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In This Edition

Naomi Klein says, "Maxime Bernier Attacked Greta Thunberg's Autism."

Ralph Nader reports, "Avalanche-Level Liar Trump Learned Art Of Deception From the Pros: US Corporations."

Glen Ford with some good advice, "Believe Absolutely Nothing The US Government And Media Say About...Anything."

Jim Hightower exclaims, "Look Who's Joining The Struggle Against Corporate Plutocracy!"

Juan Cole concludes, "Looks Like Israel Was Caught Spying On Capitol Hill Cell Phones And Trump Was Fine With It."

John Nichols finds, "Impeachment Just Got A Whole Lot More Real."

James Donahue remembers that, "Saving Wall Street Took Top Priority After 9-11."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Biden's "Best Night" Was Pretty Damn Bad."

David Suzuki is, "Connecting The Dots Between The Climate And Biodiversity Crises."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "We Have Never Conquered Racist Hate With American Exceptionalism."

David Swanson explains why, "For The First Time In My Life I'm Against Impeaching The President."

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich gives, "Reasons For Optimism."

Jane Stllwater goes, "Live from Damascus: Celebration time!"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Nation's Bison Hold Lavish Fundraiser In Effort To Get 2020 Candidates To Support Environment," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "As The Dementia Sets In."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jack Ohman, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Bryan R. Smith, Jenny Lee Silver, Robyn Beck, Frederic J. Brown, Burton McNeely, Disney-ABC Television, Wikimedia Commons, Jane Stillwater, 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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As The Dementia Sets In
By Ernest Stewart

"The president has made clear, he's happy to take a meeting with no preconditions." ~~~ Steve Mnuchin

"It's so hot... I saw two trees fighting over a dog!" ~~~ Johnny Carson

"No Director of National Intelligence has ever refused to turn over a whistleblower complaint the IG determined to be urgent and credible. There is no privilege to engage in misconduct; not under this president, or any other. ~~~ Adam Schiff

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

You may have seen lying Donald threatening to bomb Iran at Saudi Arabia's beck and call even while knowing that the Yemenis did it. He then began to fight reality on Sunday, by bitching about "The Fake News" media for "saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, 'No Conditions.'" Of course, Lying Donald has said that very thing on several occasions and here's video to prove it.

As you can see from the video either Lying Donald is lying, or his dementia or Alzheimer's is setting in. Or in Donnies case, I suspect both his mental diseases and his non-stop lying! Don't you?

I would suspect as our nonstop watching Iran from space to all the radars trained from our fleet on Iran that he knows full well that Iran didn't do it and that the Houthi rebels in Yemen did. The Saudis know it too so Lying Donalds lies being well known for what they are, are ignored. Anyone else expecting an all out attack by the Saudis on Houthi's territory, to verify that fact?

Since Lying Donald's poll are falling, methinks, he thinks, it's time to wag the dog, or jump the shark! I have no doubt we're about to see a bunch of "Bund Rallies" as Lying Donald needs to hear the cheers instead of the laughs directed at him by the world!

In Other News

As Ed McMahon used to ask, "How hot was it Johnny?" Well Ed we've just had the hottest summer on record for the northern Hemisphere! In fact 2019 is the third-warmest year on record. It was also the 2nd-hottest August on record for the planet. Not to mention that July was the hottest month on record. Is that hot enough for your ass Ed?

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that the Northern Hemisphere just sweltered through its hottest summer on record. Consider that 90% of the population of the Earth lives in the Northern Hemisphere, where all five of its warmest summers have occurred in the last five years.

For the planet as a whole, the three months were the second-hottest on record. (June-August is winter in the Southern Hemisphere). Only 2016 was warmer, NOAA said. And the overall trend is one of heat: Nine of the 10 highest June-August global surface temperatures have occurred since 2009. Remember that records go back to 1880.

"Record-warm temperatures during the three-month period were present across parts of the western coast of Alaska, Mexico, western and southern Africa, South America, Europe and Asia,"
NOAA said in a statement. "Africa had its warmest June-August on record."

In Europe, Austria had its second-warmest summer on record, while Germany and France had their third-warmest summers. No land or ocean areas had a record-cold June-August 2019 temperature.

"Record-shattering heat wave: 'It's scary. This isn't the way it's supposed to be.' It was also the 2nd-hottest August on record for the planet, as Arctic sea ice melted to its 2nd smallest August area,"" NOAA said.

For the year-to-date, 2019 is the third-warmest year on record, trailing only 2016 and 2017. "It is virtually certain that 2019 will end among the top five warm years and will most likely finish among the 2nd, 3rd or 4th warmest year on record." NOAA said.

And as the Arctic Ocean keeps melting away it will get worse without the ice to reflect the heat back into space. It's becoming self perpetuating all by itself no matter what we do! Aren't you glad that Lying Donald is making it worse?

And Finally

I see where Lying Donald has ordered Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to break the law and not share a whistle blower complaint with Congress. Can you guess who the complaint is about? No, let's not see all the same hands... Those of you who said it was about Lying Donald may stay after class and clean the erasers. There'll be chocolate almond milk and graham crackers to follow!

After announcing last Friday that the independent Inspector General of the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) had alerted him to a whistleblower complaint, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told Margaret Brennan on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday that "acting DNI Joseph Maguire was refusing to turn over the complaint because it involved 'privileged communications' between people outside the intelligence community." Did I mention that not to do so is a crime?

Of course, this is far from the first time that Lying Donald has tried to cover up his crimes by instructing some subordinate to violate the laws to protect his lying ass. Yet another high crime that Nancy is ignoring to satisfy her corpo-rat masters. Come November 2020 lets not only get rid of Lying Donald, but Nancy as well! Therefore, Joseph Maguire wins this week's, Vidkun Quisling Award!

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!


03-21-1949 ~ 09-13-2019
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Thanks for the music!

12-27-1943 ~ 09-17-2019
Thanks for the news!

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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.

Greta Thunberg joins activists outside the United Nations during a protest on September 6, 2019 in New York.

Maxime Bernier Attacked Greta Thunberg's Autism
Autism Made the Teen a Global Voice of Conscience
By Naomi Klein

Maxime Bernier wants us to think he is sorry. The leader of the extremist People's Party of Canada had tweeted that Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is "clearly mentally unstable. Not only autistic, but obsessive-compulsive, eating disorder, depression, and lethargy, and she lives in a constant state of fear. She wants us to feel the same."

Facing a ferocious backlash, he has since backpedaled, calling the 16-year-old "a brave young woman" who unfortunately is a "pawn" of the climate movement.

Thunberg is nobody's pawn. I have rarely met anyone - child or adult - who better knows their own mind. And this is not despite her autism; it may well be because of it. In fact, a big part of what has made Thunberg such an inspiring figure, is the fact that she is living proof that diversity - in her case neurodiversity - is absolutely key to the survival of our species.

Every person with autism is different, but there are some traits that many with the diagnosis share in common. As Thunberg has said, people with her type of autism tend to be extremely literal and often have trouble coping with cognitive dissonance, those gaps between what we know and what we do.

Many people on the autism spectrum are also less prone to imitating the social behaviors of people around them and instead forge their own unique paths. This can make them intensely vulnerable to bullying.

"For those of us who are on the spectrum," Thunberg says, "almost everything is black or white. We aren't very good at lying, and we usually don't enjoy participating in this social game that the rest of you seem so fond of."

