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In This Edition

Norman Solomon considers, "Biden's Revenge: Fueling 'Madness Of Militarism.'"

Ralph Nader examines, "Microchip, Macro Impact, Micro Vision."

Margaret Kimberley considers, "Democrats, Abortion And Phony Politics."

Jim Hightower is, "Making Work Work For Workers."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Let's Teach Histories Of Left-Wing Rebellion, Like The Battle Of Blair Mountain."

John Nichols says, "Ron Johnson's Wrong About Everything But This: Joe Biden Won Big In 2020."

James Donahue is, "Remembering The Michigan PBB Poisoning."

David Swanson explains, "What Ending A War Could Look Like."

Victoria Gill joins us with, "Climate Change: Fossil Fuels Must Stay Underground, Scientists Say."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "It's Time For Merrick Garland To Put The 'Federal' In 'Federalism' The Way Dwight Eisenhower Did In 1957."

Juan Cole gives, "Top 5 Health Dangers Of Climate Emergency That Are Far More Pressing Than Covid Pandemic."

Robert Reich explains, "How Trump's Attempted Coup Could Still Succeed."

Thom Hartmann returns with, "In Times Of Great Despair, We Must Double Down On Our Activism."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Texas Republicans Back Statewide Dress Code For Women," but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "Global Warming Is Pushing Fires To Higher Ground."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Kevin Siers, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Edris Lutfi, Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, T.J. Kirkpatrick, Andrew Lichtenstein, Shannon Stapelton, Detroit Free Press, Suzuki Foundation, CQ-Roll Call, Black Agenda Report, EPA, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

The Quotable Quote-
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To End On A Happy Note-
Have You Seen This-
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Global Warming Is Pushing Fires To Higher Ground
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"We're going away. Pack your shit, folks. We're going away. And we won't leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam ... The planet'll be here and we'll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas." ~~~ George Carlin

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

I see where scientists have known for decades that global warming makes wildfires more common, larger, and more intense. Now an international team of scientists has demonstrated a new connection between fires and global warming. Using data from Landsat satellites, they discovered that wildfires in the western United States have been spreading to higher elevations due to warmer and drier conditions that are clearly linked to climate change.

Historically, forest fires have been rare in high-elevation areas-at least 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level. But when McGill University scientist Mohammad Reza Alizadeh and colleagues studied fires that occurred in the West between 1984 and 2017, they found blazes moving to higher ground at a rate of 25 feet (7.6 meters) per year.

Fires are now burning higher up on hillsides and mountainsides because areas that used to be too wet to burn are now drier due to warmer temperatures and earlier snowmelt. The study also showed that drier air-which makes vegetation dry out and burn more easily-is moving upward at a rate of about 29 feet (8.9 meters) each year. The researchers estimated that an additional 31,500 square miles (81,500 square kilometers) of the mountainous U.S. West are now more vulnerable to fires compared to 1984.

"Our research would not have been possible if it were not for decades of reliable Landsat data to help us look back in time," said Alizadeh. "We hope these findings will encourage people to not only mitigate the effects of increased wildfire activity, but also to limit emissions and curb global warming." To evaluate fire characteristics in high-elevation regions, the researchers combined two Landsat-derived data sets-one that showed the locations of moderate to severe fires and one that displayed forest cover-with a digital elevation model. By overlaying these datasets, the team was able to analyze trends in forest fire elevation for different regions with similar ecological traits. They also compared their findings with measurements of vapor pressure (a measure of moisture in the air) and found a strong link between aridity and the elevation and size of forest fires.

The impacts of such high-elevation fires are numerous. Many mountain ranges serve as "water towers" for the western U.S.: snow accumulates on mountaintops each winter and then melts and runs down to river valleys as a summer water source. Fires can change how snow accumulates and melts, shifting when it is available in downstream reservoirs and rivers. That's a problem for more than 60 million people in the western US who rely on this water source. Fire debris, ash, and chemical retardants also can pollute the water, reducing its quality for drinking.

High-elevation fires are also bad news for species native to those areas because the much of the plant life is not fire-adapted and may grow back differently, as a 2020 paper suggested. Streams near high-elevation fires can also become much warmer than those in similar areas without fires. Both conditions threaten native animals and plants that depend on cooler water and air.

Finally, many towns and cities located at high elevations are not necessarily accustomed to the threat of wildfires. "Areas in Canada and the western U.S. are experiencing droughts and heat waves, which increase the risk of fires," said Mojtaba Sadegh, an assistant professor at Boise State University and a co-author of the paper. "This should raise the alarm for people to think more about what the future will look like if global warming continues at the same rate."

"Moving forward, we can implement adapted forest management practices, create more fire-resilient communities, and use tactics like controlled burns," Sadegh said. "But because the root cause is climate change, the most important path forward is to prevent further degradation and warming, which requires both individual and collective action." As the West has too little water, the East has way too much! And have no doubt it's only going to get worse unless we start to fix global warmings causes before we pass the point of no return.


03-07-1934 ~ 09-04-2021
Thanks for the weather reports!

11-17-1981 ~ 09-05-2021
Thanks for the film and music!

11-22-1966 ~ 09-06-2021
Thanks for the film!


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.

Some half a million Afghans have been internally displaced by violence this year alone.

Biden's Revenge: Fueling 'Madness Of Militarism'
By Norman Solomon

Joe Biden provided a stirring soundbite days ago when he spoke from the White House just after suicide bombers killed 13 U.S. troops and 170 Afghans at a Kabul airport: "To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay." But the president's pledge was a prelude to yet another episode of what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism."

The U.S. quickly followed up on Biden's vow with a drone strike in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province that the Pentagon said killed two "high-profile" ISIS-K targets. Speaking to media with standard reassurance, an Army general used artful wording to declare: "We know of zero civilian casualties." But news reporting told of some civilian deaths. And worse was soon to come.

On Sunday, another American drone attack -- this time near the Kabul airport -- led to reliable reports that the dead included children. The Washington Post reported on Monday that family members said the U.S. drone strike "killed 10 civilians in Kabul, including several small children." According to a neighbor who saw the attack, the newspaper added, "the dead were all from a single extended family who were exiting a car in their modest driveway when the strike hit a nearby vehicle."

Words that Biden used last Thursday night, vowing revenge, might occur to surviving Afghan relatives and their sympathizers: "We will not forgive. We will not forget." And maybe even, "We will hunt you down and make you pay."

Revenge cycles have no end, and they've continued to power endless U.S. warfare -- as a kind of perpetual emotion machine -- in the name of opposing terrorism. It's a pattern that has played out countless times in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere for two decades. And it should not be a mystery that U.S. warfare has created still more "enemy" combatants.

