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In This Edition

Norman Solomon wonders, "Will Senate Democrats Stoop To Confirming Rahm Emanuel As Ambassador?"

Ralph Nader says, "A Beacon Rises From Capitol Hill."

Margaret Kimberley explains, "Why The U.S. Still Suffers From Covid."

Jim Hightower exclaims, "Repair Your Own Products? Corporations Say No!"

William Rivers Pitt concludes, "We Lost The War In Afghanistan. We Need To Say So."

John Nichols finds, "Cori Bush Is Determined To Save the Eviction Moratorium."

James Donahue considers, "Cold Hearts In High Places."

David Swanson reports, "They're About To Add Women To Military Draft In The Name Of Feminism."

Lisa Friedman returns with, "Biden Opens New Federal Office For Climate Change, Health And Equity."

Charles P. Pierce thinks, "The Texas Legislature Needs To Take A Nap."

Juan Cole remembers that, "Biden Got 117,000 Afghans Out: Contrast That Time Trump Abruptly Withdrew Troops From Syria And Refused To Help Kurdish Allies."

Robert Reich says, "As Our Children Head Back To School, Partisan Politics Threatens Their Learning And Their Safety."

Chris Hedges returns with a must read, "A Vengeful American Empire Has Been Humiliated In Afghanistan."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Waterford Whispers News reports, "US Hangs Big 'Do Not Invade' Sign On Afghanistan," but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "Then Came Ida."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Sack, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Marcus Yam, Montinique Monroe, Brendan Smialowski, Nathan Howard, Los Angeles Times, Suzuki Foundation, CQ-Roll Call, Black Agenda Report, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

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Then Came Ida
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"The heat fuels storms of all sorts and contributes to very heavy rain events and flooding, the observed increases of upper (ocean heat content) support higher sea surface temperatures and atmospheric moisture, and fuel tropical storms to become more intense, bigger and longer-lasting, thereby increasing their potential for damage. ~~~ Kevin Trenberth ~ the National Center for Atmospheric Research

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

As I'm writing this Hurricane Ida has come ashore just south of New Orleans. Churning over unusually warm waters, it became a monster category 4 hurricane and for the next five hours stayed a category 4 as it made its way inland.

The National Hurricane Center says the impact from storm surge, high winds and flooding rainfall will be catastrophic. Ida came on land packing 155 mph steady winds with wind gusts of 175 mph and a storm surge of 9 to 16 feet high! All on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This time the levees held, but well over one million people are without electricity and many won't have it back for upwards of a month.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA a Category 4 hurricane will cause catastrophic damage: "Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months."

Storms like this prompt many of us to wonder about the influence of human-caused global warming. So here are a few quick take-aways from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, as well as from recent scientific studies.

Scientists still can't say whether the frequency of all tropical hurricanes is increasing. And data going back to 1900 show no trend in the frequency of U.S. landfall events.

But the IPCC report says it's likely that the proportion of major tropical hurricane like Ida has increased globally over the last four decades. (On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, "major" means Category 3 to 5 hurricanes.) Moreover, the attribution to human influence has gotten stronger in recent years.

Since 1900, the United States has suffered an increase in normalized damages from hurricanes, according to the IPCC. "Normalized" means that researchers have adjusted for societal changes - especially increased development along coastlines - that have occurred over time.

For example, a study published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a positive trend in normalized damage, with the rate of major damage events increasing significantly. The researchers attribute this to "a detectable change in extreme storms due to global warming."

Between 2020 and 2021, the United States suffered 258 weather disasters, with hurricanes causing the most damage, according to NOAA. The total from these storms: $945.9 billion, with an average cost of almost $21.5 billion per storm. Hurricanes also were responsible for the highest number of U.S. deaths from weather disasters: 6,593 people were killed between 1980 and 2020.

Hurricane Katrina, which in some ways resenbled Ida, caused $125 billion in damages. That was an astounding 1 percent of gross domestic product for the entire United States in 2005!

Monster storms cause enormous damage not only because of their winds. They also dump unimaginable amounts of water. And research shows that thanks to global warming, they've been getting wetter.

That's happening for a number of reasons. First, a warmer atmosphere can carry more moisture. Research shows that for every one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in temperature, the atmosphere can hold 7 percent more moisture. So far, the globe has warmed by about 1.3 degrees C since preindustrial times.

A wetter atmosphere is not the only factor making tropical cyclones wetter. Warming seas is another. In fact, rising temperaures invigorate storms in variety of ways.

Just before the northern summer of 2017, ocean heat content was the highest on record, "supercharging Atlantic hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria," according to a study led by Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Overall, he and his colleagues concluded that rising ocean heat, plus higher sea surface temperatures, make hurricanes "more intense, bigger, and longer lasting and greatly increases their flooding rains."

If we want to stabilize the climate before far worse impacts occur, it's imperative that we take strong, rapid and sustained action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But even if we do that, "some of the changes already set in motion - such as continued sea level rise - are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years," the IPCC said in a statement. Moreover, the greenhouse gases we've already pumped into the atmosphere will continue to alter the climate for decades to come.

The inevitability of future climate change makes this point especially important:

While storms will continue to get nastier as the world warms further, we can mitigate future damage by changing where and how we build in regions affected by tropical hurricanes. The only thing you can do if you live on the coast, is to move inland, or you may find out just how long you can tread water!


11-15-1929 ~ 08-29-2021
Thanks for the film!

12-23-1941 ~ 08-29-2021
Thanks for the music!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

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

Rahm and Biden

Will Senate Democrats Stoop To Confirming Rahm Emanuel As Ambassador?
By Norman Solomon

When President Biden announced late Friday afternoon that he will nominate Rahm Emanuel to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan, the timing just before the weekend was clearly intended to minimize attention to the swift rebukes that were sure to come.

The White House described Emanuel as having "a distinguished career in public service," but several progressive Democrats in Congress quickly went on the attack. "This is a travesty," Rep. Mondaire Jones tweeted. "Senators of good conscience must not vote to confirm him." Another African-American representative, Cori Bush, said that Emanuel "must be disqualified from ever holding an appointed position in any administration. Call your Senator and urge them to vote NO."

The response from Rep. Rashida Tlaib was pointed: "If you believe Black lives indeed matter, then the Senate must reject his appointment immediately." Tlaib accompanied her tweet with a link to an article that The Nation magazine published in the fall of 2018, when Emanuel was nearing the end of his eight years as Chicago's mayor, with this sum-up: "The outgoing mayor's legacy will be defined by austerity, privatization, displacement, gun violence, and police brutality."

All three congressmembers mentioned Emanuel's responsibility for the notorious cover-up of the Chicago police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. For 13 months, during his campaign for re-election in 2015, Mayor Emanuel's administration suppressed a ghastly dashboard-camera video showing the death of McDonald, an African American who was shot 16 times by a police officer as he walked away.

After Emanuel emerged as Biden's likely choice for the ambassador job a few months ago, longtime Chicago journalist and activist Delmarie Cobb wrote a scathing assessment of his mayoral record. While mentioning that Emanuel "closed 50 public schools in predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods," Cobb also pointed out that "he closed six of 12 mental health clinics in these communities." She added: "Now, who needs access to mental health care more than Chicago's Black and brown residents who are underserved, underemployed and under constant threat of violence?"

Emanuel's dreadful record as mayor of Chicago was in keeping with his entire career, spanning several Machiavellian decades that included stints as a member of Congress, a high-level aide for Presidents Clinton and Obama, and an investment bank director using his connections to make $18 million in two and a half years. Emanuel cemented his reputation as a combative and powerful player in the Clinton White House, pushing through policies that harmed the working class and people of color, including the NAFTA trade deal, the infamous 1994 crime bill and punitive "welfare reform."

That Biden has now chosen Rahm Emanuel to be the U.S. envoy to Japan -- the world's third-largest economy -- is, among other things, a distinct presidential middle finger to the constituency that gave him the highest proportion of support among all demographic groups in last year's general election: Black voters.

High-profile corporate Democrats were quick to lavish praise on the Emanuel nomination. Both of the Democratic senators from Illinois helped lead the testimonials. Dick Durbin said in a statement that Emanuel "has a lifetime of public service preparing him to speak for America." Tammy Duckworth chimed in, saying that his "years of experience make him well suited to represent the United States of America in this important role."

