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In This Edition

Bernie Sanders returns with, "US Working Class Must Stand Up To This Nation's Oligarchs."

Ralph Nader asks, "How About a Civic Group to Oppose a Cashless Society?"

Leonard Pitts Jr. wishes you, "Good Luck Getting A Glass Of Water In Jackson."

Jim Hightower is, "Bringing Democracy To The Democratic Party."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Trump-Appointed Judge Cuts Trump A Huge Break."

John Nichols finds, "Mandela Barnes Will Defend Union Jobs, Communities."

James Donahue examines, "The Insanity Of The Manipulated Masses."

David Swanson explains, "How To Oppose Both Sides Of A War."

David Suzuki says, "Everything Matters In An Interconnected World."

Charles P. Pierce explores, "Trump's Game Of Calvinball Escalates As Judge Grants Him A Special Master."

Juan Cole concludes, "Israeli's Whitewashing Probe Cannot Erase That The Murder Of Shireen Abu Akleh Was A War Crime."

Robert Reich reports, "Democracy Is Under Attack - And Reporting That Isn't 'Violating Journalistic Standards'."

Thom Hartmann wonders, "Is Something Called "Narcissistic Collapse" Coming To America?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports "Lindsey Graham Warns That Biden's Pro-Democracy Rhetoric Could Lead To Voting In the Streets," but first, Uncle Ernie sees, "Good Old Summertime In The West."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Ted Rall, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Alex Wong, Jonathan Kemper, General Motors, World Beyond War, Spencer Platt, Mandel Ngan, Pete Linforth, Doug Mills, Win McNamee, Jim Hightower, Twitter, Pixabay, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

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Good Old Summertime In The West
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

I see where Death Valley, California, set a record last Thursday for the highest recorded temperature for the month of September, hitting 127 degrees Fahrenheit.

The new record comes as California bakes in the latest heat wave of a punishing summer in a year when global warming has continued apace, resulting in a wide variety of extreme weather events around the globe.

"I wish it were cooler already," Abby Wines, spokesperson for Death Valley National Park, told Reuters. "This is abnormally hot for September."Interesting enough during this heat wave there have been more tourists than usual

Been there and done that, as I wrote in "Uncle Ernie's Hollywood Daze" in chapter one, "On The Road To Los Angeles."

"Suddenly all signs of life had disappeared, I was fast approaching "Death Valley." The scenery took on the appearance of the moon. It was becoming incredibly hot. As I glanced at the gauges, I noticed the engine was running hot. This could become very serious, very quickly. Fortunately, up ahead, there was a little town with several gas stations and a restaurant. I pull off to let the engine and me cool down. As I had filled the engine up with summer coolant, there was little I could do about the overheating. As I entered the restaurant, I noticed a thermometer in the window; it was 126 degrees. Summer, the desert, duh! A trucker who's setting next to me at the counter gives me some lifesaving advice. Open the hood part way and run it like that. I do, it works. LA, here I come. Back on the freeway and up and out of Death Valley. The temp. gauge drops a little and it looks like I still might make it before dark."
Sure it was "only" 126 degrees Fahrenheit and it was in early July when I crossed Death Valley, but I can dig last Thursday temperature. Here we are in September and they have tripple diget tempeatures all the way to the Canadian border breaking all sorts of records. Here in Michigan it barely made 90 degrees!

Temperature records in many parts of California are forecast to fall in the coming days, but it's the duration of extremely hot weather that bears the hallmarks of global warming rather than a single record being broken. Studies have linked increasing heat wave duration and frequency with rising global temperatures due to the greenhouse effect caused by the burning of fossil fuels by humans.

In Sacramento, the state capital, the city has never recorded 10 consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures until now. Still, along the ocean from Santa Monica to Malibu the temps have stayed in the low 80s. So how do you like global warming, so far?


04-08-1926 ~ 09-03-2022
Thanks for the music!

03-02-1943 ~ 09-04-2022
Thanks for the read!

08-09-1940 ~ 09-06-2022
Thanks for the film!

03-15-1968 ~ 09-07-2022
Thanks for the laughs!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

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

CEO and founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos participates in a discussion during a Milestone Celebration dinner September 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

US Working Class Must Stand Up To This Nation's Oligarchs
In the year 2022, three multibillionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of American society-160 million Americans. This is unsustainable.
By Bernie Sanders

Let's be clear. The most important economic and political issues facing this country are the extraordinary levels of income and wealth inequality, the rapidly growing concentration of ownership, the long-term decline of the American middle class, and the evolution of this country into oligarchy.

Today, half of our people live paycheck to paycheck and millions struggle on starvation wages.

We know how important these issues are because our ruling class works overtime to prevent them from being seriously discussed. They are barely mentioned in the halls of Congress, where most members are dependent on the campaign contributions of the wealthy and their Super Pacs. They are not much discussed in the corporate media, in which a handful of conglomerates determine what we see, hear and discuss.

So what's going on?

We now have more income and wealth inequality than at any time in the last hundred years. In the year 2022, three multibillionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of American society-160 million Americans. Today, 45% of all new income goes to the top 1%, and CEOs of large corporations make a record-breaking 350 times what their workers earn.

Meanwhile, as the very rich become much richer, working families continue to struggle. Unbelievably, despite huge increases in worker productivity, wages (accounting for real inflation) are lower today than they were almost 50 years ago. When I was a kid growing up, most families were able to be supported by one breadwinner. Now an overwhelming majority of households need two paychecks to survive.

Today, half of our people live paycheck to paycheck and millions struggle on starvation wages. Despite a lifetime of work, half of older Americans have no savings and no idea how they will ever be able to retire with dignity, while 55% of seniors are trying to survive on an income of less than $25,000 a year.

Since 1975, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth in America that has gone in exactly the wrong direction. Over the past 47 years, according to the Rand Corporation, $50tn in wealth has been redistributed from the bottom 90% of American society to the top 1%, primarily because a growing percentage of corporate profits has been flowing into the stock portfolios of the wealthy and the powerful.

During this terrible pandemic, when thousands of essential workers died doing their jobs, some 700 billionaires in America became nearly $2tn richer. Today, while the working class falls further behind, multibillionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are off taking joyrides on rocket ships to outer space, buying $500m super-yachts and living in mansions with 25 bathrooms.

Disgracefully, we now have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any developed nation on Earth and millions of kids, disproportionately Black and brown, face food insecurity. While psychologists tell us that the first four years are the most important for human development, our childcare system is largely dysfunctional-with an inadequate number of slots, outrageously high costs and pathetically low wages for staff. We remain the only major country without paid family and medical leave.

In terms of higher education, we should remember that 50 years ago tuition was free or virtually free in major public universities throughout the country. Today, higher education is unaffordable for millions of young people. There are now some 45 million Americans struggling with student debt.

Today over 70 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured and millions more are finding it hard to pay for the rising cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, which are more expensive here than anywhere else in the world. The cost of housing is also soaring. Not only are some 600,000 Americans homeless, but nearly 18m households are spending 50% or more of their limited incomes on housing.

It's not just income and wealth inequality that is plaguing our nation. It is the maldistribution of economic and political power.

