm broke.

De'Andre fell to the ground, alone, surrounded by all these white guys - and they started beating him with the poles that almost all the white supremacists were carrying.

In the photos, you can see one white guy picking up the yellow barrier arm and raising the three foot hunk of lumber high over his head before he brings it down on De'Andre - who is being kicked by another white man's boots while two others bring down metal rods on the prone man.

And no, that's not a cop on the left in the photo - that's a neo-Nazi in full riot gear. (Where were the cops? Good question: this parking garage is next to the Charlottesville Police Station.)

De'Andre was saved when some gutsy young Black men - with no weapons - ran into the underground garage, which promted the white posse to scatter.

Except for one. The gunman.

A white militant with a 9mm pistol, then aimed at rescuers.

He pulled out what looks to be a 9mm pistol, maybe a Glock semi-automatic, and positioned himself to fire on the rescue squad. But then he heard the click of Zach's camera, just three feet away, and realized he was getting photographed.

Simultaneously, Zach realized he'd left his bullet-proof vest in his car. (I'll have that discussion with him later.)

In this strange stand-off, the camera proved mightier than the bullet. In his tiny little brain, the would-be shooter figured it would be wiser to quickly conceal the weapon and flee.

De'Andre "ran into the garage's staircase and collapsed bleeding profusely from the face." Zach waited with him and his protectors for half an hour but no ambulance arrived for him or the other people who were injured.

So, that's the news from Trump's USA. Nazis marching in the street, nuclear war with Korea, the "military option" for Venezuela. And it's only Monday.

I was going to write about Korea, then Venezuela, but then the Armed Alt-Righteous exposed themselves to Zach's lens.

The Virginia story is not over. We will be going back to Virginia on September 9, to the capital, Richmond, to fight for the right for Black folk to arm themselves with the one weapon these white punks fear most: the vote.

Between snapping photos of America gone mad, Zach has been working these past four years with me on a story of how Trump's henchman, one Kris Kobach, now head of Trump's so-called, "Election Integrity Commission," conceived of a secretive program to remove hundreds of thousands of Black Americans from the voter rolls.

Virginia removed an astonishing 41,637 voters based on Kobach's accusation they could have voted twice. Not one of the accused was arrested - but, you won't be surprised to hear, the list of the "scrubbed" was filled with African-American names. And Virginia is removing tens of thousands more with this Jim Crow tactic - despite a nominally Democratic Governor, Terry McAuliffe.

Virginia refused us their "scrub" lists. But Zach Roberts, by stellar investigative work, obtained a copy - half a million names in all - much to the state's dismay. And those lists are every bit as obscenely racist and, in the long run, far more wounding, than the iron rods of the neo-Nazis.

So, thank you, Zach, for the photos that bear witness and inside documents that reveal their secret schemes.

For the rest of us, our job is simpler: not to look away.
(c) 2017 Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures' Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Revi

You'll Be Gobsmacked By The Populist Victories Won In This Conservative Colorado Town
By Jim Hightower


Believe it or not, that's a good thing. More about those dogs later, but what has been happening politically and culturally this year in Colorado's second largest city is astonishing, encouraging ... even inspiring. Progressive/populist activists who're organizing all across America to build grassroots movements strong enough to counter plutocratic rule and govern in the people's interest now have a radiant model of success in one of the least likely places.

Since the 1990s, Colorado Springs has been shaped by an inordinate number of hard, hard, HARD right-wing institutions and forces, including:

The national and international headquarters of more than 70 evangelical Christian outfits, many preaching fire-and-brimstone intolerance
A swarm of rabid anti-tax, anti-union, anti-gay, anti-Obama Republican front groups funded by corporate extremists
The US Air Force Academy and four other military installations employing 65,000 soldiers and civilians
The Gazette, the city's one daily newspaper, owned by Philip Anschutz, a multibillionaire buddy of the Koch brothers. The Gazetteā€˜s Fox News-style editorial pages relentlessly push "alternative facts" and reactionary policies
A paternalistic downtown establishment of politically connected developers who, incredibly, tout themselves as the "moderates"

Yet, like nearly all such neon-red spots splattered throughout our land, the Springs also is home to a hardy band of progressives, including environ.mentalists, unionists, women's champions, scrappy entrepreneurs, LGBTQ activists, students and teachers, a sizeable immigrant population, social justice church groups, some sensible libertarians-and, importantly, a vibrant alternative newsweekly. The Colorado Springs Independent regularly links all the above and lives up to its name with a steady output of investigative journalism.

In 1993, after city leaders and The Gazette led a statewide campaign to legalize open discrimination against gays and lesbians, the Independent was launched as a unifying political vessel for diverse locals trying to advance progressive principles. In this turbulent sea of arch-conservatism, they had to be satisfied with only very occasional victories.

A little over year ago, however, John Weiss, founder and recently retired publisher of the Independent, began to think that more could be done. Through a listening tour with engaged locals, he found that on numerous economic and environmental issues-from willingness to spend more tax money on municipal services to outrage over big money's perversion of local democracy -many townspeople were downright progressive-minded. (Full disclosure: Weiss is a good friend and also serves on the Lowdown's board of directors.)

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders was bringing new, highly energized voters into play-he handily won the county's 2016 Democratic caucus. Young people who had previously evinced zero interest in the old Democratic-Republican duopoly were rallying behind Bernie's grassroots populism. And his revolutionary call to rein in America's corporate oligarchs also sparked a fire in older, working-class people, including Repubs and none-of-the-above folks who'd given up on the idea that either party gave a damn about people like them. Weiss sensed a shift in Colorado Springs' political zeitgeist - one that might open a path for new alignments and a progressive-populist movement.

But movements don't just happen-until someone literally makes a move, inspiring others to join in, take action ... and get moving. That's what is happening in Colorado Springs.

In the midst of 2016's national Trumpian tumult, Weiss and a core group of community allies started exploring strategies for a fresh political organizing effort in Colorado Springs. They pinpointed two decisive shortcomings in past efforts: One, progressive campaigns tended to be defensive, reacting to the extreme right's framing of issues and then spending much of their time and money countering disinformation and dirty tricks. Two, while developers and the hard right maintained permanent staff and campaigns, progressives started every battle from scratch, scrambling to create new organizations, which were handicapped by lack of institutional memory.

Making their move

Do something!

As the progressively inclined citizens of Colorado Springs formulated the principles behind T4CS, their listening tour let them tap the wisdom of successful grassroots efforts in other states. Together for Colorado Springs co-founder, John Weiss, calls out two models in particular that may be useful to your local efforts:

The Durham People's Alliance ( works at the North Carolina grassroots to organize their community to ensure that all people in it can live well. They celebrated their 40th anniversary last year with-yes!-a big party with "eats, sweets, and drinks," sponsored by some of Durham's living-wage certified businesses.

The Maine Peoples Alliance ( brings individuals and organizations together to realize shared goals on a range of issues from housing and jobs to racial justice and the environment. They focus on preparing citizen leaders to work for positive social change.

Following their spring successes, T4CS is now looking to hire an experienced community organizer for their city of 750,000. Interested folks can contact them through

So this audacious band of populist allies decided to make a big move. They called on progressive forces throughout the Pikes Peak region-including Democrats, Berniecrats, Greens, and non-partisan issue advocates-to come together and build a permanent social change organization. Moreover, they reached out to fair-minded, commonsense moderates and sensible libertarians who were embarrassed both by religious crazies (whose intolerance sparked the town's moniker: "Hate City") and by the political toadies of the area's corporate kingdom. These business-friendly cronies used city government to further enrich the elites while ignoring pressing needs for funding parks, mass transit, street lights, public bathrooms, and for saving drought-stricken trees.

Through the spring and summer of 2016, the allies met with more than 100 local organizations and activists and formulated a straightforward goal: to mobilize a broad coalition around progressive values and common-interest proposals and then to assemble the full-time staff, tools, and resources needed to initiate and win candidate and issue campaigns. Last October, seven local activists-including local entrepreneurs and digital gurus as well as long-time civil rights and environmental organizers-formed Together for Colorado Springs (T4CS) with a can-do slogan: "Together We Can Move Mountains." Working committees were formed to handle the nitty-gritty chores of turning the ideas into effective action.

After Trump's surprise victory last November, Colorado Springs moderates and progressives-like folks across the nation-were eager to mobilize in response. These newly activated citizens were able to plug into T4CS, which announced itself in exactly the right fashion: by throwing a wang-dang-doodle of a party. After all, sustaining a grassroots, democracy-building movement requires more than non-stop political action. It also needs social and cultural events to round out its appeal, unite its members, and express its democratic spirit. So T4CS's public launch last February put the party back in politics, with a joyous crowd of more than 600 coalition supporters jammed into Stargazers Theater for a night of funky music, tub-thumping speeches, and a renewal of hope-plus, of course, plentiful libations to lubricate the new movement.

