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In This Edition

Bernie Sanders says, "Medicare for All's Time Has Come."

Norman Solomon demands, "Democrats Should Finally Put Superdelegates Behind Them."

Glen Ford wonders, "How Long Is The Shelf-Life Of Damnable Racist Capitalist Lies?"

Ralph Nader concludes, "Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Media Monopoly... or Democracy?"

John Nichols says, "The Other Mandela Is Going To Help End Scott Walker's Governorship."

James Donahue explores the, "Fate Of The Disappearing Fireflies."

William Rivers Pitt warns, ""Unite The Right 2" Was A Dud, But Threat Of White Nationalism Is Alive And Well."

Heather Digby Parton points out, "Trump's White House Counsel Has A History With Russian Oligarchs Too."

David Suzuki finds, "Cool Solutions Mean A Hothouse Planet Isn't Inevitable."

Charles P. Pierce finds, "Trump's Snake Oil Hasn't Helped Kentucky Coal Country."

David Swanson introduces, "Three Antiwar Congress Members."

Jane Stillwater concludes, "There's No Future In It."

Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich examines, "Trump's Trade Wars."

Chris Hedges is, "Saying Goodbye To Planet Earth."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst report, "This Just In: Swamp Thing" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Truth Isn't Truth."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Ted Rall, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Alex Wong, Scott Bauer, Vlad Tchompalov, Dominick Reuter, Calla Kessler, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Truth Isn't Truth
By Ernest Stewart

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. ~~~ George Orwell ~ 1984

"Besides Arctic warming, there's also the possibility of climate-change-induced shifting of the storm tracks, as well as changes in the tropical monsoons. The wildfires that struck Canada's Alberta region in 2016 was preceded by stalling summer weather that increased the risk of fire." ~~~ Dr Simon Wang

"I have always been conscious of the importance and the strength of nationalism, and this has led me straight to the acknowledgment of the nationalism of the Palestinian people. I believe there is no way around this: We have to have a solution based on two national states, which will hopefully live and grow together and establish a relationship between them in something like a European Union." ~~~ Uri Avnery

You got to pay your dues
If you want to sing the Blues
And you know it don't come easy!
It Don't Come Easy ~~~ Ringo Starr

"It was a bright hot day in August, and the clocks were striking thirteen"* and Rudy went on Beat the Press and said in defence of tRump, "Truth Isn't Truth!" Are things becoming just a wee bit surrealistic in tRumps America, America?

As Joseph Goebbels once said in a moment of truth:
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."
Are you beginning to have a deja vu, America, I know I am!

As M.E. Cowan aptly puts it:
"Lie" isn't an adequate word for what Republicans say. We need a new term; I propose anti-truth, as in, 'There are lies, damned lies, and Republican anti-truths.' Like matter and anti-matter, Republicans and the truth just can't occupy the same space. What they say goes all the way through and past "untrue" into the realm of turning reality inside out, tying a knot in it and yanking hard."
Or as Jim Carrey put it:
It's your tax dollers at work America, from kidnapping babies and putting them in cages, to lying under oath, it's all on your dime!

* With apologies to George Orwell

In Other News

I see where according to a new study extreme weather events like those that struck around the world this summer are resulting from human activity disturbing the enormous winds that circle the planet.

The record breaking heatwaves that struck from Japan to Algeria were seen by the climate change community as a sign of things to come, with many blaming conditions on steadily rising global temperatures.

Weather becomes more extreme when instead of moving on it stays in the same place for days or weeks on end. Never-ending rainfall causes flooding, and prolonged sunny weather sparks droughts and wildfires.

Evidence is now mounting to show that human-induced warming in the Arctic is distorting the planet's natural circulation patterns such as the jet stream and making these "stalling" events more likely.

Dr Dim Coumou from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) said:
"While it might not sound so bad to have more prolonged sunny episodes in summer, this is in fact a major climate risk.

"We have rising temperatures due to human-caused global warming which intensifies heat waves and heavy rainfall, and on top of that we could get dynamical changes that make weather extremes even stronger - this is quite worrying."
It is a well documented fact that global warming is happening faster in the Arctic than elsewhere, effectively reducing the temperature difference between the far north and the equator.

This is a problem, because this gradient drives the eastward movement of airstreams far above our heads, and as it weakens, blockages start to occur.

PIK director Dr Hans Joachim Schellnhuber explains:
"The weather in a given region gets stuck.

"Rains can grow into floods, sunny days into heat waves, and tinder-dry conditions into wildfires."
Ring any bells, America? Who are you going to believe, your own eyes, or tRump's Chinese conspiracy theories?

And Finally

My dear friend Uri Avnery died on the 20th of August at the age of 94. We began publishing Uri back in 2003 and we were the only outlet for Uri for a number of years in the United States as he was an Israeli radical hated by the Israeli government and the Jewish American far right. He was a member of the Kennesset and publisher who fought for a two state solution to the Palestinian problem since the early 1950s.

Here's his close friend and sometimes Issues & Alibis writer Adam Keller...

Gush Shalom: Avnery's opponents will ultimately have to follow in his footsteps.

Gush Shalom grieves and mourns the passing of its founder, Uri Avnery. Until the last moment he continued on the way he had traveled all his life. On Saturday, two weeks ago, he collapsed in his home when he was about to leave for the Rabin Square and attend a demonstration against the "Nation State Law," a few hours after he wrote a sharp article against that law.

Avnery devoted himself entirely to the struggle to achieve peace between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people in their independent state, as well as between Israel and the Arab and Muslim World. He did not get to the end of the road, did not live to see peace come about. We - the members of Gush Shalom as well as very many other people who were directly and indirectly influenced by him - will continue his mission and honor his memory.

On the day of the passing of Uri Avnery, the most right wing government in the history of Israel is engaged in negotiations with Hamas. Ironically, the same kind of demagogic accusations which were hurled at Uri Avnery throughout his life are now made against Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

In the history of the State of Israel, Uri Avnery will be inscribed as a far-seeing visionary who pointed to a way which others failed to see. It is the fate and future of the State of Israel to reach peace with its neighbors and to integrate into the geographical and political region in which it is located. Avnery's greatest opponents will ultimately have to follow in his footsteps - because the State of Israel has no other real choice.

Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson +972-(0)54-2340749

Keepin' On

As Ringo once sang, "You know it don't come easy." Few good things in life ever do come easy, like respect -- most of them have to be earned. Got them dues that got to be paid. So it is with this magazine.

As magazines go, Issues & Alibis' cost is pretty much "chump change." With most Internet magazines, the yearly cost is in the seven figures. A few get by on six figures. We get by with the help of sponsors -- from a five figure cost to just four figures. Our total cost is just above $12,000 -- after our sponsors picks up about half of that, leaving us to raise just $6400 a year to keep bringing you the important news that you need to know, without ever having to charge anyone for the information.

That's a good thing, because the majority of our readership couldn't afford to subscribe and since these are the very people we're trying to reach that "chump change" can be hard to come by! A little help, Ya'll! Just go here and follow the instruction

Oh, and John, if you want to shut me up, begging for resources, why not send your dear old Uncle Ernie a nice check!??! As soon as this money is raised, I'll stop begging until next year! Perhaps by then we'll have some more sponsors, and I won't have to come before you every week, begging for alms, cap-in-hand!


09-10-1923 ~ 08-20-2018
Thanks for caring!

07-25-1935 ~ 08-21-2018
Thanks for the film!


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

****** We've Moved The Forum Back *******

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


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2018 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hold signs during an event on healthcare September 13, 2017
on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Sen. Sanders held an event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017.

Medicare for All's Time Has Come
If every major country on earth can guarantee healthcare to all and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States of America cannot do the same.
By Bernie Sanders

Let's be clear. The American people are increasingly tired of a healthcare system that works for Wall Street investors, insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry-but ignores their needs. They want real change, and poll after poll shows that they want to move toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system. And for good reason.

Today, the United States has the most expensive, inefficient, and bureaucratic healthcare system in the world. Despite the fact that we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare for all-and have 30 million uninsured and even more who are underinsured-we now spend more than twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country.

According to a recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development analysis, we spend more than $10,300 per capita on healthcare. Meanwhile, Canada spends just $4,826, France spends $4,902, Germany spends $5,728, and the United Kingdom spends $4,264.

Further, despite this huge expenditure, which now constitutes almost 18% of our GDP, our healthcare outcomes are worse than most of these other countries. For example, our life expectancy is 2.5 years lower than Germany's and our mortality rate for children under the age of 19 is at the top of the list compared to other developed countries.

