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In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "Corporate Liberalism Is No Match For Trumpism."

Ralph Nader concludes, "'Nobody Is Above The Law'-Except The Biggest Corporate And Goverment Criminals."

Margaret Kimberley returns with, "Afghanistan."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Should 'Workforce' Mean Forcing Workers To Take Crappy Jobs?"

William Rivers Pitt finds, "Corporate Media Are Erasing US's Long-Term Culpability For Afghanistan War."

John Nichols says, "If Liz Cheney's Assigning Blame For An "Epic Failure" In Afghanistan, She Can Start With Her Father."

James Donahue is, "Defining Evil In A Chaotic World."

David Swanson returns with, "Lies, Damn Lies, And What We've Been Told About Afghanistan."

David Suzuki wonders, "Hydrogen Hype: Climate Solution Or Dead-End Highway?"

Charles P. Pierce wonders, "What The Hell Were We Doing There?"

Juan Cole reports, "Crazy Like A Fox: Spreading False Meme Of "Flamer" Birds killed By Solar Plant Is Louie Gohmert's Way Of Dividing Environmentalists."

Robert Reich explains, "How The System Is Failing Young People."

Thom Hartmann returns with, "When Will We Stop Letting Our Presidents Lie America Into Wars?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Fauci Says It Is Safe To Watch YouTube Now That Rand Paul Has Been Suspended," but first, Uncle Ernie asks, "How Hot Was It Johnny?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Marshal Ramsey, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Chris Hondros, Samuel Corum, Nathan Congleton, Scott Nelson, Jason Lawrence, Kevin Dietsch, Kevin Lamarque, David Suzuki Foundation, CQ-Roll Call, Black Agenda Report, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

A sign warns hikers of extreme heat on the salt flats of Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park,
Calif., where the temperature reached 128 degrees on July 10, according to the National Weather Service.

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How Hot Was It Johnny?
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"How hot was it Johnny?" It was so hot I saw two fire hydrants fighting over a dog!" ~~~ Johnny Carson

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

I see where July 2021 was the planet's hottest month ever recorded, federal scientists announced Friday.

Official global temperature records "only" date back 142 years, to 1880. But looking back further, the last time the world was definitely warmer than today was some 125,000 years ago, based on paleoclimatic data from tree rings, ice cores, sediments and other ways of examining Earth's climate history, NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt said in 2017.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Rick Spinrad, in a statement on Friday, said "in this case, first place is the worst place to be. July is typically the world's warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded."

The combined land and ocean-surface temperature was 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees F, according to NOAA.

"This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe," he said.

According to NOAA, Asia had its hottest July on record, besting the previous record set in 2010; Europe had its second-hottest July on record - tying with July 2010 and trailing behind July 2018; and North America, South America, Africa and Oceania all had a top-10 warmest July.

In the U.S., several states in the West and the northern Plains had their hottest July on record.

July 2021 also marked the 45th consecutive July and the 439th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average, NOAA said.

NOAA's report about July's heat comes out the same week as a major report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"Scientists from across the globe delivered the most up-to-date assessment of the ways in which the climate is changing," Spinrad said. "It is a sobering IPCC report that finds that human influence is, unequivocally, causing global warming, and it confirms the impacts are widespread and rapidly intensifying."

'Code red for humanity': UN report gives stark warning on climate change, says wild weather events will worsen.

Many of the changes seen in the world's climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years. Some of the changes already set in motion - such as a rise in sea levels - are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years, according to the report.

Due to human-caused global warming, Earth's average temperature has risen more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, NASA reported earlier this year.

Ralf Toumi, co-director of Grantham Institute on climate change at Imperial College London, told Reuters the recent bursts of record-breaking heat are no surprise, given the long-term pattern of rising temperatures.

"This is a constant casino we're playing, and we're just picking the high numbers again and again," he said.


11-13-1941 ~ 08-18-2021
Thanks for the reports!

04-22-1963 ~ 08-18-2021
Thanks for the laughs!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

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

Corporate Liberalism Is No Match For Trumpism
By Norman Solomon

Jane Mayer's article in The New Yorker last week, "The Big Money Behind the Big Lie," starkly illuminates how forces aligned with Donald Trump have been upping the ante all year with hyperactive strategies that could enable Republican leaders to choke off democracy, ensuring that Trump or another GOP candidate captures the presidency in 2024. The piece runs close to 10,000 words, but the main takeaway could be summed up in just a few: Wake up! Core elements of U.S. democracy really could disappear soon.

Anti-democratic ducks are being lined up in Republican-run state legislatures to deliver the White House to the party nominee. Driven by Trumpian mindsets, it's a scenario that could become a dystopian reality.

In early June, the New America organization issued a Statement of Concern, signed by 199 eminent "scholars of democracy" in the United States, warning that "Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk."

The statement included a sentence that flagged an ominous, even fascistic, cloud on the horizon: "Statutory changes in large key electoral battleground states are dangerously politicizing the process of electoral administration, with Republican-controlled legislatures giving themselves the power to override electoral outcomes on unproven allegations should Democrats win more votes."

New America, which calls itself "a think and action tank," deserves praise for issuing the statement. Yet, overall, the organization typifies a political establishment that arguably does more to fuel Trumpism than hinder it.

The CEO of New America, Anne-Marie Slaughter, did her part to oil the Democratic Party's machinery of neoliberalism as the State Department's director of policy planning for the first two years of the Obama administration. Later, she wrote and spoke widely to call for U.S. warfare in Libya and in Syria. Like Hillary Clinton, who was her patron as secretary of state, Slaughter has been a prominent promoter of what is sometimes glibly labeled a "muscular" foreign policy.

Slaughter's zeal for U.S. military intervention -- boosting Pentagon budgets that enrich war contractors while shortchanging domestic social programs -- fits neatly with an overall neoliberal model of reverence for maximizing corporate profits. It's a sensibility that Slaughter presumably brought to her stint on the board of directors of the McDonald's Corporation before getting to the State Department.

Members of New America's board of directors, such as media foreign-policy darling Fareed Zakaria and ubiquitous pundit David Brooks, have long echoed pro-war conventional wisdom. But hawkishness from elites has worn thin for working-class communities in the wake of combat deaths, injuries and psychological traumas. Research indicates that Clinton's militaristic persona helped Trump to defeat her in 2016, with "a significant and meaningful relationship between a community's rate of military sacrifice and its support for Trump." More than four years later, the liberal establishment's support for endless war is unabated as the U.S. continues to routinely bomb several countries.

As for the ongoing class war at home, the current Democratic brand of mild liberalism still refuses to forthrightly answer a pivotal question: "Which side are you on?" The party's usual answer, in effect, is "both sides" -- or, more commonly, to pretend that class war isn't really happening. ("Can't we all just get along?")

Certainly the Biden administration has taken some important steps -- such as expansion of the child tax credit and regulatory moves against corporate monopolies -- to reduce extremes of economic unfairness. And it's true that Biden has turned to Keynesian public investment. But the structures of neoliberalism are still largely in place, and the inroads against it have been incremental. With a closely divided Congress and a very likely GOP takeover of the House in 17 months, the advances are temporary and precarious.

An affirmative program for progressive change -- to substantially improve the economic and social conditions of people's daily lives -- will be essential for mobilizing voter turnout and preventing the Republican Party from seizing control of the federal government. GOP obstructionism on Capitol Hill is no excuse when Democratic leaders, as happens all too often, fail to clearly set imperative goals and go all-out to achieve them in tandem with grassroots movements. A prime example is Biden's refusal to use his authority to cancel student loan debt.

Meanwhile, Trump and associates are raising plenty of cash. During the spring, some news reports claimed that Trump was losing his hold on devotees -- a Washington Post headline in May flatly declared that "Trump is sliding toward online irrelevance" -- but such wishful thinking has been eclipsed by recent information. Trump's online fundraising brought in $56 million during the first half of this year, and his political committees report having $102 million in the bank. Those figures "underscore the profound reach of Trump's fundraising power," Politico reported as this month began. Trump is maintaining "a massive online donor network that he could lean on should he wage a 2024 comeback bid."

A vital challenge for progressives is to not only block Republican agendas but also to effectively campaign for policy changes that go far beyond the talking points of current Democratic leaders offering to tinker with the status quo. Merely promising a kinder, gentler version of grim social realities just won't be enough to counter the faux populism of a neofascist Republican Party.

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

"Nobody Is Above the Law"-Except The Biggest Corporate And Goverment Criminals
When it comes to the crimes of large corporations and their bosses, immunity or impunity is what they expect.
By Ralph Nader

Law schools should have courses on the expanding immunities of government and corporate officials from criminal prosecution and punishment. Guest lecturers, speaking from their experience, could be Donald J. Trump, George W. Bush (criminal destruction of Iraq), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Sackler Family of opioid infamy, and the top officials at Boeing, led by its CEO Dennis Muilenburg, for the 346 homicides in their deadly 737 MAX aircraft.

They should all be charged in varying degrees with manslaughter. Note how the definition fits the facts on the ground: "Reckless homicide is a crime in which the perpetrators were aware that their act (or failure to act when there is a legal duty to act) creates significant risk of death or grievous bodily harm in the victim, but ignores the risk and continues to act (or fail to act), and a human death results." Trump violated willfully and repeatedly so many laws, including obstruction of justice, that it would take a large well-staffed special prosecutor's office to handle his offenses. (Biden's Attorney General, Merrick Garland, has decided to immunize Trump by doing nothing). (See, Letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, June 17, 2021).

War criminal George W. Bush violated the Constitution by invading Iraq without a Congressional declaration of war, lying about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, killing over one million Iraqis, in addition to causing injuries, sicknesses, and devastation of critical public infrastructure. During this process of torture and mayhem, Bush violated federal statutes, international treaties, and returned to Texas immunized in fact, though not in law. He and former Vice President Dick Cheney could still be prosecuted.

New York lawyer and former homicide prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Robert C. Gottlieb, called for the prosecution of Trump over willful, disastrous actions and inactions concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, under the presidential duties to act, which led to many tens of thousands of preventable losses of life. Trump began dismissing the dangers of the fast multiplying virus as soon as it entered the U.S. from China.