Today we have more concentration of ownership than at any time in the modern history of this country. In sector after sector a handful of giant corporations control what is produced and how much we pay for it. Unbelievably, just three Wall Street firms (Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street) control assets of over $20tn and are the major stockholders in 96% of S&P 500 companies. In terms of media, some eight multinational media conglomerates control what we see, hear and read.

In terms of political power, the situation is the same. A small number of billionaires and CEOs, through their Super Pacs, dark money and campaign contributions, play a huge role in determining who gets elected and who gets defeated. There are now an increasing number of campaigns in which Super Pacs actually spend more money on campaigns than the candidates, who become the puppets to their big money puppeteers. In the 2022 Democratic primaries, billionaires spent tens of millions trying to defeat progressive candidates who were standing up for working families.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr was right when he said: "We must recognize that we can't solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power" in America. That statement is even more true today.

Let us have the courage to stand together and fight back against corporate greed. Let us fight back against massive income and wealth inequality. Let us fight back against a corrupt political system.

Let us stand together and finally create an economy and a government that works for all, not just the 1%.

(c) 2022 Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. Sanders ran to become the Democratic Party presidential nominee in both 2016 and 2020 and remains the longest-serving independent member of Congress in American history. Elected Mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981, he served four terms. Before his 1990 election as Vermont's at-large member in Congress, Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Read more at his website. Follow him on Twitter: @SenSanders and @BernieSanders

How About a Civic Group to Oppose a Cashless Society?
By Ralph Nader

The most perceptive ancient historians and philosophers could not have foreseen a time when a certain type of mass convenience and abundance becomes a threat to democracy, justice and dispersed power. Welcome to the incarcerations of the credit card payment systems Gulag and the corporate state's drive to stop consumers from paying with cash.

So long as you have a credit card and a credit score, you're in a world of easy credit (no down payments, etc.), and high interest rates, especially on unpaid monthly balances. All it takes is swiping your card and pushing buttons at retail establishments or online to make a purchase.

If you are in the lower 20% of the income scale, unbanked and outside the Gulag, consumer protections are really weak. Rip-off practices such as pay-day loan rackets and check cashing gouges proliferate.

For over a decade the screws have been tightening to coerce people into the credit-debt economy. Both the corporations and the government are to blame.

Try renting a car or getting home insurance without a credit card and credit history. Try using FedEx or UPS without a credit card. More retail outlets are experimenting with cashless transactions, even in places like the District of Columbia where a law barring discrimination against cash purchases goes unenforced.

"Cash" is defined for this article as paper money, checks and money orders. Many state laws define cash as only paper money.

The government, for example, is turning the screws by forcing Social Security recipients into receiving electronic monthly direct deposits or prepaid debit cards instead of receiving a check in the mail. This started in 2010. If you don't have an "E-ZPass" on the Massachusetts Turnpike, an electronic camera catches your license plate and bills you with an added fee, even though you were willing to pay cash for which there is no toll gate.

Last month, the city of Newburgh, New York, converted its coin-only parking meters to cashless meters on the city's business corridor streets. According to Blaise Gomez of "News12 Hudson Valley," florist Christine Bello said the city is out of touch with its largely low-income demographic. "They eliminated an entire portion of my customer base by making this strictly cards," she related. "So many of my customers do not have credit cards. They don't have bank accounts. They don't have smartphones. What were they thinking?"

Ms. Bello is speaking for tens of millions of poorer Americans who are being denied, excluded, penalized and harassed simply because they want to use paper cash which is "legal tender." Isn't that what 31 U.S.C. 5103 stipulates - that "United States coins and currency [including Federal Reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal Reserve Banks and national banks] are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes and dues"? Except for the loophole, which is that vendors can give you notice that they don't accept cash, unless you are in one of the few states with laws declaring cash must be accepted.

There are many inducements for vendors getting you into the credit-card economy. First, you lose control over your money. The ever-tightening tentacles of their fine-print contracts dictate the terms of their grip over you and any remedies you may have to challenge abuses. While losing your bargaining power under this consumer servitude, you also are losing your privacy big time, compared to buying with cash. "Data mining" takes over and sends your purchase history and profiles to anyone in the world willing to pay or anyone able to hack. Corporate Big Brother - Equifax and Facebook - are profiting from your personal data.<>P With credit, you are more likely to make impulsive purchases and not be able to control your children's buying escapades. Debt, high interest payments, and maybe harassment by bill collectors enter your life. Some who live beyond their means are seduced by the gambling industry's lure of riches.

A new Gallup Poll reports that 64% of respondents say it is "likely the U.S. will be cashless in their lifetime!" Other countries are moving to cashless faster - some for authoritarian motivations. Just try being a tourist in Europe without a credit card.

There is a class stratification in the poll. The lower people's income, the more likely they use cash for most purchases. The higher income and the younger they are, the more likely they use credit/debit cards or other digital payment systems. Interestingly, however, far more U.S. adults say they would be "upset" if the U.S. becomes a cashless society (46%) than the ones who say they would be "happy" with such an outcome (only 9%).

A majority (56%) of Americans, Gallup finds, say they "like to have cash with them at all times when they are outside their home."

The poll registers a sharp partisan difference: "Republicans are most resistant to a shift to a cashless economy, with 60% saying they would not like it. Independents register 45% and Democrats register 28% taking that rejectionist position.

While the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to the shift from cash, all the corporate pressures and extreme surveillance capitalism are in that direction. Even the union-owned Amalgamated Bank recently announced that its Washington, D.C. branch is now "a cashless bank." Imagine "a cashless bank" so you can no longer cash a check or get money for petty cash!

The ever-increasing loss of consumer freedom is a daily work in regress by the fine-print commercial planners of growing consumer peonage. They have corporate contract attorneys who brag about each step they originate, including blocking you from going to court for your grievances and relinquishing other rights.

There is no time to lose. Consumers need an all-American advocacy organization to protect and defend the use of paper cash, checks and money orders for the consumers' control, freedom and the privacy these payment systems enable. We invite people interested in helping to create such an organization to write to Protect Cash, P.O. Box 19367, Washington DC 20036, or send an email to

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

Good Luck Getting A Glass Of Water In Jackson
By Leonard Pitts Jr.

There is no water in Jackson, Mississippi.

Not at this writing, at least. At this writing, the nearly 150,000 residents of the state capital have been advised that even if they are able to coax some of the precious liquid from their taps - water pressure is feeble - it is unsafe for drinking, bathing or washing dishes. Note, please, that they were already under a boil-water order - the latest in a series. Then heavy rains and flooding overwhelmed the primary water treatment plant in a city where some of the pipes date to the days Model T's still trundled dirt roads and biplanes carved the skies. Gov. Tate Reeves was unable to say in a Monday night briefing when the situation might be rectified.

So there is no water in Jackson.

And Mississippi should be embarrassed. But Mississippi should not be surprised. To the contrary, it has known for many years that the city's water infrastructure was too old and brittle to serve its needs. They saw the crisis coming, but they did not avert it.

Mind you, because he was concerned about education that "aims to only humiliate and indoctrinate," the governor did sign a bill making it impossible to teach "critical race theory" in schools.