But neither the U.S. mass media nor official Washington has much interest in the kind of rational caveat that retired U.S. Army Gen. William Odom offered during a C-SPAN interview way back in 2002: "Terrorism is not an enemy. It cannot be defeated. It's a tactic. It's about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect we're going to win that war. We're not going to win the war on terrorism."

By any other name, the "war on terror" became -- for the White House, Pentagon and Congress -- a political license to kill and displace people on a large scale in at least eight countries, rarely seen, much less understood. Whatever the intent, the resulting carnage has often included many civilians. The names and faces of the dead and injured very rarely reach those who sign the orders and appropriate the funds.

Amid his administration's botch of planning for the pullout, corporate media have been denouncing Biden for his wise decision to finally withdraw the U.S. military from Afghanistan. No doubt Biden hopes to mollify the laptop warriors of the Washington press corps with drone strikes and other displays of air power.

But the last 20 years have shown that you can't stop on-the-ground terrorism by terrorizing people from the air. Sooner or later, what goes around comes around.

(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."

Microchip, Macro Impact, Micro Vision
By Ralph Nader

Let's say you're looking to invest some savings in the expanding micro-chip industry and a friend hands you the 2021 Annual Report of the Delaware (chartered) Corporation, Microchip Technology, a firm based in Chandler, Arizona. You're a studious type and want to know what the company is producing before deciding if becoming a shareholder-owner is for you.

The Annual Report is a weighty 200 pages. You start reading. "This past fiscal year has been a year of remarkable performance and resilience for Microchip" .... "Microchip was able to achieve records for net sales.... It was heartening to see the 'One World, One Microchip' spirit of our employees."

But what does Microchip produce, make, manufacture, innovate, distribute, impact, and for whom in particular? You still can't find out but there are plenty of pages to go. After telling me briefly about their diversity and sustainability goals, the company zeroes in on the management's proposals that it wishes shareholders to approve. It is all pretty routine stuff: they include the election of directors, a two-for-one stock split, restatement of its Equity Incentive Plan, ratification of their public accounting firm, Ernst & Young, then on to the "Approval of Executive Compensation."

All this took the report to page 33 and still nothing about what the company actually does. Then the executives running Microchip get down to THEIR business at hand, which is the money they want to be paid. Thirteen pages are devoted to "Executive Compensation," 16 pages to "compensation of named executive officers," another four pages on the "Equity Compensation Plan Information" and "Code of Business Conduct and Ethics." Still nothing about the company's reason for being.

Suddenly, the Annual Report moves into the land of mind-numbing appendices totaling about 130 pages so abstruse they cannot be summarily described in the Table of Contents.

I moved through the pages warily. Appendix A covers amending the certification of incorporation, followed by an amendment certificate regarding preferred stock, then thirteen pages on the 2004 Equity Incentive Plan mostly for the top brass. Then comes 58 pages containing the usual Form 10-K mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC is supposed to protect investors. The first section of this compulsory Form 10-K finally tells us that "We develop, manufacture and sell smart, connected and secure embedded control solutions used by our customers for a wide variety of applications .... Our broad product portfolio is a Total System Solution (TSS) for our customers that provide a large portion of the silicon requirements in their applications." Hmmm.

Then suddenly in one long sentence, Microchip slides down its abstraction ladder and exposes itself. "Our synergistic product portfolio empowers disruptive growth trends, including 5G, artificial intelligence and machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving, and electric vehicles, in key end markets such as automotive, aerospace and defense, communications, consumer, data centers and computing, and industrial."

Whoa! Many questions arise as I read on for elaborations of these "disruptive growth trends." There is a list of products such as medical devices and smart meters containing Microchip's chips and some mention of product lines, its outsourcing of much of its wafer fabrications and then it is on to SEC disclosure requirements about all boilerplate risks to their operations, whether real or hypothetical for some 19 additional pages. More pages about risks, micro-financial statements regarding subsidiaries, exhibits, consolidated balance sheets, income statements, and then detailed notes to these Financial Aggregations. The Report's final pages end with ever more micro-data of interest to accounting specialists and the cautious SEC.

Company annual reports are obviously self-congratulatory. They, of course, claim they care for the environment, are in compliance with laws, and sensitive to their "human resources" otherwise known as their workers. But one would never know of any serious problems affecting their products that "empower disruptive growth," the downsides of how these products are used in such new forays as little questioned 5G, unreliable autonomous cars and unlawfully launched weapons of mass destruction, plus the onrushing automation of all human life.

Nothing along these downstream lines concerns Microchip's leaders who seem OK with 'we're just following chip orders.' The SEC goes along by not requiring different qualities of disclosures and greater shareholder rights. After all, Microchip is only a chip and wafer dispensary, just like the earlier manufacturers of screws, nails, and adhesives. It is as if it is all only a difference in degree instead of major differences in kind for the human race and its exploited natural world.

Microchip knows far more than it is telling. Just like other companies in its industry. "Mums" the word. There are no reflections; it is only about dollars. The Annual Report is telling shareholders to just stick to their monetized appetites and watch the stock split, which makes them feel better along with their 1% dividend.

Not all companies leave their shareholders so deprived of their companies' information and special forebodings. Publicly held firms such as Interface, Ben & Jerry's, the early Body Shop, and former Midas Muffler, spoke to the wider ranges of corporate obligations beyond the bottom line.

However, most corporations, especially giants like Apple and ExxonMobil, want it both ways. They want to be viewed legally as "persons" to receive all the constitutional rights as do real human beings, in addition to their added immunities and privileges as enormous powerful artificial entities. Yet they then constantly behave as if they are just amoral (some would say immoral) entities sworn to only maximize profits for shareholders. Why then have the bosses stripped their companies' owners of almost every power except to say yes to management?

Maybe someday, the giant institutional shareholders - Blackrock, Vanguard, Fidelity, and the large pension funds, etc. - may start treating the companies they invest in by standards and expectations accorded to their purported status as "persons."

The skeptics may reply: "why should they, they're large top-down corporations too."

True enough. The change will come from the people through controlling their Congress. It takes one percent or less of voters, organized in congressional districts and reflecting public opinion, to get things accomplished. Basic corporate reform is difficult but easier than you think. (See, Breaking Through Power: It's Easier Than We Think).

(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).

Democrats, Abortion And Phony Politics
By Margaret Kimberley

Democratic party leadership are as uninterested in fighting for abortion rights as they are in addressing anything else their members need and want.

Most leftists in this country still remain loyal to the Democratic Party despite decades of deception, overt collusion with ruling class interests, and support of U.S. imperialism. The Democrats use a variety of means to keep the support of millions of people who yearn for something other than the excuses and double dealing they are constantly offered.

