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In This Edition

Chris Walker says, "Ron Johnson Suggests GOP Could Impose Nationwide Abortion Ban In The Future."

Ralph Nader says, "To Democrats: Make Labor Day A Workers' Action Da."

Leonard Pitts Jr. says, "Bill Russell Was 'An arrogant Negro' To The End."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Why Should Work Be Life-Sucking?"

William Rivers Pitt returns with, "Bill Russell Has Died, But His Legacies In Basketball And Racial Justice Live On."

John Nichols says, "Abe Lincoln Is Spinning In His Grave."

James Donahue finds, "Equatorial Heat May Soon Spark Mass Exodus."

David Swanson says, "Neither Dante Nor Caesar Will Save Us."

David Suzuki says, "There's Hope In Seeing The Forest And The Trees."

Charles P. Pierce says, "The Plunder Of Our Water Supply Has Already Begun."

Juan Cole reports, "America Really Wanted Iraq's Basra For Oil That's Now Making It Uninhabitable ."

Robert Reich asks, "Is Crypto Really Going To Crash? (Yes)"

Jon Queally joins us with, "Conviction Of Whitmer Kidnap Plotters Called Win In Battle Against Far-Right Extremists."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Mark Zuckerberg Worried His Metaverse Avatar Doesn't Fully Capture How Inhuman He Looks,'" but first, Uncle Ernie exclaims, "We're Finally On Our Way!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Joel Pitt, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Stefani Reynolds, Josh Freedman, Jae C. Hong, Frank Curtan, Sven Schlager, Hussein Faleh, Justin Sullivan, Rudy and Peter Skitterians, Kent County Sheriff's Office, Jim Hightower, Twitter, Pixabay, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, YouTube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

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We're Finally On Our Way!
By Ernest Stewart

"Global warming is no longer a philosophical threat, no longer a future threat, no longer a threat at all. It's our reality." ~~~ Bill McKibben

I see where the massive incentives for clean energy in the U.S. law signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden should reduce future global warming "not a lot, but not insignificantly either," according to a climate scientist who led an independent analysis of the package.

Even with nearly $375 billion in tax credits and other financial enticements for renewable energy in the law, the United States still isn't doing its share to help the world stay within another few tenths of a degree of warming, a new analysis by Climate Action Tracker says. The group of scientists examines and rates each country's climate goals and actions. It still rates American action as "insufficient" but hailed some progress.

"This is the biggest thing to happen to the U.S. on climate policy," said Bill Hare, the Australia-based director of Climate Analytics which puts out the tracker. "When you think back over the last decades, you know, not wanting to be impolite, there's a lot of talk, but not much action."

This is action, he said. Not as much as Europe, and Americans still spew twice as much heat-trapping gases per person as Europeans, Hare said. The U.S. has also put more heat-trapping gas into the air over time than any other nation.

Before the law, Climate Action Tracker calculated that if every other nation made efforts similar to those of the U.S., it would lead to a world with catastrophic warming - 5.4 to 7.2 degrees (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times. Now in the best case scenario, which Hare said is reasonable and likely, U.S. actions, if mimicked, would lead to only 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) of warming. If things don't work quite as optimistically as Hare thinks, it would be 5.4 degrees (3 degrees Celsius) of warming, the analysis said.

Even that best case scenario falls short of the overarching internationally accepted goal of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees warming (1.5 degrees Celsius) since pre-industrial times. And the world has already warmed 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the mid-19th century.

Other nations "who we know have been holding back on coming forward with more ambitious policies and targets" are now more likely to take action in a "significant spillover effect globally," Hare said. He said officials from Chile and a few Southeast Asian countries, which he would not name, told him this summer that they were waiting for U.S. action first.

And China "won't say this out loud, but I think will see the U.S. move as something they need to match," Hare said.

Scientists at the Climate Action Tracker calculated that without any other new climate policies, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 will shrink to 26% to 42% below 2005 levels, which is still short of the country's goal of cutting emissions in half. Analysts at the think tank Rhodium Group calculated pollution cuts of 31% to 44% from the new law.

Other analysts and scientists said the Climate Action Tracker numbers makes sense.

"The contributions from the U.S. to greenhouse gas emissions are huge," said Princeton University climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi. "So reducing that is definitely going to have a global impact."

Samantha Gross, director of climate and energy at the Brookings Institution, called the new law a down payment on U.S. emission reductions.

"Now that this is done, the U.S. can celebrate a little, then focus on implementation and what needs to happen next," Gross said. Yes, we have a good start with this new bill, but it is only a start, and we have a long way to go. But to tell the truth, it was much more than I expected with the Redthuglicans fighting tooth and nail for their corpo-rat polluting masters. Let's go to the polls in November and elect a few more Democrats to the Senate and the House!


09-20-1924 ~ 08-20-2022
Thanks for the film!

07-26-1948 ~ 08-20-2022
Thanks for the film!

06-16-1939 ~ 08-21-2022
Thanks for the film!

08-31-1939 ~ 08-22-2022
Thanks for the music!


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Until the next time, Peace!

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

Sen. Ron Johnson speaks to members of the media as he arrives for the weekly Senate Republican
policy luncheon in the Hart Senate Office Building on June 30, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Ron Johnson Suggests GOP Could Impose Nationwide Abortion Ban In The Future
By Chris Walker

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) has said that Republicans may consider a nationwide ban on abortion if the party wins control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections.

Johnson told reporters in an interview with The Washington County Daily News that he "completely agree[s]" with the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and upend abortion protections across the country.

"I've written up pretty much all I need to say on that decision," he said, adding that he believes the matter should be decided on by states.

But Johnson also raised the possibility of a Republican-controlled Congress enacting a nationwide abortion ban in the future.

"Maybe Congress can take a look at what the states have done and say 'we probably ought to place this limit here,' based on new information or whatever," he said.

Johnson, who is up for reelection this fall, is currently trailing his Democratic challenger Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes by seven points, according to a recent Marquette University Law School poll.

Abortion will likely play a pivotal role in Wisconsin's senatorial election this fall, as Johnson's views on abortion contradict the views of most of his constituents. According to the same poll, 66 percent of Wisconsinites believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while just 30 percent believe it should be illegal.

Johnson's voting record in favor of abortion restrictions and his past statements on the issue - including bragging about helping to appoint the justices that undid Roe - could prove to be a liability in the upcoming election.