And because he wanted to "protect young girls," he did sign a bill barring transgender student athletes from participating in sports that correspond with their gender identity.

And because he grieved "63 million babies" aborted since 1973, he did sign a bill banning almost all abortions.

He acted to avert those "threats." But good luck getting a glass of water in Jackson.

All that said, this is not really a column about Jackson. Or, for that matter, water. It is, rather, a column about misplaced priorities. That seems a constant theme where people of color and poor people are concerned, so no one will be surprised to hear that eight in 10 Jacksonians are African American, while one in four is poor. Nor should it stun anyone to hear that experts say Jackson's woes grow from a sediment of white flight and malign neglect. When it came to making sure 150,000 people had water to drink, Mississippi had more important things to do. But then, poor and/or dark-skinned people are often taken for granted.

Poor and/or dark-skinned people are also the ones who often function as the proverbial canary in the coal mine.

Thus, it is worth noting that while white flight and malign neglect are the foundation of this disaster, its proximate cause is simpler: freakish weather broke a decrepit system. And freakish weather, not to put too fine a point on it, is not limited to poor people, Black people, or Jackson. Indeed, climate change having been allowed to reach a state of daily crisis, freakish weather is rapidly becoming normal weather for us all.

One wonders, then, how much longer we can continue misplacing priorities, embracing would-be "leaders" who focus on fighting culture wars, on offering the addictive sugar high of performative thrusts against despised Others - "Take that, critical race theory!" - even as pipes corrode, bridges age, the electrical grid fizzles, sewers clog, roads buckle and weather grows more freakish.

Here's an idea. How about if we required those who govern to actually govern, i.e., to protect and maintain basic services and quality of life? How about if we valued simple competence over sugar highs? How might that be?

See, there is no water in Jackson. And yes, that's an embarrassment for Mississippi.

But it's a warning for us all.

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

Bringing Democracy To The Democratic Party

By Jim Hightower

Sen. Joe Manchin - a one-man political steamroller in Washington - is a Democrat. Except when he's not, which is most of the time. A multimillionaire, West Virginia coal executive, he's the darling of fossil fuel and pipeline lobbyists, as well as Republican opponents of progressive Democratic policies. Indeed, he's funded by Republican billionaires.

But Washington lobbyists and billionaires are not the only source of personal political power that allows him to hold office and block "little-d" democratic policies that the American majority wants and needs. Back home, Joe has maintained a tight, authoritarian grip on West Virginia's Democratic Party structure, rigging the rules to put Little Joes in each and every party position. In turn, this has long given Boss Manchin control over who gets to run as Democrats for down-ballot elected offices in the Mountain State.

Until June 18, that is. That's when a statewide democratic rebellion that had been organizing for six years elected its slate of over 50 candidates to oust the Manchinites on the Party executive committee, replacing all but one of the top Party officers with grassroots activists. It truly was a diverse, people-run victory. Selina Vickers, a social worker, was chief strategist, and Mike Pushkin, a cab driver, is now the Party Chair. Danielle Walker (now vice-chair of the committee and the first person of color in state history to sit on the Party's governing body) summed up the significance of this turnaround: "There's a new beacon of light shining down on the government with people energized and ready to strategize with a return to the democratic process."

For guidance on bringing this kind of progressive reform to your local/state Dem Party hierarchy, go to Our Revolution, the one national group that is prioritizing work on this fundamental democratic change to the Democratic Party. (

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

Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally on September 3, 2022, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Trump-Appointed Judge Cuts Trump A Huge Break
By William Rivers Pitt

Donald Trump is the undisputed world heavyweight champion of getting away with bullshit that would bury any other politician upside down to their ankles, and nobody has been able to properly explain why.

"He's not a politician," goes the refrain, but yes he is. Yes he is. He runs for office. He has PACs, campaign commercials, campaign staffers, he holds delirious political rallies better suited to Huey Long standing on a tree stump with an ax in his hand back when the Depression didn't have a name yet.

By some measures, Trump is the single most purely gifted political animal this country has ever produced, and the rules simply do not apply: He defies the courts, borrows money and then screws lenders, stiffs workers and dares them to sue him over the debt, and when he does get hauled into court, he deploys the kind of delaying tactics that would still have the Japanese Army fighting over tiny islands in the Pacific 81 years after Pearl Harbor.

In another sense, of course, the rules do apply, in that the legal system is built to let people like Trump off the hook, even if it means making extreme exceptions.

"A federal judge's extraordinary decision on Monday to interject in the criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump's hoarding of sensitive government documents at his Florida residence showed unusual solicitude to him, legal specialists said," reports Charlie Savage for The New York Times. "This was 'an unprecedented intervention by a federal district judge into the middle of an ongoing federal criminal and national security investigation,' said Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at University of Texas."

Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee and member of the right-wing Federalist Society, has ordered a special master to be placed in charge of the hoard of top-secret documents recovered from Trump's Mar-a-Lago property in Florida. The order gives the special master vast powers of denoting what may and may not cover both executive and legal privilege, and blocks investigators from reviewing the documents until the master says otherwise.

The order is, in whole and in part, a huge break for Trump and the Republican Party. The investigation into Trump's astonishing mishandling of incredibly sensitive intelligence materials was turning into the kind of legal hairball that even the luckiest of politicos fail to survive, and further threatened to turn the entire 2022 midterm election into a dual referendum on Trump and Roe. For the time being, the paper chase is on hold.

MSNBC's Joy Reid questioned Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for The Nation, on the ruling. "How on Earth could a judge who made it through law school think that Donald Trump can take the property of the government, the federal government, take it home and then have to have a special master decide whether they can investigate him?" she asked.

"Because she's biased and corrupt," Mystal replied. "I've been saying this since he took office. When you allow Republicans to control the courts, you get nothing. Trump judges do not believe in the rule of law. They do not believe in precedent. They do not believe in facts. They do not believe in logic. They just believe in whatever's going to help Donald Trump and they've proven it again and again and again."

This may all come to nothing in the fullness of time, but it does give Trump's defenders a long opportunity to chop away at issues of attorney-client and executive privilege, both of which reside in a foggy realm thanks to the nuances of presidential power. Simply put, the White House has never experienced a figure like Trump, which means the boundaries of acceptable behavior remain unestablished.

"Executive privilege refers to private communications presidents have with their advisers and other types of internal communications within the executive branch that are withheld from public release," reports CNN. "While disputes over the privilege have come up in congressional investigations, the reaches of executive privilege - particularly when a former president is arguing it should apply when a current president is declining to assert it - is an unsettled area of law."

The decision will almost certainly be appealed, but should such an appeal visit the Supreme Court, I trust the Roberts Rogues to handle this properly about as much as I trust the Red Sox bullpen to get to the ninth inning without raining home run balls on the bleacher seats.

Donald Trump has caught yet another break. He will get to dig in behind his plans to run for president again, and will use these legal maneuvers as fundraising tools even as he slathers himself in martyrdom. There are hundreds of Trump judges out there now, with three of them on the highest court in the land.

The legal system was built to prop up people like Trump, not to take them down. This is the world we live in, and although it might be enraging, it should not surprise us at all.

