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In This Edition

Norman Solomon explains, "Why A DNC Vice Chair Bawled Me Out For Sharing Critical, Accurate Information About Joe Biden."

Thom Hartmann insists, "To Save The Republic, Some Of Trump's Allies And Appointees Will Have To Face Federal Prosecution."

Glen Ford asks, "What Does Bolton's Ouster Mean To Victims Of US Imperial Aggression? "

Jim Hightower wonders, "Why Would We Trust Plutocrats To Save Us From Plutocracy?"

Juan Cole says, "Trump-Taliban Talks Like Those With N. Korea-A Photo Op On The Deck Of The Titanic."

John Nichols concludes, "North Carolina's Revote Today Is A Win For Democracy."

James Donahue explores, "That Strange Friday The Thirteenth Myth."

William Rivers Pitt finds, "Shifting Blame Is A Favorite Habit Of Polluters And This President."

David Suzuki examines, "Fracked Gas Heats The Planet, But Supporters Say It's A Solution."

Charles P. Pierce reports, "The Bahamas Is Learning That The United States Has Pulled Up The Drawbridge."

David Swanson chants, "Zombie Zombie Zombie."

Senator Joni Ernst R/IO wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich gives, "9 Ways To Stay Sane During The Primaries."

Fernanda Echavarri reports, "The Supreme Court Just Made It Virtually Impossible For Anyone To Seek Asylum At The Border."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Trump Signs Executive Order Giving Him Control Of Weather," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "House Republicans Try To Steal $2.9 Trillion From Social Security."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mr. Fish, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Scott Eisen, Bill O'Leary, Chip Somodevilla, Steven FerdmanVeronique de Viguerie, Chuck Burton, Moms Clean Air Force, Ink Monster.Net, Brendan Smialowski, Mark Wilson, 20th Century Fox, Zombieland, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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House Republicans Try To Steal $2.9 Trillion From Social Security
By Ernest Stewart

"That 233 politicians would vote to raid the Social Security trust funds, never to repay them, is shameful. It helps explain the low regard the American people have for Congress." ~~~ Nancy Altman ~ President of Social Security Works

"Several possible mechanisms may be driving the breakdown in spawning synchrony that we found. For example, temperature has a strong influence on coral reproductive cycles. In our study region, temperatures are rising fast, at a rate of 0.31 degrees Celsius per decade, and we suggest that the breakdown in spawning synchrony reported here may reflect a potential sublethal effect of ocean warming. Another plausible mechanism may be related to endocrine (hormonal) disrupting pollutants, which are accumulating in marine environments as a result of ongoing human activities that involve pollution." ~~~ Prof. Yossi Loya ~ Tel Aviv University

"Let's shut down the EPA." ~~~ Joni Ernst

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

The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works, in reaction to nearly every Republican member of the House of Representatives, as well as seven Democrats, voting for a Constitutional amendment requiring that all annual revenue and spending balance every year. The amendment failed to attain the two-thirds majority required to pass it into law and thank Zeus for that.

Nancy said, "Every pay period, starting with our first jobs, America's workers contribute to Social Security. The program uses those funds to pay all benefits and related administrative costs. Social Security does not add even a penny to the deficit, as Republican President Ronald Reagan so clearly stated when he was president."

You may recall that when Social Security runs a surplus, Social Security holds the funds in trust. Social Security currently has a $2.9 trillion accumulated surplus, which was intentionally built up over decades to cover the retirement of the Baby Boom generation. In the guise of a so-called balanced budget amendment, 233 members of the House of Representatives just voted to pretend that the accumulated surplus does not exist.

That's because the so-called Balanced Budget Amendment would ignore the past Social Security contributions and instead require all federal spending - including Social Security spending - to be offset by revenues collected in that same year. That means that Social Security would not be allowed to use its own $2.9 trillion surplus to pay out benefits.

By voting to mandate that income and outgo match for all federal spending every year, ninety-seven percent of Republicans just voted in effect, to default on Social Security's $2.9 trillion worth of Treasury bonds. (Ninety-six percent of Democrats voted to honor their commitment to the American people.)

"That 233 politicians would vote to raid the Social Security trust funds, never to repay them, is shameful. It helps explain the low regard the American people have for Congress. Fortunately for Social Security beneficiaries, the amendment did not attain the two-thirds majority required to pass the House. But those who voted for it are now on the record in support of stealing the American people's earned Social Security benefits," Nancy said.

Meanwhile Nancy Ernst wants to meet with Lying Donald and the Senate cabal to swindle us out of our Social Security and Medicare, so guess what she wins?

In Other News

I see where a new study finds that the highly synchronized, iconic spawning events of certain reef-building corals in the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, Red Sea, have completely changed over time and lost their vital synchrony, dramatically reducing chances of successful fertilization.This may explain why the Great Barrier Reef is dying out.

According to the research, led by Prof. Yossi Loya and PhD candidate Tom Shlesinger of TAU's School of Zoology and published in Science on September 6, the breakdown in coral spawning synchrony has led to a dearth of new recruits and stagnant aging populations, creating circumstances for extinction.

"Coral spawning, often described as 'the greatest orgy in the world,' is one of the greatest examples of synchronized phenomena in nature," explains Prof. Loya. "Once a year, thousands of corals along hundreds of kilometers of a coral reef release their eggs and sperm simultaneously into the open water, where fertilization will later take place. Since both the eggs and the sperm of corals can persist only a few hours in the water, the timing of this event is critical."

Successful fertilization, which can take place only within this narrow time window, has led to the evolution of a precise spawning synchrony. Such synchronicity relies on environmental cues: sea temperature, solar irradiance, wind, the phase of the moon and the time of sunset.

In 2015, the researchers initiated a long-term monitoring of coral spawning in the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba. Over four years, they performed 225 night field surveys lasting three to six hours each during the annual coral reproductive season from June to September and recorded the number of spawning individuals of each coral species.
"We found that, in some of the most abundant coral species, the spawning synchrony had become erratic, contrasting both the widely accepted paradigm of highly synchronous coral spawning and studies performed on the exact same reefs decades ago," says Shlesinger.

The researchers then investigated whether this breakdown in spawning synchrony translated into reproductive failure. They mapped thousands of corals within permanent reef plots, then revisited these plots every year to examine and track changes in the coral community -- i.e., how many corals of a given species had died compared with new juveniles recruited to the reef.

"Although it appeared that the overall state of the coral reefs at Eilat was quite good and every year we found many new corals recruiting to the reefs, for those species that are suffering from the breakdown in spawning synchrony, there was a clear lack of recruitment of new juvenile generations, meaning that some species that currently appear to be abundant may actually be nearing extinction through reproductive failure," says Shlesinger.

As I've said many times before the closer you look at global warming the more disasters that you see that aren't as obvious as the heat, rain and snow or hurricanes stalling out for days at a time like the last 4 category 5 hurricanes did. January 2021 can't come soon enough for us or the planet Earth!