The ongoing failure of our healthcare system is directly attributable to the fact that-unique among major nations-it is primarily designed not to provide quality care to all in a cost-effective way. Instead, the system makes maximum profits for health insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and medical equipment suppliers.

The Medicare-for-all legislation that I wrote, which now has 16 co-sponsors in the Senate, would provide comprehensive healthcare to every man, woman and child in our country-without out-of-pocket expenses. No more insurance premiums, deductibles or co-payments. Further, it would expand Medicare coverage to include dental and vision care. In other words, this plan would do exactly what should be done in a civilized and democratic society. It would allow all Americans, regardless of their income, to get the healthcare they need when they need it.

Under the current system, while thousands of Americans die each year because they lack access to the healthcare they desperately need, the top five health insurance companies last year made $21 billion in profits, led by the UnitedHealth Group, which made $10.56 billion.

As tens of thousands of American families face bankruptcy and financial ruin because of the outrageously high cost of healthcare, the CEOs of major insurance companies receive disgustingly high levels of compensation. According to Axios, in 2017, the CEO of UnitedHealth Group, Dave Wichmann, received $83.2 million; the CEO of Aetna, Mark Bertolini, received $58.7 million, and the CEO of Cigna, David Cordani, received $43.9 million.

Today, as an indication of how dysfunctional our current system is, about one out of every five Americans cannot afford to fill the prescriptions given to them by their doctors because we pay, by far, the highest price in the world for prescription drugs. A 2013 study showed that in 2010, the United States paid, on average, about double what was paid in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Switzerland for prescription drugs. Since 2014, the cost of 60 drugs commonly taken has more than doubled, and 20 of them have at least quadrupled in price.

While millions of Americans are unable to afford the medicine they desperately need, or are forced to cut their pills in half in order to save money, five top drug companies made over $50 billion in profits last year and, in 2015, 10 prescription drug CEOs made a combined $327 million in total compensation.

Would a Medicare-for-all healthcare system be expensive? Yes. But, while providing comprehensive healthcare for all, it would be significantly less costly than our current dysfunctional system because it would eliminate an enormous amount of the bureaucracy, administrative costs and misplaced priorities inherent in our current for-profit system.

Instead of doctors and nurses spending a significant part of their day filling out forms and arguing with insurance companies, they could be using their time to provide care to their patients. We'd be able to save up to $500 billion annually in billing and administrative costs. That money could be used to greatly expand primary care in this country and make certain that all Americans got the healthcare they needed when they needed it-saving billions on expensive emergency room care and hospital visits. Instead of paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, we could save hundreds of billions over a 10 year period through tough negotiations with the drug companies.

The benefits of a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system are so obvious that even a recent study done by the right-wing Mercatus Center estimated that it would save Americans more than $2 trillion over a decade, reducing the projected cost of healthcare between 2022 and 2031 from $59.7 trillion to $57.6 trillion. Needless to say, that wasn't the point the study attempted to emphasize. Rather, the author of the study was hoping the headline-"Medicare for All costs the federal government $32.6 trillion" -would frighten the American people and get them to oppose it.

While opponents of Medicare for all focus their criticism on the increased taxes the American people will have to pay, they conveniently ignore the fact that ordinary people and businesses will no longer have to pay sky-high premiums, co-payments and deductibles for private health insurance.

At a time when healthcare in 2018 for a typical family of four with an employer-sponsored PPO plan now costs more than $28,000, according to the Milliman Medical Index, the reality is that a Medicare-for-all system would save the average family significant sums of money.

A recent study by RAND found that moving to a Medicare-for-all system in New York would save a family with an income of $185,000 or less about $3,000 a year, on average. Even the projections from the Mercatus Center suggest that the average American could save about $6,000 under Medicare for all over a 10-year period.

A Medicare-for-all system not only benefits individuals and families, it would benefit the business community. Small- and medium-sized businesses would be free to focus on their core business goals instead of wasting precious energy and resources navigating an incredibly complex system to provide health insurance to their employees.

Needless to say, there is huge opposition to this legislation from the powerful special interests that profit from the current wasteful system. The insurance companies, the drug companies, Wall Street and the Koch brothers will undoubtedly spend billions on lobbying, campaign contributions and television ads to defeat Medicare for all. But they are on the wrong side of history.

Here is the bottom line: If every major country on earth can guarantee healthcare to all and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States of America cannot do the same.
(c) 2018 Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Elected Mayor of Burlington, Vt., by 10 votes in 1981, he served four terms. Before his 1990 election as Vermont's at-large member in Congress, Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Read more at his web site. Follow him on Twitter: @SenSanders or @BernieSanders

At the Chicago meeting this week, the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee are scheduled
to decide on the rules for selecting the 2020 presidential nominee. On the agenda, with strong support from
DNC Chairman Tom Perez, is a proposal that would effectively eliminate the voting power of superdelegates on the first ballot for the nomination.

Democrats Should Finally Put Superdelegates Behind Them
The superdelegate system remains a burr in the donkey's saddle, threatening to further undermine party unity.
By Norman Solomon

The schedulers for this coming week's Democratic National Committee meeting either have a sly sense of irony or a touch of historical amnesia. Why else would they set the DNC's most important vote in many years for Chicago on the day before the 50th anniversary of the start of the party's disastrous convention in that city?

The 1968 Democratic National Convention remains notorious mainly because of bloody clashes in the streets of downtown Chicago, where thousands of antiwar protesters encountered what a federal commission later called a "police riot." Passions were also fraught inside the convention hall. From the podium, Sen. Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut denounced "Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago."

But it's less well known today that much of the mayhem in the streets and the angry dissent inside the amphitheater a half-century ago stemmed from the well-grounded belief that the Democratic establishment had rigged the nominating process for its candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Many of the delegates for the two antiwar contenders at the convention, Sens. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern, were incensed at the party's disregard for the will of the voters.

About 70 percent of the votes in the presidential primaries had gone to antiwar candidates, including Sen. Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated the night of his election victory in the California primary in early June. Yet the party conferred its nomination on Humphrey, a supporter of the still-escalating Vietnam War who had stayed out of the primaries - but still ended up with more than two-thirds of the delegates at the national convention. The undemocratic process deepened the divisions inside the party and weakened public support for its ticket, aiding Richard Nixon's narrow victory in the November 1968 election.

Since then, the Democratic Party's rules for selecting a presidential nominee have greatly improved. In 2016, voters in Democratic primaries and caucuses were able to choose 85 percent of the delegates to the national convention. But the other 15 percent were "superdelegates" - party officials and Democrats in Congress and state offices - who enabled Hillary Clinton to become the far-ahead front-runner in the delegate count well before a single voter had cast a ballot in the nomination contest.

By mid-November 2015, 11 weeks before any state primary or caucus, Clinton had already gained a public commitment of support from half of all the superdelegates - 359 out of 712. That boost from party insiders gave her a major lift with fundraising and burnished the media narrative of pre-primary inevitability. It was an advantage that angered many Bernie Sanders supporters (including me) who saw it as unfair.

Widely unpopular at the grassroots, the superdelegate system remains a burr in the donkey's saddle, threatening to further undermine party unity in the quest to regain the White House. Top DNC leaders seem to have recognized the problem, and the full DNC might be on the verge of fixing it.

At the Chicago meeting this week, the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee are scheduled to decide on the rules for selecting the 2020 presidential nominee. On the agenda, with strong support from DNC Chairman Tom Perez, is a proposal that would effectively eliminate the voting power of superdelegates on the first ballot for the nomination. (The party's national convention has not gone to a second ballot since 1952.)

The proposal has received almost unanimous support from the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee, which is overwhelmingly dominated by party officials who backed Clinton in 2016. Sanders supporters are enthusiastic about the change. But significant pushback is underway from sectors of the party establishment. Some Democrats in Congress and a number of officials in state parties are now vocally making clear that they do not want to lose their superdelegate voting privileges.

A historic showdown is again looming in Chicago. And for the long term, the stakes could turn out to be just as momentous as they were in August 1968. Fifty years later, the national Democratic Party can take a big step toward becoming worthy of its name.
(c) 2018 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."

How Long Is The Shelf-Life Of Damnable Racist Capitalist Lies?
By Glenn Ford

Silicon Valley and the corporate media are far more effective in conjuring alternative realities than the chaotic Trump White House.

U.S. mass media have always lied. In particular, they have specialized in lying about Black people, who are the ultimate "Other" in U.S. society. Many a lynching was deliberately set in motion by a headline that went something like, "Black Buck Runs Amuk!" It is a new twist, however -- and a sign of profound disarray among the ruling class -- that a white racist billionaire U.S. president finds himself treated like the "Other" by most of the corporate media.

