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In This Edition

Chris Walker returns with, "WI Protesters Denounce Tim Michels For Encouraging Violence Against Media."

Ralph Nader says, "To Win in November, Democrats Must Listen To Citizen Groups."

Leonard Pitts Jr. explains, "How Yesteryear's Moral Panic Becomes Today's Soft Sell."

Jim Hightower asks, "What Do Truckers And Librarians Have In Common?"

Jake Johnson returns with, "Michigan Supreme Court Puts Abortion Rights Initiative On The Ballot."

John Nichols reports, "Veteran Activist David Segal Shows How To Make An Issue Of Corporate Monopolies."

James Donahue warns, "God Allows All Authority."

David Swanson gives us the, "Top 10 Reasons Sweden And Finland Will Regret Joining NATO."

Charlotte Hughes says, "Want To Fight Climate Change? Look To Local Politics."

Charles P. Pierce finds, "The 1776 Cosplayers Are Playing With Fire And It's Headed Nowhere."

Juan Cole concludes, "Muslim Americans Are Young, Patriotic And Bullish On This Country, And Are Not To Blame For 9/11."

Robert Reich says, "History Will Judge Republicans Who Stay Silent About The Big Lie."

Thom Hartmann wonders, "Why Are We Surprised Barr Covered-Up Trump's Treason When He Did the Same For GHW Bush & Reagan?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports "Queen Elizabeth Shot Herself In Bunker As Enemy Forces Closed In," but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "California Just Can't Seem To Catch A Break."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Marshall Ramsey, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Scott Olson, Craig Hudson, Evan Agostini, Matthew Hatcher, David Segal for Congress, World Beyond War, Erik McGregor, NBC, Washington Post, Octavio Jones, Sang Hyun Cho, Jim Hightower, Twitter, Pixabay, 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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California Just Can't Seem To Catch A Break
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"Extreme heat continues in NorCal as Hurricane Kay approaches from south, with significant SoCal impacts possible." ~~~ Danial Swain

California just can't seem to catch a break. After weeks of 100 plus days of heat, a couple major wild fires burning out of control, now Hurricane Kay comes by with too much rain about 6 inches in less than 36 hours causing floods and landslides. In southern California that's about a years worth of rain in less than two days.

My personal experience with California Hurricanes, which I wrote about in "Uncle Ernie's Hollywood Daze" was when a passing Hurricane that was over a thousand miles off the coast sucked all the sand off my Malibu beech that was over 10 foot deep of sand when it went by.

While the hurricane is forecast to make landfall in Mexico's Baja California before being downgraded to a tropical storm and spinning for days off the California coast, its impacts will be felt across much of Southern California and southwestern Arizona.

In a Wednesday blog post, UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain described this week's weather as "the singularly most unusual and extreme weather week in quite some time in California."

The storm, which comes as portions of Northern California continue to set new daily temperature records for the month of September, posed "a potential risk of serious flash flooding/debris flows on the eastern mountain slopes and SE desert regions/wildfire burn areas," Swain wrote.

The mountainous desert regions in Southern California, which have endured a summer of climate whiplash alternating between extreme drought and rains that have caused severe flash flooding, are forecast to receive between 3 and 5 inches of rain from the storm over a 36-hour period, and some areas could see as much as 6 inches.

The town of Imperial, which normally receives 2.38 inches of annual rainfall, is one of the communities that is expected to exceed that amount in the coming days. Palm Springs, which averages 4.61 inches of rain each year, is expected to receive between 2 and 4 inches from the storm system.

"It's never a good thing to get too much rain all at once, a trait all too common among slow-moving tropical storms," the Weather Prediction Center said Thursday."Thus, the flash flood potential is summarily also rapidly increasing."

In addition to heavy rain, Kay will bring wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour in East County, the National Weather Service said Thursday. The large storm packed tropical-storm-force winds in excess of 39 miles per hour up to 230 miles from its center.

Thunderstorms on the leading edge of the storm are also possible, raising fears that more wildfires might result. The encroaching storm could result in "a brief period of potentially very dangerous fire weather conditions prior to precipitation onset," Swain wrote, adding, "As Kay makes its closest approach, fire weather concerns are likely to fade rapidly as precipitation arrives." So, some good may come from Kay as she passes?


11-30-1931 ~ 09-10-2022
Thanks for the film!

05-27-1935 ~ 09-12-2022
Thanks for the music!

07-21-1946 ~ 09-13-2022
Burn Baby Burn!

09-03-1929 ~ 09-14-2022
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) 2022 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand -up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels speaks to residents during a campaign stop on August 6, 2022 in Chilton, Wisconsin.

WI Protesters Denounce Tim Michels For Encouraging Violence Against Media
In the year 2022, three multibillionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of American society-160 million Americans. This is unsustainable.
By Chris Walker

A group of demonstrators that included union members, faith leaders and voting rights advocates gathered on Friday evening to protest a fundraising event for Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels in wake of the Republican's recent comments that appeared to call for violence against members of the media.

Around two dozen demonstrators showed up outside the Grand Meridian, a banquet hall in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Michels and his donors had scheduled an event. The group also condemned Michels for featuring Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who led a legislative-sanctioned audit of the 2020 presidential election in the state that sought to legitimize former President Donald Trump's disproven claims of election fraud. Earlier this month, Michels ranted against a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article detailing donations he and his wife made to anti-abortion groups and anti-LGBTQ churches.

Michels co-owns Wisconsin's largest construction company but has faced questions about having residences out of state. On September 1, he denounced the reporting about his donations on a radio program, claiming that it was biased against him.

"I believe people should just, just be ready to get out on the streets with pitchforks and torches with how low the liberal media has become," he said.

Demonstrators outside the fundraiser on Friday held signs blasting Michels and propped up a large effigy of his likeness wearing a red "MAGA" cap. Calena Roberts, a member of the Service Employees International Union who spoke at the protest, told Truthout that she was rattled by Michels's comments.

"For a man to tell people to take up their torches and pitchforks and take to the streets gets me a little nervous," she said. "Why not just say 'put on your robes and your hoods?'"

"I didn't take that very well," Roberts, who is Black, added.

Roberts also spoke out against Michels appearing with Gableman at the fundraiser, noting that Republicans frequently denounced social spending projects using racist dog-whistles - including describing such spending as "handouts" - but were willing to spend more than $1 million on Gableman's investigation into non-existent election fraud.

That audit was "ridiculous," Roberts added.

Souls to the Polls-Wisconsin president Greg Lewis, a Black pastor from Milwaukee who participated in the protest, said the candidate's words appeared to have racist undertones.

Michels's commentary earlier this month "reminds me of some older days when Ku Klux Klansman were running around with torches and pitchforks," Lewis told Truthout.

Michels's words were unnecessarily divisive, he added.

"He wants to be governor, but he should be governor of all the people," Lewis said. "He shouldn't be stirring up that kind of violent rhetoric."

Lewis said that he feared "this kind of rhetoric would continue to suppress votes, having people not really eager to participate in the process" because they might say, "'what's the use, people still haven't changed.'"

Michels "has to know you can't come into Wisconsin and talk like that and get away with it," Lewis said to the crowd of protesters.

Emily Tseffos, chair of Outagamie County Democrats, also spoke during the event, noting that Michels was using "divisive and dangerous rhetoric" - like President Donald Trump - to rile up his base of supporters. Tseffos described Michels as "trying to be Wisconsin's Donald," adding that he and Gableman were "chasing ghosts...when it comes to the legitimacy of the 2020 election, simply because they didn't like the outcome."

A Michels fundraiser attendee came out from the building and heckled Tseffos during her speech. Calling herself "scary Mary" but refusing to otherwise identify herself, the heckler derided those who had come to demonstrate against Michels, and described local media who were covering the event as "fake news."