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blew hazy blue smoke to an absurd degree, declaring: "In the House and, indeed, across the nation, Rahm Emanuel is known and respected by all for his relentlessness and track record of success. His great experience, from the U.S. House to the White House, will serve our nation well, as he works to deepen one of our nation's most important alliances, champion American interests abroad and advance regional security and prosperity."

After the nomination announcement, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that "the Biden administration is apparently willing to spend some domestic political capital with an Emanuel nomination," and the newspaper noted that "progressives mounted a drive to block the nomination of Emanuel." That drive, being coordinated by my colleagues at, has already generated several thousand individual constituent emails to senators urging them to oppose the nomination. As RootsAction co-founder Jeff Cohen told the Sun-Times, "the #RejectRahm/'NoToRahm' campaign has virtually organized itself."

A coalition of 20 organizations mostly national while including several Chicago-based groups, has launched a grassroots campaign so that every senator will hear from constituents urging a "no" vote on Emanuel. In June, 28 victims and relatives of victims of police violence in Chicago released a joint statement, along with a poignant video, denouncing Emanuel and decrying the prospect that he'll be rewarded with an ambassador post.

Despite the pressure for party-line conformity, Democratic support for the nomination could fracture in the Senate. Replying to letters from constituents urging him to oppose Emanuel for ambassador, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley -- who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- seemed responsive.

"I have heard from Oregonians who are concerned about certain aspects of Mr. Emanuel's record during his tenure as Chicago's mayor, in particular his administration's response to the tragic shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was killed by Chicago police in 2014," Sen. Merkley wrote. He added that "at a time of a national conversation about police accountability and combatting systemic racism, there is so much more that we can and must do to address racism and discrimination in our law enforcement practices. ... Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should Mr. Emanuel's nomination come before the Senate for consideration."

Merkley is one of 11 Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will convene a public hearing with Rahm Emanuel before voting on his nomination. Whether Merkley and other senators will be open to preventing an Ambassador Emanuel from going to Tokyo is unclear at best. But it's possible.

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

A Beacon Rises From Capitol Hill
By Ralph Nader

The idea didn't come from a newly arrived Harvard or Yale Congressional staffer. They mostly feel sufficiently anointed to the ways of Capitol Hill - getting along with style while going along for ambition.

Jacob Wilson, hailing from Pomona College in California, has a different definition of self-respect, and of his own humble significance in the furiously moribund culture of our most constitutionally powerful branch of government. He most certainly doesn't fit in with the staff on loan from the corporatist canyons of K Street.

Wilson came from the peace movement - Peace Action - to be exact. He pitched practical peace to one Congressional office after another. His important message was not exactly a head turner, he discovered. War, military armaments' lobbyists signaling campaign donations get the attention at the abdicating war-permissive legislature.

Wilson, 28, and Peace Action opposed the wars of Empire, nuclear proliferation and the giant, wasteful military budget authorized by both the Democratic and Republican Parties in the Congress. Once inside, he started thinking sequentially, observing that the staffers were either uneducated about these and other momentous issues, or they were indentured to corporate lobbyists for whom the doors were open. Corporate lobbyists are experts at cultivating Capitol Hill support with campaign contributions or by wining and dining our public servants. and other convenient facilities.

Wilson wondered why there weren't more staff from the civic community, from those citizen advocacy groups that, over the decades, provided critiques and proposals for improved, responsive government that proved so accurate.

After joining Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI)'s office as a press secretary, Wilson in his free time began asking chiefs-of-staff and legislative directors about getting progressive employees of members together into what became the Congressional Progressive Staff Association (CPSA). They were very responsive.

Over a year old, CPSA has over 550 staff members, including 175 senior staff from the House and recently some from the Senate. Given its unprecedented nature, this is an impressive number. CPSA has been given formal recognition by the Congressional Administrative Committees so that it can use Capitol Hill rooms rent free for its gatherings.

Hundreds of official source journalists covering the Capitol Hill scene might ask "what's the big deal?" This informal group has no real power base, hasn't yet established any substantive agenda and hasn't been either applauded or condemned by lawmakers. This would be a mistaken appraisal.

A more aware, connected group of staffers in touch with each other occupies a very large vacuum that is not remotely filled by the taciturn Progressive Caucus, composed of several dozen lawmakers in the House that should welcome their conscientious subordinates.

This new association of staffers knows what it doesn't know. Jacob Wilson and his colleagues want to educate themselves about progressive history, and the contemporary, ignored progressive agenda and civic activities back home. The unexercised duties and authorities of Congress under the Constitution - many of which having been abdicated to the Presidency - will be a subject of increasing interest to the CPSA.

The CPSA wants to find its own voice, wants staff recruited for Congress from working class and civic backgrounds - "class diversity" - and more productive performances by legislative committees. They have launched a virtual lecture series that addresses the many delayed necessities of the American people and the world at large. They're also aiming to start an educational book club.

Education, networking, and recruitment of Congressional staff from working America are the group's initial three goals. In the process, the hundreds of national citizen organizations located in Washington, D.C. with millions of members around the country, may finally be able to get through to Congressional offices on current and proposed initiatives that are presently obstructed. The chance to make their case should excite citizen advocates for justice writ large and small.

Perhaps the CPSA will spark openness and more accountability by the members of Congress and their Committees. Senators and Representatives in Congress from both parties have reduced and robotized access to their offices like never before in this occluded Internet Age. The CPSA might also move some of the 535 members of Congress to engage in some collective introspection about the way they are using the sovereign power given them by "We the People" in the Constitution. It is, after all, delegated to them as a matter of public trust - so often betrayed!

Unless you are a campaign donor, a circle of supporting politicians or a constituent who qualifies for personal "case work," getting through to your Congress, its offices, committees, and staff has been getting more difficult by the year. The ingenious but devious ways the lawmakers block or impede access is a frontal assault on the people's First Amendment right to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The CPSA might also increase Congressional receptivity to ending the two-party duopoly, embracing the ideas of third parties, and not obstructing independent political competition. Our political system needs more voices and choices!

The CPSA has its historic work cut out for itself. It will take calm dedication, stamina, and wisdom while keeping their eye on the major objective - a functioning democracy where the laws are much more equated with justice than with limitless avarice and entrenched concentrated power.

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

Why The U.S. Still Suffers From Covid
By Margaret Kimberley

The Covid-19 crisis cannot be separated from the failed state.

Donald Trump was the convenient scapegoat for the first year of the Covid-19 crisis. Austerity, low wage work, housing insecurity, and the profit driven health care system were problematic issues before anyone heard the word Covid-19 or indeed before Trump's presidency. Every failing of the United States already in existence came into sharp relief when the pandemic struck.

Joe Biden has done nothing to alleviate these many crises. Temporary unemployment benefits end in September, and millions of people were denied these funds when republican state legislatures decreed that they wanted people back at work. The Supreme Court struck down the eviction moratorium and 90% of the funds allocated to pay for rent relief remain unspent. Millions of people face the prospect of becoming unhoused.

Meanwhile even a small increase in the number of Covid patients upends health care around the country. Intensive care units are full, staffing shortages abound, and patients who don't have Covid-19 are also suffering because the system isn't designed to respond to emergencies.

The words "trust the science" ring hollow when information changes daily. The public were assured that vaccines were a kind of magic bullet but they are not. The unvaccinated comprise at least 90% of those who are seriously ill, but vaccine efficacy wanes and the vaccinated are urged to get boosters for protection.

Biden is little better than Trump in addressing the pandemic. Like his predecessor, Biden's goal was to get people back to work and make life easier for the private sector. He arbitrarily chose July 4 as the date when all would be right, with hoped for high vaccination rates. He didn't trust the science either, as the Centers for Disease Control declared that the vaccinated no longer had to wear masks. The World Health Organization was far more cautious and advised against any such declaration. The rise of the Delta variant has driven an increase in cases and Biden administration miscues are responsible.