Pointing to Republicans as the embodiment of all evil is one of their methods, and no issue suits this strategy more than abortion. Democrats point to Republicans' strict anti-abortion stance to keep their left members in line. Democrats who want to see progressive initiatives enacted still feel tied to their party and convince themselves they have no choice but to be snookered on a regular basis. This dilemma of going along with treachery is particularly acute for Black people. The Republicans are the proud party of white racism and few Black Democrats are willing to declare their independence from their corrupt so-called leaders.

Enter the state of Texas, which passed a draconian law making abortion illegal after six weeks of pregnancy and giving ordinary citizens the right to sue any provider who might violate this legislation. The Supreme Court chose not to hear arguments and allowed the law to come into being.

Democratic party propagandists immediately sprang into action, predicting the end of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, excoriating anyone who dared to question Democrats, and reviving their cynical attacks on anyone who didn't support Hillary Clinton in 2016 as being at fault.

Of course it must always be said that Clinton raised more than $1 billion in her campaign but failed to get a mere 78,000 more votes in the swing states that she needed to win. She and her team relied on everything except an old fashioned get out the vote effort, and are responsible for the worst political debacle in U.S. history. Neither she nor anyone else in Democratic party leadership will ever acknowledge how badly they failed their people. They haven't changed since 2016. They still hope to win by doing as little as they possibly can.

The Texas law spawned hand wringing and foolish deification of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But like Clinton she bore responsibility for the makeup of the current Supreme Court. In 2013 Barack Obama asked the 80-year old, two-time cancer patient to step down, just in case Democrats lost control of the senate the following year. That is precisely what happened but truth telling doesn't suit the political image makers.

Even worse, the Democrats lie about their ability to protect abortion rights. They could pass the Women's Health Protection Act which would make Roe v. Wade federal law and do away with all abortion restrictions across the country. They could have done this when Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had democratic control of both houses of congress and they can still do it now. Democrats have been lying about their ability to protect abortion rights for the past 30 years.

The Democrats constantly treat their members as suckers. They raise millions of dollars claiming that they will stop the Republican onslaught against abortions or some other issue that is important to their voters.. The Women's Health Protection Act could be passed now but any expectation of that happening is for the suckers to believe. The Democrats claim that it would be too hard to pass because of the filibuster, which they also do nothing about. Round and round they go, with nothing to show except excuses for their inaction. Meanwhile their paid mouth pieces in corporate media use every trick in their worn out playbook to keep the rank and file from noticing they have been conned yet again.

The dysfunctional relationship between the Democrats and their members brings to mind an old saying. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." There is a lot of political shame to go around amongst the Democrats and their hapless members.

There comes a point when the abuser can no longer be blamed. The U.S. political duopoly are like professional wrestlers with phony villains and phony heroes too. At least their fans are in on the joke and know full well that they are watching a theatrical performance. Not so members of the Democratic party. They behave as though conservative Joe Manchin is the only one who can make demands on a president. Their progressive idols are afraid or uninterested in confronting what passes for leadership and theatrics rule the day.

Of course acting to protect abortion rights would make the Democrats more friends than enemies. They would energize millions of people and would be assured victories in most of the country. But the last thing they want is an engaged group of voters. They thrive on trickery and keeping a seat at the table of permanent government. They can then cut deals with their bosses in the oligarchy while millions of people believe they are being represented. Only the rubes are really fighting over abortion.

(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.

Making Work Work For Workers

By Jim Hightower

As a writer, I get stuck every so often straining for the right words to tell my story. Over the years, though, I've learned when to quit tying myself into mental knots over sentence construction, instead stepping back and rethinking where my story is going.

This process is essentially what millions of American working families are going through this year as record numbers of them are shocking bosses, politicians, and economists by stepping back and declaring: "We quit!" Most of the quits are tied to very real abuses that have become ingrained in our workplaces over the past couple of decades - poverty paychecks, no health care, unpredictable schedules, no child care, understaffing, forced overtime, unsafe jobs, sexist and racist managers, tolerance of aggressively-rude customers, and so awful much more.

Specific grievances abound, but at the core of each is a deep, inherently-destructive executive-suite malignancy: Disrespect. The corporate system has cheapened employees from valuable human assets worthy of being nurtured and advanced to a bookkeeping expense that must be steadily eliminated. It's not just about paychecks, it's about feeling valued, feeling that the hierarchy gives a damn about the people doing the work.

Yet, corporate America is going out of its way to show that it doesn't care - and, of course, workers notice. So, unionization is booming, millions who were laid off by the pandemic are refusing to rush back to the same old grind, and now millions who have jobs are quitting. This is much more than an unusual unemployment stat - it's a sea change in people's attitude about work itself... and life.

People are rethinking where their story is going and how they can take it in a better direction. Yes, nearly everyone will eventually return to work, but workers themselves have begun redefining the job and rebalancing it with life.

(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

A small group of United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and their supporters retrace the 50-mile march
of coal miners that resulted in the historic 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain to mark
the 100th anniversary of the battle, September 4, 2021, in Boone County, West Virginia.

Let's Teach Histories Of Left-Wing Rebellion, Like The Battle Of Blair Mountain
By William Rivers Pitt

One hundred and sixty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his first annual message to Congress. The event entirely lacked the fluffery of the modern State of the Union Address; Lincoln wrote a letter and had it delivered to the Capitol, where it was read aloud to however many members felt like lending an ear.

At the midpoint of his message, Lincoln made a statement that would be nothing short of economic heresy today. "Labor is prior to and independent of capital," he said. "Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

As this is a nation founded on the notion of plunder, whose first major industry was the exploitation of enslaved people's labor by capital, labor has always taken a back seat to the priorities of concentrated wealth. For its part, capital has never shied away from playing deadly dirty to defend its interests. When the power of unions peaked in the manufacturing sector midway through the last century, for one example, capital shipped those jobs overseas en masse, shredding the power of unions for generations.

