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In This Edition

Dahr Jamail concludes, "For Native Americans, History Continues To Repeat Itself."

Adam Keller remembers, "My Fifty Years With Uri Avnery."

Glen Ford says it's a, "Rocky Road For The Corporate Duopoly If Blacks Back Bernie In 2020."

Norman Solomon thinks, "Victory In Superdelegates Fight Means: Grassroots Can Win."

Jim Hightower wants you to, "Help Save America's Public Post Offices."

John Nichols explains, "What To Do When A President Believes He's Above Justice."

James Donahue warns of, "The Poison In American Made Chewing Gum."

William Rivers Pitt exclaims, "When A Scumbag Hires Scumbags: Trump, Manafort And Cohen, Oh My!"

Heather Digby Parton wonders, "Will Donald Trump Fire Jeff Sessions After The Midterms?"

David Suzuki asks, "Hot Enough For You?"

Charles P. Pierce examines, "Florida, Man."

David Swanson reports, "2018 Peace Prize Awarded To David Swanson."

Jane Stillwater says, "I Want To Live In A World Where Innocence Is Valued...."

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich says, "Don't Just Impeach Trump. Annul His Presidency."

Chris Hedges with a must read, "Becoming Serfs."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Ostriches Celebrate Manafort Verdict" but first Uncle Ernie explores, "The Party Of No, Revisited."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of R.J. Matson, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Bilgin S. Sasmaz, David Dees, Antenna, Tim Day, Chip Somodevilla, Yana Paskova, Joe Raedle, Camilo Mejia, Sergei Supinsky, Corinne Segal, 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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The Party Of No, Revisited
By Ernest Stewart

"What's that you say Flotsam? Who's this Dubya fellow and what's his "Party of No?" He's a bounder, a cad, a neer-do-well from the wild open spaces of Taxes. And as such hates everyone and everything, a natural; I must say, to head the "Party of NO!" The party which is going to bring back the middle ages not only to America but to the world as well. I say old fellow they must be stopped at all cost. Come Flotsam, the games a foot." ~~~ Hemlock Stones

"I think we should all be more concerned about the environment and the effects of global warming. It will be pointless to talk about all the issues that divide us when it's 300 degrees outside." ~~~ Don Cheadle

"On the first day of the general election, Ron DeSantis showed Floridians who he really is. Resorting to dog whistle politics within hours of winning the GOP nomination shows a desperate candidate who will stoop to new lows in order to court and give voice to fringe elements of society. Floridians want a leader who will bring them together; Ron DeSantis has shown that he would only divide Florida." ~~~ David Turner, deputy communications director for the Democratic Governors Association, said in a statement.

Well... I'm going down
Down, down, down, down, down
Goin' Down ~~~ Jeff Beck

Back in 2005 I wrote and then recited many lines about Dubya, in "W The Movie" in the various characters that I played. In one scene, one of the handful of scenes that wasn't shot in "green screen" I played Bill Fields who, while shooting a game of pool against a cowboy, was asked to explain what the "Party of No" was all about. I realized that if you were to remove Dubya's name and replace it with tRump you may see how very little that things have changed since 2005. Here's the scene, set in a bar room:

I'm in the top hat

As Bill chalks up his cue stick....

"Well my boney boy, Dubya's the leader of what they call the Party of No, You know the Party of No, don't cha? You know...

No education. No help. No work. No hope.

No child care. No health care. No welfare. No security.

No choice. No chance. No rhyme. No reason. No Love..........

That's what Dubya and his "Party of No" stands for my lad, NO Love! Eight ball in the side pocket! Yes indeed..."

I'm having a deja vu, all over again, are you too, America?

In Other News

Meanwhile, out in India, the once-in-a-century rains that have pounded the state of Kerala and displaced 1.3 million people are in line with the predictions of climate scientists, who warn that worse is to come if global warming continues unabated.

The monsoon rains upon which farmers in the southwestern state of Kerala depend for their food and livelihoods dumped two-and-a-half times the normal amount of water across the state last week, according to meteorologists.

"It is difficult to attribute any single extreme weather event - such as the Kerala flooding - to climate change. At the same time, our recent research shows a three-fold increase in widespread extreme rains during 1950-2017, leading to large-scale flooding," said Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pashan, near Mumbai.

"Across the country, flooding caused by heavy monsoons rainfall claimed 69,000 lives and left 17 million people without homes over the same period," according to a study he co-authored, published last year in Nature Communications.

In Kerala, all 35 of the state's major reservoirs were brimming with rain water by August 10, forcing local authorities to open the sluice gates on the Idukki Dam for the first time in 26 years.

"These floods that we are seeing in Kerala right now are basically in line with climate projections. If we continue with current levels of emissions - which is not unlikely - we will have unmanageable risks," said Kira Vinke, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

According to a World Bank report entitled South Asia's Hotspots. "On current trends, India's average annual temperatures are set to rise 1.5 degree Celsius to 3 degree Celsius compared to that benchmark by mid-century. If no corrective measures are taken, changing rainfall patterns and rising temperatures will cost India 2.8 per cent of its GDP and will drag down living standards of half its population by 2050."

Whether in New Jersey or New Delhi the Earth is heating up and the hotter it gets the worse the weather becomes. Massive floods in the summer and extra feet of snow in the winter as the air holds more moisture and since the arctic is heating up at a faster rate and melting the ice packs you folks who live along the coasts have got to ask yourself this question, "How long can I tread water?"

And Finally

Once again racism rears it's ugly head from a Rethuglican politician, is anyone surprised?

Rep. Ron DeSantis, the new Republican gubernatorial candidate in Florida, said Wednesday that voters would "monkey this up" if they elect his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, who would be the state's first African American governor.

During an interview on Fox Spews, DeSantis praised Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, as "an articulate spokesman" for those holding "far-left views," but warned he would be damaging to the state.

"The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state," DeSantis said. "That is not going to work. That's not going to be good for Florida."

I'm going to repeat that again, for those of you on drugs!

"Desantis just called Gillum a monkey!"

Those comments brought a swift rebuke from Terrie Rizzo, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, who said they were racially tinged. The Democratic Governors Association and other political groups also levied criticism.

"It's disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles," Rizzo wrote on Twitter.

Here are some more tweets:

"The new Republican nominee for governor in Florida, Ron DeSantis, said that a win for his Democratic rival - the state's first black gubernatorial nominee from a major party - would "monkey this up." ~~~ David Mack

"12 hrs into the general election cycle, Ron DeSantis has already alluded to Andrew Gillum as a monkey.' This is the spirit of racial animus that fuels today's GOP. That Trump and his friends in politics use to energize a white base. It's baseless + un-American. ~~~ Benji Gellman


"Today in racism: GOP candidate Ron DeSantis said Floridians shouldn't "monkey this up" by electing Andrew Gillum. The sad truth: this will make him more appealing to segments of the population." ~~~ Luisa Giulianetti

Just to quote a few of the 1,000s of angry tweets on Twitter. That's the very thing that tRump has loosed on America. Thats what the Rethuglican party has become. Remember that on the 6th of November!!!

Keepin' On

We don't sell our readers new cars, fancy homes or designer clothes. We don't advocate consumerism nor do we offer facile solutions to serious problems. We do, however, bring together every week writers and activists who are not afraid to speak the truth about our country and our world. The articles we print are not for the faint of heart.

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08-29-1941 ~ 08-24-2018
Thanks for exposing the 1%!

08-29-1936 ~ 08-25-2018
Burn baby Burn!

07-04-1927 ~ 08-26-2018
Thanks for the plays!


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 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.

Native American protesters are joined by anti-Trump and other demonstrators as they march against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Chicago, Illinois, on November 12, 2016.

For Native Americans, History Continues To Repeat Itself
By Dahr Jamail

Professor emeritus and former chair of Native American Studies at University of California Davis Jack Forbes writes in his book, Columbus and Other Cannibals, of what he calls the "sickness of exploitation," or the wetiko (cannibal) disease.

Cannibalism, as Forbes defines it, "is the consuming of another's life for one's own private purpose or profit."

Forbes notes, "Imperialism and exploitation are forms of cannibalism and, in fact, are precisely those forms of cannibalism which are most diabolical or evil."

"Few, if any, societies on the face of the Earth have ever been as avaricious, cruel, violent, and aggressive as have certain European populations," Forbes concludes.

Native Americans experienced wetiko in brutal fashion not long after "first contact" with Europeans.

"[Europeans] slaughtered, during one short period alone, 50 million buffalo, because thousands of us relied on them, and in less than a generation, they annihilated them," Harold Dick Jr., a 72-year-old Chiricahua Apache, told Truthout. "And they take pride in this, and take pictures of the dead buffalo, like it takes a 'real man' to shoot an animal with a high-powered rifle from far away."

He added that when Native Americans talk about "great" people, they usually speak of medicine people, "but all of the greats the whites ever write about were great at destruction and subjugating people."

Dick Jr's point has been true since the so-called founding of the United States - given that it was rich, land-owning white men who authored the US Constitution, setting the stage for the white supremacy that drives US policy, both domestic and foreign, to this day.

Stan Rushworth is an elder of Cherokee decent who has taught Native American literature and critical thinking classes focused on Indigenous perspectives for more than a quarter of a century, and now teaches at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California.

"As far as Indians are concerned, no administration that I know of has had Indians' best interest at heart," Rushworth told Truthout. "Eisenhower said, 'We're getting out of the Indian business and unilaterally abrogate all the treaties and do away with all the reservations.' So the will of the American people is that we disappear."

Thus, for Rushworth and a lot of his friends, "Trump didn't lift a veil at all - he simply imposed another layer of a veil."

Dick Jr. feels similarly. He told Truthout that, from his perspective as a Native American, if the US is going to talk about freedom and liberty, people need to recall that the country was founded upon genocide and slavery.

"If they want to start clean, the have to cop to the fact of what they did, and that it was wrong, and that [of] over 300 treaties written, not one was ever kept," Dick Jr. said. "It is a huge case of hypocrisy ...they talk of 'freedom' and 'liberty,' but we don't get any. And by extension, the citizens of the country don't really get any, either."

They are far from alone in their analysis about what ails this country, and how very far back that ailment goes.

A Rotten Foundation

"We [Native Americans] represent a shame, we represent a huge moral lapse in a country that likes to see itself as based on morality," Rushworth said. "Rule of law is what people say we are based on. But rule of law is based on a society's moral behavior. And with Indians, there is nothing but contradiction there. There is this huge cognitive dissonance."

That cognitive dissonance stems from the history of genocide, injustice, slavery and colonial history the US is based upon.

Martin Rizzo is a lecturer in University of California Santa Cruz's American Studies Department, who specializes in Native American history, as well as colonialism and nationalism.

Rizzo reminded Truthout of the ongoing legal injustices around the fact that there has never been a reckoning with the reality of the theft of land and resources from Native Americans, but also pointed towards the need to understand the historical traumas from what was done.

"The process of colonialism involves direct genocide," Rizzo said, noting that scalp bounties in the West are one example of state-sanctioned violence, in which the government reimbursed white people for hunting down Native Americans.

Rizzo notes the psychological warfare component of this - how Native Americans were literally taught that they were "subhuman."

"Like Trump today saying we shouldn't be embarrassed about 'civilizing' this continent, this is deeply embedded in the colonial mindset that sees one people superior and another people inferior," Rizzo said. "We have to reckon with this."

According to Rizzo, Native Americans are dealing with trans-generational traumas that need to be undone due to hundreds of years of being told that their lifestyles were inferior to the colonists' way.

"We are seeing this colonial world that has been increasingly devastating the environment," Rizzo said. "Natives were pointing out hundreds of years ago the need to take care of the Earth for seven generations to preserve life for the future, versus this colonial approach we see today that is destroying the planet."

Dick Jr. reminds us of Article Six, paragraph two of the US Constitution, which deals with the sovereignty of Native people.