For more than two years the corporate media mob and its deep state nightriders have been trying to lynch Trump for proposing closer relations with Vladimir Putin's Russia - a liaison now deemed more taboo than miscegenation in Old Mississippi. Orange Buck Runs Amuk!

It is a battle royal, as the inveterate prevaricators of the U.S. press joust with Trump, a master of the Art of the Lie. The difference is, Trump lies to promote and protect himself, often without regard for even the interests of his class. He also commits the cardinal sin of failing to keep track of his lies, and contradicting himself.

Trump's defamations of nonwhite peoples and nations are not quite the same as lies, but reflect a diseased and delusional worldview shared by more than half the white population of the country. They, and he, actually believe that non-whites are incapable of self-government -- a premise that, for half a millennium, justified European rape and pillage of the planet. Ideologies, such as white supremacy and the (related) belief that the rich should rule, should not be confused with outright lies. You can't simply disprove ideologies; you must defeat the people and classes that profit from them.

Trump and his enemies in much of the rest of the ruling class, the Democratic Party, the corporate media and the national security (deep) state actually share the same ideologies, but are deeply conflicted on how best to sustain capitalism and global white supremacy. Trump's rise to national executive power and capture of the Republican Party -- an ascent largely engineered by his current nemeses in corporate media and the Democratic National Committee, who believed the Orange Oaf would be easy to beat -- has created a crisis of legitimacy for the U.S. ruling class. The anti-Trumps have gone quite nuts, fouling their own nest until it stinks to high heaven. In their frenzy, they have convinced themselves that The Donald represents an existential threat to the free flow of capital and the maintenance of U.S. global power.

They are determined to destroy the Frankenstein they created, but the monster refuses to die, knowing that there is no proof of the predicate crime of which he is accused -- "colluding" with Wikileaks and Russians to steal incriminating evidence against Hillary Clinton from the DNC. In the absence of proof, the anti-Trump faction of the ruling class and their minions in government, the corporate media and national security services have unleashed a tsunami of lies -- against Russia. They have even coerced oligarch Mark Zuckerberg to make his Facebook algorithms lie, to tip the scales against the sharing of allegedly Russia-tainted information.

Google seemed far more eager to collaborate with the national security state that gave it birth. Its algorithms speak consistently with forked tongue. Google employees are up in arms over having to collaborate in Chinese government censorship of the Internet, and have balked at helping the Pentagon's artificial intelligence schemes, but they have not protested the systematic marginalization of leftwing sites accused of sounding too much like "Russians," including Black Agenda Report.

Silicon Valley and the corporate media are far more effective in conjuring alternative realities than the chaotic Trump White House. Trump tells lies that are easily countered; the New York Times and Google erase facts from history, systematically. Trump will one day be gone, but the liars and censors of the corporate press and internet will be producing false versions of reality deep into the twilight of capitalist rule.

The deeper the crisis of capitalism, the worse the lies will get, and the further the United States will descend into an information bubble of conjured "facts" and beliefs that are rejected -- held in utter contempt -- by the rest of the planet. I'm not talking about the nonsense that buttresses "American exceptionalism," a two-bit cracker ideology that the non-white world recognizes as nothing but white settler hubris (even when preached by a Black U.S. president). I mean hard facts, the kind that erode the very legitimacy of oligarch rule -- such as the reality that China has already surpassed the United States economically, and that the center of the world economy has effectively shifted to East Asia. These are mega-facts that cannot be hidden. The U.S. is no longer a model for the world (if it ever was), and American rulers offer nothing to their own population but endless austerity, falling living standards, precarity and war. Someone must be blamed.

"Russian Buck Runs Amuk!"

No, that won't do, not for long.
(c) 2018 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
In short, Democrats - even the most progressive of the bunch - must do better to communicate with, inspire, and serve the American people
By Ralph Nader

I've recently received fundraising letters from Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Chuck Schumer on behalf of their Democratic Party's campaign committees. Mostly, all they ask for is money, though Schumer's letter includes a short tough letter to President Trump for us to sign which they promise to deliver to the White House.

Although politicians review and sign fundraising letters, rarely do they write them. That lucrative task is left to political consulting firms that also profitably consult for corporations. That's why the letters are so formulaic.

Over the years I have urged incumbents and candidates for elected office to do more than ask people for money. Why not ask them for their time, their minds, and their dedication by having "time-raisers," not just "fund-raisers"? Great idea they uniformly say. This never gets done. Their consultants think asking for anything other than money diminishes donations. So the dreary letters continue to arrive with grand promises and few specifics. For example, both letters mentioned the need for higher minimum wages. Wages have been stagnant for many years while corporate profits and executive bonuses have skyrocketed on the backs of millions of American workers. But there is no mention of how high a minimum wage (gutted by inflation since the 1970s) these Democrats are committed to supporting. Similarly, there are no specifics that address protecting health care, social security, reversing huge tax cuts to big business, debloating military budgets and stopping costly, reckless wars. If politicians don't give you specifics and timetables, they're creating their own loopholes should they be elected.

Now comes the spanking new "People's Budget" released by the House of Representatives Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party (see "The People's Budget"). It is 40 pages with charts that rebuke and reject the cruel and vicious agenda of the corporatist, war-mongering, deficit-booming Republican toadies of Wall Street, and the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. The organized lobbies against the modest necessities of workers, consumers, and defenseless communities dominate the federal budget process.

But the CPC's "People's Budget" has its own infirmities. It doesn't address very weak corporate crime enforcement, to repealing specific anti-labor laws, like the Taft-Hartley Act, to being number-specific in cutting the bloated, corporate crime-ridden military budget, or even giving a number to a higher minimum wage.

Showing both large expenditures for restoring social safety net programs and large savings by reducing corporate welfare, restoring corporate taxes, and adding some new ones such as a speculation tax on Wall Street transactions, the "People's Budget" still comes off as a blizzard of funding for old programs with their welfare industries.

For example, the Progressive Caucus Budget does not recommend a universal basic income (UBI)-historically supported by liberal and conservative thinkers and politicians. UBI, in an age of rapid automation, would reduce the need for some of those welfare programs and bureaucracies.

The "People's Budget" goes into details explaining its health care policies, without even mentioning what it proposes to do about $350 billion in annual billing fraud and abuse by the health care vendors. Not a word about 5,000 or more lives lost every week in our country from preventable problems in hospitals, according to a recent Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study. These are gigantic tragedies destroying peoples' lives, regardless of how important it is to provide affordable and accessible healthcare.

Although the "People's Budget" covers a myriad of needs, it is strangely minimalist on strengthening democracy besides stopping voter repression. Can you have a "People's Budget" without people power?

These Progressives should have included a section on "Shift of Power" from the few to the many, arguing for a fuller system of electoral reform, experiential civic skills training in schools, fundamental corporate reform (from corporate charters to corporate personhood), and giving people usable tools for democratic engagement.

A full-blown assault on the corporate destruction of freedom of contract (one-sided fine print) and the (tort) law of wrongful injuries should have come naturally to these Progressives. But it did not.

Timid on taking on corporate-induced deficits, quagmires of boomeranging Empire (though the "People's Budget" advocates for auditing the Pentagon) and the massive waste and loss of life from health care commercialism (that far less expensive single payer has avoided in Canada, with better outcomes), the Progressive Caucus report reads too much like a revised New Deal laundry list.

Its wonky style does not lend itself to on the ground campaigning before voters hungry for regaining control over their lives and looking for changes that restore self-reliant economies detached from the speculative risks and greed of the global corporate disorder.

People are essentially looking for fair play, empowerment, respect, voice, and reduction of the overall rat race that provokes so much anxiety, dread, and fear. They want time, yes time, for their families and other pursuits than sinking into deeper debts from distant forces way beyond their accountability. This "People's Budget," to gain traction, cannot be about "bread" alone. Thomas Jefferson understood the political economy, but he also knew the importance of non-material goals that connected the economy to "the pursuit of happiness."

Let's hope candidates for the November election remember those finer intangibles that move more people to become better informed voters.
(c) 2018 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book is Unstoppable, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Media Monopoly... or Democracy?
By Jim Hightower

Monopolies are not merely un-American, they're virulently anti-American, suppressing our fundamental values of fairness and opportunity for all.