And Finally

Iowa Rethuglican Sinator Nancy Ernst also has a plan to steal our Social Security and Medicare to pay for Lying Donalds gift to the 1% and if she succeeds she have enough from Social Security alone to pay for two more $trillion dollar tax gifts for her corpo-rat masters. Are the voters in Iowa that #@@*^*) stupid?

At a recent town hall, Ernst stated that "Congress needs to sit down behind closed doors to address Social Security." She vaguely asserted, "A lot of changes need to be made in this system going forward." But, she complained, "if these changes were proposed in public, she would be accused of pushing 'granny over a cliff'." It' obvious what "changes" Nancy has in mind.

Perhaps the people in Iowa would like to kick Nancy over a very high cliff? While that maybe a very pleasant thought I'm going to award Nancy the Vidkun Quisling Award for proposing her corpo-rat masters schemes for our money!

Keepin' On

If you think that what we do is important and would like to see us keep on, keeping on, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep telling you the truth!


05-03-1952 ~ 09-05-2019
Thanks for the art!

08-03-1947 ~ 09-08-2019
Thanks for the film!

05-22-1928 ~ 09-11-2019
Burn Baby Burn!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2019 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the New Hampshire
Democratic Party Convention at the SNHU Arena on September 7, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Why A DNC Vice Chair Bawled Me Out For Sharing Critical, Accurate Information About Joe Biden
For the bulk of the party leadership who remain in sync with the current frontrunner, self-critical assessments are essentially off-limits.
By Norman Solomon

The man quickly identified himself as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. He didn't need to tell me that he was hopping mad.

Ken Martin was angry that my colleagues and I were handing out a flier-providing some inconvenient facts about Joe Biden-to delegates and activists as they entered the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention on Saturday. The headline, next to Biden's picture, quoted a statement he made last year: "I don't think 500 billionaires are the reason why we're in trouble."

While not flattering to the current frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, the carefully documented RootsAction flier offered information that news coverage has rarely mentioned-and that party activists as well as voters overall should know.

But Martin had a very different perspective. He heatedly told me that distributing such a flier was divisive and would harm the cause of defeating Donald Trump.

I tried to assure Martin that I'm as eager to defeat Trump as anyone. At the same time, we need primaries for good reasons-including fact-based scrutiny of candidates' records before they're nominated. However, I found it difficult to get words in edgewise, as Martin continued to denounce the leafleting.

After a few minutes, I asked: "Do you want to have a conversation, or do you want to lecture me?" Martin's reply came in a split-second: "I want to lecture you." Give him credit for honesty.

A few hours later, Martin addressed thousands from the convention podium and-in more restrained tones-focused on blaming nonresponsive voters for the failures of Democratic candidates to inspire them. "In 2016 we had 10 percent of Democrats who voted for Donald Trump," he said. "We had 53 percent of white women who voted for Donald Trump. We had a tripling of the third-party vote throughout our country. And probably most discouraging to me: as consistent Democratic base voters, people who always show up in elections, many of them didn't show up to vote at all."

A logical question would be: Why did many of them not show up to vote at all? But Martin wasn't going there. Instead, he went on: "You see, Democrats, we've got great candidates on full display today and I can guarantee you one of them is going to be the next president of the United States. But we have to come together, we have to come together. Let's not confuse unanimity with unity, we're Democrats, we don't agree on everything. But I will tell you, if we're not unified we will not win this election. We have to come out and support whoever the Democratic candidate is."

Martin is in major positions of power within the Democratic Party, not only at the DNC but also as chair of the party in Minnesota (the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) and as president of the Association of State Democratic Committees. For the bulk of the party leadership, in sync with frontrunner Biden, self-critical assessments are essentially off-limits. The boilerplate calls for "unity" serve to distract from tough-minded examination of the reasons for widespread distrust and low vote rates.

Refusals to examine the patterns of the past render many party leaders unable to recognize or acknowledge what a disaster a Biden campaign against Trump would so likely be. It's of little use to plead for strong turnout from "Democratic base voters" after nominating a weak and uninspiring candidate.

"A core challenge for the Democratic Party will be to raise the voter participation rate while drawing presently apathetic and uninvolved nonvoters and occasional voters into the process -- largely younger people and African Americans," the report "Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis" said two years ago. The report (which I co-authored as part of a task force) pointed out that "a party doesn't grow by simply tallying up members and scolding them into showing up."

The specter of Joe Biden as the party's nominee runs directly counter to what the Autopsy called for: "To flourish, the Democratic Party needs an emphatic mission and a clear moral message that excites and provides a purpose that is distinct from the otherwise cynical spectacle of politics. Inspiring programs for truly universal health care, racial justice, free public college tuition, economic security, new infrastructure, green jobs and tackling the climate crisis can do this. This is about more than just increasing voter turnout. It is about energizing as well as expanding the base of the party."

As presidential candidates crisscross the country, only two are showing how to energize activism on a large scale while inspiring voters. That was apparent again inside the arena in New Hampshire, where Bernie Sanders (who I continue to actively support) and Elizabeth Warren delivered high-voltage progressive speeches that left others in the dust.

Biden's mediocre speech at the New Hampshire convention on September 7 is already a historic record of a dismal candidate for president whose nomination promises to be a disaster. To pretend otherwise is hardly a service to the crucial task of defeating Donald Trump.

(c) 2019 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."

Trump and his cronies have shown present and future politicians how much corruption the Republican Party
and the public will tolerate, and it's a very bad sign for the future of the American experiment.

To Save The Republic, Some Of Trump's Allies And Appointees Will Have To Face Federal Prosecution
The biggest danger Trump poses to America is normalizing corruption for future administrations.
By Thom Hartmann

To save our republic, some of Trump's enablers and political appointees may have to go to jail, just like happened with Nixon's people.

Trump's policies are inflicting massive damage on the working class, the environment, minorities, and our economy. And the damage he's doing to our body politic will certainly alter our form of government if there aren't legal consequences.

Trump and his cronies have shown present and future politicians how much corruption the Republican Party and the public will tolerate, and it's a very bad sign for the future of the American experiment.

Trump has put the interests of foreign governments with whom he and his family have or hope to have business relationships above the interests of America; flagrantly violated the Constitution's emoluments clause; welcomed foreign interference in our elections; lied to the American public and the world on a daily basis; committed campaign finance violations that landed his lawyer in prison; repeatedly broke obstruction of justice laws; and put children in cages, causing lifelong PTSD.

And that's just since he's been in office: his crimes from housing discrimination to sexual assault and rape to felony tax evasion to running a fraudulent university to real estate tax fraud are all, as of this moment, largely or entirely lacking any serious law enforcement oversight.

America has never before seen such breathtaking corruption in the Oval Office.