"The treaties made between sovereign nations are supposed to be ironclad and not disused ...but they've never kept this," he said. "One of the old chiefs once said, 'They should put wheels on us so when they change the treaties, they could just roll us out of the way.' The first thing they do when they come in is they take all of it. And no matter how much there is, they take more of it."

Speaking to Forbe's wetiko disease, Dick Jr. reminds us of the colonialists coming from Europe who called themselves pilgrims. L"The bottom line is that the day these people got off the boat until today is they've never kept their word."

Dick Jr. shed light on how the basic Christian belief system brought by the colonialists drove their behavior, pointing out how many Native Americans believe they were born into paradise, whereas the Christian mindset is one of being kicked out of paradise.

"They think we were 'bad' and god threw us out," he said. "But we think we must be pretty good, because the creator gave us all of this."

Rizzo pointed out the systematic annihilation then assimilation of Native Americans, a large component of which included the breaking up of their community.

"Native American policies of the federal government shifted from outright warfare and genocide against them to: Who can we integrate into societies?" he said. "The [Dawes General] Allotment Act [of 1887] broke apart collective holdings of reservation land, and this caused a rapid loss of land for Native Americans."

According to Rizzo, during the early 20th century, in 20 years, 35 percent of all Native lands were sold, and within 40 years, roughly half were gone, and this went on until the 1930s. This furthered the disintegration and isolation within tribal societies, and contributed to psychological displacement, depression and myriad other issues.

One example of the scale and rapidity of the genocide of the Native Americans occurred between 1846 and 1880 in California, when 90 percent of them were killed by white colonists.

Rizzo consistently teaches about the slavery and genocide that the US is built upon, because, as he put it, "It's like the guy who thinks he is flawless and continues to abuse and carryout bad things. If you're not willing to look at the harsh realities of the past, then it is impossible to work towards justice."

Rizzo reminds his classes that Native American children were forcibly removed from their families, forbidden to speak their native languages and suffered corporal abuse in the name of assimilation. For at least a century this was ongoing, in addition to the fact that during the period of overt slavery, African children were separated from their parents, and oftentimes sold off to plantations.

He connects this history to the crisis at the US-Mexico border, where the federal government is separating immigrant children from their parents.

"Even today people look at the border and say, 'Oh my god, this is not the country that we are,' but this is the country we are," Rizzo said. "This has happened over and over in our history ...We have to have proper context of this all being part of a larger systematic problem that has to be corrected."

Part of coming to terms with this ongoing legacy involves Native Americans grappling with historical trauma and relating to a society that largely erases their existence.

Struggles for Indigenous Students

Dr. Rebecca Hernandez, a Mescalero Apache, is the director of the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) at University of California, Santa Cruz. The AIRC serves all students, but advocates for Native students who comprise less than 1 percent of the total student body, as is usually the case on college campuses. Hernandez told Truthout that her biggest struggle is retaining students, because the contemporary issues facing Native Americans in universities stem largely from the unhealed issues from their ancestors' brutal history under colonialism.

Hernandez talks to her students about this history in the context of how it contributes to contemporary problems and how so many of them are first-generation college students who are also struggling with guilt due to the fact that their people back home on the reservations continue to struggle mightily.

"Our collective histories as Native peoples have contributed to us as having to make these difficult decisions now because of what happened in the past," she told Truthout. "Some of us have to be these forerunners and push harder to get to the other side to get through college, or to go back (or not) and help our families, and bring other people through after us."

Hernandez works to help her students appreciate their history, because as she sees it, "We've always had these challenges and had to adapt rapidly. We were taken away from our families and expected to be really solid human beings, but there is a lot of dysfunction and sadness in our communities that has happened from that, and we are only now seeing the results of the colonization."

She sees colonization as ongoing, and one ramification of this is how so many of her Indigenous students are unaware of their own tribal history.

Hernandez works towards having her students learn to discuss themselves as Native in a way "that is confident, authentic, and they own that identity and do so with confidence."

This is because part of the current colonization stems from what Native American students deal with in their interactions with non-Natives.

"People dismiss them, ask insensitive questions, and often, the students don't have the tools to talk about themselves in a way that shuts that nonsense down," Hernandez said. "We have to learn how to talk about ourselves as Natives. Most of us present white. Because when you don't, instantly you are fair game for weird questions, stereoypes and other weird things."

An example she gave is this: "If someone says they are Egyptian, people don't ask them, 'How Egyptian are you?' We are the only group in the US that has to deal with that question. I've had people here ask me to help them figure out what their spirit animal is. I can't imagine what a 19-year-old does to deal with that. I just wonder when is this going to end." Hernandez wonders when people are going to see Native Americans as part of the American fabric just like every other demographic in the US.

"I'm like any other ethnic group, that's a big part of the contemporary experience, and I try to help students practice responding to these stereotypes and weird questions," she explained. "These are real things students are experiencing. So how do we then collectively respond and learn how to put on the brakes and say something isn't ok to say to me, or to dismiss me based on how I look?"

Additionally, Hernandez pointed out how underscoring all of those issues are the ongoing systemic problems of Native Americans suffering the low end of the tremendous wealth disparities in the US, having incredibly high suicide rates and having major health problems.

But, despite these massive issues, Hernandez encourages her students.

"Every day, I see these young people and I say, 'You are our future, you have to do this, you can't quit'," she said. "It would be a privilege to quit, but that is not a privilege we have. You alone are going to affect so many lives by finishing. You are going to show that little girl or boy that this is possible."

Hernandez is acutely aware of the challenge she faces.

"It's not easy here for them; we are so invisible," she said. "You layer that invisibility on top of feelings of inadequacy, and it makes it even harder. So I try to be that person here, to remind these young people how phenomenal they are."

It Is and Always Was "About Resources"

Dick Jr. told Truthout that in the colonialists' quest for freedom, they denied everybody else freedom.

"They've done everything in their power to annihilate us," Dick Jr. said. "Ninety-eight percent of the Indigenous population of Turtle Island [North America] was wiped out have to work at that, to wipe out that many of us."

He pointed out how, despite living on the homeland of his birth and that of his ancestors, he had to buy land to live there. "So what I'm doing is buying back my land. So that is ironic. I have to buy my land in order to live in it. There is something really wrong with that."

Rushworth reminds us that the invasion of the continent by the colonists was always about resources, driven initially by how those who came from Europe did so because they had used up their resources there.

"Their lack of philosophical underpinnings, the idea that it is all there to be used up - that's what happened in Europe," he explained. "By 1492, it was trashed, by all accounts."

He reminded us of the conditions in Europe of that time: rampant disease, no functional social networks, widespread homelessness, child labor, fiefdoms.

"These were not healthy societies," Rushworth said. "That can be measured in how they treated prisoners, how they treated women, how they treated the environment. It was not healthy people that came here. Most of them didn't come here with a healthy attitude."

Hence, carrying this attitude and the soul-sickness that accompanied it, "They took what they wanted when they came here."

"That's when the Westward expansion began, and a really deep dehumanization became the national rhetoric, and that wasn't that long ago," Rushworth concluded. "And that is all about exploitation of resources. That comes into Jack Forbe's wetiko disease of exploitation, greed and power. I think he's spot on ...It is a disease, and that is what we are still living in the middle of."
(c) 2018 Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

My Fifty Years With Uri Avnery
By Adam Keler

How to sum up in a few words 50 years of political partnership, which was also an intensive friendship, with the person who, I believe, had the most influence on me?

The starting point: summer of 1969. A 14-year-old from Tel Aviv, during the summer between elementary school and high school, I notice an ad in HaOlam HaZeh newspaper asking for volunteers at the election headquarters of the "HaOlam Hazeh - Koah Hadash" ("New Force") party. I went. In a small basement office on Glickson Street, I found three teenagers folding propaganda flyers into envelopes. To this day, the smell of fresh print takes me back to that very moment. Two hours later, we heard a commotion outside. Knesset Member Uri Avnery, the man whose articles brought us to this office in the first place, walked in. He was returning from an election rally in Rishon LeZion. He exchanged a few words with the volunteers, thanked us for our help, and went into a meeting room with his aides.

At that point, it was not Uri Avnery's opinions on the Palestinian issue that motivated me to volunteer for the campaign. My own opinions on the matter were not fully formed yet. Only two years prior, in June of 1967, I had shared with many others in celebrating the fact that Israel expanded into "new territories." I would not have imagined that I would eventually dedicate most of my life to trying to get Israel out of those territories. I was attracted to Uri Avnery's party primarily because it was a young, fresh political party that challenged the old, rotten establishment parties, and because it was opposed to religious coercion, and advocated for separation of religion and state, public transportation on Shabbat, and civil marriage.

A few weeks after I began volunteering, I left a note on Uri's desk with a few questions: Can we really make peace with the Arabs? Should we give back all the territories Israel occupied, or only some? And what will happen with the settlers? (The settler population at the time was a tiny fraction of what it is today.) A week later, I received a letter in the mail - three pages of detailed answers to each one of my 10 questions. I still have that letter. I have no doubt that Uri wrote it himself - his writing style seeps out of every word. He took the time and energy, in the middle of running a political campaign, to provide thorough answers to the questions of a 14-year-old. I think it turned out to be a profitable investment.

The end point: Friday, August 3, 2018. A years-long political partner of Uri Avnery, at 63 years old, I receive his weekly column, as I do every Friday. In this article, he wrote about the Jewish Nation-State Law and Israel's national identity, and whether it was Jewish or Israeli (he of course advocated strongly for an Israeli identity). As I had done many times before, I wrote him an email commenting on the substance of the article, raising some fundamental objections. He suggested we discuss them further next time we meet. I asked for his opinion on the protest against the Nation-State Law, scheduled for the following day by the Druze community. He said he was convinced that the demonstration would not focus on the Druze's exclusive standing in Israeli society, or the unique bundle of rights they get for serving in the military, but that it will tackle the fundamental principle of equality for all citizens.

The last which I will ever hear from him was a one-line message on my computer screen: "I am going to the Druze protest tomorrow." I assume that he did read what I had written him, that on that night he went to sleep in his bed and that he woke up the next day with the intention of participating in the protest. In the evening, when I was standing amidst the large crowd that amassed in the Rabin Square, I assumed he was standing somewhere around. I rang his phone twice, getting no reply and chalking it up to bad reception (which is common during mass rallies when very many people use their mobile phones all at once). In retrospect I know that by then he had already been admitted to the emergency room at Ichilov Hospital, never to regain consciousness. It was the activists who planned to give him a ride to the demonstration who had found him lying on the floor of his apartment.

What filled the 50 years between the start and end points? The HaOlam Hazeh - Koah Hadash party, which merged into Peace and Eqaulity for Israel, a political party known as Shelli in Hebrew; the Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, which held meetings with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and became a faction of Sheli; the Progressive List for Peace, which we joined after Shelli broke up; and then Gush Shalom. So many meetings, marches, protests and conversations. So many memories.

Standing side by side, holding posters at a protest to prevent the closure of Raymonda Tawil's news agency in East Jerusalem. The photo that Avnery's wife, Rachel, took of that demonstration is still up on the wall of the room I am writing these very words in. A conversation with Avnery the day that HaOlam Hazeh, which he edited for 40 years, officially shut down. I said: "I know this is a difficult day for you." He answered: "The paper was a tool, serving a purpose. We shall find other tools."

It is early 1983. Uri Avnery, Matti Peled and Yaakov Arnon, known us the "Three Muskateers", come back from a meeting with Yasser Arafat in Tunisia. As soon as he lands at the airport, he hands me photos of the meeting, and I bounce from one newsroom to another across Tel Aviv to distribute them in person. I then take a shared taxi to Jerusalem where Ziad Abu Aayyad, editor of the Palestinian Al-Fajr ("The Dawn") newspaper, waited for me.

A bit later in 1983, the radio announcing the assassination of Issam Sartawi, a PLO member who often met with Avnery and was a close personal friend to him, and my phone call to Uri informing him of the sad news. The frustrating endless phone calls, in the couple of days that followed, proved to us that it was impossible to rent a hall in Tel Aviv to commemorate a PLO man - even one who advocated for peace with Israel and was killed for it.