Later during the demonstration, as participants marched through the parking lot, police vehicles arrived at the event, and an officer told event organizers they had to move to an adjacent lot away from the Grand Meridian. At least four officers arrived to respond to the peaceful protest, as fundraiser attendees looked on from the front door of the building.

Michels, who is facing Gov. Tony Evers (D-Wisconsin) in the gubernatorial race, is trailing close behind the incumbent, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll. When "leaner" voters are included in the mix, 43 percent of voters presently back Michels, while 45 percent support reelecting Evers, per the survey.

The findings suggest the race is currently tied, as the two-point split between the top contenders is within the poll's margin of error.

(c) 2022 Chris Walker is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analysing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people.

Connie Fitzsimmons of Blacksburg, Virginia, demonstrates with Appalachian and Indigenous climate
advocates against the Mountain Valley Pipeline project in Washington, D.C. on September 8, 2022.

To Win in November, Democrats Must Listen To Citizen Groups
Civic leaders know how to win debates, how to urge cracking down on corporate crooks, and how to expose waste, fraud, and other abuses that rile people up who often feel powerless.
By Ralph Nader

Prospects for Democrats winning in November in the House and Senate have picked up recently. Nonetheless, political pundits are still not counting on the Democrats to win the House of Representatives. Candidates have eight weeks to refine their policies, messages, and strategies to energize and mobilize voters.

If they break through the force field of their political and media consultants-often conflicted with corporate clients and 15% commissions for TV/radio ads-and tap into the experience of citizen advocacy groups, they can win a comfortable margin in Congress.

Astonishingly, citizen leaders for years have been marginalized to their and the Democratic politicians' disadvantage. The Republicans do not make such mistakes. Witness the roles and influence of right-wing advocacy groups such as the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the National Taxpayers Union.

Most political campaigns get tired and repetitive. Each day is like the previous day-think Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. Candidates need fresh language, issues, and tough rebuttals to the neo-fascist GOP, which doesn't even bother to camouflage its anti-democratic missions, its takedowns of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and other government programs for the people. Republicans boast about long-range plans, which they fakely call "populist," but they are driven to put the plutocrats and oligarchs in full predatory charge of our federal and state governments.

Above all, Democrats need to give voters from all backgrounds practical motivations to register and get out to vote in record-setting numbers. Setting a voter turnout record is not hard. With predictions of 130 million eligible voters not voting, getting ten million of these Americans voting in the swing states could produce a working Democratic majority in Congress.

Citizen advocates know what it takes to make a more just society for all Americans-all workers, all consumers, all patients, and all communities. With no ax to grind, civic leaders have learned how to speak plainly, authentically, and persuasively, for they know that is the way to succeed in making life better, safer, and fairer. They also can't stand bullies.

Recently, over two dozen of these leaders placed their specialized knowhow and clear ways of communicating what they know-that reach people where they live, work, and raise their families-at the disposal of the Democrats. Some have run referendums and have developed sensible, often unused ways to get people to vote. Others have honed effective language such as "go vote for a raise, you've earned it and it is long overdue," or talk about "investing in public works," not "spending." Builders of factories say they are investing, not spending, don't they?

It's "climate violence," not "climate change." Taxpayers should demand: "We want our tax dollars used to benefit our communities and families, not used for reckless corporate welfare or taken by corporate looters defrauding government programs like Medicare or the Pentagon." Civic leaders know how to win debates, how to urge cracking down on corporate crooks, and how to expose waste, fraud, and other abuses that rile people up who often feel powerless. Above all, civic leaders are all about empowering you or, better said, "We the People." Remember, the Constitution placed the basic sovereign power in our republic and in the hands of the citizenry.

More specifically, if Democrats want the past pathways to a bright future, children's rights, superior healthcare, elevated livelihoods for workers and retirees, racial and gender equality, an economy for all of us, neighborhood renewable energy, affordable housing, a redefined national security, and engaged voters, they need to start returning calls made to their campaign offices.

Let me repeat, start returning calls by the citizen community from which nearly all the blessings of justice and liberty in our nation's history have emerged.

Candidates that are kept so busy that they don't have time to adjust, re-adjust. and re-invigorate their campaigns in the real, not the virtual, world are at a disadvantage. You win by developing your own escalator, not by paying minders to place you on a media treadmill that eats up campaign contributions without energizing voters.

See for more information.

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

Snoop Dogg arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center on Aug. 28 in Newark, N.J.

How Yesteryear's Moral Panic Becomes Today's Soft Sell
By Leonard Pitts Jr.

I've been meaning to write this one for years. It was the potato chips that finally made me do it.

Not just any old Lay's or Ruffles, mind you. No, I'm talking about a new-to-me brand of chips (on its website, the Miami-based company says it has actually been around for 25 years) I recently saw at a checkout counter. Rap Snacks, they were called, available in such flavors as: Notorious B.I.G. Honey JalapeƱo, Snoop Dogg O.G. Bar-B-Que Cheddar and Rick Ross Sweet Chili Lemon Pepper, each packaged with the rapper in question on the bag.

Which inspires me to finally ask a question I've been meaning to ask for a long time. Don't you feel kind of silly now?

Meaning, all you folks who, 30 years ago, give or take, thought rap music was the end of the world. We're talking about a furor unlike anything we'd seen since men with sledgehammers were smashing jukeboxes, trying to kill rock 'n' roll in the 1950s. Rap, to hear some of you tell it, was a cultural apocalypse, and rappers, the most frightening men in America.

Snoop Dogg, then billed as Snoop Doggy Dogg, was on the cover of Newsweek giving the camera maximum attitude. The headline: "When is Rap 2 Violent?" These days, Martha Stewart's best friend is to be seen walking a mythic beach in TV commercials, handing out beer.

Then there's Ice Cube, who, as a member of NWA, drew a menacing rebuke from the FBI for a certain song that sharply critiqued policing in African American neighborhoods. He has since become a movie star, playing a dad, a soldier and a barber shop owner, among many others.

Ice-T was boycotted and reviled over a speed-metal song called "Cop Killer." He now shills for a breakfast cereal, an automobile warranty company and a laundry detergent, and has spent the last 22 years playing - wait for it - a cop on NBC.

So yes, the arc of their careers, the then-and-now snapshots, would seem to suggest some feeling silly is in order.

People tend to forget the power of American marketing to absorb and commodify that which once frightened and appalled. That amnesia notwithstanding, the process is not new. To the contrary, it's one we saw with Elvis in the '50s, the Rolling Stones in the '60s, Alice Cooper in the '70s, Prince in the '80s. They were all scary once upon a time; all threatened the status quo. Now they don't. Now they are the stuff of nostalgia, museums and, in some cases, even scholarship.

The point is not that popular music ought not be criticized when it is violent, racist, misogynistic or otherwise troublesome. Rather, it's that when said criticism takes on the tenor of fire alarms and air-raid sirens, when there is panic in the streets and a general sense that this song, this artist, this genre, represents a cultural Armageddon, a mortal threat requiring scary headlines or government intervention, it suggests the critics have forgotten how many times we've traveled this road and that a little perspective might be in order. Not to mention a little healthy respect for tomorrow's ability to render today's fears silly and shrill.

It is, after all, each generation's solemn duty to outrage the one that came before. And if you are a member of the one that came before, you would do well to recall how it was when you were the one doing the outraging. And to take solace in the fact that controversy inevitably becomes commodity.

Exhibit A: Snoop Dogg O.G. Bar-B-Que Cheddar. Because time happens to us all, nobody stays dangerous forever.

And marketing always has the last laugh.

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

What Do Truckers And Librarians Have In Common?