Strawberry Fields

The very next day, though, it was down to business, for city council elections were coming up in April, less than two months away. The council had long been a rubber stamp for development interests, and its constant subservience to both moneyed and religious royals had irked regular folks of all political stripes. As the elections approached, this cronyism became a defining populist issue as T4CS hammered on one especially galling example of rank favoritism: The Strawberry Fields caper.

If a homeless person had been caught stealing strawberries in Colorado Springs, at least one of the council members would have bellowed, "Thou shalt not steal," and demanded jail time for the wretched miscreant. But when Lord Philip Anschutz-the second richest man in Colorado (and the 35th richest person in America)-wanted to get his hands on a 180-plus-acre public park known as Strawberry Fields, he didn't need to steal anything. The city council stole it for him.

Even though this unique, natural space has been owned by the citizens of the Springs since 1885 and serves as a very popular re-creation and nature area, the mayor and council seemed to expect praise when they announced in January 2016 that they'd cut a deal to let the billionaire take title to the people's property. The clueless politicos gushed that Anschutz was willing to develop the "useless" land for the betterment of the city.

But Anschutz is no altruist. He is an imperialist who inherited an oil fortune and used it and his political connections to expand his holdings into railroads, media, pro sports teams, music events, telecommunications, movie theaters, and more. Along the way, he amassed a $12-billion fortune for himself. Far from wanting to help the local citizenry, Anschutz wanted Strawberry Fields so he could bulldoze nature and build an exclusive horse stable and event center on it to serve the wealthy swells (including Charles and David Koch) who pay top dollar for getaways at the nearby Broadmoor hotel and resort. That swank, sprawling 5-star facility happens to be owned by -who else?-Anschutz.

Piling outrage atop outrage, the "deal" that city officials approved required no money from the billionaire! Instead, he was allowed to trade some 370 acres of relatively worthless land that The Broadmoor owned elsewhere for the prime space owned by the people. For months after the deal was announced, the Springs boiled in fury. Thousands of locals signed petitions against it, and a subsequent poll commissioned by the Independent found that two thirds of the populace was opposed to the deal. But Anschutz used his financial clout and the PR power of his Gazette newspaper to pull the business establishment behind his proposed theft. So, in May 2016, despite huge public opposition, the city council sold out the people by a 6-3 vote.

The campaign

Unfazed by public opinion, Anschutz, The Gazette, the Springs' corporate political network, and their hard-right Christian allies headed into this spring's council elections with a business dream team and mountains of money, fully expecting to increase their control by winning all six of the seats up for a vote. Sure, the T4CS group had popped into view, but it was seen as just another collection of liberal losers. Here's how the city's district races matched-up:

DISTRICT 1 Incumbent libertarian Don Knight, a retired Air Force officer and conservative Christian, had stepped on corporate toes by asking too many pesky questions, so Anschutz and local power brokers recruited the CEO of Champion Windows to try to knock him off. T4CS recommended Knight as the better of the candidates.

DISTRICT 2 An open seat in this district that went heavily for Trump pitted a right-winger against Dave Geislinger, a lawyer turned Catholic chaplain. Geislinger is himself conservative on many issues, but he idealizes Pope Francis and ran to help ensure that the city's poor get a fair shake. At the last minute, Dave's opponent dropped out, leaving the field open to add this relatively progressive Christian voice to the council. T4CS did not endorse Geislinger outright, but recommended him as well.

DISTRICT 3 This district includes The Broadmoor itself, and the establishment put up a developer who looked to be a shoo-in. Just before the filing deadline, however, Richard Skorman, a popular small business owner who lives near Strawberry Fields, entered the race with T4CS's full-throated endorsement. Critically important: When Skorman filed, three other progressively inclined candidates voluntarily dropped out so that the progressive vote would not be split.

DISTRICT 4 Either the incumbent (a fervid Trump supporter) or the corporate candidate (a public schools privatizer) was expected to win. T4CS endorsed a long shot-transit activist Yolanda Avila, a Bernie backer who had grown up in this district's low-income community. Another activist, a bronze star veteran, voluntarily stepped aside to consolidate the progressive vote.

DISTRICT 5 Here T4CS endorsed moderate Republican incumbent Jill Gaebler, an independent-minded, retired military officer who has championed pragmatic solutions and neighborhood issues-including opposing The Broadmoor's Strawberry Fields scam. The right-wing establishment viciously opposed her re-election and bankrolled her opponent, a corporate executive.

DISTRICT 6 This district, dominated by tea party disciples and people even farther out on the fringe, was not contested by T4CS.

The upshot

On April 4, with T4CS, the energy of volunteers mobilized by Unite Colorado Springs, strategic use of polling and social media, and a little luck, the upstarts pulled off a stunning upset. Even though T4CS was outspent by at least 10-to-1 (their opponents' war chest included some $385,000 in secretive "dark money" that many suspect came largely from Anschutz and/or the Koch Brothers), the people's efforts prevailed. All three T4CS endorsees were elected by substantial margins, as were the two candidates it recommended. These five joined Bill Murray, a progressive holdover whose at-large seat was not up this year and, thus, a pragmatic-progressive coalition now holds a solid majority at City Hall. In its first move, the new council, over the objections of the pro-development establishment, selected Skorman as council president and Gaebler the mayor pro tem. By working together, the citizen uprising in the Springs has, indeed, moved mountains, shifting power from The Broadmoor's backrooms out to the grassroots.

Gone to the dogs

Big political change is sometimes symbolized by small alterations in routine. When Yolanda Avila became not only the first Latina on the council, but also its first legally blind member, lobbyists backed off on trying to dazzle members with slick power-point visuals. In addition, when Councilwoman Avila took her place on the dais, she was accompanied by her guide dog, Puma, the council's first canine. Well, thought a few members, why not bring my fido? Thus, Colorado Springs's council meetings are now graced by the presence of up to four dogs, reducing the pomposity of the proceedings and giving them a bit more common-people's feel.

Symbolism aside, change is as changees do, and this council is not hesitating to put its new clout to work for such needed policy changes as:

No more giveaways of the people's resources to corporate interests. (A lawsuit challenging the city council's vote to swap away Strawberry Fields to The Broadmoor is wending its way through the courts, with a decision expected in 2018.)
Welcoming the LGBTQ community into city government
Working to close the city's antiquated coal-burning power plant and transitioning to renewable energy sources
Public funding of the arts
Better disclosure of campaign donations
Promoting in-fill and restraining gluttonous sprawl
Investing in more open space for all residents to use
Expanding people's access to high-speed internet service

Get moving!

Resisting Donald Trump's freak show in Washington is essen-tial, but no more so than building democratic politics where we live. If the everyday people of Colorado Springs-a supposedly rock-solid bastion of plutocracy and theocracy-can come together and take charge, so can the rest of us. As Skorman, the Springs' new council president put it: People "are frustrated with national politics, but they can get involved locally. ...[They] aren't going to let these local elections slide like they have in the past."

Local offices have formidable power, and winning them creates real opportunities to make bold progressive advances. The Together group threw another party in May-this one to celebrate their remarkable April victories. But while everyone felt great about the election, the real joy at the event was knowing that they are on the brink of making significant positive differences in their city. As T4CS co-chair Dawn Haliburton-Rudy put it to the crowd: "Now our real work begins."
(c) 2017 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House on July 31, 2017.

Trump Blamed The Violence In Charlottesville 'On Many Sides.' Republicans Must Reject That.
Members of the GOP have a duty to condemn a Republican president who had done everything in his power to divide the country.
By John Nichols

Republicans used to recognize the difference between right and wrong, between good and evil. The party's great moral champion in the moment when it became the political tribune for a wave of 19th-century abolitionist sentiment, Pennsylvania Senator Thaddeus Stevens, proclaimed, "I can never acknowledge the right of slavery. I will bow down to no deity however worshipped by professing Christians-however dignified by the name of the Goddess of Liberty, whose footstool is the crushed necks of the groaning millions, and who rejoices in the resoundings of the tyrant's lash, and the cries of his tortured victims."

That is the language that Republicans once spoke.

But Americans have not heard any echoes of that language in the awful response of Donald Trump to the racist terror that has rocked Charlottesville, Virginia.

When white nationalists marched with the flag of the slaveholders that Stevens and his comrades vanquished more than a century and a half ago, when these so-called "neo-Confederates" unleashed hatred and violence in Charlottesville, the Republican president of the United States attempted to equate their infamy with the principled resistance to racism and xenophobia.

"I should put out a comment as to what's going on in Charlottesville," said the president, who then proceeded to announce that "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides."

Trump then sought to absolve himself of any responsibility by noting that this hatred, bigotry, and violence-which has flared so horrifically since last year's presidential election-has been "going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. A long, long time."

Trump's final observation was correct: the American crisis is not new. Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old Charlottesville paralegal who died Saturday after a car driven by a man linked with the white supremacists plowed into a crowd of peaceful antiracism demonstrators, was certainly not the first supporter of equality to be murdered in this country.