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

The Janesville GM plant has been idle since 2009.

Mandela Barnes Will Defend Union Jobs, Communities
By John Nichols

U.S. Senate candidates Mandela Barnes and Ron Johnson differ on all the major issues facing Wisconsin and the United States. But it is safe to say that no issue separates the Democratic challenger and the Republican incumbent more completely than the question of whether they will stand up for Wisconsin workers.

Johnson, a multi-millionaire whose Senate service had focused on enriching himself and his campaign donors, has a history of attacking workers and unions. When he was mounting his first Senate bid in 2010, he championed the free-trade agenda that even Donald Trump would ultimately acknowledge was a disaster. "The fact of the matter is NAFTA and CAFTA have actually been successful for our economy," announced Johnson as Chrysler and General Motors were shuttering factories in Kenosha and Janesville.

Asked about the plant closures, Johnson chirped: "Well, in a free-market capitalist system, there are always winners and losers. It's creative destruction. That just happens. It's unfortunate. But let's face it, if it weren't for that we'd still have buggy whip companies."

But the Kenosha and Janesville plants weren't outdated. They were recently modernized facilities. The jobs did not need to be lost.

Now, a dozen years later as Wisconsin workers and unions struggle to secure another state-of-the-art vehicle manufacturer, Johnson's answer is the same as it has always been: There are winners and losers, and as long as he has any say in the matter, Wisconsin workers are going to be losers.

Asked earlier this year about the decision of Oshkosh Corp. to bypass its namesake town in Wisconsin, where workers are unionized, and produce as many as 165,000 U.S. Postal Service vehicles at a nonunion facility based in South Carolina, Johnson responded, "It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin. The biggest problem we have in Wisconsin right now is employers not being able to find enough workers."

Johnson's casual disregard for those loss of 1,000 high-wage jobs rankled Barnes. Noting that the workers in Oshkosh are members of the United Auto Workers, just like his father, the Wisconsin Democrat said: "My dad is an active member of the UAW. He spent 30 years on the assembly line, assembling catalytic converters, and he'd be the first to tell you that if you want something built right, you build it right here in Wisconsin with our incredible union workforce."

Barnes knows what happens when officials fail to fight for Wisconsin workers. "I think about the factory where my dad worked," he said. "Because of outsourcing, it's gone. It's a strip mall now. I think about the factory where my grandfather worked. Because of outsourcing, it's gone. I learned growing up that we have to take outsourcing seriously. This is personal for me. It's an issue that's personal for every union worker, for every member of a union family, in Wisconsin."

So it just doesn't make any sense to Barnes that Johnson, who resides in Oshkosh, would be so unconcerned about the loss of 1,000 jobs in that city.

"It's not just 1,000 jobs. It's a 1,000 opportunities for families - like the opportunities I had because my parents had good union jobs," explained Barnes. "We cannot sit by while we have a sitting politician who's shipping good union jobs out of our state and costing our working families opportunities. Ron Johnson wouldn't lift a finger to protect those jobs in Oshkosh. It's his own backyard. He wouldn't stand up for jobs in Oshkosh. I will."

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

The Insanity Of The Manipulated Masses
By James Donahue

  During the weeks after 9-11 and during a time when President George W. Bush was talking about aggressively attacking the invisible enemy he called "world terrorism," something very strange happened to a lot of Americans.

I think just about everybody went crazy.

Everywhere you looked the American flag was flying. Red, white and blue symbols were displayed on store fronts, on every flagpole, and their cars.

Young men and women rushed to local recruiting offices to sign up because they wanted to defend their country.

America was like a hive of disturbed bees, buzzing about wildly, prepared to sting anything that looked threatening, and sacrificing their all to do it. Nobody was thinking. Everybody was going to war even though nobody knew who the enemy was.

While patriotism is usually a good thing, somehow I thought there was a lot of overplay going on. And for many, it still is. Throughout the Midwest those flags are still waving, and it seems they are even bigger than they used to be. Veterans now coming home with missing arms and legs, torn away by home-crafted bombs planted along busy roadways, are declared "heroes" who gave so much in defense of the homeland.

Even our leadership was caught up in the frenzy. The Bush Administration sent troops off to attack Afghanistan because intelligence revealed that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attack. And even though Osama is a native of Saudi Arabia, intelligence said he was operating with the Al-Qaeda, a group of radical Moslem militants stationed in Afghanistan. Thus we bombed, shot and killed Afghanistan people. Then we shifted our attention to Iraq and did the same thing there and for even less defined reasons.

By 2013, 12 years later, we were still in Afghanistan. We also were still in Iraq even though the Obama Administration had been trying to shut down our part in that conflict. It wasn't until this year that President Biden managed to officially shut down the wars in the Middle East.

Our troops were caught in a strange quagmire that couldn't be resolved. Many thousands of innocent civilians in both countries are dead. Hundreds of our troops are dead and many more are hospitalized and disabled. Osama bin Laden is dead. So is Saddam Hussein. Yet later intelligence suggested that the attack might really have been perpetrated in Saudi Arabia. In fact, most of the terrorists involved in taking over those airplanes are now known to have been from Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan or Iraq. Conspiracy theorists are now asking if the attack wasn't planned right here at home for nefarious political reasons.

While war insanity was going on in the streets our legislators let a document called the Patriot Act slip into law without a fight. That document, designed to strip Constitutional freedoms and turn the nation into a police state, has since fallen under severe public attack. It went through some revising since that day, but The Patriot Act remains on the books, and the Bush generated "War on Terror" continues to rage on, even on the home front.

How can we declare a war against an invisible enemy that projects no nationality or face? How could stuff like this happen in the United States?

Writer David McGowan, in a recent article in the Web's Online Journal, titled "Functionally Insane Americans," suggests that most people in the United States were so emotionally upset during the days following the 9-11 attacks that they lost touch with reality. "I think they found safety in numbers and a form of hive mentality took over."

McGowen wrote: "the severity of any individual's insanity is a function of the degree of that person's disconnection from reality.

"That definition, of course, is entirely dependent on how 'reality' is defined. From the point of view of the state, 'reality' is whatever the shapers of public opinion say it is. Anyone who disagrees with the voices of authority is, therefore, insane."

One example of the mass hysterical insanity was an arrest in Albany New York of a man who wore a "peace" T-shirt in a shopping mall. That the man associated himself with the peace activists of the 1960s so incensed the war-charged masses that the man was led away in handcuffs by uniformed police officers.

Not everybody in America bought into the war fever. I was among thousands of people voicing concerns to one another via the Internet in those crucial weeks. The media ignored public demonstrations opposing military action. Not many people dared to demonstrate, however. Public comment, we quickly found, could lead to open verbal if not physical confrontation.

How could so many people be guided into a mass hysteria like that?

The 9-11 event was so severe and unexpected, it seemed to glue the public into a state of mass fear. That we were constantly shown the video clips of the airplanes flying into the World Trade Center towers was a form of collective conditioning. After this, it did not take much for the nation's leaders to take us in any direction they chose.

Jeff Rense suggested on his web site that mental manipulation can be accomplished through our television sets with more than images. He said U.S. Patent No 6,506,148, for example, is a device for "nervous system manipulation by electromagnetic fields from monitors."