December 1992. Prime Minister Rabin, who had not yet signed the Oslo Accords and had not yet become a hero of peace, expels more than four hundred Palestinian activists to Lebanon, and we put up a protest tent in front of the Prime Minister's Office. A cold Jerusalem winter, and it is snowing, but inside the tent that was donated by Bedouins from the Negev, it feels warm and cozy. Uri, Rachel, myself and my wife Beate join other activists in a long conversation with Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, on Judaism and Islam, and how religion and politics converge and clash.

In 1997, in the middle of a protest in front of Har Homa - Netanyahu's flagship settlement - Uri's stomach wound, which he had been carrying since the war in 1948, breaks open. A Palestinian ambulance clears him to Al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem; we are all very anxious. Rachel tells me, "even though I do not believe in God, I am praying." But Uri recovers and lives on for 21 more years of intensive political activity.

May 2003, the Muqata'a (Presidential Compound) in Ramallah. That afternoon, there was a suicide bombing in Rishon LeZion, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon drops a broad hint that he might send an elite IDF unit to "handle" Yasser Arafat that night. We are among 15 Israeli activists who go to Ramallah to serve as human shields. We call the media and tell them that "for the Prime Minister's information, there are Israeli citizens sitting outside of Arafat's door!"

Arafat shows Uri his gun and says, "if they come, I have a bullet in here for myself." We spend an entire night at Arafat's door, having conversations with young Palestinian guards in a mix of Arabic, Hebrew, and English, paying attention to every sound. Then it is dawn, and we understand that we made it through the night safely, and that the soldiers will not be coming.

Another long, relaxed conversation when we stopped to eat something on our way back from a Progressive List meeting in Nazareth: "The Crusaders were here before us, they came from Europe and established here a kingdom that lasted 200 years. Not all of them were religious fanatics. Among them were people who spoke Arabic and had Muslim friends. But they were never able to achieve peace with their neighbors or adapt to this region. They had temporary agreements and ceasefires, but were not able to gain real peace. Acre was their 'Tel Aviv,' and when it fell, the last Crusaders were thrown into the sea - literally. Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it."

"If I ever get the chance to serve as a minister, I would want to have Education Ministry. That is the most important portfolio in the cabinet. The Defense Minister may be able to send soldiers to die in war, but the Education Minister can shape children's consciousness. The policies of today's Education Minister will still bear manifest results in 50 years, when today's children become grandparents and talk to their own granchildren. If I were the minister, the first thing I would do is remove the [Biblical] Book of Joshua from the curriculum. That book advocates genocide, plain and simple. It is also a historical fiction - the events it describes never happened. Rachel was a teacher for 40 years, and every year she succeeded in avoiding teaching this trash."

Rachel accompanied him everywhere, an active partner to everything he did, editing his articles and dealing with the all the logistics of organizing protests. We all knew she was a carrier of hepatitis B - a time bomb that might explode at any moment. And when it finally did, Uri spent six months with her in the hospital, day and night. He almost disappeared from political life. One day, I happened to bump into him in the hallway of Ichilov Hospital as he was pushing her in a wheelchair, from one checkup to another.

In her final weeks, someone told Uri of an experimental treatment that might save Rachel's life. Although he knew the chances were slim, Uri spent large sums of money to purchase the medication in America and have it flown to Ben Gurion Airport, and from there, transported directly to the hospital. When she passed away, Uri asked that nobody contact him for three days, and he completely disengaged from the world. Once those three days were over, he went back to his routine of protests and political commentary ­ or so it seemed.

How to finish this article? I will go back to 1969, to an article by Uri which I read under the table during a very boring class in eighth grade. I still remember it, almost word for word; it was a futuristic article that attempted to imagine what the country would look like in 1990. The page was split into two parallel columns, representing two parallel futures. In one of the futures, Independence Day in 1990 is marked by a tremendous manifestation of military power, with new tanks on display in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Moshe Dayan congratulates IDF soldiers who are on alert in the Lebanon Valley and the Land of Goshen near the Nile, and declares: "We shall never give up the city of Be'erot (formerly Beirut), this is our ancestral homeland!"

In the second future, on Independence Day in 1990 festive receptions are being held at Israeli embassies across the Arab world, but the most moving photo was captured in Jerusalem, of a warm embrace between Israeli President Moshe Dayan and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
(c) 2018 Adam Keller

Rocky Road For The Corporate Duopoly If Blacks Back Bernie In 2020
By Glenn Ford

The biggest obstacle to Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic nomination in 2020 is Kamala Harris, the corporate, anti-Black prosecutor. But Black voters are now in Bernie's camp.

If Bernie Sanders can remain vigorous until the opening of the Democratic primary season in September or so of 2019, when he turns 78, the self-styled "socialist" with the FDR domestic program and the Harry Truman foreign policy will fare much better with Black voters than he did last time around.

Two factors spelled doom for the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign: super-delegates, mainly Democratic Party elected officials, many of whom had announced their support for deep-pockets Hillary Clinton long before the primary process had begun; and Black voters, who were still trying to figure out who Bernie Sanders was when the February and March primaries rolled into their states. By the end of the March primaries, the conventional corporate media wisdom was that Black voters were a bulwark of the "moderate" or "centrist" forces within the Democratic Party, while young whites composed the vanguard of the left(ish) Sanders insurgency.

The corporate media pundits got it both right and wrong, regarding Black voting behavior. It is true that Blacks tend to back the Democratic presidential primary candidate that they believe has the best chance of beating the White Man's (Republican) Party standard bearer in the general election. However, that does not mean Black voters share these "moderate" or "centrist" candidates' positions on the issues. Blacks are substantially to the left of whites, including white Democrats, on most issues, but believe that keeping the White Man's Party out of the White House is more important than nominating the most progressive Democratic standard bearer. Thus, the duopoly system compels Black Democratic primary voters to suppress their own progressive instincts for the sake of defeating the GOP.

The overarching necessity to keep the White Man's Party at bay requires that Blacks resist even the fundamental urge to vote for one of their own. In 2008, Hillary Clinton retained majority Black voter support and the backing of most Black elected officials right up until Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses -- at which point Clinton's Black voter base evaporated. If a "brother" could win in an overwhelmingly white state, it was considered safe for Blacks to support him for president.

In terms of their respective politics, there has never been the slightest difference between Obama and the Clintons. Obama became the second corporatist Democratic Leadership Council drone to enter the White House. If Hillary had won in 2016, hers would have been the third DLC presidency.

But, Obama was Black, and that was an historic first. It was also a disaster for mass Black progressive politics, which was at times warped beyond recognition by the deformative influence of the Great Black Hole on Pennsylvania Avenue, which consistently pulled towards war and austerity. Cory Booker had hoped to be the "first" Obama -- that is, if Booker had not lost his first race for mayor of Newark, New Jersey, in 2002, he might have beaten Obama in the race to become corporate America's Great Black Hope -- a new, Black face for the U.S. empire, to replace the disgraced Bush-face of defeat in Iraq and, just before the 2008 election, global capitalist collapse. But, guided by the cover story of the first issue of The Black Commentator ("Fruit of the Poisoned Tree, " an expose.of Cory Booker's profoundly rightwing political roots), progressive Democrats and union activists beat back the rightwing tide that had poured into Newark from all points on the reactionary map in support of young "Cory," whose national political debut was launched at a power luncheon of the far-right Manhattan Institute. Obama became The One. Booker had to wait until 2006 to win Newark's City Hall, a step towards his current Senate seat and (already active) presidential campaign.

Booker cannot escape his deep-right roots, and neither can fellow Senator Kamala Harris escape her anti-criminal justice reform history as a California prosecutor. Having provided the first Black presidential success story, the Democratic Party now serves up an excess of anti-Black Black presidential aspirants. My guess is that Harris will have the Black lane to herself by the 2020 primaries, and will stake an even more urgent claim to become the first corporatist woman in the White House that was not married to the resident criminal.

Kamala Harris will be Bernie Sanders' biggest obstacle in 2020. But no one should assume that she will have a lock on the Black vote. In 2015 and early 2016, Black voters told pollsters they did not know who Bernie Sanders was. Many thought of Sanders as someone whose attacks on frontrunner Clinton could harm the prospects of beating back Trump. They later learned that polls showed Sanders would have defeated Trump by a far bigger margin than Hillary was projected to win the White House -- and, of course, she did not win. That means Sanders is seen as a winner, a man who can remove the Orange Terror from the Oval Office, which is all that matters to most Black Democrats.

The next presidential go-round holds real promise for Sanders, the more left(ish) candidate, despite the double-trap that the duopoly system usually presents for Black voters. Recent polls show Sanders gets his highest ratings from Blacks: 73 percent favorable, while only about half of whites and 68 percent of Hispanics are favorable to Sanders.

While most U.S. voters believe they are effectively restricted to choosing between two corporate parties, Black voters perceive only one choice within the duopoly: to oppose the White Man's Party by voting for the Democrat most likely to win. That double-bind almost always means Black support for the candidate with the deepest pockets -- the most corporate Democrat. This, despite the fact that, according to political scientist Michael Dawson, the largest group of Black voters most closely resembles "Swedish Social Democrats" -- the "socialist" bloc Bernie Sanders claims to most admire. (Dawson adds, "and many [Blacks] are more radical than that.") This time around, however, the "left" candidate is also the one with the winner's glow, who would have beaten Trump in 2016. By next September, Black folks may well see Kamala Harris as the spoiler who could screw up the chance to be rid of Trump.

Of course, the only way out of the duopoly is to leave it, by building a real "socialist" party -- or one close enough to encompass a minimal program against endless austerity and war, the only items on the capitalists' menu in the twilight of U.S. empire. Sanders remains "an imperialist pig," like Truman and all the Democratic presidents that came after him -- and also plays the "sheep dog" that gathers in the wayward lefties of the flock. But that struggle for a new party occurs in an environment in which most of its prospective members are ensnared in the Democratic Party, which holds captive the 40 percent or so of the U.S. population that are actually social democrats, or "more radical than that." This cohort includes the vast majority of Black people, and is larger than the second-biggest ideological bloc in the country: Trump's White Man's Party GOP. The corporate Democrats will never relinquish their control of half the duopoly, and would rather repeat their loss to Trump than open the door -- even if only rhetorically -- to "socialism." They will either crush Sanders in the cruel light of day or, should he get the nomination, abandon and sabotage his candidacy -- as they did George McGovern (non-socialist, but anti-Vietnam War) in 1972.

From such a heady, nasty mix, one can never know the outcome. But it could be the opening that breaks the duopoly -- a process that began with Donald Trump's primary victories, in 2016, prompting most of the ruling class and their national security spooks to crowd into Hillary Clinton's "big, nasty tent" -- from which they launched "Russiagate" on election night.

It could also be the historical point when Black voters split dramatically with the Black Misleadership Class, as exemplified by the Congressional Black Caucus, which tried unsuccessfully, last week, to retain the rules that empowered "super-delegates" to thwart the will of Democratic primary voters on the first ballot of the presidential nominating convention. The Black Caucus can always be counted on to go with "the money." Black voters may perceive that, in 2020, they have a chance to go with "a winner" whose politics -- except for the imperialist pig part -- is also closer to their own. And once the duopoly is fractured, a whole world of politics and parties becomes possible.
(c) 2018 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

In a time of perpetual war and runaway militarism, in sync with rampant corporate power,
the party is currently in need of a basic course correction that can only come from the grassroots.

Victory In Superdelegates Fight Means: Grassroots Can Win
The Democratic Party has not made such a historic reform to its presidential nominating process in decades. So, how did it happen?
By Norman Solomon

When members of the Democratic National Committee voted to take power away from themselves and other "superdelegates" -- removing their leverage over the presidential nominating process - they took a big step toward heeding a sign that activists held outside their decisive meeting: "Democratic Party: Live Up to Your Name."

Outside that meeting at a Chicago hotel, we were holding the sign to put a spotlight on existing hypocrisy and to call for seizing an opportunity.