Many people on the spectrum also have a powerful capacity to focus on a particular area and to not be distracted. This is often a gift, but it can also be painful, as it was in Thunberg's case. She turned her laser-like focus on the climate crisis, including the failure of politicians to do what is required to protect a habitable planet. The fact that other people around her seemed relatively unconcerned about the urgent need for transformative action did not send her reassuring social signals, as such signals do for children who are more socially connected. The lack of concern terrified her even more.

According to Thunberg, the only way she was able to cope was to find ways to reduce the cognitive dissonance between what she had learned about the climate crisis and how she lived her life. If she desperately wanted powerful politicians to put our societies on emergency footing to fight climate change, then she needed to reflect that state of emergency in her own life.

So, at age 15, she decided to stop doing the one thing all kids are supposed to do when everything is normal: go to school. Every Friday, she skipped class and stationed herself outside of Sweden's parliament with a handmade sign that said simply: "School Strike For the Climate."

"Why," Thunberg wondered, "should we be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that future?"

The rest is history - the speeches at United Nations conferences, at the European Union, at TEDx Stockholm, at the Vatican, at the British Parliament.

To the rich and mighty at the annual World Economic Summit in Davos she said: "I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is."

Videos of her went viral. It was as if by yelling "Fire!" on our warming planet, she had given others the confidence to believe their own senses and smell the smoke coming in under all those tightly closed doors. And so, children around the world began taking their cues from her - the girl who takes social cues from no one - and started organizing student strikes of their own every Friday. (They have now called on people of all ages to join them, starting on Sept. 20.)

Thunberg's voyage from "invisible girl," as she described herself, to global voice of conscience is an extraordinary one, and it has a lot to teach us. In a way, she is asking those of us whose mental wiring is more typical - less prone to extraordinary focus and more capable of living with moral contradictions - to be more like her. And she has a point.

During normal, non-emergency times, the capacity of the human mind to rationalize, compartmentalize, and be distracted are important coping mechanisms. It's also extremely helpful to unconsciously look to our peers and role models to figure out how to feel and act - those social cues are how we form friendships and build cohesive communities.

When it comes to rising to the existential threat of climate breakdown, however, these traits are proving our collective undoing. They are reassuring us when we should not be reassured. They are distracting us when we should not be distracted. And they are easing our consciences when they should not be eased.

In part this is because pretty much every aspect of our economy would have to change if we were to decide to take climate change seriously, and there are many powerful interests that like things as they are. Not least the fossil fuel corporations, which have funded a decades-long machine of disinformation, obfuscation and straight-up lies about the reality of climate change.

As a result, when most of us look around for social confirmation about climate disruption, we are confronted with all kinds of contradictory signals: Don't worry about that; it's an exaggeration; there are countless more important problems; there are no alternatives; you'll never make a difference, and so on. And it certainly doesn't help that we are trying to navigate this civilizational crisis at a moment when some of the most brilliant minds of our time are devoting vast energies to figuring out ever more ingenious tools to keep us running around in digital circles in search of the next dopamine hit online.

This may explain the odd space that the climate crisis occupies in the public imagination, even among those of us who are actively terrified of climate collapse. One minute we're sharing articles about insect apocalypse and viral videos of walruses falling off cliffs because sea ice loss has destroyed their habitat. The next we're online shopping and willfully turning our minds into Swiss cheese by scrolling through Twitter or Instagram.

"I think in many ways that we autistic are the normal ones, and the rest of the people are pretty strange," Thunberg has said, adding that it helps not to be easily distracted or reassured with rationalizations.

"Because if the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions. To me, that is black or white."

(c) 2019 Naomi Klein is an award"winning journalist and syndicated columnist. Naomi Klein's book "On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal" will be published in September by Simon & Schuster. On September 9, she will appear with Greta Thunberg at an event hosted by The Intercept. To read all her latest writing visit You can follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein.

"Whether it is the auto industry's false inflation of fuel efficiency or the e-cigarette
companies deceiving youngsters about vaping, or the food industry selling sugary junk
cereals as nutrition for children, or the credit banking companies misleading on interest rates,"
truth in advertising is oxymoronic." Nobody has shown they understand this better than Donald J. Trump.

Avalanche-Level Liar Trump Learned Art Of Deception From the Pros: US Corporations
Before there was Trump there was a corporate stranglehold on false claims and campaigns that had a singular purpose to mislead
By Ralph Nader

For avalanche-level lying, deceiving, and misleading, mega-mimic Donald Trump need look no further than the history of the corporate advertising industry and the firms that pay them.

Dissembling is so deeply ingrained in commercial culture that the Federal Trade Commission and the courts don't challenge exaggerated general claims that they call "puffery."

Serious corporate deception is a common sales technique. At times it cost consumers more than dollars. It has led to major illness and loss of life.

Take the tobacco industry which used to sell its products in the context of health and facilitating mental concentration. Healthy movie stars and athletes were featured in print and on TV until 1970.

Despite studies showing that sugary soft drinks can damage health, increase obesity, and reduce life expectancy, the industry's ads still feature healthy, fit families in joyous situations guzzling pop. Fortunately, drinking water has regained its first place position as the most consumed liquid in the U.S.

Whether it is the auto industry's false inflation of fuel efficiency or the e-cigarette companies deceiving youngsters about vaping, or the food industry selling sugary junk cereals as nutrition for children, or the credit banking companies misleading on interest rates, truth in advertising is oxymoronic.

To counter these "fake ads," the consumer movement pushed for mandatory labeling on food and other products. The Federal Trade Commission is a chief enforcer against deception in advertising, but it has waxed and waned over the decades. The FTC describes its duties to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices as follows:

"In advertising and marketing, the law requires that objective claims be truthful and substantiated. The FTC does not pursue subjective claims or puffery - claims like "this is the best hairspray in the world." But if there is an objective component to the claim - such as "more consumers prefer our hairspray to any other" or "our hairspray lasts longer than the most popular brands" - then you need to be sure that the claim is not deceptive and that you have adequate substantiation before you make the claim."
A few times, companies, caught engaging in false advertising, were compelled by the FTC to announce the correction in their forthcoming ads and apologize. Those days are long gone.

Another way consumers fought back is the spectacular success of Dr. Sidney Wolfe and his associates at Public Citizen's Health Research Group. They researched hundreds of prescription drugs and over the counter medicines and found they were not effective for the purpose for which they are advertised. Relentless publicity on such dynamic mass media as the Phil Donahue Show led to the withdrawal of many of these products, likely saving consumers billions of dollars and protecting them from harmful side-effects (see Pills that Don't Work),.

When large companies are fighting regulation their lies become "clear and present dangers" to innocent people. I recall at a technical conference in the early nineteen sixties, a General Motors engineer warned that seatbelts in cars would tear away the inner organs of motorists from their moorings in sudden decelerations as in collisions. For the longest time, lead, asbestos, and a whole host of chemicals were featured as safe, not just necessary. All false.

Someone should write a book about all the prevarications by leading spokespersons of industry and commerce justifying the slavery of the "inferior races," arguing against the abolition of child labor in dungeon factories, and predicting that legislating social security would bring on communism.

Interestingly, corporations can lie vigorously and not lose credibility. Artificial corporate personhood comes with immunity from social sanctions that apply to real human beings.

In 1972, The People's Lobby in California, led by the impressive Ed and Joyce Koupal, qualified an initiative called "The Clean Environment Act." Corporations threw millions of dollars and made false claims to defeat the Act. Their public relations firm, Whitaker and Baxter, put out a fact sheet reaching millions of voters. The oil companies declared that "lowering the lead content of gasoline would cause automobile engines to fail, resulting in massive congestion and transit breakdowns." They also claimed that "reducing sulfur oxide emissions from diesel fuel would cause the state's transportation industry to grind to a haul," with huge joblessness and "economic chaos."