While this has rightly sparked an extended conversation about impeachment and the powers of the executive branch, a more important conversation-that's entirely lacking in mainstream media-is about the people enabling Trump's corruption and criminality. If he and the people enabling him are not held to account, future Trumps are pretty much inevitable.

Numerous countries have grappled with this issue in the past; the most famous are Germany after World War II and South Africa after the fall of apartheid.

It was this cycle of corruption that both the Nurnberg Tribunal and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission sought to interrupt. Today the Colombian government is running a War Crimes Tribunal specifically to warn future politicians and their functionaries from repeating the crimes committed during that nation's previous administration.

In America, congressional investigations into the Teapot Dome Scandal nearly brought down the Harding administration (it was widely believed that President Harding died as a result of the stress), and Congress launched an impeachment proceeding against President Bill Clinton for lying about consensual sex with Monica Lewinsky, as then-Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia said on the floor of the House, "in order to establish a precedent that will prevent future Presidents from engaging in similar conduct." By holding current-day accomplices accountable all up and down the chain of command, future enablers of corrupt or despotic leaders think twice before saying "Yes" to requests to bend or break the rules.

At its core, this is the essence of the rule of law.

Trump has put people with naked conflicts of interest in charge of major government departments and in Cabinet positions, and browbeaten other federal agencies to reroute federal dollars to his businesses or lie to help him out politically.

His attorney general, Bill Barr, has outdone his corruption in the George H.W. Bush administration, and is now using the power of his office to try to force California and other states to loosen their clean air regulations in ways that will benefit the fossil fuel donors to the GOP-at exactly the moment scientists are warning that global warming could destroy human civilization.

And these are just a few of dozens of examples of the ways that enablers within our government-from Trump's Cabinet to his Press Office all the way down the chain of command-have been willing to lie, bend or break the rules, or simply engage in highly corrupt acts to please him.

Often, as with Trump's promotion of violence and racial hatred, these acts aren't even explicitly illegal-they're simply so brazen and implicitly corrupt that no other administration in the past would have considered doing them.

After the Nixon bribery scandals (there were 55 criminal convictions around Nixon, 16 each for Reagan and George W. Bush; one for Clinton and none for Carter or Obama), Congress passed legislation designed to prevent corruption and criminality by future presidents and other politicians. With five criminal convictions or guilty pleas by top Trump insiders so far, there's little doubt that new laws or policies to restrain such behavior in the White House will be necessary when Trump leaves office.

And, like the 15 Nixon administration officials who went to prison, there are numerous as-yet-unindicted Trump functionaries who have facilitated these crimes and corrupt practices.

As I point out in The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America, candidate Richard Nixon interfered with President Johnson's efforts to negotiate peace in Vietnam; candidate Ronald Reagan interfered with President Carter's efforts to free hostages in Iran; and George H.W. Bush loyalists on the Supreme Court corruptly disrupted the electoral process in Florida to install Bush's son in the White House.

If Nixon had been held to account, Reagan and Bush may not have been so brazen in their willingness to subvert American democracy for political purposes and to help their campaign donors.

Their ability to get away with such corruption to win elections paved the way for Trump's welcoming-indeed, soliciting-help from Russia and other foreign governments to become president. And now he's even shut down the last "cop on the beat" for the 2020 election by crippling the Federal Election Commission. Furthermore, his chief enabler, #MoscowMitch McConnell, is blocking any legislation that will prevent our election infrastructure from being hacked while forestalling consequences by injecting more manifestly unqualified or corrupt people into our judicial bloodstream than during any administration in history.

Similarly, the unwillingness of the Obama administration to investigate and publicly hold Bush and Cheney accountable for lying to the American people about Iraq and committing numerous war crimes emboldens Trump when it comes to the possibility of war with Iran or Venezuela. The choice to do little or nothing about the crimes and corruption of a previous administration, as was made by both Clinton and Obama, is also an explicit act that has its own consequences.

Trump and his functionaries are setting an example for future presidents and their administrations that goes deeper than even electoral or war crimes; they've turned America (hopefully, temporarily) into a larger version of a strongman banana republic. Without corrective action, future presidents will feel a strong temptation-regardless of their political party or positions-to cut corners and break laws.

When not punished, this sort of corruption echoes down generations of leaders in countries on both the right and the left; no politician is immune to temptation and pressure when working in what's perceived as a consequence-free environment.

Now is the time to begin a conversation about how Trump's enablers will be held to account, to bring post-Trump America back into the realm of a functioning democratic republic.

(c) 2019 Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show.

What Does Bolton's Ouster Mean To Victims Of US Imperial Aggression?
By Glen Ford

John Bolton, the hired gun who specializes in warmongering for Republican presidents, has legions of soul mates among Russia-obsessed Democrats.

Donald Trump, the highly unpredictable white supremacist blowhard, has unceremoniously fired John Bolton, the totally predictable white supremacist ideologue who became national security advisor 17 months ago. Every sane person on the planet should be glad to see Bolton go. As libertarian Republican Sen. Rand Paul put it: "The threat of war worldwide goes down exponentially with John Bolton out of the White House. I think his advocacy for regime change around the world is a naive worldview, and I think that the world will be a much better place with new advisers to the president."

Bolton was a doomsday weapon with a moustache, primed to blow all of us to dust. His replacement in the Trump White House will likely not be much better, but literally no one could be worse. However, the sobering truth is that Bolton, the hired gun who specializes in warmongering for Republican presidents, has legions of soul mates among Russia-obsessed Democrats. The post-2016 Democratic Party is the true headquarters of imperial regime change and nuclear brinksmanship with Russia - the half of the electoral duopoly to which virtually all of the nation's national security operatives fled after the hyper-impulsive Trump took over the GOP.

The Democrats chose to oppose the Orange Menace from the right, framing Trump as a dupe or agent of the Kremlin. For the past three years top Democrats and Democrat-aligned corporate media have poisoned the political environment with rabid anti-Russia propaganda masquerading as journalism and congressional oversight. They have applauded Trump's most dangerous aggressions -- calling his bombing of Syrian military bases "presidential" and backing his murderous economic blockade of Venezuela to the hilt - while undermining Trump's initiatives for peace on the Korean peninsula and his efforts to maintain a speaking relationship with Moscow, the other nuclear superpower. When Trump restated his campaign intentions to disentangle from Barack Obama's war against Syria, draw down U.S. forces in Africa, and end the marathon occupation of Afghanistan, Democrats and their corporate media darkly warned that he was weakening America's posture in the world and, wittingly or unwittingly, playing into Vladimir Putin's hands. Minus the Russiagate nonsense, these are essentially John Bolton's positions.

Bolton opposed Trump's repeated calls for Russia to rejoin the Group of Seven (G-7) countries, echoing - and predating - the Democrats and their media's demand that Moscow be quarantined as a pariah nation.