By Jim Hightower

In the world of work, what two occupations might seem to have the very least in common? How about long-haul truck drivers... and school librarians? Yes, an odd pairing, but solidarity forever!

Start with truckers, The job is literally a grueling haul. You're wrangling massive 18-wheelers some 500 miles a day for 2-3 weeks straight, putting up with traffic jams, storms, bad roads, lunatic drivers, helter-skelter scheduling, truck stop food, sleeping in the truck - and battling fatigue, aches, your bladder, and loneliness.

Trucking used to be a good union job, with decent pay and conditions - until the deregulation craze four decades ago brought in Wall Street profiteers and fast buck hustlers who turned the industry into anti-union exploiters. As a result, the yearly quit-rate for drivers is almost 100 percent! But rather than retaining drivers by upping pay and stopping their torturous treatment, the corporate bosses have rushed to Washington demanding access to an even cheaper pool of low-wage workers: Teenagers. Yes - put an 18-year-old in that 18-wheeler... and keep them profits rolling!

And here's another good job suddenly turned ugly: School librarian. Yes, while student enrollments rise and the need for these nurturers of our society's literacy is greater than ever, their quit-rate is soaring. Not because of pay or long hours, but because of raw right-wing politics. These dedicated, invaluable educators are literally being abused by demagogic GOP politicians and their extremist partisans who've launched an anti-librarian crusade, including book banning and witch hunting. Come on - how twisted are you to pick on librarians? Yet, they are under attack by political hacks, condemned by reprobate preachers, and physically threatened by frenzied parents... and being fired by wimpy school boards.

Forget the "law" of supply and demand, today's job market is being ruled by greedmeisters and political lunatics.

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

Protesters march through downtown Detroit in support of Roe v. Wade on May 7, 2022.

Michigan Supreme Court Puts Abortion Rights Initiative On The Ballot
By Jake Johnson

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Thursday that an initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the state's constitution must be placed on the November ballot, overriding GOP election officials' decision to block the measure even though it received a record number of signatures from residents.

Writing for the majority, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack dismissed Republican state canvassers' claim that the ballot initiative is defective due to spacing issues in the text - an objection that campaigners said was a mere cover for the GOP officials' opposition to the content of the measure.

"Even though there is no dispute that every word appears and appears legibly and in the correct order, and there is no evidence that anyone was confused about the text, two members of the Board of State Canvassers with the power to do so would keep the petition from the voters for what they purport to be a technical violation of the statute," wrote McCormack.

"They would disenfranchise millions of Michiganders not because they believe the many thousands of Michiganders who signed the proposal were confused by it, but because they think they have identified a technicality that allows them to do so, a game of gotcha gone very bad," the justice continued. "What a sad marker of the times."

Loren Khogali, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan - part of the coalition leading the ballot initiative - applauded the court's 5-2 ruling, which came after rights groups appealed the deadlocked Board of State Canvassers' vote against placing the measure on the November ballot.

"A good day for democracy and the people of Michigan," Khogali tweeted. "Get ready to vote Michigan. We have voting rights and reproductive freedom on the ballot."

If approved, the measure would amend the Michigan constitution with a section explicitly affirming that "every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care."

The ballot initiative is years in the making, and the signature-collection process kicked off at the beginning of 2022 amid mounting fears of a Supreme Court assault on the constitutional right to abortion care. When the high court's right-wing majority overturned Roe v. Wade in June, imperiling reproductive care in much of the U.S., petition organizing kicked into overdrive.

Campaigners ultimately collected 753,759 signatures for the Michigan initiative, more than any other ballot measure in the state's history and far more than the 425,000 required. Organizers said they secured signatures from every county in the state.

"We are energized and motivated now more than ever to restore the protections that were lost under Roe," Darci McConnell, a spokesperson for Michigan's Reproductive Freedom for All campaign, said in a statement Thursday.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling, abortion rights campaigners moved urgently to preserve and strengthen state-level abortion laws as Republican lawmakers emboldened by the end of Roe aimed to ban abortion outright. In Michigan, a draconian abortion ban dating back to 1931 has thus far been blocked by the courts, so abortion remains legal in the state with restrictions.

Michigan isn't the only state with an abortion-related initiative on the ballot in November. Californians are set to vote on a proposition declaring that the state "shall not deny or interfere with an individual's reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions."

Voters in Kentucky and Montana, meanwhile, will decide whether to approve Republican-backed anti-abortion initiatives.

Earlier this year, voters in Kansas overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have paved the way for an all-out ban on abortion in the state.

(c) 2022 Jake Johnson is an author and staff writer for Common Dreams

Veteran Activist David Segal Shows How To Make An Issue Of Corporate Monopolies
The congressional candidate has brought the issue to the fore and gotten everyone else talking about it.
By John Nichols

David Segal, a cofounder of the progressive activist group Demand Progress, is mounting a congressional campaign in Tuesday's Rhode Island Democratic primary that highlights his many years of work on economic, social, racial, and environmental justice issues-alongside his steady support for a foreign policy focused on peace and diplomacy.

But, as will come as no surprise to those who have followed Segal's activism over the years, he is also delivering a master class in how to expand the debate on issues that are often neglected in political races.

Segal's blunt advocacy for "policies that protect consumers, workers, and small businesses from corporate monopolies" has won him endorsements from national groups, such as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Progressive Democrats of America, as well as the Communications Workers of America District 1 union and the Rhode Island Working Families Party. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has hailed the former Providence city council member and Rhode Island legislator as "a champion in taking on corporate interests (and) breaking up big monopolies," while Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has praised his "plans to level the economic playing field."

The endorsements are notable. But Segal still faces an uphill race in a multi-candidate contest that includes Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who has the backing of the state Democratic Party, many unions, and retiring US Representative Jim Langevin. Magaziner, the son of longtime Democratic policy advisor Ira Magaziner, has won two statewide races and is mounting an energetic campaign this year.

What's been striking about the contest, however, has been the extent to which Segal has brought monopoly issues to the fore and gotten everyone talking about them. In a recent debate, he did so by focusing on the shortage of baby formula-a big issue in New England and around the country. During the course of his campaign, Segal has illustrated his concerns about corporate abuses by explaining that, "The ongoing baby formula price and supply crisis was caused in part because one company, Abbott Laboratories, with 40 percent national market share (and far higher in some states), acted with the sort of impunity that is common to monopolies."

During last week's pre-primary debate, Segal spoke about how the company had allowed problems to develop at a major plant that eventually had to shut down. Abbott, he said, "was able to, as powerful interests frequently do, capture their regulators. They were not cracked down upon, so eventually they had to shut the whole thing down and put all of these people in a horrendous experience where they had to worry about whether or not they were able to feed their babies."

Suddenly, the other candidates were talking about the baby-formula crisis and corporate abuses. That allowed Segal to expand upon his point by declaring that, "The regulators were too close with the industry and (they) did not intervene fast enough. And [when] this happens, this replicates across all different portions of the government."

Again, the other candidates echoed his themes about corporate interests and political corruption-so frequently that the Segal campaign produced an amusing video titled, "David Segal Is Driving the Debate."

A supporter of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, Segal has staked out bold positions on a wide range of progressive issues. But his advocacy on monopoly power has been especially attention-grabbing. As his campaign explains:

Corporate concentration has accelerated over recent decades, in nearly every industry that impacts our lives: pharmaceuticals and hospital services, retail, airlines, banking, media, cable and internet provision, and more. Larger corporations have used their power to acquire competitors and drive smaller firms out of business or make it harder for them to sustain themselves.

This has variously led to higher prices, lower quality products and services, the decimation of smaller businesses, and harms to workers. Moreover, this concentration of power and wealth corrodes our democracy. We must stand up to these monopolies, and institute stronger regulations to ensure everyday people, small businesses, and local communities have a chance to thrive.