But to equate the champions of equal justice under law with the vile racists who march beneath the banners of slaveholders and segregationists is beyond defense.

At a moment when the country needed a president to speak with moral authority, Trump failed the test. Miserably.

The only question that remains involves his fellow Republicans. Will they finally put principle above party and reject this pathetic excuse for a president?

The great name of the Republican Party has already been dragged through the mud - not just by Donald Trump but by every Republican who has to this point facilitated his presidency.

As Trump exploits and extends resentment for purposes of politics and self-aggrandizement, he affronts the legacy of the party of Abraham Lincoln and Thaddeus Stevens. He cannot help himself, or his party, or his country. But Donald Trump is not the whole of the Republican Party. Not yet.

Other Republicans still have an opportunity to reject the destructive politics that the president is employing, a politics that is rapidly turning the party of Lincoln into the party of Trump. This will only happen, however, if they have the courage to make an explicit and unapologetic break with their president.

It is not enough that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and senior Republicans such as Arizona Senator John McCain have issued more responsible statements than did Trump. They have a duty to condemn a Republican president who had done everything in his power to divide the country, and who is now making things much, much worse.

The burden rests heaviest on Paul Ryan's shoulders. He is right to say that "White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated." But the speaker must understand that confronting and defeating slaveholders, segregationists, neo-Confederates, and alt-right haters has always required the moral clarity that Republicans like Thaddeus Stevens mustered in the party's founding time.

Donald Trump's crudely constructed and crudely stated arguments for moral equivalency are an affront to the long legacy of the Republican Party, and to human decency. If Ryan and other leading Republicans fail to confront Trump, if they will not hold their president to account, they are facilitating his heresy-and the damage to society that extends from a Republican president who governs with no sense of history, and no sense of honor.
(c) 2017 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. 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.

Iraqi special operations forces search for three missing soldiers in Baghdad, Iraq, May 21, 2007.

We Have Been At War In Iraq For 27 Years
By William Rivers Pitt

In the desert,
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter -- bitter," he answered;