This is hardly the only instance of capital breaking its opposition across its knee. A century ago last week, coal miners in Blair, West Virginia, rose up in revolt against the deadly and deplorable conditions they were made to work in. The New York Times reports:

In late August 1921, thousands of rifle-bearing coal miners marched to this thickly wooded ridge in southern West Virginia, a campaign that was ignited by the daylight assassinations of union sympathizers but had been building for years in the oppressive despair of the coal fields. The miners' army was met at Blair Mountain by thousands of men who volunteered to fight with the Logan County sheriff, who was in the pay of the coal companies. Over 12 miles and five days, the sheriff's men fought the miners, strafing the hillsides with machine-gun fire and dropping homemade bombs from planes. There were at least 16 confirmed deaths in the battle, though no one knows exactly how many were killed before the US Army marched in to put a stop to the fighting.
The Battle of Blair Mountain, as it came to be called, was the largest insurrection in the U.S. since the Civil War. This was not a group of states seeking to set up shop in their own country. This was labor taking a stand against capital. It was not the only such incident; the Battle of Evarts in Kentucky and the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado featured ownership using horrific levels of violence to quell labor uprisings. The Blair Mountain fight stands apart from Ludlow in one vital respect: Ludlow is remembered and commemorated in Colorado, while the Battle of Blair Mountain is mostly forgotten.

"In the final room of the Mine Wars Museum, Kimberly McCoy, the museum's resident guide, and a great-niece of Sid Hatfield, opened up five different West Virginia history textbooks from the 1930s to the 1980s to the section where 'the Battle of Blair Mountain should have been,' Kim said, 'but they're all empty,'" writes Samuel Fleischman for The Nation. "In 1920, Governor Ephraim Morgan set up an American Constitutional Association to select the textbooks used in West Virginia schools, which excluded any mention of the state's mine wars. Generations grew up cut off from their ancestors' struggles because business leaders were afraid history would repeat itself."

A century later, the U.S. is fighting a pitched "culture war" battle over what right-wingers are describing as the teaching of critical race theory in public schools. As Elias Rodriques and Clinton Williamson point out in their recent Truthout article, "In actuality critical race theory is a subgenre of legal studies that emerged in the 1970s and that plumbs the ways in which race and gender structure U.S. laws and policies, excluding some and granting rights to others." But the right wing is now using the term as a catch-all for any discussion of racism, sexism or other forms of oppression, seeking to ban discussions of truths that they see as threatening to their white supremacist priorities. Furthermore, they see it as bad for business, an affront to the advertising that has millions believing this is the "greatest nation on Earth," even when all available metrics vividly say otherwise.

While the current efforts to stifle discussions of racism and sexism in schools are different in meaningful ways from the forces that suppressed public education about the Mine Wars of West Virginia, they share certain commonalities. Simply put: Facts destabilize fictions, and fictions are the adhesive that allows capital to hold and maintain power. If you've never heard of the Battle of Blair Mountain, you would not know that U.S. business leaders machine-gunned and bombed workers who only sought a modicum of dignity and safety in their labors. If you know, you may be motivated to act, and that right there is what capital seeks to quash.

It is no small irony that a century later, the coal powers of West Virginia once again stand in the path of progress. A much-needed $3.5 trillion budget bill will soon come to a vote in Congress. Its fate hinges on the actions of one man: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Coal in his home state. Manchin has made noises about the bill costing too much, but in truth, he stands against it because several climate-related elements of the legislation will be bad for Big Coal's bottom line, and he has gotten his marching orders from the interests that line his campaign pockets.

For its part, capital likewise detests this bill, because it pays for itself with taxes levied against the wealthy and corporations, and seeks to protect the environment in ways that might shrink profits in the name of rescuing the species. Capital has set up a seamless little feudal economy in the U.S., where the top 1 percent has sheared $50 trillion from the bottom 90 percent over the last few decades. It has no interest in surrendering this particular catbird seat.

It is all unsustainable on its face, but powered into continued existence by the fact that most people have not heard the stories about those who fought back. If we tell the stories, new legends will grow, and we may come to realize that we are not as powerless as capital would have us believe.

(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.

Last month, Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson was caught on tape admitting that Trump lost the 2020 election.

Ron Johnson's Wrong About Everything But This: Joe Biden Won Big In 2020
By John Nichols

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his Republican allies in the Legislature have proposed to divert $680,000 in state taxpayer dollars to an investigation of how Wisconsin voted in the 2020 election.

They are doing so at the behest of Donald Trump, whose inability to accept his defeat in last year's presidential election has turned the once great Republican Party into a cesspool of conspiracy theories. Trump has spawned such a Big Lie that it is difficult to know how to challenge his dishonesty, and the desperation of his demands that Republicans embrace the fantasy that widespread election "fraud" cost him a second term.

Grassroots Republicans won't listen to rational members of their own party, like Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who notes that Trump's lawyers "had a chance to take their message to the courts. The courts laughed them out of court. I've seen no evidence that suggests that there was widespread voter fraud."

While Romney says, "Joe Biden is the legitimate president of the United States," the Republican base is unlikely to embrace the assessment of a Republican who voted to impeach Trump for encouraging the insurrection that included an attack on the U.S. Capitol and briefly halted reviews by the House and Senate of the Electoral College votes that made Joe Biden president.

Nor will they listen to Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who says, "If you make big claims, you had better have the evidence. But the president doesn't, and neither do the institutional arsonist members of Congress who will object to the Electoral College vote."

The Nebraska Republican has suggested that the only reason Republican officials entertain Trump's Big Lie is because they fear offending the former president. "When we talk in private, I haven't heard a single congressional Republican allege that the election results were fraudulent - not one," explains Sasse. "Instead, I hear them talk about their worries about how they will 'look' to President Trump's most ardent supporters."

If only we could get those conversations on tape. If only we could reveal the truth - not from the mouth of a Trump critic but from the lips of a Trump loyalist.

Well, the wait is over.

Few members of Congress have done more to amplify Trump's false claims about the election than Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. Late last month, however, Johnson came clean, unwittingly.

At a Republican event near Milwaukee, progressive activist Lauren Windsor posed as a conservative and taped a conversation with Johnson. When she pressed the senator to discuss the election, he told her, "I think it's probably true that Biden got maybe 7 million more popular votes. That's the electoral reality. So to just say for sure that this was a stolen election, I don't agree with that."

In fact, Biden got 7,052,770 more votes than Trump, earning a higher percentage of the popular vote than any challenger to a sitting president since Franklin Roosevelt beat Herbert Hoover in 1932. Biden also thumped Trump in the Electoral College, with the Democrat prevailing by a 306-232 margin.

Windsor has distributed a tape of the discussion on social media. In the course of what he apparently thought was a private conversation with a fellow conservative, the senator tells her, "There's nothing obviously skewed about the results." He even goes so far as to suggest that Trump lost because the former president was not as politically appealing as other Republicans. "If all the Republicans voted for Trump the way they voted for the Assembly candidates, he would have won," said the senator. "He didn't get 51,000 votes that other Republicans got, and that's why he lost."

Now the Republican Assembly candidates who ran better than Trump in 2020 must decide whether to waste hundreds of thousands of tax dollar on an inquiry that is entirely unnecessary - and crudely divisive. They can go along with the Big Lie. Or they can recognize, as does Johnson, that Wisconsin had a free and fair election and that Donald Trump lost it.