Other companies said a "moratorium on nuclear power plant construction" would lead to "widespread unemployment and darkened city streets." Banning DDT in California would "confront the farmer with economic ruin and produce critical shortages of fruits and vegetables" and more lurid hypotheticals.

The lies worked. Voters turned down the initiative by nearly two to one. All these reforms have since been advanced nationwide with no such disasters.

The media did not distinguish itself by separating the lies from the truth. Later in 1988, the media, led by the Los Angeles Times, did not let the auto insurance industry get away with lies about Prop 103, pushed by a $70 million television/radio buy. Prop 103 won and has saved California motorists over $100 billion according to leading actuary and consumer advocate J. Robert Hunter (see here).

Corporate fibbing pays monetary rewards. Informed consumers, their champions and regulatory agencies at the national, state, and local level must continue to make these companies pay a price, especially over social media. Madison Avenue calls the effect of such pushback "reputational risk."

(c) 2019 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).

Believe Absolutely Nothing The US Government And Media Say About...Anything
By Glen Ford

In any alliance with corporate oppression and militarism, Black America squanders reservoirs of respect among the Earth's peoples. We betray ourselves and become Black Gringos.

There was a time, not so long ago, when most Black Americans of all classes were highly skeptical of every word that emanated from the mouths of white folks in power in the United States. A substantial body of Black opinion believed nothing at all that appeared in the corporate media - which, back then, we simply called the "white press." It was a wise and healthy skepticism, learned over generations of enduring a constant stream of lies and slander against Black people from politicians and mass media of the two governing parties. These organs and mouthpieces of rich white people's power were no more to be trusted, as Malcolm X counseled, than "foxes" (Democrats) and "wolves" (Republicans). The logic of the collective Black domestic experience extended to international affairs, as well. We empathized with the "colored" peoples of the world under attack by the U.S. government and media. If white politicians and press lied about us, we knew they were probably lying about their foreign non-white victims, as well. And we were right.

" Then came the Sixties and our grassroots movement's victories over official American apartheid. One of the governing parties (the foxes) opened its doors to Black participation, and big business media began putting Black faces in front of the cameras. Racial euphemisms replaced outright slander against Blacks and the lies became more nuanced. But it was not until the advent of the First Black President that African Americans lost much of their traditional skepticism of U.S. government motives, at home and abroad. When Barack Obama threatened to bomb Syria in retaliation for an alleged -- and provably false - chemical attack on civilians, in September of 2013, polls showed more Black Americans than whites wanted the bombs to fall. Although only minorities of Americans of all races favored bombing Syria, it was the first time in the history of U.S. polling that Blacks were more bellicose than whites.

Only a decade earlier, in the run-up to President Bush's 2003 assault on Iraq, the Zogby polling organization had asked a representative sampling of Americans the question: "Would you favor an invasion of Iraq if it resulted in the death of thousands of Iraqi civilians?" Large majorities of white men and nearly a majority of white women were in favor of such an invasion, as were 16 percent of Hispanic Americans. But only 7 percent of African Americans said, "Yes" - meaning, the U.S. government and media demonization campaign against Iraq had been effective among only a very marginal segment of African Americans. Blacks still empathized with the masses of Iraqi civilians, while whites definitively did not.

The fact that overwhelming numbers of Blacks also perceived George Bush and his party as hostile to African American lives and interests, certainly made them more empathetic towards Bush's foreign victims, and the specific reference to "civilians" in the Zogby question is significant. But the erosion of Black internationalism - or, at least, Black American solidarity with other peoples of color in the world - is palpable and inarguable. Two years before the false-flag Syria chemical attack crisis, half of the Congressional Black Caucus voted against a bill that would have halted Obama's murderous and totally unprovoked bombing of Libya- an African country! - with virtually no protest from Black America.

Obama has retired to the luxurious haunts of the rich and famous classes that he served so well as president. Catastrophically, however, his replacement in the Oval Office by overtly racist Donald Trump is viewed as such an existential threat that much of Black America has made common cause with the FBI, the CIA and the worst warmongers in the Democratic Party in a hysteria to be rid of the Orange Menace. Russiagate is perhaps the most successful psychological warfare operation in U.S. history, and has largely neutralized Black America's traditional aversion to U.S. imperial aggressions.The Democratic Party and most of the corporate media have for the past three years been furiously mobilized behind a CIA-instigated "resistance" that is NOT directed against Trump's pro-rich, anti-Black and poor people policies, but rather seeks to solidify public support for U.S. military and economic domination of the world -- an imperialism of planetary terror and blackmail and domestic austerity and deprivation.

Black America cannot possibly achieve anything meaningful by siding with corporate Democrat Foxes and CIA Rattlesnakes in their ongoing coup against the Orange Peckerwood and his legions of crackers. Russiagate is a stealth assault on all who disagree with the corporate narrative and rich people's version of Truth. The only victors will be the oligarchy of Fat Cats and military-industrial complex Wolves. African Americans are admired the world over as a people that Fight the Power, not as conniving co-conspirators with humanity's enemies. The Foxes need Black votes to get their turn at stealing the eggs, but their leaders have assured the Fat Cats that there will be no Medicare for All, no dignified minimum wage, no forgiveness of college debt, no Green New Deal, no relief from gentrification and no retreat from half a century of militarized policing and mass incarceration of Black America.

There will certainly be no let-up in the campaign of starvation that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of mostly Black, brown and indigenous Venezuelans, a bipartisan, 20 year-long aggression; or the Dem-Rep tag-team's multi-generational siege of Iran, a country that has not invaded anyone in centuries; or the Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump military occupation of Africa, which has killed more than six million in Congo, alone.

The Foxes want to annihilate Russia, while the Wolves would blot out China. Neither can accept a world in which the U.S. ruling class is not supreme over the planet. In an alliance with such evil, Black America loses more than its soul - we squander the reservoirs of respect that generations of African American fighters for human dignity have earned among the Earth's peoples. We become Black Gringos, while still at the bottom of the American heap - a most ignominious end to our saga.

We find our real allies in struggle against the Lords of Capital -- the Fat Cats that have made our world a killing field. The epic struggle for Black self-determination is inseparable from the struggle for peace and a livable planet. Join the Black Alliance for Peace, the Black is Back Coalition and the Black Agenda Report team at the People's Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet, September 20 - 23rd, in New York City.

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

Look Who's Joining The Struggle Against Corporate Plutocracy
By Jim Hightower

Great news, people! We have a new ally in our historic battle against corporate plutocracy: Corporate plutocrats.

Yes, we've now been joined by the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Amazon, and nearly 200 other giant corporations. They're members of the Business roundtable (the chief lobbing front for America's biggest corporations), and they've declared their solidarity with all of us by issuing 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, etc. 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 an historic sense of pride in the task: "There were times when I felt like Thomas Jefferson," Gorsky gushed.

But wait - this is the guy who presided over Johnson & Johnson's profiteering role in spreading deadly opioids throughout America. An Oklahoma jury just assessed a half-billion-dollar 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 badly about it.

(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

Israeli intelligence services spying on U.S. powerbrokers is not surprising, but "the US
does give Israel $3 billion a year of tax payer money in addition to billions worth of
trade benefits, so it is a little rude of them to repay Washington this way."

