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In This Edition

Chris Hedges shows, "How 'Antifa' Mirrors The 'Alt-Right.'"

Uri Avnery introduces, "Kaya, The Royal Dog."

Glen Ford says, "Blacks Should Not Become Uncle Sam's Clean-Up Crew."

Michael Winship returns with, "Trump Hides Behind The Storm."

Jim Hightower weighs, "Trump Versus The Wisdom Of Robert E. Lee."

John Nichols explains, "How Donald Trump And Elaine Chao Sold Off Flood-Control Policy to the Highest Bidders."

James Donahue concludes, "Radiation In The U.S. Is Scary."

Eric Margolis warns, "Get Trump's Finger Off The Nuke Trigger."

Steven Rosenfeld forewarns, "Trump Is Serious About Turning Your Town Into A Warzone."

David Suzuki declares, "When Times Get Dark, We Must Shine Brighter."

Charles P. Pierce proves, "Texas Conservatives Really Know How To Waste Taxpayer Money."

David Swanson promotes, "The Peace Monument The United States Needs."

Ralph Nader asks, "Can the Politicians Heed The Lessons Of Hurricane Harvey?"

Lobbyist Roger Stone wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich wonders, "What Do Democrats Stand For?"

Naomi Klein reminds us, "Harvey Didn't Come Out of the Blue. Now Is The Time To Talk About Climate Change."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion says, "Trump Struck By Beautiful Vision Of What America Could Be While Looking Out Over Seething, Screaming Arizona Crowd," but first, Uncle Ernie plays, "Game Of Trumps."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of R.J. Matson, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Mike Licht, 1Lt. Zachary West, Mark Dixon, David J. Phillip, Nick Wagner, Andrew Harnik, Carlos Barria, Reuters, Austin American Statesman, Shutterstock, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, HBO, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org. Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

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Game Of Trumps
By Ernest Stewart

"I think I am actually humble. I think I'm much more humble than you would understand. ~~~ Donald Trump

"We've seen this, right? We have Congress people in Colorado who voted against Sandy relief and then they got floods in Colorado and they said, 'Hey, we need some relief.'

"We have Sen. Cruz, voted against Sandy relief," He says, 'Hey, need some help down here in Texas.'" ~~~ Chris Christie

"Try to impeach him, just try it. You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you've never seen. The people will not stand for impeachment. A politician that votes for it would be endangering their own life." ~~~ Roger Stone

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." ~~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

If there was any justice in this world former Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff Joe Arpaio would have had his head removed and placed on a spike decades ago, but since the Donald endorsed his brand of American fascism and pardoned Joe from the lesser of his many, many crimes. Donnie did this on Friday night when every bodies attention was focused on Harvey. He also signed off on a ban on the transgender folks serving in the military. Fridays has always been the night to send out bad news when not many people are watching and Trump with Harvey covered up two acts of treason for the price of one! Trouble for Joe and Donnie the courts say, not so fast. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton cancelled his sentencing hearing, but "stopped short of throwing out the conviction based solely on Arpaio's request. Instead she ordered Arpaio and the U.S. Department of Justice, which is prosecuting the case, to file briefs on why she should or shouldn't grant Arpaio's request."

Then came his trip to Corpus Christi, Texas where he continued to boost his ego while not showing a care or concern for the people's suffering. Trump said, "What a crowd!" "What a turnout!" Reporters heard no mention of the dead, dying or displaced Texans and no expression of sympathy for them. Just him waving his flag without a care for anyone else.

Are ya'll starting have a deja vu? I know I am. Do you remember Dubya actions when thousands drown in New Orleans? He was too busy getting custom guitars and such and besides Brownie did a heck of a job, didn't he? Trouble is, Bush is breathing a sigh of relief as he drops to the second worst president in American history, just in front of Andrew Jackson! It took Bush 8 years to become America's worst president, Trump surpassed him in under 7 months!

Donny has shown us his gigantic ego from day one. For Donny there never was any rules or laws that he couldn't get around and now with the pardon pen at his disposal he taking his Alzheimers to a whole new level of madness.

I shudder to think what Trump has in store for us, don't you, America?

In Other News

Hurricane Harvey could have been a lot worse, and the next similar hurricane will be a lot worse. Global warming is beginning to double the intensity of storms. The ocean has risen a good foot now so the storm serges go that much farther. Warmer waters cause the hurricane to suck up a lot more water. That also makes the storms more intense. Global warming also causes the high to be higher which allows Harvey to hang out; instead of rushing away, dumping more water.

Another problem is that Harvey is spawning tornados like they're going out of style over 20 tornados so far and counting. Did I mention the various superfund sites, and oil refiners are now dumping all their goo and poisons, thanks to the floods, on Huston neighborhoods from there to the ocean! Oh and one other thing a chemical plant blew up send tons of poisons into the air!

They're looking for some 50 inches of rain in some spots. That's about twice the water we receive here in Michigan in a year and Michigan is a rain forest! You may remember back on August 15 Trump and Chao got rid of Barry's requirements that builders have to do a study to see how their freeways, bridges and buildings will work out in the era of global warming, i.e., megastorms and the like. A lot of this storm damages is caused by Texas having no such rules and so their building contribute to the flooding and such!

Of course, Texas' Sinators Ted Cruz & John Cornyn already got their hands out for federal aid. I seem to remember that these two bozos voted against federal aid for the victims of SuperStorm Sandy. So you know what I did, right? I left the following message on their facebook pages, only the names were changed, but no one was innocent! I also see the con-gressmen down in Louisiana that voted against aid to Sandy now have their hands out too! Funny thing that, huh?

Hey Ted,

You're what Tweety Bird called a hipotwit, aren't ya? You voted against federal aid to the victims of Megastorm Sandy but now you got your hand out for the same aid that you tried to deny the victims of Sandy. How can you look yourself in the mirror in the morning, Ted without cutting your throat?

As Led Zeppelin once sang, "Ooh, it really makes me wonder." How about you, America, do you wonder too?

And Finally

Roger Stone committed treason and sedition the other day by warning anyone who tried to impeach the Donald, "would be endangering their own life!" Sounds like a threat to me! And predicted Thursday there would be a "spasm of violence" tantamount to civil war if the President were brought under impeachment charges by Congress. Of course, there will be a "spasm of violence" if Trump isn't impeached too.

During an interview with TMZ the former Nixon administration official and old friend of Trump's cast talk of impeaching the President in response to the ongoing government probes on Russian election interference and alleged collusion as merely a distraction from the Democratic Party's 2016 defeat in the presidential election.

He went on to warn that if impeachment proceedings went further in Congress, as some House Democrats have called for, an "insurrection" would take place nationwide. I thought it would be more along the lines of people dancing in the street singing ding dong the bitch is dead! You know I would put on my dancing shoes!

"Try to impeach him. Just try it," Stone said. "You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you've never seen."

But what if the President of Vice, Pence invokes the 4th part of the 25th amendment?
"Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."
Then what Roger? Did I mention that Roger wins this weeks Vidkun Quisling Award? I bet your mama's proud Roger. Not!

Keepin' On

We'd like to thank Terry from Mt. Pleasant for his nice donation this week. Thanks, Terry; with your help, all we need to raise now is $1500 to keep this thing going. That's about 25% of what we need to bring in every year, just to break even. Seems a lot; but some of the for-profit folks have to raise our yearly total, every week!

For those of you newbies, back in 2007-2009, we published weekly articles that had nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with staying alive after this moving paper fantasy comes crashing down like the Hindenburg did over Lakehurst! Ergo, whether you've read them before or not, it might pay to go into the archives section of the magazine and read them while you can. Most of them are things there are cheap to make, but may keep you and yours alive and well. Others on how to grow a garden, what crops to grow, where to find non-GMO seeds, etc.. How to make clean water, power; articles on living off the land, articles on just about everything you need to know, all written by experts in their fields. A data base for you that will be lost if we go under!

So, if what we do for you has some merit in your eyes, won't you please send us as much as you can, as often as you can; and we'll keep on keeping on for all of our readership. Time is running out, so now would be the time to send us over the top; and, as always, if we bring in more than what we need, what's left over will go to next year's bills!


12-13-1943 ~ 08-30-2017
Thanks for the music!

08-08-1926 ~ 08-31-2017
Thanks for the film!


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

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

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


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2017 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

How 'Antifa' Mirrors The 'Alt-Right'
By By Chris Hedges

Editor's note: A Berkeley, Calif., rally organized by a right-wing group turned violent Sunday after arrival of a group that carried an anarchist banner.

Behind the rhetoric of the "alt-right" about white nativism and protecting American traditions, history and Christian values is the lust for violence. Behind the rhetoric of antifa, the Black Bloc and the so-called "alt-left" about capitalism, racism, state repression and corporate power is the same lust for violence.

The two opposing groups, largely made up of people who have been cast aside by the cruelty of corporate capitalism, have embraced holy war. Their lives, battered by economic misery and social marginalization, have suddenly been filled with meaning. They hold themselves up as the vanguard of the oppressed. They arrogate to themselves the right to use force to silence those they define as the enemy. They sanctify anger. They are infected with the dark, adrenaline-driven urge for confrontation that arises among the disenfranchised when a democracy ceases to function. They are separated, as Sigmund Freud wrote of those who engage in fratricide, by the "narcissism of minor differences." They mirror each other, not only ideologically but also physically-armed and dressed in black, the color of fascism and the color of death.