So, our people have instinctively rebelled at monopoly avarice - the Boston Tea Party, the Populist Movement , union action, trust busters, muckrakers, the New Deal, Ralph Nader ... and on and on. Yet, in just the last couple of decades, corporate elites and their public officials have enshrined monopoly power as a legitimate form of business in our land, aggressively protected by lawmakers, regulators, and judges. For example, after our grassroots economy was crushed in 2007 by the greed of too-big-to-fail Wall Street banksters, officials bailed out the villainous banks at taxpayer expense and deliberately made them bigger, more powerful, and more dangerous than ever. Today, just five banks control nearly half of all financial assets in the US.

You'd think such a massive power grab by bank monopolists would produce an equally massive, 24/7 barrage of coverage by the nation's media outlets, which purport to be defenders of democracy. But while an occasional story pops out about monopoly abuse, there's no comprehensive coverage to rally a public rebellion against what's become the "United States of Monopoly Rule."

Why? Look at who owns America's mass media. Three decades ago, 50 large media conglomerates controlled 90 percent of the media. This year, after a frenzy of mergers among of those giants, just 5 mega-media monopolists will control 90 percent of what we see, hear, and read. It is not in their interest to inform the public about the threat that monopolies pose to our democracy - so, they won't.

As the great journalist, A.J. Liebling, warned nearly 40 years ago, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." To help battle the monopolists, go to The Center for Media and Democracy
(c) 2018 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

Mandela Barnes speaks in support of Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin in 2013.

The Other Mandela Is Going To Help End Scott Walker's Governorship
Economic and social- and racial-justice activist Mandela Barnes was just nominated for lieutenant governor of Wisconsin.
By John Nichols

When The Nation published a list last April of 10 progressive candidates from across the country who promised "not just a change in party, but an end to status-quo politics," most of the contenders were bidding for governorships or congressional seats. But one of them, Mandela Barnes, was running in Wisconsin for the often-neglected office of lieutenant governor. The argument for Barnes was that, in a year when Democrats believe they can finally defeat Republican governors like anti-labor zealot Scott Walker, strong gubernatorial contenders are going to need strong running mates like the 31-year-old former state legislator from Milwaukee. "Barnes's appeal to people of color, young voters, and union activists marks the veteran grassroot organizer is as a contender who can energize and expand the base with unapologetic responses to economic inequality, a tough line on environmental abuses that calls for reining in corporate exemptions, and a stance on gun violence so bold that the gun-safety group Moms Demand Action named him a Gunsense Candidate of Distinction," read the editorial.

But Barnes faced a competitive primary in his first bid for statewide office. His businessman rival, Kurt Kober, had a 3-1 fundraising advantage over Barnes going into the final weeks before Wisconsin's August 14 primary.

When the ballots were counted, however, Barnes won with 68 percent of the vote-the highest level of support secured by any Democrat running in a competitive statewide primary Tuesday. That's an impressive finish, and it was truly a statewide win. Barnes swept his hometown of Milwaukee, where he won 78 percent of the vote, along with the progressive stronghold of Dane County, where he took 76 percent. At the same time, Barnes was maintaining a 2-1 advantage in many of Wisconsin's small towns and rural counties.

What worked for Barnes? Certainly high energy and quick wits-Barnes's Twitter handle is "TheOtherMandela"-helped. But so, too, did the candidate's grand vision for his state's future.

Like a number of contenders for so-called "down-ballot" offices across the country this year, the veteran community organizer invited Wisconsinites to reimagine the post he was seeking.

Instead of accepting the notion that the lieutenant governor is simply a "sidekick" who might inherit the governorship if the state's top job were to be vacated, Barnes offered an activist agenda for using the post to advance economic and social and racial justice. He said he wanted to fight for free two-year college and debt-free four-year college, a BadgerCare public option to expand access to health care, and a plan to encourage citizen entrepreneurs to form employee-owned cooperatives. "Company profits belong in worker's paychecks, not CEO bonuses," announced the candidate, who proudly participated in the Wisconsin uprising of 2011 and never hesitated to highlight his support for the unions Walker attacked.

This progressive populist program earned Barnes a statewide vote total that in some parts of Wisconsin rivaled the combined total for the top three finishers in the Democratic gubernatorial race. Those numbers suggest the political strength that Barnes brings to a ticket headed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, who won Tuesday's eight-way gubernatorial primary by a comfortable margin.

Under Wisconsin law, Evers and Barnes will now run together against Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Like Barnes, Kleefisch is an engaging candidate who can generate enthusiasm among the party faithful. But Walker has rarely treated her as a political partner.

Evers, on the other hand, is signaling that he wants to align with and empower Barnes.

Linking a 66-year-old statewide elected official who has roots in the rural Wisconsin community of Plymouth with a 31-year-old community organizer who has roots in the African-American neighborhoods of the state's great urban center is smart politics. But this isn't just about combining experience, energy, and demographics. Evers and Barnes share values and ideals. And Evers has a history, over many years of service at the Department of Public Instruction, of entrusting younger officials with major responsibilities.

This makes the Evers-Barnes ticket more than just a credible vote-getting operation. It's possible to imagine Evers and Barnes working together as the sort of governing team that a governor and lieutenant governor should be-but that, in Wisconsin and most other states, is rarely deployed.

Overcoming the deep divisions fostered by Scott Walker's "divide-and-conquer" approach to governing, and getting state government focused on serving all of Wisconsin, is going to be an all-hands-on-deck project. Tony Evers is a smart enough man to know that he is lucky to have Mandela Barnes at his side.
(c) 2018 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Fate Of The Disappearing Fireflies
By James Donahue

As a child growing up in rural Michigan, I was always delighted each summer when the fireflies came out at dusk. Sometimes the yard would be filled with their tiny twinkling lights as they danced and flitted around us.

One of the last marvelous memories of Michigan, before my wife and I sold our home near Cass City and began our adventures in Arizona, was that of sitting in our yard with friends and being surrounded by fireflies. Their silent little flashing added a magic to each evening. The field across the road was so filled with these little creatures it sometimes appeared to be ablaze with flickering lights.

We rarely see fireflies now.

Scientists lament that these marvelous little creatures are disappearing all over the world. They blame pollution, urban sprawl, and the general encroachment of humans for their disappearance. They theorize the spread of artificial lighting also may be the problem since it disrupts the intricate mating behavior that depends on the male winning over a female with its flashing.

Indeed, this is what was going on each night as we watched them fly around us. They were in a mating ritual. It was nature's call for love and mating, not only for the fireflies, but for all of us.

While people of our generation remember the fireflies filling the air, people today say it is rare when they see a single flash in the night sky. It may happen so fast they don't realize what it was they were looking at.

The firefly, also known as "lightning bugs" and "glowworms" aren't flies, bugs or worms at all. They are, in biological terms, winged beetles that contain rare and unique chemicals called luciferin and luciferase that produce cold light, or bioluminescence. The study of these insects has actually led to the new flashlights and flares now on the market.

It is a sad thing to think these little creatures will soon be lost to us. They don't bite, they never carry disease, they are not poisonous, but they give great pleasure when they are around. Also medical researchers have discovered that the chemicals used by the beetles to make cold light also can be used in research on cancer, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis and heart disease.

The fact that science and now industry has found a market for the rare chemicals used by the firefly to produce light may also be part of the cause of their fast disappearance. Some companies are paying well for large numbers of captured fireflies. That is because the chemicals, luciferin and luciferase cannot be produced synthetically.

Unfortunately, because of their very nature, fireflies do not fly very fast, they live and fly close to the ground, and in the evening when they are glowing, they are easy to capture.
(c) 2018 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.

Far-right organizer Jason Kessler is interviewed by reporters while police escort him into
the Vienna metro station before his supporters gather for a second "Unite the Right" rally
in Washington, DC, on the anniversary of last year's deadly Charlottesville demonstration.

"Unite The Right 2" Was A Dud, But Threat Of White Nationalism Is Alive And Well
By William Rivers Pitt

It was undeniably satisfying to watch last weekend's "Unite the Right 2" rally in Washington, DC, fail to gather enough warm fascist bodies to populate a high school football team. Likewise, it was heartwarming to see the thousands of anti-racist counterprotesters who came out to shout that whole shabby scene down.

It was tempting, in the aftermath, to see this latest fascist eruption as some kind of short-lived celestial event, the bright flash of a dying star before it collapses on itself. The truth, unfortunately, is more complicated. The 21st-century white nationalist movement may have failed in its weekend attempt at cohesion and remains fractured, but it is still potent enough to be deadly dangerous.

The fraying of the far right was visible well before "Unite the Right 2" fizzled out on live television. Back in March of this year, Daily Beast journalist Kelly Weill wrote, "Last summer, the American alt-right was presenting itself as a threatening, unified front, gaining national attention with a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The collection of far-right and white nationalist groups proclaimed victory after President Donald Trump hesitated to directly condemn them and instead 'blamed both sides' and the 'alt left' for the violence. But less than a year after Charlottesville, the alt-right is splintering in dramatic fashion as its leaders turn on each other or quit altogether."