"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

~~~ Stephen Crane ~~~

On August 2, 1990, I was a newly minted high school graduate counting the hours until my freshman year of college began. I was 18 years old, madly in love for the first time, and totally unaware that Iraq was invading Kuwait that day. Five days later, on August 7, President George H.W. Bush ordered troops to Saudi Arabia, the first of millions who would rotate through that region over the next 27 years.

I remember things happening fast during that long-ago August. An Army recruiter visited my house just before I left for school. He sat in my living room and told me Iraq's military was massive, that Saddam Hussein was more dangerous than Adolf Hitler, but if I joined up now and entered the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, I wouldn't be near combat for at least four years. Besides, he said, this war will be over by then. I remembered my father, what volunteering for Vietnam did to him, and politely declined the proffered papers.

Twenty-seven years. My father's war only lasted 25. Only.

Twenty-seven years of war in Iraq, or preparation for war, in one permutation or another. I sometimes wonder if that recruiter remembers what he said to me about how long it all would last. I'd bet he remembers; I was certainly not the only young man he ran that number on as the push toward war swelled like a blister over the following months. Nearly three decades later, how many graves at Arlington and elsewhere have been filled with the remains of those who were told it would be over before they got there, and believed it? I'm sure he remembers. Wouldn't you?

For the historical record: There was the initial build-up of Desert Shield, followed by Desert Storm and its lethal cloud of depleted uranium. There were the sanctions/bombing Clinton years when we blew up sewage treatment plants and denied children vaccines in an ongoing act of biological warfare. Then, there was the second Bush invasion based on unprosecuted criminal lies, the long massacre of occupation and torture, the Obama occupation and drone war, the drawdown, the draw-back-up because of ISIS. Now, there is the current trembling mayhem of air strikes, car bombs, militias, factions, confusion and an overwhelming ocean of refugees.

No one in politics or the media seems capable of recognizing this series of events for what it truly is: One large event with a tangible beginning, a middle and no end in sight. There is no dicing it up. It is all of a piece, one long war, the longest by miles in our nation's history. The most recent invasion and occupation saw nearly 5,000 US service members killed and close to 40,000 wounded. That casualty count does not include the many thousands of veterans who have returned home after multiple deployments suffering from a variety of maladies caused by prolonged exposure to chemicals, combat and carnage.

As for the civilian toll in Iraq after 27 years of war, no one is precisely sure. "You know," said Gen. Tommy Franks just after George W. Bush's portion of the war began, "we don't do body counts." Reliable estimates place the number in the hundreds of thousands, with others claiming a million or more lives have been lost. Thousands died during the opening of the war, with thousands more perishing in the intervening years from air strikes, polluted water and depleted uranium poisoning. UNICEF reported in 1999 that some 500,000 Iraqi children died due to deprivations caused by our sanctions. Factional strife caused by the war has killed even more. Millions of people remain displaced from their homes.

There is also the financial toll. The latest numbers are almost a year old, but the best estimates of the monetary cost of all these years of systematic butchery, when combined with the expense of simultaneous war in Afghanistan, reach into the trillions of dollars. There are the trillions we've already spent, and the trillions we will continue to spend as we accrue interest on the unpaid loans that financed the war to begin with. After sending millions of soldiers, sailors, Marines and air force servicemembers to war, many on multiple occasions, the VA will be dealing with an astonishing and expensive human workload for many decades to come.

Twenty-seven years. Hundreds of thousands of deaths, at least. Trillions of dollars squandered? Hardly. This was not an accident. It was, and continues to be, a spectacular payday.

Every bullet fired, every bomb dropped, every missile launched, every gallon of fuel burned, every HumVee destroyed by an IED, every helicopter shot down, every boot on the ground, every private military contractor's paycheck, every MRE, every Kevlar vest, every pill, every helmet, every uniform, every body bag, every coffin and every American flag draped over it throughout all those many long years of war represents money taken from you and given to a small group of people you'll never meet. They hide much of that money offshore so it won't be taxed, and use the rest to buy politicians who tell you the country is broke, we're about austerity now, so no more school lunches for your kids and no more Medicaid for your mother.

It took 27 years, but one of the greatest heists, one of the greatest redistributions of wealth in the history of humanity has taken place right under our noses, and the nation of Iraq stands in ruins. Here at home, the ruins are not nearly as vivid, but they are still very present. Just look at us. Look at what war has done for us, what we have allowed to be taken from us, one day at a time, for almost 30 years.

We have enough firepower to kill every living thing on Earth down to the last lichen, but we can't tell the difference between reality television and reality. Education and expertise are disdained, there are more guns than people, and the police are armed to the teeth with Iraq war castoff weaponry when they confront people of color and women protesting in the streets to save rights they thought they'd won 50 years ago.

Imagine not being a nation steeping like a teabag in its own cowardice after creating so many blood enemies through 27 years of war. We are so afraid now that a high spokesman for the president of the United States can stand before the assembled press and spout white nationalist dogma about the creed on the Statue of Liberty because, he says, immigrants and refugees are dangerous now. The truth is, a lot of them are running for their lives after we blew up their homes and killed their families -- but we won't let them in the country, because they scare us.

Imagine, on the other hand, thousands upon thousands of well-resourced schools with plenty of teachers and textbooks to go around, a health care system whose chief purpose was actual health care, fully funded medical research curing diseases like diabetes and ALS, coast-to-coast rail so fast you're in San Francisco almost before you left Boston, a rebuilt infrastructure that reimagines our national capacities as it invigorates our economy, a world-leading alternative energy industry that drinks deep of wind and sky even as it cleanses both.

Imagine millions of people, here and there, unharmed by the ravages we have inflicted upon them, and upon ourselves. Imagine all those who would still be alive.

We could have all that and more, right now, but for 27 years of war. We have not been robbed of our future. We have been robbed of our present.

I'm certain that recruiter remembers.

I do.
(c) 2017 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.

High school students work to get out the vote as part of a class civics program in Boston in 2004.

Let's Start With Teaching Civic Skills And Actions
By Ralph Nader

The taproots of democracy and its plentiful benefits start with the people, of course, but more specifically with the educational experience the next generation of leaders receives in their schooling.

The corporate power structures know this truism in a perverse way. Through their influence, both inside our schools and beyond, they press for curricula that teach complacency and obedience instead of understanding how the principles of democracy can be utilized to dismantle the power structures serving the few over the many.

From the earliest years of our schooling, we are inundated with a distorted view of history-though since Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States" and its awakenings, more of the grim realities of the ruling classes' history of plunder have been brought to light. Still, power, law and the workings of democratic institutions past and present are rarely part of schooling in America.

Just ask middle and high school students about their society's basic institutions, courts, trial by jury, the law of wrongful injuries (tort law), or about their civil rights and liberties - and the duties that accompany these rights - and you're likely to draw blank gazes. In 2006, a poll revealed that more high school students knew the names of the Three Stooges than the names of the three branches of government. Just last year after my address to the student assembly of a preparatory school, a small gathering of students who wanted to talk could not name their state's governor, senators or representatives to Congress - notwithstanding the ballyhooed information source that is misnamed the "smartphone" in their hands.

The imbalance between the vocational emphasis in education and the civic experience is vast. Civics, as a topic, is not a standalone subject in most schools anymore. And where it is, the textbooks are so dry, dreary and self-censoring of controversial subjects that reading them is like reading a microwave oven manual.

As some forthright teachers have shown, it need not be this way, and stronger parent associations can provide some protection for teachers who are fearful of bureaucratic restrictions. For example, several years ago, a fifth grade student in Salt Lake City rushed into class excitedly to tell her classmates about discovering a nearby waste dump covered with shrubbery. The teacher took this level of interest and turned it into a class project. The students documented the dump, visited city officials, got it cleaned up and, between press interviews, managed to testify at the state Legislature. The teacher, Barbara Lewis, went on to publish a book, "The Kid's Guide to Social Action," and has been speaking across the country about the incredible motivation of young people when they study realities close to home and are given high expectations to excel, all while learning civic skills and engaging in civic experiences.

High schools have chemistry, physics and biology labs that can study and quantify the physical forces at work in their communities. Imagine how quickly the Flint, Mich., tragedy regarding lead poisons in drinking water could have been discovered were high school students routinely taught to test their local drinking water for heavy metals, while learning about the federal drinking water safety law and how to use its periodic reporting and other tools.

There are over 1,200 community colleges in the United States with overwhelming focus on vocational training-auto mechanics, nursing, computer science, and so on. Why not also emphasize the "community" in their curriculum by giving students the opportunity to receive course credit for learning civic skills and connecting to community needs and conditions? The real-world applications of student research can serve as a valuable brain trust for the community, as well as an enriching experience for students who, for example, could test water, air and soil for contamination.

Such potential is equally applicable to the social sciences. In courses on government, there could be a class titled Congress 101 that each semester could study and report to the people in the school's congressional district on the activities and records of their senators and representatives. Students would learn about the workings of Congress in a much more dynamic and motivating manner than the usual ways our most powerful branch of government is studied. They also would learn how they can affect, influence and improve Congress during and between elections.

This skill would serve the students long after they graduate. Regularly assembling and distributing to the general public factual reports on their members of Congress, the students probably would be surprised at the attentiveness accorded their studies by congressional staffers, if not the senators or representatives themselves. The class would see how the accumulation of knowledge about important power centers - in and of itself - leads to acquiring civic power for both the students and the broader communities. No new, expensive facilities needed.

Civic content in curriculum is available frugally, including the many available free and low-cost guides and manuals (for example, "A Public Citizen's Action Manual," first published in 1973), which are very useful for learning strategies for civic analysis and engagement - "Learning by doing," as the great educational philosopher John Dewey used to say.

Students at community colleges often do "service" for the needy in their community. That commitment is very commendable and sharpens their sense of empathy and justice. But service - for example, volunteering at soup kitchens-is different from advancing justice, which confronts the question of "Why in a rich society are people denied the livelihoods that would render soup kitchens unnecessary?"

The difference between engaging in charity (ministering to immediate human needs) and advocating justice (pressing for prevention of the injustice at its source) needs to be acknowledged in any discussion of how to improve a civic education. All communities are fertile grounds for learning about and participating in civic activities. They are the real-life equivalent of laboratories for civic practice. What's more, they connect individuals with existing or emerging communities bent on improving life where people live, work and raise their families.

Learning civic skills can motivate and inspire students because the application of civic skills to improve communities touches so many lives. The 1970s-era FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson wrote a book titled "How to Talk Back to Your Television Set," which demonstrated the skills needed to implement the duties of broadcasters expressed in the 1934 Communications Act, in addition to developing other critical facilities to upgrade television content from what former FCC Chairman Newton Minow called "a vast wasteland" before a startled convention of broadcasters in 1961. Most students know nothing about how to use, without an attorney, the local small claims courts to defend against landlord abuses and the many arbitrary overcharges, gouges and shoddiness of services and products. That is an important skill that introduces students to existing consumer protection rights in state and federal law, which would produce some preliminary confidence in the utilization of such laws that consumer advocates worked hard in the past to get enacted.

There are important efforts and pilot projects working to combine vocational and civic professionalism in higher education. Over the years, some advocates have called this process "civic learning through public work." Or as Ernest Boyer, executive director of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, rhetorically asked in 1990: "Is it possible for the work of the academy to relate more effectively to our most pressing social, economic and civic problems?" This tradition goes back to Benjamin Franklin, the great creator of civic institutions including volunteer fire departments, schools, libraries, and health and life insurance groups; and Thomas Jefferson, who saw education as preparing young people for a life of democratic citizenship.

The challenge is to push back on the excessive bureaucratization and commercialization or corporatization of educational institutions, their curricula and the narrow view of what horizons are to be placed before their faculty and students. Apart from such efforts, civic leaders can offer extracurricular seminars during and after school hours for interested young scholars.