Due to the Supreme Court's ruling earlier this year, Wisconsin has reverted back to an 1849 statute on abortion that bans the procedure at all stages of pregnancy. Under the statue, residents can only get an abortion if their health is at risk, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Several Republican lawmakers have spoken about the possibility of imposing national bans on abortion should the party win control of Congress in the midterms. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has expressed interest in imposing a nationwide 15-week ban on abortion, for example, while other GOP lawmakers are crafting proposals that would ban the procedure after the first sign of cardiac activity. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has also expressed support for a nationwide ban.

Anti-abortion views could hurt Republicans at ballot boxes across the country this fall. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health Tracking Poll from July, 55 percent of Americans say that abortion access is a "very important" issue for them in deciding which candidate to vote for, while 19 percent say it is a "somewhat important" issue. Only 25 percent say it is "not too important."

Democrats have been using the possibility of a nationwide abortion ban in their campaign messaging, including Johnson's opponent, Barnes.

"Ron Johnson just came out in favor of a federal abortion ban," Barnes's campaign said on Twitter last week. Johnson is "doing everything he can to drag us back in time" to strip people "of their rights and freedoms," she added.

(c) 2022 Chris Walker is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analysing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people.

To Democrats: Make Labor Day A Workers' Action Day
By Ralph Nader

Labor Day presents a great opportunity for the Democratic Party to compare their election year story of being on the side of labor, as opposed to the GOP which is invariably backing the wealthy and giant corporations.

Unfortunately, the Democrats have not been taking advantage of the one national holiday dedicated to working people. It is not too late. Labor Day has been turned into a sales day by the big box chains, but the Democrats can revive the true purposes of this day. Imagine thousands of public events for the working classes to give voice to their rightful needs and protections.

Never mind the dwindling Labor Day parades. Instead, organize rallies and assemblies in neighborhoods around real reforms, redirections and respect that all workers (regardless of their political labels) want for themselves and their families.

Invite workers and their children to these festive gatherings - with refreshments, nutritious snacks and music (taking proper pandemic precautions). If necessary, do it virtually and distribute snacks via food trucks. Present a vibrant, coherent pro-worker mandate complete with what the Democrats have already enacted or proposed against the unanimous opposition of the Republicans in Congress.

The Democrats, against the filibustering opposition of the Wall Street Republicans, stand for a living wage (passing a $15 minimum in the House of Representatives which was blocked in the Senate), expanding Medicaid and Medicare, providing child care, and paid family leave - all blocked by the Republican Party of dread, anxiety and greed.

The Democrats push for more worker health and safety protections while the GOP Senators and Representatives want to continue to weaken OSHA and cut its tiny budget for workplace inspections and enforcement of protective standards.

The child tax credit of some $300 per month to about 60 million children was set for an extension this past January. In spite of cutting child poverty by over thirty percent, the Republicans blocked its extension, just as they blocked the Democrat's effort to restore some of Trump's giveaway tax escapes for corporations and the super-rich to pay for this crucial assistance to America's children and critical infrastructure jobs in the midst of a pandemic.

Cong. John Larson (D-CT) has proposed a comprehensive update for Social Security (benefits have not been upgraded for fifty years), but the Republicans are signaling a filibuster in the Senate. Worse, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, corporate felon Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) wants to sunset all federal legislation, including Social Security and Medicare, in five years. He actually put it in writing (See, An 11 Point Plan to Rescue America.

Then there is labor law reform to make it easier for workers to form unions. This is the 75th anniversary of the notorious Taft-Hartley Act - the worst anti-worker law in the western world. The Democrats passed a bill in the House that partially repeals this giant handcuffing of American workers, but again the Republicans are blocking it in the Senate.

The Pension Rights Center (See, Pension Rights Center has a ready-made agenda to protect and expand worker retirement systems.

The Democrats should highlight the worker respect and dignity issue. Focus on companies like Amazon, which is perfecting "digital monitoring" of workers and tracking their every minute including limited bathroom breaks. Millions of Americans working remotely now have "Big Brother" electronically monitoring them, as Aldous Huxley predicted in his 1932 novel Brave New World. The GOP is not protecting minimal worker privacy.

The list of immediately perceived pro-worker contrasts between the Democrats and the Republicans goes on. Publicizing these deep livelihood improvements, where workers live, work and raise their children, is far superior to the failed billions of dollars spent on vacuous political television ads.

On Labor Day, Democrats should join with and showcase the working people whom the Democratic Party has been distancing itself from under the controlling dictates of their corporate-conflicted political and media consultants. The latter gets 15% of the amount spent on all TV ads. Do you think they want to give us these big bucks for a superior, realistic ground campaign? How about organizing a campaign that speaks honestly about ending the corporate-managed, job-destroying foreign trade that has left our country defenseless - without, for example, domestic protection of key medicines (such as antibiotics), protective equipment and essential microchips?

Bring all these long overdue advances in just treatment of workers (many of them long available in western nations) to the voters in the form of a printed "voters' guide" handed out widely on a large card, on which one side asks voters to check "yes" or "no" on the issues, such as Full Medicare for All or a $15 minimum wage. The flip side of the card can show that Democrats side with workers and the Republicans back Wall Street over Main Street and big business domination of America.

There is still time to arrange for celebratory Labor Day events. Workers are eager to voice their claims to America's promise to their fellow workers and other Americans. It is also a good way to attract volunteers to get out the vote on Election Day this November.

Bear in mind that what works for Labor Day also can work in the two months leading up to Election Day. Activist voters, give your Party a push in this direction. They should be landsliding the worst GOP in history instead of worrying about losing the House and Senate to the dictatorial Trumpsters bent on stealing elections through voter manipulation, suppression and purges.

(c) 2022 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super -Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Bill Russell Was 'An arrogant Negro' To The End
By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Back in the day, his FBI file dubbed him "an arrogant Negro." But then, people often mistook principle for arrogance whenever African Americans insisted on justice.

Sometimes, they still do. As recently as 2017, after all, much of white America vilified NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police violence against African Americans. Donald Trump cursed him. Wayne Newton ordered him to "get the hell out" of the country. But Bill Russell, the "arrogant Negro" in the FBI file, lowered himself to one of his then-83-year-old knees and glared into a camera. "Proud to take a knee," he tweeted, "and to stand tall against social injustice."

Russell, the Boston Celtics center who died July 31 at 88, is being remembered as the greatest winner in the history of team sports. His 11 championship rings - Michael Jordan has six - his Olympic medal, his two college titles and his five MVPs certainly make the case. With his agility, his vertical leap and his 7'4" wingspan, Russell was an unparalleled defender. But 53 years after he last played, that tweet serves as a reminder of what made him an unparalleled man. Meaning his moral courage, his willingness to stand - or in this case, kneel - and be counted.