To be sure, "Unite the Right 2" was a perfect fluffy mess ... but that is exactly what serious white nationalist leaders were expecting. Grandstanders like Jason Kessler - the racist "alt-right" leader who organized both last weekend's miniaturized debacle and last year's catastrophic Charlottesville rally - are outcasts within genuine white nationalist circles. The two dozen douchebags (term used in the sense suggested by scholar Michael Mark Cohen: "A useless sexist tool") who showed up to be scary fascists in public last weekend didn't get the "Sit Down, Shut Up, Stay Home" memo. The savvier movement leaders wisely kept their people out of sight.

"One of the movement's key figures - Christopher Cantwell, better known from Charlottesville as 'The Crying Nazi' - wrote a blog post in late June warning, 'Follow Kessler At Your Peril,'" reported The Washington Post on the day of the rally. "Even Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, recently told readers to avoid the event, saying that 'everyone knows that there will be violence' and that participants will 'look like ruffians' and that no matter what 'we get blamed for it.' He added: 'You need to protect yourselves. You need to lay low.'"

"Last year's Charlottesville rally came at a pivotal time for the white nationalist wing of the 'alt-right,'" Spencer Sunshine, an associate fellow at the think tank Political Research Associates, told Truthout. "They had hoped it was going to be their big breakthrough. In the aftermath, almost all the speakers and groups that attended turned against rally organizer Jason Kessler. Kessler also did his best to alienate potential supporters."

"'Unite the Right 2′ came in a totally different context than the first one and was never expected to be a big rally," continued Sunshine. "The small turnout is not symbolic of the strength of the white nationalist movement in general or the 'alt-right' in particular, but rather of Kessler's unpopularity. It also reflected a general agreement in 'alt-right' circles that the first rally was a disaster which was a huge blow to the movement, and holding a second one was, at best, a poor idea."

One undeniable fact arising from the weekend's events in the nation's capital is clear: Counter-demonstration works. Antifa resistance works, even when it gets messy. Time and again since the election of Donald Trump motivated white nationalists to march out of the shadows, they have been greeted by huge crowds determined to push back hard. The personal cost of being a fascist in broad daylight has skyrocketed in the last year, and white nationalists know this full well.

"White nationalist activists stayed away [from 'Unite the Right 2'] both because they were scared and because their leadership told them to," Shane Burley, author of Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It, told Truthout, "but that only gives a small window into the story. The leadership told them to stay away basically because they were afraid as well. The broad white nationalist movement had to move into full retreat because of this public organizing, as well as a shift in public opinion, and that has made event's like Kessler's 'Unite the Right 2' much less attractive."

"Kessler's attempt to mainstream white nationalism may have failed on Sunday," Bill Berkowitz, who has been researching and writing about conservative movements for 30 years, told Truthout, "but the desire to mainstream is an idea lurking in the weeds. So, while this gathering fizzled, I would be very hesitant to accept any analyses that advance the meme that the white nationalist/white supremacist movement is dead or dying."

The danger remains present, and if the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hate Map" is as accurate as it appears, the threat continues to grow. By the center's accounting, there are nearly 1,000 hate groups active in the United States, an increase of 20 percent in four years.

The weekend rally in Washington, DC, was a poor example of the true threat posed by the white nationalist movement. A far better example was the so-called "Patriot Prayer" rally in Portland, Oregon, one week before. Again, the right-wing protesters were met with anti-racist and anti-fascist counterprotesters, but that is where the similarities cease. There were many more Patriot Prayer attendees than in DC, and they came dressed for a fight. There were violent clashes between the rally participants and counter-demonstrators, and with the police.

"The rally last week in Portland, Oregon, was a far more important bellweather of which factions are strongest in the streets among the broader far right today," Spencer Sunshine told Truthout. "It was organized by the slightly more moderate elements in the so-called 'alt-lite' - who embrace the approach and style of the 'alt-right' and share its misogyny, Islamophobia, ultra-nationalism, xenophobia and conspiracy theories - but stop short of calling for a white ethnostate and open antisemitism. The Portland rally drew 400 people - many in body armor, shields and other militarized garb - and it shows where the real strength in today's street-level far right lies."

The white nationalist movement may be wrestling with infighting and negative media coverage thanks to its own spectacular self-inflicted wounds, but it is far from finished. The weak showing in DC served as evidence of that infighting, to be sure, but it was also proof positive that serious white nationalist leaders have a keen sense of strategy. Effective insurgents know when to keep their heads down, comforted by the belief that their day has not yet come.

"The war never ends," writes Splinter journalist and activist Hamilton Nolan, who joined the counter-demonstrators in Washington, DC, this weekend, "nor can it. Its goals morph as society itself does. The strong young soldiers who defeated Hitler die away. The fascists that fell in Berlin can rise again in Charlottesville."

Permanent vigilance and the will to mobilize are the price we must pay, now and forever.
(c) 2018 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.

Trump's White House Counsel Has A History With Russian Oligarchs Too
By Heather Digby Parton

Reading President Trump's Twitter feed over the past week, it's hard not to conclude that he feels the walls are closing in. It started with his former adviser and fellow reality TV star Omarosa's new book. She accused him of being a racist and, even more unsettlingly, revealed that she has been taping conversations with people in the campaign and the White House, including the president himself.

Meanwhile, Paul Manafort's trial was coming to a conclusion. Trump seemed so unnerved by that spectacle that he went before the cameras and hinted strongly to any supporters on the jury that he thought they should acquit his former campaign chairman because the whole trial is "very unfair."

In what seems to have been a blatant attempt to change the subject, Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, ostensibly for his erratic behavior on the internet. (That took some real chutzpah.) This dramatic action resulted in major pushback from the intelligence community, starting with a scathing Washington Post op-ed by retired U.S. Navy Adm. William McRaven, the man who led the bin Laden mission. He asked for his own security clearance to be revoked in solidarity with Brennan:

"Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation. If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be."
This was followed by similar criticisms from top intelligence officials going back nearly 40 years.

The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the administration has a list of more such enemies at the ready. They're subject to having their clearances removed when the White House needs to shift the media attention. If that's the case, look for more clearances to be revoked this week. The New York Times published a major story on Saturday night, followed up with reactions on Sunday, that has the White House in a tailspin.

According to the Times, White House counsel Don McGahn has been extremely forthcoming with special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump and his lawyers have made a big show of asserting they have fully cooperated with the investigation, and it's true they have not claimed executive privilege, refused to turn over documents or stonewalled on interviews -- except when it comes to the president himself, whose lawyers apparently understand that he can't tell the truth and would only get himself in trouble. As Barack Obama's former White House counsel, Bob Bauer, makes clear in this post for Lawfare, there's nothing unusual about the White House counsel cooperating with a prosecutor, since his obligation is to the office of the presidency, not the sitting president. It's a requirement, in fact.

But the Times reports McGahn has spent more than 30 hours in interviews, which certainly suggests that he had something interesting to tell the prosecutors. What made this such a bombshell was the revelation that McGahn and his lawyer became convinced some time back that Trump was preparing to throw McGahn under the bus and blame him for "shoddy" legal advice. So they decided he needed to make sure he wasn't implicated. The Times further reports that Trump and his lawyers were unaware of the scope of McGahn's cooperation, particularly in regard to possible obstruction of justice by the president.

Trump reacted as one would expect. He took to Twitter and tried to claim that he has no issue with McGahn, while rather too obviously revealing his criminal state of mind by claiming that John Dean, who blew the whistle on Richard Nixon's abuse of power, was a "rat."

He is clearly cracking under the pressure, and you can understand why. Learning from The New York Times that McGahn spent 30 hours being interviewed by prosecutors had to come as a particular blow, and not necessarily for the reasons assumed in the story.

As journalist Marcy Wheeler has astutely observed, the assumption that McGahn is only providing information about possible obstruction of justice may not be correct. After all, he was with the campaign as its general counsel from very early on and is one of the GOP's top campaign finance and election law experts. He ran the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee for nearly a decade and served as a controversial member of the Federal Election Commission from 2008 to 2013. If there is anyone in the Trump campaign who should have known what the legal exposure for accepting "things of value" from a foreign entity might be, it is Don McGahn.

Wheeler also points out that McGahn has a long history with Roger Stone and various dubious fundraising schemes that are likely to be of interest to the Mueller team as they seem to be homing in on the notorious dirty trickster. And McGahn himself has some interesting experience with Russian pay-to-play schemes going back to his days as former GOP House Whip Tom DeLay's lawyer.