That's a vital message and, no matter how Segal finishes Tuesday, he has delivered it in a way that's got Democrats talking about cracking down on monopolies and the influence of corporate interests on our politics-and on government regulations. The message that we can take away from this race is an important one: There's a place in our politics for a strong anti-monopoly message.

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

God Allows All Authority
By James Donahue

There are various Bible verses that tell us that God is in control of all things, and that followers of Jesus must obey the laws of their government.

Romans 13:1 reads: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God."

Thus believers in Christ must blindly accept the fact that winners of recent political elections in the United States were given their authority by God, even though there has been strong evidence that the elections have been rigged by corrupt election workers all the way up the the Supreme Court, which gave big corporations the power to offer unlimited financial support to the candidates of their choosing.

Believers in many other dictatorial styled nations in the world must accept the "elected" authority of their governments even though they had no other choice but one at the ballot box.

Of course the root of the quest for power is wealth, which God permits. Proverbs 22:7 tells us: "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." And Ecclesiastes 10:19 says: "Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything." And in Ezekiel 28:4 we read: "By your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries."

The Bible doesn't prohibit us from having money, but it warns us about loving money. "For the love of money is the root of all evil." I Timothy 6:10. And in Matthew 6:24: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."

So is this not a contradiction in what is going on in the world? We have world leaders who are given their power by the people who hold all of the wealth. These greedy people love their money so much they buy elections and put people in power who will not only guarantee that they will keep the money they have, but will be able to continue fleecing the poor to build their coffers even more.

So if the love of money is the root of evil, how can corrupt people placed in political power to allow the continued theft of wealth from the people be of God?

How can we say that the people put in power by rich and greedy families and corporations have been ordained by God? If God is really in charge of the affairs of men, why would he allow such corruption in the governments of the world?

Are we not putting too much trust in the words of the scriptures which were penned by scribes of the church thousands of years ago? These men (women were not allowed) were serving the Pope, who was declared God's appointed representative on Earth. But the historical record proves that these men were as corrupted by money and power as politicians in today's world.

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

Top 10 Reasons Sweden And Finland Will Regret Joining NATO
By David Swanson

Friendly advice to my brothers and sisters in Finland and Sweden.

1. There are people at the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin laughing at you. You shouldn't feel special. They laugh at the U.S. public all the time. But getting countries with much higher standards of living, better educations, and longer lifespans than in the United States - countries that obtained these things largely by staying neutral and apart from the Cold War and numerous hot wars - to sign onto a pre-agreement to join in future wars (the sort of lunacy that launched World War I) and to commit to buying boatloads of weapons in eternal preparation! - well, the laughing is unlikely to ever end.

2. Have you seen those angry protests across Europe (not to mention South Korea) recently? You've got decades of those to look forward to if we survive your dumbass decision that long. People may be demonstrating in their own selfish interests with a bit of ignorant bigotry thrown in, but they're protesting for both peace and for the redirection of resources toward useful things. They may be aware that the misdirection of resources into wars kills vastly more people than the wars (and will until the wars go nuclear). But most of their countries are locked in, the way yours are about to be. Parts of your land will belong to the U.S. military; you'll lose even the right to ask what poisons are dumped into your water. Parts of your government and industry will be subsidiaries of the U.S. military machine, no more able to function without it than is Saudi Arabia - where people at least have the excuse that they can't legally speak or act freely. Within two years of the start of every war that the U.S. public cheers for, a majority in the U.S. always says it shouldn't have been done - but never that it should be ended. It will be the same with you and joining NATO, not because of any mystical nonsense about honoring dead troops by killing more of them, but because NATO will own you.

3. Not only is the sky blue, but, yes, it is true: Russia has a horrendously awful government that is committing unspeakably vile crimes. You can see them in the media the way you ought to be able to see every war, and every side of every war. Allowing your government to imitate Russia's will make Russia's worse, not better. Russia cared about little other than stopping the spread of NATO and did what it had to know would rapidly accelerate the spread of NATO, because it lost its mind to war, and because it and you are being played for suckers by the United States military, including that branch of it called the RAND corporation which wrote a report recommending the provocation of a war like this one. When this war escalated six months ago, the U.S. government called it unacceptable and unprovoked. Obviously every war is unacceptable. But this one basically now has the formal name Russia's Unprovoked War - not only because it was so openly and intentionally provoked, but so that the provoking can conti

4. You're an escalation of a provocation. You're some perfectly nice harmless loving person who doesn't want to hurt anyone and is scared to death of Russia and either has no idea that nonviolent defense is possible or knows that your government has no interest in it. But there's some person of that exact same description in Russia who will see your government's actions as extremely frightening, whereas putting nukes into Belarus will be comforting and soothing. Well, nothing will ease the concern generated in good noble hearts by that idiotic outrage like repeating it with U.S. nukes in Sweden or Finland.

5. There is not anything the least bit difficult to understand about all the good intentions and fear for loved-ones. Nor should there be anything difficult to understand about the fact that this will end with a high risk of nuclear apocalypse and nothing good along the road to it. The arms race that some countries used to have the wisdom and independence to keep out of is a vicious cycle that needs breaking.

6. Not only did the U.S./UK/NATO want this war, but they took careful steps to avoid its ending in the early months, and have done everything they could to develop an endless stalemate. There is no end in site. Your governments joining NATO is another provocation that will increase the emotional commitments on both sides but do nothing to make either side likely to triumph or to agree to negotiating peace.

7. It is possible to oppose both sides of a war, and to oppose the mission of the weapons dealers that support both sides. Not just weapons and wars are driven by profits. Even the expansion of NATO that kept the Cold War alive was driven by weapons interests, by the desire of U.S. weapons companies to turn Eastern European nations into customers, according to Andrew Cockburn's reporting, together with the interest of the Clinton White House in winning the Polish-American vote by bringing Poland into NATO. It's not just a drive to dominate the global map - although it's certainly a willingness to do so even if it kills us. There are alternatives. When French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr in 1923, the German government called on its citizens to resist without physical violence. People nonviolently turned public opinion in Britain, the U.S., and even in Belgium and France, in favor of the occupied Germans. By international agreement, the French troops were withdrawn. In Lebanon, 30 years of Syrian domination was ended through a large-scale, nonviolent uprising in 2005. In Germany in 1920, a coup overthrew and exiled the government, but on its way out the government called for a general strike. The coup was undone in five days. In Algeria in 1961, four French generals staged a coup. Nonviolent resistance undid it in a few days. In the Soviet Union in 1991, the late Mikhail Gorbachev was arrested, tanks sent to major cities, media shut down, and protests banned. But nonviolent protest ended the coup in a few days. In the first Palestinian intifada in the 1980s, much of the subjugated population effectively became self-governing entities through nonviolent noncooperation. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia freed themselves from Soviet occupation through nonviolent resistance prior to the USSR's collapse. Nonviolent resistance in Western Sahara has forced Morocco to offer an autonomy proposal. In the final years of German occupation of Denmark and Norway during WWII, the Nazis effectively no longer controlled the population. Nonviolent movements have removed U.S. bases from Ecuador and the Philippines. Gandhi's efforts were key to removing the British from India. When the Soviet military invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, there were demonstrations, a general strike, refusal to cooperate, removal of street signs, persuasion of troops. Despite clueless leaders conceding, the take-over was slowed, and the credibility of the Soviet Communist Party ruined. Nonviolence ended the occupations of towns in Donbass during the past 8 years. Nonviolence in Ukraine has blocked tanks, talked soldiers out of fighting, pushed soldiers out of areas. People are changing road signs, putting up billboards, standing in front of vehicles, and getting bizarrely praised for it by a U.S. President in a State of the Union speech. Nonviolent Peaceforce has a long record of greater success than armed UN "peace keepers." Studies find nonviolence more likely to succeed, those successes longer lasting. Look at the examples in the films Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Soldiers Without Guns, and The Singing Revolution. There's a screening and discussion with the makers of that last one on Saturday.