Gottlieb gives examples of when the average citizen could not be able to escape criminal prosecution, citing the conviction of the owner (and two others) of a New York City residential and commercial building of homicide. Reckless drivers resulting in the deaths of innocents are often convicted of manslaughter and jailed.

Governor Ron DeSantis, confronting overwhelmed hospitals, and 25,000 new Covid-19 cases just in one day, still is brazenly advocating the maskless, crowd-together-if-you-choose-behavior of 'live free and die.' Somehow, he got through Harvard Law School uneducated to become a perilous promoter of opposing mask mandates in schools and hospitals, opposing required vaccinations for hospital workers (though he favors vaccinations generally), and is described politely by contagious disease specialists as being "in a state of denial." Gritting his teeth, DeSantis, a fervent Trump supplicant, says again and again, "People are going to be free to choose to make their own decisions." What? Free to infect others with a lethal disease? Does he not know of past public health campaigns against tuberculosis, smallpox, and the 1919 influenza epidemic?

Some Florida school districts, mandating masks to protect their children, have disregarded his ideological orders. Had DeSantis lost the last election, many more Floridians would be living today.

The same situation exists under Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The Dallas, Houston, and Austin school districts are defying his homicidal executive order prohibiting mandates for masks by complying with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) standards. The Dallas County officials sued Abbott, declaring that the governor's ban violates Texas law.

The headline in Wednesday's New York Times tells the story: "Texas Hospitals Are Already Overloaded. Doctors Are 'Frightened by What is Coming.'" The more contagious Delta variant has spread everywhere, to which Abbott replied, "We must rely on personal responsibility, not government mandates." Has he spoken to the deadlier Delta variant lately about his delusions?

When it comes to the crimes of large corporations and their bosses, immunity or impunity is what they expect. When, once in a while, they're caught in the act, the company pays the dollar penalties and the company's rulers and backers get off with no "personal responsibility."

In one of the biggest corporate marketing/promotional crimes - over 500,000 opioid deaths so far and accelerating, the Sackler's company, Purdue Pharma, escaped into bankruptcy while the Sacklers escaped any criminal prosecution. As a part of the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy the Sacklers negotiated for personal immunity from further civil suits, and the wrongdoers only had to fork over $4.5 billion, (spread out over years no less!) of their immense fortune. Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to three felony charges in 2020, but under the settlement with the Justice Department, the Sacklers agreed to pay $225 million but made no admissions of wrongdoing. I once recall a person stealing a donkey in Colorado going to jail for 15 years.

Then there are the criminal Boeing bosses who committed the manslaughter of 346 passengers and crew members in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Boeing's stealth cockpit software, not provided to the pilots, the airlines, and deceptively conveyed to the FAA, took away control of the two ascending 737 MAX planes from the pilots and drove the aircraft into the sea and ground in 2018 and 2019.

The Trump Justice Department sweetheart-settled a criminal case against Boeing, with the prosecutor subsequently quitting and joining Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm for Boeing. There was no trial or jail for any Boeing bosses, just a modest $2.5 billion exaction, mostly going to the airlines and the government with the rest to the grieving families. The civil tort suits will come under Boeing's insurance with the rest being mostly deductible against the few federal income taxes Boeing pays.

Next time you hear any prominent person announce that "Nobody is above the law," you can ask: "Really, with all the corporate and government lawbreaking we read about, tell us just how many of these big-time crooks are in orange suits serving time?"

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

By Margaret Kimberley

Afghanistan has been at the mercy of U.S. interventions for more than 40 years.

The scenes of people desperately trying to board planes in Kabul, Afghanistan, hanging from and even falling from landing gear, are reminiscent of past United States exits, most notably from Vietnam. Yet these images should not be surprising nor should they change anyone's views about the terror that the U.S. brought to that country. The turmoil in present day Afghanistan is the end result of more than 40 years of U.S. involvement and it should not be discussed without an analysis of that history.

Liberals in this country, even those who had expressed opposition to the war, now show themselves as imperialists, and in the case of Afghanistan claim concern for the treatment of women in advocating for a never ending war. They should point out that the U.S. is responsible for bringing the Taliban as a political group into existence, and thereby ended the substantial gains that had been made for Afghan women under a secular government.

U.S. involvement in Afghanistan began in the 1970s when Jimmy Carter was president. A left wing Afghan government came to power in 1978 and sought help and support from the Soviet Union. This simple statement of fact disappeared from the official narrative and most Americans know nothing about it. Instead there were tales of Soviet invasion and non-existent chemical weapons attacks. The Carter administration poured millions of dollars into the country and used Islamists as proxies to fight the Soviets.

Ronald Reagan was next and he greeted Afghan members of the mujahideen in the white house in 1983. Various Islamist factions in Afghanistan and later U.S. puppet president Hamid Karzai were recipients of money and weapons from Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

Osama bin Laden, said to be the mastermind of the September 11, 2021 terror attacks, was among those who profited from Washington's largesse. But he was never an ally, "For us, the idea was not to get involved more than necessary in the fight against the Russians, which was the business of the Americans, but rather to show our solidarity with our Islamist brothers."

Americans were told that the Taliban, some of the same people who benefited from U.S. help, were responsible for the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. None of the people identified as operatives were from Afghanistan and no one could prove direct involvement from that country. The trauma to the nation and state propaganda were a potent mix and there was near universal support for the invasion. Barbara Lee of California was the only member of congress to vote against it.

Soldiers born after the occupation began were old enough to deploy before the ignominious exit. President after president sent drones and bombs which killed civilians. Defense contractors made billions of dollars. An entire generation accepts that this country has the right to invade and occupy at will. The damage done to this country's politics and to the anti-war movement has been enormous.

Of course, Afghanistan suffered the most with an estimated 47,000 civilians losing their lives as a result of the U.S. attack. Wars kill, maime, create refugees, and destroy infrastructure. They insidiously trap the targeted nation into a state of dependency on the aggressor. Of course many Afghans have worked for the U.S. military and contractors since 2001. Some of them were so terrified that they died in their effort to escape when the Taliban entered Kabul.

The chaos seen in the media should cause a wholesale rejection of imperialist interventions. The very premise of this war and every other war should be called into question but very few people in this country are truly anti-imperialist. They approve of U.S. violence committed around the world as long as the rationale is something they can accept. Arguments in favor of humanitarian intervention work all too well on the uninformed.

The U.S. presence in Afghanistan should not be dismissed as merely a mistake and no one should be sorry that it is winding down. It was the ultimate act of cynicism, a war crime, and no one should try to defend it. Nor should anyone defend the presidents and members of congress who vote for defense spending that is now more than 60% of the discretionary budget. There are many guilty parties in this story.

Afghanistan would be better off if it had been left alone to resolve its own issues. The same is true for every other country the United States claims to be helping. When presidents, and corporate media op-eds, and congress, and think tanks make the case for war, the rest of us must reject their arguments out of hand. Let us not forget Afghanistan when we are told to support sanctions, drone strikes, or boots on the ground anywhere else.

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

Snidley Bezos

Should 'Workforce' Mean Forcing Workers To Take Crappy Jobs?
By Jim Hightower

A recent headline blared: "Labor shortages end when wages rise."

Gosh, Captain Obvious, what an amazing discovery! Someone notify the Nobel Prize committee, for surely this revolutionary revelation will win this year's prize in economics. Better yet, someone notify that gaggle of Republican governors whose theory of labor economics begins and ends with the medieval demand that workers be whacked with a stick to make them do what the bosses want.

At issue is the furious complaint by restaurant chains, nursing homes, Big Ag, and other low-wage employers that they have a critical labor shortage. It seems that millions of workers today are hesitant to take jobs because there's no affordable childcare, or the jobs they're offered expose them and their families to COVID-19, or the work itself is abusive and demeaning... or all of the above.

Business chieftains wail that they've been advertising thousands of jobs for waiters, poultry workers, nursing assistants, and such, but they can't get enough takers. So, corporate-serving governors have rushed to their rescue. Shouting "Whack 'em with a stick," these mingy politicians are stripping away jobless benefits, trying force workers to take any crappy job they're offered. It gives new meaning to the term "workforce."

But wait, there's an honest way to get the workers they need: Offer fair wages! As the owner of a small chain of restaurants in Atlanta notes when he stopped lowballing wages he not only got the workers he needed, but "We started to get a better quality of applicants." That translated to better service, happier customers, and more business.

The real economic factor in play here is not wages, but value. If you treat employees as cheap, that's what you'll get. But if you view them as valuable assets, that's what they'll be - and you'll all be better off.

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

George W. Bush is interviewed while surrounded by his "paintings" Broadcast journalist Hoda Kotb speaks to George W. Bush on April 20, 2019.

Corporate Media Are Erasing US's Long-Term Culpability For Afghanistan War
By William Rivers Pitt

For a time back in the bad old days of Donald Trump, it seemed as if the corporate "news" media had ever so slightly corrected their hard-wired rightward tilt. They were still awful when viewed from a progressive vantage point, and Fox News was going to Fox News no matter what, but as the daily grind of the Trump presidency grew into a roaring existential threat to the country, that media often said what needed saying, providing context, background, fact checks and experts by the score to warn against "normalizing" fascism.

Maybe it was only a sense of self-preservation that wrought the change - the news media are, of course, "the enemy of the people" according to Trump, and would have been a certain target of his wrath had he ever been able to fully slip the leash. Having the angry mob turn its eyes to you, knowing that they know your name, has a mystic way of concentrating the mind.

That appears to be over now as the world encompasses the sudden change of power in Afghanistan, and it's ugly as hell.

As always, Fox News is going to Fox News, but that network is outdoing even itself when it comes to dangerous and misleading coverage of the situation in Afghanistan. During his Monday broadcast, vile potato monster Tucker Carlson warned that the collapse of the Afghan government would release a death tide of refugees that would wash over the U.S. and pour straight up your driveway.

"If history is any guide, and it's always a guide, we'll see many refugees from Afghanistan resettle in our country in coming months," Carlson intoned, "probably in your neighborhood. And over the next decade, that number may swell to the millions. So first we invade and then we're invaded." Laura Ingraham went on to push the theme: "Is it really our responsibility to welcome thousands of refugees from Afghanistan?"