Looks Like Israel Was Caught Spying On Capitol Hill Cell Phones And Trump Was Fine With It
If you were in FBI counterintelligence and you found Israeli StingRays all over downtown DC and you told the president about it and he blew you off, you'd really have no further option but to go to the press.
By Juan Cole

Daniel Lipmann at Politico dropped the bombshell that mysterious electronic spying devices placed throughout Washington, D.C. and close to the White House and the Capitol were traced by the FBI to Israel.

The Israelis deployed StingRay mobile identity-catchers, devices that are mistaken for cell towers by cell phones, allowing them to capture the contents of calls and the mobile browser activity.

Lipmann says that the FBI's Counterintelligence Division subjected the devices to extensive forensic tests, looking at where the components came from, how old they were, and considering who would have access to them, and the trail led inexorably to Israel. The FBI got help from the Department of Homeland Security and the Central Intelligence Agency (the latter for the overseas element in the forensic analysis, since the CIA is not supposed to operate domestically).

The news is concerning because such insider knowledge on the Israelis' part would allow them to counter US foreign policy initiatives they disliked early in the process.

It has to be admitted up front that the US NSA intensively spies on US allies, as well, so Israel hasn't done anything unusual here. Trump, moreover, is so addled that he just uses an ordinary cell phone out in the internet open, and so probably has 95 countries listening in on him.

On the other hand, the US does give Israel $3 billion a year of tax payer money in addition to billions worth of trade benefits, so it is a little rude of them to repay Washington this way.

The Israelis rather comically denied the allegations on the grounds that they never spy on the United States. Not only do we know that the Israelis intensively spy on the US government, including on the Pentagon, but they actually spy even on ordinary US citizens, as Al Jazeera's investigation showed:

The reason that the story was broken to Lipmann by three intelligence insiders is that they were disturbed that the Trump administration was apprised of their findings and did absolutely nothing about them. Trump is alleged to have said that he didn't believe the Israelis are spying on him. That makes you wonder what they might have on him from having spied on him.

If you were in FBI counterintelligence and you found Israeli StingRays all over downtown DC and you told the president about it and he blew you off, you'd really have no further option but to go to the press.

Only, Lipmann's article likely will have no big impact, either, on politics. Israel is teflon in American politics. Trump once boasted that his fans were so loyal that he could walk down Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and they'd still back him. This may or may not be true of Trump, but it is definitely true of Israel. About a year and a half ago the Palestinians in Gaza started protesting being locked up in the world's largest open-air prison. The Israeli army was permitted by PM Binyamin Netanyahu to adopt new rules of engagement whereby Israeli snipers were permitted to simply shoot down unarmed protesters who got within a certain distance of the border fence.

The United Nations reports that in the first year of the protests,

"Between 30 March 2018 and 22 March 2019, 195 Palestinians, including 41 children, were killed by Israeli forces in the "Great March of Return" demonstrations, including during the weekly protests near the perimeter fence, protests against the naval blockade at the beach, and the night activities near the perimeter fence. 28,939 Palestinians were injured, including 25 per cent wounded by live ammunition in these GMR demonstrations. There was one Israeli force fatality..."
The Israeli snipers shoot down journalists, medics, women, children, who are unarmed and far enough away from the barbed wire fence to pose no danger to the Israeli military. They protesters are being murdered and severely injured in cold blood. These are over 30,000 discrete war crimes.

And like Trump supporters, many Israel boosters are fine with murder. In fact, virtually the entire US political establishment is fine with it.

So if Washington isn't even upset about the shooting of small children in cold blood, how likely are they to be upset about Trump's phone calls being listened in on?

The explanation is simple, which is that Israel boosters give big money to political campaigns and Jewish Americans (some proportion of which are pro-Israel) are an important voting bloc in swing states.

Lipmann's story generated no YouTube clips by any major news organization. True, Fox Cable News did a segment, but it was about the Israeli denials.

Lipmann's story will be quietly buried, because no politician wants to risk sticking her head up and having it guillotined.

The only reason for the leaks I can think of is that the counter-intelligence folks think that at least the full range of US security and intelligence agencies will be aware of Israel's activities and of the StingRays, and might be able quietly to take counter-measures.

(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.

In this Sept. 10, 2019, photo, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.,
prepares for a markup hearing on a series of bills on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Impeachment Just Got A Whole Lot More Real
Some Democrats concerned as Judiciary sets impeachment rules
By John Nichols

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Mark Pocan has been saying for months that "Congress must now do its job" and open a formal impeachment inquiry. It's been a frustrating fight for the Wisconsin Democrat because, while the leaders of the House Democratic Caucus are more than willing to condemn Donald Trump's outrageous words and deeds, they get skittish about the "I" word.

Pocan has spoken frequently in recent months about the "urgent" need for Congress "to uphold its constitutional duty to act as a co-equal branch of government and conduct oversight of the Executive Branch." He's right. And he is not alone. Most members of the Democratic Caucus now support formal action that might lead to the impeachment of Trump by the House and a trial by the Senate. They are not unrealistic. They know Mitch McConnell's amen corner for this presidency might reject its duty to remove an errant executive whose presidency represents a daily assault on the Constitution's Emoluments Clause.

Yet, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says: "I want to see every Republican go on the record and knowingly vote against impeachment of this president knowing his corruption, having it on the record."

That's right. Instead of worrying about holding the president to account, Democrats should be forcing the issue - if only to identify the Republican senators who are willing to "protect the amount of lawlessness."

Yet, even as the Democrats who matter - the members of the House Judiciary Committee - are acting on the issue, top Democrats keep sending mixed signals. And the media, obsessed as it always is with the meanderings of the powerful rather than the actual news of the day, tends to go along with the charade. So, there is still some confusion about whether the Judiciary Committee has launched what can by every honest measure be referred to as an impeachment inquiry.

Let's clear things up. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that she's "not answering any more questions about a possible inquiry, investigation, and the rest" because "there is nothing different from one day to the next." But something very different happened Thursday. The Democratic majority on the Judiciary Committee voted to formally open an "investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with regard to President Donald J. Trump." In so doing, they established guidelines for pursuing an inquiry - with committee chair Jerry Nadler, D-New York, noting correctly that: "Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms."

The "resolution for investigative procedures" that was approved by the committee allows its members to accept sensitive evidence in closed executive sessions. It clears the way for subcommittees to schedule hearings and question witnesses on impeachment-related issues. And it permits legally and technically experienced staffers to join in the questioning of witnesses during committee hearings.

This is how an impeachment inquiry works, because this is an impeachment inquiry - no matter what Speaker Pelosi says or does not say.

(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.

Saving Wall Street Took Top Priority After 9-11
By James Donahue

The 9-11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center was designed to hit America at the heart of its capitalistic god, the center of its commercial dealings not only throughout the nation but with commercial centers around the world.

That complex housed several major Wall Street firms, including Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, one of the nation's largest investment banking operations. About 32 brokerage firms were headquartered there, plus Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, a major bank securities company, and Cantor Fitzgerald, which handled about a quarter of the government's bond trading, had major operations in those buildings.

Needless to say, stock markets around the world plunged dramatically as news of the attack reached them.

There were vital communication links leading from there right to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, located just a few blocks away. The destruction of the Trade Center was a brilliant attack, and came very close to wrecking the U.S. and even the world economic structure in one fell swoop.