The United States is as much a failed state now as it was when the pandemic began. Absent a coordinated plan for systemic change, the public have been whipped into a frenzy of hysteria and heaping scorn on the unvaccinated as the cause of every problem. Judges are ordering defendants to get "the jab" whether they want it or not. A judge in Chicago briefly deprived a mother of visitation rights because she was unvaccinated. Local governments are requiring workers to be vaccinated or lose their jobs, and restaurants, theaters, museums, and other public places are now accessible only to those who are vaccinated.

Anyone who questions these actions is shouted down as somehow promoting the spread of disease. The right wing speak out against government overreach but then discredit themselves by dismissing the impact of Covid-19, with some denying its existence altogether. Liberals who ordinarily speak up on behalf of civil liberties believe they must go along with any and all restrictions in order to stay safe.

The solutions needed to minimize the impact of covid are multi-faceted. There is no miracle drug, no miracle vaccine, and nations which seemed to succeed with "zero covid" plans are also coping with an increase in cases.

While individuals declare themselves to be pro or anti vaccines the larger issues are unaddressed. The debates and mistrust stink from the head, that is to say from the oligarchy that runs this country. Covid-19 does not have to be a never ending crisis. It can be managed but only by establishing people centered solutions to every problem in the country.

The pandemic put millions of people out of work, and many of them aren't going back to the dead end spiral of low wage exploitation. They need more than temporary unemployment benefits. What they need is an entirely new system which gives everyone free health care and doesn't put one class of people in overcrowded housing during a pandemic. Workers need an assurance that their children will be safe in the classroom and if not that they can still be educated at home. Forcing vaccines and deciding that kids must be back in school regardless of local conditions is a recipe for more illness.

Skepticism abounds for good reasons. What passes for political leadership lurch between pretending that Covid-19 isn't an issue until hospitals are full of patients or demanding that everyone be vaccinated without changing any of their living conditions. In any case the virus is now endemic, meaning that it isn't going away. A nation that puts everyone on a knife edge of precarity cannot begin to address what this reality means for millions of people. Systemic change was needed before the pandemic and it is sorely needed now.

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

Repair Your Own Products? Corporations Say No!
By Jim Hightower

America's economic and political inequality has led workaday Americans to exclaim: "The system is broken. Let's fix it!"

But there's another version of this protest that I'm hearing more frequently these days: "The system is fixed. Let's break it!" That certainly applies to such rigged systems as money in politics and voter suppression, but it's also relevant to seemingly mundane matters that restrain our personal freedoms.

One of the insidious "fixes" we need to break is the claim by brand-name corporations that we consumers must be banned by law from repairing the products they sell to us! The weak battery in your cell phone, the fuel sensor in a farmer's tractor, some gizmo in the toaster you bought, a fuse in your business' delivery truck - you could fix all of these yourself or, with little hassle, take the problem to a local repair shop.

But, no, such manufacturing powerhouses as Apple, John Deere, and Panasonic assert that only their corporate technicians are authorized to open the product - which you own! - to make it work again. So, you are expected to deliver it to their distant facility, wait however-many days or weeks they tell you, and pay an inflated price. They've literally fixed the "fix" for consumer products. They impose their control by making the products as needlessly complicated as possible, then claiming that the complexity is their patented proprietary product. Thus, they say they don't have to provide repair manuals or sell repair tools to consumers or independent shops. Gotcha.

To give their closed profiteering system the force of law, the giants have deployed armies of lobbyists and lawyers to legislatures and courts, arguing that self-repair people really are scoundrels trying to circumvent safety and environmental rules.

This is Jim Hightower saying... For information and action, go to the US Public Interest Research Group:

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

Afghans try to ask U.S. soldiers to be let into the East Gate of the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 25, 2021.

We Lost The War In Afghanistan. We Need To Say So.
By William Rivers Pitt

Apparent suicide bombers struck at the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport in Afghanistan just as evening was settling in, followed by a second bombing at a nearby hotel. The gate itself was not in use - other gates had been prioritized for the swift removal of U.S. personnel - but huge crowds of Afghan civilians were still gathered there, hoping for escape. U.S. intelligence had been warning such an attack was "imminent," and had advised Americans to stay away from the airport for the time being. Multiple civilians and U.S. Marines were killed in the attack.

Reaction from the "news" media was swift: Here was the "nightmare scenario" for the Biden administration, which is of course solely responsible for the mayhem of this withdrawal, so there. While most agree that leaving Afghanistan was the right thing to do, the way President Biden did so has become an ongoing disaster involving bodies raining down from airplanes and now a bombing at the airport.

It has been like this for days now, a relentless drumbeat of finger-pointing by the media, fueled by a parade of generals and politicians who have spent the last 20 years warming up Afghanistan for the calamity it has become.

Yet what has been missing from all the conversation on Afghanistan is the simple truth: WE LOST THE WAR. Almost nobody seems willing or able to speak those four words out loud. The coverage has been shrill and angry, like a family trying to discuss an embarrassing secret without actually naming it. To name it is to make it real, and the reality that WE LOST THE WAR appears to be too overwhelming for the motherboards of many. Not enough RAM to encompass the new program; the old one has been running for so long.

The coverage has been furious in its narrowed scope. Look at this! How embarrassing! We can't leave anyone behind! Biden must be impeached! Much of this is certainly political opportunism on the part of Republicans - as activist journalist Jeff Tiedrich noted on Twitter, all those voices were silent when Donald Trump bailed on the Kurds while handing bases over to Russia - but there is more to it. For all that has been said, what has been left unsaid looms large: WE LOST THE WAR.

The August 31 withdrawal deadline is a stinging example of the phenomenon. Virtually every face on the television, including scores of influential people who had a hand in crafting this long and dismal failure, is demanding that Biden extend that deadline... but he can't. For one thing, the bombings today underscore the need for as immediate an escape as possible. However, more than that, if we recognize the fact that WE LOST THE WAR, we are confronted with the fact that we do not get to unilaterally dictate the terms of our exit. The victorious Taliban set that deadline, as all triumphant armies do, and we are not in a good position to break it or demand more time, because WE LOST THE WAR.

This withdrawal is so messy because there is nothing on Earth more vulnerable than an army in retreat, which is precisely what we are, Afghan personnel and all, because WE LOST THE WAR. Biden could certainly have prepared better for this exit, with humanitarian efforts and refugee assistance, but he could not have made it easy, any more than he could turn water into wine.

The arrogance is astounding. WE LOST THE WAR, and yet all these people seem to think we still get to dictate terms to the world because we're Americans, so there. Losers don't get to dictate terms - if they're lucky, they're allowed to leave with the shirt on their back. We are watching the "mighty" U.S. navigate its second lost war in 20 years, and many are unable to process the fact that the world now gets to dictate terms to us.

Last Monday, CIA Director William Burns met secretly with Abdul Ghani Baradar, de facto leader of the Taliban, to discuss the terms of the U.S. withdrawal. Baradar spent eight years in prison after getting captured during a CIA-run operation, and there he was, leader of a victorious army, sitting across the table from the director of the CIA and holding all the cards. The fact that Biden sent such a high-ranking official is a bright indicator of this nation's thoroughly humbled estate.

If you've ever wondered what Japanese Foreign Minister Shigemitsu felt while seated across from Douglas MacArthur on board the USS Missouri with the ink of surrender drying on the table before them, Director Burns could probably give you a fairly accurate description of those emotions. Baradar's version was not nearly as stark or ceremonial, but having him at that table with the reins in his hand is an astonishing turn for this "invincible" nation.

If we are not prepared to say WE LOST THE WAR even with the rank fact of it pouring out of every television in America, perhaps we should not be starting wars in the first place. Perhaps we should not be starting wars in the first place, no matter what we are prepared to say.

That, though, is the rub: The TV people, the corporations who own them and the wars that pump up their ratings cannot openly admit defeat. Doing so might make it harder to start the next war, or the last one all over again. This is simply impermissible, and so rolls the wheel.

WE LOST THE WAR. Nothing gets better until we admit this and accept it.

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

Representative Cori Bush.