That was a prerequisite of being Black in the 1960s, especially if you were part of that small advance guard of negritude who had established a beachhead in white American consciousness. It's why Sam Cooke turned from party songs to sing "A Change Is Gonna Come" and Muhammad Ali refused induction into the Army. It was why Nichelle Nichols, who also died July 31, listened when Martin Luther King Jr. asked her not to leave her role as Lt. Uhura on "Star Trek." He knew that, ultimately, Uhura wasn't just a character. She was a Black woman on the bridge of a starship in the same decade Fannie Lou Hamer was viciously beaten for wanting to vote. So Uhura was a promise. She was an aspiration.

These days, dozens of Black performers and athletes are lauded by the white mainstream and they have wide latitude to advocate for any cause they please, notwithstanding that time Fox "News" drone Laura Ingraham had the temerity to tell Kevin Durant and LeBron James to "shut up and dribble." Granted, that was appalling. But to speak up in the 1960s was dangerous - to livelihood and, conceivably, to life.

Russell accepted that risk repeatedly. There he was, this young Black man, playing in a mostly white league in one of the most notoriously racist cities in the country. There were death threats. There was police harassment. His home was ransacked and painted with racial slurs. Haters defecated in his bed.

Yet Russell never ceased to boldly assail and disrupt American racial hypocrisy. He supported the civil rights movement despite disagreeing with King's pacifist approach. He ran a youth basketball camp in Jackson, Mississippi, that was pointedly open to Black and white children. He led a boycott of an exhibition game after being refused service at a coffee shop in Kentucky. He declined to attend his own induction into the NBA Hall of Fame because he thought it a racist institution. He called Boston a "flea market of racism."

So it was heartening though not surprising to see him, in his ninth decade, appear on Twitter, still agitating for freedom. It suggested that, while the things that made Bill Russell an unparalleled athlete eroded with age, the thing that made him an unparalleled man was indestructible. Let that serve as his epitaph.

He was "an arrogant Negro" to the end.

Bill Russell never ceased to boldly assail and disrupt American racial hypocrisy, accepting risk to his life repeatedly in the 1960s while playing in a mostly white league in one of the most notoriously racist cities in the country.

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

Why Should Work Be Life-Sucking?

By Jim Hightower

America's stringent system of corporate capitalism keeps carving out new depths of worker exploitation.

Take Chick-fil-A, a right-wing, Atlanta-based, fast-food operation boasting that it follows "biblically-based" principles. Like slavery? Well, Chick-fil-A hasn't gone quite that Biblical yet, but one of its franchises recently pioneered a novel labor compensation innovation that comes close - literally paying some workers "chicken feed." This outlet of the $11-billion-a-year chain called on area residents to staff its new Drive Thru Express - but in lieu of wages, they were offering chicken sandwiches! Join the Express team, and you'd be "paid" five chicken items per shift. That worked out to less than minimum wage... plus indigestion.

What we have here is one more absurd illustration that America's sanctified work ethic is a fraud, an empty promise that you'll get ahead if you just work hard enough, keep your nose to the grindstone, and stay loyal to the corporate order for life - no matter how vacuous.

But the game is up, for workers across the economy are now seeking more from life than 50-years of serving the company. They're even organizing anti-workaholism groups like "I don't want a career," "Rest is Resistance," and the "Nap Ministry." But don't mistake this rebellion as mere satire by a few puckish slackers. Today's nationwide shortage of workers (from truck drivers to teachers) is not a momentary economic blip, but a defiant declaration of independence from a form of work that is life-sucking.

People are not afraid of hard work, nor averse to long hours... if the task and the cause are worth both time and effort. And "worth it" is increasingly being measured in higher values than dollars alone. Fair compensation means work that includes a sense of purpose, community, respect, fairness, and fun! In short, true worthiness... not a chicken sandwich.

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

Red Sox fans at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, receive word on the passing of Celtics great Bill Russell.

Bill Russell Has Died, But His Legacies In Basketball And Racial Justice Live On
By William Rivers Pitt

Bill Russell, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 88, was the personification of greatness. He did not need the context of basketball to earn this label, but there is no escaping his status in that realm. As far as winning goes, Russell is without peer. He brought two NCAA championships to the University of San Francisco, defeated the Soviet Union to win Olympic gold in 1956, won 11 NBA championships as a Boston Celtics player and as a player/coach - the first Black head coach in professional sports - including a preposterous run of eight title victories in a row.

To place this in a modern context, consider the mind-bending run of success Boston-area teams have enjoyed since 2001. The Patriots won six Super Bowls, the Red Sox won four World Series, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup and the Celtics won the NBA championship. That's 12 titles. From college to coaching, Bill Russell won 14 titles, two more than that run of all four professional Boston sports teams combined. Though not a natural shooter like his teammate Bob Cousey - Russell averaged 19 points a game throughout his career - he was one of the best defenders, if not the best defender, of all time. He is, according to Ray Ratto of Defector, "the answer to every historical basketball question ever posed."

Yet Bill Russell was so much more than a man who excelled at putting an inflated ball through an iron ring, or more to the point, who excelled at preventing others from doing so. He performed these feats of athletic prowess in an age when Jim Crow was alive, well and bleeding on the books. Russell was a civil rights activist from the beginning, one of the very first in the realm of pro sports. When the Celtics played in cities that enforced Jim Crow laws, he organized game boycotts conducted by every Black player on both teams, and they all sat. He stood with Muhammad Ali during the boxer's own time in America's racist crucible, and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. His very presence was a righteous demand for social justice.

"From the time he was a young man to his death at age 88 on Sunday, Russell was a civil rights activist who consistently used his platform as a celebrity athlete to confront racism, no matter whom it alienated or what it did to his public popularity," writes Sopan Deb for The New York Times. "And he was one of the first to do so."

Nowhere was Russell more viciously confronted with mass societal racism than in the city where he played, and the fact of his greatness also serves to underscore a grim, decades-long struggle for recognition in a city where, for far too long, all the heroes were white. The clearest example of this came with a massive construction project some 30 years ago, when the question of naming rights became a Rorschach test the city once again failed.

For the first half of the 1990s, a swath of Boston's downtown was literally transformed into 40 miles of bad road. The so-called "Big Dig" - a massive highway improvement effort dubbed at the time the "largest public works project in human history" - had cored out the center of town and left the remaining highway infrastructure looking like something that had been dropped there from space.