Officials rarely decide to reduce their own power. And the Democratic Party has not made such a historic reform to its presidential nominating process in decades. So, how did it happen?

After participating in the 2016 national convention as a Bernie Sanders delegate and then working as part of coalitions to get superdelegates out of the nominating equation, I've been pondering what we can learn from the historic win that occurred on Saturday. Here are some takeaways:

1: Leadership to make historic change must come from the grassroots.

The mass media did not do anything to help jettison the power of superdelegates. Neither did even the most progressive Democrats in Congress. The impetus came from, and was sustained by, a progressive base that saw what was wrong with the nominating process in 2016 and was fed up.

2: Education and agitation must happen in communities nationwide.

Sometimes we hear how it's not enough to "preach to the choir." But, while ultimately insufficient, it's necessary: to build on and expand a solid base. Only with thorough and ongoing outreach - to inform and galvanize progressives - can momentum for long-term pressure be sustained.

3: In many respects, even the best Democrats in Congress are not providing much cutting-edge leadership. Grassroots activism should be providing leadership to them rather than the other way around.

If it had been left up to the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the superdelegate reform would not have happened. Overall, the reform proposal got scant support - and some notable vehement opposition - from Democrats in Congress, including some who are often praised as "progressive."

4: When grassroots activists lead - and are willing to fight like hell, astutely and reasonably and unrelentingly - the Democratic leaders can sometimes be compelled to follow.

It's virtually impossible to name a profoundly positive social change that was first initiated from Capitol Hill or from the DNC leadership.

5: We need to methodically organize - inside and outside of the Democratic Party - in order to effectively harness the progressive energies that require public education, activism, and expressions of outrage.

Grassroots organizing - local, regional and national - is crucial. That's what happened on the superdelegate issue. Overall progressive strength and organizational muscle led top national Democratic Party powerbrokers to conclude that the party must earn a lot more trust from progressives in order to win more elections. Those powerbrokers came to understand that failure to ditch the power of superdelegates would only worsen the falloff of grassroots support and enthusiasm for the party's candidates.

6: Election campaigns should be subsets of social movements, not the other way around.

Winning elections - to defeat Republicans while electing more and more progressive Democrats - is absolutely vital. GOP control over the federal executive and legislative branches, and therefore increasingly over the courts as well, must be rolled back: beginning with the midterm elections this fall. In the absence of hallucinatory political analysis, defeating Republicans will require supporting Democrats on the general-election ballot.

At the same time, progressives should not defer to leadership from Democratic Party officials or congressional Democrats, who are routinely constrained and compromised by their roles. And in a time of perpetual war and runaway militarism, in sync with rampant corporate power, the party is currently in need of a basic course correction that can only come from the grassroots. The ultimate key to vital social change is social movements.

Leadership must come from the grassroots. That's how superdelegates met their long-overdue demise.
(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."

Help Save America's Public Post Offices
By Jim Hightower

The US postal system has 30,000 outlets serving every part of America it employs 630,000 people in good middle-class jobs, and it proudly delivers letters and packages clear across the country for a pittance. It's a jewel of public service excellence.

Therefore, it must be destroyed.

Such is the fevered logic of laissez-fairyheaded corporate supremists like the billionaire Koch brothers and the right-wing politicians who serve them. This malevolent gang of wrecking-ball privatizers includes such prominent Trumpteers as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (a former Wall Street huckster from Goldman Sachs), and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney (a former corporate-hugging congress critter from South Carolina). Both were involved in setting up Trump's shiny new task force to remake our US Postal Service. It's like asking two foxes to remodel the hen house.

Trump himself merely wanted to take a slap at his political enemy, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, by jacking up the prices the postal agency charges to deliver Amazon's packages. The cabal of far-right corporatizers, however, saw Trump's temper tantrum as a golden opportunity to go after the postal service itself. So, instead of simply addressing the matter of package pricing - Shazam! - the task force was trumped-up with an open-ended mandate to evaluate, dissect, and "restructure" the people's mail service, including carving it up and selling off the parts.

Who'd buy the pieces? For-profit shippers like FedEx, of course, but here's some serious irony for you: The one outfit with the cash and clout to buy our nation's whole postal infrastructure and turn it into a monstrous corporate monopoly is none other than... Amazon.

To help stop this sellout, become part of the Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service:
(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

Impeachment was never meant to be about crimes and punishments. It was intended at the founding of the American experiment,
and should be so understood today, as a remedy for the monarchical tendencies of men.

What To Do When A President Believes He's Above Justice
To protect our democracy, Congress must value the Constitution over partisan politics
By John Nichols

"My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution." ~~~ Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Statement on the Articles of Impeachment (July 25, 1974)

Impeachment is not a constitutional crisis. Impeachment is the cure for a constitutional crisis. Like any antidote, it must be employed judiciously. When the crisis arises, however, patriots cannot be cautious about utilizing the strong medicine that was conjured in the summer of 1787 by the authors of a constitution that was written with an eye toward averting the elected despotism of a president who might conspire to make himself "a king for four years."

The wisest of the delegates who gathered in Philadelphia, just four years after their rebellion had seen off the rule of King George III, were well-aware that their imprecise efforts might forge not just a new nation, but a new approach to governing. They well recognized the vulnerabilities of a project that experimented, however tentatively, with the revolutionary prospect of democracy. They worried, as Lincoln would decades later, about "whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure." Above all, they recognized that their project of replacing the rule of man with the rule of law would be threatened by what George Mason described as the "easy step to hereditary Monarchy." To avert it, Mason warned, "No point is of more importance than that the right of impeachment should be continued."

It would, Mason suggested, provide an eternal answer to questions that plagued the convention as it pondered the presidency: "Shall any man be above Justice? Above all shall that man be above it, who can commit the most extensive injustice?"

Mason placed his faith in a rigorous system of checks and balances that was enforced, ultimately and definitively, by the power of the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach a president whose continued tenure threatened the republic, and of the United States Senate to remove the offending officeholder.

Impeachment was never meant to be about crimes and punishments. It was intended at the founding of the American experiment, and should be so understood today, as a remedy for the monarchical tendencies of men who answer Mason's questions differently than did the Virginian and his compatriots.

Donald Trump is such a man.

In the spring of 2018, as the 45th president of the United States and his legal minions scrambled to limit the scope of questioning of the commander-in-chief by special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump revealed himself. He insisted that the deputizing of a veteran lawman as an investigator of monumental concerns regarding manipulation of the electoral and governing processes by foreign powers was "totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!" Trump claimed that he cooperated with the inquiry not out of respect for the laws of the land, but because he chose to do so as one who claimed to "have done nothing wrong." At the same time, Trump asserted that he retained an "absolute right" to pardon himself should the heat of official scrutiny grow too intense.

These were not the words of a Democrat or a Republican. They were monarchical words, uttered by a man whose tenure had strained even the most liberal interpretations of executive authority. Now, this man was asserting that he was above justice. And, yes, he was doing so as the man who, by virtue of his position, could commit the most extensive injustice.

These are the rough outlines of the constitutional crisis that the founders feared. Our contemporary media and political elites recognize its contours. They know the sickness is upon us. Yet, they choose, out of quivering fear and overwhelming incomprehension, to reject the constitutional remedy. After too many years of making too many apologies for an imperial presidency, too many of those who define our discourse have lost any real sense of the anti-royalist "spirit of '76" that Jefferson asserted in his final letter should forever serve as "the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government."

The author of the Declaration of Independence was a flawed man who can be criticized for missteps and misdeeds-as can all of the founders. Yet Jefferson, a man of the world who had traveled more broadly than his revolutionary co-conspirators, was surely right to assert that ignorance could bind not just human beings but nations. If we do not recognize the threat posed by a president who imagines himself to be above the law, or by those who suggest that this man's tenure may not be interrupted by the subpoenas and the investigations and legal requirements that demand the respect of all other Americans, then surely we have abandoned the most basic premises of the American experiment.

The authors of this vital text [The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump] refuse to accept so perilous a surrender. They seek to burst the chains of our contemporary superstitions regarding impeachment and to restore a proper understanding of its role in maintaining the right balance of American governance. Misguided people who imagine that liberty and justice for all can long survive in a circumstance where a president places himself above the law fret about the political consequences of addressing a constitutional crisis with a constitutional remedy. They foolishly imagine that it is better to wait a lawless presidency out, with faint hope for better results on some distant election day. They refuse to recognize that each failure to demand necessary accountability invites greater abuse and diminishes the prospect that accountability will ever be achieved. When human beings who are ailing receive prescriptions for curing medications and then refuse to take those medications, we are horrified because we know that these choices may lead to their deaths. What we must understand is that republics are similarly vulnerable. They too can die for lack of proper treatment in moments of emergency.

Ron Fein, John Bonifaz, and Ben Clements recognize our predicament, and they call out for us to address it with the courage of a nation that seeks to heal itself. They do not do this for purposes of politics-indeed, politicians for the most part fear impeachment. Nor do they do this for purposes of achieving power-as these authors are dissenters who have frequently sacrificed gain in order to assert constitutional certainties that they know to be true.

The authors of this book have been about the business of defending the Constitution for many decades now. They know of what they speak, especially in matters of presidential accountability. They choose their words deliberately, with an understanding of the social and political demands that attend any call for an impeachment process-and of the particular demands that attend a call for an impeachment process that would hold to account so unprecedented and so reckless a figure as Donald Trump. They are precise in their assessment of the high crimes and misdemeanors that might form the basis for this process. And they are equally precise in their explanation of its urgency.

Just as George Mason answered his essential questions of 1787 with an argument that the power of impeachment must be outlined in the Constitution, so Fein, Bonifaz, and Clements answer the essential questions of 2018 and 2019 about the application of that power. They recognize and respect legal inquiries into alleged wrongdoing by the president and his associates. Yet, they remind us that impeachment is a political process-not a legal one-and that it must play out in the Congress as opposed to the courts. They assert, correctly, that the Congress does not need wait for Robert Mueller to finish a report, or for Donald Trump to pardon those who might be implicated-up to and including himself. Sufficient evidence of wrongdoing has already been assembled to justify-indeed, to demand-the opening of a congressional investigation into whether this president shall be impeached.

As the evidence is sufficient-and no reasonable observer would deny that it is-then why not simply pen the articles of impeachment and do the deed immediately? It is in the answering of this question that Fein, Bonifaz, and Clements display their genius, and the genius of this book.

Impeachment is best understood, they remind us, as a process with many moving pieces. It is not the work of one man or woman, not the project of a moment. Rather, it is an expansive undertaking that works best when it draws many voices into a serious conversation about wrongdoing and accountability.

There is nothing wrong with individual members of the House proposing articles of impeachment. Some of the most honorable members in the long history of the chamber-Father Robert Drinan of Massachusetts, Pete McCloskey of California, Bella Abzug of New York, Henry B. Gonzalez of Texas-have done just that. Some of the most honorable members of the 115th Congress (including Steve Cohen, the Tennessee Democrat who serves as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice) have done the same. The current initiatives serve a purpose; they outline appropriate objections and remind Americans that at least some members of Congress are fully prepared to honor their oaths to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." But it is unlikely that the articles already proposed will form a final congressional indictment against Donald J. Trump.

The articles that might accomplish this necessary work are most likely to emanate from the House Judiciary Committee. There is a reason for this, and it is not just a matter of following the traditions and utilizing the infrastructure of the Congress.

Because impeachment is a political process, it must develop in the political context of a Congress made up of members who are not always courageous, who are invariably calculating and who are easily distracted in even the most urgent of circumstances. Three presidents have been seriously targeted for impeachment by the House. Two were impeached, and then acquitted by the Senate. One was at the brink of impeachment-following the decision of the House Judiciary Committee to support three indicting articles-and chose to remove himself before trial. There are those who argue that the resignation of Richard Nixon upended the impeachment process, but anyone who understands the point of a system of checks and balances will recognize the absurdity of this claim.