So venomous have the Democrats become in their Russiagate madness, that lifelong peacenik and perennial impeachment advocate David Swanson has foresworn impeachment proceedings against Trump in the current, Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. "Russiagate," said Swanson, "creates a competition among its various supporters and detractors to appear tougher than the other guy on Russia, more eager to enflame hostilities, more prepared to consign us all to nuclear apocalypse. If Russiagate were a prescription drug, every 'news' story about it would have to have carried that warning: 'Viewing this may increase the risk of nuclear war.'"

Bolton lasted a year and a half in the Trump White House, despite his many acts of disrespect for his boss, because Trump sees himself as a master of international showmanship, as opposed to diplomacy -- a discipline that Trump is far too undisciplined to fathom. In Trump's imagined global drama, Bolton would serve as the bad cop, but only to set the stage for Trump to step in and forge the big "deal" with the U.S. adversary. Voila: peace a la Trump. But Bolton kept ruining the show, sabotaging negotiations with the intent to make them unsalvageable, as he pushed relentlessly towards war. Trump finally realized that Bolton was not his operative, and cut him loose. Perhaps now Trump will attempt to make peace with some of the nations and movements on the U.S. enemies list, in this election season. If so, he will be opposed by, not only free agent warmonger Bolton, but the corporate Democrats and their media.

The Democrats claim, rightly, that Trump is crazy, yet they are wildly schizophrenic in their response to his presidency - by necessity. The core of the Party, personified by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, is totally servile to the Lords of Capital, and thus wholly committed to endless wars and austerity. But the Party's left section, personified by Sen. Bernie Sanders and the four young House members known as "The Squad," represent the politics of a majority of the Democratic base, but account for only a small fraction of the Party's corporate-bought roster of elected officials. Although Sanders has stepped up his critique of U.S. foreign policy as the campaign has progressed, he still cannot be described as an anti-war candidate. His "progressive" competitor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is a traditional Democratic military "hawk" who voted for Trump's war budget. The only Democratic elected official that is running for president against U.S. regime change wars, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, has been knocked off the schedule of televised debates - which have, at any rate, so far spent only minutes on foreign policy.

The people of Venezuela have no reason to believe that operatives of either duopoly party will spare them from the ravages of the U.S. military and financial regime-change machine. The same goes for the Iranians and Syrians and everyone else on the planet. Support and attend the People's Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet, September 20 through 23, in New York City. Christian liberationist intellectual Cornel West and Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will speak, and much of the Black Agenda Report team are participating.

Only a mass movement of the streets can begin to dismantle the twin imperial policies of endless austerity and war, end the military occupations of Africa and Black America, and save the world from a wounded and angry ecosphere.

(c) 2019 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

On the battleground of public relations, Business Roundtable (the chief lobbing front for America's biggest
corporations) has declared its solidarity with all of us who seek economic fairness and equal opportunity.

Why Would We Trust Plutocrats To Save Us From Plutocracy?
They're still going to plunder your unions, paychecks, jobs, health, environment and overall well-being. The only difference is that they now want you to think they feel bad about it.
By Jim Hightower

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote of being leery of a loud-talking huckster who visited his home: "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons," Emerson exclaimed.

Likewise, today's workaday families should do a mass inventory of their silverware as an integrity check on a mess of loud-talking corporate honchos. Suddenly, 181 of these union-busting, tax-cheating, environment-contaminating, consumer-gouging corporate hucksters are asking us to believe that they stand with us in the fight against ... well, against them. Wall Street banksters, Big Oil polluters, anti-union extremists and a myriad of other profiteers grouped into a prestigious collective called Business Roundtable, issued a "grito" in August, trumpeting their future intentions to serve not just themselves but every "stakeholder" (which is what they call employees, customers, supplies, et al.).

Nice of them, of course, but vague proclamations are cheap, and it's worth noting that these new champions of the common good propose no specifics-no actual sacrifices by them or benefits for us. Excuse me, but their grandiose promise of corporate beneficence is what West Texas cowboys would call "bovine excrement."

Yes, we've now been joined in the trenches of class struggle by the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Amazon and nearly 200 other giant corporations. Well, not quite in the trenches, for you can get your Guccis dirty in there. Still, on the battleground of public relations, Business Roundtable (the chief lobbing front for America's biggest corporations) has declared its solidarity with all of us who seek economic fairness and equal opportunity.

Their opening volley was fired in August in a grand declaration titled "Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation." For 50 years, that purpose has been ruthlessly clear: maximize their investors' profits, no matter who or what they have to run over. But now, the barons of big business are putting on a softer face, proclaiming that their "fundamental commitment" is not merely to serve shareholder greed but also to benefit workers, reduce inequality, protect the environment and serve the whole community. It's corporate kumbaya, y'all - solidarity forever!

Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, was designated to write the Roundtable's new declaration of concern for the common people. He later expressed a historic sense of pride in the task: "There were times when I felt like Thomas Jefferson," Gorsky gushed.

Really? This is the same guy who presided over Johnson & Johnson's profiteering roll in spreading deadly opioids throughout America. Even as he was posing as Jefferson, an Oklahoma jury was assessing a $572 million fine on his corporation for foisting the opioid horror on the common people he now professes to love.

So forgive me for not believing for a moment that there's one iota of sincerity in this sudden assertion of egalitarian sentiment by the soulless organizers of today's corporate plunder. They're still going to plunder your unions, paychecks, jobs, health, environment and overall well-being. The only difference is that they now want you to think they feel bad about it.

A few media observers have been mildly skeptical, saying it's "an open question" whether any of the corporate proclaimers will change how they do business. But it's not an open question at all. They won't. They won't support full collective bargaining power for workers, won't join the public's push to get Medicare for All, won't stop using monopoly power to squeeze out small competitors and gouge consumers, won't support measures to stop climate change, won't back reforms to get their corrupt corporate money out of our politics ... won't embrace any of the big structural changes necessary to reverse the raw economic and political inequality that has enthroned their plutocratic rule and made them richer than royalty.

In fact, their empty proclamation is nothing but a cynical ploy to soften people's anger at their rampant greed in hopes of fending off the actual changes that real reformers are advancing. Corporate elites won't fix inequality for us; they're the ones doing it to us.

(c) 2019 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

The Taliban have made further advances this year, even this month.

Trump-Taliban Talks Like Those With N. Korea-A Photo Op On The Deck Of The Titanic
The Taliban don't think they are losing, because they are not.
By Juan Cole

The Afghanistan government has been miffed and apprehensive for some time that the Trump administration has been talking to the Taliban in Qatar without any representation from Kabul. Government officials were therefore happy about Trump's abrupt cancellation of what he depicted as a summit with the Taliban at Camp David (to which Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani was not invited). Trump cancelled on the grounds that the Taliban killed a US serviceman on the eve of the talks.