Many years and billions of dollars later, the worthiness of the effort is still hotly debated in the city, but three jewels did emerge from the dust and confusion: a deeply-needed tunnel directly connecting the western half of the city to the airport, a gorgeous white suspension bridge over the Charles River, and a lovely greenway constructed on the footprint of the old I-93 overpass that had stood for years like Mordor's wall between Faneuil Hall and the harbor waterfront.

When it became time to name these things, all sorts of suggestions were bandied about... and for each one, there was a chorus of voices asking, "Can we name this for Bill Russell?" The answer, times three, was no: The tunnel was named for Ted Williams, who never won a championship for the Red Sox; the bridge was named for Leonard Paul "Lenny" Zakim, a civil rights advocate with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL); the greenspace was named for Rose Kennedy, the matriarch of the Kennedy political dynasty. Kennedy's senator son, Edward, practically built the greenspace with his bare hands, for his mom.

The decisions did not sit well. Tommy Heinsohn, Russell's teammate for nine years, was blunt in relating his opinion to Sports Illustrated's Frank Deford in 2014. "Look," said Heinsohn, "all I know is, the guy won two NCAA championships, 50-some college games in a row, the Olympics, then he came to Boston and won 11 championships in 13 years, and they named a fucking tunnel after Ted Williams."

In 2013, Bill Russell got a statue in City Hall Plaza. Fittingly, it depicts him preparing to unselfishly pass the ball to a teammate. There were other moments of rapprochement between Russell and the city over the years, most vividly his appearance at the 1999 ceremony for the re-retirement of his jersey number (he had skipped the first one), but old scars still burned to the end. The Washington Post reports:

Despite his success with the Celtics - the team had never won a championship before his arrival - Mr. Russell did not receive local business endorsements and found himself shut out of exclusive neighborhoods when he was looking to buy a house. In 1968, his suburban Boston home was broken into and ransacked. Racial epithets were written on the walls, and feces were left on his bed.

"It had all varieties, old and new, and in their most virulent form," he wrote in [his 1979 memoir] "Second Wind." "The city had corrupt, city hall-crony racists, brick-throwing, send-'em-back-to-Africa racists, and in the university areas phony radical-chic racists.... Other than that, I liked the city."

Boston still wrestles today with the reality of its ingrained racism. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, activists shone a spotlight on that racism, with the rise of the civil rights movement and riots spawned by enforced busing. Racist violence and blatant bigotry were on full display, too. As the most visible Black man in Boston, Russell often found himself at the receiving end of such vitriol, all too often from fans in the stands at the Boston Garden.

Eventually, Russell came to occupy a mental space that allowed him to continue with the game: As far as he was concerned, he was playing for his teammates, and not for the louts in the stands. So far as I know, he never signed one autograph, preferring instead a few shared words and a handshake. When he requested and reviewed his FBI file, Russell found himself disparaged for not signing "autographs for white children."

The combined weight of all this - the athletic pressures, the hatred and racism, the venom from fans wearing your colors in your building, the assaults on your home - could have easily undone a lesser mortal. No such fate awaited Bill Russell, in no small part because over and under and around and through that heart of greatness was a joy that lit up his face.

You have never, ever, not once heard anything quite so purely happy as the sound of Bill Russell laughing his ass off. When his laughter was loosed from that towering body, it sounded like God sent a fistful of diamonds down an infinite marble staircase, and he did it all the time. His laughter stopped conversations, stopped traffic, stopped time... and afforded an exclamation point for the moments when he flexed. Not long ago, he shared a stage with several of the NBA's most prominent "big men." He sized them up one by one, leaned in, and whispered, "I would kick your ass." And he laughed, and laughed, because he knew he was right.

About all of it.

In the words of Maya Angelou, "And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed."

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

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks Tuesday at a primary Election Day gathering in Jackson, Wyo.

Abe Lincoln Is Spinning In His Grave
By John Nichols

Rep. Liz Cheney responded to her Republican primary defeat in Wyoming by likening her circumstance to that of Abraham Lincoln.

"The great and original champion of our party, Abraham Lincoln, was defeated in elections for the Senate and the House before he won the most important election of all," Cheney announced. "Lincoln ultimately prevailed, he saved our union, and he defined our obligation as Americans for all of history."

In case anyone missed the point, Cheney added, "Speaking at Gettysburg of the great task remaining before us, Lincoln said that, 'We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from this earth.' As we meet here tonight, that remains our greatest and most important task."

That reference to "the great task" was a marketing move. Within hours of referencing Lincoln's 1863 reflection on winning the Civil War as "the great task remaining before us," the defeated representative's political team signaled that the group that will serve as a springboard for a potential Cheney presidential bid will be called The Great Task.

Cheney's ego is as big as that of Donald Trump, the Republican president she ardently supported until his Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt soured their relationship. So now, as she proposes to challenge Trump's attempt to reclaim the presidency, Cheney would like us to imagine her as a new Lincoln.

But she's no Lincoln.

While her work on the House Jan. 6 committee has been exemplary, Cheney's record is that of a right-wing extremist whose rhetoric anticipated Trump's attacks on immigrants, refugees and Muslims. Before her split with the 45th president, Cheney voted with him 93% of the time. And she has an ugly history of exploiting political divisions by promoting big lies, as Cheney did when she refused to reject Trump's vile "birther" lies about former President Barack Obama, and when she claimed Vice President Kamala Harris "sounds like Karl Marx."

Lincoln, like other early Republicans, read Marx, who was the European correspondent for Horace Greeley's New York Tribune, the newspaper that helped call the Republican Party into being. Followers of Marx were among the many immigrants and refugees who forged a Republican Party that opposed the spread of slavery, promoted worker rights and implemented land reforms to alleviate poverty. When the Republican Party was founded in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854, a number of the people in the room were members of the nearby socialist commune at Ceresco.

Lincoln was not as militant as the Radical Republicans who supported him. But he was no conservative. Raised in a working-class family on the frontier, he had nothing to do with the sort of dynastic politics in which Liz Cheney was raised. Lincoln was a circuit-riding country lawyer who won election to the Illinois Legislature as a champion of workers and farmers. Liz Cheney came to prominence as a defender of the Iraq War that was based on her vice presidential father's lies. She champions the empire-building military interventionism that Lincoln opposed as one of the U.S. House's most ardent critics of the 1846 U.S. invasion of Mexico.

Lincoln took inspiration from the revolutionary pamphlets of Thomas Paine. Cheney perfected her rhetorical skills as a Fox News regular who defended the use of torture.