Nixon was threatened with impeachment and removed himself-thus ending his abuses of power and restoring the proper functioning of the office of the presidency. By any reasonable measure, that was a successful application of the constitutional remedy. Keep in mind that the point of impeachment has always been to address the abuses of executive authority that might see a president assume the mantle of an "elected despot." Whether a president is impeached and convicted or simply resigns in order to avoid inevitable impeachment and conviction, the constitutional crisis has been cured.

Thus, the American who can most justifiably be said to have continued the right of impeachment as George Mason and his compatriots intended is Peter Rodino, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who, upon his death at age 95, was recalled by The New York Times as "an obscure congressman from the streets of Newark who impressed the nation by the dignity, fairness and firmness he showed as chairman of the impeachment hearings that induced Richard M. Nixon to resign as president."

Rodino was a Democrat and Nixon was a Republican. Rodino's Democrats had majorities in the House and Senate in 1974. Yet, the savvy veteran of the rough-and-tumble politics of New Jersey's Essex County well understood that, in order to hold Nixon to account, he was going to need cautious House Democrats and skeptical House Republicans to accept the necessity of impeachment. This wasn't about building a narrow coalition in order to clear the constitutional hurdles of a simple majority vote in the House and a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate. This was about building a case that was convincing to the American people. The case that Rodino and his Judiciary Committee colleagues crafted over many months, with hearings that entertained a wide range of offenses but finally focused on a few of the most egregious wrongs, was sufficiently compelling to secure Republican support for three articles of impeachment and to send Nixon packing.

These are different times. There are plenty of pundits and politicians who now assert that our partisanships have become so great that even a Peter Rodino could not make an impeachment process work. If that is the case, then the United States has not continued the right of impeachment as a whole instrument of the Constitution. The licensing words may remain in the document, but they are merely assertions of an ideal-not a practical tool for making real the founding promise of accountability for errant executives.

If we have reached such a point of compromise, then the American experiment is finished. Donald Trump may be voted out of office after one term. Or he may retire after two. Better presidents may come. Or worse. But the vision that ours would be a government of laws, not men, will be finished. We will, like the monarchies of old, be able to hope for no more than a "good king." We will be more akin to the monarchies of old, which might have produced a "Bad King John" or a "Good King Richard," but that always had kings. And those kings ruled by "divine right," rejecting the rule of law in favor of rule by fiat-just as Donald Trump does when he suggests he cooperates with inquiries not out of respect for the rule of law but because it occurs to him that he has "done nothing wrong."

This new America with its diminished system of checks and balances, where impeachment is never an option, will not be a formal monarchy. Jurists may still prattle on about statutory requirements, and those requirements will undoubtedly be applied to citizens. But those requirements will no longer be applied to the executive branch, which will go from bad to worse; on a downward spiral of imperial presidents where good commanders-in-chief are the exceptions that prove the rule. The failure of Congress to hold Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush to account for their Iran-Contra transgressions cleared the way for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to engage in far more destructive transgressions in Iraq. A failure to hold Donald Trump to account for his lawlessness all but guarantees that a more lawless president will eventually occupy the Oval Office. To think otherwise is to engage in the cruelest of fantasies.

This book rejects fantasy. It chooses the realism of long-settled history over the conjecture of a chaotic present. Taking the long view is rarely rewarded in these times of "instant analysis." But it is the only view that provides us with the hope of righting the ship of state for more than a passing moment. This book outlines a serious vision for renewing the system of checks and balances, not merely to hold Donald Trump to account but to restore the basic premises of accountability that were embedded in the Constitution by the founders-and that have been preserved by true patriots in even the most daunting of times.

The patriots who have contributed to these pages propose nothing more radical than a reconnection with the deepest understandings from the summer of 1787, and from the summer of 1974. They recognize the necessity of wielding the awesome power of impeachment with the "solemnness" that Congresswoman Barbara Jordan described on July 25, 1974.

An African American lawyer and legislator born and raised in the segregated Texas of "Jim Crow" times, she was serving her initial term in the U.S. House of Representatives as the first African American woman ever elected from the Deep South. Now, Jordan sat on the Judiciary Committee as "an inquisitor" charged with determining the fate of a president who had only recently been reelected with 61 percent of the vote and a 520-17 Electoral College landslide.

"Earlier today, we heard the beginning of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States: 'We, the people.' It's a very eloquent beginning," she told her colleagues. "But when that document was completed on the 17th of September in 1787, I was not included in that 'We, the people.' I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, I have finally been included in 'We, the people.'"

There was perfection in the language that Barbara Jordan chose on that historic day. She took hold of the right of impeachment and made it what it should always have been: the possession of every American. Every American. And she declared that this right must have meaning, not merely in history but in the present.

"James Madison, again at the Constitutional Convention, [said]: 'A president is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the Constitution.' The Constitution charges the president with the task of taking care that the laws be faithfully executed," she explained, "and yet the president has counseled his aides to commit perjury, willfully disregard the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, conceal surreptitious entry, attempt to compromise a federal judge, while publicly displaying his cooperation with the processes of criminal justice."

Jordan repeated Madison's words: "A president is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the Constitution." Wearing the armor of history, she explained why the standard would need to be applied to Richard Nixon's sins against the republic. "If the impeachment provision in the Constitution of the United States will not reach the offenses charged here," said Jordan, "then perhaps that 18th-century Constitution should be abandoned to a 20th-century paper shredder!"

Those are words as wise as any handed down from George Mason or James Madison or Thomas Jefferson. They form an impression of the impeachment power as we today must recognize it. So too does Jordan's willingness in so charged a moment to maintain the right of impeachment.

"Has the president committed offenses, and planned, and directed, and acquiesced in a course of conduct which the Constitution will not tolerate? That's the question," explained the congresswoman. "We know that. We know the question. We should now forthwith proceed to answer the question. It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision."

The authors of this book speak a historic language when they demand that Congress ask again: "Has the president committed offenses, and planned, and directed, and acquiesced in a course of conduct which the Constitution will not tolerate?" This is a book that extends from the founding moment of 1787 through the accountability moment of 1974 to the urgent moment of today. It demands more of us than many of our ancestors were willing to provide the republic. But not more than George Mason demanded. Not more than Barbara Jordan demanded. Not more than solemn and sincere patriotism has always demanded of us.

We do know the question that extends from the right of impeachment. And if the Constitution is to remain full in its meaning and its promise, then we should now forthwith proceed to answer the question.
(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.

The Poison In American Made Chewing Gum
By James Donahue

We don't understand their reasoning because manufactured sweetener does not appear to be less costly than sugar. Perhaps the American chewing gum manufacturers are involved in a mass conspiracy to destroy the minds of our children and all adults who like to chomp on their product. That or they have been caught up in a mass marketing scheme for pure greedy profit.

Whatever the reason, chewing gum in America is laced with aspartame, an artificial sweetener that is known as an excitotoxin. They call it that because the chemical in it is toxic and excites brain cells to the point of killing them.

The makers of aspartame, commonly sold under the brand names Equal, NutraSweet and Spoonful, say the ingredients include phenylalanine and aspartic acid, both amino acids that are normally found in the foods we eat. But they can only be considered harmless when consumed in combinations with other amino acids.

On their own, these two amino acids become excitotoxins that enter the central nervous system in abnormally high concentrations, causing aberrant neuronal firing and cell death. The results are often headaches, mental confusion, problems of balance and even seizures.

Migraine headache sufferers often find that their problem is eased or goes away completely if they give up consuming soft drinks, gum and foods that contain Aspartame or the other major excitotoxin dumped in our commercially produced foods: monosodium glutamate.

Aspartame is such a harmful product, we are amazed that it was ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for human consumption. The reason it happened was obviously political and financial. The Monsanto Corporation, which created Aspartame, spent $2 million alone lobbying the government in the Third Quarter of 2011 in support of this deadly product.

Not only does Aspartame contain these two harmful amino acids, but 10 percent of the product that is absorbed into the bloodstream is methanol, or just plain old wood alcohol. A one-liter bottle of diet soda, sweetened with aspartame, contains about 56 milligrams of wood alcohol, or eight times the limit set by the FDA for safe consumption within a single day. How many people become addicted to diet drinks and slug down more than one a day? This story gets even scarier. When exposed to warm temperatures or prolonged storage, aspartame breaks down into metabolites that can be deadly poison. Phenylalanine decomposes into diketopiperazine (DKP), a known carcinogen. And even in cooler temperatures, methanol will produce a colorless toxin called formaldehyde. We all know formaldehyde as the stuff morticians use to preserve dead bodies. It also is used in the manufacture of glues, plastics, paints and wood products. Its gases are a deadly by-product of contemporary living that can kill.

Among the worst products that contain aspartame is chewing gum. An article by Dr. James Bowen explains that aspartame in gum "is absorbed directly through the buccal mucsa of the tongue, mouth and gums, making it a far worse poisoning than even if it were given intravenously." He wrote that "the nerves serving this area and their vascular supply derive directly from the brain, so the Aspartame absorbed through them goes directly into the brain, by passing the spinal cord and blood brain barrier."

Bowen said Aspartame is such a dangerous and mentally destructive substance that he suggests its massive dumping into the American food chain with FDA approval may have been done on purpose.

"The devastation of the human brain is the primary reason why this brain washing agent, designed to keep us from questioning or objecting to what they (the elected leadership) are doing to our country and our world, is being slipped into us in spite of its horribly failing the toxicity studies."

Bowen said Aspartame not only is found to be a strong carcinogen, but he called it "the number one brain carcinogen ever discovered by science!" He wrote that the brain cancer rate in the US jumped ten percent the first six months after Aspartame was added to diet soda.

This writer's late wife was an ardent gum chewer all of her life. After learning about the dangers of Aspartame and discovering that most chewing gum on the market was laced with the poison, she began reading labels and shifted to certain brands of bubble gum, which were free of Aspartame. But wouldn't you know it, eventually even those brands "improved" their products by adding Aspartame. At last look, a few brands, usually found in wholesome food stores, were still free of the fake sweetener.

My wife died of cancer in 2013.

The sad part of this story is that the primary users of bubble gum are children. If Dr. Bowen's conspiracy theory is correct, it seems that someone appears to have decided to destroy their little minds before they ever get a chance to grow up and made decisions for themselves.

If Bowen is wrong, then perhaps the makers of bubble gum in America have consumed so much Aspartame over the years, they are not thinking clearly enough to realize what they have just done.
(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.

Michael Cohen, former lawyer to Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on August 21, 2018, in New York City.
Cohen reached an agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges involving bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations.

When A Scumbag Hires Scumbags: Trump, Manafort And Cohen, Oh My!
By William Rivers Pitt

For the historical record, let it be noted that the following events took place within about five minutes of each other on the afternoon of August 21 in the strange year 2018: Paul Manafort, former campaign manager to the sitting president of the United States, was convicted by a jury of his peers on eight counts of bank and tax fraud. He faces 8 to 10 years in prison according to the guidelines but could be imprisoned for as many as 65 years if the judge sentences him consecutively. He faces even heavier charges in a trial next month over his dealings in Russia and Ukraine.

At almost precisely the same moment, Michael Cohen, former personal attorney and "fixer" for the sitting president of the United States, stood before a judge and pleaded guilty to eight counts: one count of making a false statement to a bank, five counts of tax evasion and two violations of campaign finance law. He faces as much as five years in prison according to the plea he struck with the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The latter two counts, according to Cohen's sworn statement, involved illegal payoffs to two women for the express purpose of affecting the outcome of the 2016 election, and were done at the specific request of Donald Trump. If true, Cohen has directly implicated his former client in a pair of black-letter felonies. If the outcome of the last presidential election was questionable before, it is now tainted beyond repair.

From the courthouse steps, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said of his client, "Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?"

This isn't Michael Cohen or his legal team popping off on Twitter or vomiting Giuliani-style nonsense on the floor of some network studio. As Davis noted, this was sworn testimony implicating Donald Trump in at least one federal crime. Worse for Trump, it was sworn testimony backed by evidence. Cohen has tape of Trump and him discussing the payoff that led to count seven of the plea deal: $150,000 paid on the eve of the election to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal, with whom Trump had an affair while still married to his third wife, Melania.