"Probably in your neighborhood." If you were wondering whether incoherently hateful immigration polemics were again going to be a GOP staple of the upcoming campaign season, look no further. Fox got the RNC talking points and lacquered them to the bathroom doors, probably.

Take a deeper dive into that, and what you see is a brazen example of a news network running as fast as it can from a mess of its own devising. Among a variety of things, the collapse of Afghanistan can be laid at the feet of two decades of presidents, politicians and military commanders deliberately bullshitting the public on the actual situation in that country. During that time, the main delivery vector for flag-humping hyper-nationalistic rubbish like that has been Fox News.

That streak remains unbroken. The daytime Fox broadcasts spent most of their time yesterday breathlessly blaming President Biden for the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, gleefully bypassing an ocean of history and nuance that - if provided - might help the right-leaning public avoid getting led by the nose into another war that is almost old enough to buy a beer. By the evening, they were folding their nonsense coverage into racist GOP talking points. An opportunity squandered, try to contain your shock. The other alphabet soup networks, along with a forest's worth of newspapers, have fared little better in the delivery of useful information. Instead, we have been fed a steady diet of pundit-heavy drivel about "winners and losers," with an unmistakable avoidance of anything which might remind viewers and readers that, more often than not, this sort of galloping tragedy is what happens when a war is lost.

I'm not here to stand in front of Joe Biden. He voted for this mess back in 2001, and while it is abundantly clear more should have been done to extricate our allies and personnel before the country fell, he faced a grim Hobson's Choice: Get out the way we did, or begin pulling people out months ago and perhaps precipitate a running slaughter all the way to Kandahar and Kabul. Nothing is more vulnerable than an army in retreat, and that's precisely what we were.

That being said, the president deserves at least some of his lumps, if for no other reason than because he's where the buck stops. Yet this buck has stopped a few places before landing on Biden's desk, but you'd never know it listening to the broadcasts or reading the boiling-oil editorials.

Former President Obama has barely merited a mention, despite having presided over and expanded this war, and despite having clearly failed to end it. Former President Trump signed a half-assed peace deal with the Taliban in February of 2020, which essentially handcuffed the Biden administration to some form of the current outcome.

The top-page motive behind Trump's deal in Doha, according to BBC News: "The move would allow US President Donald Trump to show that he has brought troops home ahead of the US presidential election in November." The GOP is so proud of all this, in fact, that they removed an RNC web page praising Trump for the deal.

And let us not forget the biggest soup bone in this particular stew, though the corporate "news" media devoutly wishes we would. You will be heartened to know that George W. Bush and his wife Laura have been "watching the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan with deep sadness." One would hope so. After all, here is the man who started the war, and then abandoned it for his Iraq misadventure without ending it, leaving office with the Afghanistan mission a rudderless mess that set the tone for the next dozen years to come.

Journalist Eric Boehlert has some thoughts:

The U.S. has spent trillions in Afghanistan stretching back 20 years, yet Biden, who has been in office for seven months and who campaigned on bringing the troops home, is being tagged as an architect for the Taliban's inevitable rise to power there. A convenient, gaping hole in the coverage and commentary? The U.S. mission in Afghanistan was unalterably damaged when President George W. Bush hijacked that post-9/11 military mission and foolishly turned the Pentagon's time, attention, and resources to a doomed invasion of Iraq....

Today the media's role in marketing the Iraq War has been flushed down the memory hole, even though Iraq should be central to any discussion about the U.S.'s running failure in Afghanistan. "Remarkably, the word 'Bush' was not mentioned once on any of the Sunday shows" this weekend as they focused nonstop on Afghanistan, noted Jon Allsop, at the Columbia Journalism Review. You cannot discuss the rise of the Taliban in 2021 without talking about the U.S.'s doomed Iraq War in 2003. But the press today wants to try.

There is more to this than the corporate "news" media's self-serving, myopic coverage. The United States lost the war in Afghanistan, just as we lost the war in Iraq, just as we lost the war in Vietnam not so terribly damn long ago. These wars represent more than 60 years of profiteering to the benefit of a preciously guarded few, while the rest of us drown in the blood and soot of aftermath.

These things are not discussed by the corporate "news." Bad for business, you see.

However, if you are looking for a bit of context, here is some to consider: After the Soviet Union withdrew in defeat from Afghanistan in 1989, the U.S.S.R. collapsed and ceased to exist only two years later. The Soviet Union's war was ten years shorter than ours, and it was not contending with viral variants of COVID-19 when it left.

I doubt the corporate "news" media will talk about that, either, but it's the truth.

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

Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)

If Liz Cheney's Assigning Blame For An "Epic Failure" In Afghanistan, She Can Start With Her Father
Dick Cheney created the mess Joe Biden is cleaning up.
By John Nichols

"This has been an epic failure across the board, one we're going to pay for for years to come," declared Representative Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, as she denounced Joe Biden's decision to complete the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

Cheney spewed most of her vitriol at Biden. But she did not stop there. Rejecting "the notion of we're going to end endless war," Cheney complained Sunday on ABC's This Week that "the Rand Paul, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Joe Biden view of the world here is fundamentally dangerous and irresponsible and wrong."

But the Republican representative neglected to identify the most dangerous, irresponsible, and wrong player of all. She had no criticism for her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The US military presence in Afghanistan did not begin with Joe Biden, or Donald Trump, or Barack Obama. It began with the flailing co-presidency of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney. It was the Bush-Cheney administration (for which Liz Cheney served as the nepotistic deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs) that responded to the September 11, 2001, attacks with a boundless "war on terror" that first targeted Afghanistan but quickly evolved to include the primary project of the Cheneys: the invasion and occupation of oil-rich Iraq.

Through it all, Dick Cheney made outlandish claims about the Afghan project. While he did not pull on a flight suit and appear before a "Mission Accomplished" banner-as did a hapless Bush on May 1, 2003-Cheney regularly made inflated pronouncements about the "success" of the Afghan mission. As early as November 2001, the vice president was taking a victory lap on the CBS News program 60 Minutes. That's when he announced that "we've provided the kind of air support and logistic support and intelligence and so forth that was needed for [Afghan forces aligned with the United States] to be successful in their campaign against the Taliban."

Recalling the long history of conflicts in the region where empires have repeatedly failed to impose their will upon Afghanistan, Dick Cheney declared, "When all is said and done and the dust settles, this one will probably have occurred with less loss of life than in any prior conflict."

Two years later, in September 2003, Cheney appeared on NBC's Meet the Press to chirp about "what we've accomplished in terms of taking Afghanistan-we had a total of 30 killed in action in Afghanistan-taking down the Taliban and destroying the capacity of al-Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a base to attack the United States." Yes, he acknowledged, there had been casualties in Afghanistan-and in Iraq. Yet, Cheney told Tim Russert, "the price that we've had to pay is not out of line, and certainly wouldn't lead me to suggest or think that the strategy is flawed or needs to be changed."

Four years later, the supposedly taken-down Taliban learned that Cheney was visiting Bagram air base in Afghanistan and targeted it with a suicide-bomb attack. Cheney survived, but, as Craig Whitlock recounts in The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War, "The blast killed 20 Afghan laborers who came to the base that day looking for work. It also claimed the lives of two Americans and a South Korean assigned to the international military coalition: Army Pfc. Daniel Zizumbo, a 27-year-old from Chicago; Geraldine Marquez, an American contractor for Lockheed Martin who had just celebrated her 31st birthday; and Staff Sgt. Yoon Jang-ho, the first South Korean soldier to die in a foreign conflict since the Vietnam War."

When the Taliban announced that it had targeted Cheney, US officials said that it was and "absurd" claim. But, notes Whitlock, "the U.S. military officials were the ones hiding the truth."

Cheney wasn't the only manufacturer of fabrications regarding the "success" of the longest war in US history. But the steady expansion of the mission in Afghanistan as an exercise in nation building began with Cheney and Bush. "Had the United States caught and killed Osama bin Laden in December 2001, the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would have faded away almost immediately afterward. I cannot prove that. It's only an opinion from my vantage point as one of President George W. Bush's speechwriters in 2001 and 2002," wrote David Frum in a recent essay for The Atlantic. "Yet I strongly believe it. The U.S. stayed for 20 years in Afghanistan because first Bush and then his successors got trapped in a pattern of responding to past failures by redoubling future efforts. In the fall of 2001, the U.S. mission in Afghanistan was clear, limited, and achievable: find and kill bin Laden. After bin Laden escaped, that mission escalated into something hazy and impossibly difficult: to rebuild Afghanistan's society and remodel the Afghan state."

In his speech on Monday, Biden said, "Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to be nation building." But that is what it became.

Cheney set the tone when it came to Afghanistan, and his choice to "rebuild it, put it back together again, whatever phrase you want" cost the lives of almost 2,500 American service members, almost 4,000 US contractors, and tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers and civilians. It also cost US taxpayers $2 trillion. When the military-industrial complex makes this kind of commitment, it's hard to end a nation-building exercise-even when its failing.

Biden knows this. "There is never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces," he acknowledged. What distinguished Biden from Cheney and Bush was his willingness to make the hard choice they had refused to make two decades earlier.

So, now, Liz Cheney, every bit the hawk her father was, and every bit the partisan hack her father was, is claiming, "We were able to prevent the Taliban from establishing safe havens with 2,500 to 3,500 troops on the ground."

That's a classic Cheney distortion of reality. If the Taliban hadn't established safe havens within Afghanistan, how were they so well prepared, so organized, and so efficient when the time came to seize power?

This is the sort of unfortunate truth about Afghanistan that the Cheneys have always refused to acknowledge.

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

Defining Evil In A Chaotic World
By James Donahue

Evil no longer seems to be what society says it is. The society in America, for example, strongly identifies such things as drugs, free sex, public cursing, robbery, murder, treason and now terrorism as evil things. Yet people in this country freely participate in everything on this list which is a contradiction in what we say we believe.

Because of the way we live, and the things we do to one another and to people of other nations in either the name of God, the interest of national security, or just because we can get away with them, many foreign nations view us as an evil society.