Liz Cheney wants voters to think of her as a new-model Lincoln. But she's just a used Cheney.

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

Equatorial Heat May Soon Spark Mass Exodus
By James Donahue

There are perhaps billions of people living in what some researchers are perceiving as "climate change hotspots" where extreme periods of heat may soon prove to be too brutal to sustain life.

This is the findings in a recent study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus.

This study, which examined only areas in the Middle East and Northern Africa, found that temperatures on the hottest days may soon be reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and if something isn't done to curb the trapped atmospheric gases soon, could be soaring over 120 degrees within the next decade.

"Prolonged heat waves and desert dust storms can render some regions uninhabitable," warned Jos Lelieveld, director of the Max Planck Institute and lead author of the study which was published in the journal Climate Change. This in turn, he said, could "jeopardize the very existence of the area's 500 million inhabitants."

Heat like that would almost certainly trigger a mass climate exodus to cooler places. But in this overpopulated world where people literally go to war over property ownership, where would this people go?

The study involved an analysis of what would happen if global carbon emissions continued at the present rate. Unfortunately, in spite of agreements made in a Paris global climate conference in 2015, and in spite of extreme efforts in some parts of the world to curb the release of greenhouse gases, the planet is continuing to get warmer.

This suggests that it has been "business as usual" for our growing world population which is demanding more and more electricity, carbon fueled vehicles and heating systems. The rush to green energy is not happening fast enough to be making much of a difference.

The study warned that people living in these targeted regions can expect longer and warmer heat waves as the years pass.

In the meantime, much of the Western United States is already smothered in extreme heat with thermometers reaching triple-digit figures.

The current heat wave, stretching from New Mexico west to Los Angeles, hit high temperatures from 110 to 117 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona. Cities were keeping libraries and other public buildings open for the homeless and people who did not have air conditioned shelter.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, noted in an interview with The Huffington Post that the Middle Eastern and North African study was one of a number of recent studies. All of the researchers agree that deadly heat waves are looming if we don't put a lid on our burning of fossil fuels.

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

Neither Dante Nor Caesar Will Save Us
By David Swanson

Dante wrote bizarre and powerful poetry about Hell and Heaven that united Italians around a non-Latin language and the Western world around various images and misquotations regarding who's destined for which circle.

He also wrote a book in Latin defending and praising monarchy, which was recently praised as useful in 2022 for creating a benevolent world government federation and worldwide peace. The trouble is that this is complete and utter bollocks. One can find bits where Dante suggests that conquered territories require unique local laws, and so forth, but nowhere that even hints at respect for self-determination or democracy. It's a book praising monarchy, and in particular the Roman Empire, and proving its points with the authority of fairytales and poems by Virgil.

The most interesting thing about the whole book on monarchy is the question it raises as to whether Dante thought his own fantastical poetry was nonfiction, or that just Virgil's was. The book is also interesting as an historical artifact, but as a plan for action in the 21st century it's utter nonsense and doesn't even contain a plan for action in the 14th century other than to go forth and fight.

There's no great effort required to read 700-year-old musings as nonsense. The problem is how many people actually do still think in similar ways even as the world contains nuclear weapons.

Dante does start out by naming peace as the greatest good. But those of us who already think that, think it because of the horrors of war: death, injury, trauma, homelessness, environmental destruction, hatred, division, and the diversion of resources away from urgent needs. Dante's addition of some selected scriptural quotations isn't going to strengthen our beliefs or persuade anyone to join us.

Dante - in a move worthy of a job offer from Stanford University - declares the greatest tool for peace to be "temporal monarchy / empire." He then proves through syllogisms that would be laughed out of a decent second-grade classroom, that a good government must be a monarchy - essentially because it's possible to quote some crap that Aristotle and Homer said about families and draw an analogy. Only a hyper-wealthy dictator with total power can selflessly govern, Dante assures us, just as Trump supporters promised that only a pseudo-billionaire conman could care about you because everyone else is corruptible.

Dante's model is not Trump of course; it's Augustus (under whose rule, "a perfect monarchy existed. That mankind was then happy in the calm of universal peace is attested by all historians"). I suppose the enslaved and tortured and wounded and starved may have voiced a few negligible complaints, of course, but not one protest was ever heard from any of the dead.

Dante opens Book II of his treatise by recounting how he used to sympathize with peoples wanting self-determination, but he had a chat inside his own head with an imaginary friend and came to understand that such people should shut up and obey, as that would establish true and holy peace.

As if that were not proof enough of the need to re-establish the Roman Empire, Dante adds proof by racism: "[I]t is appropriate that the noblest race should rule over all the others." But how do we know that the Romans were the noblest? Why, because they were ruling over all the others, Dante helpfully explains. He never explains how or whether they ceased to be the noblest, or how one can tell which race will be the noblest in the future, or why you should bother helping some race conquer others since it will do so automatically if it is the noblest and won't if it isn't.

Also, for readers who are slow to catch on, Dante later returns to the argument-from-racism to explain that God has condemned certain peoples to be ruled, which we know because Aristotle said so, even though God never bothered to make Himself known to Aristotle.

As if THAT were not convincing enough, Dante adds the argumentum-from-because-Virgil-said-so.

And just to pile on the unnecessary proofs, Dante also explains that Rome had the help in its rise to dominance of various miracles, including geese honking, which we all know that geese never do normally but only when they are granting divine sanction to imperial slaughter.

Well, not slaughter, exactly, because Rome only had good wars, a fact we know because, as Dante reminds us, Cicero said so. Also, we know that Cicero quoted Ennius who in nine short lines claimed that war must be a last resort and that negotiations must be rejected in favor of wars because it is only through the trial-by-ordeal of wars that we can find out the will of God, which happens to be that whoever wins a war should rule whoever doesn't. Dante assures us that Rome did just this, nobly and piously choosing wars, which proves that it was right for Rome to rule (right made by might and insistence on using might).

Dante passes swiftly over Rome's relations toward Christians, but open-mindedly translates "Hera" in the lines from Ennius as "divine providence" meaning both the will of God and that it was the will of God for people to get His name wrong. This is followed, however, by a lengthy explanation of how "God wills what he does not will" which I highly recommend not reading.

On top of which - this is the real clincher - people died in the wars. This super-convincing argument is still used today, of course. Thou must not oppose war because people have died in wars. What makes Dante believe he's telling us anything new here from centuries gone by is beyond me, but I suppose I can cut him a greater break than his readers since he's dead.