Cori Bush Is Determined To Save the Eviction Moratorium
She lit a fire under the Biden administration to keep people in their homes, but the Supreme Court ruling has renewed the housing crisis.
By John Nichols

Earlier this month, Cori Bush slept on the steps of the Capitol in order to convince the Biden administration to extend the federal eviction moratorium. The Missouri representative's bold strategy worked. She got the White House to act, temporarily saving millions of Americans from the threat of losing shelter during a pandemic.

Now, with the Supreme Court decision to block the moratorium, she's going to be just as bold. "We already know who is going to bear the brunt of this disastrous decision-Black and brown communities, and especially Black women," Bush said after the ruling was released Thursday evening. "We didn't sleep on those steps just to give up now. Congress must act immediately to prevent mass evictions and I am exploring every possible option."

The high court's ruling upended a version of the ban on evictions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued on August 3, shortly after a previous moratorium expired amid wrangling between the administration and congressional leaders over how to extend it.

While others debated over who should take responsibility for extending the moratorium as it expired in late July, Bush demanded action. She brought a sense of urgency to the fight, recalling her own experience with evictions. And she won headline-grabbing support from Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In so doing, Bush gave voice to a national outcry over the prospect that as many as 3.6 million households could face eviction orders within two months. They are among the 11 million Americans who have fallen behind on rent payments during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an analysis of US Census Bureau data by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Bush lit a fire under the Biden administration, and the White House has continued to take steps to make it easier for renters to work with landlords to get emergency rental assistance. But the Supreme Court ruling has renewed the crisis.

The court's conservative majority ruled that the executive branch didn't have the authority to extend the moratorium. "Congress was on notice that a further extension would almost surely require new legislation, yet it failed to act in the several weeks leading up to the moratorium's expiration," argued the decision. "If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it."

Liberal justices dissented, with Justice Stephen Breyer explaining that, with "the health of millions" at stake, the CDC acted properly to assure that vulnerable Americans are not thrown into more precarious circumstances in the midst of a surging pandemic. "COVID-19 transmission rates have spiked in recent weeks, reaching levels that the CDC puts as high as last winter: 150,000 new cases per day," Breyer wrote, in an argument for "considered decision making" on the issue.

Within minutes of the court's ruling against Biden's Emergency Eviction Moratorium, Bush announced, "Tonight, the Supreme Court failed to protect the 11 million households across our country from violent eviction in the middle of a deadly global pandemic. We are in an unprecedented and ongoing crisis that demands compassionate solutions that center the needs of the people and communities most in need of our help. We need to give our communities time to heal from this devastating pandemic."

But Bush did not merely decry the court ruling.

She presented "immediate options" to avert an eviction crisis. They include proposals for the House to reconvene for an emergency vote on HR 4791, a bill, introduced by House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters, to extend the moratorium through December 31, as well as a plan to have the House amend the Public Health Service Act to provide the Department of Health and Human Services with the legal authority to mandate that evictions stop until the pandemic is officially over.

On the phone with fellow members, Bush made a blunt pitch for them "to reflect on the humanity of every single one of their unhoused, or soon to be unhoused, neighbors, and support a legislative solution to this eviction crisis." Bush knows she's got a fight ahead of her. She understands that pushing for congressional action is just one piece of the puzzle-especially considering the caution of the narrow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. But her outspoken advocacy keeps that fire lit under the Biden administration, and it raises the prospect that congressional Democrats might use the ongoing budget reconciliation process to strengthen the hand of the CDC and other agencies when it comes to preventing evictions.

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

Cold Hearts In High Places
By James Donahue

American voters wanted help and voted for change when they went to the polls in elections over the last decade or longer. Aggressive attack advertising campaigns financed by unknown special interest groups have successfully clouded the issues and voters have fallen victim to a crafty scheme by big power brokers. Consequently a confused band of voters have stacked the deck against themselves.

The Republican Party, which strangely stands opposed to any government program designed to offer assistance to the poor, hungry and homeless in the midst of an economic downturn that has left our nation in the worst financial condition since the Great Depression, has now gained control of the Senate and may continue to freeze any action in the Congress without extreme compromise.

There is a threat that the GOP leadership is plotting to attempt to recover from a multi-trillion dollar deficit, brought on by an over financed military, two unnecessary wars, a costly bailout of the big banks that gambled in an overpriced real estate market, and an extension of income tax cuts for the people who hold most of the wealth of the nation. They want to do this by putting the tax burden on the low and middle class and cutting services like food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicare and Social Security.

Since the advent of NAFTA and other international trade agreements under the World Trade Organization, Americans have seen most of its industrial might move overseas on a quest for cheap labor. Consequently the middle class has all but disappeared. Thus the Republicans appear to be expecting the poor to carry the burden of paying off the multi-trillion dollar deficit.

That kind of thinking in the midst of these troubled times is not only heartless and cruel, it makes absolutely no sense. That President Obama submitted to demands to expand tax cuts for the rich just to get an extension of unemployment benefits is an example of the kind of game the elected Republican representatives in Washington have been playing. That Mr. Obama submitted and failed to fight for everything he promised during his campaign for office, suggesting that everything going on in Washington these days is nothing more than a charade.

During the first two years of the Obama Administration, when the Democrats had control of the Congress and nearly enough votes to overpower the Republican filibuster in the Senate, the 111th Congress went down in the records as having accomplished more work and passing more legislation than any preceding congress since the days when President Lyndon B. Johnson rode into power with Democrats in full control of both houses. They accomplished this by constant compromise to get any of the legislation passed. Consequently any bill that offered assistance to the poor and elderly was so watered down it was not much help at all. The wealth has continued to be sucked up by the rich and the poor continue to be left out in the cold. If the Democrats in office were supposed to be representing the interests of the common people, how could this have happened?

The same kind of trickery is occurring now under the Biden Administration. Even though the Democrats now control the Congress, the Republicans now have control of the Senate. Thus the rolls are reversed. The two parties remain in constant conflict and little is getting accomplished.

The robbery of America's wealth by the thugs now holding the keys to the kingdom has obviously been a carefully designed plot by big banking and corporate power figures. The question we have is why would they wish to do this?

The end result of all of this is a complete breakdown of the middle class. By forcing millions of people out of what were once good paying jobs and into unemployment lines, and forcing millions out of their foreclosed homes and into the street, they are creating a nation of beggars and desperately poor. A plan to cut Social Security and other benefits for the elderly seems to have been stalled by the COVID assault on the world. This deadly virus has succeeded in creating an army of desperate citizens that once made up the middle class.

In his novels, English author Charles Dickens clearly described the world as we may soon know it again.

I am not a trained economist but there are two things I have learned during my years working as a journalist. The first is that wealth is an illusion. It has no value while locked away in a vault. The only time money has value is when it is in circulation.

The second historical truth is that humanity has been reliving this cycle of kings in control of everything to revolution and a splitting of the wealth for thousands of years. A study of history shows that it happens over and over at a relatively regular basis. Every time the pendulum swings too far to the right, and the kings make slaves of the poor, the people rise up in rebellion, overthrow the kings and create a socialistic system where everything is shared.

Unfortunately, there are always a few people out there who are clever enough to slowly build a monopoly of wealth. Thus the process begins again.

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

They're About To Add Women To Military Draft In The Name Of Feminism
By David Swanson

In some future lovely little war, perhaps with China or some other demonized target, some percentage of the U.S. public may suddenly exclaim: "Hey, since when does a draft include young women as well as men?!" Old tunes will be revised and sung in protest with lyrics about being the first one on your block to have your daughter come home in a box. The tragedies will be played out in tears and screams and flag-covered propaganda-regurgitating rationalizations. Dead women and men will be thanked for the service of stirring up World War III before being dumped in the ground to rot, as some of the living begin to envy them and wonder about the merits of the service they've provided.

But the answer to how this happened will be straightforward. The knuckle-dragging sexist Republicans for their own inscrutable reasons refused to add women to draft registration. So, the good liberals of the United States put the Democrats in power. They didn't get any value restored to the minimum wage or any billionaires taxed. Military spending went up instead of down - as did student debt. The gestures made in the direction of halting climate destruction we're grotesquely insufficient. But - by God! - women did get the respect of being signed up to be forced against their will to kill and die for the profits of General Dynamics.