The Moslem world, which ironically has produced a radical sect of people willing to blow themselves up and kill as many people around them as possible for Allah, regards the United States as "the great Satan."

For those who might raise an eyebrow or two at this challenging proclamation, we make our case:

Most Americans consume alcohol, acquire prescriptions for pain medicine, sleeping pills and other "formula drugs" from our doctors, and many of us smoke marijuana. The sale of "over-the-counter" pills to treat everything from colds to headaches is a big business. A portion of our society also uses cocaine, hashish, LSD, amphetamine and other narcotics for recreational purposes. Everyone who does any of these things uses drugs, even though our society says this is evil to do so.

Many people engage in relatively free forms of sex. More and more couples just live together rather than get married. The rise in free sex among people of all age groups is reflected in the dramatic increase in sexually transmitted disease, including the dreaded AIDS virus. An apparent rise in homosexuality and pedophilia also is an indication that Americans are willing to do forbidden sexual acts, even though our society and even some state and local laws proclaim this behavior as sinful, illegal, and therefore evil.

Public cursing and use of four-letter bedroom and bathroom words has reached an all-time epidemic. Some women use these words as frequently as men. And the cursing is no longer refined to the factories, bars and men's locker rooms. You hear children using these words openly on the street. The words are freely used in television programming and especially in Hollywood movies. Yet our society identifies this kind of language as wrong.

Everybody steals. It seems to be ingrained in our cultural fabric to walk away with another person's property, especially if we find the item lying exposed and unguarded. Consequently we have locks on the doors to our homes, our cars and our suitcases. We lock up our bikes, our garages and especially our money. We cling to our possessions when out in crowds. The more we have, the more we worry about losing. We buy insurance to protect our investments from theft. We banter over prices in the stores, hoping to buy at a lower rate. A successful businessman is often a person who can outmaneuver his competition even if he has to cheat to do it. And we love to bring home pens, paper clips, paper supplies and other useful things from the place where we work. We use the boss's telephone to make personal long distance calls, and have no qualms about using the company copy machine or computer printer for personal business. Yet we all agree that stealing is evil.

Most of us refrain from killing other people. Yet we send our sons (and daughters) off to war where they are expected to kill soldiers (and now civilians) in other nations. Many of our states freely use the death penalty to punish people for certain crimes. There wasn't enough room to house all of the gawkers who wanted to watch the Timothy McVeigh execution. They had to furnish additional space and use closed circuit television to accommodate all of them. Some television stations wanted to televise the killing. Our movies and television programs are filled with stories of murder, war and death. Our leaders talk openly of murdering Osama bin Laden, the so-called leader of a group of terrorists that orchestrated the events of 9-11. Few Americans blinked when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was hung after we invaded his country without provocation. Radical Christians have been murdering doctors and medical staff involved in operating abortion clinics, believing that they are doing "God's work" because the abortion of unborn human embryos is conceived as murder. We are a barbaric nation. Yet we know that "thou shalt not kill" is one of the Ten Commandments and therefore killing must be evil.

Treason is something most of us would say rarely happens in the United States. But are you sure? The Trump-led assault on the nation's Capital on June 6 is clearly shown to be a collective act of treason. In recent years numerous people in high security positions have been arrested and charged with selling information to foreign nations. Now that we are fighting a vague war against a people many of us aren't even sure are guilty of any wrongdoing, there are murmurings on the Internet and even in some of our daily newspapers about the truthfulness of our leaders. That our president is constantly protected by armed guards and rides around in a car protected by bullet proof glass suggests that he is in constant danger when among the people. That we have a national militia movement filled with members who believe they may someday have to rise up to protect the Constitution by force is troublesome. The government perceives the militia groups as treasonous. After the terrible events at Ruby Ridge, Waco, Oklahoma City, and 9-11, we have no doubt the militia groups think certain people in high government and military positions are treasonous.

Americans say they are appalled at terrorism and we want this practice stopped. Yet this nation is considered by much of the world to be a master of terrorism. Our bombing campaigns against Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Libya in recent years killed a lot of innocent civilians and left many others wounded, homeless and without food. To make it even worse, we laced our bombs with metals poisoned with depleted uranium. People in these countries surely consider us terrorists. News reports say the people of North Korea are currently terrified of the United States and are preparing to defend themselves against us. Earlier campaigns against the Mexican government to gain territory in the Southwest, and the American Indians were no less than early acts of American terrorism. Our fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, during World War II destroyed the entire city which was not a military target. We did it on purpose just to terrify the Germans. Thousands of innocent people died. We did these things willfully, making up slogans like "manifest destiny" and "God is on our side" to help us justify our actions. Yet we say terrorism is evil and the United States government is heavily involved in a strange "war against terrorism" launched by former President George W. Bush.

The people in the United States seem to be forgetting who they once were. Instead of a great nation of free people, we are behaving like we are residents of a second class society and living under tyranny. Those not seduced by football games and their nightly six-pack are stockpiling guns and bullets because they are afraid of their government. People are packing away so many bullets, and our military is putting such a demand on ammunition that the bullet manufacturers can't meet the demand. Our government, in turn, appears to be afraid of the people. The courts have all but thrown the Bill of Rights out of the window and authorized police, FBI and CIA agents to listen in on private telephone, fax and Internet conversations, just in case we have would-be terrorists at large. Insanity is running amuck.

Indeed, we are a nation divided. Many believe (and there is supporting date) that we were tricked into waging war on innocent people of Iraq and Afghanistan for the sake of big oil interests. The story is that the oil companies have an eye on newly found oil in former providences of Southeastern Russia and Iran. That Russia suddenly has become a world competitor in the oil market is strong evidence that this story might be true. It is said there were plans to build an oil pipeline across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the sea, but the Taliban was in the way. This might help explain why U.S. soldiers are dying in a war against the Taliban, a radical Islamic group that was not involved in the 9-11 attack against America. It might explain why former President George W. Bush invaded Iraq, a major oil supplier to the world, and why the United States is doing some saber rattling over Iranian nuclear policies that to date do not appear to be a threat to anyone. It has all been for big oil and of course, the American military industrial machine that feeds on war.

Some say 9-11 was a conspiracy generated from within the Bush Administration to give us an excuse to attack key nations in the Middle East. But would our own government stage an event so terrible as the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon just to get Americans to support such warfare?

It will be up to historians to judge Mr. Bush and the key figures involved in the events that occurred during his term. It is only recently that the story about how Winston Churchill appears to have targeted the liner Lusitania for a German U-boat torpedo to help get America involved in World War I. There is evidence that top military officials in the Roosevelt Administration set up the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to get America involved in World War II. And some are now suggesting that John F. Kennedy may have been murdered because he was contemplating shutting down the Vietnam conflict, which was against the wishes of the national military powers.

Whether these stories are true is not for us to say. Our policy is to question everything and accept nothing as truth. We are all trapped in a third dimensional existence where everything we think is true is only an illusion anyway.

This is a nation of confused people. We are confused by the conflicting teachings of the church, our schools, our government, our society and our collective memory.

Alastair Crowley was perceived in his day by many to be an evil person. Crowley, a magnificent writer and brilliant scholar as well as magician, once penned a strange brief work called The Book of the Law. He claims it was dictated to him by a spiritual entity named Aiwass.

While Crowley insists that the text of this short work is not his own, he wrote an amazingly prophetic introduction that appears in every copy of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) published book. It was about 100 years ago that he wrote this warning of the future:

"Liberty stirs once more in the womb of Time.

"Evolution makes its changes by anti-Socialistic ways. The 'abnormal' man who foresees the trend of the times and adapts circumstance intelligently, is laughed at, persecuted, often destroyed by the herd; but he and his heirs, when the crisis comes, are survivors.

"Above us today hangs a danger never yet paralleled in history. We suppress the individual in more and more ways. We think in terms of the herd. War no longer kills soldiers; it kills all indiscriminately. Every new measure of the most democratic and autocratic governments is Communistic in essence. It is always restriction. We are all treated as imbecile children. Dora, the Shops Act, the Motoring Laws, Sunday suffocation, the Censorship--they won't trust us to cross the roads at will.

"Fascism is like Communism, and dishonest into the bargain. The dictators suppress all art, literature, theatre, music, news that does not meet their requirements; yet the world only moves by the light of genius. The herd will be destroyed en masse."

Crowley described current events almost to the letter.

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

Lies, Damn Lies, And What We've Been Told About Afghanistan
By David Swanson

It's far from the longest U.S. war. There was no peace before or after it. There is no after it until they end it - and bombing has always been most of what it is. It has had nothing to do with opposing terrorism. It has been a one-sided slaughter, a mass killing over two decades by a single invading army and air force dragging along token mascots from dozens of vassal states. After 20 years Afghanistan was one of the worst places to be on Earth, and the Earth as a whole was a worse place to be - the rule of law, the state of nature, the refugee crises, the spread of terrorism, the militarization of governments all worsened. Then the Taliban took over.

When the U.S. armed the Afghan military with weapons costing enough to cause panic attacks in U.S. Senators had the expense been for anything other than murder, and predicted a happy little civil war, and then the Afghans refused to fight each other, the President of the United States denounced such reprehensible restraint, blaming the victims, instead of acknowledging the massive gift of yet more weaponry to the Taliban, instead of recognizing - after 20 years - anything about what Afghanistan is like. (Of course he still calls the war a "civil war" as U.S. voices have done for years and years because unless the U.S. military is regretfully helping out in a civil war waged by primitive people, it will be understood to be, you know, waging wars, smack in the middle of what U.S. academics call The Great Peace.)

The puppet government was never a government outside of the capital. The people were never loyal to the Taliban or the invaders, but merely to whichever set of lunatics was nearby waving guns. First the Taliban collapsed, then the Muppets in Kabul, and for 20 years in between every home and village switched sides as needed, with the U.S. developing permanent enemies, the Taliban making practical alliances, and people persistently noticing that they lived where they lived, while the strange-looking foreigners who killed, imprisoned, tortured, mutilated, urinated on, and threatened them for "human rights" lived somewhere else.