(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.

Remembering The Michigan PBB Poisoning
By James Donahue

Dairy farming is a major part of the agriculture industry throughout the Thumb Area of Michigan. And it was not long after I began reporting the news there in the 1970's that dairy farmers began dealing with sick and dying cattle. The phenomenon was occurring on nearly all of the large dairy farms and veterinarians were baffled at first.

At first the cows began aborting. They started looking deformed. Their coats got mangy and their hoofs overgrew. Experts from the Michigan Department of Agriculture were brought in and they could not determine what was wrong with the cows.

Eventually it was discovered that a worker at Michigan Chemical Corporation accidentally mixed the chemical polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), a toxic fire retardant, with the cattle feed that was distributed by the Michigan Farm Bureau to dairy operations throughout Michigan. By the time this was discovered, an estimated nine million state residents had consumed contaminated meat and milk for at least a year. It was a disaster.

State and federal health officials were at first slow to react, and when they did, they began quarantining every dairy farm that had infected cows. The cows were slaughtered by the hundreds. Big dairy operations were going bankrupt everywhere. It was a terrible story, one that was hard to report. Most farmers refused to talk about what was happening to them. I always wondered how a mix-up of chemicals like that could occur in a place that was producing cattle feed. And why would a chemical plant have a connection to the feed being sold by Farm Bureau?

It turned out that dairy farmers, even as early as 1973, were experimenting with chemical additives in the feed that would make cows produce more milk and thus increase profits. Consequently Michigan Chemical Corporation was involved in producing magnesium oxide as a cattle feed additive that was getting mixed in with the Farm Bureau feed.

Some pea-brain at Michigan Chemical Corporation got the bags of magnesium oxide mixed up with bags of an experimental fire retardant called Firemaster BP-6 and you can guess the rest. Investigation revealed that the bags were poorly marked and the job of mixing the chemical with the feed was left with workers that had little job training and no technical knowledge. When one worker noticed that the bags were labeled with the wrong name a supervisor told him it was just a new name for the magnesium oxide and to mix it with the feed anyway.

At first the state established a disposal site in Kalkaska County, in north-central Michigan, and began allowing state agencies to condemn and destroy the poisoned cows. While farmers were not forced to destroy their animals, most farmers did it anyway, since they had no market for either the milk or the beef. For them it was a financial disaster.

In those days little was known as to the effects PBB would have on humans who consumed the meat and drank the milk from the infected cattle. The FDA said low levels of exposer would not be a health threat. Yet high levels of PBB began showing up in the breast milk of mothers and breast-fed children began showing signs of abnormal development. The pressure grew to remove all food products containing any trace of PBB from the market. The chemical also began showing up in pigs and chickens, and in the eggs produced on farms at or near the PBB infected cows. They discovered that feed for other animals became infected when it was processed through the same machinery.

By the end of 1975, nearly 30,000 cows, 6,000 pigs, 1.5 million chickens, 5 million eggs and 27 tons of dairy products were destroyed. Yet the disaster didn't stop there. It was found that new cattle brought into the same pens and buildings where the infected cows had been also became infected with PBB contamination. Some dairy farmers lost second herds after investing everything they had in attempting to start up again.

At one point a group of farmers marched on Lansing and dumped PBB contaminated cattle carcasses on the capitol steps.

It took years for the PBB mess to be cleaned up. In the end it was determined that every person living in Michigan during that period had the toxin in their bodies. Children born for years afterward also were found to be infected.

While some children suffered mild deformities from the contamination, fortunately the exposure we all took did not have the same effect as it did on the cows.

The Michigan PBB disaster never got much media play, mostly because it involved individual disasters on farms scattered all over the state. Our newspaper worked the story as did many other newspapers within the state.

The incident should have been recognized as a shot across the bow for agriculturalists that even then, were beginning to experiment with chemical and biological enhancements to produce more product and produce it faster. Also they were in the first stages of developing what we now know as factory farms.

(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.

What Ending A War Could Look Like
By David Swanson

When you imagine ending a war, do you imagine the U.S. President lamenting the human cost of the war's financial expense while simultaneously demanding that Congress increase military spending - and while mentioning new wars that could potentially be launched?

Do you picture him blowing up families with missiles from robot airplanes, and committing to continuing those "strikes" while maintaining that such things don't constitute continuing the war?

Did you hope that if the wars for freedom ever ended we might get our freedoms back, our rights to demonstrate restored, the Patriot Act repealed, the local police rid of their tanks and war weapons, the landscaped stripped of all the cameras and metal detectors and bullet-proof glass that have grown up for two decades?

Did you imagine the people in Guantanamo cages who were never on a "battlefield" would no longer be viewed as threats to "return" there once the war was "ended"?

Did you think that without a war there might be something resembling peace, including perhaps an embassy, the lifting of sanctions, or the unfreezing of assets?

Did you perhaps hope for an apology and reparations to go along with the confessions that some of the key excuses for the war (such as "nation-building") were nonsense?

Did you expect the U.S. President at the same time as ending the war and ordering higher military spending to also order documents on the Saudi role in 9/11 made public while also selling ever more weapons to Saudi Arabia?

Are you enough of a dreamer to have imagined a thorough study would be made of the dead, the injured, the traumatized, and the homeless - maybe even that we would see sufficient reporting on those killed by the war for some segment of the U.S. public to become aware that, as with all recent wars, over 90% of the victims were on one side, and of which side that was?

Did you hope at least for restraint in blaming those victims, some let-up on the war lies both old and new? Did you really, deeply, understand that the reporting on the ending of the war would mostly be about the violence and cruelty of ending it, not of waging it? Has it sunk in that history books as well as newspapers will forever tell people that the U.S. government wanted to put Osama bin Laden on trial but the Taliban prefered war, despite the fact that 20 years ago the newspapers reported the opposite?

Of course, nobody imagined the people who worked 20 years to end the war being permitted on television. But did you realize that the experts on the airwaves would mostly be the same people who promoted the war from the start and, in many cases, heavily profited from it?

Nobody imagines the International Criminal Court or the World Court prosecuting non-Africans, but might one not have fantasized about the illegality of the war being a topic of conversation?

The only conversation permitted is one of reforming war, not abolishing it. I appreciate greatly tons of work done by the Costs of War Project, but not the reporting that the past 20 years of war cost $8 trillion. I also appreciate tons of work done by the Institute for Policy Studies, perhaps especially their reporting on the $21 trillion the U.S. government has spent on militarism during the past 20 years. I am fully aware that nobody can really imagine numbers as large as either number. But I don't think the war spending and war preparations spending and war profiteering of the past 20 years has been 38% wrong. I think it has been 100% wrong. I am 100% aware that we are radically more likely to scale it back a teeny bit than to eliminate it all at once. But we can talk about the full costs of war, rather than normalizing the majority of them (as if they were for something other than war), regardless of what we propose to do about it.