To find out some of what is being deliberated and accomplished to further the "civic arts," and to prepare students for public life, read the periodical "Higher Education Exchange," published by the Kettering Foundation. I especially recommend the 2015 issue, which contains "case studies, analysis, news and ideas about efforts within higher education to develop more democratic societies."

Education by civic practice and experience changes the present and improves the prospects for the future by increasing the number of lifelong civic leaders and the much greater number of part-time public citizens in every community of our country.
(c) 2017 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book is Unstoppable, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Rescue workers move victims on stretchers after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators
marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charlottesville Goddam
By Michael Winship


We have a president who is emotionally challenged and empathy-free, who on Saturday read from a prepared statement of concern and condemnation, incapable of speaking genuinely from the heart, apparently because he knows that those who speak racist hate and commit acts of deadly violence are a portion of his "base."

Witness Ku Kluxer David Duke declaring in Charlottesville, Virginia, before Saturday's violence, "We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in, that's why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he's going to take our country back."

It's true that you can't always choose those who want to march in support of you, although Trump's refusal to condemn his backing from white supremacists is appalling. Nor can it be denied that on the extreme left there are a few, like so many on the extreme right, who see violence as a means to an end. But Trump not only has failed to speak out against white nationalists, he allows them to work in his White House and mutter seditious nonsense into his all-too-susceptible ears.

As he spoke on Saturday afternoon he was unable to out-and-out condemn the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville without diluting his censure, saying there was "hatred, bigotry and violence" but adding "on many sides, on many sides." And then he tweeted,

Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad! - Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Best regards? So sad? So lame. A woman died, a paralegal named Heather Heyer, and others were wounded at the hand of what appears to be a racist murderer using a car as a deadly weapon. This is a national tragedy, Mr. President. It is domestic terrorism and your reaction must be one of outrage, not left-handed sympathy.

On Saturday, Trump said, "It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time." He's right about the long, long time part but as Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) wrote on Saturday:

[F]rom the day he came down the escalator in the tower that bears his name, Trump consciously poured fuel on the fire. He ran a racist, xenophobic campaign that energized the radical right... Trump calls for the country to unite. But he is still ducking responsibility for his role in dividing it.
Many Republican senators denounced Saturday's fascist extremists more strongly and explicitly than the president, including Colorado's Cory Gardner, who tweeted
Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. - Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
But in the not-so-distant past, out of fear of alienating some conservative voters, Republicans have condemned groups like the SPLC for calling out the growing threat of the extreme right and white supremacy, just as those Republicans so vehemently attacked a 2009 report from the Department of Homeland Security on right-wing domestic terrorism that it was withdrawn from circulation. That analysis found that every year, with the exception of 2001 and the 9/11 attacks, right-wing extremism was responsible for more violence in the United States than radical Islamic terrorism.

The report's findings were backed up by an FBI analysis last year that hate crimes were up and by a 2015 survey conducted with the Police Executive Research Forum. Two of those involved, Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina and David Schanzer of Duke University, wrote in The New York Times:

"The main terrorist threat in the United States is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists...

An officer from a large metropolitan area said that 'militias, neo-Nazis and sovereign citizens' are the biggest threat we face in regard to extremism. One officer explained that he ranked the right-wing threat higher because 'it is an emerging threat that we don't have as good of a grip on, even with our intelligence unit, as we do with the Al Shabab/al-Qaida issue, which we have been dealing with for some time.'

President Trump, you reap what you sow and boilerplate statements of sorrow ring hollow. Presidents are supposed to bring us together. Your predecessors, Republicans and Democrats, have done so with grace.

But this president says he loves all Americans while working to deprive them of their freedoms. And keeps within his circle of advisers those for whom hate is an asset and not a dagger to the heart of democracy.

Fire Sebastian Gorka, the bogus security adviser who earlier this week told Breitbart News Daily that white supremacists are not a problem. Fire Stephen Miller, who seems to think the Statue of Liberty is more a symbol of exclusion than welcome. And fire Steve Bannon and his off-the-wall, destructive theories of white nationalism.

Their dismissals would be a start. But on Saturday, we saw into your soul, Donald Trump. And there was nothing there.
(c) 2017 Michael Winship is senior writing fellow at Demos, president of the Writers Guild of America, East, and was senior writer for Moyers & Company and Bill Moyers' Journal and is senior writer of

We Only Have One Earth, And We're Overshooting Its Capacity
By David Suzuki

August 2 was Earth Overshoot Day. Unlike Earth Day or Canada Day, it's not a time to celebrate. As the Earth Overshoot Day website explains, it marks the time when "we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year." That is the definition of unsustainable and means we're using up the biological capital that should be our children's legacy. We would require 1.7 Earths to meet our current annual demands sustainably.

It doesn't have to be this way. "Our planet is finite, but human possibilities are not. Living within the means of one planet is technologically possible, financially beneficial, and our only chance for a prosperous future," says Mathis Wackernagel, CEO of the Global Footprint Network, an international research organization that uses UN statistics and other sources to calculate when overshoot day falls every year. This year marks the earliest overshoot date yet.

(Wackernagel was a student of University of British Columbia ecologist William Rees. They popularized the footprint concept in their 1996 book, Our Ecological Footprint. Andrew Simms of the U.K.'s New Economics Foundation conceived Earth Overshoot Day, partnering with the Global Footprint Network in 2006 on the first campaign, and with conservation organization WWF starting in 2007.)

According to the website, overfishing, overharvesting forests and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than natural sinks like forests can sequester are among the ways we overshoot Earth's capacity. The consequences are serious. "Impacts of ecological overspending are apparent already in soil erosion, desertification, reduced cropland productivity, overgrazing, deforestation, rapid species extinction, fisheries collapse and increased carbon concentration in the atmosphere," it notes. "Natural capital constraints also pose a threat to economic performance and economic stability."

Climate change is the most serious result. The Global Footprint Network says our carbon footprint makes up 60 per cent of our total ecological footprint, and it's increasing rapidly. Basing its calculations on "the land area required to sequester carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production," the network says our carbon footprint has more than doubled since 1970.

The network also offers a mobile-friendly personal footprint calculator. Be warned: If you live in North America, your footprint will likely be much higher than 1.7 Earths, no matter how ecologically aware you consider yourself. We use far more energy and other resources than people in many parts of the world.

The site includes a range of solutions in four areas: food, cities, population and energy. In North America, reducing the carbon footprint by using less energy - especially fossil fuels - is major, but so is changing food habits. Food demand makes up 26 per cent of the global footprint. Because raising animals for food requires far more resources and creates more emissions than growing plants, reducing the amount of meat and animal products we eat decreases our footprint. According to Oregon State University researchers, if Americans ate beans instead of beef, the U.S. could meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions goals, even if the country did little else and if people continued to eat other animal products.

Food waste is another major problem. One-third of the food produced worldwide is wasted or lost - as much as 40 per cent in the U.S.

Population is an obvious concern. More people require more space and resources. Strategies to stabilize population growth also have social benefits. "Educating girls and providing access to safe, affordable, and effective family planning" and "empowering women" are essential to reducing population growth and result in better economic development and health outcomes.

Because humans are increasingly urban dwellers - with 70 to 80 per cent expected to live in cities by 2050 - things like "energy-efficient buildings, integrated zoning, compact cities, and effective options for people-powered and public transportation" are crucial to reducing our footprint.

Some have criticized the Earth overshoot concept, arguing it's not accurate or that it underestimates resource overuse. Wackernagel admits the calculations are only as good as the available data, but argues that it remains a useful way to put our unsustainable ways in perspective.

Demanding constant economic growth on a finite planet with limited ability to renew resources is a recipe for overshoot. We can and must do more to reduce our growing impact on the only home we have.
(c) 2017 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

This Is What Happens When Citizens Get Watchful
For the Keystone Pipeline, that's bad news.
By Charles P. Pierce

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA-Above the main doors of the state capitol building here are carved the following words:

The salvation of the state is the watchfulness of the citizen.
For a week out here, I've watched what happens when citizens get watchful. It is entirely possible that, at one time, our old friend the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel and current conservative fetish object, would have sailed to completion. But some citizens got watchful and they noticed that TransCanada, the energy behemoth, was not acting in good faith at least in presenting the economic effects, and that their state government apparently didn't care very much about that, so they organized, and sued, and marched, and sued some more, and marched some more, and they finally jammed up the project to the point where President Barack Obama squashed it. Then the election happened, and the Keystone project got energized again because Americans elected a vulgar talking yam who doesn't care to know very much about anything. The citizens sued again, and they marched again, and, this week, they brought almost 500,000 public comments to the offices of the Nebraska Public Services Commission, all of which asked that the Keystone XL pipeline project be killed really most sincerely dead for good and all.

They may not win. It's still a pick 'em on whether the PSC will come down on their side or not. But their movement will go on because it lives up to the words carved into the capitol of their state. Consider, by comparison, the presidential election last November. If it was nothing else, and it really was Something Else, it was a stunning example of what happens when citizens stop being watchful, when they don't take the time to consider what they are doing and in whose benefit they may be acting. It was a stunning example of how badly representative democracy functions on automatic pilot. People did not vote at all, or they voted out of a desire to hock a loogie at all the things they'd been taught to hate and fear. They handed the country a president*at whom many of them look as though he were a cobra in their sock drawer. A watchful citizenry doesn't elect El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago. It laughs him off the stage.

Imagine if all the people who voted for him were as involved and as energized as the coalition that's been fighting this pipeline for eight years-a fascinating mix of Native peoples, ranchers, farmers, retirees, environmentalists, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, and plain old don't-give-a-damn types who suddenly realized that their land and their water and their livelihoods were being sold out from under them. Yes, Nebraska went for the president* with nearly 60 percent of the vote, and that was a shame. I suspect many of the people fighting the pipeline the hardest may have voted for him. America can be a puzzle sometimes.

I've watched what happens when citizens get watchful.

But the past week was a blessed relief from the incredible carnival of fools now playing out in our national politics. It is one battle among hundreds, but it is being fought with all the right weapons, especially that much-derided one...politics. It was refreshing to be around.

The salvation of the state is the watchfulness of the citizen.

I guess I'll remember that.

There's a lot of talk these days of "The Madman Theory," the tactic dreamed up by Henry Kissinger on behalf of Richard Nixon by which an American president would scare adversaries to the negotiating table by doing something so savage and inhuman that those adversaries come to believe the president is likely to do anything. I'd like to make a couple of points on that.

First, it was nothing more than a convenient measure of how big a pair of sociopaths were the two people who thought it up. It resulted in the infamous Christmas bombing of North Vietnam in 1972, the largest bombing raid undertaken by the United States since World War II. And, having unleashed fire and fury on the villages and cities of North Vietnam, Kissinger and Nixon wound up agreeing to pretty much the same terms President Johnson might've gotten four years earlier, had the Nixon people not ratfcked the Paris Peace Talks.

Second, the Madman Theory only makes sense if the United States is not governed by an actual madman, and, well...

I think a pretty good metric of whether or not new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly really has taken command of the situation is to see how long it takes him to kick Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Ph.D's ass out onto Pennsylvania Avenue. I would think Job One for Kelly would be to disperse the large cry of loons that has infiltrated the executive branch, and Gorka has proven to be the alpha loon.

(By the way, one of the alternative collectives for the loon is "an asylum of loons." Just going to leave that here.)
(c) 2017 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote...

"The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."
~~~ Henry A. Wallace