But millions of them were made homeless. Children froze to death in refugee camps. Approximately half the victims of the U.S. war were women. The puppet government passed a law to legalize spousal rape. Yet the hypocritical screech of "Women's Rights" was heard over the agonized moaning of the injured, even as the U.S. government blissfully armed and supported the brutal militaries of such bastions of women's rights as Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Ethiopia, Gabon, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

The death, injury, trauma, homelessness, environmental destruction, governmental corruption, renewed drug dealing, and general catastrophe were kept quiet by an obsessive focus on the tiny percentage of deaths that were U.S. troops - but excluding the majority even of those deaths because they were suicides.

"There is no military solution" the generals and weapons-funded presidents and Congress members chanted for decades while pushing more militarism. Yet nobody asked what "solution" even meant. "We're winning" they lied for decades until everyone announced that they'd "lost." Yet nobody asked what "winning" would have been. What was the goal? What was the purpose?

The rhetoric, official and amateur, that launched the war was about bombing a nation full of people as revenge for the crimes of a small number of individuals who had spent some time in the place. "Hey Mr. Taliban" song lyrics were racist, hateful, and genocidal celebrations of bombing the homes of people who dressed in pajamas. But this was pure murderous bullshit. Crimes can and should be prosecuted, not used as excuses to commit worse crimes. The Taliban was willing to turn Bin Laden over to a third country to be put on trial, but the U.S. government wanted a war. It had long-since planned the war. Its motivations included base construction, weapons placement, pipeline routing, and the launching of a war on Iraq as a continuation of an easier-to-start war on Afghanistan (a war that Tony Blair insisted on starting prior to a war on Iraq).

Soon the U.S. president said that bin Laden didn't matter at all. Then another U.S. president said that bin Laden was dead. That didn't matter either, as anyone paying the slightest attention had known it wouldn't. In fact, that same president escalated the war on Afghanistan three-fold in terms of troop presence but more than that in bombing, principally because he was largely keeping his predecessor's deal to scale back the war on Iraq. One can't just end a war without backing a different one. That's part of why the world's worried about a war on China right now.

But, then what was the excuse for the unending war on Afghanistan? Well, one excuse was a new bin Laden. He would return in another form like Voldemort if ever the U.S. left Afghanistan. So, after 20 years of a global war on terrorism spreading anti-U.S. terrorism from a few Afghan caves to capitals across Africa and Asia, we're now told that the Taliban takeover may mean the "return" of terrorism - we're told this by the very same widely respected "experts" who just said the Taliban wouldn't take over.

You know who never believed that crap? The young men and women sent into Afghanistan from the United States year after year after year to become suicide risks and to . . . well, and to . . . to do what?

What passes for "winning" in the propaganda given the troops and everyone else is just the horrific wars with disastrous short- and long-term results that somebody had the sense to end more quickly than other wars: the Gulf War, the War on Libya. But they're not, of course, better than never having started them would have been.

On August 16, 2021, a U.S. military base at Niagara Falls posted this notice:

While President Joe Biden swears the nonsense about "nation building" was always nonsense, others cling to it. On August 17th an email from Lauren Mick, Senior Manager for Media Relations, Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), claimed "There is no doubt, however, that the lives of millions of Afghans had been improved by U.S. government interventions, including gains in life expectancy, the mortality of children under five, GDP per capita, and literacy rates, among others." Even if you believe that, imagine what doctors and teachers could have done in that regard. Hell, imagine what giving every man, woman, and child in Afghanistan some $600,000 or even a tiny fraction of that might have done rather than blowing over $1 trillion on war per year for 20 years. Afghanistan, under the benevolent occupation, was the third worst place to give birth in terms of newborn mortality, with the first being the neighboring and heavily impacted Pakistan.

The letter in the image above illustrates one of the points I elaborated on in War Is A Lie, namely that one can have contradictory war lies working simultaneously and certainly at different stages, especially before, during, and after a war. Let us count the lies in the notice above:

1. "progress" - no explanation given, so irrefutable, but vacuous

2. the war-making allowed people to vote, attend school, start a business, and live with basic necessities - by definition anyone not killed in the war lived with basic necessities, just as prior to the war only less so; the rest of this has been very weak for 20 years and in fact for 50 years going back to the initial U.S. provocation of the Soviets back when the bad guys were the good guys as they very well may soon be again

3. evidence-free prevention of imaginary attacks on the Fatherland - those have been made more likely, not less likely, by the war

4. saving fellow "service" members - not sending them would have saved more of them

5. planting small seeds of "Freedom's Cause" - what can I say except that people will reach for utter obnoxious nonsense to justify horrible things they've done?

Well, surely this harmless foolishness is better than veteran suicides? Not if it succeeds at its stated purpose of facilitating future warmaking it isn't, no. Guess what one of the minor results of those future wars will be? More veteran suicides!

At one point during the past 20 years, I sent some unsolicited advice to a young man who was considering offering the world the "service" of participating in wars. This was part of what I sent him:

Are you aware that the U.S. government repeatedly turned down offers to hand Bin Laden over to a third nation to be put on trial, preferring instead a war? Have you come into contact with the understanding that "if the CIA had not spent over a billion dollars arming Islamist militants in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, empowering jihadist godfathers like Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden in the process, the 9/11 attacks would have almost certainly not taken place"? Are you familiar with the U.S. plans for war on Afghanistan that pre-dated September 11, 2001? Have you seen the predictable excuses that Bin Laden gave for his murderous crimes? They each involve revenge for other crimes committed by the U.S. military. Are you aware that war is a crime under, among other laws, the United Nations Charter? Are you aware that al Qaeda planned September 11th in numerous nations and U.S. states that, unlike Afghanistan, the United States chose not to bomb?
I continued:
Are you familiar with the gross failures of the CIA and FBI leading up to 9/11, but also with the warnings they gave to the White House that went unheeded? Are you aware of the evidence of the role played by Saudi Arabia, close U.S. ally, oil dealer, weapons customer, and partner in the war on Yemen? Did you know that British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed to the future war on Iraq as long as Afghanistan was attacked first? Are you aware that the Taliban had practically eradicated opium prior to the war, but that the war made opium one of the Taliban's top two sources of funding, the other being, according to an investigation by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. military? Are you aware that the war on Afghanistan has killed huge numbers of people, devastated the natural environment, and left the society very vulnerable to coronavirus? Are you aware that the International Criminal Court is investigating the overwhelming evidence of horrendous atrocities by all sides during the war on Afghanistan? Have you noticed the habit of just-retired U.S. military officials admitting that much of what they've been doing is counter-productive? Here are just a few examples in case you've missed any of them:

-Former CIA Bin Laden Unit Chief Michael Scheuer, who says the more the United States fights terrorism the more it creates terrorism.

-The CIA, which finds its own drone program "counterproductive."

-Admiral Dennis Blair, the former director of National Intelligence: While "drone attacks did help reduce the Qaeda leadership in Pakistan," he wrote, "they also increased hatred of America."

-Gen. James E. Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "We're seeing that blowback. If you're trying to kill your way to a solution, no matter how precise you are, you're going to upset people even if they're not targeted."

-Sherard Cowper-Coles, Former U.K. Special Representative To Afghanistan: "For every dead Pashtun warrior, there will be 10 pledged to revenge."

-Matthew Hoh, Former Marine Officer (Iraq), Former US Embassy Officer (Iraq and Afghanistan): "I believe it's [the escalation of the war/military action] only going to fuel the insurgency. It's only going to reinforce claims by our enemies that we are an occupying power, because we are an occupying power. And that will only fuel the insurgency. And that will only cause more people to fight us or those fighting us already to continue to fight us."

-General Stanley McChrystal: "For every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies."

- Lt. Col. John W. Nicholson Jr.: This commander of the war on Afghanistan blurted out his opposition to what he'd been doing on his last day of doing it.

I tried to provide some context:
"Did you know that terrorism increased from 2001 through 2014, principally as a predictable result of the war on terrorism?" Of course a basic question that a good education should bring one to ask about any field is this one: "Is it working?" I assume you've asked that regarding "counter-terrorism." I assume also that you've looked into what distinctions, if any, truly separate a terrorist attack from a counter-terrorist attack. Are you aware that 95% of all suicide terrorist attacks are indefensible crimes conducted to encourage foreign occupiers to leave the terrorist's home country?
I tried to provide some alternatives:
Did you know that on March 11, 2004, Al Qaeda bombs killed 191 people in Madrid, Spain, just before an election in which one party was campaigning against Spain's participation in the U.S.-led war on Iraq. The people of Spain voted the Socialists into power, and they removed all Spanish troops from Iraq by May. There were no more bombs in Spain. This history stands in strong contrast to that of Britain, the United States, and other nations that have responded to blowback with more war, generally producing more blowback.

Are you aware of the suffering and death that polio used to cause and still causes, and how hard many have worked for years to come very close to eradicating it, and what a dramatic setback these efforts were handed when the CIA pretended to be vaccinating people in Pakistan while actually trying to find Bin Laden?

Did you know that it isn't legal in Pakistan or anywhere else to kidnap or to murder? Have you ever paused and listened to whistleblowers about their regrets? People like Jeffrey Sterling have some eye-opening stories to tell. So does Cian Westmoreland. So does Lisa Ling. So do many others. Were you aware that much of what we think about drones is fictional?

Are you familiar with the dominant role the U.S. plays in weapons dealing and war, that it's responsible for some 80% of international arms dealing, 90% of foreign military bases, 50% of military spending, or that the U.S. military arms, trains, and funds the militaries of 96% of the most oppressive governments on earth? Did you know that 3% of U.S. military spending could end starvation on earth? Do you really believe, when you stop to consider it, that the current priorities of the U.S. government serve to counter terrorism, rather than to fuel it?

We have real crises facing us that are far more severe than terrorism, no matter where you think terrorism comes from. The threat of nuclear apocalypse is higher than ever. The threat of irreversible climate collapse is higher than ever and massively contributed to by militarism. The trillions of dollars being dumped into militarism are desperately needed for actual defense against these dangers including spin-off catastrophes like coronavirus.

Now, we've been through two decades of atrocity aberration stories in Afghanistan. Some troops were hunting children but that wasn't the norm. Some troops were peeing on corpses, but politely and respectfully creating the corpses was the norm. Innocent people were imprisoned and tortured but only by mistake.