8. Negotiations in Ukraine are perfectly possible. Both sides are engaged in both insane cruelty and in exercising restraint. Were they not, were one side composed of irrational monsters, then the risk of immediate terrorist attacks in Sweden and Finland would be at the top of this list. We all know that's unlikely because the talk of irrational monsters is the nonsense we knowingly tell each other in order to be able to stomach supporting a war. There are a great many ways to engage with the world other than organized mass murder. The notion that supporting NATO is a way to cooperate with the world ignores superior non-deadly ways to cooperate with the world.

9. When you join NATO you're going way beyond kissing up to Turkey. You're endorsing the horrors that NATO has committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. Did you know that in the United States NATO is used as cover for crimes? Congress can't investigate if NATO did it. And people can't question it if NATO did it. Placing a primarily-U.S. war under the banner of NATO prevents Congressional oversight of that war. Placing nuclear weapons in "non-nuclear" nations, in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, is also excused with the claim that the nations are NATO members. By joining a war alliance you legitimize if not somehow almost legalize in millions of somewhat mushy minds the wars that alliance engages in.

10. NATO is seeking to destroy the most beautiful place in Montenegro.

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

A protest sign at Foley Square during the 2019 Global Climate Strike.

Want To Fight Climate Change? Look To Local Politics.
Since its founding in 2015, the New Haven Climate Movement has used national momentum to create regional change with a model that can be replicated around the country.
By Charlotte Hughes

In August, Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, a reduced version of Build Back Better, that will invest $369 billion in energy and climate. The IRA is poised to cut the nation"s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, according to an analysis by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The plan will give Americans tax credits and rebates for purchasing electric vehicles and create millions of jobs to generate and deploy clean energy. According to the White House, "the Inflation Reduction Act will help ease the burden that climate change imposes on the American public."

These are all positive steps, but the climate crisis can't be solved by national actions alone. In Connecticut, the New Haven Climate Movement shows just how much local politics still matters. The group recently used national momentum to create regional change, pushing the municipal council to delegate $5 million of its American Rescue Plan funding toward local projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

On September 23, as part of the international Fridays for Future strike, the group will rally on the steps of city hall, only a few blocks from the campus of Yale University, demanding expanded climate education and electric transportation in the city.

For some activists, local politics need to be given higher priority. "It feels like, 'Oh, there's not a lot going on in my community, it's so boring," Adrian Huq, a cofounder of the group and junior at Tufts University, said. "It's important to break out of that bubble and dive into local government. Local community activism is a really, really valuable form of activism to get involved in as a college student."

Over the past few years, the group has successfully pushed local leadership to take bold actions, even while national change was slow. In September 2019, the city passed a resolution that formally recognized the climate crisis, calling for zero emissions in New Haven by 2030. Last spring, the New Haven Board of Education passed the "Climate Justice Schools" proposal calling for well-rounded climate education. The pilot program began in January at five New Haven public high schools and activists are hoping to expand during the next school year.

"The more students that do get involved in local activism, you break down those barriers between you and local residents and make a positive impact in your college town along the way," Huq said.

The movement has also formed robust connections with the city. The mayor, Justin Elicker, knows them by name. City Engineer Giovanni Zinn regularly attends the Electric Future committee meetings, which pushed New Haven to commit to electrifying 100 percent of public buildings, vehicles, and appliances.

"A lot of the heart of the movement does come from New Haveners," said Emma Polinsky, a Climate Movement member. "I think that they're doing a wonderful job of bridging the gap between the college and the community." In return, groups like the Yale Student Environmental Coalition support the NHCM by sending people and supplies and boosting attendance at events.

While the New Haven Climate Movement is youth-led, all ages are active in the organization. Kawtar Nadama, a freshman at the University of Connecticut, sees the group's diversity as unique, and the input from various ages and experiences of people who have done the work longer contributes to the group's stability and longevity.

Since its founding in 2015, the New Haven Climate Movement has grown immensely. And it's clear that the group's local model can be easily replicated in other cities, according to Huq. Every college town holds a variety of young people ready to find opportunities for activism. New Haven is home to many educational institutions, from Yale to Gateway Community College, but an organization like NHCM could work anywhere, said Huq, as long as the group is welcoming and facilitates an intergenerational environment.

"As a college student, you can volunteer your time to your surrounding city, and not just be enclosed in the gates of your college," said Patricia Joseph, a freshman at Yale and member of the New Haven Climate Movement. Campus activism can bring about high-profile campus change, from endowment divestment to campus sustainability initiatives. But in order to create lasting change, climate activists will need to step past the campus gates and fight for everyone in the community

(c) 2022 Charlotte Hughes is a sophomore at Yale University. Her journalism has appeared in the Toledo Blade and the Yale Daily News. Other writing has been published in the Cincinnati Review, Meridian, Issues and Alibis magazine, and West Branch.

The 1776 Cosplayers Are Playing With Fire And It's Headed Nowhere Good
Pramila Jayapal isn't the only one facing threats, and the folks making them are just pawns in the game.
By Charles P. Pierce

Ruby Cramer recently joined the national political staff of the Washington Post, which is good news for national political coverage and better news for people who enjoy good prose. Over the weekend, Cramer published a truly hair-raising tale about how Rep. Pramila Jayapal was stalked, harassed, and threatened with death by some local 1776 cosplayer. If you're looking for a precise microcosm of the dangerous political zeitgeist within which we live, this does the trick.

Jayapal, of course, has a very high political profile as the putative leader of "The Squad." She's also taken the lead in congressional debates on just about every major issue from infrastructure spending to reproductive rights. In more ordinary times, such prominence would get you a lot of run on television (which, in Jayapal's case, it has) and maybe some nasty emails and unflattering opinion pieces in assorted newspapers and magazines. These days, however, it gets you an armed fanatic buzzing your house in his muscle car and pitching a tent across the street from your house.

She was on the couch, watching the psychological thriller "Mindhunter" with her husband, Steve Williamson. It was July 9 in Arbor Heights, a West Seattle neighborhood laid out in neat sweeps of grass and pavement. They paused the show. Williamson got up and went outside. The items on the porch sat undisturbed: sneakers, turquoise Crocs, a dog leash, two hanging plants swaying in the night air. Then they heard the men again. Security footage picked up what the men said and the sound of heavy-metal music coming from the car. One shouted something about "India," the country where Jayapal was born. The voices were hard and clear. "F---ing c---," one of them said.

"Tell Pramila to kill herself - then we'll stop, motherf---er." Then came a honk. Then another long "F--- YOUUUUU." On the porch, Williamson waved an index finger and went back inside. The men drove off.

It turns out that this wasn't the first time these folks had dropped by. After months of harassment, and Jayapal's subsequent complaints to both local law enforcement and to the Capitol Police, and various investigations that proceeded from the complaints, Jayapal learned that the stalking had been going on since long before the night she first noticed it.
But she didn't know then what dozens of pages of police reports and court filings would later reveal - that one of her visitors that night had been there before, in the same Dodge Challenger. She didn't know that he had driven by her house between three and seven times since late June, or that the other male voice that night belonged to his adult son, as he would later tell investigators. She didn't know that from the house across the street, her neighbor had seen the Dodge earlier that same evening, or that down the block, another neighbor had seen it, too, just a week before. She didn't know that the man in the Dodge had emailed her congressional office back in January, to express his distaste for her political party, and for her...
This energetic patriot came back on the night that Jayapal and her husband first noticed him. He yelled at their house again, but this time he was strapped. There was a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol on his hip. So who is he?