Top 10 Misconceptions About Charlottesville
By David Swanson

1. Let's start with the obvious. Charlottesville, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, are actually two completely different places in the world. The flood of concern and good wishes for those of us here in Charlottesville is wonderful and much appreciated. That people can watch TV news about Charlottesville, remember that I live in Charlottesville, and send me their kind greetings addressed to the people of Charlotte is an indication of how common the confusion is. It's not badly taken; I have nothing against Charlotte. It's just a different place, seventeen times the size. Charlottesville is a small town with the University of Virginia, a pedestrian downtown street, and very few monuments. The three located right downtown are for Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the Confederacy. Neither Lee nor Jackson had anything to do with Charlottesville, and their statues were put up in whites-only parks in the 1920s.

2. The racists who have begun coming to Charlottesville to campaign for governor, garner attention, threaten violence, engage in violence, and commit murder are almost all from outside Charlottesville, and extremely unwelcome here. Charlottesville is a slightly left-of-center, Democratic Party area. Most people don't rally for good causes or against bad ones. Most people don't want the Lee statue taken down. (Or at least they didn't until it became a gathering point for neo-Confederates.) Most people want other memorials added to public space to diversify. And most people don't want white supremacists coming to town with their hatred and their violence.

3. Armed attacks are not covered by the First Amendment. I can and have argued at length for the strategic - never mind legal - need to respect odious free speech, and - more importantly - to respect and build bridges of understanding to the troubled people preaching hatred. But the human right to free speech is not found in a gun or a torch or a can of pepper spray any more than in corporate advertising. When we hold peace rallies in U.S. cities we are sometimes forbidden to bring posters on wooden poles. We have to use hollow cardboard tubes to hold up our signs, because - you know - advocates of nonviolence can be so violent. Yet racist, nationalist, white supremacist agitators are allowed to bring an arsenal with which to attack the general public and counter-demonstrators! Whatever that is, it is not free speech. I'd be willing to say it's closer to enabling terrorism. All media habits of "balance" and "even handedness" become lies when respect for rights, and blame for deaths and injuries, are based on the notion that premeditated violence and threats of violence and the carrying of weapons are not worth noticing.

4. Charlottesville's mayor voted against taking down the Lee statue, even if he now sounds on NBC News as if it had been his idea. Seen from a certain angle, that's progress. I want people to get on board with the idea of taking down all racist monuments and all war monuments, and this one is both. But it is a misconception to imagine that the decision to take down General Lee came from the top or that it came without extensive public input. It's true that City Council member Kristin Szakos publicly proposed the dominance of our public space by Confederate statues as a problem, and that City Council member Wes Bellamy pushed for that. But it was the national movement of Black Lives Matter, and local activism, that created the demand in the first place, as well as making Bellamy a member of City Council. The City held very lengthy and public and extensive hearings and gathering of facts and views. A Blue Ribbon Commission produced a report. And when the City Council voted to take down Lee (but leave up Jackson) it did so because City Council Member Bob Fenwick joined Szakos and Bellamy in a 3-2 vote, in which Mayor Mike Signer was on the losing and cowardly side. Because that is typical of him, we should be wary of fale perceptions of him as a leader, until he really becomes one. It's possible that had he shown the leadership of the Mayor of New Orleans in taking down statues and explaining why, we wouldn't be in this mess.

5. The military and militarized police are not here to protect you. An armed force on the streets and in the air of Charlottesville crashed a helicopter, tragically killing two people. But what else did it accomplish? It heightened tensions. It reduced turnout by those opposed to violence and racism. Its aggression toward anti-racists following the KKK rally in July contributed to fears of what it would do this time. The Charlottesville police do not need the mine-resistant vehicle they keep in their garage, because we do not have land mines. We do not need our skies filled - including on the Friday before the rally - with military helicopters. We do not need tanks on our streets for godsake. We need to disarm those seeking to exercise their First Amendment Rights, not arm someone else. The helicopter never should have crashed because it never should have flown. And every individual who assaulted and threatened people with pepper spray, torches, sticks, fists, or an automobile, should have been welcomed to nonviolently, without guns or other weaponry, speak their mind - and to meet and converse with those opposing their views.

6. The events in Charlottesville, like foreign and domestic emoluments, additional forms of financial corruption, Muslim bans, illegal wars, threats to North Korea, voter intimidation, environmental destruction, and sexual assault, make up yet another article of impeachment for Donald Trump awaiting only the awakening of a House of Representatives. Incitement of acts of violence is a crime, and it is certainly a high-crime-and-misdemeanor, the Constitutional phrase refering to an abuse of power that may or may not be criminal. Donald Trump went out of his way to persuade racists that they were free to engage in their racism openly. Numerous racists, including some of those who have been active in Charlottesville, have openly communicated their understanding of that presidential permission. Those sitting silently by in this moment are condoning racism. So are those not advocating for impeachment and removal. Yes I am aware of the general horror of Mike Pence, but a country that impeached and removed presidents would be a very different country in which the next president would have to behave or face impeachment in turn. Fear of the next person will look ever weaker as grounds for allowing the current person to destroy things as he proceeds with his destruction. I'm further aware that the D.C. Democratic leadership makes Mayor Signer's cynicism look like child's play, and that Nancy Pelosi wants Trump around more than the Republicans do, so that the Democrats can "oppose" him. But I'm not asking you to believe he's going to be impeached without your doing anything. I'm asking you to compel his impeachment.

7. The answer to racist violence is not anti-racist violence or passivism, and the idea that those are the only two choices is ridiculous. Charlottesville's and the United States' resistance to racism would be far stronger with disciplined nonviolence. The behavior of a few anti-racists in July allowed the corporate media to depict the KKK as victims. There is nothing the alt-right crowd longs for more in this moment than some act of violence against them that would permit pundits to start trumpeting the need for liberals to be more tolerant of racists, and to proclaim that the real problem is those reckless radicals who want to tear down statues. We need nonviolent activism, and we need a thousand times more of it. We need to initiate the next rally in Charlottesville ourselves.

8. Tearing down statues is not opposing history. Charlottesville has three Confederate war statues, two (pro) genocide of the Native Americans statues, one World War I statue, one Vietnam War memorial, one statue of Thomas Jefferson (whose words and deeds, I'm sorry to say, agreed almost entirely with the latest racists), and one statue of Homer (poet of war). And that's it. We have no memorials, whether monumental statuary or otherwise, to a single educator, artist, musician, athlete, author, or activst, nothing for Native American history, slavery, civil rights, women's rights, or ANYTHING ELSE. Almost all of our history is missing. Putting up a giant statue for racism and war is not a step for history. Taking it down is not a blow to history. It could be a step forward, in fact. Even the renaming of Lee Park as Emancipation Park is educational. Creating a memorial to emancipation, and one to civil rights, and one to school integration, and one to peace would be more so.

9. The Lee statue is still there, not because racists rally around it, but because legislators glorify war. While neither side has any interest in opposing or even particularly in promoting war, and while the national and local media have gone through endless contortions to avoid mentioning it, the court case holding up the removal of Robert E. Lee and the horse he never rode in on is about war glorification. A state law that may or may not apply to this statue forbids taking down war memorials in Virginia. For fair and balanced free-speech advocates I should note that no similar law forbids taking down peace monuments. Also there really aren't any to take down if you wanted to. This is a symptom of a culture that has come to accept endless war and the militarization of local police, and to report on rallies of "white nationalists" without ever considering that there may be a problem with both of those words.

10. As I've written in recent months, many sympathizers with the racist cause are understandable. This is a quite different thing from being acceptable or praise worthy. To say that someone is understandable is to say that you can understand them. They're not monsters acting on inexplicable subhuman impulses any more than do the people they hate or the people against whom the United States wages wars typically behave that way. These racists live in one of the most unequal societies ever known, and they don't live at the top of it. They hear about endless efforts to alleviate injustice toward all sorts of wronged groups that don't include them. They notice the cultural acceptability in comedy shows and elsewhere of mocking white people. They seek a group identity. They seek others to blame. They seek others to place beneath themselves. And they hear hardly a peep out of Washington D.C. about creating universal rights and supports for everyone, as in Scandinavia. Instead they hear that hatred and violence and racism come with the Presidential seal of approval.
(c) 2017 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.

"Fascism is a form of collective insanity that devolves upon brutality and hatred to maintain its power."

Cuckoo D'Etat: The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum
We have a president who can't even muster a lucid response to the most obvious forms of abject hatred
By Randall Amster

In case it wasn't already evident, by now it seems clear that we're living in a moment when the lunatics have taken over the asylum. If you're still not convinced, consider that the specter of plunging the world into the "fire and fury" of nuclear war wasn't even the worst thing that happened in the last week or so. Instead, while political tensions and environmental conditions threaten to boil over everywhere, we have a president who can't even muster a lucid response to the most obvious forms of abject hatred. As Senator Warren succinctly wrote following yet another perverse presidential performance, "This is sick."

Many have speculated why this President cannot straightforwardly condemn the evil in our midst, with perhaps the most frequent word associated with his overall demeanor being "unhinged." For instance, we know that he often admires strongmen-type leaders, including Putin. A big part of his political base is either directly or indirectly connected to the supremacist and nationalist factions that are steadily pushing further out into the public sphere. Revelations that his father was connected to racist practices appear in the news queue, suggesting a deeper personal bent. He often denigrates those in the margins.

The list goes on and any one of these in itself would be troubling, let alone all of them in concert. To view this through a lens of immanent fascism is becoming a mainstream position in the discourse here, and the global community has been processing it on these terms for a longer while now. Still, despite personal and political baggage that would have sunk any other national figure in recent memory, we're continually subjected to indecorous displays, asinine rants, nonsensical tweets, and aberrant behavior. Whatever debates we may have about policy and ideology, basic levels of comportment are expected.

All of which suggests that this may be a product of madness more so than the calculations of method. We needn't engage in pop psychology diagnoses that can undermine genuine struggles with mental illness, nor is it necessary to be clinical about this in terms of drawing conclusions from public personas that may evince multiple motivations. Rather, if we're searching for ways to contest this incipient "hostile takeover" of the nation, it behooves us to consider how these patterns may evolve in the near term, as conditions are exacerbated and any remaining vestiges of collegial restraint are fully eroded.