We've been treated to two decades of regrets that crimes should have been committed more properly. So and so shouldn't have pretending to be "winning." Such and such shouldn't have pretended to be withdrawing. This and that shouldn't have lied about murders of civilians. Big shot shouldn't have shown his brilliant plans for dragging out this madness to his girlfriend.

We've been treated to two decades of imagining that mass killing can be reformed. But it cannot be. Remember that this was the "good war" the war that one had to praise in order to oppose the war on Iraq without being some radical advocate of abolishing mass slaughter. But if this was a "good war" - a war that even peace activists pretended had been UN-sanctioned (simply because the war on Iraq had not been) - one would hate to see the "bad war."

The big lies are not the lies in the Afghan Papers but the lies evident on the day the war began. Here are some of them and links to their refutations:
War is inevitable

War is justified

War is necessary

War is beneficial

If you're really good at the war propaganda game, you can do the inverted myths:
Peace is impossible.

Peace is unjustifiable.

Peace serves no purpose.

Peace is dangerous and gets people killed.

These are themes in U.S. corporate media these days. People get hurt when you end good stable wars. They die at airports (when you shoot them or let them crowd onto runways and generally run the airport like it's a branch of the SNAFU war machine you sent in for the non-nation building).

What can peaceniks say for themselves at such a moment?

Well, here's what this one says:

On September 11, 2001, I said, "Well, that proves all the weapons and wars are useless or counterproductive. Prosecute crimes as crimes, and start disarming." When the U.S. government launched an illegal, immoral, sure to be catastrophic war on Afghanistan, I said, "That's illegal and immoral and sure to be catastrophic! End it now!"

When they didn't end it, I said, "According to the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan, there's going to be hell when they end this, and it's going to be a worse hell the longer it takes them to end it. So, end it now!"

When they didn't end it, I went to Kabul and met with all kinds of people and saw that they clearly had a lousy, corrupt, foreign-backed puppet government, with the looming threat of the Taliban, and neither choice was any good. "Support nonviolent civil-society," I said. "Provide actual aid. Try democracy at home to lead by example. And (redundantly, since democracy at home would have done this) get the U.S. military the @%!%# out!"

When they still didn't end it, and when a Congressional investigation found the top two sources of income for the Taliban to be the revived drug trade and the U.S. military, I said "If you wait additional years or decades to get the !^%& out, there's going to be no hope left. Get the hell out now!"

When Amnesty International put ads up on bus stops in Chicago thanking NATO for the lovely war for women's rights, I pointed out that bombs blow up women the same as men, and marched to protest NATO.

I asked people in Afghanistan, and they said the same thing.

When Obama pretended to get out, I said, "Really get out, you lying scheming fraud!"

When Trump got elected promising to get out and then didn't, I said, "Really get out, you lying scheming fraud!"

(When Hillary Clinton failed to get elected, and evidence suggested that she'd have won had she credibly promised to end the wars, I said, "Do us all a favor and retire for godsake!") Presidents I proposed be impeached for this war among other grounds were Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden.

Now I've gone and offended both political Parties, of course, and must apologize for burning my Party membership cards and not children.

When they STILL didn't end the war, I said, again, "According to the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan, there's going to be hell when they end this, and it's going to be a worse hell the longer it takes them to end it. So, end it now!"

When Biden pretended to get out while promising to keep troops there and to increase the bombings, I said, "Really get out, you lying scheming fraud!"

I encouraged all the insiderish groups that said the same thing super gently and politely. I encouraged all the fed-up groups blocking doors and streets and weapons trains. I supported efforts in ever country involved to get their token troops out and stop legitimizing a U.S. crime. Year after year after year.

When Biden claimed the war was some sort of success, I pointed out how it had spread anti-U.S. terrorism across half the globe, spawned more wars, murdered countless people, devastated the natural environment, eroded the rule of law and civil liberties and self-governance, and cost trillions of dollars.

When the U.S. government refused to abide by agreements, refused to stop bombing, refused to give credible negotiation or compromise a chance, refused to support the rule of law around the world or lead by example, refused to stop shipping weapons into the region, refused to even acknowledge that the Taliban is using U.S.-made weapons, but finally claimed it would get its troops out, I expected that U.S. media outlets would develop anew a strong interest in the rights of Afghan women. I was right.

But the U.S. government, according to its own reporting, accounts for 66% of all the weapons exported to the least democratic quintile of nations on earth. Of the 50 most oppressive governments identified by a U.S.-government-funded study, the U.S. arms 82% of them.

Israel's government, notorious for its violent oppression of Palestinian people, is not on that list (it's a U.S.-funded list) but is the top recipient of "aid" funding for U.S. weapons from the U.S. government. Some women live in Palestine.

The Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act (H.R.4718) would prevent U.S. weapons sales to other nations that are in violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law. During the last Congress, the same bill, introduced by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, gathered a grand total of zero cosponsors.

One of 41 U.S.-armed oppressive nations on U.S. funded lists, Afghanistan, was on the lists of oppressive governments before the Taliban threatened to take it over. And the other 40 are of truly minimal interest to the U.S. corporate media, much less to any of the "BUT THE WOMEN!" crowd out there moaning in agony that a war might end.

The same crowd seems to have no objection to the proposal moving through the U.S. Congress to force U.S. women at age 18 to register for a military draft that would force them against their will to kill and die in more of these wars.

So, what would I propose that the U.S. government do for the women and men and children of Afghanistan now, regardless of horrible decisions in the past that it's obviously too late to undo and just silly and offensive to rehash like this?

1. Until it can reform itself into an entity capable of benevolent action, not a goddamned thing in Afghanistan. Get out and stay out.

2. Stop encouraging the Taliban to think that it can become a model U.S. client state in a few years if it's mean and nasty enough, by ceasing to arm and train and fund brutal dictatorships all over the globe.

3. Cease eroding the idea of the rule of law around the world by dropping opposition to the International Criminal Court and the World Court, by joining the International Criminal Court, and by eliminating the veto and democratizing the United Nations Security Council.

4. Catch up with the world and cease being the leading holdout globally on the most major human rights treaties including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (every nation on Earth has ratified except the United States) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (every nation on Earth has ratified except the United States, Iran, Sudan, and Somalia).

5. Move 20% of the U.S. military budget into useful things each year for five years.

6. Move 10% of that rededicated funding into providing no-strings-attached aid and encouragement to the most law-abiding and honest-to-god small-d democratic poor nations on the planet.

7. Take a hard look at the U.S. government itself, understand the powerful case that the U.S. government could make for bombing itself were it not itself, and take serious steps to remove the bribery from the election system, establish fair public funding and media coverage for elections, and remove gerrymandering, the filibuster, and as soon as possible the United States Senate.

8. Free, apologize to, and thank every whistleblower who's told us what the U.S. government was doing in Afghanistan for the past 20 years. Consider why we needed whistleblowers to tell us.

9. Prosecute or free and apologize to every prisoner at Guantanamo, close the base, and get out of Cuba.

10. Get out of the way of the International Criminal Court's prosecution of Taliban crimes in Afghanistan, as well as its prosecution of crimes committed there by the Afghan government, and by the militaries of the United States and its junior partners.

11. Swiftly become an entity that can credibly comment on horrors being committed by the Taliban, by - among other things - caring enough about the horrors coming to all of humanity to invest heavily in ending the destruction of the Earth's climate and ending the existence of nuclear weapons.

12. Let a million Afghans into the United States and fund the creation of education centers at which they explain to people where Afghanistan is and what the U.S. military did to it for 20 years.

(c) 2021 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.

Hydrogen has many applications - including energy-intensive long-haul freight, mining and industrial processes -
and will likely be a key component in a decarbonized future. But we need to shift the dynamic so most or all is green.

Hydrogen Hype: Climate Solution Or Dead-End Highway?
By David Suzuki

Around the turn of this century, hydrogen was big, especially in B.C. We were testing hydrogen fuel cell buses. Then-premier Gordon Campbell promised a "hydrogen highway" with a series of fuelling stations between Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler to enable zero-emissions bus transport - possibly extending to California by 2010.

There is no hydrogen highway. What happened? And why is hydrogen in the news again?

Much has to do with how hydrogen is produced and used as fuel or to "carry" energy. Although it's the simplest, most abundant element in the universe, on Earth it's only found in nature combined with other elements. It must be unlocked from sources like water (H2O = two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen) or methane (CH4 = one part carbon, four parts hydrogen). Separating hydrogen from water leaves oxygen. Separating it from methane leaves carbon and carbon dioxide.

Most commercial hydrogen is obtained from fossil fuels using chemicals and heat, but water can be split into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolytic processes (with or without electricity from renewable energy). Researchers are also studying ways to split water with light or solar energy, and to use microbes such as bacteria and microalgae to produce hydrogen.

As a fuel, hydrogen requires substantial new infrastructure, whereas electric vehicle charging can be facilitated easily anywhere there's a grid. As an energy "carrier" - that is, it's used to store or deliver energy produced from primary sources - it must be compressed or liquefied to be transported and used, which requires energy.

Despite its drawbacks, the amount of hydrogen in methane has industry eyeing it as a potential lifeline and a way to appear "green." Methane is a byproduct of oil and coal extraction, and "natural" gas is almost entirely methane. Industry and advocates have campaigned to convince governments and the public that fossil fuel–derived hydrogen is as good as that split from water using renewables - if carbon is removed and stored.

That's led to a distinction between "brown," "grey," "blue" and "green" hydrogen. The first is from coal. Grey is from fossil fuels without carbon capture and storage, which creates CO2 emissions. Blue is from fossil fuels with CCS. Green is split from water using renewable energy.

Grey - mostly obtained with "steam methane reforming" - accounts for about 95 per cent of all commercially produced hydrogen worldwide. It's inexpensive and relatively easy to produce and can use gas that would otherwise be wasted. It could become blue if the technology to store carbon byproducts were feasible and economically viable without creating additional ecological damage.

On a large scale, electrolysis is known as "power-to-gas," as electricity produced by renewable sources like wind and solar or fossil fuels is converted to hydrogen gas for transport and use. If renewable energy is used, only oxygen is emitted, making it green.