Sending workers into the deadly smoke, soot and ash laced with asbestos and other toxins, became a matter of national security. Even the many people still trapped in that rubble, still alive, and calling for help on their cell phones, were not considered as important as the job of linking those communication lines and getting the stock exchange running again.

Few people know this. It is a sad truth, however. For years afterwords workers were dying from lung diseases inflicted by inhaling those toxic fumes. They had been deliberately lied to about the safety of the air and sent into harms way to get that stock market running again. People trapped in smoking, collapsing, and flooding debris under all the rubble were left to perish because the priority was to save the financial interests of the nation.

The order to put Wall Street at top priority, even over the lives of victims still trapped in the rubble, may have come from very high places.

Former White House anti-terrorism official Richard Clarke, in his book "Against All Enemies," wrote that on the evening of Sept. 11, President George W. Bush told several staff members, including Clarke, that "I want the economy back, open for business right away, banks, the stock market, everything tomorrow."

This order also was written about by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill in yet another book. He said that on Sept. 12, one of his aides told him "the President wants to open the New York Stock Exchange tomorrow."

When Bush was told about physical damage found in the Wall Street infrastructure, he said: "As soon as we get the rescue operations done up there, shift everything to fixing that damage so we can reopen."

If this statement is accurate, the order to bypass the trapped people under the rubble did not come from his lips. Yet in the course of the events that followed that meeting, this is exactly what was done.

Early on it was learned that the Federal Reserve's nationwide electronic funds-transfer system was still in an operating condition. This system handles hundreds of billions of dollars work of transactions among financial institutions every day. Even though the Federal Reserve Bank is located only two blocks from where the World Trade Center stood, employees returned to their desks after being evacuated to the bank's underground vault. And to help calm the fears of the business world, it was announced that the Federal Reserve System remained open and operating.

Incredibly, the financial markets in Manhattan began trading again on Sept. 17, four full trading days after the Sept. 11 attack. Workers returned to their jobs on the exchange to the acid smell of smoke and soot, and sat in the grey dust that filtered through the walls. But the exchange was up and running.

This was accomplished at the cost of the lives of an untold number of people who were not rescued from the deep, now flooded parking levels, train walkways, and other places where they became trapped when the towers collapsed.

Instead of digging to rescue living survivors, many of the volunteer workers were directed to dig to and repair the ports that once linked the stock exchange to those crushed offices.

Stories were told about a large number of cell phone calls from people trapped under that rubble, all pleading for help. One woman had a baby with her and she said water was rising around her. She appealed for someone to save her. She and her baby perished.

The executive order to put workers at risk in the rush to save the national economic system might be understood, when examined from an overall perspective. The national security of the country was at risk here, yet the health and lives of innocent victims of this attack, and the health workers who volunteered their time, should also have been given a high level of priority.

That the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Christie Todd Whitman, is now being targeted by the Sierra Club for possible liability in the hundreds of cases of severe and deadly lung and respiratory problems emerging from those frantic days of digging through the rubble was only to be expected. These good people went into that dust-filled air after her office issued a report that the air was safe to breathe.

The Sierra Club report charges that the EPA covered up results of federal tests that pointed to widespread health threats to not only the rescue workers, but also the people who lived in the downtown area and the office and store workers who went back to their jobs.

Not only were dangerous levels of asbestos found, but also traces of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a known carcinogen. This information was not disclosed by the EPA until two years after the attack, when they were published in an obscure scientific journal.

Eight weeks after 9-11, a survey by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that government workers at a federal building several blocks north of Ground Zero were suffering from numerous physical ailments that included shortness of breath, chest tightness, nausea, severe headaches, rashes and coughs.

Also childhood clinic visits by children at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in Chinatown jumped from 306 to 510 in the year after the attack.

The long-range effects of the careless actions by government leaders who should have been thinking after that attack, may be much more massive than anyone is willing to admit. In the interest of money, workers were pushed back to their jobs when, instead, the entire area should have been evacuated until the air tested safe. And the people who went into the breech should have been properly protected with masks and full body hazmat gear. The death toll continued for years and we may never know the final tally.

(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.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the third
Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season at Texas
Southern University in Houston, Texas, on September 12, 2019.

Biden's "Best Night" Was Pretty Damn Bad
By William Rivers Pitt

Thursday night's Democratic debate in Houston was many nautical miles from perfect, but it was by far the best of the lot. The ABC/Univision moderators were loose with their enforcement of the rules, allowing the candidates to more freely engage each other. By the end, the evening had given voters a long-awaited opportunity to more fully encompass the nuances of a party trying to decide between its past and its future.

The passing-for-freewheeling format wended its way through a variety of pressing topics. The night saw discussions on health care, immigration, foreign policy and war, mass incarceration, the climate crisis, mass shootings, racism, economics, and education before petering out on a nebulous question about professional resilience that turned into some kind of short-films feature you'd find on the Biography Channel. Other topics, like reproductive justice, child care and LGBTQ rights, were notably missing.

Bernie Sanders was at his stentorian finest on Thursday night. Repeated attempts by Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar to trip Sanders up were met with blistering counterattacks that served to vividly clarify the gulf between the conservatives and the progressives on the stage.

Elizabeth Warren likewise brought her A-game to Houston. She weaved personal, folksy storytelling with an iron grasp of policy, simultaneously managing to score rhetorical points while avoiding making any direct attacks on her rivals. Pete Buttigieg displayed a similar talent for remaining above the fray while steadily and calmly making the case for his candidacy.

Beto O'Rourke, who desperately needed a big night to maintain relevance in the race, had exactly that. His evocative discourse on the recent gun massacre in his hometown of El Paso had the other candidates lavishing him with praise. "Hell yes," he said in what became a memorable line of the night, "We're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47." For a Democratic Party seemingly going soft on gun reform for fear of angering Republicans, this was deeply welcome flamethrower language.

Like O'Rourke, Cory Booker had a standout night... which in itself is unremarkable, as Booker hasn't had a "bad night" since these debates began. He was passionate, eloquent, funny ("No. Actually, I want to translate that into Spanish: No.") and error-free in his presentation, once again. The presence in the race of Sanders and Warren may serve to explain why a dynamic candidate like Booker has failed to catch fire; he is reaching for progressive ground that is already covered twice over by candidates who are further to the left.

As Warren and Sanders explain Booker's struggles, Biden's centrist/establishment existence explains Klobuchar's own failure to launch. She wasn't particularly bad on Thursday night, nor was she particularly good, but Klobuchar's quest to capture the low ground of neoliberal incrementalism was thwarted by Biden, who has been preaching that gospel since 1973. Klobuchar has nowhere to go because of this, and so is going nowhere.

Meanwhile, Kamala Harris spent essentially the entire evening responding to pointed policy questions with some permutation of Yeah, this is really important and we should do something because of my nieces; also Trump is bad. When confronted with her damaging record as a prosecutor, Harris's hollow attempt to cast herself as a crusader for criminal punishment reform was badly exposed.

As for Andrew Yang, Thursday night provided a grimly accurate argument for why gadfly businessperson candidates should think very seriously before they run for president. Yang's "big moment" - offering $1,000 a month for a year to 10 families, to be paid for with campaign funds - was both flaccid and potentially illegal. His opaque talk about "democracy dollars" coupled with a strange self-own about Asians and doctors further undercut his necktie-free outsider shtick.

None of the candidates in Houston needed a big night more than Biden. Fortunately for him, his previous performances had set the bar lower than whale feces at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, so he had almost nowhere to go but up. Beyond dealing with his own seemingly inexhaustible talent for self-inflicted damage, Biden came to the event fully aware that every other candidate along with the moderators were looking to make their mark at his expense.