This mindset shows itself in myriad related ways. It entails the displacement of blame and a refusal to accept any responsibility, even while claiming the rightful exercise of power and gloating over perceived accomplishments. It will go on the offensive whenever challenged, use threats to preempt contestation, and twist reality to its ends. It strives to cut off access to information and undermine the formation of alliances that could mount against it. It imposes severe consequences for disloyalty and tepid rewards for acquiescence. It shows no empathy or compassion, and draws false equivalencies to justify behavior.

Fascism is pathology writ large. It is dangerous both because of its cold calculations and mercurial machinations alike, being immune to reason and incapable of being swayed by appeals to justice. It tries to defeat others by either intimidating them into submission or goading them into more desperate responses, which can then in turn be used to justify the need for further incursions. It tries to make you like it (through incessant propaganda and blatant lies), but if it can't then it will at least try to make you be like it. It seeks to operate at the level of interpersonal relationships and political realities all at once.

Fascism is a form of collective insanity that devolves upon brutality and hatred to maintain its power. We have seen it too many times in this world; indeed, the mantra of "never again" was supposed to reflect not only a remembrance of history but a warning about the clear and present dangers to the future if these patterns go unchecked. In a country with deeply rooted unresolved issues of oppression and exploitation, a kernel of fascism has always existed alongside overtures to democracy and tolerance. Exposing it to sunlight might eradicate it for good, unless it's given fertile soil and conducive conditions.

We are in a moment where the next steps will determine whether this is the last gasp of a dying creed, or the full flowering of a new reign of homegrown horror. We're being given an opportunity to confront our past and chart a better course for tomorrow, if we can meet the challenge head on. How we do so is a matter of personal conviction and political opportunity, but doing nothing is not an option. If indeed what we're seeing is "sick," then one possibility is to think in terms of healing. When diseases threaten to go viral, it's crucial to build up resistance against them. A cure requires more than applying a bandaid.

It's relatively easy to drop clever memes and disparaging slogans, but it's going to take more than that. The pathologies we're seeing today are woven into this culture and the structures of power supporting it. All of that baggage won't be dismantled overnight, nor is there some "miracle drug" to save the day. Health is a long-term proposition, and getting ourselves well is a prerequisite for being able to help heal our communities and the nation. When things seem the craziest, it's incumbent upon us to stay sane. The lunatics may have the asylum, but we've got a wider world to build together beyond its stark confines.
(c) 2017 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. Among his most recent books are Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012) and the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and the co-edited volume Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice (Syracuse University Press, 2013

The Dead Letter Office...

Sebastian gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Prasidentenberater Gorka,

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 constant blaming of alt right terrorism on innocent bystanders,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 "Religious 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 Fuehrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuehrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 09-23-2017. We salute you herr Gorka, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Making America Hate Again
By Robert Reich

Two days late, Donald Trump has finally condemned violent white supremacists. He was pushed into it by a storm of outrage at his initial failure to do so in the wake of deadly violence to Charlottesville, Virginia.

But it's too little, too late. Trump's unwillingness to denounce hateful violence has been part of his political strategy from the start.

Weeks after he began his campaign by alleging that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, two brothers in Boston beat up and urinated on a 58-year-old homeless Mexican national, subsequently telling police "Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported."

Instead of condemning the brutality, Trump excused it by saying "people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again."

During campaign rallies Trump repeatedly excused brutality toward protesters. "You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks."

After white supporters punched and attempted to choke a Black Lives Matter protester, Trump said "maybe he should have been roughed up."

Trump was even reluctant to distance himself from David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.

Since becoming president, Trump's instigations have continued. As Representative Mark Sanford, a Republican from South Carolina, told the Washington Post, "the president has unearthed some demons."

In May, Trump congratulated body-slamming businessman Greg Gianforte on his special election win in Montana, making no mention of the victor's attack on a reporter the night before.

Weeks ago Trump even tweeted a video clip of himself in a WWE professional wrestling match slamming a CNN avatar to the ground and pounding him with punches and elbows to the head.

Hateful violence is hardly new to America. But never before has a president licensed it as a political strategy or considered haters part of his political base.

In his second week as president, Trump called Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association to the White House.

Soon thereafter, LaPierre told gun owners they should fear "leftists" and the "national media machine" that were "an enemy utterly dedicated to destroy not just our country, but also Western civilization."

Since then the NRA has run ads with the same theme, concluding "the only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth."

It's almost as if someone had declared a new civil war. But who? And for what purpose?

One clue came earlier last week in a memo from Rich Higgins, who had been director for strategic planning in Trump's National Security Council.

Entitled "POTUS & Political Warfare," Higgins wrote the seven-page document in May, which was recently leaked to Foreign Policy Magazine.

In it Higgins charges that a cabal of leftist "deep state" government workers, "globalists," bankers, adherents to Islamic fundamentalism and establishment Republicans want to impose cultural Marxism in the United States. "Recognizing in candidate Trump an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative, those that benefit recognize the threat he poses and seek his destruction."

There you have it. Trump's goal has never been to promote guns or white supremacy or to fuel attacks on the press and the left. These may be means, but the goal has been to build and fortify his power. And keep him in power even if it's found that he colluded with Russia to get power.

Trump and his consigliere Steve Bannon have been quietly encouraging a civil war between Trump's base of support - mostly white and worried - and everyone who's not.

It's built on economic stresses and racial resentments. It's fueled by paranoia. And it's conveyed by Trump's winks and nods haters, and his deafening silence in the face of their violence.

A smaller version of the civil war extends even into the White House, where Bannon and his proteges are doing battle with leveler heads.

National security advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster fired Higgins. Reportedly, Trump was furious at the firing.

McMaster was quick to term the Charlottesville violence "terrorism." Ivanka Trump denounced "racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis." Reportedly, chief of staff John Kelly pushed Trump to condemn the haters who descended on Charlottesville.

Let's hope the leveler heads win the civil war in the White House. Let's pray the leveler heads in our society prevent the civil war Trump and Bannon want to instigate in America.
(c) 2017 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 website is

What If The DNC Russian "Hack" Was Really A Leak After All?
A new report raises questions media and Democrats would rather ignore.
By Danielle Ryan

Last week the respected left-liberal magazine The Nation published an explosive article that details in great depth the findings of a new report - authored in large part by former U.S. intelligence officers - which claims to present forensic evidence that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians in July 2016. Instead, the report alleges, the DNC suffered an insider leak, conducted in the Eastern time zone of the United States by someone with physical access to a DNC computer.

This report also claims there is no apparent evidence that the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 - supposedly based in Romania - hacked the DNC on behalf of the Russian government. There is also no evidence, the report's authors say, that Guccifer handed documents over to WikiLeaks. Instead, the report says that the evidence and timeline of events suggests that Guccifer may have been conjured up in an attempt to deflect from the embarrassing information about Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign that was released just before the Democratic National Convention. The investigators found that some of the "Guccifer" files had been deliberately altered by copying and pasting the text into a "Russianified" word-processing document with Russian-language settings.

If all this is true, these findings would constitute a massive embarrassment for not only the DNC itself but the media, which has breathlessly pushed the Russian hacking narrative for an entire year, almost without question but with little solid evidence to back it up.

You could easily be forgiven for not having heard about this latest development - because, perhaps to avoid potential embarrassment, the media has completely ignored it. Instead, to this point only a few right-wing sites have seen fit to publish follow-ups.

The original piece, authored by former Salon columnist Patrick Lawrence (also known as Patrick L. Smith) appeared in The Nation on Aug. 9. The findings it details are supported by a group of strongly credentialed and well-respected forensic investigators and former NSA and CIA officials. The group call themselves Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, or VIPS, and originally came together in 2003 to protest the use of faulty intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush.

As of Aug. 12, the only well-known publications that have followed up on The Nation's reporting are Breitbart News, the Washington Examiner and New York magazine (which described Lawrence's article as "too incoherent to even debunk," and therefore provided no substantial rebuttal). Bloomberg addressed the report in an op-ed by one of its regular columnists.

The silence from mainstream outlets on this is interesting, if for no other reason than the information appears in a highly-regarded liberal magazine with a reputation for vigorous and thorough reporting - not some right-wing fringe conspiracy outlet carrying water for Donald Trump.

Maybe the logic goes that if mainstream journalists leave this untouched, that alone will be enough to discredit it. True believers in the Russian hack narrative can point to Breitbart's coverage to dismiss this new information without consideration. That is not good enough. Lawrence's article, and the report behind it, deserves some proper attention.

Let's back up for a second. Where did this report come from?

As explained by Lawrence, VIPS has been examining available information about the DNC hack and/or leak, but the group lacked access to all the data they needed because intelligence agencies refused to provide it.

One of the VIPS researchers on the DNC case, William Binney - formerly the NSA's technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis - suggested in an interview with Lawrence that intelligence agencies have been hiding the lack of evidence for Russian hacking behind the claim that they must maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs.