It was inevitable that we would reach this point. The corporate state has seized and corrupted all democratic institutions, including the two main political parties, to serve the interests of corporate power and maximize global corporate profits. There is no justice in the courts. There is no possibility for reform in the legislative bodies. The executive branch is a dysfunctional mess headed by a narcissistic kleptocrat, con artist and pathological liar. Money has replaced the vote. The consent of the governed is a joke. Our most basic constitutional rights, including the rights to privacy and due process, have been taken from us by judicial fiat. The economically marginalized, now a majority of the country, have been rendered invisible by a corporate media dominated by highly paid courtiers spewing out meaningless political and celebrity gossip and trivia as if it were news. The corporate state, unimpeded, is pillaging and looting the carcass of the country and government, along with the natural world, for the personal gain of the 1 percent. It daily locks away in cages the poor, especially poor people of color, discarding the vulnerable as human refuse.

A government that is paralyzed and unable and unwilling to address the rudimentary needs of its citizens, as I saw in the former Yugoslavia and as history has shown with the Weimar Republic and czarist Russia, eventually empowers violent extremists. Economic and social marginalization is the lifeblood of extremist groups. Without it they wither and die. Extremism, as the social critic Christopher Lasch wrote, is "a refuge from the terrors of inner life."

Germany's Nazi stormtroopers had their counterparts in that nation's communist Alliance of Red Front Fighters. The far-right anti-communist death squad Alliance of Argentina had its counterpart in the guerrilla group the People's Revolutionary Army during the "Dirty War." The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) rebels during the war I covered in El Salvador had their counterparts in the right-wing death squads, whose eventual demise seriously impeded the FMLN's ability to recruit. The Serbian nationalists, or Chetniks, in Yugoslavia had their counterparts in the Croatian nationalists, or Ustase. The killing by one side justifies the killing by the other. And the killing is always sanctified in the name of each side's martyrs.

The violence by antifa-short for anti-fascist or anti-fascist action-in Charlottesville, Va., saw a surge in interest and support for the movement, especially after the murder of Heather Heyer. The Black Bloc was applauded by some of the counterprotesters in Boston during an alt-right rally there Aug. 19. In Charlottesville, antifa activists filled the vacuum left by a passive police force, holding off neo-Nazi thugs who threatened Cornel West and clergy who were protesting against the white nationalist event. This was a propaganda coup for antifa, which seeks to portray its use of violence as legitimate self-defense. Protecting West and the clergy members from physical assault was admirable. But this single act no more legitimizes antifa violence than the turkeys, Christmas gifts and Fourth of July fireworks that John Gotti gave to his neighbors legitimized the violence of the Gambino crime family. Antifa, like the alt-right, is the product of a diseased society.

The white racists and neo-Nazis may be unsavory, but they too are victims. They too lost jobs and often live in poverty in deindustrialized wastelands. They too often are plagued by debt, foreclosures, bank repossessions and inability to repay student loans. They too often suffer from evictions, opioid addictions, domestic violence and despair. They too sometimes face bankruptcy because of medical bills. They too have seen social services gutted, public education degraded and privatized and the infrastructure around them decay. They too often suffer from police abuse and mass incarceration. They too are often in despair and suffer from hopelessness. And they too have the right to free speech, however repugnant their views.

Street clashes do not distress the ruling elites. These clashes divide the underclass. They divert activists from threatening the actual structures of power. They give the corporate state the ammunition to impose harsher forms of control and expand the powers of internal security. When antifa assumes the right to curtail free speech it becomes a weapon in the hands of its enemies to take that freedom away from everyone, especially the anti-capitalists.

The focus on street violence diverts activists from the far less glamorous building of relationships and alternative institutions and community organizing that alone will make effective resistance possible. We will defeat the corporate state only when we take back and empower our communities, as is happening with Cooperation Jackson, a grass-roots cooperative movement in Jackson, Miss. As long as acts of resistance are forms of personal catharsis, the corporate state is secure. Indeed, the corporate state welcomes this violence because violence is a language it can speak with a proficiency and ruthlessness that none of these groups can match.

"Politics isn't made of individuals," Sophia Burns writes in "Catharsis Is Counter-Revolutionary." "It's made of classes. Political change doesn't come from feeling individually validated. It comes from collective action and organization within the working class. That means creating new institutions that meet our needs and defend against oppression."

The protests by the radical left now sweeping America, as Aviva Chomsky points out, are too often little more than self-advertisements for moral purity. They are products of a social media culture in which each of us is the star of his or her own life movie. They are infected with the American belief in regeneration through violence and the cult of the gun. They represent a clash between the bankruptcy of identity politics, which produced, as Dr. West has said, a president who was "a black mascot for Wall Street," and the bankruptcy of a white, Christianized fascism that produced Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.

"Rather than organizing for change, individuals seek to enact a statement about their own righteousness," Chomsky writes in "How (Not) to Challenge Racist Violence." "They may boycott certain products, refuse to eat certain foods, or they may show up to marches or rallies whose only purpose is to demonstrate the moral superiority of the participants. White people may loudly claim that they recognize their privilege or declare themselves allies of people of color or other marginalized groups. People may declare their communities 'no place for hate.' Or they may show up at counter-marches to 'stand up' to white nationalists or neo-Nazis. All of these types of 'activism' emphasize self-improvement or self-expression rather than seeking concrete change in society or policy. They are deeply, and deliberately, apolitical in the sense that they do not seek to address issues of power, resources, decision making, or how to bring about change."

The corporate state seeks to discredit and shut down the anti-capitalist left. Its natural allies are the neo-Nazis and the Christian fascists. The alt-right is bankrolled, after all, by the most retrograde forces in American capitalism. It has huge media platforms. It has placed its ideologues and sympathizers in positions of power, including in law enforcement and the military. And it has carried out acts of domestic terrorism that dwarf anything carried out by the left. White supremacists were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks in the United States from 2006 to 2016, far more than those committed by members of any other extremist group, according to a report issued in May by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. There is no moral equivalency between antifa and the alt-right. But by brawling in the streets antifa allows the corporate state, which is terrified of a popular anti-capitalist uprising, to use the false argument of moral equivalency to criminalize the work of all anti-capitalists.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center states categorically in its pamphlet "Ten Ways to Fight Hate," "Do not attend a hate rally."

"Find another outlet for anger and frustration and for people's desire to do something," it recommends. "Hold a unity rally or parade to draw media attention away from hate. Hate has a First Amendment right. Courts have routinely upheld the constitutional right of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups to hold rallies and say whatever they want. Communities can restrict group movements to avoid conflicts with other citizens, but hate rallies will continue. Your efforts should focus on channeling people away from hate rallies."

The Nazis were as unsavory to the German political and economic elites as Donald Trump is to most Americans who hold power or influence. But the German elites chose to work with the fascists, whom they naively thought they could control, rather than risk a destruction of capitalism. Street brawls, actively sought out by the Nazis, always furthered the interests of the fascists, who promised to restore law and order and protect traditional values. The violence contributed to their mystique and the yearning among the public for a strongman who would impose stability.

Historian Laurie Marhoefer writes:

Violent confrontations with antifascists gave the Nazis a chance to paint themselves as the victims of a pugnacious, lawless left. They seized it.

It worked. We know now that many Germans supported the fascists because they were terrified of leftist violence in the streets. Germans opened their morning newspapers and saw reports of clashes like the one in Wedding [a Berlin neighborhood]. It looked like a bloody tide of civil war was rising in their cities. Voters and opposition politicians alike came to believe the government needed special police powers to stop violent leftists. Dictatorship grew attractive. The fact that the Nazis themselves were fomenting the violence didn't seem to matter.

One of Hitler's biggest steps to dictatorial power was to gain emergency police powers, which he claimed he needed to suppress leftist violence.

What took place in Charlottesville, like what took place in February when antifa and Black Bloc protesters thwarted UC Berkeley's attempt to host the crypto-fascist Milo Yiannopoulos, was political theater. It was about giving self-styled radicals a stage. It was about elevating their self-image. It was about appearing heroic. It was about replacing personal alienation with comradeship and solidarity. Most important, it was about the ability to project fear. This newfound power is exciting and intoxicating. It is also very dangerous. Many of those in Charlottesville on the left and the right were carrying weapons. A neo-Nazi fired a round from a pistol in the direction of a counterprotester. The neo-Nazis often carried AR-15 rifles and wore quasi-military uniforms and helmets that made them blend in with police and state security. There could easily have been a bloodbath. A march held in Sacramento, Calif., in June 2016 by the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party to protest attacks at Trump rallies ended with a number of people stabbed. Police accused counterprotesters of initiating the violence. It is a short series of steps from bats and ax handles to knives to guns.

The conflict will not end until the followers of the alt-right and the anti-capitalist left are given a living wage and a voice in how we are governed. Take away a person's dignity, agency and self-esteem and this is what you get. As political power devolves into a more naked form of corporate totalitarianism, as unemployment and underemployment expand, so will extremist groups. They will attract more sympathy and support as the wider population realizes, correctly, that Americans have been stripped of all ability to influence the decisions that affect their lives, lives that are getting steadily worse.