Rense wrote: "Certain monitors can emit electromagnetic field pulses that excite a sensory resonance in a nearby subject, through image pulses that are so weak as to be subliminal. "This is unfortunate since it opens a way for mischievous application of the invention, whereby people are exposed unknowingly to manipulation of their nervous systems for someone else's purposes.

"Such application would be unethical and is of course not advocated. It is mentioned here in order to alert the public to the possibility of covert abuse that may occur while being online, or while watching TV, a video, or a DVD."

They wouldn't do that would they?

In investigative research, we must always ask who had the most to gain by declaring war in the Middle East? Who is still getting rich on the spoils of two wars that we could not seem to end?

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

How To Oppose Both Sides Of A War
By David Swanson

It's tricky to oppose both sides of a war, and rarer even than supporting both sides. The weapons dealers support both sides.

In obedience to their televisions, people all over the world spend a great deal of time expressing the opinions dished out by those televisions regarding a particular war that is far from the worst war at the moment. It is the war that creates the greatest risk of nuclear apocalypse, but that does not typically enter into the opinions.

You cannot just state that you oppose both sides, because that will quite literally be understood by almost everyone as asserting the unrelated and ridiculous proposition that the two sides are identical, and that will be understood as outrageous propaganda on behalf of whichever side the listener opposes.

So, you have to denounce specific outrages by Russia while in the same breath denouncing specific outrages by the United States/Ukraine/NATO, while also in the same breath explicitly explaining the obvious point that these outrages are different from each other and placing them in historical context.

You can't just provide a video exclusively denouncing US/NATO/Ukraine outrages or a video exclusively denouncing Russian outrages, even if you like both videos, because one of the two cheering sections will have tuned out by the time the speakers have cleared their throats.

You can't even just favor peace, because that will be taken as a horrible insult to whichever side of a war someone favors -- and not simply as an insult but as suspected paid propaganda for the other side.

One thing you can do is set up a webpage to send people to with a collection of resources, but a great many people will never go to it or scroll down any farther than it takes them to mistakenly guess which of the two sides you are on.

You can even set up an entire website making the case that all wars are outrages on all sides and debunking each common myth to the contrary and explaining the available alternatives, but this will generally be understood (even agreed with and sympathized with) as applying to every other war in history, but not to the one currently in mind.

So you actually need to take a deep breath and tell people:

I oppose all of the horrible killing and destruction in Ukraine, fully aware of the imperialistic history of Russia and of the fact that NATO expansion predictably and intentionally led to this war, disgusted that peace activists in Russia are locked up, and sickened that they are so effectively ignored in the U.S. that it's not needed except for high-profile whistleblowers -- and I hold these weird positions while actually not suffering from any particularly extreme ignorance of the history of the Cold War or NATO expansion or the death-grip of U.S. weapons dealers on the U.S. government or the status of the U.S. government as top weapons dealer, top promoter of militarism to other governments, top foreign base builder, top war instigator, top coup facilitator, and yes, thank you, I have heard about the rightwing lunatics in the Ukrainian as well as the Russian governments and militaries, I just haven't picked one of the two to want killing people or overseeing nuclear weapons or powerplants during battles, and I am indeed sickened by all the slaughtering of people the Russian military is engaged in, even while I can't fathom why human rights groups should feel ashamed for reporting on the atrocities being committed by the Ukrainian military, and I do know how much the U.S. and UK have done to prevent peaceful resolution as well as how much Russia has, and I am aware that some Russians feel scared and threatened and that Russian-speaking Ukrainians have felt scared and threatened, just as I am aware that other Ukrainians -- not to mention Western television viewers -- feel scared and threatened; in fact I myself feel quite scared and threatened that the risk of nuclear apocalypse is going to keep climbing while the war continues, and I think that both sides, while radically different, and deserving blame for very different things, should be able to recognize at the very least that a stalemate that drags on and on, killing and destroying, while building the risk of nuclear war, serves nobody other than the weapons dealers, not even the politicians, so that it would be better to negotiate peace now than to do so later or to find it to be too late, that the world has non-optional environmental and disease crises it could be better dealing with in the absence of this insane butchery; and this could be recognized with or without recognizing that the two sides have been able to negotiate, with some outside help, on questions of grain exports and prisoner exchanges, rendering ridiculous the tired claims by both sides that the other side is a monster with whom one shouldn't and couldn't negotiate; and with or without recognizing that both sides have engaged in both unspeakable horrors and restraint of various sorts, targeting helpless people for death and suffering both more than is acceptable and less than is possible; and with or without beginning to open any minds to the alternatives that existed for both sides even at the point of greatest escalation, and the nonviolent unarmed defense alternatives that exist for governments and nations around the world should they choose to pursue them on the scale that would make them most effective.

Then take a breath and duck below the table, just in case.

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

We can't know everything, but we're learning enough to realize that plundering Earth has consequences.

Everything Matters In An Interconnected World
By David Suzuki

Researchers only began to understand the "diel migration" a few decades ago. It's "the largest routine migration of life on Earth," Scientific American notes.

Around 10 billion tonnes of zooplankton - tiny sea animals like copepods, krill and fish larvae - ascend up to 1,000 metres every night ("diel" is from Latin for "day" - a 24-hour cycle), through varying temperatures, water pressures and other conditions, returning to the depths before daylight. They do it to feed on tiny plants, phytoplankton, under cover of darkness, hiding from predators during the day. Their movements are determined by sun, moon and clouds far above.

The migration is more intricate and complex than first imagined, and has profound implications for understanding climate change and marine processes. Phytoplankton remove enormous amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but they release most of it back. When zooplankton eat phytoplankton, they transport the carbon to the ocean's depths, where it can be stored for hundreds or thousands of years.

How much gets transported and sequestered remains unknown, but it's significant. "Better data will improve climate models, which in turn will improve understanding of how climate change will alter these organisms' behaviors - and, subsequently, the climate again," Scientific American says.

Western science advances, but in some ways, it's only starting to catch up to the knowledge of many Indigenous Peoples about ecosystems, including forests. The Western approach has long been to view a forest as a collection of individual trees, ranked according to their value as timber, along with "weed" species, or plants and trees with no economic value.

Thanks to scientists like Suzanne Simard and others, we now understand forests are more like communities, with parent trees, younger trees, other flora and fungi communicating and sharing nutrients and warnings between species and among their own through intricate mycorrhizal networks and other means. As Merlin Sheldrake writes in Entangled Life, some plants even emit chemicals to attract parasitic wasps to prey on attacking aphids.

The science upends the Darwinian notion of nature being about a competitive "survival of the fittest" and confirms knowledge that many Indigenous Peoples have long had, that everything is interconnected.

When Simard discovered alder trees can help pine forests by supplying nitrogen, she met resistance from industry foresters, who were accustomed to spraying alders as a "weed" species.

Beyond their ability to share and communicate through chemical processes and fungal networks, trees "literally hold the world together," as Wayne Grady and I wrote in Tree: A Life Story. "Their leaves receive the Sun's energy for the benefit of all terrestrial creatures and transpire torrents of water vapor into the atmosphere. Their branches and trunks provide shelter, food, and habitat for mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, and other plants. And their roots anchor the mysterious underworld of rock and soil."