In the late '90s, DeLay and his chief of staff came under scrutiny for some trips he took to Russia with the corrupt K Street lobbyist Jack Abramoff. These were organized by Russian oil and gas executives who wanted to lobby the U.S. government for more foreign aid. The trips were paid for by a shadowy group in the Bahamas associated with Abramoff and suspected of being financed by these Russian players. DeLay subsequently voted for the bill the Russians were pushing.

The kicker was that the Russian businessmen had also given a million dollars to something called the U.S. Family Network, an "advocacy" group founded by DeLay's former chief of staff and part of what was known as DeLay's "political money carousel." That group also received half a million from the National Republican Campaign Committee, where McGahn, who was DeLay's lawyer, worked as in-house counsel.

When some Democratic groups ran ads against DeLay in 2006, accusing him of pay-for-play corruption, Don McGahn publicly defended him, saying that there was no Russian connection and that there was nothing illegal about it anyway. (An argument that may sound somewhat familiar at present.) But the suspicion that the disgraced DeLay had engaged in a highly lucrative quid pro quo with Russian oligarchs lingered on.

Don McGahn's background as an election law expert and criminal defense lawyer for corrupt politicians with suspicious connections to Russian oligarchs made him a perfect choice for Donald Trump's campaign. It also makes him a highly desirable witness for Robert Mueller's investigation. Thirty hours of interviews can cover a lot of ground.
(c) 2018 Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Thousands in Washington, D.C., stand up for scientific analysis in politics.

Cool Solutions Mean A Hothouse Planet Isn't Inevitable
By David Suzuki

In the midst of worldwide record heat, devastating wildfires, droughts, refugee crises, and torrential rains and flooding, some particular disturbing headlines have hit the news. "Planet at risk of heading towards irreversible 'hothouse' conditions" the CBC announced. Similar headlines appeared in other media outlets.

As CBC explained, "Scientists from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the University of Copenhagen, Australian National University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said it is likely that if a critical threshold is crossed, several tipping points would lead to abrupt change."

The study, "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene," confirms global warming has accelerated during the current epoch, when humans have become a driving force in geophysical changes to Earth: "The Anthropocene represents the beginning of a very rapid human-driven trajectory of the Earth System away from the glacial-interglacial limit cycle toward new, hotter climatic conditions and a profoundly different biosphere."

The most troubling part of the research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is its prediction that, beyond a 2 C rise in global temperature above pre-industrial levels, "intrinsic biogeophysical feedbacks in the Earth System" will kick in, accelerating warming and its consequences at an even greater rate than we're currently experiencing.

Beyond a 2 C increase, tipping elements could be activated, "raising the temperature further to activate other tipping elements in a domino-like cascade that could take the Earth System to even higher temperatures." That would pose "severe risks for health, economies, political stability (especially for the most climate vulnerable), and ultimately, the habitability of the planet for humans."

A well-known feedback loop occurs when polar and glacial ice melt, exposing dark land and water, which absorb more heat than ice and snow, accelerating warming and melting more ice. According to the researchers, those are not the only consequences. "If Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt in the future, the freshening and cooling of nearby surface waters will have significant effects on the ocean circulation."

The magnitude, direction and consequences of feedback processes depend on the rate of warming and the types of feedback involved. For example, a large enough pulse of carbon into the atmosphere from widespread wildfires could further increase warming, causing fires to increase in number and magnitude. Some processes are more complex. One example involves carbon dioxide's effects on plants.

"The so-called 'greening' of the planet, caused by enhanced plant growth due to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, has increased the land carbon sink in recent decades. However, increasing atmospheric CO2 raises temperature, and hotter leaves photosynthesize less well. Other feedbacks are also involved - for instance, warming the soil increases microbial respiration, releasing CO2 back into the atmosphere."

The research is profoundly disturbing. But the media coverage often missed or downplayed a crucial element: the solutions the report outlines toward a "stabilized Earth pathway." This "would require deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, protection and enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, possibly solar radiation management, and adaptation to unavoidable impacts of the warming already occurring."

Because our current socioeconomic system is "based on high-carbon economic growth and exploitative resource use," the study's authors argue that "changes in demographics, consumption, behavior, attitudes, education, institutions, and socially embedded technologies are all important."

They also warn, "if a planetary threshold is crossed toward the Hothouse Earth pathway, accessing the Stabilized Earth pathway would become very difficult no matter what actions human societies might take."

In other words, we have to act now. The choices we make over the next decade will determine our future and the future of our children and their children. We've already locked into substantial warming and are seeing the consequences, but it's not yet too late to change course.

As University College London and University of Leeds professor of global change science Simon Lewis notes, diagnosing global warming and its consequences is a scientific issue, but Solving climate change is about power, money, and political will."

We must insist that politicians represent the interests of citizens rather than corporations. We must stand up to the fossil fuel industry and climate science deniers.

We've put off necessary action for too long already. Bold steps are needed. We no longer have time to spare.
(c) 2018 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co_founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Trump's Snake Oil Hasn't Helped Kentucky Coal Country
The gold-plated medicine wagon came to town and fleeced everybody.
By Charles P. Pierce

Good morning, suckers. From The Lexington Herald-Leader:

There has been no significant increase in coal jobs in Kentucky under President Donald Trump. The statistics on income in Eastern Kentucky were in the ARC's latest classification of the economic status of the 420 counties in Appalachia that it will use for the 2019 federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The agency uses the data in decisions about spending money in the region and how much counties have to put up in matching funds for ARC grants. The lowest economic classification is distressed, meaning the counties are in the bottom 10 percent of more than 3,100 U.S. counties on measures that include income, the poverty rate and unemployment. ARC said 81 counties in its region will be considered distressed in fiscal year 2019.
As the H-L makes clear, this is a phenomenon that has taken place over several administrations, and one that has its roots in a number of factors, most of which have to do with the fact that coal has become largely obsolete and the fact that the evidence is overwhelming that coal is generally a hazard to the public health.

Of course, in 2016, along came the guy in the gold-plated patent medicine wagon, selling his Magic Dealmaker Elixir by the gallon. What would any of us have done in that situation? Your personal income, which never was astronomical on its best days, even when coal was booming and the bosses were getting fat, has sunk even further over two decades. Are you telling me you wouldn't even consider taking a big gulp of the conman's potion?

Along with this drop in personal income has come an increase in income inequality. At the end of July, the Economic Policy Institute produced a report that showed an income divide that had come to resemble the Cumberland Gap. From WVXU:

Income for the wealthiest one percent of earners in Kentucky was more than $719,012 in 2015, compared to an average income of almost $39,990 for all other Kentuckians. The report from the Economic Policy Institute shows from 2009 to 2015 the top one percent income grew 23.2 percent while everyone else's income grew only 7.2 percent. Ashley Spalding is a senior policy analyst with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. "The growth in income inequality is the result of policy decisions that have reduced union density and eroded the value of the minimum wage and other baseline labor standards," Spalding said.
But he loves our big, beautiful coal that gets "washed" and then transported, possibly via invisible stealth airplanes. It's better than those slaughterhouse windmills, as Daniel Dale's feed on the electric Twitter machine explains.
(c) 2018 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-