The ecocide by the fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries alone makes revolt a moral imperative. The question is how to make it succeed. Taking to the street to fight fascists ensures our defeat. Antifa violence, as Noam Chomsky has pointed out, is a "major gift to the right, including the militant right." It fuels the right wing's paranoid rants about the white race being persecuted and under attack. And it strips anti-capitalists of their moral capital.

Many in the feckless and bankrupt liberal class, deeply complicit in the corporate assault on the country and embracing the dead end of identity politics, will seek to regain credibility by defending the violence by groups such as antifa. Natasha Lennard, for example, in The Nation calls the "video of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer getting punched in the face" an act of "kinetic beauty." She writes "if we recognize fascism in Trump's ascendance, our response must be anti-fascist in nature. The history of anti-fascist action is not one of polite protest, nor failed appeals to reasoned debate with racists, but direct, aggressive confrontation."

This violence-as-beauty rhetoric is at the core of these movements. It saturates the vocabulary of the right-wing corporate oligarchs, including Donald Trump. Talk like this poisons national discourse. It dehumanizes whole segments of the population. It shuts out those who speak with nuance and compassion, especially when they attempt to explain the motives and conditions of opponents. It thrusts the society into a binary and demented universe of them and us. It elevates violence to the highest aesthetic. It eschews self-criticism and self-reflection. It is the prelude to widespread suffering and death. And that, I fear, is where we are headed.
(c) 2017 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

Kaya, The Royal Dog
By Uri Avnery

THE SPECTACLE is almost bizarre: a political party refuses to accept new members. And not just a few individuals, but tens of thousands. And not just any party, but the Likud ("Unification"), the main force in Israel's governing coalition.

Strange? But there is method in this madness. It may soon come before Israel's highest court.

The present leaders of the party, Binyamin Netanyahu and his fellows, are afraid that the people who are now seeking to register as Likud members are really settlers in the occupied territories, who want to take over the Likud, while in practice remaining loyal to their own parties, which are even more extremist.

One of the present Likud members of the Knesset has submitted a bill that may well be unique in the world. It arises from the fear that these new Likud members will not vote for the Likud in the general elections. To counter this possibility, the bill says that when a new member registers in the Likud party, their name will be struck from the general election voter registry, and they will be recorded as having voted for the Likud.

This is manifestly unconstitutional, since it negates the secrecy of the ballot. The legal advisor of the Knesset will probably block it. If not, it will go to the Supreme Court.

This all shows that the Likud is really a curious kind of bird. And not from today.

YEARS AGO, a leading French journalist came to me during an Israeli election campaign. I directed him to an election rally of Menachem Begin's.

When he came back he was bewildered. "I don't understand it," he exclaimed. "When he was talking about the Arabs, he sounded like a rabid fascist. When he was talking about social affairs, he sounded like a moderate liberal. How can this fit together?"

"Begin is not a great thinker," I explained to him. "All the ideology of the Likud goes back to Vladimir Jabotinsky." Vladimir (or Ze'ev) Jabotinsky was the founder of the "revisionist" party, the parent of the Herut Party, which was the parent of the present-day Likud. He was born in 1880 in Odessa in the Ukraine. When he was young man he was sent as a journalist to Italy, a country that had attained its freedom not so long before.

The Italian liberation movement was an unusual mixture of extreme patriotism and liberal social ideas. This fixed the young Jabotinsky's political outlook for life.

He was a very captivating person, extremely gifted in several fields. He wrote a novel (about the Biblical hero Samson), translated Edgar Allen Poe's poems into Hebrew, was a brilliant orator and gifted journalist, wrote songs and much more. In World War I he helped form Jewish battalions in the British army and was a junior officer in the conquest of Palestine.

A few years later the British partitioned Palestine and set up the separate Arab emirate of Transjordan. Jabotinsky objected and founded the ultra-Zionist "Revisionist Party", which demanded the "revision" of this decision.

Jabotinsky loathed the dour, socialist "pioneers" who dominated the Zionist community in Palestine and who hated him. I suspect that he was not too unhappy when the British kicked him out of the country. David Ben-Gurion called him "fascist" - though, as an Italy-lover, Jabotinsky loathed Benito Mussolini.

During those years Jabotinsky was a globe-trotting agitator, who wrote a weekly article which I read piously. I admired his clear, logical style. His movement grew in several countries, especially Poland.

IN PALESTINE, Jabotinsky's Revisionist movement remained a small and isolated minority. However, when violent Jewish-Arab clashes broke out, his movement established the Irgun, an armed underground organization. Jabotinsky was its nominal commander-in-chief. Largely because of him, I joined when I was hardly 15 years old.

In early 1939, Jabotinsky's followers around the world assembled in Warsaw. The clouds of war were already gathering, but Jabotinsky proclaimed that war was impossible - modern arms were much too murderous. When one of his Polish followers, a youngster called Menachem Begin, dared to contradict him, the leader acidly responded: "Sir, if I had your convictions, I would jump into the Vistula!"

However, World War II did indeed break out. Jabotinsky fled to the US, were he died aged 59 of a heart attack. Begin, who had not jumped into the river, eventually reached Palestine and was appointed commander of the Irgun, which became one of the most successful terrorist organizations in the world.

WHEN THE State of Israel was born, Begin became the leader of the opposition and a stickler for democracy. He discarded the "revisionist" party and created his own Herut ("Freedom") party, at the head of which he lost eight consecutive election campaigns.

When he reached power at last, in 1977, he surprised the world by making peace with Egypt, the most powerful Arab country. I was not surprised at all.

Begin was not a brilliant personality like Jabotinsky. He followed his master religiously. Jabotinsky's ideology was geographical: "Eretz Israel on both sides of the Jordan." The map did not include the Sinai peninsula, so Begin had no qualms about giving it back to Egypt. (It also did not include the Golan heights, which Begin would have returned to Syria without hesitation.)

With time, Begin and his followers forgot about the land beyond the Jordan river. They still sang the song written by Jabotinsky ("The Jordan has two banks - the one belongs to us and so does the other"), but realpolitik is stronger than songs. The Kingdom of Jordan is now one of Israel's most important allies, and Israel has saved it from extinction several times.

However, the claim that Jordan, like the West Bank, must be part of the Jewish State appears prominently in the Likud party program. Everybody had forgotten this long ago, until this week.

Binyamin Netanyahu's assistants, who are fighting to prevent the "new applicants" from becoming members of their party, demand that they declare their full acceptance of all parts of the official Likud program - including the demand that Jordan become a part of Israel.

AS A personality, Netanyahu is far below Begin, much as Begin was far below Jabotinsky. There never was a whiff of personal misbehavior about Begin, who was famous for his modest standard life-style, after risking his life every minute for years. Netanyahu is surrounded by a strong smell of corruption. Several investigations against him and his wife Sarah are in progress, each of which could well land him in prison.

Jabotinsky would have looked upon him with disgust.


A Jewish joke tells about the death of the rich man in the ghetto. According to custom, somebody had to eulogize him, presenting him positively. Nobody could be found to fulfill this duty. At long last, one man volunteered.

"We all know that Rabbi Moshe was a loathsome person," he said, "stinking rich, mean and cruel. But compared to his son, he was an angel!"

Something like this is happening in Israel now. The spotlight is on Ya'ir, Netanyahu's 26-year old elder son.

"Bibi" has already been in power for 12 nonconsecutive years and behaves like a king. "Sarah'le", his wife, behaves like a queen, in the style of Marie-Antoinette. In popular parlance, Ya'ir is the "crown-prince".

A very unruly prince. He lives with his parents in the official residence and behaves like a spoiled brat. He is trailed everywhere by bodyguards provided by the state. He has no visible job. And during the last few days, he has become notorious.

Like Donald the Trump, Ya'ir spews abusive comments in all directions on the internet. For example, he calls "The New Israel Fund", a foundation that supports leftist groups, "The New Fund for the Destruction of Israel."

The latest episode concerns the by-law that orders dog owners to pick up the excrement of their animals in public places. Ya'ir was walking the royal dog, the now famous Kaya, without picking up her excrement in the street. When a lady stopped him and demanded that he follow the law, he made a lewd gesture - which the lady duly photographed.
(c) 2017 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Blacks Should Not Become Uncle Sam's Clean-Up Crew
By Glen Ford

The landscape of the United States is littered with physical testimony to the nation's origins as a white settler colonial outpost of land pirates who exterminated and enslaved their way to global capitalist empire. Purging the evidence of historical crimes is a great catharsis, especially for the victims of U.S. "Manifest Destiny." However, this intrinsically righteous project can be subverted into a kind of ritual national cleansing that leaves the essential nature of the current regime not only intact, but rejuvenated and exuberant -- "born again," this time as the planet's unassailably "exceptional" nation. Blacks and their progressive allies will be thanked for (once again) cleaning up Uncle Sam's racist, imperial act.

Such is precisely the goal of U.S. corporate rulers and military chieftains, who were quick to disassociate themselves from Donald Trump's defense of the old stone symbols of white power. Global hegemony requires a different symbolic repertoire.

The national Democratic Party -- to which almost all of the personalities depicted in the besieged statues belonged, and which was the White Man's Party for most of the nation's history before switching places with the GOP two generations ago -- is most anxious for a symbolic national makeover. Firmly controlled by Wall Street and Silicon Valley, the party offers nothing of substance to its Black and brown constituencies; symbolism is its electoral stock in trade.