Having so thoroughly proved his case, Dante then assures us that all the people who disagree with him, including the Pope and assorted big shots destined for whatever circles of Hell they might be destined for, cannot claim that their baseless nonsense overrides Dante's own baseless nonsense because, well, because of additional pages of baseless nonsense.

"It is tedious," Dante writes, "to offer proofs in matters which are self-evident" - this near the close of a book lacking just about anything either self-evident or non-tedious.

Yet, in closing, Dante lets us know that the emperor must be subject to the pope - even though whomsoever the emperor smites deserved it, and even though the pope foolishly disbelieves in the holy sanctioning of whatever the emperor does. I suppose this riddle is a bit non-tedious.

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

Our major crises stem largely from ways of thinking that are limited to parts and immediacy, that
fail to see how the whole is affected by and affects everything that interacts with and within it.

There's Hope In Seeing The Forest And The Trees
By David Suzuki

When scientist James Lovelock suggested more than 50 years ago that Earth regulates itself like a living organism, many in science and academia ridiculed his idea. As he later wrote, "the mainstream view then was the neo-Darwinist one that life adapts to the environment, not that the relationship also works in the other direction, as we argued."

Lovelock, who died on his 103rd birthday July 26, was correct. As he pointed out, climate disruption and rainforest destruction show that humans are affecting the global environment, which is responding in ways that aim toward some kind of equilibrium - with or without humans. He also understood that a major drawback to Western science is reductionism, the tendency to compartmentalize phenomena, often obscuring how components interconnect and interact as part of something larger.

For Lovelock, separating the climate and forest biodiversity crises "is as much of a mistake as the error made by universities when they teach chemistry in a different class from biology and physics. It is impossible to understand these subjects in isolation because they are interconnected."

It's why both Indigenous knowledge and Western science are needed to understand how to live better on this small, wonderful planet. While taking things apart and examining how the pieces work is useful and important, we have to look at how those parts interconnect with everything else, to see the whole - as Indigenous Peoples who have lived in place for millennia have done.

This more holistic way of seeing underpins much of climate science today, as it's clear the climate is connected to all systems that affect Earth, and that they all help regulate the whole. Lovelock noted that Earth's surface temperature is determined mainly by radiant heat from the sun, but temperatures have "remained relatively stable thanks to Gaia: forests, oceans and other elements in the Earth's regulating system, which kept the surface temperature fairly constant and near optimal for life."

We've now upset that balance, burning coal, oil and gas in our automobiles, factories and homes and pumping massive amounts of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and more into the atmosphere at accelerating rates. At the same time, we've hindered Earth's ability to absorb and sequester excess carbon from the atmosphere by destroying and polluting wetlands, peat bogs, forests, grasslands, waterways and seas.

Gaia is responding.

Our understanding of the climate crisis and its causes - and solutions - is growing by leaps and bounds, although basic knowledge about greenhouse gases is at least 200 years old.

But mainstream forest ecology has only recently started seeing the forest and the trees. Reductionist, capitalist thinking made many see forests as little more than stands of valuable timber - with a few "weed" species in the way - each individual tree worth more cut into boards or pulped into chips than an interdependent life form playing its role in a forest ecosystem.

As with Lovelock, when forest ecologist Suzanne Simard suggested that forests are more than just their parts, that they're intricately connected systems that communicate and share and strive toward equilibrium, her ideas were initially derided and mocked.

We now have a much greater understanding of forests and the fungal networks that connect trees. Through intricate mycelial webs, fungi and trees redistribute and share nutrients and water, and send almost instant recognition and warning signals to each other.

In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer writes that Indigenous Elders have long spoken of trees communicating. "There is now compelling evidence that our elders were right - the trees are talking to one another."

Our major crises stem largely from ways of thinking that are limited to parts and immediacy, that fail to see how the whole is affected by and affects everything that interacts with and within it. The climate and biodiversity crises, growing mainstream recognition of the importance of Indigenous knowledge and increasing understanding of ecosystem interconnectedness all point to the necessity of embracing and acting on this increasing awareness quickly if we want to avoid catastrophe. As Lovelock wrote before he died, "humans must learn to live in partnership with the Earth, otherwise the rest of creation will, as part of Gaia, unconsciously move the Earth to a new state in which humans may no longer be welcome."

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

Feds call on states to cut water consumption as the colorado river basin drought worsens

The Plunder Of Our Water Supply Has Already Begun
One silver lining: Our supply of bad ideas hasn't dried up.
By Charles P. Pierce

Time for one of our periodic checks on the planet's water supply and who's doing what with it, because the situation is getting dire everywhere. There are Nazi ghost ships rising from their watery graves in the Danube. From Reuters:

The vessels were among hundreds scuttled along the Danube by Nazi Germany's Black Sea fleet in 1944 as they retreated from advancing Soviet forces, and still hamper river traffic during low water levels. However, this year's drought - viewed by scientists as a consequence of global warming - has exposed more than 20 hulks on a stretch of the Danube near Prahovo in eastern Serbia, many of which still contain tonnes of ammunition and explosives and pose a danger to shipping.
There are ripple effects, and then there are ripple effects. And then there are the sudden appearance of fully loaded Nazi ghost ships in the middle of vital waterways. Apparently, the world's waterways have served as all-purpose dumping grounds for everything from possible mob victims in Lake Mead to Roman infrastructure in the Tiber to a collection of prehistoric dolmen called the "Spanish Stonehenge." As the fifth chapter of Luke's gospel tells us: For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. This includes Nazi ghost ships.

But that's not the most ominous water news of the moment. For that, we have to come back to this country and visit Arizona, which went long on a bad ideas and is paying a fearsome price. From Arizona PBS:

Arizona is leasing farmland to a Saudi water company, straining aquifers, and threatening future water supply in Phoenix. Fondomonte, a Saudi company, exports the alfalfa to feed its cows in the Middle East. The country has practically exhausted its own underground aquifers there. In Arizona, Fondomonte can pump as much water as it wants at no cost. Groundwater is unregulated in most rural areas of the state. Fondomonte pays only $25 per acre annually. The State Land Department says the market rate is $50 dollars per acre and it provides a 50% discount because it doesn't pay for improvements. But the $25 per acre price is about one-sixth of the market price for unimproved farmland with flood irrigation today, according to Charlie Havranek, a Realtor at Southwest Land Associates.
Three-rail shot: a Saudi water company leases pieces of Arizona, and at cut-rate prices. So the Saudi water company can grow alfalfa for Saudi cows while draining the aquifers that serve Arizonans. The Saudi water company is raiding Arizona's groundwater because Saudi Arabia has nearly exhausted its own supply-an exchange that ought to put other states on high alert.