The man, identified by police as 49-year-old Brett Forsell, is out on bail. He lives seven blocks away[...]The Dodge Challenger came back, revving once, then twice. The sound of heavy metal music sounded in the street again, before the car came screeching to a stop in front of Jayapal's house, just a few steps north of the property line.

Again, Williamson came out to the porch. He lifted his phone and started filming. "Hey, guess what, a--hole," the driver, Forsell, said. This time he was here alone.

Again, security cameras picked up the sound. "I'm your new f---in' neighbor," he said. Then Williamson heard the sound of metal hitting metal. He's owned handguns before, and the noise made his body react. He wondered if someone was chambering a round. It was dark outside, and hard to see. The unwelcome visitor was in front of the house. Police did not identify the source of the sounds, but later found the remains of a large gray tent, half assembled across the street, a pole sticking out from the tarp, along with a sleeping bag in the front of the Dodge.

And, of course, because he reads all the right books and listens to all the right radio stars and watches all the right TV shows, Fornell had a ready-made explanation for his harassment of Jayapal and her husband.
For more than an hour, Forsell sat in the back of a police car, his conversation captured on video. He said he'd made a point of driving by Jayapal's house regularly, just to roll down his window and call out "the hypocrisy" of the Democratic Party. [...] Inside the police car, Forsell said he had respect for the police on the scene, but none for the political process. "You should have that b---- in handcuffs, 'cause she's a f---in' traitor to this country," he told authorities. "I just don't see what law I've broken, and I'm very well-versed in the law."
There seems to be no end to our supply of these people. There is an industry now that produces them for profit, and that industry is going to be making money for the shadowy and cynical people who run it for the foreseeable future. This isn't a political movement-that's just a byproduct-more than anything else, it's a profit center, the first seditious conspiracy with merchandising.

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

The Quotable Quote -

"I am going to do my best to try to create a country in which children are not living in poverty, in which kids can go to college, in which old people have health care. Will I succeed? I can't guarantee you that, but I can tell you that from a human point of view it is better to show up than to give up."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Muslim Americans Are Young, Patriotic And Bullish On This Country, And Are Not To Blame For 9/11
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Yesterday, America observed a commemoration of 21 years since the September 11, 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda on key US targets. In the past two decades, many persons in the U.S. were confused between far-right Muslim extremism of the al-Qaeda sort and everyday ordinary Muslims. As a result, the some 3.85 million Muslim Americans were also major victims of the September 11 attacks, even though vanishingly few of them are extremists of any sort. Ironically the most recent attack on a Washington D.C. monument was launched by the American white Christian nationalists and cheered on by a US president. This turn of events underlines that extremism does not have a religion. Most people in most religions are not extremists, but all religions have some extremists.

Imagine if you were a 15-year-old Muslim American from Bangladesh on 9/11. Al-Qaeda, a largely Arab group, means nothing to you. Or consider Iraqi and Lebanese Shiites blamed at school for the attacks. Al-Qaeda is hyper-Sunni and has massacred Shiite Muslims. About a quarter of Muslim Americans are white, some with ancestors who came on the Mayflower or fought in the Revolutionary War. Another quarter or so are African-Americans whose ancestors were kidnapped and brought here 2 centuries ago; they aren't new Americans. While many of the rest are Arab or South Asian immigrants, almost none of them were the sort of people who felt the attractions of extremism. Most are economic immigrants, seeking a better life in the US for their families and themselves.

The majority of the American public is well-educated and thoughtful, though, and there are signs that the worst excesses of Islamophobia may be receding. Last year a poll found that 56% of Americans, a majority, had a favorable view of Muslims, up from 49% in the previous year. With the US out of Afghanistan and with no war-fighting troops in Iraq, the US is not at war with, and is not militarily occupying, any Muslim people for the first time since 2001. Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine in February of this year radically reoriented the focus of the US national security apparatus, toward Russia and eastern Europe, in a return to the emphases of the Cold War era. Tensions in the Pacific with China have also been heightened. In August, U.S. intelligence showed that it could at will blow away the top al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, on his Kabul balcony.

Islam as a religion so resembles Judaism and Christianity that I think most Buddhists would have a hard time telling them apart. Muslims believe in the God of the Bible, in the biblical prophets, among whom they count John the Baptist and Jesus, and their ethical precepts include principles familiar from both the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. Murder, adultery, and theft are all forbidden, and even negative backbiting.

Still, the over one percent of Americans who practice Islam as their faith continue to face prejudice, hate speech, and even physical attacks. The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) just brought out an opinion poll that tells us a great deal about Muslim Americans in 2022.

Despite the discrimination they face, Muslim Americans join the armed services at a similar rate (11%) to most other religious groups in this country.

About 62% of Muslim Americans said they faced religious discrimination in the past year. About half of US Jews said he same thing. FBI statistics on hate crimes record more Jewish victims than Muslim ones, but perhaps Muslim Americans feel less comfortable going to the police to file a complaint. Subjectively, they feel more discriminated against than do Jews.

And the kids are getting it the worst. ISPU writes, "In 2022, we find that nearly half (48%) of Muslim families with school-age children reported having a child who faced religious-based bullying in the past year. This is more likely than Jewish families (13%) and the general public (18%). One-fifth of Muslim families report that the bullying occurred nearly every day." Really, we have an epidemic of playground hate against Muslim American children, and it is not right.

Muslim Americans are disproportionately young compared to all other faiths in this country. 26% are between 18 and 24. Only 7% are above 65. I wonder if elderly Muslim immigrants are retiring back to their home countries and draining of some of the community's elderly. We see that with other groups looking to make their retirement funds go further.

Hehdi Hassan: "An Inside Look At 'The Great Muslim American Road Trip' | The Mehdi Hasan Show"

Nearly half of Muslim Americans over 25 have a college degree, similar to members of most other religious groups (only Jews are significantly more educated).

They have entrepreneurs among them. One in ten Muslim Americans are self-employed, and their businesses employ an average of 8 workers each, resulting in the creation of 1.37 million American jobs.

Among members of this country's religions, Muslims are the most bullish on America, with 48% of them now saying the country is going in the right direction, a big improvement from their view in the Trump years. Only 4% of white evangelicals agree, and only Jewish Americans rival the Muslims for optimism (33% say the country is going in the right direction). Both Muslims and Jews predominantly vote for the Democratic Party, so that may have something to do with their enthusiasm. But note that they are bullish on America even though the majority of them believe they are discriminated against by at least some of their compatriots.

Some 60% of Muslim Americans approve of President Biden's job in office, again more than any other religious group - though Jewish Americans at 56% approval and Catholics at 50% approval come close.

In the Trump years, only 13% of Muslims and 27% of Jews expressed approval of the then president.

About a fifth of Muslim Americans don't have citizenship yet, and are here on a green card. Of the 80% who are eligible to vote, 81% are registered, not very far behind the statistics for Protestants.

In the last election, 12% of Muslim American voters said they faced intimidation at the polls, 15% ran into inconvenient i.d. restrictions, and 13% faced shortened voting hours.

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

Marco Rubio stands at a podium, his right hand held up in a peace sign. The backdrop behind him shows a red outline of the state of Florida with the words 'Freedom lives here.'

History Will Judge Republicans Who Stay Silent About The Big Lie
If the democratic experiment called America continues to unravel because of what Republicans did or failed to do, they will live in infamy
By Robert Reich

I have a serious question for people who have power in America, and who continue to deny the outcome of the 2020 election and enable Trump's big lie: what are you saying to yourself in private? How are you justifying yourself in your own mind?