Of course, that's IF we let it happen. The notion that you have to commit this atrocity against young women in order to respect them is obviously as insane as bombing houses in Afghanistan to spread women's rights. Draft registration in its entirety can be eliminated for men as well as women. (Things that no longer exist don't discriminate on the basis of sex.) But that's not an option a warmongering corporate media system will allow consideration of, any more than it will consider the possibility of nonviolent foreign relations in general.

That doesn't mean we can't act without the media, if only to be able to tell our young women and men that we tried. In the words of Edward Hasbrouk,

"In the most important Congressional vote on compulsory military service since 1980, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will vote this Wednesday, 1 September 2021, on rival proposals either to *suspend draft registration and put the Selective Service System into "standby"* or to expand draft registration in its present form to young women as well as young men. The new 'Selective Service Standby Amendment' to the NDAA doesn't completely repeal the Military Selective Service Act or abolish the Selective Service System, but it would suspend draft registration and eliminate all non-criminal state and Federal sanctions for past, present, or future nonregistration. The Selective Service Standby Amendment is our best chance to avoid having Congress expand draft registration to women."
Here's a page set up by World BEYOND War and where you can email your Representative and Senators to end draft registration rather than expand it.

And here's why many well-meaning people won't help out with this: They believe that a military draft is an anti-war measure. (The data is not yet in on whether they also favor fucking for virginity.)

The United States had an active draft from 1940 to 1973 (except for one year between 1947 and 1948). It also had numerous wars including in Korea and Vietnam. The Vietnam War persisted for many years during the draft, killing far more people than any U.S. war since.

Wars have usually been facilitated by a draft, not prevented. The drafts in the U.S. civil war (both sides), the two world wars, and the war on Korea did not end those wars, despite being much larger and in some cases fairer than the draft during the U.S. war on Vietnam.

On April 24, 2019, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service heard testimony from Major General John R. Evans, Jr., Commanding General, U.S. Army Cadet Command; Mr. James Stewart, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness); and Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, Vice Director of Logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They all testified that the Selective Service System was important for insuring and enabling their war-making plans. Stewart said that enacting a draft would show national resolve in support of war-making efforts. John Polowczyk said, "I think that gives us some ability to plan."

(c) 2021 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Emergency workers tended to a man suffering from heat exposure in Salem, Ore., in June during a record heat wave.

Biden Opens New Federal Office For Climate Change, Health And Equity
The office will be the first government effort to focus specifically on the public health dangers of global warming.
By Lisa Friedman

WASHINGTON - Amid deadly heat waves and new evidence showing that wildfire smoke may contribute to premature births, the Biden administration is creating a new federal office to address the health consequences of climate change and their disproportionate effects on poor communities.

The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, which the administration announced on Monday, will be the first federal program aimed specifically at understanding how planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels also affect human health. It will fall under the Department of Health and Human Services.

It's an area that medical experts have urged the government to take more seriously, and public health leaders said the new office was long overdue.

"The health of the American people is falling through the cracks because there hasn't been a targeted focus on climate risk," said Aaron Bernstein, interim director of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "This is the opportunity to plug that hole."

In 2009, scientists warned in the medical journal The Lancet that global warming would harm crop yields, cause tropical diseases to show up in new parts of the world and lead to water shortages. In 2020, the journal said those threats no longer belonged to the distant future.

"Climate change is fundamentally a health threat," said Gina McCarthy, the White House national climate change adviser. She said part of the mission of the office would be to encourage doctors to talk to their patients about protecting themselves from things like heat waves, wildfire smoke and other air pollution.

In particular, experts said, more needs to be done to understand how extreme weather affects older people as well as communities of color, where families are more likely to live in areas hardest hit by disasters.

"There's a saying that if white people catch a cold, Black people catch pneumonia," said Beverly Malone, chief executive of the National League for Nursing. "Health equity has a lot to do with where you live, and we have understood the linkage."

President Biden has requested $3 million to fund the climate office next year, a sum that still requires congressional approval. Those setting up the office have been brought in from other agencies drawing on existing funds. John Balbus, the senior adviser to the director of the National Institutes of Health on climate change, will serve as interim director.

(c) 2021 Lisa Friedman reports on federal climate and environmental policy from Washington. She has broken multiple stories about the Trump administration's efforts to repeal climate change regulations and limit the use of science in policymaking. @LFFriedman

The Texas Legislature Needs To Take A Nap
In which House Speaker Dade Phelan bans mentioning "racism" in the chamber.
By Charles P. Pierce

You'll excuse me, but I'd like to begin with a bit of personal business that's been nagging at the tattered remnants of my conscience for a few days. On August 20, here in the shebeen, I quoted from a really good piece of reporting at the website 100 Days In Appalachia about how West Virginia has become a popular spot to site prisons, because there's plenty of land and plenty of desperate people out of work. As is customary in the shebeen, I cited the publication, and not the reporter who wrote the story, an obviously talented woman named Emma Kelly. This is just the way we've done things since we opened the door almost 10 years ago and I didn't think much about it. But Ms. Kelly took to the electric Twitter machine to ask why I hadn't cited her by name. At first, I felt like blowing off her complaint. But some shebeen regulars thought she had a point and that was what put Jiminy Cricket in my ear.

I back up from nobody in my respect for non-profit, independent news sites like 100 Days In Appalachia. The people who work in them are generally young and they work incredibly hard. Many of them are under the tutelage of my man Charlie Sennott, who founded Report4America, and nobody ever had a better mentor. I pray that all those sites live long and prosper because I think they just might save real journalism in this country. They remind me of the function that the alternative press once served, including my own beloved Boston Phoenix, which is where I was working when I was around Ms. Kelly's age. Which brings me to my final point. As I thought more and more about it, I remembered what it was like to do good work and wondering if anyone had read it. It's a terrible period through which most reporters pass. And in going back to those days, I saw that Ms. Kelly's point was extraordinarily well-taken. It's one thing to cite The New York Times or the Washington Post institutionally. It's quite another to miss a chance to point people not only toward a good source for news, but also toward the people working to bring it to them.

Here is the website. Her name is Emma Kelly. She is a reporter.

Remember her name.

The Texas legislature needs to take a long nap. And it's not just that the voter-suppression law, either. They're still actively moving to barber their state's history in distressing ways. And, on Thursday, it moved into that territory that would have seemed ridiculous five years ago. From Channel 13 in Houston:

Before debates began, House Speaker Dade Phelan asked lawmakers, and people in the gallery, to behave. "While we may have strong disagreements on the legislation and policy that will be debated, our rules require that we conduct ourselves in a civil manner and treat our colleagues with respect," said Phelan. While debating SB-1, the word "racism" came into play. That sparked a reaction by Phelan who told lawmakers the word was banned from the chamber. "We can talk about racial impacts with this legislation without accusing members of this body of being racist," Phelan said.
Thus do we have the 21st Century equivalent of the "gag rule" automatic tabling of all anti-slavery petitions that prevailed in the House of Representatives from 1836 until Rep. John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts finally beat it into the ground in 1844. In Texas, you can't even mention "racism" in the legislature because someone might take it for a personal insult. Of course, that person probably should be concerned about why that was the case, but probably won't because this isn't about race, because nothing is ever about race.

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Stop And Listen" (Erin Harpe and the Delta Swingers): Yeah, I still love New Orleans. And please, all of you down there, batten down and be safe, and know that prayers are going up.

Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archives: Here, from 1955, we have the late Prince Philip as assistant to a magician in a fez. This is because you can't do it without the fez on. Phil seems like he was a good sport. History is so cool.

The Supreme Court's shadow docket has put some more already struggling people deeper into the shadows. From CNN:

"Congress was on notice that a further extension would almost surely require new legislation, yet it failed to act in the several weeks leading up to the moratorium's expiration," the court wrote in an unsigned, eight-page opinion. "If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it," the court said.
The necessity of Stephen Breyer's retirement is growing by the hour. It's either that or blowing up the filibuster and expanding the Court. Or both. The blinking red light is in severe danger of burning out.

Is it a good day for dinosaur news, SciNews? It's always a good day for dinosaur news.