Through that rock and soil, the trees connect via fungal networks to other trees and plants. Fungi have been critical to the development of life, aid in decomposition and provide food and medicines. But we still only know of about one per cent of the estimated five million species, and only classified them as a separate "kingdom" from plants in the late 1960s.

We often get ahead of ourselves, viewing things in isolation and acting as if we have enough knowledge to "manage" and exploit forests, marine ecosystems and lands and waterways. But the more we study the complex interconnections within nature and its processes, the more we realize we've been missing crucial knowledge about the cascading effects of our actions.

The climate crisis is the most serious, large-scale example. People found coal, oil and gas could be burned in factories, homes and automobiles, making life easier for many and generating massive profits in a consumer-driven system. Although there was some understanding of the "greenhouse effect" and potential to alter climate, many dismissed the idea that burning this carbon, stored and compressed over millennia in plant and animal matter, was anything but good.

We can't know everything, but we're learning enough to realize that plundering Earth has consequences. Without plankton or trees or fungi, we wouldn't have air to breathe. Everything we continue to learn about nature's intricate balance shows we must recognize our place and care for the planet and its processes as if our lives depended on it. They do.

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

Trump's Game Of Calvinball Escalates As Judge Grants Him A Special Master
Just because something is "unprecedented" doesn't mean you can just make it up as you go along.
By Charles P. Pierce

Sports reference coming up, prepare to Google as needed. It is Happy Hour in the Gehenna Bar and Grille. Eddie Cicotte and Chick Gandil watch the news on the TV above the bar, nod knowingly, and they buy Jack Molinas another drink. From the Washington Post:

U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon wrote in her decision that the Justice Department cannot continue reviewing the materials seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 or use them in its criminal investigation until the special master concludes his or her assessment. But she ruled that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would be allowed to continue its ongoing assessment of the possible risk to national security posed by the removal from government custody of classified documents, some of them related to highly sensitive government and intelligence secrets.
That's the hocus. Here's the pocus:
In her opinion, Cannon sided with Trump's legal team and said that the former president does retain some executive privileges after leaving office - a stance that the Justice Department disagrees with. "The Court hereby authorizes the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege," the ruling states.
How more magical can these days be?
The same reasoning contributes to the Court's determination that the third factor-risk of irreparable injury-likewise supports the exercise of jurisdiction. In addition to being deprived of potentially significant personal documents, which alone creates a real harm, Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public[...]

Finally, Plaintiff has claimed injury from the threat of future prosecution and the serious, often indelible stigma associated therewith. As the Richey court wrote, "a wrongful indictment is no laughing matter; it often works a grievous, irreparable injury to the person indicted. The stigma cannot be easily erased. In the public mind, the blot on a man's escutcheon, resulting from such a public accusation of wrongdoing, is seldom wiped out by a subsequent judgment of not guilty. Frequently, the public remembers the accusation, and still suspects guilt, even after an acquittal."

As a function of Plaintiff's former position as President of the United States, the stigma associated with the subject seizure is in a league of its own. A future indictment, based to any degree on property that ought to be returned, would result in reputational harm of a decidedly different order of magnitude.

And there we have it. Judge Cannon has divined the identity of...The Real Victim. He's down there in Florida, deeply a'skeered that his alleged crimes are coming to light and deeply worried about the effect this will have in the future on his various bunco

And to hell with you, National Archives, you bunch of reckless barbarians. Now, coming up next on Hannity...

Hence, the Court takes into account the undeniably unprecedented nature of the search of a former President's residence; Plaintiff's inability to examine the seized materials in formulating his arguments to date; Plaintiff's stated reliance on the customary cooperation between former and incumbent administrations regarding the ownership and exchange of documents; the power imbalance between the parties; the importance of maintaining institutional trust; and the interest in ensuring the integrity of an orderly process amidst swirling allegations of bias and media leaks.
I would like to ban the use of the word "unprecedented" from further discussion. It is a preposterous word in this context and is becoming more so almost by the hour. Saying anything that has occurred in national politics since the fall of 2015 is "unprecedented" is like standing in the foothills of the Himalayas and talking about the "unprecedented" size of Mt. Everest. While admittedly the inevitable product of 40 years of increasingly virulent Republican vandalism, El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago nonetheless was a creature of the unprecedented, at least among presidents of the United States: A bigger liar than Nixon. More inept than Harding. More devious than LBJ. And, oh, that he were as forgettable as Buchanan or Pierce. But we can't have everything, now, can we?

I hope Jared can clear his calendar for the next few months because being special master is going to be a full-time gig.

The highest level of our government has been rendered an unconvincing puppet show with no mystery left in it at all.

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

The Quotable Quote -

"Unemployment insurance, abolishing child labor, the 40-hour work week, collective bargaining, strong banking regulations, deposit insurance, and job programs that put millions of people to work were all described, in one way or another, as 'socialist.' Yet, these programs have become the fabric of our nation and the foundation of the middle class."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

A woman drapes a keffiyeh on a banner calling for justice for slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen
Abu Akleh during a rally to mark Nakba at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on May 15, 2022.

Israeli's Whitewashing Probe Cannot Erase That The Murder Of Shireen Abu Akleh Was A War Crime
The sniper clearly acted with reckless disregard for civilian life, which is a war crime.
By Juan Cole

The Israeli military issued a brazen whitewash of its killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and its shooting of her colleague Al Jazeera producer Ali al-Samoudi, on May 11 of this year. Using weasel words, the report admitted that it was "likely" that an Israeli sniper shot her dead. Since extensive video and eyewitness evidence proves that there were no militants in the area at the time of her killing, CNN had already concluded after an extensive investigation that the Israeli military killed Shireen "in a targeted attack."

The whole affair signals once again Washington's commitment to awarding Israel impunity for such killings, even of American Christians.

Shireen's colleague, Shatha Hanaysha, told CNN, "We stood in front of the Israeli military vehicles for about five to ten minutes before we made moves to ensure they saw us. And this is a habit of ours as journalists, we move as a group and we stand in front of them so they know we are journalists, and then we start moving."

Video taken at the scene and reviewed by CNN showed that there was no gunfire and there were no clashes that could have provoked the Israeli sniper. The journalists were in full view of the Israeli military and had waved at the soldiers and drawn attention to their press jackets.

The Israeli sniper fired in a targeted way and over and over again suddenly and without provocation.

The sniper could have been under orders to take out the Al Jazeera journalists, who were covering an Israeli army raid on Palestinian territory, a raid that may have been anticipated to involve Israeli actions that the army was unwilling to see documented.

The Times of Israel reported that Israeli military spokesperson Ran Kochav spoke to Army Radio that day, remarking that Shireen had been "filming and working for a media outlet amidst armed Palestinians. They're armed with cameras, if you'll permit me to say so." If Kochav's sentiments reflected the attitude of the Israeli brass and of then Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, It is possible that secret orders were given to send a message to Al Jazeera's reporters that they were unwelcome and seen as aiding the militants by their reportage. Bennett once boasted that he "had killed a lot of Arabs." We outsiders cannot know for certain whether there was an order to take out Shireen, or how how high up the chain of command it went. Only an impartial outside investigation could hope to uncover the truth here, and the Israeli government has not allowed any such thing.