Treating water like a revenue source is a terrible idea on its face, but charging bargain-basement prices for a terrible idea is an even more terrible idea. Water cannot be a commodity. It's not pork bellies or cotton futures. Without it, all life dies.

Nazi ghost ships might be the least of our problems.

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

The Quotable Quote -

"We live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but that reality means little because almost all of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. There is something profoundly wrong when one family owns more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans. This type of immoral, unsustainable economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change, and together we will change it. The change begins when we say to the billionaire class: "You can't have it all. You can't get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can't continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can't hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs in every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities as Americans."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Water buffaloes walk in dried up marshes near al-Qurnah natural gas field in the north of Iraq's southern Basra province on August 10, 2022.

America Really Wanted Iraq's Basra For Oil That's Now Making It Uninhabitable
People in Basra lived through hell during the Anglo-American occupation, suffering from lawlessness and economic disruption. Now they face the ravages of the climate emergency.
By Juan Cole

Poet Robert Frost asked if the world would end by fire or ice. It turns out that it is both, the fire of global heating and the melting of Earth's surface ice and resultant biblical floods. Nowhere is this more clear than in Iraq.

Not everyone will suffer equally from the challenges of global heating. Among those who will suffer worst are the people of Basra in southern Iraq, and the ordeal has already begun. Iraq has suffered this summer from extremely high temperatures, a series of unprecedented sandstorms, and low river levels. The Tigris and the Euphrates wend their way south through Iraq until they meet up north of Basra, forming a single large body of flowing water, the 124-mile-long Shatt al-Arab, which flows past Basra on its way into the Gulf.

Basra has seen temperatures as high as 122 degrees F this month (50 degrees C). Scientists believe that a combination of 122 degrees F and 80% humidity is fatal to human beings, Luckily for the people of Basra, in August it is very dry, so humidity is probably in the mid-30s. Well, enduring 122°F with no air conditioning because of brownouts isn't actually maybe very lucky, but it is better than being killed. The problem is that the temperatures will continue to rise as long as we put into the atmosphere billions of tons of carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels like petroleum and by releasing methane from oil drilling sites.

See, there's the irony. Basra is a major oil-producing and exporting region, but the CO2 its product produces is blowing back on the city.

This summer, the Shatt al-Arab has been unusually salty, which is deadly for the farmers that irrigate from it. The high salt content comes from a weakened flow, so that water is pushing north from the Gulf into the Shatt al-Arab. The weakened flow is caused by many things. The drought has meant less rainwater and less snow melt, in the mountains of eastern Turkey where the Euphrates originates. At the same time, some 32 dams have been built on the Euphrates, and farmers irrigate off it, so that since 1970 its flow has been reduced 40-45%. If the U.S. hadn't overthrown him, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein might have gone to war with Turkey over this issue.

Nowadays, though, Iraqi politicians are blaming Iran for damming and diverting the waters of the Karun River, the tributaries of which used to flow into the Iraqi province of Diyala and then down into the Shatt al-Arab. Since Iran has tinkered with the Karun, however, farmers in Diyala are up the creek, and the flow pressure in the Shatt al-Arab has been weakened. Iran insists that it isn't its dams or waterworks that have caused the problem but the current drought caused by climate change, so that the Karun's levels are just really low as a result.

The Shatt al-Arab used to provide irrigation for southern Iraq's vast date orchards, something the country was known for. In 1950, when Iraq still had its British-installed king, the country had 33 million date trees.

Today, in part because of all the dams and waterworks upriver and in part because of the extra heat and dryness caused by human-induced climate change, there are more like 16 million date trees, half the number of 70 years ago. It is still an important industry, but many farmers have been driven out of it. Dates are Iraq's second-biggest export item after petroleum, garnering $120 million a year.

The Rudaw news service reports, "Date farmer Ayad Mohammed, 45, told Rudaw's Haydar Doski... that he is unhappy with the products that his date palm trees have given him this season. Once a source of livelihood, the land Mohammed used to profit from is slowly dying."< P> At the time that Dick Cheney and his protege George W. Bush launched their war on Iraq, one of their goals was to create a new situation in which Iraqi oil fields were open to exploration and development. Because of the Gulf War, sparked by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 to steal its neighbor's oil wealth, U.S. and international sanctions had to be slapped on Iraq. Medium-sized oil services companies such as Halliburton, of which Cheney served as CEO for the five years before he became vice president, were locked out of benefiting from Iraq's vast oil resources. So were all American oil companies, which were becoming desperate in the days before fracking took off, for new fields to exploit.

The bulk of Iraq's known oil reserves are down south. As the Marines and the 4th Infantry Division raced up to Baghdad from the Kuwait border, the British 7th Armored Brigade fought its way into Basra, the second-largest city in Iraq.

Ironically, only three years after the U.S. war of aggression on Iraq began, a fracking boom began in the U.S., demonstrating that it had been unnecessary to invade Iraq in the first place if what was wanted was petroleum riches.

And although people in the oil industry have known since the 1970s that they were wrecking the world, their disinformation campaign finally fell apart in the past decade, and now the U.S. government is taking the climate emergency seriously and trying to create a U.S.-based electric car industry that will over the next 15 years make petroleum worthless except maybe as fertilizer and a source of plastics (though the latter should probably also be banned). People in Basra lived through hell during the Anglo-American occupation, suffering from lawlessness and economic disruption. Now they face the ravages of the climate emergency.

If Bush and Cheney had made a full court press for solar and wind energy and electric cars in 2003 instead of invading Iraq, both the US and Iraq would now be much better off. In the intervening 19 years humanity has pumped something like 600 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Hence Basra's travails, which will only get worse. Because the seas are also rising and Basra is low-lying, about a fourth of it will be underwater by 2050, impelling mass migration from the city.

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

Is Crypto Really Going To Crash? (Yes)
Crypto is going to crash and could take your savings with it.
By Robert Reich

In June 2022, Bitcoin dropped over 30 percent to its lowest values since December 2020, and Ethereum, the second-most valuable cryptocurrency, fell about 35 percent. TerraUSD, a so-called "stablecoin," also collapsed when its underlying cryptocurrency LUNA lost 97 percent of its value in just 24 hours, apparently destroying some investors' life savings. The implosion helped trigger a crypto meltdown that erased $300 billion in value across the market.

As cryptocurrency prices plummeted, Celsius Network - an experimental cryptocurrency lender - announced it was freezing withdrawals "due to extreme market conditions."