If the difference between $8 trillion and $21 trillion is unfathomable, we can at least recognize the vastly different quantities of good each could have done if redirected into human and environmental needs. We can at least recognize that one is almost 3 times the other. And perhaps we can spot the difference between the much smaller numbers, $25 billion and $37 billion.

Many activists and - to take them at their word - even many Congress Members want military spending dramatically reduced and moved into useful spending areas. You can get dozens of Congress Members and hundreds of peace groups to sign letters or support bills to reduce military spending by 10 percent. But when Biden proposed to INCREASE military spending, the leading "progressive" Congress Members started objecting to any increase beyond Biden's, thereby normalizing Biden's - with some peace groups quickly echoing that new line.

So, of course, I object to an increase of $25 billion, but I object even more so to an increase of $37 billion even though part of it is backed by Biden while the other part is a bipartisan Congressional effort that we can squint hard and pretend to blame on just the Republicans.

Why do I have so many nitpicking, obnoxious, and divisive objections at this time of great peace and lightness and the resolution - at long last - of the "longest war in U.S. history" (so long as Native Americans are not human beings)?

Because I imagine something different when I think of ending a war.

I imagine resolution, reconciliation, and reparations - possibly including criminal prosecutions and convictions. I imagine apologies and the learning of lessons. When a single historian or peace activist could have done a better job than the entire military-spying-"diplomatic" machine by rejecting an insane enterprise of mass-murder (as a single Congress Member did), I expect some changes - changes in the direction of gradually getting out of the war business, not of getting the next wars "right."

I picture truth commissions and accountability. I fantasize about a shift of priorities, so that the 3% of U.S. military spending that could end starvation on Earth actually does so - and similar remarkable feats for the other 97%.

I imagine the U.S. at least ending the arms trade, ceasing to saturate the globe with U.S. weapons, and closing the bases that dot the earth stirring up trouble. When the Taliban asks how they are worse than Saudi Arabia and dozens of other governments that the U.S. supports, I expect an answer - some answer, any answer - but ideally the answer that the U.S. will cease propping up oppressive regimes everywhere, not just in the one spot that it claims to be ending its war on (apart from continued bombing).

The fact that over three-quarters of the U.S. public tells the corporate media outlets that it supports the ending of the war (following endless media "coverage" of the ending of the war being a catastrophe), suggests to me that I am not alone in wishing for something a little better than what we're getting in the way of ending wars.

(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.

The Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire is one of Britain's two remaining coal-fired power stations

Climate Change: Fossil Fuels Must Stay Underground, Scientists Say
By Victoria Gill

Almost 60% of oil and gas reserves and 90% of coal must remain in the ground to keep global warming below 1.5C, scientists say.

The forecast is based on close analysis of global energy supply and demand.

It is a "bleak" but realistic assessment of "what the science tells us is needed", the researchers say.

And they have "painted a scenario of the future" that leaves much less room for fossil fuels to be extracted than previously estimated.

'Bouncing back'

Scientists say that limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C should help the world avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change.

Globally, the researchers calculated, production of fossil fuels needed to have peaked in 2020 and be on a steady decline of 3% every year until 2050.

"Through the Covid pandemic, we have seen a large decline in production - but that is bouncing back," UCL associate professor of energy systems Dr Steve Pye told BBC News. The research focuses on how much energy is required and what the limit must be on carbon emissions.

Dr James Price, also at UCL, said: "We say to our model, 'Meet all those demands from now until 2100 without emitting too much carbon dioxide.'

"The result we get is a rapid reduction in fossil fuels - and a large amount of fossils fuels [left in the ground] - simply because the carbon budget is so tight."

'Bleak picture'

The study, in the journal Nature, also found the decline in oil and gas production required globally by 2050 - to stick to that tight carbon budget - means many regions face peak production now or during the next decade.

A carbon budget is the cumulative amount of CO2 that can be released in a period of time while keeping within a temperature threshold - in this case 1.5C.

Many fossil-fuel extraction projects already planned or in operation are likely to hurt the world's chances of meeting internationally agreed target limits on global warming set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement. And this "bleak picture", the scientists say, "is very probably an underestimate of what is required."

The carbon budget determined by the modelling would give the world a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5C.

But the study says: "That does not consider uncertainties around, for example, climate-system feedbacks.

"So to ensure more certainty of stabilising at this temperature, [even] more carbon needs to stay in the ground."

'Stark numbers'

The researchers highlight bold national policies to entirely phase out fossil-fuel extraction, including an alliance devised by Costa Rica and Denmark, set to be launched at the crucial United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Glasgow, this year, asking states to stop issuing fossil-fuel exploration permits.

And the scientists say they hope the "stark numbers" will inspire the political will to make swift and urgent change to move away from a reliance on fossil fuels.

Dr Price told the BBC: "The physics doesn't care about the political will.

"We know technically how to do this, it is just about actually doing it."

(c) 2021 By Victoria Gill is Science correspondent for BBC News. Follow Victoria on Twitter.

It's Time For Merrick Garland To Put The 'Federal' In 'Federalism' The Way Dwight Eisenhower Did In 1957
The central government has a duty, based in the ninth and 14th amendments, to safeguard the civil liberties of its citizens against any threat to them.
By Charles P. Pierce

Here at the shebeen, we gave it a week, the exact timeline of Creation, including the day of rest and football. We gave the country a chance to straighten up, fly right, and get its scattered shit together. Lo and behold, the country is still angry, stupid, and sick as a dog. The horse paste is still flying off the shelves. The elite political media continues to embarrass itself in relation to Afghanistan, and the president, and any combination thereof. (Were the editors of the New York Times deep into the 'shrooms when they green-lit this thing?) One whole week and...nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. This is an interesting unlimbering by the Department of Justice. From the Washington Post:

The Justice Department is exploring "all options" to challenge Texas's restrictive abortion law, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday, as he vowed to provide support to abortion clinics that are "under attack" in the state and to protect those seeking and providing reproductive health services. The move by the nation's top law enforcement official comes just days after the Supreme Court refused to block a Texas abortion statute that bans the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. The court's action stands as the most serious threat to Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling establishing a right to abortion, in nearly 50 years.
I know that some people have been frustrated by what appears to be Merrick Garland's dilatory approach to investigating the former president* and all the rest of the staff from Camp Runamuck. I feel much the same way. But, if the DOJ acts on this, it's a very encouraging development. If Garland decides to give Greg Abbott in Texas a little taste of what Eisenhower gave Orval Faubus in 1957, or what the Kennedy brothers gave Ross Barnett in 1962, that's all to the good. It's past time that the "federal" part of federalism gets exercised again. The central government has a duty, based in the ninth and 14th amendments, to safeguard the civil liberties of its citizens against any threat to them, including those posed by state governments and state governors. As Dolores Barclay told
Eisenhower was boxed into a corner and reached a point where he had to show the power of the federal government and chop off continued insurrection of southern segregationists. His decision was decidedly political-to maintain federal power-and to ensure that Brown was enforced.
It's time to flex that power again. Even the shadow-docket card trick from the Supreme Court allows that, theoretically anyway, the right to privacy and the right to terminate a pregnancy that is derived from it both remain intact. The ridiculously gerrymandered statehouses and the fanatical ideologues in the governor's offices have left the administration, and the central government, no choice but to defend that right against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

(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-

"Today, the top one-tenth of 1% owns nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90%. The economic game is rigged, and this level of inequality is unsustainable. We need an economy that works for all, not just the powerful."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Top 5 Health Dangers Of Climate Emergency That Are Far More Pressing Than Covid Pandemic
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Some 230 medical journals carried an editorial on Sunday, "Call for Emergency Action to Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, and Protect Health."

In my view, the editorial buried the lead by putting this sentence two-thirds of the way down and by not giving it its own paragraph:

"Rises above 1.5 degrees C increase the chance of reaching tipping points in natural systems that could lock the world into an acutely unstable state. This would critically impair our ability to mitigate harms and to prevent catastrophic, runaway environmental change."
Dude, that burning fossil fuels will lock the world into an acutely unstable state is all you need to know.

The editorial argues that the climate emergency is so bad for human health that tackling it must be our highest priority, and we cannot wait for the coronavirus pandemic to subside.

Let me underline that. The coronavirus has killed over 600,000 Americans and is currently the third biggest cause of death in this country. The health journals are saying that those fatality statistics are not as important as deaths from the climate emergency. Intensified drought, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and other extreme weather events are caused by global heating and other changes caused by humans putting billions of tons of the heat-trapping gases methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the CO2 caused by burning coal for heat and electricity and fueling automobiles with gasoline.

Here are the top 5 dangers highlighted by this powerful editorial:

1. "no temperature rise is 'safe.' In the past 20 years, heat-related mortality among people over 65 years of age has increased be more than 50%." Since I am 68, I find this statistic alarming.

2. "Global heating is also contributing to the decline in global yield potential for major crops, which has fallen by 1.8 to 5.6% since 1981; this decline, together with the effects of extreme weather and soil depletion, is hampering efforts to reduce undernutrition."

3. "Higher temperatures have brought increased dehydration and renal function loss, dermatological malignancies, tropical infections, adverse mental health outcomes, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality."

Let's rephrase that one in lay people's terms. The climate emergency and global heating are causing people to get dehydrated more often and more seriously, causing our kidneys to fail; it is giving us skin cancer, encouraging diseases like yellow fever and malaria, harming fetal health (I'm looking at you, Texas), causing allergies, and hurting our heart and lung health, and also harming our mental health. Given how many crazy people we seem already to have in America, you never want to hear that.

4. "Harms disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, including children, older populations, ethnic minorities, poorer communities, and those with underlying health problems." I'm older and a cancer survivor, so I have two characteristics of these four that put us as special risk of harm from the climate emergency. I'm well aware that there are lots of people in poorer minority communities that have all four.

5. Here's a Catch-22: "Thriving ecosystems are essential to human health, and the widespread destruction of nature, including habitats and species, is eroding water and food security and increasing the chance of pandemics."

This is an especially frightening finding. The harm done to the environment and to our species is making us weaker, with less sure access to potable water and nutritious food. When a species is weak, thirsty and hungry, it is more likely to fall victim to pandemics and the virus that infects it is more likely to be free to run wild and produce variants. I knew that the current, deadly spike of the Delta variant came about because so few people in India were vaccinated and so were vulnerable to infection. Official heath statistics are not reliable there, and it is possible that ten times as many people died of the virus as the government admits. That would be over 4 million. Deaths spiked last May; I lived in India in May, and it was hot during that month even 38 years ago. It has gotten a lot hotter, enervating people. I didn't know that climate harm from global heating had made it more likely for the variant to evolve in its victims.

The editorial's advice? Governments should stop setting climate or carbon goals and get of their duffs and actually do something. Something enormous. Now.

*** Bonus Video:

(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.

How Trump's Attempted Coup Could Still Succeed
By Robert Reich

The former president's attempted coup is not stopping. He still refuses to concede and continues to rile up supporters with his bogus claim that the 2020 election was stolen. Tens of millions of Americans believe him.

Last Sunday, at a Republican event in Franklin, North Carolina, Congressman Madison Cawthorn, repeating Trump's big lie, called the rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 "political hostages."

Cawthorn also advised the crowd to begin stockpiling ammunition for what he said is likely to be American-versus-American "bloodshed" over unfavorable election results.

"Much as I am willing to defend our liberty at all costs," he said, "there's nothing I would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American."

On Tuesday, Texas Republicans passed a strict voter law based on Trump's big lie - imposing new ID requirements on people seeking to vote by mail and criminal penalties on election officials who send unsolicited mail-in ballot applications, empowering partisan poll watchers, and banning drive-through and 24-hour voting.

This year, at least 18 other states have enacted 30 laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote, based on Trump's lie.

On Thursday, at Trump's instigation, Pennsylvania Republicans launched an investigation soliciting sworn testimony on election "irregularities," scheduling the first hearing for next week.

Arizona's Republican "audit" will report its results any day, but there's little question what they'll show. The CEO of the Cyber Ninjas, the firm hired to conduct it, has publicly questioned the election results, and the audit team consists of Trump supporters and is funded by a group led by Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

The Republican chair of the Wisconsin state assembly's campaigns and elections committee has begun "a full, cyber-forensic audit" akin to Arizona's. Trump's first White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, says Wisconsin Republicans are prepared to spend $680,000 on it.

These so-called audits won't alter the outcome of the 2020 election. Their point is to cast further doubt on its legitimacy and justify additional state measures to suppress votes and alter future elections.

It's a vicious cycle. As Trump continues to stoke his base with his big lie that the election was stolen, Republican lawmakers - out to advance their careers and entrench the GOP - are adding fuel to the fire, pushing more Americans into Trump's paranoid nightmare.