The Israeli military is saying that it was all a horrible mistake by a loan sniper who feels just terrible about it.

Even if this unlikely story were true, it would not be exculpatory. That sniper clearly acted with reckless disregard for civilian life, which is a war crime.

Robin Geiss, a legal advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross, explained,

"At first sight, one could get the impression that international humanitarian law does not provide a whole lot of protection for journalists, given that the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols contain only two explicit references to media personnel (Article 4 A (4) of the Third Geneva Convention and Article 79 of Additional Protocol I). However, if one reads these provisions in conjunction with other humanitarian rules, it is clear that the protection under existing law is quite comprehensive. Most importantly, Article 79 of Additional Protocol I provides that journalists are entitled to all rights and protections granted to civilians in international armed conflicts."
The Geneva Conventions and the two additional protocols have been signed by 168 United Nations member states, and 170 have signed the first additional protocol that contains language protecting journalists. The U.S. and Israel both signed the four 1949 Geneva Conventions but neither signed the additional protocols. By the 1970s when they were drafted, Israel had already embarked on the colonization of the Palestinian territories it had seized by main force in 1967, and its officials could already see that the protocols would serve as obstacles to that colonization effort.

Nevertheless, an instrument signed by 170 of the 193 countries in the world has a fair claim on being customary law and therefore applicable even to states that did not sign on to the additional protocols.

Article 79 of the Additional Protocol says,

"Art 79. Measures or protection for journalists

1. Journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians within the meaning of Article 50, paragraph 1.

2. They shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this Protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians, and without prejudice to the right of war correspondents accredited to the armed forces to the status provided for in Article 4 (A) (4) of the Third Convention.

3. They may obtain an identity card similar to the model in Annex II of this Protocol. This card, which shall be issued by the government of the State of which the Journalist is a national or in whose territory he resides or in which the news medium employing him is located, shall attest to his status as a journalist."

That is, just as killing civilians through reckless disregard for their lives and killing even though the shooter should have known the risk to civilian life are war crimes, so the killing of a journalist such as Abu Akleh under similar conditions is a war crime.

Since the Israeli government has now admitted the (high) likelihood that its sniper killed Shireen, surely it will now treat the killing as a form of manslaughter (at the very least) and punish the sniper? No, it won't. But surely it will pay reparations to Shireen's family? No, it won't. Surely the Biden administration will intervene to ensure justice is done for an American citizen like Shireen? No, it won't.

The whole affair signals once again Washington's commitment to awarding Israel impunity for such killings, even of American Christians. It isn't what we expect or deserve from our own government, but it is the reality.

Shireen's years of high-visibility journalism has inspired a new generation of Palestinian intellectuals. The only justice she will get will be the lives they lead and the investigations they carry out, under increasingly difficult circumstances.

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

'It is dangerous to believe that "balanced journalism" gives equal weight to liars and to truth-tellers, to those intent on destroying democracy and those seeking to protect it.'

Democracy Is Under Attack - And Reporting That Isn't 'Violating Journalistic Standards'
Biden gave a rare primetime address on the most important challenge facing America - and the media coverage was just more he-said/she-said reaction
By Robert Reich

Joe Biden's message on Thursday evening was clear. American democracy is under attack.

This was a rare primetime address on the most important challenge facing the nation.

But the media treated the speech as if it were just another in an endless series of partisan volleys instead of what it was - a declaration by the president of the United States that America must choose between democracy and authoritarianism.

The major networks didn't broadcast the speech.

Friday's media coverage of the speech was just more he-said/she-said reaction.

The New York Times quoted the Republican House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, as claiming Democrats are the ones "dismantling Americans' democracy."

The Times failed to point out that McCarthy's claim is a lie. Nor did it state that McCarthy himself was one of 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election even after the attack on the Capitol.

The same Times article quoted Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, as calling Biden "the divider in chief" and accusing him of exhibiting "disgust and hostility towards half the country." But there was no mention of McDaniel's role in advancing Trump's "big lie."

The Times characterized a more general Republican objection to Biden's speech - that he "was maligning the 74 million people" who voted for Trump in 2020. But the Times didn't mention that Trump has illegally refused to concede the election.

It is dangerous to believe that "balanced journalism" gives equal weight to liars and to truth-tellers, to those intent on destroying democracy and those seeking to protect it, to the enablers of an ongoing attempted coup and those who are trying to prevent it.

Two Sundays ago, CNN's Brian Stelter, host of the show Reliable Sources, put it well:

"It's not partisan to stand up for decency and democracy and dialogue. It's not partisan to stand up to demagogues. It's required. It's patriotic. We must make sure we don't give platforms to those who are lying to our faces."

Not incidentally, that was Stelter's last show on CNN.

On Friday, CNN's White House reporter, John Harwood, said:

"The core point [Biden] made in that political speech about a threat to democracy is true. Now, that's something that's not easy for us, as journalists, to say. We're brought up to believe there's two different political parties with different points of view and we don't take sides in honest disagreements between them. But that's not what we're talking about. These are not honest disagreements. The Republican party right now is led by a dishonest demagogue."
Harwood went on to say:
"Many, many Republicans are rallying behind his lies about the 2020 election and other things as well. And a significant portion - or a sufficient portion - of the constituency that they're leading attacked the Capitol on January 6. Violently."
Shortly after making these remarks, Harwood announced he was no longer with CNN.

A source told Dan Froomkin of Press Watch that CNN had informed Harwood last month that he was being let go. That was despite his long-term contract with the network. The source also said that Harwood had used his last broadcast to "send a message."

Why must we wait until some of America's ablest journalists are sacked before they are willing and able to tell America the truth?

It is not "partisan" to explain what Trump and his anti-democracy movement are seeking.

It is not "taking sides" to point out that the Trump Republicans are trying to establish an authoritarian government in America.

It is not "violating journalistic standards" to tell the unvarnished truth about what America is facing today.

In fact, a failure to call out the Trump Republicans for what they are - liars, enablers, and accessories to crimes against the constitution - itself violates the most basic canons of journalistic ethics.

"Balanced journalism" does not exist halfway between facts and lies.

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

Is Something Called "Narcissistic Collapse" Coming To America?
Trump's Fuhrerbunker moment, his abused-wife-is-leaving moment, his Jim Jones-in-the-jungle moment, when he turns on America, trying to destroy whatever he can in & of this nation, is coming... Thom Hartmann
By Thom Hartmann

In President Biden's speech yesterday, he spoke tough truths that had to be said out-loud. This country is under attack from within. And the attack is led by a madman.

Donald Trump may be about to throw America into a crisis that could make January 6th look like a romp in the park. It has to do with something called "narcissistic collapse."

Trump is a classic extroverted, grandiose narcissist of such severity that numerous professionals in the psychology field have pointed out how he could easily be diagnosed as suffering severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Narcissists of this type are often at the top of their fields, driven to over-achievement by a deep underlying sense of inferiority and shame. In Trump's case, this probably came from his having a criminal psychopath as a father and a mother who so disliked him that she sent him off to military school at a young age and went, alone, to Scotland during the summers when he was home from school in New York.