"One reason is that Laramidia's geographic conditions were more conducive to the formation of sediment-rich fossil beds than Appalachia's," said Brownstein, author of a paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. The specimens he examined were collected in the 1970s from the Late Cretaceous Merchantville Formation in New Jersey and Delaware. "These specimens illuminate certain mysteries in the fossil record of eastern North America and help us better understand how geographic isolation affected the evolution of dinosaurs," Brownstein said.

Joisey dinos! Do not tell them, "Hey, bite me." Also, it's nice to have old bodies resurface in New Jersey without benefit of indictments. But, of course, in this case, the deceased lived then to make us happy now.

The shebeen is going dark next week as the company takes a break. As we get closer to our 10th anniversary, I want to thank you all for your patronage and support. It means the world to us here. Meanwhile, we see you a week from Monday with whatever happened in the meantime. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Wear the damn mask, take the damn shots, and don't eat the fcking horse paste, OK?

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

The Quotable Quote-

"It is time we had democratic socialism for working families, not just Wall Street billionaires."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Biden Got 117,000 Afghans Out: Contrast That Time Trump Abruptly Withdrew Troops From Syria And Refused To Help Kurdish Allies
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Richard N. Ojeda, an Army vet and former West Virginia state representative tweeted out an observation that I would like to reinforce:

Amid the terminal amnesia of the U.S. media, it is refreshing to see someone remember the circumstances under which Trump pulled out of Syria, as a comparison to Biden's Afghanistan. Let us just review that situation.

The so-called Islamic State group in Iraq, ISI, had developed in reaction against the US occupation of that country. It was part of the al-Qaeda affiliate, "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia," but began styling itself a "state" because it developed the ambition to be more than a terrorist organization, seeking to take and hold territory under the nose of the Americans in Sunni Arab strongholds that resisted the rule of the Shiite-dominated Baghdad government. ISI didn't have a lot of success in the zeroes of this century.

In 2011, when the Syrian revolution broke out, the government of Baathist strongman Bashar al-Assad decided to repress it with military force. Assad with his sniping and tank barrages maneuvered the youth revolutionaries into picking up a gun to fight back, so that he could brand them violent Sunni fundamentalist terrorists and keep the loyalty of the urban middle classes and the religious minorities.

Amid the fighting, ISI came over from northern Iraq into Syria, attracted by the collapse of the Baath government and army in some parts of the country. It declared itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL (it meant all of geographic Greater Syria, including Lebanon, Jordan and Israel-Palestine) It split in 2013 because ISIL was behaving in an opportunistic way, shooting fellow fundamentalist guerrillas in the back and poaching on their territory. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri kicked them out of al-Qaeda. ISIL predominated in eastern Syria, taking Raqqa province and making Raqqa city its capital. The rest of al-Qaeda,including Jabhat al-Nusra (The Support Front), predominated in northwest Syria where their remnants still are.

The US foolishly thought that ISIL would be a useful lever against Assad, and didn't interfere with it. In 2014 it used its east Syria power base to come across and take 40% of Iraq, launching a phony "caliphate" and declaring war on the West, using social media to encourage attacks on Paris and in the U.S.

The Obama administration finally understood the danger of the organization and mobilized to fight it. Obama did not want to put war-fighting troops on the ground but offered training and logistical and air support. In this model, you need troops on the ground willing to fight. They were easy to find in Iraq, where the Kurds and Shiites were angry about ISIL massacres of their members and both the Iraqi national army (which at first collapsed and had to be rebuilt by the US) and Iraqi Shiite militias allied with Qasem Soleimani's Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps swung into action against ISIL.

In Syria, Obama couldn't initially find anyone to fight ISIL. The Sunni Arab fighters wanted to defeat Assad way more than they wanted to go against what were sometimes battlefield allies. The Saudis and other allies likewise wouldn't take on ISIL. Turkey wanted to fight the Kurds and did not prioritize the struggle against ISIL- in fact it was pouring arms and ammunition into the ranks of the Sunni rebels, some of which probably reached ISIL, and Ankara did not seem to care.

So Obama could ineffectually bomb ISIL in Raqqa until the cows came home to no good effect. You can't defeat a guerrilla movement from the air.

Then Obama and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter bit the bullet and enlisted Syria's Kurds in the struggle against ISIL. ISIL hates Kurds, who tend to reject its brand of brutal fundamentalism, and had massacred them. The Syrian Kurds had their own militia, the People's Protection Units or Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (YPG), the paramilitary of the Democratic Union Party.

The DUP and the YPG had once been communists, but after the fall of the Soviet Union they adopted a cooperativist form of socialism thought up by Brooklyn intellectual Murray Bookchin. The YPG still wore a red star on their uniform in memory of their communist past. So they were strange bedfellows for the Neoliberal, capitalist U.S.

The US added some local Arab tribes to the YPG and called it the Syrian Democratic Forces, but it was basically the YPG. With US air support and 2,000 embedded US special operations personnel, the Syrian Kurds defeated ISIL, taking Raqqa by mid-October of 2017.

Turkey was furious about the US alliance with the Syrian Kurds, viewing them as terrorists and as a branch of the violent Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla movement against which Turkey's military fought a dirty war from in the 1970s.

The US does not view the YPG as at all like the PKK, making a distinction between the Syrian Kurdish Bookchinists and the Turkey-based PKK.

Turkey was fearful that the Syrian Kurds would use their US alliance to arm themselves even better and to consolidate a Kurdish mini-state across northern Syria right on the Turkish border, from which they could spread socialism and Kurdish separatism. (There isn't, however, good evidence of Syrian Kurdish terrorism against Turkey).

In fall of 2019 Donald Trump spoke to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and agreed to withdraw US troops from Syria and to allow Turkey to invade the Kurdish regions of northern Syria.

Why Trump did this is still not known, though he once admitted that his Istanbul hotel gave the Turkish government leverage over him.

Trump abruptly pulled out the 2,000 US troops, sending most of them to Iraq but keeping a couple hundred in southeast Syria "for the oil."

And he stood by as the Turkish military invaded the Kurdish regions of northern Syria, displacing thousands of Kurds. These people who lost their homes were the very ones who had supplied the young men to fight alongside the US and defeat ISIL.

ISIL prisoners being guarded by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the US troops sometimes were able to stage escapes in the chaos. There was a danger of ISIL reasserting itself.

Trump evacuated no Kurdish allies at all, as Mr. Ojeda pointed out. He left them to face the Turkish invasion, or the Syrian Arab Army of Assad, or the continued small ISIL terrorist cells. All this was after they had been the only allies on the ground the US could find to polish off ISIL.

Trump had not warned his allies or even Secretary of Defense James Mattis what he was planning to do, and Mattis resigned over it.

In contrast, Biden had announced a year before when he was campaigning for president that he would get out of Afghanistan, and the peace treaty Trump concluded with the Taliban and Trump's reduction of US forces to only 2500 in any case left Biden no choice but to get out. Unlike Trump, Biden arranged for the evacuation of 117,000 Afghan allies of the US.

Both withdrawals were chaotic and posed security challenges. But to see pro-Trump Republican politicians grandstanding and calling for Biden's resignation or even impeachment is a bit rich. None of them wants to remember what their guy did to the Syrian Kurds or the condition in which he left eastern Syria and its ISIL cells.

This was only 2 years ago. It isn't ancient history. What's with the amnesia?

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

As Our Children Head Back To School, Partisan Politics Threatens Their Learning And Their Safety
By Robert Reich

My granddaughter will go to school next week. So may your child or grandchild. For many, it will be their first time back in classrooms in a year and a half.

What do we want for these young people? At least three things.

First and most obviously, to learn the verbal, mathematical and other thinking tools they'll need to successfully navigate the world.

But that's not all. We also want them to become responsible citizens. This means, among other things, becoming aware of the noble aspects of our history as well as the shameful aspects, so they grow into adults who can intelligently participate in our democracy.

Yet some Republican lawmakers don't want our children to have the whole picture.

Over the last few months, some 26 states have curbed how teachers discuss America's racist past. Some of these restrictions impose penalties on teachers and administrators who violate them, including the loss of licenses and fines. Many curbs take effect next week.

These legislators prefer that our children learn only the sanitized, vanilla version of America, as if ignorance will make them better citizens.