At the same time, other anonymous forensic investigators have been working independently on the DNC case. They recently began sharing their findings via an obscure website called Disobedient Media. One of those anonymous investigators is known as the Forensicator. A man named Skip Folden, an IT executive at IBM for 33 years and a consultant for the FBI, Pentagon and Justice Department, acted as a liaison between VIPS and the Forensicator. Folden and other investigators have examined the evidence, attested to its professionalism, and sent a detailed technical report to the offices of special counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. VIPS believes this new evidence fills a "critical gap" in the DNC case. In a memorandum sent to President Trump, VIPS questions why the FBI, CIA and NSA neglected to perform any forensic analysis of the Guccifer documents, which were central to the narrative of Russian hacking.

VIPS states two things with what they describe as a high degree of certainty: There was no Russian hack on July 5, and the metadata from Guccifer's June 15 document release was "synthetically tainted" with "Russian fingerprints."

How did the group come to the conclusion that it was a leak, not a hack?

Investigators found that 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded locally on July 5, 2016. The information was downloaded with a memory key or some other portable storage device. The download operation took 87 seconds - meaning the speed of transfer was 22.7 megabytes per second - "a speed that far exceeds an internet capability for a remote hack," as Lawrence puts it. What's more, they say, a transoceanic transfer would have been even slower (Guccifer claimed to be working from Romania).

"Based on the data we now have, what we've been calling a hack is impossible," Folden told The Nation.

Further casting doubt on the official narrative is the fact the the DNC's computer servers were never examined by the FBI. Instead, the agency relied on a report compiled by Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm compromised by serious conflicts of interest - the major one being that the firm was paid by the DNC itself to conduct its work. Another is that the firm's owner is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank known for its hostility toward Russia.

The Intelligence Community Assessment published in January of this year, which claims "high confidence" in the Russian hacking theory, presented no hard evidence. Yet many in the media have relied on it as proof ever since. Ray McGovern, another VIPS member and formerly the chief of the CIA's Soviet Foreign Policy Branch, called that intelligence assessment a "disgrace" to the profession.

The VIPS report also notes that the timing of events is strangely favorable to Hillary Clinton. It is hard to disagree.

On June 12, 2016, Julian Assange announced that he would publish documents related to Clinton's campaign on WikiLeaks. Two days later, Crowdstrike, the firm paid by the DNC, suddenly announced the discovery of malware on DNC servers and claimed it had evidence that the Russians were responsible for it. This set in motion the narrative for Russian hacking.

A day after that, Guccifer appeared, took responsibility for the purported June 14 hack and announced that he was a WikiLeaks source, working on behalf of Russia. He then posted the documents which VIPS now claims were altered to make them appear more "Russian."

On July 5, two weeks later, Guccifer claimed responsibility for another hack - which the VIPS report categorically states can only have been a leak, based on the speed of data transfer.

As Lawrence suggests, this timing was convenient for the Clinton campaign, which could avoid dealing with the contents of the leaks by instead focusing on the sensational story of Russian hacking.

Since we've covered what is in the VIPS report, it is equally important to note what this report does not do. It does not claim to know who the leaker was or what his or her motives were. Lawrence is also careful to note that these findings do not prove or disprove any other theories implicating Russia in the 2016 election (such as possible Russian connections to Donald Trump's family and associates, etc.). This deals purely with the facts surrounding the DNC hack/leak last summer.

Many who have questioned the official version of events have sought to link the murder of Seth Rich to the theory that the DNC suffered a leak, not a hack. Rich, a 27-year-old DNC employee, was shot twice in the back as he walked home from a bar in Washington, five days after the supposed July 5 hack of the DNC's servers.

Numerous unproven theories have surrounded Rich's murder. There are those who suggest that Rich had been angered by the DNC's treatment of Bernie Sanders, decided to leak information which would be damaging to Clinton's campaign, and was then murdered by Democratic operatives. Others have claimed that perhaps Rich had found evidence of Russian hacking and was murdered by Russian operatives.

There is no evidence for any of these theories - and neither VIPS nor Lawrence in his article attempt to link Rich's murder to the hack/leak of information from the DNC. (Washington police have said since the night of Rich's death that he was the victim of an armed robbery attempt that went wrong.) Nonetheless, the emergence of this information may lend credence to those theories for those who want to believe them.

Instead of subjecting the various accounts of what happened last summer to rigorous scrutiny, the media instantly accepted the narrative promoted by the Clinton campaign and U.S. intelligence agencies. It has continued to do so ever since. Now, as new information comes to light, the media has largely acted as if it did not exist.

For the media and mainstream liberals to dismiss the information presented in Lawrence's article as lacking in evidence would be breathtakingly ironic, given how little evidence they required to build a narrative to suit themselves and absolve Clinton of any responsibility for losing the election.

The authors of this report are highly experienced and well-regarded professionals. That they can be dismissed out of hand or ignored entirely is a sad commentary on the state of the media, which purports to be concerned by the plague of "fake news."

If these new findings are accurate, those who pushed the Russia hacking narrative with little evidence have a lot to answer for. The Clinton campaign promoted a narrative that has pushed U.S.-Russia relations to the brink at an incredibly dangerous time.

Unlike the cacophony of anonymous sources cited by the media over the past year, these experts are ready to put their names to their assertions. They expect that pundits, politicians and the media will cast doubt on their findings, but say they are "prepared to answer any substantive challenges on their merits." That is more than any other investigators or intelligence agencies have offered to this point.

Given the seriousness of this new information, the DNC's official response to The Nation's story is so lackluster it is almost laughable:

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It's unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.
The clear implication here is that anyone who questions what U.S. intelligence agencies "have concluded" is a conspiracy theorist pushing lies on behalf of Trump or Vladimir Putin. It is clear that the DNC expect the matter to be left at that, with no further inquiry from the media or anyone else.

By the looks of things, that's exactly what will happen.
(c) 2017 Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance journalist, writing mostly on geopolitics and media. She is based in Budapest, but has also lived in the U.S., Germany and Russia. Follow her on Twitter.

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...

Apparently, Donald Trump Is A Winner Surrounded By Losers
By Will Durst

President Donald Trump is a winner. Just ask him. After all, he won the presidential election. They don't get much bigger than that.

And winners find it distasteful to hang with losers. And that is exactly what someone filled Trump's staff with. Big-time losers. Which is why they are getting replaced faster than lead changes in a NASCAR race with staggered starts and the cars outfitted with 12-ounce gas tanks.

The Republican Senate similarly failed the president in their gazillionth attempt to undo Obamacare. And although he can't fire them, he did intimidate and insult and threaten members of his own party through a series of devastating tweets.

You could say, his adept contempt for their inept attempt was to a major extent not exempt of torment. But you probably won't.

After kicking around the idea of how to replace Obamacare for seven years, Republicans found themselves bereft of ideas and unraveled to where their mantra of "Repeal and Replace" shrank to a faint echo of "Repeal Now and Then Maybe Replace with Something Else Later On. Maybe Not."

With the emphasis on the "not."

In a rare televised 2 a.m. vote, the GOP Senate proved unable to convince three of their own to vote on something called the "Skinny Repeal." And it all crashed down to the Senate floor with a thud that could have stirred Everett Dirksen out of his slumbering repose.

The Skinny Repeal was a last ditch effort after the Fat Repeal was discarded for lacking public support. Neither did the Plump, Portly, Rotund or Tubby Repeal display much appeal among people destined to lose coverage.

And nobody ever talks about the Pudgy or Obese Repeals, which were mothballed without ever seeing the light of day, presumably gathering dust in the closet of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

The most dramatic moment in the demise of the Skinny Repeal was not the final count, 51 nays to 49 yeas, but the way it went down. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., strode briskly forward and cast a decisive thumbs down, mercifully sending home a sleepy Vice President Mike Pence, who was only hanging around to break a tie. Way past his bedtime.

Not surprisingly, McCain's motivation is now being questioned. Is this a return to his normal irascible renegade self, or is he purposely sticking it to a president he sees as morally vacant, or after being diagnosed with brain cancer, did he find it repugnant to leave a publicly paid hospital stay in his home state of Arizona, to fly on the taxpayers' dime to throw millions off health care so rich people could have more money? He's not talking.

Since the Skinny Repeal failed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reportedly has scuttled attempts to fashion a Scrawny Repeal, much less a Slender, Gaunt, Malnourished, Emaciated or Anorexic Repeal. And the Cadaverous Repeal is dead on arrival.

The upshot being, McConnell might be forced to actually compromise with Democrats. His worst nightmare come true. Then, next week, locusts.

Trump immediately tweeted his preferred remedy is to let Obamacare implode. Because having a leader willing to sacrifice constituents to prove a point is one sure way to Make America Great Again.

And Donald Trump will continue to be a winner. Perhaps the only one.
(c) 2017 Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former Pizza Hut assistant manager. For a calendar of personal appearances including his new one - man show "Durst Case Scenario" appearing every Tuesday at the San Francisco Marsh starting July 11, please visit

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