It is my deeply held personal conviction that Jorge Ramos, the moderator from Univision, should be allowed to run a debate all by himself somewhere down the line. He was there, by declaration, to represent the interests and concerns of Latinx voters because, he said at the outset, "This is our country, too." When the conversation turned to immigration and racism, Ramos was dogged in his determination to extract straight answers from the candidates.

Nowhere was this more evident than in Ramos's cross-examination of Biden. "As a presidential candidate in 2008, you supported the border wall," pressed Ramos. "Then you served as vice president in an administration that deported 3 million people, the most ever in U.S. history. Did you do anything to prevent those deportations? Why should Latinos trust you?"

Biden, who arrived on the stage as shiny as a new penny and gave a vigorous opening statement, offered little in the way of cogent response. His reply essentially boiled down to It wasn't as bad as it is now, because Trump! before corkscrewing into an abrogated rant about the Violence Against Women Act. Ramos, like a still cat with a twitchy tail, replied, "Yeah, but you didn't answer the question." After stirring the ashes of Biden's non-reply for a few moments, Ramos then trained his fire on Julian Castro, who responded by piling on Biden. "My problem with Vice President Biden," he said, "is every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, 'Oh, I was there, I was there, I was there. That's me, too,' and then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, 'Well, that was the president.' I mean, he wants to take credit for Obama's work but not have to answer to any questions."

Castro's taste for Biden's blood may have cost him dearly, however. During the segment devoted to health care, Castro attacked Biden's statement on buying in to a Medicare plan. When Biden corrected him, Castro responded, "You just said that... Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?" The thinly-veiled ageist attack was a bleak, Swalwell-esqe moment in an otherwise positive performance, highlighted by Castro's rejoinder to Buttigieg's complaint about there being too much argument on the stage: "Yeah, that's called the Democratic primary election, Pete. That's called an election."

While Biden certainly rose above his prior performances, his night was deeply marred by his crushing failure to speak competently on a variety of key issues facing our country. As expected, a significant portion of the evening was devoted to health care. Moderator George Stephanopoulos, channeling his inner blue dog, set the table for Biden by framing the Medicare for All conversation with three permutations of "raise your taxes" in the first five minutes. Biden was loud in taking the proffered bait but far from convincing, while Sanders and Warren eviscerated his position with a barrage of razor-tipped ripostes.

It got badly worse from there. When confronted with his own long and damaging record on race and segregation, Biden was asked, "What responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?"

He answered with a commentary on schools - and a thinly veiled attack on Black parents. Biden's reply deserves first-ballot consideration for entry into the Gibberish Hall of Fame. "It's not want they don't want to help," he stammered as he spiraled into quasi-Trumpian incoherence trying to explain the responsibility of parents. "They don't - they don't know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television - excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the - the - make sure that kids hear words."

Translation: Biden was advocating for a scenario in which social workers are deputized to teach Black parents (who, he assumes, do not know enough "words" for their kids to learn anything from them) to parent. One recommendation such social workers might make would be, apparently, playing records at night.

"Biden 2020: Make Sure Kids Hear Words" is probably not the slogan his campaign hoped would emerge from the evening, any more than they wanted to see #RecordPlayer trending alongside #BidensTeeth on Twitter when all was said and done. The fact that this was Biden's best performance of the campaign does not mean it was a good performance - it wasn't - and questions about his strength as a frontrunner are not going away anytime soon. Neither are accusations of deeply embedded racism, thanks to his record player fiasco.

If you slap someone across the face several times and then shake their hand, they might actually thank you for the kindness. People are strange that way, and that's what this debate felt like. The less restricted format made the three hours seem to fly by, and it was certainly the best debate so far, but that isn't saying much.

Until the field is winnowed further, or until a network decides to split this group of 10 into two smaller-stage nights in order to foster a more detailed conversation, Thursday night in Houston is probably the most substance we can hope for in the near term, which isn't very hopeful at all.

(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.

For some species, climate impacts are not as direct but all living things depend on a stable climate and functioning ecosystems

Connecting The Dots Between The Climate And Biodiversity Crises
By David Suzuki

The polar bear has become the poster child for climate change impacts in the Arctic. Sea ice, which the bears depend on for hunting, is melting at an ever-expanding rate.

For other species, climate impacts are not as direct. The 2019 State of Canada's Birds report found aerial insectivores like swifts, swallows and nightjars have declined by 59 per cent since 1970. The report cites climate change as one of several threats, as severe weather limits insect availability.

Similarly, according to Lauren Meads, director of the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of B.C., extreme weather events linked to climate change have affected habitat where captive rehabilitated burrowing owls are released, affecting their ability to return to breeding grounds the following year.

For those working to help species recover, addressing the primary cause of decline is key. Although climate disruption is exacerbating the plight of many species, the polar bear and its Arctic neighbours stand (or swim or fly) alone to some extent. The primary cause of decline for most at-risk species in Canada is habitat loss and degradation.

Some industries are trying to use the ever-evolving climate crisis to stall habitat protection and recovery. When the forestry industry called for a delay in much-needed recovery measures, citing the need to explore climate change impacts on caribou populations, some leading caribou scientists wrote, "There is little evidence to suggest that climate change brought caribou populations to their current threatened condition, nor does climate change explain the rapid rates of decline and range recession that are continuing today in many locations."

Although they intersect, the ecological emergency driving species imperilment and the climate crisis can't be entirely conflated. The extinction crisis is caused by a lack of sufficient limits to development, agricultural and resource-extraction activities. The climate crisis is cause by a lack of sufficient limits to greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere.

That isn't to say that there isn't significant overlap, in causes and solutions.

A Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society report says, "Human activity, including industrial farming, logging, mining, hydro-electric development, and oil and gas exploration, have caused these twin ecological crises, which are closely interrelated." Finding Common Ground finds, "Reducing human-driven land use change in Canada's ecosystems, especially wetlands, offers a potential treasure trove of emission reductions with significant biodiversity benefits."

This is especially true in Alberta and northeastern B.C., where oil and gas development have devastated caribou habitat and imperilled wildlife and the Indigenous communities that depend on it. Industrial activity has disturbed 96 per cent of the Little Smoky caribou range and 70 to 80 per cent of the Chinchaga, West Side Athabasca River, East Side Athabasca River, Cold Lake, Nipisi and Slave Lake boreal caribou ranges.

These high disturbance levels reduce caribou populations' chances of persistence to less than 20 per cent. To increase their chances, significant changes are needed to contain the logging and oil and gas footprint and initiate aggressive restoration.

Protecting habitat such as the boreal forest, rich with peatlands, would also serve as a means of sequestering carbon.

Wildlife decline isn't just an ecological issue. In B.C.'s Peace River Valley, more than three-quarters of Blueberry River First Nations traditional territory is within a few minutes' walk of industrial disturbance. In May 2019, Blueberry took the province to court, arguing that the cumulative impacts of industrial activities - primarily oil and gas - have significantly affected the lands and wildlife within their traditional territory and, accordingly, their treaty rights to hunt and fish.

Although there are different ways to mend and mitigate the two crises, the root causes - avoiding our duties to repair what we have fractured, neglecting to set limits to human activities, stalling direly needed actions - are the same, as are the broad solutions: recognizing our impacts on the planet, taking responsibility for them and coming together to take immediate, meaningful action. As the CPAWS report says, protecting and restoring forests, peatlands, grasslands and wetlands can advance biodiversity and climate goals.