The three top candidates to succeed Richard Burr in North Carolina all denounced the senator's vote to convict Trump in his last impeachment trial. The four leading candidates to succeed Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania all embraced Trump's call for an "audit" of election results.

A leading contender for Senate seat being vacated by Richard Shelby in Alabama is Representative Mo Brooks, best known for urging the crowd at Trump's rally preceding the Capitol riot to "start taking down names and kicking ass." Brooks has been endorsed by Trump.

Yet even as Trump's attempted coup gains traction, most of the rest of America continues to sleep. We've become so outrage-fatigued by his antics, and so preoccupied with the more immediate threats of the Delta variant and climate-fueled wildfires and hurricanes, that we prefer not to know.

A month ago it was reported that during his last weeks in office Trump tried to strong-arm the Justice Department to falsely declare that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, even threatening to fire the acting attorney general if he didn't: "Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the [Republican] Congressmen."

The news barely registered on America's collective mind. The Olympics and negotiations over the infrastructure bill got more coverage.

A top Trump adviser now says Trump is "definitely running" for president in 2024, even though the 14th Amendment to the constitution bars anyone from holding office who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against" the nation.

Federal legislation that would pre-empt state voter suppression laws is bogged down in the Senate. Biden hasn't made it a top priority. A House select committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot and Trump's possible role is barely off the ground. The U.S Justice Department has made no move to indict the former president for anything.

But unless Trump and his co-conspirators are held accountable for the damage they have inflicted and continue to inflict on American democracy, and unless Senate Democrats and Biden soon enact national voting rights legislation, Trump's attempted coup could eventually succeed.

It is imperative that America wake up.

(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

As Bernie Sanders loves to say, and I echo every day on my show, "Despair is not an option." We must persist.

In Times Of Great Despair, We Must Double Down On Our Activism
This is a true moment of crisis on so many different levels, which is why it's not only critical that we seize this moment to throw ourselves into meaningful political activism, but also to take care of ourselves at deep emotional and spiritual levels.
By Thom Hartmann

Some Americans feel like we're living through a "last days" biblical Revelation kind of scenario.

There's a worldwide pandemic that is even killing our children; climate change has drowned the East Coast while the West Coast is on fire; emergency workers and firefighters are struggling with Covid; and a group of rightwing billionaires and religious freaks have seized control of one of our political parties and are hell-bent on pushing us back to the 19th century, crushing democracy and rolling back voting rights while taking ever-more control over women and minorities.

However we do it, we need to keep ourselves well-charged, inspired and enthusiastic during this time of multiple and seemingly an ending crisis.

Many Americans are being crushed by this. People losing their homes to wildfire or floods; losing their jobs to an economy battered by recession, pandemic and environmental crisis; facing huge medical bills simply because they got sick in America. Others are caught in doom-scrolling loops, obsessing on all the bad news that fills our airwaves.

For some it's so overwhelming they simply give up or check out. They retreat altogether from reading the news and participating in politics, immersing themselves instead in alcohol, yoga or Netflix.

But, as the old cliche goes, times of great crisis are also truly moments of great opportunity, and, while some will give up and walk away from political activism, giving the billionaires, trolls and the GOP what they want, others realize the importance of doubling down now on our activism.

My SiriusXM colleague Joe Madison has taught me the difference between "movements" and "moments."

In 1872, Susan B Anthony voted in the presidential election; she was immediately arrested and convicted the following year for voting while female. It was a moment that seemed like a setback, but it was also a turning point that reinvigorated a movement.

When Reconstruction failed in 1876, it was a terrible moment for African-Americans, but it didn't stop the broad and growing movement to create a true multiracial, multiethnic democracy in this country. Examples from that time to today number in the thousands, and thankfully activists never gave up.

We have a Republican Party entirely captured by rightwing billionaires and polluting industries; members of the GOP are now calling for "bloodshed" as a way of solving political conflict. Some participated in an attempt to seize the US Capitol and assassinate the Vice President and Speaker of the House.

The so-far-successful effort to use vigilantes to intimidate low-income women in Texas is poised to spread across the United States through newly energized Republican-controlled legislatures. Five hardcore rightwingers on the Supreme Court have given it their stamp of approval.

Republicans, again with SCOTUS approval, have changed voting laws in 19 states now so they can rig elections to maintain their power in defiance of the majority of American voters.

This is a true moment of crisis on so many different levels, which is why it's not only critical that we seize this moment to throw ourselves into meaningful political activism, but also to take care of ourselves at deep emotional and spiritual levels.

Louise and I have been going in "awe walks" where we take a walk for a mile or two and go out of our way to look for things that strike us with "moments of awe."

Clouds, trees, a particularly extraordinary plant, a squirrel preparing for winter, a group of enthusiastic young people: life is such an extraordinary miracle and it's so easy to take for granted. We go out of our way to look for the awe-inspiring and miraculous every day, and then to be thankful for and appreciative of it.

We've been reaching out more to old friends, too, and reestablishing regular family Zoom meetings and other ways of maintaining human contact. There's some fascinating new research that shows that maintaining meaningful human connections through life extends both the quality and length of life more effectively than even a good diet!

However we do it, we need to keep ourselves well-charged, inspired and enthusiastic during this time of multiple and seemingly an ending crisis.

Throughout most of our 20s, Louise and I had a poster on our bedroom wall with a saying that has been attributed to many over the years but most often to Calvin Coolidge:

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

As Bernie Sanders loves to say, and I echo every day on my show, "Despair is not an option." We must persist.

There is work to do, and, as a wonderful bonus, it gives life meaning and keeps us deeply connected with great allies!

Tag, you're it!

(c) 2021 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
~~~ Kevin Siers ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Texas Republicans Back Statewide Dress Code For Women
By Andy Borowitz

AUSTIN (The Borowitz Report)-A new bill moving swiftly through the Republican-controlled Texas legislature would institute a strict statewide dress code for women.

Governor Greg Abbott, a vehement supporter of the bill, said that the dress code would benefit women because "it will give them one less thing to think about when they get up in the morning."

"I believe in the sanctity of human life, and the best way to protect that life, in the case of a woman, is to free her from the stress of having to choose what to wear," Abbott said.

Abbott summarized the new dress code, which bars women from wearing skirts above the knee, sleeveless blouses, and most varieties of pants.

"Slacks are fine as long as they have cuffs," he said. "However, if a woman is caught wearing jeans or dungarees, she will be sent home."

Abbott dismissed comparisons between the state's proposed dress code and that imposed by the Taliban, which has required women to wear burqas. "We are strongly opposed to masks of any kind," he said.

(c) 2021 Andy Borowitz

Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 36 (c) 09/10/2021

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In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."