By Tuesday evening, the screws had gotten so tight the beams were beginning to squeak. Davis was on television dangling his client before special counsel Robert Mueller as if he were baiting a cat with a morsel of tuna. On MSNBC, he told Rachel Maddow that Mueller "will have a great deal of interest in what Michael has to say" about the "computer crime of hacking" and "whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on."

How this will all ultimately play out is anyone's guess. Paul Manafort could choose to cut a deal with Mueller rather than face a second trial, making himself a potentially potent witness against Trump on the issues of Russian collusion and obstruction of justice. On the other hand, Manafort could choose to gut it out and face the second trial, though no one seems to know where he would get the money to pay for what has already been an incredibly expensive defense.

The final fate of Michael Cohen is far more interesting. He did a decade's worth of dirt for Donald Trump and maybe tape-recorded all of it. Certainly he had a talent for covering his own posterior with evidence of other people's crimes in case a day like Tuesday should happen to come along. The five years he is facing could be pared down significantly if there is any merit to Cohen's "computer hacking/Trump knew" rainy-day fund Lanny Davis is peddling to the special counsel's office.

Hanging over it all, of course, is the real possibility of a presidential pardon for either or both men. Donald Trump can certainly do it; presidential pardon powers are vast. It would not be easy, however. Pardoning Manafort and Cohen would be prima facie evidence of obstruction, and would almost certainly buttress what already appears to be a meticulously-compiled case by Robert Mueller.

Lanny Davis has already made it clear where his client stands, stating bluntly that he would not accept a pardon. "I know that Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from a man that he considers to be both corrupt and a dangerous person in the oval office," Davis told NPR. A bracing line, until you remember that Cohen is also the man who famously announced he would "take a bullet" for Trump, further underscoring that the only heroes in this are the people who cleaned up the courtrooms after the spectators departed.

Pardoned or otherwise, Manafort and Cohen are going to haunt this administration until its final day.

... which brings us to the topic of impeachment. The Number One parlor game being played in the nation's capital today is called "Will All This Finally Be Enough To End Trump's Stranglehold On Congressional Republicans?" The answer, in all likelihood and at least in the near term, is no. They are too deeply invested, November is too close, and the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination looms over it all. For good or ill, the midterms are now going to be about impeachment ... and if the Democrats carry the day as expected, it's hats over the windmill come January.

All this could certainly change if Manafort and Cohen are pardoned before November. Such an act would bring about a political firestorm the likes of which have not been seen since the British burned down the White House in 1814. At that point, all bets are off. When the smoke clears and the presidential line of succession runs out of unindicted officers, the assistant to the assistant to the chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission could wind up sitting in the Oval Office wondering what the hell just happened.

Well, maybe not quite that bad. Bad, though. Incredibly, astonishingly bad. This is what happens when a scumbag hires scumbags and then becomes president. Donald Trump's lifelong habit of working with and empowering moral sinkholes is finally coming back to eat his lunch. Put another way, this is what happens when you run a campaign, and then a country, like a business. Everyone is only out for themselves, and the rats all brought life vests and recording devices.

If you happened to hear moans and shrieks emanating Tuesday night from the general direction of Washington, DC, yeah, that was probably the president. The only good thing Trump can say about Tuesday was that he was not, in fact, devoured by wolves. Beyond that, there is only the sound of hounds sniffing their inexorable way toward his lair. His life is going to get unpleasantly and uniquely weird from here on out. Someone should warn the Twitter people to stock up on Red Bull and Tums for the foreseeable.

There is an ethereal quality that comes with the day after a day like no other. Imagine the Saturday Night Massacre combined with the best Christmas morning of all time and you have August 21 encapsulated. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he just stuffed a crooked lobbyist and a shady Manhattan lawyer in your sock.

That makes five close Trump associates now in there - the lobbyist, the lawyer, the former national security adviser, the former campaign adviser and the former deputy campaign chairman - plus a whole pile of Russians, with plenty of room for more. All that in less than two years, and two in one afternoon. Donald Trump sees himself as a maker and breaker of history. Mission accomplished.
(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.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a meeting of the Federal Commission on School Safety
in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building August 16, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Will Donald Trump Fire Jeff Sessions After The Midterms?
By Heather Digby Parton

One of Donald Trump's alleged charms is that he talks like a regular guy. His voters like that he doesn't put on airs or act as though he is better than they are. As he said at the Republican National Convention, "I am your voice." If that's the case, the Trump voters of America all sound like TV mobsters lately because President Trump has been doing his best impression of Tony Soprano. Not for the first time, of course. Trump has often copped the attitude of a mob boss, but he's really ratcheted up the gangster talk lately, and with good reason. The feds are breathing down his neck.

It started last week with a tweet responding to the news that his White House counsel had been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller's office for 30 hours:

Since then, Trump has made statements obviously designed to reassure his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort that if he keeps quiet he may receive a presidential pardon for his multiple felony convictions. Trump even went so far as to have his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor who made his bones putting away mobsters in New York, send a message through the Washington Post that Manafort's up for a pardon once Mueller delivers his report: Trump's lawyers counseled the president against the idea of pardoning anyone linked to the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, according to Giuliani, saying Trump should at least wait until special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has concluded his probe.

He might as well have been blinking morse code: "Just hold on, Paulie, the boss'll spring you once he takes care of Bobby the Gumshoe." (The question of why Trump would consult with his personal lawyers, instead of the White House counsel or the Department of Justice pardon office, for advice on this issue answers itself.)

Trump himself has made it clear exactly what he expects:

You'll note that he's not feeling fond toward Cohen, his former goombah, whom Trump clearly sees as having stabbed him the back. The feeling is mutual. Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis has said Cohen would not accept a pardon from Trump. That's probably another appeal to Mueller to offer Cohen a deal and reduce his sentence, but it's pretty bold nonetheless. Cohen clearly realizes that Trump will never pardon a rat like him.

But perhaps the most telling mafioso-style comment came in the "Fox & Friends" interview during which Trump claimed that "flipping" (known to non-criminals as "cooperating with the government") is unfair and should be outlawed. He said he's had many friends suffer from its use, which says a lot about the company he keeps. And he once again went on and on about how he believes in omertà or, as he calls it, "loyalty." He was especially upset - all over again - at Attorney General Jeff Sessions. When asked if he was planning to fire him he said:

We have somebody that they seem to like to go after [a] lot of Republicans ... I put in an attorney general who never took control of the Justice Department. Jeff Sessions, never took control of the Justice Department. It's sort of an incredible thing. It's a very, very sad day. Jeff Sessions recused himself, which he shouldn't have done or he should have told me. Even my enemies say that Jeff Sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn't have put him in. He took my job, and then he said, "I'm going to recuse myself." I said, "What kind of man is this?"
Trump also insulted the Department of Justice and the FBI, implying they are all a bunch of partisan hacks even as he insisted that the rank and file of the FBI all support him.

It's long been obvious that Trump is desperately trying to force Sessions to quit so that the Republican senators who've insisted that Trump will face big problems if he fires Sessions can be appeased. With the exception of one early resignation attempt which Trump grudgingly rejected, Sessions has been stoically absorbing the president's insults in order to carry out their mutual agenda. This time he was forced to respond, likely because the department demanded their leader defend them and make clear that the Department of Justice isn't Trump's personal goon squad and protection racket.

Sessions said that the "Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations" and that "no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States." Then he pointed out that he really was doing Trump's bidding by enacting their antediluvian policies to take America back to the '50s - meaning the 1850s.

It appears that Sessions will need to hurry if he wants to get it all done, however. Shortly after he released his statement, Sens. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, made it clear that their previous commitment to protecting Sessions - and, by extension, the Mueller investigation - was no longer inviolable. In fact, they provided a roadmap for Trump to end his nightmare at long last.

Graham told Bloomberg that Trump is "entitled to an attorney general he has faith in, somebody that's qualified for the job, and I think there will come a time, sooner rather than later, where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice." He went on to make clear that he shouldn't be fired before Brett Kavanaugh can be jammed through confirmation or before the midterm elections, pretty much giving Trump the green light to pull the trigger in November.

Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, had previously said he wouldn't schedule any confirmation hearing to replace Sessions. Now he says he thinks he could fit them in. Mind you, Trump doesn't actually need a replacement to take out Mueller. He can put some previously confirmed consigliere in the job on a temporary basis and, as they say, make him an offer he can't refuse.

Trump is so overwrought that it's likely these senators realize he's going to do it, and are simply trying to hold him off long enough to get their Supreme Court justice and survive the November election. They will sell their souls for those two goals. Even if they lose their majority - which is much likelier in the House than the Senate - their help with this little problem will turn them into made men, ready to go to the mattresses to fight an impeachment conviction against the big boss. It's all in the family.
(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.

Low water levels at the Derwent Reservoir in the UK have been attributed to the heatwave this summer (Photo: Tim Day

Hot Enough For You?
By David Suzuki

If you follow climate news (and you should), you've likely heard of the global warming "hiatus." In attempts to keep the world hooked on diminishing reserves of polluting fossil fuels, climate science deniers seized on that phenomenon to claim the warming they once argued didn't exist stopped. Others took up the false claim out of ignorance and fear. Global warming didn't stop. Quite the opposite: it accelerated. According to all legitimate scientific agencies that study climate, the past four years have been the warmest on record, and 2017 was the 41st consecutive year with global average temperatures higher than in the 20th century.

This year is also shaping up to be a record-breaker. But as the old saying goes, "You ain't seen nothing yet!" That's because warming didn't stop. The rate slowed slightly. And that's over now.

Although climate scientists agree that human activity - mainly burning fossil fuels and destroying carbon sinks like forests and wetlands - is responsible for most or all of the current accelerated warming, natural factors play a significant role in climate. Natural variability in ocean and solar cycles, as well as volcanic activity and human factors such as aerosol pollution from Asia, are believed to have slowed the rate of warming slightly from 1999 to 2014.

Again, that doesn't mean Earth stopped warming. It just warmed a bit slower than expected. In fact, some researchers claim the "hiatus" didn't exist, attributing it to errors in temperature measurements or missing data.

Regardless, we know for certain that global warming is accelerating now and has been for decades. Countries around the world are failing to live up to their Paris Agreement commitments to keep emissions and temperatures down even as the consequences of rapid warming are making life difficult for people around the world.

A study by Florian Sevellec at France's Laboratory of Ocean Physics and Remote Sensing, and Sybren Drijfhout at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, says this summer likely marks the beginning of a hotter-than-expected period until at least 2022.

Published in Nature Communications, the study used new forecasting technologies to determine that natural cycles will likely push the climate into an even warmer period for the next five years than would have occurred with human factors alone.

That doesn't mean heat waves will occur everywhere. "That's because the forecast only covers global mean temperatures, not regional temperatures in certain parts of the world," Sevellec told Deutsche Welle, adding, "It might be very hot in one part of the world, and still quite cold in another."

We've seen the results here in British Columbia, my home province: a state of emergency as numerous wildfires blaze out of control, filling the air with smoke and particulate matter, forcing people out of their homes, compromising health and devastating wildlife and habitat. Costs for firefighting, property and resource loss, health care, and housing and feeding those forced from their homes are already staggering.

We're not alone. High temperatures are breaking records worldwide. Deaths and injuries from heat-related causes have been rising rapidly since 1980, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Now, 30 per cent of the world's population lives "in climatic conditions that deliver prolonged extreme heatwaves."

Extreme weather events, including storms, droughts and floods, have compromised agriculture and sparked refugee and health crises.

"We have witnessed extraordinary weather, including temperatures topping 50 degrees Celsius in Asia, record-breaking hurricanes in rapid succession in the Caribbean and Atlantic reaching as far as Ireland, devastating monsoon flooding affecting many millions of people and a relentless drought in East Africa," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said. "Many of these events ... bear the tell-tale sign of climate change caused by increased greenhouse gas concentrations from human activities."