As daunting as both crises are, we can't look away. We must face them and change course.

All living things depend on a stable climate and functioning ecosystems. Our planet is the only one with badgers and dragonflies - and chocolate! It's worth fighting for.

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

We Have Never Conquered Racist Hate With American Exceptionalism
Joe Biden delivered a speech with passion and purpose, but it may be inadequate to the present moment.
By Charles P. Pierce

Joe Biden went to Birmingham on Sunday, to the 16th Street Baptist Church, on the anniversary of the day in 1963 when three men named Bobby Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Jr., and Robert Chambliss, evil bastards all, killed Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson, innocent children all, with a bomb. It was billed as a big speech on race, and Joe Biden delivered it with passion and purpose. But, still, for all his assertions that the hate that bombed the church still lives today, and that white supremacy is enjoying a public comeback that would have made Bobby Cherry and them dance for joy, there was something about the speech that seemed, if not dated, but inadequate to the current moment.

Bobby Cherry and them never had a president* who'd tell folks that there were fine people on both sides of the issue of white supremacy, and do it on national television. Back then, the Klan had to plot its plots on paper, with code words and whispers. There were no websites, no private chatrooms, in which the hate could thrive the way it does today. Biden said:

Hate is on the rise again, we're at a defining moment again in American history. Who are we? What do we want to be? After Charlottesville, I said that I believed we're at a battle for the soul of America. I say it again today, we're at the battle for the soul of America. When our nation must again decide who we are, what we stand for... We remember the moment when time stopped and then remember everything that came after. And we choose once more to fight for a shared American dream... Hate only hides, it doesn't go away. We have not relegated racism and white supremacy to the pages of history. But the greatness of this nation has always been and must continue to be that we still strive... When what's at stake matter the most, when we decide who we are and, maybe more importantly, who we want to be.
All of which is true enough, and it needs to be repeated down through the ages. But in the 56 years since those four little girls were murdered by those evil bastards, too much of our politics, at least among our white fellow citizens, has been taken up in self-congratulation and moral hubris about how the hate that blew up the church was conquered through our inexorable American exceptionalism. (Another example-there has been pushback against the NYT's "1619 Project" on the basis that, hey, white folks died to free you ingrates. This, of course, elides American history from 1868 until 1965, and a lot what happened since.)

Mourners console one another at the funeral for the victims of the 16th St. Baptist Church bombing.

That's what I heard in Biden's speech. That self-congratulations bred a kind of smug political apathy that allowed segregation and racism to creep back, speech by speech and law by law, in new, shiny disguises. It's why Americans fell for the "crack baby" hoax and the "superpredator" nonsense, and why too many of our fellow citizens fell for the evil bastard and his rhetoric in 2016. It's also why Democrats like Joe Biden so enthusiastically supported the crime bill back in 1994 that led to mass incarceration, and that's why Joe Biden is having trouble.

So Joe Biden gave a good speech and I hope a lot of people heard it. I have no doubt that he is sincere, and the idea that he is a racist is preposterous. But, like a lot of politicians of his era, and the next, he fell into complacent triumphalism that belied the actual victories fought for and won by the actual victims of our original sin. If some people think he's running to restore that comfortable status quo, he's got serious trouble on his hands.