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
~~~ Will Rogers

Three Antiwar Congress Members
By David Swanson

Rashida Tlaib has nothing about war or peace on her website. And she's going to be elected to the seat held by Congressman John Conyers, famous for giving speeches for things like impeaching George W. Bush while telling reporters and colleagues that impeaching Bush needed to be avoided. So, take statements for what they're worth (very little until followed by action). But action rarely follows silence, and Tlaib just said this:

"I don't support military operations. If you go to the Department of Defense website, every day, Monday through Friday, there is an area called 'contracts.' Go there. You want to pay for college? Medicare for All? Pay to take care of Americans dying from famine to basic human rights abuses? Look at those contracts. I'm floored at how much money [they're spending]."
When asked "Do you want to divert the DOD budget into social services?" Tlaib replied:
"Yes. We can build safer and more vibrant communities. I am tired of the earmarks for corporations. They aren't going to Americans. They're going to private companies. Not only have we made prisons into private corporations, wars are a for-profit industry. The [DoD is] a cesspool for corporations to make money."
Those in the pay or hoping to be in the pay of the war profiteers don't talk like this. This is socialism with seriousness, not the nonsense shell game where you claim you'll provide decent services but refuse to mention the place where all the money is. (I'm looking at you, Senator Sanders.)

Congress members do not talk like Rashida Tlaib, or Ilhan Omar, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Omar's predecessor never talked this way. Even John Conyers never talked this way, with or without meaning it. Yet these three are very likely to be in Congress, and if they at all act on their professed positions, we need to demand that their colleagues join them.

To some extent, not entirely but to some small extent, I suspect that the blowback when these candidates say something honest or humane about Palestine is and will continue to be opposition to their entire antiwar position. Opposing Israeli wars is taboo in the United States, but so is opposing U.S. wars and U.S. preparations for more wars.

That position needs to be made acceptable. So, when three candidates for Congress who've won their primaries and are virtually guaranteed to join Congress speak up for peace, we need to celebrate it, make it more than just acceptable, make it enviable by other seekers of power.
(c) 2018 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.

Leonard Peltier

There's No Future In It
Why hatred is a big waste of time
By Jane Stillwater

I used to love to travel the world. The whole world was my oyster. I used to be a fabulous war correspondent who happily went off to dangerous military hot-spots like Afghanistan, Honduras, North Korea, Syria and Iraq. And then my 401K money ran out and that was that. It takes a lot of $$$$ to be an overseas war correspondent (unless of course one is willing to lie and in that case you can get hired on the spot by the New York Times).

So then I started justifying why I could only afford to travel around the USA by telling myself that I was heroically exploring the "Belly of the Beast" itself, the American colonialist beast that had actually brought us all these terrible "wars" in the first place -- everything from that terrible massacre in the Philippines in 1901 up to and including those murderous flowers of death in far away places like Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Juarez, Honduras, Palestine and Libya right now.

But I soon ran out of the money to be able to do even that and couldn't even afford to travel to Vegas -- let alone Boston or Honolulu. I really wanted to go to Brownsville for instance, to try to help the heart-broken, sick and possibly-dying babies who have been kidnapped by ICE along the Texas border -- but even that seems just one bank account too far. Plus I never seem to win the lottery either.

And then a friend of mine told me about some ancient Native American ceremonies that frequently take place right around here, almost in my own back yard -- and so I began to travel inward instead, with the help of a lot of drum-beating and lack of sleep to all hours. It was cheaper, closer to home and didn't pollute the air.

So. What did I learn on my recent inward journeys? That if someone's heart and soul is filled up with past hatreds, then there is no more room for any future wonderfulness.

By dwelling on racism and bias and sectarianism and political schisms and religious feuds and climate-change denial and sexism and "war" and all that other burdensome junk, then Americans have given away, thrown away, ditched, dumped and voluntarily sacrificed their own precious ability to focus on what comes ahead -- and to make it better than what came before. More sparkle-ly, more productive, more user-friendly, more fun!

PS: I have just enough frequent-flyer miles left right now to get me to St. Petersburg, Florida, for the annual BoucherCon book conference there, starting on September 5. And I can also stay in a friend's teardrop trailer -- while gleefully contemplating all those free books being given away at the conference.

And I also will be crossing the Gandy Avenue causeway to Tampa in order to ask for an interview with Leonard Peltier's legal team. Yes, Leonard is still being locked up in jail for crimes that he didn't commit -- been locked up for over 40 years now. But that's American injustice for ya. Nixon may be dead but CONINTELPRO is still alive and well and rejoicing that Leonard is still trapped in a bleak high-security prison just outside of Tampa.

And I just checked out Peter Mattiessen's book on Leonard from the Berkeley Public Library -- you know, the book that the FBI spent eight long years in court trying to suppress its publication. Should be a very interesting read.

Florida, here I come.

Reporting from Tampa and St. Petersburg might not be as glamorous as reporting from Yemen or Syria or Gaza but the protagonists are the same in both places -- American colonialists and their sleazy blood-thirsty friends. Yuck!
(c) 2018 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Dead Letter Office-

Ryan gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Deputy Fuhrer Zinke,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your attempt to sell off public lands in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Republican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 09-28-2018. We salute you Herr Zinke, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's Trade Wars
By Robert Reich

Trump has gotten America into a trade war with all our major trading partners. He's put tariffs, which are essentially taxes, on what they sell to us. And they've retaliated by putting tariffs on what we sell to them.

Trump's trade war is dumb and dangerous for 3 reasons:

First: American companies make and sell things all around the world, employ people all over the world, and are owned by investors all over the world. At the same time, foreign companies are here, employing Americans, and exporting from the United States. BMW, a German company, is the biggest automobile exporter from the United States.

Second: Tariffs hurt American workers.

They drive up prices of inputs used by American workers to make all sorts of things - thereby making our workers less competitive internationally. Tariffs on steel hurt American workers who use steel in making cars, appliances, and motorcycles. Tariffs on chips, wires, and circuits hurt American workers who use them for making high-tech products.

Tariffs also drive up the prices of goods bought by American consumers from all over the world, reducing the purchasing power of American wages. They're the equivalent of a wage cut.

And tariffs push foreign governments to raise tariffs on American exports, thereby making American workers even less competitive. Europe puts a retaliatory tariff on Harley-Davidson's motorcycle exports, and what happens? Harley moved production to Europe.

The trade war that began in 1930 with the Smoot-Hawley tariff ended up worsening the Great Depression.

Third: The best way to increase the competitiveness of American workers has nothing to do with tariffs. It's to invest in America.

- Invest in the skills and know-how of our workers, starting with early-childhood education, through better schools, access to world-class technical education, and access to college;

- Also invest in future knowledge, through government support for basic research and development.

- Invest in the infrastructure that links American workers to their jobs, to other American workers, and to the global economy. This means world-class roads, bridges, rapid transit, container ports, access to high-speed Internet, and more.

- Invest in the health of American workers through universal health care.

But Trump and Republicans have been cutting all these investments.

Trade wars may make Trump feel tough, because he loves tests of his dominance. But they hurt average working people.
(c) 2018 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

The question is are we smart enough to deal with the effects of our own power?

Saying Goodbye To Planet Earth
On the the dawn of the Anthropocene and how humanity has engineered our own march toward collective suicide
By Chris Hedges

The spectacular rise of human civilization-its agrarian societies, cities, states, empires and industrial and technological advances ranging from irrigation and the use of metals to nuclear fusion-took place during the last 10,000 years, after the last ice age. Much of North America was buried, before the ice retreated, under sheets eight times the height of the Empire State Building. This tiny span of time on a planet that is 4.5 billion years old is known as the Holocene Age. It now appears to be coming to an end with the refusal of our species to significantly curb the carbon emissions and pollutants that might cause human extinction. The human-induced change to the ecosystem, at least for many thousands of years, will probably make the biosphere inhospitable to most forms of life.

The planet is transitioning under our onslaught to a new era called the Anthropocene. This era is the product of violent conquest, warfare, slavery, genocide and the Industrial Revolution, which began about 200 years ago, and saw humans start to burn a hundred million years of sunlight stored in the form of coal and petroleum. The numbers of humans climbed to over 7 billion. Air, water, ice and rock, which are interdependent, changed. Temperatures climbed. The Anthropocene, for humans and most other species, will most likely conclude with extinction or a massive die-off, as well as climate conditions that will preclude most known life forms. We engineered our march toward collective suicide although global warming was first identified in 1896 by the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius.

The failure to act to ameliorate global warming exposes the myth of human progress and the illusion that we are rational creatures. We ignore the wisdom of the past and the stark scientific facts before us. We are entranced by electronic hallucinations and burlesque acts, including those emanating from the centers of power, and this ensures our doom. Speak this unpleasant truth and you are condemned by much of society. The mania for hope and magical thinking is as seductive in the Industrial Age as it was in pre-modern societies.

Ate and Nemesis were minor deities who were evoked in ancient Greek drama. Those infected with hubris, the Greeks warned, lost touch with the sacred, believed they could defy fate, or fortuna, and abandoned humility and virtue. They thought of themselves as gods. Their hubris blinded them to human limits and led them to carry out acts of suicidal folly, embodied in the god Ate. This provoked the wrath of the gods. Divine retribution, in the form of Nemesis, led to tragedy and death and then restored balance and order, once those poisoned with hubris were eradicated. "Too late, too late you see the path of wisdom," the Chorus in the play "Antigone" tells Creon, ruler of Thebes, whose family has died because of his hubris.