Hydrogen has many applications - including energy-intensive long-haul freight, mining and industrial processes - and will likely be a key component in a decarbonized future. But we need to shift the dynamic so most or all is green.

Even blue hydrogen is not emissions-free, as carbon capture doesn't entirely eliminate emissions, and they're also produced during fossil feedstock extraction, processing and transportation.

Grey hydrogen offers no climate benefit. Hydrogen linked to costly and unproven small modular nuclear is problematic on many levels and would drive costs up.

Green hydrogen can be produced at the renewable electricity generation site, or closer to end uses with grid infrastructure. It doesn't require pipelines or carbon capture infrastructure, so hydrogen electrolysis plants can often be built quickly and cost-effectively. It can be used to channel large amounts of renewable energy from the power sector into those where electrification is difficult, such as transport, buildings and industry. And it can stimulate investment and growth in renewables for electrolysis and improve energy storage capabilities.

Green hydrogen is also a better financial bet. Blue hydrogen's costs are tied to expensive carbon capture facilities. Analysis by banking giant Morgan Stanleyy found plummeting wind energy prices could make government-supported green hydrogen more cost-competitive than fossil-dependent grey hydrogen by 2023.

Canada's Hydrogen Strategy identifies a "clean hydrogen economy" as "a strategic priority." It's time to recognize our competitive advantage and kick-start innovation and investment in green hydrogen. Fossil fuel-based hydrogen is an expensive dead end.

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

What The Hell Were We Doing There?
And why didn't we listen to anyone who'd already tried to invade and occupy Afghanistan? By Charles P. Pierce
John F. Kennedy was very fond of the old saw that victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan. What we watched unfold in Afghanistan over the weekend, as the Afghan army dissolved, the Afghan government collapsed, and the president of Afghanistan ran for the hills, turned that mossbacked shibboleth on its head. For 20 years, we propped up an army that was an illusion and a government that was a mirage. For 20 years, as the Washington Post illustrated in a criminally unremarked-upon series of brilliant reports in 2019, our government lied to us and it lied to itself. This defeat had a thousand fathers, of both political parties, in uniform and out. They were in the business of war, the business of politics, and the business of informing the citizens of this country about both. All of them failed at their jobs, miserably, and the awful images from Kabul this weekend were precise measures of their failures-and, regrettably, ours.

For a number of years now, every time another spasm of violence happened in Afghanistan, I wondered just what in the hell we were still doing there. I understood the initial engagement; no American president could have survived not having retaliated after 9/11. I tried to understand the mission of the ground troops we sent in there despite the fact that I knew Afghanistan historically was a sinkhole that made Vietnam look like the War of Jenkins' Ear. I am not sorry at all that we iced Osama bin Laden the way we did. But still, what in hell were we still doing there? Didn't we know about the British and the Soviets? Didn't we know about Alexander the Great, who, after his great victory at Gaugamela, went into that area of Asia and promptly came apart? Frank Holt, in his Into the Land of Bones, explained the long, bloody comeuppance every great power had received when they meddled in that rocky corner of the world.

First, with exuberant expectations, the British Empire gathered in 1838 a grand army to quell the unruly Afghans. The goal was simply to replace one ruler (Dost Muhammed) with another (the exiled Shah Shuja) more amenable to British interests. "There have been few military campaigns in British history," writes Major General James Lunt, "which were more ineptly planned and more incompetently executed than the first Afghan War; and that is saying a good deal."...

...they placed Shah Shuja on the throne. This foreign intervention, however, stirred growing resentment among the native peoples even as most of the British troops swaggered back to India. Tribal opposition mounted across Afghanistan, erupting disastrously when terrorists butchered a prominent British official named Alexander "Bukhara" Burnes. In January 1842, the empire's remaining 4,500 soldiers and their 12,000 camp followers retreated from Kabul in a long wintry death-march that only one European survived...The Second Afghan War (1878–1880) commenced with a swift invasion by 33,500 troops.

The Second Afghan War went as bloodily for Great Britain as the first one did, and a general named Sir Frederick Roberts concluded that the best thing for all concerned was to leave Afghanistan to the people who lived there. Roberts advised, according to Holt: Advertisement - Continue Reading Below "It may not be very flattering to our amour propre, but I feel sure I am right when I say that the less the Afghans see of us the less they will dislike us. Should Russia in future years attempt to conquer Afghanistan, or invade India through it, we should have a better chance of attaching the Afghans to our interests if we avoid all interference with them in the meantime." (There was one upside to the Second Afghan War, albeit a completely fictional one: a Royal Army surgeon named John H. Watson was wounded there and rescued by his intrepid orderly, Murray. He returned to London, where he accepted an offer to share a suite of rooms at 221B Baker Street with an eccentric private detective named Sherlock Holmes.)

What were we doing there?

Of course, Russia, then d/b/a the Soviet Union, ignored Sir Frederick's warning and marched 100,000 troops into Afghanistan in order to put a puppet in place. The U.S. took Sir Frederick's advice and "attached" the various tribal chieftains and warlords to our interests in order to bleed the Soviets the way every invader inevitably bleeds out in Afghanistan. That plan succeeded, and then we left, and the bill came due in the fall of 2001. And then we went back in, overtly this time. In 2008, a Russian veteran of their Afghan adventure named Ruslan Aushev gave an interview to the Toronto Globe and Mail.

"Canadians and Americans are learning the hard way. You have been there seven years and you have no prospect of early victory," said Ruslan Aushev, a highly decorated combat veteran who served two tours, totalling nearly five years with the Soviet army in Afghanistan. "We knew by 1985 that we could not win," he recalls. It then took Moscow four more years to extricate hundreds of thousands of troops from Afghanistan, while claiming victory on the way out. Afghanistan was plunged into civil war..."We could take any village, any town and drive the mujahedeen out," Mr. Aushev said, recalling his two combat tours, first as an infantry battalion commander and later in charge of a full Soviet regiment - roughly the size of the Canadian contingent in Afghanistan. "But when we handed ground over to the Afghan army or police they would lose it in a week."

"The Taliban may not be able to win militarily but they can't be defeated and sooner or later the Western alliance will be forced with pullout," he warned. Support for the insurgents will grow the longer the foreign armies remain in Afghanistan, he said. Although the Soviets deployed more than 100,000 soldiers across Afghanistan - roughly double the number of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops currently deployed - and trained an Afghan army three times the size of Kabul's current security forces, it was never enough, Mr. Aushev said..."There will have to be an accord with the Taliban, because at least 50 per cent of the Afghan population supports them...It's impossible to conquer the Afghans ... Alexander the Great couldn't do it, the British couldn't do it, we couldn't do it and the Americans won't do it ... no one can."

What the hell were we doing there, and why didn't we listen to anyone who had been?

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

The Quotable Quote-

"If we are serious about moving toward energy independence in a cost-effective way, we should invest in solar energy. If we are serious about cutting air and water pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we should invest in solar energy."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Crazy Like A Fox: Spreading False Meme Of "Flamer" Birds killed By Solar Plant Is Louie Gohmert's Way Of Dividing Environmentalists

By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Mark Twain observed, "All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity."

Texas Representative Louie Gohmert isn't quite ancient enough to have been the object of Twains' wrath, but he exemplifies the idiocy in public life of which he spoke.

Gohmert, a foul creature of Big Oil, has spent his political career denying the baneful effects on our climate of burning fossil fuels. The corollary is that he has to badmouth green energy, which is destined to pull the plug on the CO2-spewing oil and gas that pay for Gohmert's clownish campaigns.

His new whopper? He told the far, far right OAN that the enormous solar farm on the border of Nevada and California is causing "hundreds and thousands" of birds to become "flamers," burning up in the concentrated solar facility. So reports Brad Reed at Rawstory.

The Big Oil flacks don't give a fig about birds or wild life. Gohmert has a 4% lifetime voting scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters. He voted against these bills: The Great American Outdoors Act, Protecting Wilderness Across the West, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and Protecting Chaco Canyon (from oil drilling). He voted for a bill that "would gut core provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and fast-track harmful seismic airgun blasting, a method for surveying oil and gas deposits in the ocean that produces noise at such high volume that marine mammals may be disturbed, injured, or killed."

Gohmert was talking about the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System concentrated solar plant in the Mojave, built by BrightSource Energy and Bechtel, which came online in 2013 and powers 120,000 California homes. Thermal or concentrated solar as a technology has been eclipsed by the plummeting cost of photovoltaic solar panels. The Ivanpah facility has over time much increased its electricity production and has made environmental tweaks.

Early on, plant scientists did find some bird carcasses that were burned, and called them "streamers" because they got caught in the concentrated beams. They didn't call them "flamers" and there were only a few dozen of them. In 2016, federal scientists estimated that 6,000 birds a year died at the plant. Ivanpah officials say that they have made some changes to reduce that toll.

Fossil fuel plants kill 114 million birds a year. All existing solar plants kill 114,000.

Birds get killed in all sorts of ways, including just flying into buildings. Feral cats are estimated to kill between 1.3 and 4 billion birds a year, according to a 2013 paper in Nature.

So why is Gohmert babbling on about his invented "flamers," if there are almost none of them and anyway the whole issue is minor?

It is because the environmental movement has fissures in it. There are the old environmentalists who look out for wildlife, and there are the green environmentalists whose main issue is the climate emergency.

The green environmentalists care about wildlife, but they see the climate emergency as the major threat here. The great 2020 drought, part of a 20-year megadrought caused by humans putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, combined with a cold snap in the southeast, killed hundreds of thousands of birds by starving them to death. The drought had polished off the insects and other sources of bird nutrition, and then they didn't have the energy to survive the cold snap.

Or take the finding that 1/4 of birds in North America, nearly 3 billion, have died prematurely since 1970. This mass death derives from factors- the destruction of their habitats through urbanization, the increasing use of pesticides, and the impact of the climate emergency, as in the 2020 great die-off from the megadrought.

The climate environmentalists want masses of solar and wind farms and we want them now. The old environmentalists worry about the impact on endangered species. I have a hint for them: all species are endangered by burning fossil fuels.