(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-

"Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests."
~~~ John Rawls

For The First Time In My Life I'm Against Impeaching The President
By David Swanson

I had hoped to make the above statement after electing a president whom I did not consider a vile mass-murderous warmongering climate-destroying threat to humanity. I'm saying it early. I'm saying it while Trump is president.

But I'm not saying it because I've come to share any of the common views of the matter. I do not think it matters more who is president than whether presidents can be held accountable, so I'm not quaking in fear of President Pence. I do not think an indictment is useless without a conviction, so I'm not predicting doom and demanding inaction. Nor have I gained the magical ability to foresee the impossibility of conviction. Nor do I have any interest in electing Democrats, much less the belief that more of them will be elected the more they look like losers who will roll over and take any abuse. I also think the failure to impeach Trump makes Trump more likely to stay in office an extra four years - no matter how much he squeals about being left in a briar patch.

The reason I'm against impeachment is that House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has made clear that he will use it to focus on the disastrous and counterproductive unproven and unprovable claims of Russiagate rather than on the dozens of indisputable public acts through which Trump has committed open and acknowledged (and in some cases acknowledged by Nadler) impeachable offenses.

Yes, yes, yes, someone in Russia may have bought an infinitesimally small amount of very weird advertisements on Facebook.

Yes, of course, Trump has shady business dealings in Russia as in every other part of the earth.

Yes, Trump has obstructed justice and refused to comply with subpoenas in connection with Russiagate-ish things.

But a Russiagate impeachment is good for Trump and bad for humanity.

It amounts to an endless repetition of the basic truths that nobody Russian, much less the Russian government, influenced the outcome of the U.S. election, that Trump never conspired with the Russian government to influence the election, that Russia never hacked into election machines or electricity grids, that Trump has not been a Russian agent for decades, that Trump didn't steal Democrats' emails or give them to WikiLeaks, that the content of those emails (the corruption of the Democratic primaries, and the nastiness of the Democratic nominee) were the reason for the invention of the Russiagate distraction, and that the Democrats have made themselves look like jackasses for three years.

All of this is bad for any hope of cleaning up actual problems with the U.S. election system, including the financial corruption, the media failure, the electoral college, the two-party system, debate access, ballot access, gerrymandering, unverifiable counts, racist roll purging, and a candidate who openly intimidates and instigates violence.

Russiagate also 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." Russiagate is also horrible for impeachment. After making Trump look good and his critics look like idiots, a Russiagate impeachment is the most likely to fail in the House and if passed by the House to fail in the Senate. The result will be a free pass, even more powerful than the post-Bill-Clinton pass handed to George W. Bush, for presidents to do simply anything without fear of impeachment. Because, just as the Democrats blame Russia for their lousy election, they will blame the impeachment process itself for their lousy impeachment.

It didn't have to be this way. I have been far from alone in demanding impeachment for the right reasons since before inauguration day. I have not been the only one denouncing Russiagate since its birth. Impeachment could have and should have happened in January 2017 on the grounds of violation of both emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Impeachment could have and should have happened when Trump tried to ban Muslims, when he threatened nuclear war, when he took children from their families and locked them up, when he abused the pardon power, when he declared phony emergencies in order to violate the law, when he failed to prepare for or respond to hurricanes, when he waged wars and plotted coups and told various subordinates he'd have their backs if they broke the law.

If impeachment at any point had reversed the offenses, had reformed the policies - which is what impeachment efforts in the past have usually done - that would have been a significant accomplishment. Instead, Trump has been given immunity, and his brazenness has increased accordingly.

Even now, impeachment hearings for the right reasons would educate the public, and the media, and the Senators. But that will clearly never ever happen. "Impeachment" simply means Russiagate to U.S. Congress Members and television viewers. So, I am against it. At the risk of having all the wrath of the impeachers redirected to myself, let me say that I am in favor of friendship and peace with Russia, and of survival for the human species.

(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-

Joseph gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Schauspielkunst Stellvertreter Fuhrer Maguire,

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 refusal, despite legal requirements, to share an official internal complaint with Congress, 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 Herr Maguire, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Reasons For Optimism
By Robert Reich

If stagnant wages, near-record inequality, climate change, nuclear buildups, assault weapons, mass killings, trade wars, opioid deaths, Russian intrusions into American elections, kids locked in cages at our border, and Donald Trump in the White House don't at least occasionally cause you feelings of impending doom, you're not human.

But I want you to remember this: As bad as it looks right now - as despairing as you can sometimes feel - the great strength of this country is our resilience. We bounce back. We will again.

Not convinced?

First, come back in time with me to when I graduated college in 1968. That year, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Our cities were burning.

Tens of thousands of young Americans were being ordered to Vietnam to fight an unwinnable and unjust war, which ultimately claimed over 58,000 American lives and the lives of over 3 million Vietnamese.

The nation was deeply divided. And then in November of that year, Richard Nixon was elected president. I recall thinking this nation would never recover. But somehow we bounced back.

In subsequent years we enacted the Environmental Protection Act. We achieved marriage equality for gays and lesbians. We elected a black man to be president of the United States. We passed the Affordable Care Act.

Even now, it's not as bleak as it sometimes seems. In 2018 a record number of women, people of color, and LGBTQ representatives were elected to Congress, including the first Muslim women.

Eighteen states raised their minimum wages.

Even in traditionally conservative states, surprising things are happening. In Tennessee, a Republican legislature has enacted free community college and raised taxes for infrastructure. Nevada has expanded voting rights and gun controls. New Mexico has increased spending by 11 percent and raised its minimum wage by 60 percent.

Teachers have gone on strike in Virginia, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina - and won. The public sided with the teachers.

In several states, after decades of tough-on-crime policies, conservative groups have joined with liberals to reform criminal justice systems. Early childhood education and alternative energy promotion have also expanded nationwide, largely on a bipartisan basis.

In 2018, South Carolina passed a law giving pregnant workers and new mothers more protections in the workplace. The law emerged from an unlikely coalition - supporters of abortion rights and religious groups that oppose them. A similar alliance in Kentucky enacted laws requiring that employers provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and new mothers.

The arc of American history reveals an unmistakable pattern. Whenever privilege and power conspire to pull us backward, we eventually rally and move forward.

(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

Live from Damascus: Celebration time!
By Jane Stillwater

After arriving at the Beirut airport on my way to Damascus for a conference of union representatives, I myself personally experienced just how much the Lebanese people totally hate and resent the presence of those pesky Zionists hovering around their southern border, always up to no good.

"We've beaten them twice already -- and we can do it again," said the Lebanese guy standing behind me in line while we waited to go through passport control. "They want to attack Iran? Ha! They can't even beat Lebanon!" And that is so true.

After the Zionists sent a suicide drone to bomb Beirut recently, the Lebanese immediately did that eye-for-an-eye thing and returned fire on an Israeli military base. "But the Israeli soldiers had all run away in fear!" But I digress. Let's get back to my passport-control story.

"You've got an Israeli stamp in your passport!" the Lebanese TSA guy exclaimed -- and then started looking at me like I was some sort of Mossad agent.

"No, wait," I replied. "It says 'entry denied' on top of that first stamp. See that second stamp? I was banned from entering Zionist Land. Honest!"

"But you are an American citizen. They are required by law to let you in." One would think so -- after all the billions of dollars that American taxpayers donate to the Israeli killing machine every year. But, no. Didn't happen. They'd stopped me at the border on my way to Bethlehem. Rumor has it that Jesus had not been pleased.

Then the TSA guy's supervisor examined my passport. And then his supervisor's supervisor examined it too. Multiple photocopies were made. Tears were almost shed. Finally I was let through. Whew.

After that, we drove off to Damascus and got stored in a four-star hotel until the conference here began. And the next day I toured Old Damascus. Narrow streets, friendly people, families out for a stroll in the warm night air -- eating pizza by the slice.

And then I went off to a huge exhibition at the Damascus fairgrounds, attended by thousands of Syrians. A grand affair. Families and teenagers and cute little babies. Bouncy houses. Carnival rides. Exhibits. Even horses. I entered a dance-off competition -- and almost won! If I do say so myself, I can do a mean twerk. But then some hip-hop dude beat me. Humph.

What's my point here? It's as if all of Syria had been holding its breath for eight long miserable years. Would President Assad protect them from the al Qaeda/ISIS "rebel" hordes? Or would America's "humanitarian" coalition turn Syria into yet another sci-fi wasteland like Libya?

But here in Damascus, on this wonderfully warm late-summer night, it was as if all of Syria was friendly and happy and celebrating with joy that Syrians were now safe to walk in the street at night and go to school and hold down jobs and just be normal again. "Good job, President Assad."

PS: The high cost of the American-slash-Zionist-slash-Saudi illegal invasion was brought graphically home to me at a border station between Lebanon and Syria. A middle-class-looking couple entered the building, looking to get their passports stamped so they could finally return safely to their home in Syria. A mother, a father, a nine-year-old daughter and a cute little six-month old baby. Perfectly normal, right? Wrong.

The nine-year-old held her baby sister and looked down at the baby with a loving look on her face -- what was left of her face that is. A lot of her face had been chewed off by napalm or white phosphorus, including most of her nose.

And which countries that we know of routinely go around bombing children with white phosphorus? Suddenly I was ashamed to be an American. You would be too.

This young girl, almost my own granddaughter's age, was trying very hard to be normal, a struggle that she would have for the rest of her life. America, is creating all this horror really worth it? Is oil all that important to the powers-that-be who now own our country? Obama? Bush? Trump? What if that had been one of your daughters instead?

PPS: Geez Louise, how did all this horrible murder and slaughter happen to Syria the first place? To the point where America actually hired al Qaeda and ISIS to bring "Democracy" to the Middle East? Let me tell you. In a word. Propaganda. We have all been seriously duped. Case in point? The Economist. Revered source of intellectual provenance, right? The Economist would never lie to us, right? And yet here is just one more torrid example of yellow journalism, taken straight from their website: "True to his slogan, [President Assad] destroyed whole cities and gassed and starved his own people. What rebels remain are holed up in Idlib province. It, too, will soon fall. Against all the odds, the monster has won."

Uh, no. President Assad didn't gas or starve anybody. Americans, Zionists, Saudis and their proxy "rebels" aka ISIS and al Qaeda did all that. Monster? Tell that to the hundreds of Syrians I just walked among as they celebrated life at a wonderful family fair in Damascus. The Economist would have a really hard time telling these Syrian front-row eye-witnesses that their president is a monster.

Hell, these happy families probably wouldn't even be alive right now if America had actually conquered Syria.

(c) 2019 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jack Ohman ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Nation's Bison Hold Lavish Fundraiser In Effort To Get 2020 Candidates To Support Environment
By The Onion

BUTTE, MT-In a glitzy venue filled with the biggest names in the wildlife community, the nation's bison hosted an opulent gala fundraiser Friday in an effort to convince the 2020 Democratic candidates to support the environment.

"This is a great opportunity for us to get a lot of face time with the presidential candidates about addressing our needs in their platforms," said Heidi Grumblebelt, a 2000-pound spokesbison for the "Center For Herd Progress" super PAC, looking radiant in an Alexander McQueen gown as she showed off the grass dishes at each $1000-a-trough table setting.

"This year we've partnered with sister organizations in the tree and eagle communities, many of whom donated prizes for our silent auction. We know that money talks, so hosting this event for major Democratic candidates is the best shot that American bison have of seeing their agenda in action."

At press time, a whistleblower revealed that nearly all of the money raised had been embezzled to buy extravagant new grazing fields for the gala organizers.

(c) 2019 The Onion

The Gross National Debt

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 36 (c) 09/20/2019

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