According to Hasht-i Subh, Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, remarked, "We were looking at the possibility of a joint meeting in Camp David as an opportunity, but unfortunately the peace efforts being conducted against the will and the aspirations of the Afghan people were sabotaged by increased violence and terror attacks by the Taliban and other elements."

He actually said the talks were conducted against the will of the Afghan people.

There is no indication Trump was going to invite the Kabul government alongside the Taliban.

According to BBC Monitoring President Ghani's office issued a statement saying, that they "consider the Taliban's current war and violence against Afghans as the main obstacle to the ongoing peace process" and that "real peace would come only when the Taliban stop killing Afghan people, accept a ceasefire and start face-to-face talks with the Afghan government."

The draft agreement between the US and the Taliban negotiated by former US ambassador in Kabul Zalmay Khalilzad over the past year pledges that 5,400 US troops would be withdrawn from the country within 4 months of its finalization.The Taliban refused to have president Ashraf Ghani involved, calling him an American puppet.

All this reminds me of the Nixon-Kissinger Paris Agreement with North Vietnam in 1972, which was billed as a peace accord but really consisted of articles of surrender. The US rapidly withdrew its 500,000 troops and by 1975 Saigon had fallen.

Trump seems to be doing what Nixon did, and I suspect the results would be similar. Gerald Ford took the fall for the defeat in Vietnam, and it may have helped Jimmy Carter win the presidency.

The US has long since lost the Afghanistan War. As of the beginning of this year Rod Nordland at the NYT reported, the Kabul government of president Ashraf Ghani only surely controlled about 54% of the country's 407 districts and has been steadily losing those districts each quarter. The Taliban insurgency only itself surely controlled 12 percent of these districts. The other 34% were contested.

The Taliban have made further advances this year, even this month. The Dari press reported that just two days ago the Taliban seized Anar Dara district of Afghanistan's western Farah province, as the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) "withdrew," after a Taliban bomb killed the district's police chief's wife and daughters.

On August 30, The Taliban took the center of Chah Ab district of Afghanistan's northern Takhar province, according to BBC Monitoring.

On August 28, Pajhwok said that the Taliban overran the center of Qarghan district of northwestern Faryab province.

Somehow I get the idea that the Taliban have more now than the 12% they had in fall of 2018.

In fact this recent map from the Long War Journal gives them about 16%:

These advances come despite the US bombing runs on the Taliban and the help given the ANA by the 14,000 US troops in country.

Not to mention, the campaign of bombing by the Taliban in Kabul and elsewhere. Here's a map of violent incidents in the country so far this year:

Not to mention that they have launched yet another campaign to take Kunduz in the north of the country (the Taliban are a southern and eastern, Pushtun force). Only about a third of Kunduz province is even Pushtun, and if the Kabul government can't hold it, there is something very wrong with its military.

You can only have meaningful peace talks with an insurgency if they think they are losing and want to win through talks at least some concessions before they go down completely.

The Taliban don't think they are losing, because they are not. Objectively speaking, they are taking district after district, increasing the territory they control by 4% in just the past year.

Trump-Taliban is just for show, like Trump-North Korea. It is like a photo op on the deck of the Titanic as it headed to sea.

(c) 2019 Juan R.I. Cole 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.

A polling worker enters a polling place in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 as early
voting began in the Republican primary election for the North Carolina 9th Congressional District.

North Carolina's Revote Today Is A Win For Democracy
When elections cannot be resolved with recounts, they should be held again.
By John Nichols

Not all elections are resolved on Election Day, and some are corrupted beyond repair. Americans, however, don't like to acknowledge this reality. They imagine that a recount-or a court decision shutting down a recount-will settle things, but that's not always the case. And revotes are relatively rare in American politics. That's why today's special election in North Carolina's 9th congressional district should be understood, first and foremost, as a victory for democracy.

When the ballots were counted after the 2018 election in the gerrymandered North Carolina district, Republican Mark Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. Close as the race was the margin would have been sufficient for Harris to walk away with the win, had it not been for allegations of election fraud. Though McCready initially conceded, the North Carolina Democratic Party gathered sufficient evidence of a "ballot harvesting" scheme organized by a Harris operative. Absentee ballots were collected from areas that were presumed to lean Democratic, but they were never turned in.

Both the North Carolina Board of Elections and the US House of Representatives refused to certify the election. An inquiry by the Board of Elections found evidence of "a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme" that looked to involve more than 1,000 ballots or ballot request forms. By mid-February, even Harris acknowledged that "the public's confidence in the ninth district seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted." The Board of Elections voted unanimously to order today's revote between Democrat McCready, an Iraq War vet and solar company executive, and a new Republican nominee, right-wing state legislator Dan Bishop.

The race has drawn its share of national attention. President Trump flew into Fayetteville on Monday night to boost Bishop, whom Vice President Mike Pence hailed at another Monday stop as a "rock solid conservative." If Bishop wins, the Republicans will hold onto a seat that they first won in the early 1960s. If McCready wins, Democrats will score a major victory in a district Trump carried by almost 12 points in 2016. And it would signal that North Carolina, a swing state that backed Barack Obama in 2008 and elected a Democratic governor in 2016, is very much in play in 2020.

In their campaign against McCready, Republicans have harnessed all of the party's 2020 themes, including lots of "border wall talk" and accusations of "socialism," and they've launched tv attacks against Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar almost as frequently as they have the actual Democratic nominee. Campaign money has poured into the 9th from party organizations and their allies. It's been a long, big-spending, and often ugly election race. But no matter who wins today's election, that North Carolina is holding a revote is a win for democracy's fundamental premise that the people choose their representatives.

This revote is not unprecedented. According to the University of Minnesota professor Eric Ostermeier's "Smart Politics" blog, "there have been multiple 'redo' elections in races for the nation's lower legislative chamber. And there have been many examples of election fraud." The most famous of these was the do-over of a 1974 US Senate contest in New Hampshire. After multiple recounts of a contest that came down to a single-digit difference, the Senate determined that a conclusive result could not be reached and declared the seat vacant. A revote was scheduled and Democrat John Durkin, who would become a leading advocate for public financing of campaigns and fair elections, won by almost 28,000 ballots.

As we know too well, special elections aren't always called when they should be. When butterfly ballots and chad pregnancies denied thousands of Floridians a chance to have their votes counted in the 2000 presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey proposed that the conflicted contest could be resolved with a Bush-v-Gore runoff vote. Clearly that didn't happen. Similarly, in 2006, after dysfunctional machinery in Florida's 13th congressional district appeared to disenfranchise thousands, calls for a revote were dismissed.

Sometimes elections are corrupted. When this happens, democratic values and common sense demand a new vote-like the one that North Carolinians will decide today.

(c) 2019 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.

That Strange Friday The Thirteenth Myth
By James Donahue

There is a peculiar myth in American culture, and I believe it may carry in cultures around the world, that every thirteenth day of the month that falls on a Friday is a very unlucky day.