National "unity" has always been the watchword of the bipartisan War Party: unity behind the mission of global domination. The U.S. armed forces led in the process of racial integration, the better to subdue the non-white populations of the world. Corporate capital takes on whatever ethnic and racial camouflage is necessary to envelop the planet in its tentacles. Stonewall Jackson is no asset to the imperialist Project for a New American Century. Neither is Robert E. Lee a good fit for corporate governance treaties like NAFTA and TPP.

The Black political (misleadership) class, having no agenda beyond maintaining its own presence and self-dealing opportunities on the peripheries of power, traffics entirely in symbols. They are eager to enlist in every national "unity" project sponsored by corporate interests, to highlight their purported "strategic" presence within power structures. In their world, Black faces in high places is an end in itself; politics is the manipulation of symbols, which are substitutes for power.

In their appeals to corporate power, Black misleaders invoke national "unity" as a euphemism for color-blindness. Rather than cultivate Black communal power, they ask for a place for themselves "at the table" of the rulers -- no agenda required.

For example, in the fall of 2010, the NAACP led a "One Nation Working Together" rally at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington. Nearly 200,000 people showed up, but even Wade Henderson, of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, called it "a march without a plan of action." Speakers endorsed the Democratic Party's general campaign positions. Only Harry Belafonte made any mention of the multiplying wars Barack Obama was waging. His remarks were considered bad form in the context of national "unity."

For the next six years, the NAACP and other established Black civic groups claimed to be grappling with formulating a broad Black political agenda. They failed to produce even a semblance of an agenda, because that would entail making demands on the Democrats in power, including the Black president. Instead, these misleaders acted as annexes of the Democratic Party and called for national unity in the face of Republican racism -- their default, useless position.

In the aftermath of Hillary Clinton's defeat, last November, Black Democrats quickly joined in the manufactured anti-Russian hysteria. This can be understood both as a visceral willingness to believe anything negative about the loathsome Orange Menace in the White House, and as an appeal for national unity against the racist hordes in Trump's base, who were somehow allied with the Kremlin. The result, however, was to place Black politicians, including Barbara Lee and John Conyers, in an alliance with the War Party. Regarding Trump, Lee wondered "Where do his loyalties lie?"

Almost the entirety of the U.S. ruling class is eager to treat the racist statues battle as a question of national unity -- although they will draw the line, as has Trump, at George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other Great White Men that did not wear the Confederate States uniform. It is, of course, vital, in mass political education terms, to point out the monstrous social crimes and contradictions embodied in the monuments. It is also important to win victories that people can see with their own eyes, as the statues tumble or disappear in the night. But, if the historical crime is not linked to demands for the righting of present-day wrongs, there will be no lasting benefit to the people's struggle. Rather, the movement will have removed a blemish from the face that the U.S. presents to the world, without effectively challenging current structures of oppression. That's a win-win for the bipartisan War Party, the Democrats and international capital, and is the perfect kind of symbolic victory treasured by the Black political class, but will produce meager and diminishing returns for Black empowerment.

Frederick Douglass's dictum applies generally: "Power concedes nothing without a demand -- it never has and it never will." Protests that focus on the racist personalities and structures of the past must demand remedies for oppressions of the present.

In Baltimore, where the mayor pre-empted protesters by dismantling and hiding racist monuments in the dead of night, activists have erected a tent city to demand housing and jobs, and a $2 billion equity fund to finance ongoing reforms. "Taking down those monuments is good, that was right, but meanwhile it doesn't help anybody get food and shelter," said Rashid Abdul-Aziz, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The group Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle tweeted, "Take down racist statutes along with racist statues."

In Philadelphia, the statue in question honors a more recently deceased white villain. Frank Rizzo, the former police commissioner and mayor who died in 1991, was a northern version of Birmingham's Bull Connor. Rizzo's statue was recently spray painted with the words "Black Power," allegedly by Diop Olugbala, of the Black Is Back Coalition. A coalition has come together, to demand not only the removal of Rizzo's statue, but that the city council consider legislation for Black community control of the police -which would be a fitting reverse-memorial for the despicable Rizzo.
(c) 2017 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Texas National Guard soldiers conduct rescue operations in flooded areas around Houston, Texas 27 August, 2017

Trump Hides Behind The Storm
As Hurricane Harvey raged, the president tried to use the disaster as cover. It may have worked.
By Michael Winship

On 9/11, as the World Trade Center collapsed and the Pentagon was in flames, Jo Moore, an adviser to one of British prime minister Tony Blair's Cabinet members, sent a short email to her boss' press office: "It is now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury. Councillors expenses?"

This stunningly crass and cynical move - she was suggesting the use of a global tragedy to divert media attention from a minor story about pensions for local officials - ultimately forced Moore's resignation.

But it comes from a long tradition of politicians and public officials trying to hide news behind other events or releasing it at inconvenient times when you hope few people will notice.

(In the days before he became president, John F. Kennedy, aware that many would object to the naming of his brother as attorney general, joked, "I think I'll open the door of the Georgetown house some morning about 2 a.m., look up and down the street, and if there's no one there, I'll whisper, 'It's Bobby.'")

Friday nights at the start of the weekend have become Washington's golden hour for dumping bad news. Donald Trump's White House already was using this timeless trick barely days after the Bible on which he was sworn in had a chance to cool off.

You'll recall that he tried to rush his immigration ban executive order over the goal line on Friday, Jan. 27, hoping the crowd and the refs would have their collective backs turned away from the line of scrimmage. No such luck - on Saturday night, angry demonstrators thronged the airports and a federal judge quickly blocked Trump's decree.

Even though the constant bombardment of the 24/7 news cycle may have diminished its effectiveness, the ploy has been hauled out several times since, including the Friday night they released the financial disclosure forms of some 180 presidential staffers, which revealed that in combination they were worth billions. So much for The People's President.

But the latest news dump was the most brazen, a triple whammy, for not only did it fall on a Friday night, it happened in the face of a Category 4 hurricane that was just about to hit the Texas coast with a still-to-be-determined, massive loss of property and life. And we got not just one but two stories released as the storm's destruction loomed - the signing of a ban on the transgendered serving in the military and the pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the scourge of Arizona law enforcement.

(There also was the resignation of failed Bond-villain-wannabe Sebastian Gorka, but he released the news, not the president. Then the White House said he was fired. Hilarity ensued.)

In any case, full points for callous opportunism, Mr. Trump.

Arpaio, whose conviction for contempt of court is the least of his multitude of sins (which include racial profiling, prisoner abuse, bogus prosecutions, failure to investigate sex crimes, misuse of funds, promoting "birtherism" and believe it or not, a fake assassination plot), had not even been sentenced yet. But Trump loves his buddy "Sheriff Joe" and will do anything, even trample the rule of law, to help a pal and slake the bloodthirst of the Trump base.

In the face of criticism, on Monday afternoon, at a White House press session with Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, Trump once again pulled his patented, childlike "I meant to do that" routine and declared that he made the Arpaio pardon while the public was focused on Hurricane Harvey not to hide it but because, "Actually, in the middle of the hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally."

Ratings? No matter what he says about why he did what he did, in the face of a major natural disaster and lost lives, it's a statement of monumental, breathtaking insensitivity.

Trump then proceeded to rattle off from a prepared page a list of pardons made by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama that he deemed more reprehensible, justifying his own bad pardon by citing the arguably bad pardons of predecessors, and Democrats at that. Historian and former GOP presidential adviser Bruce Bartlett described it as "The Trump doctrine - if any other president has done something wrong, he is permitted to do it too." Yet somehow Trump failed to mention the pardons granted by Republicans Reagan, Bushes 41 and 43 and, most notoriously, Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon.

What's awful is that Trump actually may have pulled it off - this storm is so overwhelming and terrifying that it's hard to think of anything else and maybe his moves against the transgendered and in support of Arpaio will fade into that brand-new Oval Office wallpaper.

The storm also may succeed in taking the bite out of other news Trump may not have been expecting - the latest developments around his suspicious relationship with Russia. The Washington Post, The New York Times and Bloomberg News all have just reported on aspects of a business negotiation that took place while Trump's presidential campaign was in full swing - a proposed deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. (Keep in mind that Trump has often said that he has no holdings or interests in Russia - but apparently not for lack of trying.)

Emails show Felix Sater, Trump's shady Russian-American business associate, boasting to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen about the Trump Tower plan: "Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this, I will manage this process."

As delusional as Sater sounds (among other things, he hoped to be named ambassador to the Bahamas), Trump signed a nonbinding letter of intent for the project and Cohen says he and Trump spoke about the deal on three occasions. Eventually it fell through. "Nevertheless," The Post reports:

[T]he details of the deal, which have not previously been disclosed, provide evidence that Trump's business was actively pursuing significant commercial interests in Russia at the same time he was campaigning to be president - and in a position to determine US-Russia relations.
The emails "also point to the likelihood of additional contacts between Russia-connected individuals and Trump associates during his presidential bid."

Meanwhile, on Monday, more than a quarter of the members of the Department of Homeland Security's National Infrastructure Advisory Council resigned, citing the president's behavior around the fatal violence in Charlottesville and his withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, but also noting, "You have given insufficient attention to the growing threats to the cybersecurity of the critical systems upon which all Americans depend, including those impacting the systems supporting our democratic election process."