"We're probably not the first time there's been a civilization in the universe," Adam Frank, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester and the author of "Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth," told me when we met in New York. "The idea that we're destroying the planet gives us way too much credit," he went on. "Certainly, we're pushing the earth into a new era. If we look at the history of the biosphere, the history of life on earth, in the long run, the earth is just going to pick that up and do what is interesting for it. It will run new evolutionary experiments. We, on the other hand, may not be a part of that experiment."

Civilizations probably have risen elsewhere in the universe, developed complex societies and then died because of their own technological advances. Every star in the night sky is believed to be circled by planets, some 10 billion trillion of which astronomers such as Frank Drake estimate are hospitable to life.

"If you develop an industrial civilization like ours, the route is going to be the same," Adam Frank said. "You're going to have a hard time not triggering climate change."

Astronomers call the inevitable death of advanced civilizations across the universe "the great filter." Robin Hanson in the essay, "The Great Filter-Are We Almost Past It?" argues that advanced civilizations hit a wall or a barrier that makes continued existence impossible. The more that human societies evolve, according to Hanson, the more they become "energy intensive" and ensure their own obliteration. This is why, many astronomers theorize, we have not encountered other advanced civilizations in the universe. They destroyed themselves.

"For a civilization to destroy itself through nuclear war, it has to have certain emotional characteristics," Frank said. "You can imagine certain civilizations saying, 'I'm not building those [nuclear weapons]. Those are crazy.' But climate change, you can't get away from. If you build a civilization, you're using huge amounts of energy. The energy feeds back on the planet, and you're going to push yourself into a kind of Anthropocene. It's probably universal."

Frank said that our inability to project ourselves into a future beyond our own life spans makes it hard for us to grasp the reality and consequences of severe climate change. Scenarios for dramatic climate change often center around the year 2100, when most adults living now will be dead. Although this projection may turn out to be overly optimistic given the accelerating rate of climate change, it allows societies to ignore-because it is outside the life span of most living adults-the slow-motion tsunami that is occurring.

"We think we're not a part of the biosphere-that we're above it-that we're special," Frank said. "We're not special."

"We're the experiment that the biosphere is running now," he said. "A hundred million years ago, it was grassland. Grasslands were a new evolutionary innovation. They changed the planet, changed how the planet worked. Then the planet went on and did things with it. Industrial civilization is the latest experiment. We will keep being a part of that experiment or, with the way that we're pushing the biosphere, it will just move on without us."

"We have been sending probes to every other planet in the solar system for the last 60 years," he said. "We have rovers running around on Mars. We've learned generically how planets work. From Venus, we've learned about the runaway greenhouse effect. On Venus the temperature is 800 degrees. You can melt lead [there]. Mars is a totally dry, barren world now. But it used to have an ocean. It used to be a blue world. We have models that can predict the climate. I can predict the weather on Mars tomorrow via these climate models. People who think the only way we can understand climate is by studying the earth now, that's completely untrue. These other worlds-Mars, Venus, Titan. Titan is a moon of Saturn that has an amazingly rich atmosphere. They all teach us how to think like a planet. They have taught us generically how planets behave."

Frank points out that much of the configurations of the ecosystem on which we depend have not always been part of the planet's biosphere. This includes the Gulf Stream, which carries warm water and warm air up from Florida to Boston and out across the Atlantic.

"Hundreds of millions of people in some of Earth's most technologically advanced cities rely on the mild climate delivered by the Gulf Stream," Frank writes in "Light of the Stars." "But the Gulf Stream is nothing more than a particular circulation pattern formed during a particular climate state the Earth settled into after the last ice age ended. It is not a permanent fixture of the planet."

"Everything we think about the earth just happens to be this one moment we found it in," he told me. "We're pushing it [the planet] and we're pushing it hard. We don't have much time to make these transitions. What people have to understand is that climate change is our cosmic adolescence. We should have expected this. The question is not 'did we change the climate?' It's 'of course we changed the climate. What else did you expect to have happened?' We're like a teenager who has been given this power over ourselves. Just like how you give a teenager the keys to the car, there's this moment where you're like, 'Oh my God I hope you make it.' And that's what we are."

"Climate change is not a problem we have to make go away, in a sense that you don't make adolescence go away," Frank said. "It is a dangerous transition that you have to navigate. ... The question is are we smart enough to deal with the effects of our own power? Climate change is not a pollution problem. It's not like any environmental problem we've faced before. In some sense, it's not an environmental problem but a planetary transition. We've already pushed the earth into it. We're going to have to evolve a new way of being a civilization, fundamentally."

"We will either evolve those group behaviors quickly or the earth will take what we've given it, in terms of new climate states, and move on and create new species," he said.

Frank said the mathematical models for the future of the planet have three trajectories. One is a massive die-off of perhaps 70 percent of the human population and then an uneasy stabilization. The second is complete collapse and extinction. The third is a dramatic reconfiguration of human society to protect the biosphere and make it more diverse and productive not for human beings but for the health of the planet. This would include halting our consumption of fossil fuels, converting to a plant-based diet and dismantling the animal agriculture industry as well as greening deserts and restoring rainforests.

There is, Frank warned, a tipping point when the biosphere becomes so degraded no human activity will halt runaway climate change. He cites Venus again.

"The water on Venus got lost slowly," he said. "The CO2 built up. There was no way to take it out of the atmosphere. It gets hotter. The fact that it gets hotter makes it even hotter. Which makes it even hotter. That's what would happen in the collapse model. Planets have minds of their own. They are super-complex systems. Once you get the ball rolling down the hill. ... This is the greatest fear. This is why we don't want to go past 2 degrees [Celsius] of climate change. We're scared that once you get past 2 degrees, the planet's own internal mechanisms kick in. The population comes down like a stone. A complete collapse. You lose the civilization entirely."
(c) 2018 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Keep up with Chris Hedges' latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Ted Rall ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

This Just In: Swamp Thing
Trump said he would "drain the swamp," but it seems he invited all his swamp creatures in.
By Will Durst

During the 2016 presidential election Donald Trump famously proclaimed he would "drain the swamp" in Washington, but looking at the cast of characters he's surrounded himself with, it seems more like he invited all his carnivorous reptilian buddies to come drain their bladders in the swamp and now it's not only bigger but warmer as well.

Mr. Art of the Deal's career is littered with pyramid schemes, reneging on contracts, unpaid loans, phony foundations, phantom donations, broken promises, deceit, mendacity, moral turpitude and bad hair. He is a parody of avarice spreading a culture of corruption so large it can probably be seen from the Hubble Telescope.

Trump is the King of Corruption. The Maharajah of Malfeasance. Good God of Graft. Captain Crooked. The Pharaoh of Fraud. The Overlord of Venality. The creator and originator of Orange Collar Crime. Wouldn't be surprised if he hadn't trademarked that. His insatiable greed and con-man ways give rich people a bad name. Okay, a badder name. Boss Tweed had nothing on this Boss Tweet.

You almost can't blame his cronies. Once they ooze into the president's orbit and see everyone else making money hand over fist, they figure they'd better get while the getting's good. There's only so much ripe low-hanging fruit. Not to mention lettuce.

Forbes Magazine suggests Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross might have stolen upwards of $120 million and wrote that he could be "one of the biggest grifters in American history." They also said he was a skinflint who'd pocket packets of Sweet'n Low in restaurants so he didn't have to buy them. The kind of guy you see and discreetly lock up the silverware.

One of his "best people," former EPA Director Scott Pruitt was forced to resign after a series of scandals that pegged him as more crooked than a dumpster full of bent wire hangers.

Like Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price who also resigned under a cloud, Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior, loves to travel first class on the taxpayers' dime and has left a trail of dodgy banking schemes in his wake. These guys are fast turning the swamp into a Jurassic Cesspool.

The first Congressman to endorse Trump, Christopher Collins (R-NY) was indicted for insider trading. Michael Cohen, the president's fixer, is presently fixing to fix his fixee. Another early supporter, Duncan Hunter, is under FBI criminal investigation for using campaign funds for personal purposes. These guys are seriously threatening Nixon's record for most Cabinet members perp-walked up a courthouse steps with a raincoat draped over their handcuffs. In one-third the time.

New York's Attorney General is suing Trump and his three kids alleging the president used his foundation to benefit himself financially and politically. They also want him banned from running any charity in the state for 10 years for being reckless, unethical and just plain despicable.

During court testimony, former administration official Rick Gates admitted not only to committing crimes at the behest of Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, but also stealing from him. Manafort allegedly stashed his stolen money in hidden offshore accounts. And both are reported to have stolen from Trump who steals from everyone. This administration is the Russian nesting dolls of crime. And there you go, another connection to Russia. Coincidence? You be the judge.
(c) 2018 Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former Pizza Hut assistant manager. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, "Durst Case Scenario," please visit:

The Gross National Debt

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Issues & Alibis Vol 18 # 33 (c) 08/24/2018

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