Why should learning the truth be a politically partisan issue?

The third thing we want for our children and grandchildren heading back to school is even more basic. We want them to be safe.

Yet even as the number of American children hospitalized with Covid-19 has hit a record high, some Republican lawmakers don't want them to wear masks in school to protect themselves and others.

The governors of Texas and Florida, where Covid is surging, have sought to prohibit school districts from requiring masks. Lawmakers in Kentucky, also experiencing a surge, have repudiated a statewide school mask mandate.

Why should the simple precaution of wearing a mask be a politically partisan issue?

Paradoxically, many of these same Republican lawmakers want people to have easy access to guns, even though school shootings have become tragically predictable.

Between last March and the end of the school year in June - despite most elementary, middle and high schools being partially or entirely closed due to the pandemic - there were 14 school shootings, the highest total over that period since at least 1999.

Since the massacre 22 years ago at Columbine High School near Denver, more than a quarter of a million children have been exposed to gun violence during school hours.

How can lawmakers justify preventing children from masking up against Covid while allowing almost anyone to buy a gun?

The answer to all of this, I think, is a warped sense of the meaning of freedom.

These lawmakers - and many of the people they represent - equate "freedom" with being allowed to go without a mask and to own a gun, while also being ignorant of the shameful aspects of America.

To them, personal freedom means taking no responsibility.

Yet this definition of freedom is precisely the opposite lesson our children and grandchildren need. To be truly free is to learn to be responsible for knowing the truth even if it's sometimes painful, and responsible for the health and safety of others even if it's sometimes inconvenient.

The duty to help our children become responsible adults falls mainly on us as parents and grandparents. But our children also need schools that teach and practice the same lessons.

America's children shouldn't be held hostage to a partisan political brawl. It's time we focused solely on their learning and their safety.

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

Relatives and neighbors of the Ahmadi family gathered around the incinerated husk of a vehicle targeted
and hit earlier Sunday afternoon by an American drone strike, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.

A Vengeful American Empire Has Been Humiliated In Afghanistan
The Americans, like the British and the Soviets before them, dug their own graveyard in Afghanistan.
By Chris Hedges

The Carthaginian general Hannibal, who came close to defeating the Roman Republic in the Second Punic War, committed suicide in 181 BC in exile as Roman soldiers closed in on his residence in the Bithynian village of Libyssa, now modern-day Turkey. It had been more than thirty years since he led his army across the alps and annihilated Roman legions at the Battle of Trebia, Lake Trasimene and Cannae, considered one of the most brilliant tactical victories in warfare which centuries later inspired the plans of the German Army Command in World War I when they invaded Belgium and France. Rome was only able to finally save itself from defeat by replicating Hannibal's military tactics.

If the empire disbanded, much as the British empire did, and retreated to focus on the ills that beset the United States it could free itself from its death spiral.

It did not matter in 181 BC that there had been over 20 Roman emperors since Hannibal's invasion. It did not matter that Hannibal had been hunted for decades and forced to perpetually flee, always just beyond the reach of Roman authorities. He had humiliated Rome. He had punctured its myth of omnipotence. And he would pay. With his life. Years after Hannibal was gone, the Romans were still not satisfied. They finished their work of apocalyptic vengeance in 146 BC by razing Carthage to the ground and selling its remaining population into slavery. Cato the Censor summed up the sentiments of empire: Carthago delenda est (Carthage must be destroyed). Nothing about empire, from then until now, has changed.

Imperial powers do not forgive those who expose their weaknesses or make public the sordid and immoral inner workings of empire. Empires are fragile constructions. Their power is as much one of perception as of military strength. The virtues they claim to uphold and defend, usually in the name of their superior civilization, are a mask for pillage, the exploitation of cheap labor, indiscriminate violence, and state terror.

The current American empire, damaged and humiliated by the troves of internal documents published by WikiLeaks, will, for this reason, persecute Julian Assange for the rest of his life. It does not matter who is president or which political party is in power. Imperialists speak with one voice. The killing of thirteen U.S. troops by a suicide bomber at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday evoked from Joe Biden the full-throated cry of all imperialists: "To those who carried out this attack ... we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay." This was swiftly followed by two drone strikes in Kabul against suspected members of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), which took credit for the suicide bombing that left some 170 dead, including 28 members of the Taliban.

The Taliban, which defeated U.S. and coalition forces in a 20-year war, is about to be confronted with the wrath of a wounded empire. The Cuban, Vietnamese, Iranian, Venezuelan and Haitian governments know what comes next. The ghosts of Toussaint Louverture, Emilio Aguinaldo, Mohammad Mossadegh, Jacobo Arbenz, Omar Torrijos, Gamal Abdul Nasser, Juan Velasco, Salvador Allende, Andreas Papandreou, Juan Bosh, Patrice Lumumba, and Hugo Chavez know what comes next. It isn't pretty. It will be paid for by the poorest and most vulnerable Afghans.

The faux pity for the Afghan people, which has defined the coverage of the desperate collaborators with the U.S. and coalition occupying forces and educated elites fleeing to the Kabul airport, begins and ends with the plight of the evacuees. There were few tears shed for the families routinely terrorized by coalition forces or the some 70,000 civilians who were obliterated by U.S. air strikes, drone attacks, missiles, and artillery, or gunned down by nervous occupying forces who saw every Afghan, with some justification, as the enemy during the war. And there will be few tears for the humanitarian catastrophe the empire is orchestrating on the 38 million Afghans, who live in one of the poorest and most aid-dependent countries in the world.

Since the 2001 invasion the United States deployed about 775,000 military personnel to subdue Afghanistan and poured $143 billion into the country, with 60 percent of the money going to prop up the corrupt Afghan military and the rest devoted to funding economic development projects, aid programs and anti-drug initiatives, with the bulk of those funds being siphoned off by foreign aid groups, private contractors, and outside consultants.

Grants from the United States and other countries accounted for 75 percent of the Afghan government budget. That assistance has evaporated. Afghanistan's reserves and other financial accounts have been frozen, meaning the new government cannot access some $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank. Shipments of cash to Afghanistan have been stopped. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that Afghanistan will no longer be able to access the lender's resources.

Things are already dire. There are some 14 million Afghans, one in three, who lack sufficient food. There are two million Afghan children who are malnourished. There are 3.5 million people in Afghanistan who have been displaced from their homes. The war has wrecked infrastructure. A drought destroyed 40 percent of the nation's crops last year. The assault on the Afghan economy is already seeing food prices skyrocket. The sanctions and severance of aid will force civil servants to go without salaries and the health service, already chronically short of medicine and equipment, will collapse. The suffering orchestrated by the empire will be of Biblical proportions. And this is what the empire wants.

UNICEF estimates that 500,000 children were killed as a direct result of sanctions on Iraq. Expect child deaths in Afghanistan to soar above that horrifying figure. And expect the same imperial heartlessness Madeline Albright, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, exhibited when she told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children because of the sanctions was "worth it."? Or the heartlessness of Hillary Clinton who joked "We came, we saw, he died," when informed of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's brutal death. Or the demand by Democratic Senator Zell Miller of Georgia who after the attacks of 9/11 declared, "I say, bomb the hell out of them. If there's collateral damage, so be it." No matter that the empire has since turned Libya along with Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen into cauldrons of violence, chaos, and misery. The power to destroy is an intoxicating drug that is its own justification.

Like Cato the Censor, the U.S. military and intelligence agencies are, if history is any guide, at this moment planning to destabilize Afghanistan by funding, arming, and backing any militia, warlord or terrorist organization willing to strike at the Taliban. The CIA, which should exclusively gather intelligence, is a rogue paramilitary organization that oversees secret kidnappings, interrogation at black sites, torture, manhunts, and targeted assassinations across the globe. It carried out commando raids in Afghanistan that killed a large number of Afghan civilians, which repeatedly sent enraged family members and villagers into the arms of the Taliban. It is, I expect, reaching out to Amrullah Saleh, who was Ashraf Ghani's vice president and who has declared himself "the legitimate caretaker president" of Afghanistan. Saleh is holed up in the Panjashir Valley. He, along with warlords Afgand Massoud, Mohammad Atta Noor and Abdul Rashid Dostum, are clamoring to be armed and supported to perpetuate conflict in Afghanistan.