With scientists predicting even hotter temperatures and more heat waves over the next few years, we're about to get a taste of what to expect if we fail to take every measure possible to slow and eventually halt human-caused climate disruption. There's no shortage of solutions, only political will.

The question is, will we learn from the evidence staring us in the face or will we continue to frack, build pipelines for expanding oilsands, drill the oceans and Arctic and revive the coal industry?

We don't have much time to decide.
(c) 2018 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co_founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Governor Scott Speaks At Hurricane Conference In West Palm Beach

Florida, Man
An ecological disaster is making an election there a living hell.
By Charles P. Pierce

On Tuesday, they will hold primary elections in Florida. And, as is the case every time that benighted state tries to hold an election, people are laying in vast stores of recrimination and paranoia in advance of the balloting. But, with exquisite timing, Nature itself has decided to cosplay Florida Man, and it's come up with an entirely new mechanism for making an election there a living hell. From the Fort Myers News-Press:

Water is what was on voters' minds this morning. Almost every voter polled said the area's water-quality woes-the blue-green algae choking inland waterways and the massive bloom of red tide in the Gulf of Mexico-concerned them. Cheryl Dehetre moved to south Fort Myers from Michigan 14 years ago. She said she's following the Commissioner of Agriculture race closely. "That person is going to have a big influence on everything that's happening," Dehetre said. "Isn't that why we come down here, why we all live here, to enjoy the water and all the things that are under threat right now?"
Florida is in the middle of an ecological emergency right now, as well as being in an actual declared state of emergency. Between massive algae blooms and the red tide, Florida's economy could take a body blow unlike anything short of a hurricane. From ABC News:
As Florida reckons with two algae phenomena, one being the blue-green nutrient-rich algae in Lake Okeechobee, and the other being the naturally occurring red tide in the Gulf Coast shores, experts say Florida has never seen anything like what's being experienced this summer. With a number of policy and funding rollbacks from current elected officials running for office, they don't know when it will get better. "The bloom may have naturally occurred, but naturally it might not have gotten as intense as it is now if didn't have those nutrients from human sources that fueled the growth," said Karl Havens, director of the Florida Sea Grant College Program and a professor at the University of Florida IFAS. Those harmful nutrients being nitrogen and phosphorus seeped in the soil and wetlands north of Lake Okeechobee from pollutants like under-treated sewage water, leakage from home septic systems, and fertilizers from generations past after the state restricted the agricultural industry from using them.
And people there are beginning to point green-slimed fingers at their elected officials-most notably, at Governor Rick Scott, who is running a strong race to unseat incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, but now literally is having a load of dead fish dropped in his lap.
In one Southwest Florida county, workers and contractors cleaned more than 2.7 million pounds of dead fish and sea creatures just halfway through the month of August. Since June, hundreds of dead sea turtles, marine mammals and a whale shark had washed up on the shores of Lee County. "Those images are not leaving people's heads, that's not something that they're going to forget," said Daniel Andrews, a former Southwest Florida fishing guide and now the executive director of Captains for Clean Water. "It's the most important issue to people down here right now."

Florida Declares State Of Emergency Over Toxic Algae Bloom From Lake Okeechobee Toxic algae in Lake Okeechobee.
According to a Politifact and Tampa Bay Times report, in 2011 Republican Gov. Rick Scott's administration cut $700 million in water management funding, about 40 percent of the state's water management district's budget. Since 2012, the state's water management district budget increased by about $300 million, making the overall budget cuts closer to $400 million since 2011. Scott's administration says water management districts create their own budgets. The budgets are ultimately approved by state leaders like the Florida Senate president, the Florida House speaker and each water management district's leaders who are appointed by the governor. You know that whole "devolving power" thing that smart Republicans always talk about. This right here is what it really is-a sophisticated strategy for passing the buck down the line until nothing gets done at all. And it comes with its prefabricated cheap-ass alibis as well, as Governor Bat Boy well knows.
Scott says this algae crisis is the federal government's fault. In an ad released by the Scott for Senate campaign in early August, Scott says it's the federal government who controls the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee and it was Nelson who "made a pledge thirty years ago to solve the problem, but Nelson is a talker, not a doer." Let the states do it and, when they screw up, we can blame the federal government anyway. These really are the fcking mole people.
And, not for nothing, but Florida has other problems, too. Like...super-snakes! From ABC News:
A small number of the invasive pythons were found to be a crossbreed between two separate species, the Burmese and Indian pythons, and what's more is that this hybrid snake has the potential to thrive in new environments, according to a new study conducted by scientists with the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

"We found that out of 400 Burmese pythons investigated, 13 had mitochondrial genetic signatures from the Indian python, a separate species," Margaret Hunter, a research geneticist at USGS who led the study, told ABC News...As Burmese pythons mostly live in the wetlands and Indian pythons mostly live on higher ground, the researchers were faced with the possibility that these hybrid snakes could have the ability to live in various types of environments.

The people who release these animals into the wild should be fed to them as punishment.

Florida Man. Florida, man.
(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-