The president's attempts to obfuscate and to divert from the truth are why the Mueller and congressional probes of Trump and Russian interference with the 2016 election remain so important (and why an independent nonpartisan commission investigating Russia is still a good idea). Like the old Post Office motto, neither the hurricane's winds nor rains will stay the investigators from their appointed rounds.

There's no doubt that Trump is still scheming how he will stop them. The Arpaio pardon may foreshadow what he intends to do, providing get-out-of-jail-free cards to all involved.

I wonder: What unknown, upcoming news event will he try to hide behind to snuff out the work of his accusers?
(c) 2017 Michael Winship is senior writing fellow at Demos, president of the Writers Guild of America, East, and was senior writer for Moyers & Company and Bill Moyers' Journal and is senior writer of

Trump Versus The Wisdom Of Robert E. Lee
By Jim Hightower

While our present President's moral character seems stuck somewhere between boorish and brutish, it's only fair to note that he also has an aesthetic dimension.

This surprising side of Trump popped out several days after the Charlottesville attacks by raging white supremacists. In a presidential tweet, he said: "Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart." Yes, very sad to see a resurfacing of raw bigotry ripping so viciously into America's historic attempts to create a culture of mutual respect and unity in a nation of extraordinary diversity - e pluribus unum, as our national maxim puts it.

Oh... wait. That's not what Donald meant. Rather than criticizing those who are out to rip apart the American culture's Big Idea of Egalitarianism, this was just more babble from the boorish Trump. He was actually advocating the continued presence of statues of Confederate champions of racism - pieces of bronze and granite that publicly celebrate America's shameful period of slavery, secession, and white supremacy.

The KKK thugs invaded Charlottesville in violent objection to the city's planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, who led the southern states' war against the USA so they could keep enslaving African-Americans. Trump's lament, then, was not about the attack on America's humanitarian ideals, but merely about "the removal of our beautiful statues." Apparently, it never occurred to him that most Americans do not consider those statues either "beautiful" or "ours."

Ironically, Robert E. Lee himself opposed erecting Confederate statues across the south: "I think it wiser not to keep open the sores of war," he said, but instead "to obliterate the marks of civil strife."

We could use a leader with such wisdom today, when bigots feel newly empowered to incite civil strife across our nation.
(c) 2017 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, attends a roundtable on infrastructure.

How Donald Trump And Elaine Chao Sold Off Flood-Control Policy to the Highest Bidders
In mid-August, the administration moved to gut a necessary initiative to guarantee the flood resilience of infrastructure.
By John Nichols

Even before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, with devastating impact on the infrastructure of a flooded Houston and other communities, the Trump administration was thinking about and acting on flood-control policies.

Unfortunately, the president's team was thinking about what corporate interests wanted, and acting on their behalf-even as specialists on flooding issues pleaded with the administration to do otherwise. On August 15, Trump and his team overturned an Obama-administration rule requiring that infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges, be designed to withstand the consequences of climate change-such as rising sea levels.

Experts in climate change, coastal management, and environmental policy begged the administration to maintain the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard for "climate resilience." The concern crossed traditional lines of ideology and partisanship, as free-market economic groups and Republican members of the House praised the standard.

But politically influential real-estate developers and builders lobbied for overturning Obama's order. And they got their way, thanks in no small part to one of the industry's most powerful allies in the administration, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Since Trump took office on January 20, Chao and other presidential appointees have rushed to sell off critical decisions to the highest bidders in a crony-capitalist frenzy the likes of which Washington has never before seen.

Most Americans have little sense of the extent of the crisis, because Trump steals the limelight-even from his own actions. For instance, the announcement of his executive order revoking the Obama initiative to promote sound infrastructure development in areas prone to increased flooding as a result of over-development and climate change came during the same press conference where Trump went on a bizarre and troubling rant about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

There can be no question that the president's startling comments about "fine people" marching with white supremacists to defend monuments to the Confederacy were newsworthy.

But so, too, was the administration's move to implement an industry-allied transportation secretary's "deconstruction of the regulatory state" when it comes to vital policies regarding flooding and climate change. Chao is a former international banker with Citicorp, Bank of America Capital Markets Group vice president, and Wells Fargo board member who was associated with the corporate-friendly, deregulation-obsessed Heritage Foundation for years. She also has a long history of dismissing environmental concerns, and famously resigned from the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015 after being informed that the foundation was preparing to increase support for the Sierra Club's "Beyond Coal" project.

That made Chao a fine fit for a Trump administration where cabinet secretaries and agency heads are busily dismantling environmental protections and initiatives to address climate change.

Chao was with Trump when he announced the gutting of Obama's order to insure the "climate resilience" of infrastructure projects. As the cabinet secretary who will be overseeing much of Trump's $1 billion infrastructure initiative, she was at the ready on August 15 with complaints about long environmental reviews and regulations and a promise that "This new Executive Order will slash the time it takes to get vital new infrastructure projects approved and delivered."

Trump headed off to his golfing vacation after the press conference. But Chao was hard at work, she assured reporters: "At the Department of Transportation, we are already putting the Administration's principles into action."

That's what scared the Sierra Club, even before Harvey hit, even before the flooding in Houston and other Texas communities confirmed the vulnerability of our infrastructure in this new era of devastating floods.

"This is climate science denial at its most dangerous," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune in mid-August. He stressed that the administration's moves were "putting vulnerable communities, federal employees, and families at risk by throwing out any guarantee that our infrastructure will be safe."
(c) 2017 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Radiation In The U.S. Is Scary
By James Donahue

After watching a review of John Oliver's warning about the effects of accumulated nuclear waste during a recent Sunday night television show, I decided to take a new look at Bob Nichol's website Radiation This Week. Nichols report is technical but if you study it, it is scary as hell. He not only backs what Oliver had to say, he suggests that our situation is so bad we may have unwittingly allowed for our own looming extinction.

Oliver believes "one out of three Americans live within 50 miles of high-level nuclear waste, some of which like Plutonium, is lethally dangerous and will be around for an incredible long time.' If there is a nuclear powered electric generating plant serving your community you are probably among those unfortunate Americans. There currently are 104 operating plants in the United States. Others have been shut down but the waste from them may still be hanging around.

Oliver quoted the Nuclear Energy Institute, saying there is more than 71,000 tons of nuclear waste "stranded" at 104 reactors all over the United States. "It was a problem we should have solved in the 1980s, much like a Rubik's Cube," he said.

Even though we have been using nuclear energy since the end of World War II, the county has never established a permanent place to dispose of that growing accumulation of "hot" nuclear waste which offers deadly radiation that hangs around for hundreds if not thousands of years. So the stuff has just been piling up.

Nichols warns that the operating nuclear power plants are spewing deadly radiation into the air and water around them on a regular basis. He said the reactors "are venting radioactive gases and steam at nights and on weekends" and he warns that during these times "all residents must stay inside at nights and on weekends." Of course we all know that isn't what people do. They love the nightlife and don't realize they are playing in a silent and deadly environment.

Nichols, a former government worker who has access to some of the major government devices used to measure radiation in local environments, publishes his readings regularly on his website. While normal radiation is from 5 to 20 counts per minute, Nichols is finding that radiation assaults in places near these power plants and a few other peculiar areas is measuring well over 1,000 counts, or CPM. This means that people living in these areas are being exposed regularly to Sieverts of Gamma radiation.

A Sievert is a means of measuring radiation. A single Sievert is considered to be enough radiation to make a person very sick. Five Sieverts is enough to kill a person within a month. A single exposure to 10 Sieverts will kill within weeks. Out of 97 cities where measurements were found to be dangerously high, Nichols said the worst numbers were found in Colorado Springs, Idaho Falls, Raleigh, Kansas City, Little Rock, Mason City, Navajo Lake, Spokane, Portland and Louisville, Ky. They were all at or above 10,000 CPM. Colorado Springs read the highest at 18,149 CPM in the most recent reading, Nichols said.

"These annual totals are really big radiation numbers," he wrote. "The numbers are your annual exposure to the Rad. How much you already absorbed is really hard to find out." Describing just how serious these findings are, Nichols noted that the readings for Kearney, Nebraska are 5.58 times more radioactive than Tokyo, Japan, which sits under the daily nuclear spray of the Fukushima disaster. The Kearney radiation was recently measured at 301 times the Tokyo Equivalent Rads (TER) per hour on a Sievert monitor, he explained. An examination of the EPA's RAD net data website for Kearney shows that hourly exposure has averaged just over a .01 dose rate in the international units of nano-Sieverts per hour. This may seem small but consider that this is only a one-hour exposure for people exposed to whatever is flying at them while they are out of protective cover.

"The amount of Rad in the air now dooms humanity to a relatively quick extinction," Nichols wrote. The irony here is that "we have been done in by our own war toys and electric utilities . . . How moronic is that?"
(c) 2017 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.

Trump's choices are to back away from the Korean crisis he created or else attack North Korea

Get Trump's Finger Off The Nuke Trigger
By Eric Margolis

President Trump's ability to trigger a nuclear war is "pretty damn scary" said former U.S. intelligence director James Clapper this week. Remember when Trump vowed to "bomb the shit" out of his enemies?

I don't have much respect for Clapper, who brazenly lied to Congress and is a ringleader of the deep government's efforts to overthrow Trump. But this time, Clapper is 100 percent right. He's scared and I am too.

This week, Trump proclaimed he would continue the pointless, stalemated U.S. colonial war in Afghanistan and might ask India to help there-a sure-fire way to bring nuclear-armed India and Pakistan into a terrifying confrontation.