These crypto crashes and freezes have fueled worries that the complex crypto banking and lending system is on the brink of ruin.

But this crash shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with the industry - or anyone who remembers the financial crashes of 1929 and 2008.

Let me explain.

In the murky world of crypto decentralized finance, known as DeFi, it's hard to understand who provides money for loans, where the money flows, or how easy it is to trigger currency meltdowns.

There are no standards for issues of custody, risk management, or capital reserves. There are no transparency requirements. Investors often don't know how their money is being handled. Deposits are not insured.

It's a Ponzi scheme. Like all Ponzi schemes, getting rich depends on how many other investors follow you into it - until somebody's left holding the worthless crypto coin.

Why isn't this market regulated? Follow the money.

The crypto industry is pouring huge amounts into political campaigns. It has hired scores of former government officials and regulators to lobby on its behalf - including three former chairs of the Securities and Exchange Commission, three former chairs of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, three former U.S. senators, and even former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

In the past, cryptocurrencies kept rising by attracting new investors and big Wall Street money, along with celebrity endorsements. But all Ponzi schemes topple eventually - just like the Wild West finances of the 1920s did.

Back then, Americans had been getting rich by speculating on shares of stock, as other investors followed them into these risky assets - pushing their values ever upwards. When the toppling occurred in 1929, it plunged the nation and the world into the Great Depression.

That crash resulted in the Glass-Steagall Act, signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. Glass-Steagall separated commercial banking from investment banking, putting an end to the giant Ponzi scheme that had overtaken the American economy and led to the Great Crash of 1929.

It took a full generation to forget that crash and allow the forces that caused it to repeat their havoc.

By the mid-1980s, as the stock market soared, speculators noticed they could make even more money if they gambled with other people's money, as speculators did in the 1920s. They pushed Congress to deregulate Wall Street, arguing that the United States financial sector would otherwise lose its competitive standing internationally.

The final blow was in 1999, when the Clinton administration succumbed to intensive lobbying and ditched what remained of Glass-Steagall. With its repeal, American finance once again became a betting parlor.

Inevitably, Wall Street suffered another near-death experience when its Ponzi schemes began toppling in 2008, just as they had in 1929. While the U.S. government bailed out the biggest banks and financial institutions, millions of Americans lost their jobs, their savings, and their homes - but only a single banking executive went to jail. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, a new but watered-down version of Glass-Steagall was enacted - the Dodd-Frank Act.

Which brings us - nearly a century after Glass-Steagall - to today's crypto crash.

If we should have learned anything from the crashes of 1929 and 2008, it's that regulation of financial markets is essential. Otherwise they turn into Ponzi schemes - leaving small investors with nothing and endangering the entire economy.

It's time for the Biden administration and Congress to end the crypto Ponzi scheme.

In the meantime, share this video so your friends and family don't fall for it.

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

This combo of images provided by the Kent County Jail in Michigan shows Barry Croft Jr., left, and Adam Fox,
both convicted Tuesday, August 23, 2022 for their role in the 2020 plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Conviction Of Whitmer Kidnap Plotters Called Win In Battle Against Far-Right Extremists
One progressive leader in the state called the verdicts "a good start in our ongoing battle against right-wing extremist political violence, but it is just that: a start.
By Jon Queally

Progressives in Michigan on Tuesday heralded the conviction of two men over their part in the 2020 plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, calling the guilty verdicts a welcome beginning in terms of holding far-right extremists to account for political violence.

Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. were both convicted by a jury Tuesday for the foiled plot to kidnap Whitmer that included plans to blow up a bridge. The two men were also convicted of weapons charges that stemmed from the violent scheme.

According to the Associated Press:

It was the second trial for the pair after a jury in April couldn't reach a unanimous verdict after five days. Two other men were acquitted and two more pleaded guilty and testified for prosecutors.

The result was a big win for the U.S. Justice Department following the shocking mixed outcome last spring.

Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, said the verdicts against Fox and Croft represent "a good start in our ongoing battle against right-wing extremist political violence, but it is just that: a start."

In his closing argument of the trial on Monday, prosecutor Nils Kessler said the two "wanted to set off a second American Civil War and the second American Revolution" by kidnapping Whitmer, a Democrat who they viewed as a political enemy.

In a statement, Gov. Whitmer welcomed the outcome.

"Today's verdicts prove that violence and threats have no place in our politics and those who seek to divide us will be held accountable," Whitmer said.

While such violent efforts "will not succeed," she added, "we must also take a hard look at the status of our politics. Plots against public officials and threats to the FBI are a disturbing extension of radicalized domestic terrorism that festers in our nation, threatening the very foundation of our republic."

Scott said the verdict does not erase how deep the far-right threat runs in Michigan and within the Republican Party.

"The political environment that resulted in this plot has not changed in the years since it was hatched," he said. "We must examine how the Michigan Republican Party continues to not only cozy up to right-wing militias and extremists, but also welcomes extremists and conspiracy theorists into the leadership of their party and nominates them as candidates to lead our state."

"We must hold Republicans accountable for their hate-inspiring messaging and continue to root out the right-wing extremism poisoning our state before it leads to more extremist violence," Scott added. "In short, today justice was served, but the work continues."

(c) 2022 Jon Queally is the managing editor of Common Dreams.

The Cartoon Corner -

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Joel Pitt ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Mark Zuckerberg Worried His Metaverse Avatar Doesn't Fully Capture How Inhuman He Looks
By The Onion

MENLO PARK, CA-Admitting that his virtual likeness had a long way to go before it felt like a genuine representation, Mark Zuckerberg told reporters Friday that he was worried his metaverse avatar didn't fully capture how inhuman he looks.

"While our Horizon Worlds platform is well on its way to becoming a fully immersive metaverse, my personal 3D rendering is not nearly as unnerving, uncomfortable, and unsettling as I am in real life," said Zuckerberg, adding that his avatar had several distracting differences, including eyes that were unrealistically lively, a smile that was far too genuine, and body language that was unnaturally friendly and welcoming.

"Unfortunately, as of today, my digital persona is nowhere near where it needs to be, and engineers are working around the clock to make an updated version that appears more bloodless, and is able to better mirror my butchered haircut, soulless facial expression, and perpetual uncomfortable slouch. When I look at him now, I'm endeared by him, and almost want to be his friend. Essentially, we have to start from scratch."

At press time, Zuckerberg took several minutes to congratulate his engineers on their decision to eliminate the lower half of his avatar's body, saying it fully captured how sexless he was in real life.

(c) 2022 The Onion


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 33 (c) 08/26/2022

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