In fact, there is mythology that marks the Number 13 as unlucky, and other tales claim Friday is the unluckiest day of the week. Ships used to delay departures on Fridays and lie over an extra day because sailors thought any vessel that left port on a Friday was doomed to a bad voyage.

The reasons for these strange superstitions appear to be varied.

The Thirteenth Tarot card is the Death card. People who interpret these cards say that the card rarely reflects upon death, however, but rather a time of endings of old things and perhaps the start of something new. It points more to the conclusion of a way of life.

Christian mythology points to Judas as being the thirteenth man at the Last Supper. It is said that witches gather in groups of 12 with the Devil as the thirteenth guest. The Apollo Flight 13 to the Moon was a near disaster with the crew barely returning home alive.

Donald Dossey, founder of a stress management center in Asheville, North Carolina, and author of a book about native mythology, traces the fear of 13 to a Norse story about 12 gods having a dinner party in heaven. When an uninvited thirteenth guest, Loki arrived, he arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. As Balder died the Earth fell into darkness and mourning, thus it was declared a bad and unlucky day.

The logic behind marking Friday as an unlucky day is just as strange. The old stories say that Jesus was crucified on a Friday. And as noted earlier, at one time sea captains never set sail on a Friday because they believed that such a voyage would be cursed with bad luck.

(As a shipwreck buff, this writer once counted the number of known wrecks on the Great Lakes in a given year that began on a Friday and compared to them to the wrecks that began at other days of the week. There seemed to be a definite spate of bad luck occurring to vessels that dared to leave port on a Friday.)

Of course, among the superstitious natives, mixing both Friday and the Number 13 on the same day, is just flirting with disaster.

What most people don't realize is that the Georgian Calendar that everybody uses is a faulted and archaic way of recording dates created by the Vatican for the Christians. It is a 400-year-old system based on a 2000-year-old day recorder known as the Julian Calendar. It is out of date and out-of-touch, and not used by people in other cultures. Thus Friday the Thirteenth for Christians is not necessarily Friday the Thirteenth for everybody.

Other than pure superstition, there is no reason for this day to be any less lucky than any other.

In fact, for this writer and his family, there is no such thing as luck or even coincidence. We believe that all things occur for a reason and sometimes synchronicities happen. These are neither bad nor good events, but merely occurrences designed by the universe for instruction and sometimes reward.

The sailors that believed setting sail on a Friday brought bad luck may unknowingly have created their own misfortunes. With enough members of a crew believing that a vessel was doomed to failure because of departure on a Friday, the vessel had a greater chance of running into trouble. This is because of the mere power of collective mental thought. The sailors brought trouble on themselves simply because they believed it was going to happen.

The same kind of collective thought can make a Friday the Thirteenth a truly unlucky day for many people.

The belief that 13 is an unlucky number is so deeply entrenched in our culture that we sometimes go out of our way to avoid using this number. High-rise buildings often lack a thirteenth floor, for example. Airports skip the thirteenth gate, and hospitals and hotels frequently lack rooms numbered 13.

As for us, we relish in the number. Fridays the Thirteenth are sometimes celebrated because of our contempt for such an unfounded superstition. Laughing at such things is often the best route to a cure.

We also enjoy running into the number 666, which is a different story altogether.

(c) 2019 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.

In the owl-infested forest we call the present, this is a special kind of hoot.

Shifting Blame Is A Favorite Habit Of Polluters And This President
By William Rivers Pitt

Before deciding to take a Sharpie to a weather map in his endless quest to avoid admitting error, Donald Trump attempted to do some mark-ups to recent economic history. Last week, amid a hurricane (pun intended) of woeful economic news, Trump leveled an ink-stained finger of blame at the very businesses that are suffering under his tariffs, his trade war, and his generalized bull-in-a-china-shop governing style.

"Mr. Trump's Blame List is long," reported Peter Baker for The New York Times. "On top, of course, is Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve - never mind that Mr. Trump was the one who appointed him. Then there are the Democrats, and not to mention the news media. And on Friday, the president added American businesses to the list, arguing that struggling companies have only themselves to blame and are rationalizing their own mistakes by pointing to, just to name an example, Mr. Trump's multibillion-dollar tariffs and America's biggest trade war in generations."

In the owl-infested forest we call the present, this is a special kind of hoot. The tariffs and the trade war, the rollicking uncertainty of Brexit, the arrival of an inverted yield curve in the stock market (which has accurately predicted every recession since 1955), the swelling fragility that is the shell game we call U.S.-style capitalism in general, and this: A report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch clearly indicating that the markets go in the tank on days when Trump tweets more than his usual daily barrage. The markets hate uncertainty, and Trump on Twitter is the East Coast distributor of entirely unnecessary disruption.

While Brexit is not something Trump can control (though he is a vocal fan), it is an accent in the broadening symphony of indicators that are shouting warnings about the condition of the economy. Yet for Trump, reality is a blameless cloud of untouchable orange peace upon which he will waft his way into history, Sharpie in hand to correct any and all who dare question his bigly knowledge of everything.

I'm so old, I remember when the Republican Party cast itself as an unswerving friend to business. It seems we can add that to the ever-lengthening list of That Which Was But Is Now Not:

This habit of blame deflection is not the sole province of Trump. During the CNN climate town hall on Wednesday night, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren forcefully blew the lid off the idea that consumers must bear the blame for the state of the environment. The altogether glorious moment came when Chris Cuomo, one of the town hall hosts, became the first golf ball in history to put itself on a tee.

"Today the president announced plans to roll back energy-saving lightbulbs," said Cuomo to Warren, "and he wants to reintroduce four different kinds. Do you think that the government should be in the business of telling you what kind of lightbulb you can have?"

Warren, in response, went full No Time For Your Bullshit, Chris. "Oh, come on, give me a break," she began, before cracking off one of the more important moments of the evening:

This is exactly what the fossil fuel industry hopes we're all talking about. That's what they want us to talk about. "This is your problem." They want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your lightbulbs, around your straws, and around your cheeseburgers. When 70 percent of the pollution of the carbon that we're throwing into the air comes from three industries, and we can set our targets and say, by 2028, 2030, and 2035, no more. Think about that. Right there.

Now, the other 30 percent, we still got to work on. Oh, no, we don't stop at 70 percent. But the point is, that's where we need to focus. And why don't we focus there? It's corruption. It's these giant corporations that keep hiring the PR firms that - everybody has fun with it, right, gets it all out there - so we don't look at who's still making the big bucks off polluting our Earth.

That this happened live on a major network was a shining rhetorical moment for, well, everyone who drinks water, breathes air and has to shop for food in our plastics-infused consumer wasteland. Business owners had no cameras on them when Trump laid blame for the state of the economy at their feet last week, but I'd bet long green the reaction from many of them mirrored that of Elizabeth Warren: "Oh, come on, give me a break."