Meanwhile, Trump has backed himself into a corner over North Korea. His threats and bombast have not made the North's leader Kim Jong-un stop threatening to launch nuclear-armed missiles at the U.S. island of Guam, Hawaii, Japan, and South Korea. That is, if the U.S. and South Korea keep up their highly provocative annual military war games on North Korea's borders that each year invoke North Korea's fury.

The Pentagon insists these war games are just a routine military exercise. But that's not the view in Pyongyang, and, as a long-time Korea military analyst, not mine.

North Korea, which faces the 500,000-man South Korean Army (ROK) most of which is just down the main highway, has good reason to be nervous. I've been with the 1st ROK Division up on and under the Demilitarized Zone. The South Koreans are heavily armed with top line equipment and tough as nails. They are backed by massive US/South Korean air and naval power.

North Koreans are well aware that Egypt deceived Israel in the 1973 war by using frequent military exercises to mask its plans to storm the Suez Canal. It worked. Israel was caught flat footed by the surprise Egyptian attack on the canal.

By refusing a peace to end the 1950-53 Korean War, and by continuing economic and political warfare against North Korea, the U.S. has only itself to blame for North Korea developing nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them. Kim Jong-un saw what happened to Libya's Gadaffi (thanks to Hillary Clinton) and Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

Trump is now in a serious fix over North Korea. Jong-un has called Trump's bluff and sneered at the Donald's fire and brimstone threats. So Trump's choices are to back away from the Korean crisis he created or else attack North Korea. But the North's weapons and leadership are very well dispersed and deeply dug into the mountains. A U.S. conventional attack on the North is estimated to cost 250,000 American casualties.

The U.S. can certainly knock out some of Kim's medium and longer-ranged missiles in a major blitz, but it can't be certain that a few nuclear tipped N. Korean missiles won't survive to strike Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Okinawa or Guam-and maybe even Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is unlikely that South Korea and the U.S. can decapitate North Korea's leadership by using conventional weapons-starting with Kim Jong-un.

Unless, of course, Trump, who managed to avoid Vietnam era military service because of a bump on his foot, decides to go nuclear. This would mean hitting North Korea with a score or more nuclear weapons, large and small, before the North could riposte. North Korea would be totally destroyed, and its 25 million people left dying, maimed or starving. Japan, the world's third largest economy, would also be shattered.

Nuclear fallout would shower South Korea, Northern China, and Pacific Russia-and eventually blow east to the U.S. and Canadian west coasts. If the Trump administration decided to use nuclear weapons against North Korea, then why not in Afghanistan? The temptation will be obvious.

President Dwight Eisenhower refused pleas by France to use nuclear weapons to rescue the besieged French garrison at Dien Bien Phu. Trump may not be as cautious. He can't afford to be seen backing away from the Korean crisis. His aides clearly did not think through the ramification of his bellicose threats against North Korea. Bullies tend to grow lazy.

That's why I'm as nervous as Lt. Gen. Clapper.
(c) Eric Margolis is a columnist, author and a veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East. Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain's Sky News TV as "the man who got it right" in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

Trump Is Serious About Turning Your Town Into A Warzone
Trump signed executive order reversing Obama's small steps against militarized policing.
Steven Rosenfeld

President Trump is reversing the course set by his predecessor and renewing a Pentagon program to send weapons of war-from bayonets to grenade launchers to drones to armored trucks-to thousands of police departments across America.

The move, by executive order, rescinds a 2015 decree by President Obama in the wake of excessive military-style policing of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, that limited the Pentagon's ability to transfer some surplus arms and hardware to state and local police departments. Trump's order also dismantles a federal interagency group that sought to oversee the transfer of the arms and gear, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Today the president made good on his campaign promise to the Fraternal Order of Police to rescind Executive Order 13688 and put thousands of bayonets and hundreds of grenade launchers from the U.S. military back in the hands of police," wrote Kanya Bennett, a legislative counsel in the ACLU's Washington Office. "It also leaves law enforcement's federally provided drones, explosives, and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles without oversight. The result? Weapons of war will again be used to police our communities, no questions asked. Your town could be the next Ferguson or Fallujah."

Progressive police organizations criticized the move, saying the weaponry belonged on the battlefield and not in community police arsenals.

"Military equipment should only be transferred to police if departments can prove appropriate use, training, and oversight, and that the equipment will only be used in specific and necessary circumstances, such as active shooter scenarios," said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. "At tremendous risk to public safety, the 1033 Program doesn't require these vital measures. We must stop reinforcing the mentality that police are warriors and civilians are the enemy - it endangers everyone."

The White House press office issued Trump's order, entitled, "Restoring state, tribal, and local law enforcement's access to life-saving equipment and resources," without any statement or briefing material.

The Obama administration's oversight was problem-plagued, Bennett noted, citing a recent sting operation where the U.S. Government Accountability Office pretended to be a federal law enforcement agency and received surplus military arms. But now, it's possible that police departments that have been investigated by the Department of Justice for misconduct (until the administration stopped those inquiries) could receive Department of Defense weapons, she said.

"Even with the interagency working group's oversight since January 2015, we continue to see unwarranted police militarization post-Ferguson," Bennett wrote. "Just look at law enforcement's response at Standing Rock, where armored vehicles, automatic rifles, concussion grenades, sound cannons, and water cannons were used against peaceful protestors. Consider Baton Rouge, where those organizing around the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling were met with militarization and excessive force. And we still have SWAT teams detonating flash-bang grenades near a 9-month-old when executing home searches for drugs. Do you remember Baby Bou Bou?"

Some combat veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Republicans in Congress have questioned the Pentagon's so-called 1033 program.

Veterans told Vanity Fair in August 2014 that they saw better-armed local police in Ferguson than in some of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan. "I couldn't get past the fact that the police in Ferguson were wearing better battle-rattle and carrying more tricked-out weapons than my infantry platoon used in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan," wrote Matt Farwell. "Looking at the lines of cops facing off against angry protesters, I was alarmed at their war-like paramilitary posturing."

Meanwhile, in Congress, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, have called the redistribution of wares like trucks with gun turrets excessive and said it blurred lines between a "police response and military response."

Still, it's not clear what response, if any, will come from Capitol Hill. The ACLU's Bennett said Congress should suspend the 1033 program. On a local level, she said communities "must call out the federal government for instigating police militarization" and "take control of the weapons of war coming to their towns."

"We know that militarized policing is not "effective policing," as it does not deescalate, reduce bias, or improve police-community relations," Bennett said. "And we hope this administration does not think that treating neighborhoods like war zones is an effective way to create 'more community engagement.'"
(c) 2017 Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's democracy and voting rights. He is the author of several books on elections and the co-author of Who Controls Our Schools: How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and the Charter School Industry (AlterNet eBook, 2016).

When Times Get Dark, We Must Shine Brighter
By David Suzuki

Are we entering a new Dark Age? Lately it seems so. News reports are enough to make anyone want to crawl into bed and hide under the covers. But it's time to rise and shine. To resolve the crises humanity faces, good people must come together.

It's one lesson from Charlottesville, Virginia. It would be easy to dismiss the handful of heavily armed, polo-shirted, tiki-torch terrorists who recently marched there if they weren't so dangerous and representative of a disturbing trend that the current U.S. president and his administration have emboldened.

Racism, hatred and ignorance aren't uniquely American. Fanatics acting out of fear - of anyone who holds different political or religious views, of losing their real or imagined privilege, of change itself - are everywhere.

But whether they're religious or political extremists or both, all have much in common. They're intolerant of other viewpoints and try to dehumanize those who are different; they believe in curtailing women's and minority rights even though they claim to oppose big government; they espouse violence; and they reject the need for environmental protection.

Charlottesville was a tipping point, not so much because hatred and ignorance were on full display (that happens all too often), but because so many people stood up and spoke out against it, and against President Donald Trump's bizarre and misguided response.

The effects spilled into Canada, most notably with the implosion of the far-right (and misnamed) media outlet The Rebel. The online platform, born from the ashes of the failed Sun News network, is a good illustration of the intersection between racism, intolerance and anti-environmentalism. Rather than learning from Sun News's failure that racism and extremism are unpopular and anti-Canadian, Rebel founder Ezra Levant ramped up the bigoted and anti-environmental messaging, with commentators ranting against feminists, LGBTQ people, Muslims and Jews (Levant is Jewish), along with rejecting climate science and solutions to environmental problems!

The Rebel's Faith Goldy was at Charlottesville, sympathetically "reporting" on the band of mostly male white extremists. When a racist drove his car into a crowd of anti-Nazi protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and seriously injuring others, it was too much for some of Levant's long-time supporters.

Rebel staff and commentators - including a co-founder - cut their ties. Norwegian Cruise Line cancelled a scheduled Rebel fundraising cruise, hundreds of advertisers pulled out and principled conservatives dissociated themselves. Trying to salvage the site's ragged reputation, Levant fired Goldy.

Meanwhile, the White House is in disarray and damage control around the president's unhinged tweets, the ongoing Russian-influence investigation, constant firings - including chief strategist Steve Bannon - and legislative paralysis, not to mention a stupid belligerence that brought us to the brink of nuclear war!

At first it appeared that the tide of intolerance, emboldened racism and anti-environmentalism was rising, but now it's looking more like the last desperate efforts of a minority of small-minded people to hold onto ideas and perspectives that history has proven wrong many times.