"People say satire is dead. It's not dead; it's alive and living in the White House."
~~~ Robin Williams

2018 Peace Prize Awarded To David Swanson
By David Swanson

At the Veterans For Peace Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, on August 26, 2018, the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation awarded its 2018 Peace Prize to David Swanson, director of World BEYOND War.

Michael Knox, Chair of the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation, remarked:

"We have a culture of war in the U.S. Americans who oppose a war are often labeled traitors, unpatriotic, un-American, and antimilitary. As you know, to work for peace you must be brave and make great personal sacrifices.

"As a movement to change our war culture, the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation recognizes and honors courageous Americans who stand for peace by publishing the US Peace Registry, planning for the US Peace Memorial as a national monument in Washington, D.C., and awarding an annual Peace Prize.

"Previous Peace Prize recipients over the past ten years are the honorable Ann Wright, Veterans for Peace, Kathy Kelly, CODEPINK, Chelsea Manning, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan.

"I am very pleased to announce that our 2018 Peace Prize is awarded to the honorable David Swanson - For his inspiring antiwar leadership, writings, strategies, and organizations which help to create a culture of peace.

"Thank you David for dedicating your life to ending wars. You are one of the most prolific writers, speakers, activists, and organizers for peace. The breadth of your work is staggering. You have enlightened us with books that are in the forefront of modern antiwar thought; and with speeches, debates, conferences, blogs, billboards, radio shows, online courses, videos, websites, and more innovative ideas than we can name. We want you to know that your efforts are greatly appreciated here and around the world."

Peace Prize Recipients

David Swanson 2018 Whose Inspiring Antiwar Leadership, Writings, Strategies and Organizations Help to Create a Culture of Peace.

Ann Wright 2017 For Courageous Antiwar Activism, Inspirational Peace Leadership and Selfless Citizen Diplomacy

Veterans For Peace 2016 In Recognition of Heroic Efforts to Expose the Causes and Costs of War and to Prevent and End Armed Conflict

Kathy F. Kelly 2015 For Inspiring Nonviolence and Risking Her Own Life and Freedom for Peace and the Victims of War

CODEPINK Women for Peace 2014 In Recognition of Inspirational Antiwar Leadership and Creative Grassroots Activism

Chelsea Manning 2013 For Conspicuous Bravery at The Risk of Her Own Freedom Above and Beyond The Call of Duty

Medea Benjamin 2012 In Recognition of Creative Leadership on The Front Lines of The Antiwar Movement

Noam Chomsky 2011 Whose Antiwar Activities For Five Decades Both Educate and Inspire Dennis J. Kucinich 2010 In Recognition of National Leadership to Prevent and End Wars

Cindy Sheehan 2009 In Recognition of Extraordinary and Innovative Antiwar Activism

The US Peace Memorial Foundation directs a nationwide effort to honor Americans who stand for peace by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding an annual Peace Prize, and planning for the US Peace Memorial in Washington, DC. These projects help move the United States toward a culture of peace by honoring the millions of thoughtful and courageous Americans and U.S. organizations that have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts. We celebrate these role models to inspire other Americans to speak out against war and to work for peace.

Our US Peace Registry recognizes heroes who have engaged in a broad range of peace and antiwar activities. Individuals who have written an antiwar letter to their representatives in Congress or to a newspaper are included, along with Americans who have devoted their lives to peace and opposing war.

A US Peace Memorial in Washington, DC is our ultimate goal. Most monuments in our nation's capital commemorate war. While soldiers are told that it is heroic to fight and die for their country, peace activists are often labeled "un-American," "antimilitary," or "unpatriotic." This mentality has resulted in a country that recognizes contributions to war and the sacrifices of the military, but does not honor those who make valiant efforts to end war and maintain global peace. It is time to dedicate a National Monument to peace. Our society should be as proud of those who work for alternatives to war as it is of those who fight wars.
(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.

I Want To Live In A World Where Innocence Is Valued...
By Jane Stillwater

Frankly, it is clear as day to anyone with eyes to see that we currently live in an ugly monstrous world, one where greed, pollution, corruption, lies and cold hard murderous steel have become our top priories and most precious values. Must it always be this way? Will we ever live in a world like the Garden of Eden again?

Did we ever live there in the first place?


And to clearly see what our lost world of innocence looks like, we don't have to travel back to 18th-centruy Tahiti or to the ancient Black Hills of the Lakota before Custer -- nothing like that. All we have to do is look at that happy smile on the face of the nearest well-loved toddler as she looks at our world with new, bright, shining, trusting eyes. We've all been like that once. We can all be like that again.

There is no reason on earth that the human race is required by law to devote all of its savings, material goods, slick justifications, hopes, desires and dreams to military hardware, prisons, land-grabs, power plays, earth pollution and being just plain all-out mean -- when other alternatives clearly exist.

Think about it. Why must we freaking die in order to finally go live in an idealized heaven instead of what we are currently doing -- endlessly prolonging this power-mad grubby dishonorable war-mongering treacherous murderous Hell that we now call modern life? Why indeed -- when there is clearly a precious lovely beautiful meaningful alternative.

We've lost our way. Is it too late to find it again? Good grief, I surely hope not.

PS: Where to begin to change our world for the better? Let's start with the American military's excellent example. "Thank you for your service." Literally. Our military has it right -- socialism for all! Free housing, free food, free medical care, early retirement, great pensions, free job training and free education. "Be the best you can be!"

Sure, you get shot at occasionally -- but in the meantime? Socialism at its finest hour (with the exception of corporate welfare, of course -- no one does socialism better than American corporations!)
(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-

Josh gives the corporate salute

Josh Hawley Heil Trump,

Dear Generalstaatsanwalt Hawley,

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 wanting to turn religious pulpits into political pulpets, 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 Hawley, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Don't Just Impeach Trump. Annul His Presidency
By Robert Reich

The only way I see the end of Trump is if there's overwhelming evidence he rigged the 2016 election. In which case impeachment isn't an adequate remedy. His presidency should be annulled.

Let me explain.

Many people are convinced we're already witnessing the beginning of the end of Trump.

In their view, bombshell admissions from Trump insiders with immunity from prosecution, combined with whatever evidence Robert Mueller uncovers about Trump's obstruction of justice and his aide's collusion with the Russians, will all tip the scales.

Democrats will take back the House and begin an impeachment, and the evidence of impeachable offenses will put enough pressure on Republican senators to send Trump packing.

I don't believe this for a moment.

First, the Senate has never in history convicted a president of impeachment.

Second, even if Democrats flip the House in November, Republicans will almost certainly remain in control of the Senate - and so far they've displayed the integrity of lizards.

Third, Fox News and the rest of the right-wing sleaze media will continue to distort and cover up whatever the evidence shows - convincing 35 to 40 percent of Americans, along with most Republicans, that Trump is the innocent victim of a plot to remove him.

Finally, Trump himself will never voluntarily resign, as did Nixon. He'll lie and claim a conspiracy to unseat him.

He's proven himself a superb conman, an entertainer-demagogue capable of sowing so much confusion and instigating so much hate and paranoia that he has already survived outrages that would have broken any garden-variety loathsome president - Helsinki, Charlottesville, children locked in cages at the border, firings and cover-ups, racist slurs, clear corruption.

In all likelihood, we'll have him for another two and a half years.

Don't bet on him losing in 2020, either. A malignant bullying megalomaniac who lies like most people breathe, and who's able to suck the oxygen out of every news cycle, might well pulverize any Democratic opponent.

Even if he loses in 2020, we'll be fortunate if he concedes without being literally carried out of the Oval Office amid the stirrings of civil insurgency.

Oh, and let me remind you that even if he's impeached, we'd still have his loathsome administration - Pence on down.

But lest you fall into a miasma of gloom, there's another scenario - unlikely, but entirely possible.

Suppose, just suppose, Robert Mueller finds overwhelming and indisputable evidence that Trump conspired with Putin to rig the 2016 election, and the rigging determined the election's outcome.

In other words, Trump's presidency is not authorized under the United States Constitution.

Suppose these findings are so compelling that even Trump loyalists desert him, the Republican Party decides it has had enough, and Fox News calls for his impeachment.

What then? Impeachment isn't enough.

Impeachment would remedy Trump's "high crimes and misdemeanors." But impeachment would not remedy Trump's unconstitutional presidency because it would leave in place his vice president, White House staff and Cabinet, as well as all the executive orders he issued and all the legislation he signed, and the official record of his presidency.

The only response to an unconstitutional presidency is to annul it. Annulment would repeal all of it - recognizing that such appointments, orders, rules, and records were made without constitutional authority.

The Constitution does not specifically provide for annulment of an unconstitutional presidency. But read as a whole, the Constitution leads to the logical conclusion that annulment is the appropriate remedy for one.

After all, the Supreme Court declares legislation that doesn't comport with the Constitution to be null and void, as if it had never been passed.

It would logically follow that the Court could declare all legislation and executive actions of a presidency unauthorized by the Constitution to be null and void, as if Trump had never been elected. (Clearly, any Trump appointee to the Court would have to recuse himself from any such decision.)

The Constitution also gives Congress and the states the power to amend the Constitution, thereby annulling or altering whatever provisions came before. Here, too, it would logically follow that Congress and the states could, through amendment, annul a presidency they determine to be unconstitutional.

After the Trump administration was annulled, the Speaker of the House (third in the order of presidential succession) would take over the presidency until a special election.

As I've said, my betting is Trump remains president at least through 2020 - absent compelling and indisputable evidence he rigged the 2016 election.

But if such evidence comes forth, impeachment isn't an adequate remedy because even if Trump is removed, his presidency - all that he and his administration did when he occupied office - would be constitutionally illegitimate.

It should be annulled.
(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

A 2016 demonstration in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street movement started five years earlier.

Becoming Serfs
By Chris Hedges

You know the statistics. Income inequality in the United States has not been this pronounced in over a century. The top 10 percent has 50 percent of the country's income, and the upper 1 percent has 20 percent of the country's income. A quarter of American workers struggle on wages of less than $10 an hour, putting them below the poverty line, while the income of the average CEO,/A> of a major corporation is more than 300 times the pay of his or her average worker, a massive increase given that in the 1950s the average CEO made 20 times what his or her worker made. This income inequality is global. The richest 1 percent of the world's population controls 40 percent of the world's wealth. And it is getting worse.

What will the consequences of this inequality be economically and politically? How much worse will it get with the imposition of austerity programs and a new tax code that slashes rates for corporations, allowing companies to hoard money or buy back their own stock rather than invest in the economy? How will we endure as health care insurance premiums steadily rise and social and public welfare programs such as Medicaid, Pell Grants and food stamps are cut? And under the tax code revision signed by President Trump in December, rates will increase over the long term for the working class. Over the next decade, the revision will cost the nation roughly $1.5 trillion. Where will this end?

We live in a new feudalism. We have been stripped of political power. Workers are trapped in menial jobs, forced into crippling debt and paid stagnant or declining wages. Chronic poverty and exploitative working conditions in many parts of the world, and increasingly in the United States, replicate the hell endured by industrial workers at the end of the 19th century. The complete capture of ruling institutions by corporations and their oligarchic elites, including the two dominant political parties, the courts and the press, means there is no mechanism left by which we can reform the system or protect ourselves from mounting abuse. We will revolt or become 21st-century serfs, forced to live in misery and brutally oppressed by militarized police and the most sophisticated security and surveillance system in human history while the ruling oligarchs continue to wallow in unimagined wealth and opulence.

"The new tax code is explosive excess," the economist Richard Wolff said when we spoke in New York. "We've had 30 or 40 years where corporations paid less taxes than they ever did. They made more money than they ever did. They have been able to keep wages stagnant while the productivity of labor rose. This is the last moment historically they need another big gift, let alone at the expense of the very people whose wages have been stagnant. To give them a tax bust of this sort, basically reducing from 35 percent to 20 percent, is a 40 percent cut. This kind of crazy excess reminds you of the [kings] of France before the French Revolution when the level of excess reached an explosive social dimension. That's where we are."

When capitalism collapsed in the 1930s, the response of the working class was to form unions, strike and protest. The workers pitted power against power. They forced the oligarchs to respond with the New Deal, which created 12 million government-funded jobs, Social Security, the minimum wage and unemployment compensation. The country's infrastructure was modernized and maintained. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) alone employed 300,000 workers to form and maintain national parks.

"The message of the organized working class was unequivocal," Wolff said. "Either you help us through this Depression or there will be a revolution."

The New Deal programs were paid for by taxing the rich. Even in the 1950s, during the Eisenhower presidency, the top marginal rate was 91 percent.

The rich, enraged, mounted a war to undo these programs and restore the social inequality that makes them wealthy at our expense. We have come full circle. Dissidents, radicals and critics of capitalism are once again branded as agents of foreign powers and purged from universities and the airwaves. The labor movement has been dismantled, including through so-called right-to-work laws that prohibit agreements between unions and employers. The last remaining regulations to thwart corporate pillage and pollution are removed. Although government is the only mechanism we have to protect ourselves from predatory oligarchs and corporations, the rich tell us that government is the problem, not the solution. Austerity and a bloated and out-of-control military budget, along with the privatization of public services and institutions such as utilities and public education, we are assured, are the way to economic growth. And presiding over this assault and unchecked kleptocracy are the con artist in chief and his billionaire friends from the fossil fuel and war industries and elsewhere on Wall Street.

The elites cook statistics to lie about a recovery from the 2008 global financial crash. To gather unemployment statistics, for example, government agents ask people two questions: Are you working? If they answer "yes" they are counted as employed even if they have a temporary job in which they work only an hour a week. If they say "no" they are asked if they have been looking for work. If they have not looked for work in the last four weeks they are magically erased from the unemployment rolls. And then there is the long list of those not counted as unemployed, such as prisoners, the retired, stay-at-home spouses and high school and college students who want jobs. Alternative facts did not begin with Donald Trump.

"You don't have to be a statistical genius to understand that over the last 10 years, a significant number of people gave up looking because it's too disgusting," Wolff said. "The jobs they were offered were inferior to what they had before or so insecure that it made their family life impossible. They went back to school, went into the illegal economy or began to live off their friends, relatives and neighbors."

"The quality of the jobs, the security, the benefits and the impact on physical and mental health have been cascading downward as the wages remain stagnant," he went on. "We're not in a recovery. We're in an ongoing decline, which, by the way, is why Mr. Trump got elected. This is happening to capitalism in Western Europe, Japan and the United States. This is why an angry working class is looking for ways to express and change its circumstances."

"Society has a responsibility to itself," Wolff said. "If the private sector can't or won't manage that, then the public sector has to step in. It's what [Franklin] Roosevelt said when he came on the radio: 'If there are millions of Americans who ask for nothing other than a job, and the private sector can't provide it, then it's up to me. Who else is going to do it?' If we cut back on welfare we are making people depend on the private sector. What happens to people thrown on a private capital sector that cannot and will not function in a socially acceptable way?"

"Instead of creating a middle class, it polarizes everything," he said of the inequality. "It allows the top executives to go completely crazy with their pay packages. They are paid beyond what's reasonable, beyond what their fellow capitalists receive in other parts of the world. There is a collapse of the ability to buy things. A company that saves all this money through a tax cut from Mr. Trump is not going to spend its money hiring people, buying machines, producing more. They're having trouble selling what they already produce. They're impoverishing the very people they sell to. What do they do with the money? They take it and pay themselves. They give themselves higher pay packages. They buy back their own stock, which they're legally allowed to do. It pushes the price of the stock up. Their [personal] compensation is connected to how well the price of the stock does. No jobs are created. No growth is created. The price of stock is going up even though the viability of the enterprise-because of the [company's] collapsing market-is shrinking."

"Capitalism is hollowing itself out," he said. "The capitalists refuse to face this because they are making money, for a while. That's the same logic as the monarchs before the French Revolution building the fantastic Versailles without understanding they were digging their own graves in those lovely gardens."

The elites divert attention from their pillage by blaming foreign countries such as China or undocumented workers for the economic demise of the working class.

"It's a classic ploy of crooked politicians stuck with a problem of their own making, blaming somebody else," Wolff said. "We take the poor 10 or 11 million immigrants in this country with questionable legal status and we demonize them. We scapegoat them. They couldn't possibly account for the difficulties in this economy. Throwing them out does not fundamentally change the dynamics of the economy. It's childishly easy to show this. But it's good theater. 'I am smiting the foreigner.' " "Tariffs are another way to smite the foreigner," Wolff went on. "The tariff is a punishment of others. These days, the bugaboo is China. They are the bad ones. They are doing this. I'd like to remind people two or three things about these tariffs. One: Historically, they don't work very well. It's very easy to evade. For example, we put a tariff on steel from China. What do the Chinese do? They cut a deal with the Canadians or the Mexicans or the Koreans or the Europeans. Sell it to them, who resell it here. It's on the same ship coming here. It just has a different flag at the back. This is childish. It's well known."

"Number two: It's political theater," he said. "It doesn't change very much. For example, a good half of the goods that come from China come from subsidiaries of American corporations that went to China over the last 30 years to produce for the American market. You are smiting them by closing off their market. They're going to be angry. They're going to lose their investments. They're going to take corrective action. All of this is negative for the American economy. It's bizarre."

"Finally, the Chinese, their politicians being not that different from ours, will have to posture in return and retaliate," he said. "They're already targeting our farm products. It is chaos. The United States, when we were a young country, was accused by the British and the Europeans of stealing their technology and intellectual property. Never before has it been easier to communicate intellectual property than it is today. The Chinese have been doing their share of this as an up-and-coming economy. It's not new. It's not frightening. It's a part of how capitalism works. To suddenly get people outraged as if something special is going on, that's just dishonest."

There is no discussion in the corporate-controlled media of the effects of our out-of-control corporate capitalism. Workers struggling under massive debts, unable to pay for ever-rising health care and other basic costs, trapped in low-wage jobs that make life one long emergency, are rendered invisible by a media that entertains us with court gossip from porn actresses and reality television stars and focuses on celebrity culture. We ignore reality at our peril.

"We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it," Wolff said. "When you give a free pass to any institution, you create the conditions for it to rot right behind the facade. That's what is happening."
(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
~~~ R.J. Matson ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Ostriches Celebrate Manafort Verdict
By Andy Borowitz

Africa erupted into spontaneous celebrations on Tuesday over the guilty verdict of Donald J. Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

As the verdict was read out in open court, jubilant ostriches broke into what was described as an orgy of running, squawking, and indiscriminate mating.

An emotional ostrich spokesperson called the verdict "a great day for the entire ostrich species."

"Waiting for the verdict over the past few days has been incredibly nerve-racking," the ostrich said. "Many of us have been glued to the TV. Some of us were too stressed to watch and kept our heads in the sand. But tonight we are all partying.

According to wildlife officials, ostriches held celebratory rallies in dozens of African capitals, where they were joined by equally delirious pythons.
(c) 2018 Andy Borowitz

The Gross National Debt

Iraq Deaths Estimator

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 18 # 34 (c) 08/31/2018

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