Trump blaming businesses for the failures of his economic policies, polluters blaming consumers for the state of the environment, is all of a piece: The captain of the Titanic blaming the passengers for the iceberg. Both Trump and the polluters have a great deal of power and money to fling their blame-shifting into the zeitgeist. Please don't fall for it; blaming the victims is a filthy practice in any context.

(c) 2019 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.

Industry and its allies say fracked gas is a climate solution. It's not.

Fracked Gas Heats The Planet, But Supporters Say It's A Solution
By David Suzuki

To profit as much as possible from fossil fuels before markets fall under the weight of climate chaos and better alternatives, industry and its allies tell us fracked gas is a climate solution. It's not.

A new study shows it's as bad as or worse for the climate than other fossil fuels. Cornell University researchers found alarming increases in atmospheric methane since 2008 can likely be pinned on the U.S. shale oil and gas boom.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas responsible for one-quarter of current global heating. It only stays in the atmosphere for about 12 years before it breaks down and gets reabsorbed into natural systems, but it causes a lot of damage while it's there. It traps heat at a rate close to 85 times higher than carbon dioxide over 20 years. CO2 not absorbed by vegetation and oceans - where it causes acidification and other problems - can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

Methane is produced by biogenic (plant- and animal-based) sources, including tropical wetlands, rotting organic waste, cow burps and pig manure. It's also produced by leaks and "flaring" during fossil fuel development, especially fracking.

Although some question the Cornell findings, arguing that the methane spike is mainly from biogenic sources, Cornell professor Robert Howarth maintains methane emissions from the (mostly fracked) natural gas industry are much higher than industry and government report. Research by the David Suzuki Foundation and St. Francis Xavier University found that's the case in B.C. Other researchers conclude methane emissions are underreported in Alberta.

Howarth argues that because methane from fracked gas, like plant and animal methane, is lighter than gas from other fossil fuel development, some emissions attributed to biogenic sources likely come from fracking. He concludes that "shale-gas production in North America over the past decade may have contributed more than half of all of the increased [methane] emissions from fossil fuels globally and approximately one-third of the total increased emissions from all sources globally over the past decade."

According to a Vox article, the U.S. is responsible for 89 per cent of shale gas production, with Canada making up the rest - and the industry is expanding rapidly, thanks in part to political support.

Because methane only remains in the atmosphere for a short period but has enormous impact, reducing or eliminating methane emissions is a quick, effective way to lessen the threat of climate chaos. As the Foundation and others have noted, capturing and selling gas now leaked or flared would be a cost-effective solution.

But the inordinate amount of power the fossil fuel industry holds over many governments means there's little appetite to even admit there's a problem, let alone solve it. The U.S. government is reversing regulation of methane leaks from oil and gas - something industry didn't even ask for!

Canada isn't much better. Although the federal and B.C. governments have promised stronger regulations around oil and gas industry methane emissions, they're committed to massive industry expansion. A National Observer report claims, "Three LNG projects in Squamish and Kitimat would require over 13,000 new fracking wells over the next 30 years between them." Research has also found the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, the industry regulator, often puts fossil fuel interests ahead of the public's.

In a report for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ben Parfitt found industry faced no consequences after building dozens of illegal waste-containment dams in northeastern B.C. - one as high as a seven-storey building - without filing any plans. The commission held a report for four years that showed gas wells leaking and contaminating groundwater, releasing it only after it was given to a journalist. The commission sat on another report for four years that showed companies were violating rules designed to protect caribou and habitat.

Fracking causes numerous other problems, from earthquakes to water depletion and contamination - even health issues including birth defects, cancer and asthma. Renewable energy is cost-effective, efficient and comes with far fewer pollution and climate problems than all fossil fuel energy.

The solution to fossil-fuelled climate chaos is to burn less, not more.

(c) 2019 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co_founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

The Bahamas Is Learning That The United States Has Pulled Up The Drawbridge
This country was founded to take the fire out of desperation. The current government is playing with matches.
By Charles P. Pierce

There was a rank obscenity posted on the electric Twitter machine Sunday night. It was posted by a very sharp reporter named Brian Entin from WSVN in Miami. Entin was on a ferry that was supposed to take Bahamians fleeing the devastation of Hurricane Dorian to Florida. Hundreds of Bahamians have been allowed to come to this country without going through much of the usual folderol at immigration-and without going through much of the the heartless, soulless folderol that has infected the process since the gang at Camp Runamuck took over.

Imagine the surprise of those on the ferry when they were told that their tickets to fresh water and dry land might not be punched after all. From the Washington Post:

"Please, all passengers that don't have a U.S. visa, please proceed to disembark,"a crew member said in a video captured on board. Since Dorian devastated the islands earlier this month, killing at least 44 people, hundreds of Bahamian refugees have reportedly come to the United States after going through a screening process with only a passport and proof of no criminal record. The more than 100 refugees forced to disembark Sunday night were baffled about why they were turned away. "At the last minute like this, it's kind of disappointing,"Renard Oliver, who held his infant daughter, told Brian Entin, a reporter for Miami TV station WSVN. "It's hurtful because I'm watching my daughter cry, but it is what it is."
Visas? Most of these people don't have socks anymore. Whatever documents they may have had have been blown into the Gulf Stream and are halfway to Nova Scotia by now.

People board a cargo ship for evacuation to Nassau at the port in Marsh Harbour
, Great Abaco on September 7, 2019, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Entin continued to chase the story and managed to pry an explanation out of the Customs and Border Patrol people in Florida. They blamed the ferry operator and insisted that no rules had been changed on the fly. The ferry operator, CBP said, made a "business decision" to disembark the passengers. Except, well, for this.
On Saturday, nearly 1,500 refugees traveled to the United States on another cruise ship, reportedly without requiring visas. Entin reported that crew members on the Sunday ferry were told that the same rules were in effect before being rebuffed by CBP.
This shouldn't be about paperwork. But it's about paperwork because the government of the United States is now dedicated to pulling up the drawbridge by whatever means necessary. You don't even have to anticipate the kind of refugee crises that are coming as the climate crisis intensifies. You just have to look back through history and imagine, say, the coffin ships getting turned around because the starving Irish didn't have the proper documents. Or you don't have to use your imagination at all. Just google S.S. St. Louis. This country was born to take the fire out of desperation and devastation. Our government is toddlers playing with matches.