By spreading around false or exaggerated memes about bird deaths caused by a solar farm, Gohmert is attempting to sow divisions among the environmentalists and weaken them, so that Big Oil can go on making money from selling us fossil fuels to burn. And thus killing billions of birds. Bonus video

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

How The System Is Failing Young People

By Robert Reich

There's a narrative out there that millennials and the Generation Zs behind them are lazy.

Well, that is just bunk.

The reason a lot of young people are not doing nearly as well as their parents at this stage is that they're paying huge amounts - much more than their parents ever paid, as a proportion of their paychecks, for education, higher education or student debt, housing for rent, health care, even transportation.

All of these costs have increased faster than inflation, and at the same time, jobs are not paying that much more.

One in 10 college graduates are underemployed. By underemployed, we mean they are not spending 40 hours a week doing things that are challenging and taking advantage of their education. One out of 20 is unemployed.

In the post World War II era, we have never seen anything like this. We have always expected that we're going to do better. Individuals and families are going to do better. They're going to be trading upward, and their children are expected to do better than they have done.

For the first time now, we see the pendulum moving in exactly the opposite direction. Today, your chance of getting ahead as a young person is hugely dependent on the parents you have and their income and their wealth.

Meanwhile, we are on the verge of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in history. You've got 74 million baby boomers. They've never done so well, raking it in. This extra resource is going to be going to those small slice of Millennials and Generation Zs who have wealthy parents and grandparents.

If nothing changes, the two-tiered society we have now is going to become a chasm between the haves and the have nots.

The most important things America can do is make college free, make healthcare cheaper, and provide more affordable housing.

We cannot continue on the way we are right now.

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

Then-President George W. Bush addresses the nation during his State of the Union address from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2004.

When Will We Stop Letting Our Presidents Lie America Into Wars?
America has been lied into too many wars. It's cost us too much in terms of money, credibility and blood. We must remember the lies. We can't afford to let this one go down the memory hole, too.
By Thom Hartmann

Let's never forget that what we are watching happen right now in Afghanistan is the final act of George W. Bush's 2004 reelection strategy.

After 9/11 the Taliban offered to arrest Bin Laden, but Bush turned them down because he wanted to be a "wartime president" to have a "successful presidency."

The Washington Post headline weeks after 9/11 put it succinctly: "Bush Rejects Taliban Offer On Bin Laden." With that decision not to arrest and try Bin Laden for his crime but instead to go to war George W. Bush set the US and Afghanistan on a direct path to today.

More recently, Trump and Pompeo gave the Taliban everything they wanted-power, legitimacy and the release of 5000 of their worst war criminals-over the strong objections of the Afghan government in 2019 so Trump could falsely claim, heading into the 2020 election, that he'd "negotiated peace" in Afghanistan when in fact he'd set up this week's debacle.

"The relationship I have with the Mullah is very good," Trump proclaimed after ordering the mullah who yesterday named himself President freed from prison over the furious objection of Afghan's government, who Trump had cut out of the negotiations.

Now Trump and the GOP are scrubbing the record of that betrayal of both America and Afghanistan and embrace of the Taliban from their websites, as noted here and here. And the UK is coming right out and saying that Trump's "rushed" deal with the Taliban-without involvement of the Afghan government or the international community-set up this disaster. "The die was cast," Defense Minister Ben Wallace told the BBC, "when the deal was done by Donald Trump, if you want my observation."

Trump's sabotage notwithstanding, President Biden, the State Department and the Pentagon should have anticipated this week's debacle in Afghanistan. The fact that they didn't speaks volumes about how four administrations, the Pentagon and our defense contractors covered up how poorly the Ashraf Ghani government was doing there. Just like they did with Vietnam. It's on all of them.

And this isn't the first time a president has lied us into a war.

Vietnam wasn't the first time an American president and his buddies in the media lied us into a war when Defense Secretary Robert McNamara falsely claimed that an American warship had come under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin and LBJ went along with the lie.

Neither was President William McKinley lying us into the Spanish-American war in 1898 by falsely claiming that the USS Maine had been blown up in Havana harbor (it caught fire all by itself).

The first time we were lied into a major war by a president was probably the Mexican-American war of 1846 when President James Polk lied that we'd been invaded by Mexico. Even Abraham Lincoln, then a congressman from Illinois, called him out on that lie.

You could also argue that when President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830 leading to the Trail of Tears slaughter and forced relocation of the Cherokee under President Buchanan (among other atrocities) it was all based on a series of lies.

Bush's lies that took us into Afghanistan and, a bit over a year later into Iraq, are particularly egregious, however, given his and Cheney's apparent reasons for those lies.

In 1999, when George W. Bush decided he was going to run for president in the 2000 election, his family hired Mickey Herskowitz to write the first draft of Bush's autobiography, A Charge To Keep.

Although Bush had gone AWOL for about a year during the Vietnam war and was thus apparently no fan of combat, he'd concluded (from watching his father's "little 3- day war" with Iraq) that being a "wartime president" was the most consistently surefire way to get reelected and have a two-term presidency.

"I'll tell you, he was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," Herskowitz told reporter Russ Baker in 2004.

"One of the things [Bush] said to me," Herskowitz said, "is: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of (Kuwait) and he wasted it.

"[Bush] said, 'If I have a chance to invade Iraq, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.'"

The attack on 9/11 gave Bush his first chance to "be seen as a commander-in-chief" when our guy Osama Bin Laden, who the Reagan/Bush administration had spent $3 billion building up in Afghanistan, engineered an attack on New York and DC.

The crime was planned in Germany and Florida and on 9/11 Bin Laden was, according to CBS News, not even in Afghanistan: "CBS Evening News has been told that the night before the Sept. 11 terrorists attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan." When the Obama administration finally caught and killed Bin Laden, he was again in Pakistan, the home base for the Taliban.

But attacking our ally Pakistan in 2001 would have been impossible for Bush, and, besides, nearby Afghanistan was an easier target, being at that time the second-poorest country in the world with an average annual per-capita income of $700 a year. Bin Laden had run terrorist training camps there, unrelated to 9/11, but they made a fine excuse for Bush's first chance to "be seen as a commander-in-chief" and get some leadership cred.

Cheney, meanwhile, was in a world of trouble because of a huge bet he'd made as CEO of Halliburton in 1998. Dresser Industries was big into asbestos and about to fall into bankruptcy because of asbestos lawsuits that the company was fighting up through the court system. Cheney bet Dresser would ultimately win the suits and had Halliburton buy the company on the cheap, but a year later, in 1999, Dresser got turned down by the courts and Haliburton's stock went into freefall, crashing 68 percent in a matter of months.

Bush had asked Cheney-who'd worked in his father's White House as Secretary of Defense-to help him find a suitable candidate for VP.

Cheney, as his company was collapsing, recommended himself for the job. In July of 2000, Cheney walked away with $30 million from the troubled company and the year after that, as VP, Halliburton subsidiary KBR received one of the first no-bid no-ceiling (no limit on how much they could receive) multi-billion-dollar military contracts.

Bush and Cheney both had good reason to want to invade Afghanistan in October 2001:

Bush was largely seen as an illegitimate president at the time because his father's appointee on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, had cast the deciding vote that made him president; a war gave him legitimacy and the aura of leadership.

Cheney's company was in a crisis, and Afghanistan War no-bid contracts helped turn around Halliburton from the edge of bankruptcy into one of the world's largest defense contractors.

Even Trump had to get into the "let's lie about Afghanistan" game, in his case to have bragging rights that he'd "ended the war in Afghanistan."

In 2019, Trump went around the Afghan government (to their outrage: he even invited the Taliban to Camp David in a move that disgusted the world) to cut a so-called "peace deal" that sent thousands of newly-empowered Taliban fighters back into the field and drew down our troops to the point where today's chaos was absolutely predictable.

Trump's deal was the signal to the 300,000+ Afghan army recruits that America no longer had their back and if the Taliban showed up they should just run away. Which, of course, is what has happened over the past few weeks.

As The New York Times noted: "The Taliban capitalized on the uncertainty caused by the [Trump] February 2020 agreement reached in Doha, Qatar, between the militant group and the United States calling for a full American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some Afghan forces realized they would soon no longer be able to count on American air power and other crucial battlefield support and grew receptive to the Taliban's approaches."

Jon Perr's article at Daily Kos does a great summary, with the title: "Trump put 5,000 Taliban fighters back in battle and tied Biden's hands in Afghanistan." Trump schemed and lied to help his reelection efforts, and the people who worked with our military and the US-backed Afghan government are and will pay a terrible price for it.

As President Biden said Friday:

"When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor-which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019-that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces. Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. Forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice-follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our Forces and our allies' Forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country's civil conflict. I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan-two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth."
America has been lied into too many wars. It's cost us too much in money, credibility and blood. We must remember the lies.

When President Ford withdrew US forces from Vietnam (I remember it well), there was barely a mention of McNamara's and LBJ's lies that got us into that war. Similarly, today's reporting on the chaos in Afghanistan almost never mentions Bush's and Cheney's lies and ulterior motives in getting us into that war in the first place.

We can't afford to let this one go down the memory hole, too. We must learn from our mistakes.

(c) 2021 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Marshal Ramsey ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Anthony Fauci.

Fauci Says It Is Safe To Watch YouTube Now That Rand Paul Has Been Suspended
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-In a new health advisory, the nation's leading epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that it is "perfectly safe" for Americans to watch YouTube, following news that Senator Rand Paul had been suspended from the platform.

"In the past, I've warned about the health consequences of listening to Rand Paul," he said. I>"People experience headaches and nausea. Sometimes, they feel like their brain cells are actually leaking straight out of their heads. That's why I've consistently urged people to limit their exposure to this guy."

Fauci said that, given Paul's suspension from the site, previous health advisories regarding YouTube "no longer apply."

"I think that this would be an excellent time for every American to enjoy YouTube," he said. "Watch some funny cat videos, or maybe some kooky skateboard stunts that went awry. Rand Paul's suspended for only seven days, so watch as much YouTube as you can while it's still safe."

(c) 2021 Andy Borowitz

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Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 33 (c) 08/20/2021

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