He grew up filled with shame, lying and cheating to "win" the love and approval of others, stealing from his family and people he did business with to physically build around himself the trappings of success.

NBC taught him how to do television and turned him into a star, and he leveraged that into politics where he gets constant daily affirmation from people often damaged the same way he is. On the outside, he seems rich, powerful, and successful.

Deep down inside, though, he knows he's a failure. He'd failed at school; he failed repeatedly at business; he failed at marriage; he pissed away the entirety of the more than $400 million he stole from his father's estate and still had to be bailed out by the Russians; he'd even failed at being a child loved by his parents and siblings.

His narcissism is his defense against this history of failure and the inevitable shame associated with a lifetime of it. And his narcissism is of the most severe variety - the grandiose form - where he makes grand claims to the effect of, "I, alone, can fix it," and, "I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and my people would still love me and vote for me."

This is the behavior of criminals and mobsters: in his father and Roy Cohn - both mobsters and narcissists themselves - he learned from the best.

When narcissists are publicly outed as failures, particularly if the outing is public and high-profile, it often provokes a condition called narcissistic collapse.

For a narcissist like Trump with considerable power, the ability to harm organizations/institutions, or who can meaningfully threaten damage to other people, this is the moment of maximum danger for those around him.

Hitler, another classic narcissist with a similarly unloved and miserable childhood, confronted his failures in the last weeks of World War II. In the movie Downfall, which portrays Hitler's final days, you can see and hear him disintegrate (it's a brilliant film and really worth watching!).

My dear (and now departed) friend Armin Lehman was the 15-year-old Hitler Youth soldier portrayed in the film who handed Hitler the news the war was lost. He wrote a book about his experience, In Hitler's Bunker: A Boy Soldier's Eyewitness Account of the Fuhrer's Last Days, which we discussed extensively when he was first writing it and during the three years Armin and I traveled the world together, mostly across the US, Europe, and the Far East.

Hitler, in those final weeks - Armin told me and the historical record verifies - actually welcomed the destruction of Germany by American and Soviet bombs and tanks.

He hadn't failed: his narcissism wouldn't let him confront that.

Instead, in his mind, the German people had failed, his generals had failed, his soldiers had failed. They had failed Germany, but, more importantly they had failed him - and he wanted them punished for failing him.

When he was finally pushed into full-blown narcissistic collapse - the final days that Armin spent with him - he succumbed to the fate of many severe narcissists who experience a failure so undeniable that it provokes full-blown narcissistic collapse: he killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself.

In the final stages of narcissistic collapse, long before suicide becomes an option, first comes the blaming and the attempt to punish others.

We see this now with Trump blaming the FBI, the courts, and his "political enemies" in the "deep state."

Along with the blame, though, often comes a murderous rage.

Americans are most familiar with this dynamic/process through stories of long-suffering wives of narcissist husbands who finally proclaim their intention to leave him. In a rage, the narcissist murders her, often followed by his own suicide. Sometimes he'll even murder their children as part of his narcissistic breakdown.

This is the danger America faces today, because Trump's businesses are in crisis just as he is increasingly exposed as a thief, liar, and traitor to his nation. His business manager is probably going to prison. His lawyer turned on him. His wife lives a mostly separate life.

His elaborate façade of competence and invulnerability is being punctured and shattered in real time for the world to see, and he's already moved from denial to the early stages of lashing out and making threats.

Most recently, he threatened the Department of Justice with the "anger" of his followers, a claim amplified by his Congressional factotum, Lindsay Graham, who then predicted that white supremacists would "riot" in the streets if Trump were indicted for his crimes.

It's a prediction we should take seriously, in no small part because many of Trump's most loyal followers are narcissists themselves, which is why they resort to wrapping themselves with Trump paraphernalia to build their own "tough" identity through association with him. Strapping on a few big guns helps them feel strong, too.

Just like the key to his sense of self is others' perception of his wealth and success, the key to their sense of self is their fealty to Trump. And their belief that he reciprocates it. But he doesn't, and when a person's sense of self - their core identity - is threatened, they often react as if their very life is at stake.

When Trump's mythos collapses, when Trump himself collapses, many of his most fervent followers will also suffer narcissistic collapse. When that happens - and there's a reasonable chance it will happen - all bets are off.

Right now the odds are that Trump and his fragile ego will maintain his narcissistic façade intact through much or most of the coming times. He'll bluster his way through court proceedings and media inquiries, proclaim his victimhood as he's charged with crimes, and up the rate of rallies he's doing so his followers can keep massaging his wounded self-esteem and make him feel loved. But at some point - probably, depending on how this all plays out, when or if he's charged with a crime - he'll confront the inevitable truth that he's a fraud and a failure, and has been one his entire life. A fraud and failure who sold out his own nation just for money, power, and glory. Who not only committed treason, but has now lost the entire game.

That will be his Fuhrerbunker moment, his abused-wife-is-leaving moment, his Jim Jones-in-the-jungle moment, when he will fully turn on America and lash out, trying to destroy whatever he can in and of this nation.

That's when he'll call his people to murderous violence.

That's when stochastic terrorism could rear its ugly head in a widespread way across the country, with "lone wolf" murderers picking off perceived "Trump enemies."

That's when the "civil war" - violent attacks on politicians; Democratic and "disloyal Republican" celebrities; and authority-figure government employees like police, judges, and members of the FBI - predicted and fretted about by so many, will be closest.

I'll leave it to actual professionals in the fields of psychology and psychiatry to tell us how best to deal with - or even head off - this possible eventuality.

From my perspective, it seems the best thing would be to incarcerate him as quickly as possible to minimize the damage he can do (things went quiet during Hitler's time in prison, too), allowing his narcissistic followers to retreat into the fantasy that he's merely a martyr. It might buy some time.

But I can't claim to have the answers; I just know the history. And I know that we should have a conversation about this - and hopefully those within our government are doing that right now - as part of our national dialogue about recovering from the damage inflicted on America by Trump and his MAGA Republicans over the past six years.

(c) 2022 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

The Cartoon Corner -

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

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Lindsey Graham Warns That Biden's Pro-Democracy Rhetoric Could Lead To Voting In the Streets
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Blasting Joe Biden's plan to give a prime-time speech on Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham warned that the President's "incendiary pro-democracy rhetoric" could lead to "voting in the streets."

"President Biden needs to watch his words very, very carefully," the senator from South Carolina said. "People are on edge right now. Say the wrong thing, and this nation could witness unrestrained, uncontrolled voting."

Cautioning the President against embracing "reckless pro-democracy views," Graham said, "You are playing with fire, my friend."

Graham described a "doomsday scenario," in which Americans line up to vote in the millions and "radical activists offer them bottles of water in clear violation of the law."

He said he was "not alone" in sounding the alarm about a dangerous outbreak of voting this November. "I don't know of a single Republican who wants to see this happen," he said.

(c) 2022 Andy Borowitz


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 35 (c) 09/09/2022

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