I don't mean to be snide or snarky. I'm genuinely curious.

If you hold public office and deny the outcome of the 2020 election, are you telling yourself that despite the overwhelming evidence that Biden won and the lack of evidence of fraud, you still genuinely doubt the outcome?

But you must know that 60 federal courts have found no basis in Trump's claim, nor have any so-called state "audits" and even Trump's own attorney general found the claim baseless. Or are you telling yourself that it will soon be over - that Trump will fade, that the big lie will disappear, that your party and America will soon move on?

But you must know you're wrong. The big lie is growing. It has metastasized into a cancer that's dividing the nation and devouring our democracy.

Or are you telling yourself that you have no real choice but to support the lie if you want to keep or obtain political power?

Even if true, is power so intoxicating to you - so important as an end in itself - that you'll do anything for it?

Where will you draw the line? If Trump is reelected and imposes martial law? If he or another Republican president forbids public criticism of his administration? If he calls for violence against those who oppose him?

And what do you tell yourself about the measures your party is taking based on the big lie: suppression of votes, takeovers of election machinery, assertions that state legislatures can overturn voter preferences in the certification process, rejection of the January 6 committee's findings?

You have sworn an oath to uphold the constitution. How do you defend yourself in your own mind?

I'm asking you, Kevin McCarthy. And you, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio, and Rick Scott and Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson. And others. And I'm asking those of you with significant power in the Republican party who have remained silent in the face of all this - such as you, Mitch McConnell, and you, Mitt Romney: how do you justify your silence?

And I ask those of you now running for office who are denying the 2020 election results and pushing other aspects of Republican authoritarianism - such as you, JD Vance, and Blake Masters, Mehmet Oz, Herschel Walker, Doug Mastriano, and Kari Lake: what are you telling yourself in private? How are you excusing yourself? Why are you even running?

And I ask the billionaires and CEOs who are bankrolling these people: how do you rationalize spending millions, even tens of millions, helping them get or remain elected?

I'm asking you, Peter Thiel, and you, Stephen Schwarzman, and Ken Griffin and Steve Wynn and Mike Lindell and Patrick Byrne and others: is this really the way you want to spend your fortune? Is this your legacy to the nation?

And I ask all the people making money off this rot - the TV hosts and producers and media moguls who are raking it in while poisoning the minds of America with bald-faced lies - what are you telling yourself in private?

I'm asking you, Rupert Murdoch, and you, Tucker Carlson, and you, Sean Hannity, and you, Laura Ingraham: how are you defending yourself to yourself?

I don't expect you to answer me. This is a question for you to answer to yourself, alone and in private.

But before you do, may I have a confidential word?

Whether you're a politician supporting the big lie, a billionaire backer of it, or a broadcaster who's pushing it, it is not too late for you to get off the road you are on.

Yet if you continue to promote or enable this lie, you are undermining our democracy. The crisis you have helped create is worsening. You bear part of the responsibility for what comes next.

When the history of this trying time is written, future generations of Americans will judge your actions and your silences harshly.

They will recall your cowardice and your self-justifications. They will remember your lust for power and your moral blindness. They will recollect your unwitting ignorance or your witting failure to come to democracy's defense in this perilous time.

Generations to come will sit in judgment about what you have wrought. And if the democratic experiment called America continues to unravel because of what you did or failed to do, you will live in infamy.

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

Why Are We Surprised Barr Covered-Up Trump's Treason When He Did the Same For GHW Bush & Reagan?
The corruption of our justice system is a cardinal characteristic of fascism, which is what Trump and - it turns out, Barr - were actively trying to do to America.
By Thom Hartmann

Geoffrey Berman has a new book out, Holding the Line: Inside the Nation's Preeminent US Attorney's Office and Its Battle with the Trump Justice Department, laying out chapter and verse of how Bill Barr corrupted the Department of Justice on behalf of Donald Trump. Barr's coverups for Trump range, in my read, from criminal activity to treason.

It shouldn't surprise us.

There was also a time when George HW Bush and Ronald Reagan were facing the possibility of treason charges, much like Trump. Who did they call? Bill Barr.

That was in the '80s and early '90s, but now we discover that Bill Barr really, truly, definitely also lied to America about presidential treason this decade. Shocking.

Mueller laid out 10 prosecutable incidents of Donald Trump committing felony obstruction of justice, all to cover up the assistance he was seeking and receiving from Russian oligarchs and the Russian government that ultimately helped him win the 2016 election.

Looking back now, seeing the actual documents from the time, Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson noted that Barr's lies to the American people, to Congress, and to federal judges were "so inconsistent with evidence in the record, they are not worthy of credence."

In other words, Barr lied through his teeth.

And he did it to avoid prosecuting Trump, who we can now see had clearly committed crimes - particularly reaching out to a foreign power for help - that would've landed any other American in prison for decades.

Berman's book details Barr's attempts to stop prosecutions of Trump's friends and co-conspirators, to fire prosecutors with integrity and replace them with toadies who corrupted the Justice Department, and even to focus the police power of government against people Trump considered enemies.

For example, when Trump got pissed at John Kerry, he tweeted that he should be investigated and prosecuted. Immediately Barr jumped into action, as Berman told Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe today:

"[T]he statute they wanted us to use was enacted in 1799 and had never been successfully prosecuted. So for about 220 years, this criminal statute had been on the books, and not a single conviction, so we investigated it and John Kerry was entirely innocent, and yet the Justice Department pushed us and pushed us and pushed us and when I declined, Bill Barr did not take no for an answer."
Barr succeeded in getting Trump's role in a variety of the felony crimes ignored, including the crime of campaign fraud for paying off Stormy Daniels to keep her mouth shut about Trump having sex with her. The list in Berman's book is mind-boggling.

The corruption of law enforcement and the courts is a cardinal characteristic of fascism, which is what Trump and - it turns out, Barr - were actively trying to do to America.

But this is not Bill Barr's first time playing cover-up for a Republican president who had committed crimes that rise to treason against America.

Back in 1992, the first time Bill Barr was U.S. Attorney General, iconic New York Times writer William Safire referred to him as "Coverup-General Barr" because of his role in burying evidence of then-President George H.W. Bush's involvement in "Iraqgate" and "Iron-Contra."

Christmas day of 1992, the New York Times featured a screaming all-caps headline across the top of its front page: Attorney General Bill Barr had covered up evidence of crimes by Reagan and Bush in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Earlier that week of Christmas, 1992, George H.W. Bush was on his way out of office. Bill Clinton had won the White House the month before, and in a few weeks would be sworn in as president.

But Bush's biggest concern wasn't that he'd have to leave the White House to retire back to Connecticut, Maine, or Texas (where he had mansions) but, rather, that he may end up embroiled even deeper in the Iran-Contra treason.

In other words, George HW Bush's concern was that he and his colleagues may face time in a federal prison after he left office.

Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh was closing in fast on him and Reagan, and Bush's private records, subpoenaed by the independent counsel's office, were the key to it all.

Walsh had been appointed independent counsel in 1986 to investigate the Iran-Contra activities of the Reagan administration and determine if crimes had been committed.

Was the Iran-Contra criminal conspiracy limited, as Reagan and Bush insisted (and Reagan said on TV), to later years in the Reagan presidency, in response to a hostage-taking in Lebanon?

Or had it started in the 1980 presidential campaign against Jimmy Carter with treasonous collusion with the Iranians, as the then-president of Iran asserted? Who knew what, and when? And what was George H.W. Bush's role in it all?

In the years since then, the President of Iran in 1980, Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, has gone on the record saying that the Reagan campaign reached out to Iran to hold the hostages in exchange for weapons.