Canada and the U.S. have checkered racist and colonialist pasts, but for all our faults, we've been evolving. Thanks to many people with diverse backgrounds from across the political spectrum who have devoted themselves to civil rights, feminism, Indigenous causes, LGBTQ rights, the environment and more, we've made many gains. We have a long way to go, but we must keep on and not let fear, hatred and ignorance block our way.

If we and our children and their children are to survive and be healthy in the face of crises like climate change and terrorism, we must stand together - in unity and solidarity, without fear. Like the many who gathered in Barcelona the day after recent horrendous terrorist attacks, the people who stood up to racists in Charlottesville, those who reject the anti-human agendas of media outlets like The Rebel, and the many people worldwide who march and speak up for climate justice, we must come together to shine a light on the darkness.

We must use our voices, actions and humour to confront these anti-human undercurrents. We must confront our own prejudices and privilege.

Love conquers fear and hate. We must show those who want to bring us down or take us back to darker times that we outnumber them by far, everywhere.
(c) 2017 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Texas Conservatives Really Know How To Waste Taxpayer Money
By Charles P. Pierce

The good folks working hard on voter suppression, and on limiting the influence of those parts of the electorate that inconvenience them by not voting for Republicans, just can't get it right. They keep designing new maps for the state's hundreds of voting districts, and the federal courts keep feeding those Etch-a-Sketch schemes into the woodchipper. This has happened three times in the past two weeks, most recently on Thursday. The Texas Tribune has the blow-by-blow account of this most recent bloodbath.

A three-judge panel in San Antonio unanimously ruled that Texas must address violations that could affect the configuration of House districts in four counties, where lawmakers diluted the strength of voters of color. In some cases, the court found mapdrawers intentionally undercut minority voting power "to ensure Anglo control" of legislative districts.
Mercy sakes, no! I, for one, may never rise from the couch again.

The Texas legislature keeps concocting these idiotic maps and stepping into a thick underbrush of rakes while doing so. This fandango has been going on for six freaking years.

The 83-page decision was the latest twist in a six-year-legal battle. The judges had already ruled that the Texas Legislature intentionally sought to weaken the strength of Latino and black voters while drawing the House map in 2011. But the 2011 map never actually took effect because the court drew temporary maps ahead of the 2012 elections. State lawmakers formally adopted the map in 2013 with few changes. Texas has used that map for the past three election cycles. In adopting the 2013 map, the court ruled on Thursday that lawmakers "purposefully maintained the intentional discrimination" found in the previous map. The ruling came the week after the same court invalidated two Texas congressional districts - CD 27, represented by Republican Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi, and CD 35, represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin - and ruled that intentional discrimination against voters of color required those districts to be redrawn. In both the congressional and state House rulings, the court ordered Attorney General Ken Paxton to signal whether the Legislature would take up redistricting to fix violations in the maps.
Naturally, the legislature will abide by the court's ruling, stop wasting taxpayer money on its six-year losing streak, and just get the damn job done, once and for all, right? Don't be ridiculous.
But so far, state leaders have signaled they have no appetite to call lawmakers back to Austin over mapmaking. Instead, Texas is looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep its political boundaries intact. "The judges held that maps they themselves adopted violate the law," Paxton said in a Thursday statement. "Needless to say, we will appeal." Meanwhile, the state and the parties that sued over the congressional districts are scheduled to return to court on Sept. 5 to begin redrawing the congressional map. In its Thursday ruling, the court indicated they should be prepared to also meet on Sept. 6 to consider changes to the state House map.
I will never understand how, after almost 40 years of the "taxpayers revolt" kicked off by Howard Jarvis and Proposition 13 in California, local taxpayers are not permanently enraged by public officials who waste their money on frivolous and doomed lawsuits defending laws that are either patently unconstitutional or obviously moronic. We see it over and over again, though, on the subject of protections for LGBTQ citizens, on the steady leaching of organized religion into the secular government, and, in the case of Texas, a costly exercise in getting your brains beaten in before federal judges because there are people that you'd rather not have even a modicum of political influence.

Right now, the elected executive branch in Texas is committing the public purse to the appeal of three adverse verdicts, on the same subject, simultaneously. Just do the right thing, people, if for no other reason than it's cheaper.
(c) 2017 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote...