(c) 2019 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-

"I think being a liberal, in the true sense, is being nondoctrinaire, nondogmatic, non-committed to a cause - but examining each case on its merits. Being left of center is another thing; it's a political position. I think most newspapermen by definition have to be liberal; if they're not liberal, by my definition of it, then they can hardly be good newspapermen. If they're preordained dogmatists for a cause, then they can't be very good journalists; that is, if they carry it into their journalism."
~~~ Walter Cronkite

Zombie Zombie Zombie
By David Swanson

CNN is outraged that Trump was too friendly with Russians, supposedly endangering an honorable spy snooping into the Russian government.

The New York Times doesn't want any peace settlements in Afghanistan that could involve "getting in bed with killers swathed in American blood."

U.S. mercenaries who murdered a bunch of people in Iraq have had their sentences reduced because they did it in a war.

The United States just accidentally dropped white phosphorus on itself.

The Pentagon would like to tightly control what you can learn about.

CIA contractor has a new show in which they pretend that Venezuela is about to nuke the world unless lawless violent Americans can stop it.

Stop it. Stop it. Stop it!

Sometimes you have to turn off the endless mindless normalization and glorification of mass murder.

Sometimes you have to see war for the horror it is.

Sometimes you have to see zombie war lies that will not die for the lunacy they are.

"Another head hangs lowly
"Child is slowly taken
"And the violence caused such silence
"Who are we mistaken"

Thus begins the song "Zombie" by the band from Limerick, Ireland, the Cranberries.

"But you see it's not me
"It's not my family
"In your head, in your head
"They are fighting
"With their tanks and their bombs
"And their bombs and their guns
"In your head, in your head
"They are cryin'"

Watch the video.

"It's the same old theme
"Since nineteen-sixteen
"In your head, in your head
"They're still fightin'"

Advocates for abolishing war from our lives and our governments and our heads will soon gather in Limerick, Ireland, for #NoWar2019. We'll work to generate a drive toward peace and life as relentless as that toward living dead.

Watch this re-make of Zombie:

"With their tanks and their bombs
"And their guns and their drones
"In your head, in your head
"They are cryin'

"What's in your head, in your head, zombie, zombie, ZOMBIE?"

(c) 2019 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 Dead Letter Office-

Joni gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Ernst

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling, and last year's winner Volksjudge John (the enforcer) Roberts.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your desire to hold the Social Security and Medicare cuts behind closed doors so no one can be blamed, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Republican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 09-28-2019. We salute you Frau Ernst, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

9 Ways To Stay Sane During The Primaries
By Robert Reich

As the presidential primaries get underway, it's easy to get burnt out or overwhelmed by all the candidates and their platforms. Here are 9 ways to stay sane through the madness of the presidential primaries.

1. Look for a candidate with the right ingredients to inspire you and others. The next president will have to be someone who can bring together Americans from all walks of life - across race, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion - into a movement against the hatred, bigotry, and cronyism that now pervades Washington.

2. Don't get distracted by the horserace, who's up or who's down in the polls. Focus on the substance: What their vision is for the country and how it will affect all of our lives.

3. Reach out to independents. Avoid political labels, and talk kitchen table issues like the rising cost of health care, housing and education. Focus on solutions rather than slogans or what you hear on cable news.

4. Get involved. Devote your time and energy to getting others organized and mobilized. It's going to take a grassroots movement of Americans to take our country back from those who seek to divide us.

5. Study up on the candidates and their positions on issues you care about and see if they align. Visit their websites to explore their policy positions, read independent analyses of their proposals, dig deeper into their records in elected office.

6. Take a deep breath. The most important goal is to reclaim our democracy and forge an economy that works for all. Don't succumb to divisiveness or carping criticism of other primary candidates. And remember that you can stay centered, mentally, regardless of how close you are to the political center.

7. Make sure you're registered to vote, and know when and where to vote. The work you put into learning about the candidates means little if you don't actually show up on Election Day. Once you're registered, make sure your friends and family are too.

8. Follow the money. Some candidates have already pledged not to take money from wealthy donors or corporate political action committees. Make sure all of them follow suit.

9. Lastly, don't lose faith in America. We've been through dark times before, but we have come out stronger on the other side. We will do so again.

(c) 2019 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

The Supreme Court Just Made It Virtually Impossible For Anyone To Seek Asylum At The Border
The decision allows the ban to go into effect as legal challenges go through the lower courts.
By Fernanda Echavarri

The US Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration can begin denying asylum to the vast majority of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border, overturning a lower court's ruling that had stopped the White House from enforcing its controversial asylum ban.

The ruling would apply to the tens of thousands of migrants from Central America, South America, Africa, and other parts of the world who have been waiting to apply for months in Mexican border towns—even though the White House has said that if people want to apply for asylum, they must do it "the right way," by waiting for their turn at official ports of entry. It also would apply to those who arrive at the US-Mexico border in the future.

The brief, unsigned decision will allow the administration's asylum policy to be in effect until at least December 2, when the next legal challenge will be heard in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

As my colleague Noah Lanard explained earlier this week, the case has seen its share of twists and turns:

On Monday, California district court judge Jon Tigar reinstated a nationwide order blocking the ban. It was first enacted by the administration in July and made people who travel through a third country on their way to the United States ineligible for asylum, forcing them to apply instead in Mexico or elsewhere on their route. The US government makes it impossible for many asylum seekers to get visas to fly directly to the United States, so the ban ends asylum for people whose only option is to travel overland through Mexico and other Latin American countries.

One week after the ban went into effect, Tigar blocked it with a nationwide injunction after finding that the Trump administration was effectively "shortcutting the law," since federal law gives people the right to seek asylum in the United States regardless of whether they've set foot in another country. In August, the progressive Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Tigar's injunction, but only in the states represented by the Ninth Circuit. As a result, border crossers were eligible for asylum in California and Arizona, but ineligible in Texas and New Mexico.

The Ninth Circuit signaled in its August decision that Tigar could reinstate a nationwide ban if there was additional evidence for why it was necessary. The American Civil Liberties Union made the case for a new nationwide ban before Tigar in court on Thursday...

The government asked the Supreme Court last month to rule quickly on whether the new asylum ban can go into effect across the country.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that it could.

(c) 2019 Fernanda Echavarri is an immigration reporter at Mother Jones.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Mr Fish ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Trump Signs Executive Order Giving Him Control Of Weather
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-In what some congressional Democrats are calling a flagrant example of Presidential overreach, Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order giving him total control of the weather.

Under the terms of the order, Trump would assume the unilateral power to create all meteorological conditions, including but not limited to hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, hail, sleet, and wintry mix.

After signing the order, a beaming Trump pronounced "total victory" over the weather, which he called "the enemy of the people."

"I have been treated very unfairly by the weather," Trump said. "The weather is a horrible person."

On Fox News, Sean Hannity praised Trump's decision to seize control of the weather and compared it favorably to former President Barack Obama's weather policy, which he called "a trainwreck."

"Obama just let the weather run wild," Hannity said.

Although Trump's executive order is certain to face legal challenges, White House sources indicated that the President was ready to press forward with an additional order giving him dominion over all living things, the planets, and the stars.

(c) 2019 Andy Borowitz

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 35 (c) 09/13/2019

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