"Ayatollah Khomeini and Ronald Reagan," President Bani-Sadr told the Christian Science Monitor in 2013, "had organized a clandestine negotiation, later known as the 'October Surprise,' which prevented the attempts by myself and then-US President Jimmy Carter to free the hostages before the 1980 US presidential election took place. The fact that they were not released tipped the results of the election in favor of Reagan."

That wouldn't have been just an impeachable crime: it was treason.

Walsh had zeroed in on documents that were in the possession of Reagan's former defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, who all the evidence showed was definitely in on the deal, and President Bush's diary that could corroborate it.

Elliott Abrams had already been convicted of withholding evidence about it from Congress, and he may have even more information, too, if it could be pried out of him before he went to prison. But Abrams was keeping mum, apparently anticipating a pardon.

Weinberger, trying to avoid jail himself, was preparing to testify that Bush knew about it and even participated, and Walsh had already, based on information he'd obtained from the investigation into Weinberger, demanded that Bush turn over his diary from the campaign. He was also again hot on the trail of Abrams.

So Bush called in his attorney general, Bill Barr, and asked his advice.

Barr, along with Bush, was already up to his eyeballs in cover-ups of shady behavior by the Reagan administration.

Safire ultimately came refer to Barr as "Coverup-General" in the midst of another scandal - one having to do with Bush selling weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein - because the Attorney General was already covering up for Bush, Weinberger, and others from the Reagan administration in "Iraqgate."

On October 19, 1992, Safire wrote in The New York Times of Barr's unwillingness to appoint an independent counsel to look into Iraqgate:

"Why does the Coverup-General resist independent investigation? Because he knows where it may lead: to Dick Thornburgh, James Baker, Clayton Yeutter, Brent Scowcroft and himself [the people who organized the sale of WMD to Saddam]. He vainly hopes to be able to head it off, or at least be able to use the threat of firing to negotiate a deal."
Now, just short of two months later, Bush was asking Barr for advice on how to avoid another very serious charge in the Iran-Contra crimes. How, he wanted to know, could they shut down Walsh's investigation before Walsh's lawyers got their hands on Bush's diary?

In April of 2001, safely distant from the swirl of D.C. politics, the University of Virginia's Miller Center was compiling oral presidential histories, and interviewed Barr about his time as AG in the Bush White House. They brought up the issue of the Weinberger pardon, which put an end to the Iran-Contra investigation, and Barr's involvement in it. Turns out, Barr was right in the middle of it.

"There were some people arguing just for [a pardon for] Weinberger, and I said, 'No, in for a penny, in for a pound,'" Barr told the interviewer. "I went over and told the President I thought he should not only pardon Caspar Weinberger, but while he was at it, he should pardon about five others."

Which is exactly what Bush did, on Christmas Eve when most Americans were with family instead of watching the news. The holiday notwithstanding, the result was explosive.

America knew that both Reagan and Bush were up to their necks in Iran-Contra, and Democrats had been talking about treason, impeachment or worse. The independent counsel had already obtained one conviction, three guilty pleas, and two other individuals were lined up for prosecution. And Walsh was closing in fast on Bush himself.

The second paragraph of the Times story by David Johnston laid it out:
"Mr. Weinberger was scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 5 on charges that he lied to Congress about his knowledge of the arms sales to Iran and efforts by other countries to help underwrite the Nicaraguan rebels, a case that was expected to focus on Mr. Weinberger's private notes that contain references to Mr. Bush's endorsement of the secret shipments to Iran."
History shows that when a Republican president is in serious legal trouble, Bill Barr is the go-to guy.

For William Safire, it was deja vu all over again. Four months earlier, referring to Iraqgate (Bush's selling WMDs to Iraq), Safire opened his article, titled "Justice [Department] Corrupts Justice," by writing:

"U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in rejecting the House Judiciary Committee's call for a prosecutor not beholden to the Bush Administration to investigate the crimes of Iraqgate, has taken personal charge of the cover-up."
Safire accused Barr of not only rigging the cover-up, but of being one of the criminals who could be prosecuted.
"Mr. Barr," wrote Safire in The New York Times in August of 1992, "...could face prosecution if it turns out that high Bush officials knew about Saddam Hussein's perversion of our Agriculture export guarantees to finance his war machine." He added: "They [Barr and colleagues] have a keen personal and political interest in seeing to it that the Department of Justice stays in safe, controllable Republican hands."
Earlier in Bush's administration, Barr had succeeded in blocking the appointment of an investigator or independent counsel to look into Iraqgate, as Safire repeatedly documented in the Times. In December, Barr helped Bush block indictments from another independent counsel, Lawrence Walsh, and eliminated any risk that Reagan or George H.W. Bush would be held to account for Iran-Contra.

Walsh, wrote Johnston for the Times on Christmas Eve, "plans to review a 1986 campaign diary kept by Mr. Bush." The diary would be the smoking gun that would nail Bush to the scandal.

"But," noted the Times, "in a single stroke, Mr. Bush [at Barr's suggestion] swept away one conviction, three guilty pleas and two pending cases, virtually decapitating what was left of Mr. Walsh's effort, which began in 1986."
And Walsh didn't take it lying down.

The Times report noted that:

"Mr. Walsh bitterly condemned the President's action, charging that 'the Iran-contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed.'"
Independent Counsel Walsh added that the diary and notes he wanted to enter into a public trial of Weinberger represented:
"{E]vidence of a conspiracy among the highest ranking Reagan Administration officials to lie to Congress and the American public."
The phrase "highest ranking" officials included Reagan, Bush, and Barr himself.

Walsh had been fighting to get those documents ever since 1986, when he was appointed and Reagan still had two years left in office. Bush's and Weinberger's refusal to turn them over, Johnston noted in the Times, could have, in Walsh's words:

"[F]orestalled impeachment proceedings against President Reagan" through a pattern of "deception and obstruction."
Barr successfully covered up the involvement of two Republican presidents-Reagan and Bush-in two separate and impeachable "high crimes," one of them almost certainly treason.

Months later in January of 1993, newly sworn-in President Clinton and the new Congress decided to put it all behind them and not pursue the matters any further.

Will Biden do the same, for both Trump and Barr? He's publicly said that he's going to let his new attorney general, Merrick Garland, make those kinds of decisions.

And Garland has now unleashed the FBI and other investigators in ways that are sending shock-waves through Mar-a-Lago and the ranks of former Trump officials.

Not to mention the announcement this week that Democrats in the Senate are looking into Barr's corruption of the DOJ. Senator Dick Durban announced it today in a letter to Attorney General Garland.

Will Bill Barr ever be brought to justice?

One can only hope...

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

The Cartoon Corner -

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Marshall Ramsey ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Queen Elizabeth Shot Herself In Bunker As Enemy Forces Closed In
By The Onion

BALLATER, SCOTLAND-Ruling her official cause of death as suicide, sources confirmed Friday that Queen Elizabeth II shot herself in her bunker with her service pistol as enemy forces closed in.

"Rather than surrender, Queen Elizabeth died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head," said sources, who shared that the queen's body had been dragged out from her subterranean shelter at Balmoral Castle to the garden, where a servant burned and buried the queen's body alongside those of her beloved pet corgis, which had been force-fed cyanide capsules.

"As it became clear she could not win, she turned to her only option. Though she fought long and hard, the queen was terrified of being taken alive. A long, humiliating, and painful trial awaited her, and she wanted to ensure that she went out on her own terms rather than dying in prison."

At press time, sources added the queen's suicide was partly motivated by fear she would be strung up by her heels in the streets, as had happened only days earlier with Joe Biden.

(c) 2022 The Onion


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 36 (c) 09/16/2022

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