"The American people are free to do exactly what they are told."
~~~ Ward Churchill

The Peace Monument The United States Needs
By David Swanson

Washington, D.C., needs a three-dimensional, sculptural Guernica dedicated to and with explanatory information about the victims of U.S. bombings in over 30 countries that the United States has bombed.

And it needs such a monument to the victims of wars now, to help move the country away from war. We can't wait to create the monument after having achieved a society willing to make room for it among the war-glorification monstrosities gobbling up more and more space in the U.S. capital.

With land unavailable for peace in the land of war temples, the obvious solution is a rooftop. The Methodist Building across from the Capitol and the Supreme Court, or the nearby FCNL building, or any other prominent building with a roof could radically alter the DC skyline and worldview.

Bureacratic hurdles would have to be cleared, height kept below that of the Capitol dome, etc. But a rooftop could make a monument more visible, not less. An external elevator could take people close-up to view, learn more, and photograph.

A plan to build such a monument would allow a design competition that could attract major artists, which in turn could attract major donations sufficient to fund the project.

While we're paying attention to the problem of Confederate monuments, we might expand our concern to include the monuments to every other side of every other war, and every participant glorified in D.C. statuary. As powerful, or moreso, than ripping them all down, would be to add a peace monument to the mix.
(c) 2017 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

President Trump receives a briefing on Tropical Storm Harvey relief efforts with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
at the Texas Department of Public Safety Emergency Operations Center in Austin, Tex. on Tuesday.

Can the Politicians Heed The Lessons Of Hurricane Harvey?
By Ralph Nader

Hovering Hurricane Harvey, loaded and reloading with trillions of gallons of water raining down on the greater Houston region-ironically the hub of the petroleum refining industry-is an unfolding, off the charts tragedy for millions of people. Many of those most affected are minorities and low-income families with no homes, health care or jobs to look forward to once the waters recede. Will this tragedy teach us the lessons that so many politicians and impulsive voters have been denying for so long?

The first lesson is that America must come home: we must end the Empire of Militarism and of playing the role of policeman of the planet. Both of these habitual roles are backfiring and depleting trillions of taxpayer dollars that could be better used toward rebuilding our country's infrastructure, strengthening our catastrophe-response networks and preparing for the coming megastorms like Hurricane Harvey. A projected trillion dollars being spent by Obama, and now Trump, just to upgrade nuclear weapons will only spur another arms race with Russia and China. This money could be more productively spent protecting Americans from immediate threats, such as natural disasters from man-made climate change.

Politicians must stop overstuffing a bloated military budget and leaving our country fiscally unprepared to handle mass epidemics and mass megastorms. In short, will they stop leaving our country defenseless against the prospects of huge levels of mortality and morbidity?

Second, Congressional and White House deniers of man-made climate disruption must renounce their dogmatic ignorance and confront the reality in the scientific warnings about the accelerating wrath of a provoked natural world.

Last month, I asked Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe-who has called climate change a "hoax"-what level of evidence would change his mind about climate change. He has not replied yet. But that is the question that should be asked of all Trumpsters, including the voters who share their disregard: Just what series of climate events - what piles of scientific measurements and documentations now in the Arctic, the Andes, Antarctica, Greenland, the Maldives, etc. - could change their minds?

Third, our elected officials must accept that continuing to waste trillions of dollars on corporate subsidies, bailouts, giveaways and lack of enforcement of costly crime-crony capitalism-further weakens our country's capacity to foresee and forestall omnicidal disasters.

Enough, also, of the Congressional Republicans starving the IRS budget so it cannot collect more of the many billions of dollars in uncollected global corporate taxes. These Republicans don't seem to connect the size of deficits, which they detest, with uncollected tax revenue, now estimated by the IRS to exceed $350 billion a year.

Maybe someone should finally write a book entitled "Listen, Voters." It could start by asking why enough voters keep electing politicians, who sweet talk them, only hook up with corporations and an ideology of corporatism that adversely affects the very voters who put them into office, along with many other Americans. If these voters, who so often vote against their own interests, do a little homework before Election Day, they can easily separate the fakers and the sell outs from the real candidates, who may not have silver tongues and corporate backing, but have a consistent record of being on the side of the people.

Voters need to be more demanding if they are to break the chains of a rigged electoral system that deprives them of choice, of voice and, most importantly, of the sovereign power they possess in our Constitution.

The August 29, 2017 Washington Post paused from its extensive coverage of the destruction in Houston to laud the "Flood of Courage in its lead editorial. It wrote of the "massive - and inspiring - volunteer rescue response... With nothing more than their own courage, good people ventured into the rushing gullies and culverts, risking their lives to save others in the unrelenting rain."

While Trump tweets and hopefully reconsiders his earlier cruel budget cuts for FEMA and other life-saving federal agencies - such as the Centers for Disease Control and the EPA - the people are swinging into action on the ground. May they swing into wise and just action in the next elections - both as new candidates and, high horizon, informed voters. For there is a much better America to be had.
(c) 2017 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book is Unstoppable, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

The Dead Letter Office...

Roger gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Eingangshallist Stone,

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 threatening any politician that voted for impeachment, "would be endangering their own life," 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 Fuehrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuehrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 09-23-2017. We salute you herr Stone, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

What Do Democrats Stand For?
By Robert Reich

The Democratic Party can lead the country in a new direction, but will it?

Millions of Americans who are politically engaged for the first time in their lives are crying out for a bold alternative to bigoted and destructive policies.

But Democrats can't just be anti-Trump or move to the middle.

To be successful Democrats must address the forces that created Trump: The toxic combination of widening inequality and racism.

The richest one percent now own more than the bottom 90 percent. Corporations and the rich are running our politics.

The resulting economic stresses have made many people vulnerable to Trump's politics of hate and bigotry.

If Democrats stand for one thing, it must be overcoming this unprecedented economic imbalance and creating a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition of the bottom 90 percent, to take back our economy and politics.

This requires, at the least:

1. Public investments in world-class schools and infrastructure for all.

2. Free public universities and first-class technical training for all;

3. Single-payer Medicare-for-All;

4. Higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for this;

5. Using antitrust to break up powerful monopolies on Wall Street, Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Agriculture.

6. Getting big money out of our politics.

Together, these steps form an agenda to reclaim our economy and democracy for all. Will Democrats lead the way?
(c) 2017 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His website is

Harvey Didn't Come Out of the Blue. Now Is The Time To Talk About Climate Change.
By Naomi Klein

Now is exactly the time to talk about climate change, and all the other systemic injustices - from racial profiling to economic austerity - that turn disasters like Harvey into human catastrophes.

Turn on the coverage of the Hurricane Harvey and the Houston flooding and you'll hear lots of talk about how unprecedented this kind of rainfall is. How no one saw it coming so no one could adequately prepare.

What you will hear very little about is why these kind of unprecedented, record-breaking weather events are happening with such regularity that "record-breaking" has become a meteorological cliche. In other words, you won't hear much, if any, talk about climate change.

This, we are told, is out of a desire not to "politicize" a still unfolding human tragedy, which is an understandable impulse. But here's the thing: every time we act as if an unprecedented weather event is hitting us out of the blue, as some sort of Act of God that no one foresaw, reporters are making a highly political decision. It's a decision to spare feelings and avoid controversy at the expense of telling the truth, however difficult. Because the truth is that these events have long been predicted by climate scientists. Warmer oceans throw up more powerful storms. Higher sea levels mean those storms surge into places they never reached before. Hotter weather leads to extremes of precipitation: long dry periods interrupted by massive snow or rain dumps, rather than the steadier predictable patterns most of us grew up with.

The records being broken year after year - whether for drought, storm surges, wildfires or just heat - are happening because the planet is markedly warmer than it has been since record-keeping began. Covering events like Harvey while ignoring those facts, failing to provide a platform to climate scientists who can make them plain, all while never mentioning Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, fails in the most basic duty of journalism: to provide important facts and relevant context. It leaves the public with the false impression that these are disasters without root causes, which also means that nothing could have been done to prevent them (and that nothing can be done now to prevent them from getting much worse in the future).

It's also worth noting that the coverage of Harvey has been highly political since well before the storm made landfall. There has been endless talk about whether Trump was taking the storm seriously enough, endless speculation about whether this hurricane will be his "Katrina moment" and a great deal of (fair) point-scoring about how many Republicans voted against Sandy relief but have their hands out for Texas now. That's politics being made out of a disaster - it's just the kind of partisan politics that is fully inside the comfort zone of conventional media, politics that conveniently skirts the reality that placing the interests of fossil fuel companies ahead of the need for decisive pollution control has been a deeply bipartisan affair.

In an ideal world, we'd all be able to put politics on hold until the immediate emergency has passed. Then, when everyone was safe, we'd have a long, thoughtful, informed public debate about the policy implications of the crisis we had all just witnessed. What should it mean for the kind of infrastructure we build? What should it mean for the kind of energy we rely upon? (A question with jarring implications for the dominant industry in the region being hit hardest: oil and gas). And what does the hyper-vulnerability to the storm of the sick, poor, and elderly tell us about the kind of safety nets we need to weave, given the rocky future we have already locked in?

People rest while waiting to board a bus headed for San Antonio at an evacuation center in Corpus Christi, Texas on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Hundreds of residents of the Corpus Christi area boarded buses Friday to be transported to a shelter in San Antonio as Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall on the Texas coast Friday night or early Saturday morning.

People rest while waiting to board a bus headed for San Antonio at an evacuation center in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017.

With thousands displaced from their homes, we might even discuss the undeniable links between climate disruption and migration - from the Sahel to Mexico - and use the opportunity to debate the need for an immigration policy that starts from the premise that the U.S. shares a great deal of responsibility for the key forces driving millions from their homes.

But we don't live in a world that allows for that kind of serious, measured debate. We live in a world in which the governing powers have shown themselves all too willing to exploit the diversion of a large scale crisis, and the very fact that so many are focused on life-and-death emergencies, to ram through their most regressive policies, policies that push us further along a road that is rightly understood as a form of "climate apartheid." We saw it after Hurricane Katrina, when Republicans wasted no time pushing for a fully privatized school system, weakening labor and tax law, increasing oil and gas drilling and refining, and flinging the door open to mercenary companies like Blackwater. Mike Pence was a key architect of that highly cynical project - and we should expect nothing less in Harvey's wake, now that he and Trump are at the wheel.

We are already seeing Trump using the cover of Hurricane Harvey to push through the hugely controversial pardoning of Joe Arpaio, as well as the further militarization of U.S. police forces. These are particularly ominous moves in the context of news that immigration checkpoints are continuing to operate wherever highways are not flooded (a serious disincentive for migrants to evacuate), as well as in the context of municipal officials tough-talking about maximum penalties for any "looters" (it's well worth remembering that after Katrina, several African-American residents of New Orleans were shot by police amid this kind of rhetoric.)

In short, the right will waste no time exploiting Harvey, and any other disaster like it, to peddle ruinous false solutions like militarized police, more oil and gas infrastructure, and privatized services. Which means there is a moral imperative for informed, caring people to name the real root causes behind this crisis - connecting the dots between climate pollution, systemic racism, underfunding of social services, and overfunding of police. We also need to seize the moment to lay out intersectional solutions, ones that dramatically lower emissions while battling all forms of inequality and injustice (something we have tried to lay out at The Leap and which groups like the Climate Justice Alliance have been advancing for a long time.)

And it has to happen right now - precisely when the enormous human and economic costs of inaction are on full public display. If we fail, if we hesitate out of some misguided idea of what is and is not appropriate during a crisis, it leaves the door wide open for ruthless actors to exploit this disaster for predictable and nefarious ends.

It's also a hard truth that the window for having these debates is vanishingly small. We won't be having any kind of public policy debate after this emergency subsides; the media will be back to obsessively covering Trump's tweets and other palace intrigues. So while it may feel unseemly to be talking about root causes while people are still trapped in their homes, this is realistically the only time there is any sustained media interest whatsoever in talking about climate change. It's worth recalling that Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord - an event that will reverberate globally for decades to come - received roughly two days of decent coverage. Then it was back to Russia round-the-clock.

A little more than a year ago, Fort McMurray, the town at the heart of the Alberta boom in tar sands oil, nearly burned to the ground. For a time, the world was transfixed by the images of vehicles lined up on a single highway, with flames closing in on either side. At the time, we were told that it was insensitive and victim-blaming to talk about how climate change was exacerbating wildfires like this one. Most taboo was making any connection between our warming world and the industry that powers Fort McMurray and employed the majority of the evacuees, which is a particularly high-carbon form of oil. The time wasn't right; it was a moment for sympathy, aid, and no hard questions.

But of course by the time it was deemed appropriate to raise those issues, the media spotlight had long since moved on. And today, as Alberta pushes for at least three new oil pipelines to accommodate its plans to greatly increase tar sands production, that horrific fire and the lessons it could have carried almost never come up.

There is a lesson in that for Houston. The window for providing meaningful context and drawing important conclusions is short. We can't afford to blow it.

Talking honestly about what is fueling this era of serial disasters - even while they're playing out in real time - isn't disrespectful to the people on the front lines. In fact, it is the only way to truly honor their losses, and our last hope for preventing a future littered with countless more victims. (c) 2017 Naomi Klein is an award"winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism." To read all her latest writing visit You can follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein.

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...

Trump Struck By Beautiful Vision Of What America Could Be While Looking Out Over Seething, Screaming Arizona Crowd
By The Onion

PHOENIX-Visibly moved by the outpouring of rancor before of him, President Trump was reportedly struck by the beautiful vision of what America could be while looking out over a seething, screaming Arizona rally on Tuesday.

"As I gaze upon the snarls on your red faces today, I'm filled with hope at what astonishing hostility the America of tomorrow can achieve," said the president, swelling with optimism at the inspiring scene of thousands of Americans gathering to act on their basest instincts.

"I'm simply overcome by the bitterness and resentment filling this convention center. Just imagine if everyone in the nation-every single man and every single woman-could let their anger and intolerance consume them the way it has the good people in this room. What a wonderful country this would be."

Trump went on to say that while progress would not always be easy, the uncontainable rage of crowds like this one made him feel like America was well on its way.
(c) 2017 The Onion

The Gross National Debt

Iraq Deaths Estimator

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 17 # 33 (c) 09/01/2017

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