"I write from the Panjshir Valley today, ready to follow in my father's footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban," Ahmad Massoud wrote in an opinion piece in The Washington Post. "The United States and its allies have left the battlefield, but America can still be a 'great arsenal of democracy,' as Franklin D. Roosevelt said when coming to the aid of the beleaguered British before the U.S. entry into World War II," he went on, adding that he and his fighters need "more weapons, more ammunition and more supplies."

These warlords have done the bidding of the Americans before. They will do the bidding of the Americans again. And since the hubris of empire is unaffected by reality, the empire will continue to sow dragon's teeth in Afghanistan as it has since it spent $9 billion-some estimates double that figure-to back the mujahedeen that fought the Soviets, leading to a bloody civil war between rival warlords once the Soviets withdrew in 1989 and the ascendancy in 1996 of the Taliban.

The cynicism of arming and funding the mujahedeen against the Soviets exposes the lie of America's humanitarian concerns in Afghanistan. One million Afghan civilians were killed in the nine-year conflict with the Soviets, along with 90,000 mujahedeen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers. But these deaths, along with the destruction of Afghanistan, were "worth it" to cripple the Soviets.

Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, along with the Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, oversaw the arming of the most radical Islamic mujahedeen groups fighting the Soviet occupation forces, leading to the extinguishing of the secular, democratic Afghan opposition. Brzezinski detailed the strategy, designed as he said to give the Soviet Union its Vietnam, taken by the Carter administration following the 1979 Soviet invasion to prop up the Marxist regime of Hafizullah Amin in Kabul:

We immediately launched a twofold process when we heard that the Soviets had entered Afghanistan. The first involved direct reactions and sanctions focused on the Soviet Union, and both the State Department and the National Security Agency prepared long lists of sanctions to be adopted, of steps to be taken to increase the international costs to the Soviet Union of their actions. And the second course of action led to my going to Pakistan a month or so after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for the purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis a joint response, the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible; and we engaged in that effort in a collaborative sense with the Saudis, the Egyptians, the British, the Chinese, and we started providing weapons to the Mujaheddin, from various sources again - for example, some Soviet arms from the Egyptians and the Chinese. We even got Soviet arms from the Czechoslovak communist government, since it was obviously susceptible to material incentives; and at some point we started buying arms for the Mujahedeen from the Soviet army in Afghanistan, because that army was increasingly corrupt.

The clandestine campaign to destabilize the Soviet Union by making it "bleed for as much and as long as is possible" was carried out, like the arming of the contra forces in Nicaragua, largely off the books. It did not, as far as official Washington was concerned, exist, a way to avoid the unwelcome scrutiny of covert operations carried out by the Church Committee hearings in the 1970s that made public the three decades of CIA-backed coups, assassinations, blackmail, intimidation, dark propaganda, and torture. The Saudi government agreed to match the U.S. funding for the Afghan insurgents. The Saudi involvement gave rise to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, which fought with the mujahedeen. The rogue operation, led by Brzezinski, organized secret units of assassination teams and paramilitary squads that carried out lethal attacks on perceived enemies around the globe. It trained Afghan mujahedeen in Pakistan and China's Xinjiang province. It shifted the heroin trade, used to fund the insurgency, from southeast Asia to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This pattern of behavior, which destabilized Afghanistan and the region, is reflexive in the military and the intelligence community. It will, without doubt, be repeated now in Afghanistan, with the same catastrophic results. The chaos these intelligence agencies create becomes the chaos that justifies their existence and the chaos that sees them demand more resources and ever greater levels of violence.

All empires die. The end is usually unpleasant. The American empire, humiliated in Afghanistan, as it was in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, as it was at the Bay of Pigs and in Vietnam, is blind to its own declining strength, ineptitude, and savagery. Its entire economy, a "military Keynesianism," revolves around the war industry. Military spending and war are the engine behind the nation's economic survival and identity. It does not matter that with each new debacle the United States turns larger and larger parts of the globe against it and all it claims to represent. It has no mechanism to stop itself, despite its numerous defeats, fiascos, blunders and diminishing power, from striking out irrationally like a wounded animal. The mandarins who oversee our collective suicide, despite repeated failure, doggedly insist we can reshape the world in our own image. This myopia creates the very conditions that accelerate the empire's demise.

The Soviet Union collapsed, like all empires, because of its ossified, out-of-touch rulers, its imperial overreach, and its inability to critique and reform itself. We are not immune from these fatal diseases. We silence our most prescient critics of empire, such as Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Andrew Bacevich, Alfred McCoy, and Ralph Nader, and persecute those who expose the truths about empire, including Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Daniel Hale, and John Kiriakou. At the same time a bankrupt media, whether on MSNBC, CNN or FOX, lionizes and amplifies the voices of the inept and corrupt political, military and intelligence class including John Bolton, Leon Panetta, Karl Rove, H.R. McMaster and David Petraeus, which blindly drives the nation into the morass.

Chalmers Johnson in his trilogy on the fall of the American empire-"Blowback," "The Sorrows of Empire" and "Nemesis"-reminds readers that the Greek goddess Nemesis is "the spirit of retribution, a corrective to the greed and stupidity that sometimes governs relations among people." She stands for "righteous anger," a deity who "punishes human transgression of the natural, right order of things and the arrogance that causes it." He warns that if we continue to cling to our empire, as the Roman Republic did, "we will certainly lose our democracy and grimly await the eventual blowback that imperialism generates."

"I believe that to maintain our empire abroad requires resources and commitments that will inevitably undercut our domestic democracy and, in the end, produce a military dictatorship or its civilian equivalent," Johnson writes. "The founders of our nation understood this well and tried to create a form of government-a republic-that would prevent this from occurring. But the combination of huge standing armies, almost continuous wars, military Keynesianism, and ruinous military expenses have destroyed our republican structure in favor of an imperial presidency. We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire. Once a nation is started down that path, the dynamics that apply to all empires come into play-isolation, overstretch, the uniting of forces opposed to imperialism, and bankruptcy. Nemesis stalks our life as a free nation."

If the empire was capable of introspection and forgiveness, it could free itself from its death spiral. If the empire disbanded, much as the British empire did, and retreated to focus on the ills that beset the United States it could free itself from its death spiral. But those who manipulate the levers of empire are unaccountable. They are hidden from public view and beyond public scrutiny. They are determined to keep playing the great game, rolling the dice with lives and national treasure. They will, I expect, preside gleefully over the deaths of even more Afghans, assuring themselves it is worth it, without realizing that the gallows they erect are for themselves.

(c) 2021 Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Steve Sack ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

US Hangs Big 'Do Not Invade' Sign On Afghanistan
By The Waterford Whispers News

"WOW, you might want to leave it for a while before you go in there!" stated the United States today as they backed away from Afghanistan, waving their hand in front of their face as if referencing a particularly stinky toilet they'd just left behind them.

The statement comes following a day of deadly violence as the situation at Kabul airport descended into chaos and explosions leaving dozens dead, prompting US officials to stick a post-it note on the canteen fridge in the Pentagon reading 'don't go near Afghanistan for a while.'

"Quick one guys, and we're sure the Russians will back us up on this one - do not, we repeat, do not invade Afghanistan. More trouble than it's worth" read an official statement from the Department Of Defence, as the White House approved the construction of a 'Do Not Invade' sign big enough to be visible from space.

"We're going to drape this over the mountains as we fly the last plane out of there. It was bad when we got here 20 years ago and the 20 before, we put up one hell of a fight to get it right where we wanted it to be, and then boom; it all went to hell, even worse than ever.

"People say the Taliban are the ones to worry about - the Taliban are the least of our worries right now. We've got a whole new ISIS, more refugees than ever, even kindly old grandpa President Biden is starting to look like a raging dickhead. There's more places to invade, let's just move on."

Meanwhile the Taliban has thanked the US for leaving behind biometric data for every Afghan person that helped them during the invasion, and have requested the passwords to save time having to hack into the system.

(c) 2021 The Waterford Whispers News

Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 35 (c) 09/03/2021

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