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In This Edition

Norman Solomon explains, "As War Keeps Poisoning Humanity, Organizing Continues To Be The Antidote."

Ralph Nader asks, "What Gives With Newspapers' Graphic Artists?"

Jesse Jackson demands, "Treatment of Haiti Refugees Must Reflect Our Deepest Sense of Humanity."

Jim Hightower says, "Hey Washington: Follow The People."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "McConnell, Manchin, Sinema And Pharma Dems Are Preparing To Torpedo Everything."

John Nichols says, "Bernie Sanders Backs Canada's Left Rival To Justin Trudeau."

James Donahue concludes, "Attacks Against Mr. Biden May Be Unwarranted."

Heather Digby Parton returns with a must read, "Mike Pence's 6-Point Plan To Steal The Election: Republicans Leave Roadmap For Future Authoritarians."

Bill McKibben says, "It's Climate Week Again, But The Calendar Is Running Out."

Charles P. Pierce sees that, "It Isn't Just Joe Manchin And Kyrsten Sinema. A Handful Of Cowardly Democrats Are Letting Them Front This."

Juan Cole reports, "UN: Earth Heading To 16% Increase In Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 2030, Risking Climate Instability."

Robert Reich has, "A New Endeavor."

Thom Hartmann explores, "The Cancer Of Money In Our Politics Gives A "Thumbs-Up" For Big Pharma To Kill More Americans."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Waterford Whispers News reports, "Taliban Condemns Restrictive Texas Abortion Law," but first, Uncle Ernie exclaims, "World On 'Catastrophic' Path To 2.7C Warming!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jen Sorensen, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, CQ-Roll Call, EPA, N.Y.T., Justin Tang, Alex Wong, Erik McGregor, Kevin Dietsch, Salon, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, 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 Cartoon Corner-
To End On A Happy Note-
Have You Seen This-
Parting Shots-

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World On 'Catastrophic' Path To 2.7C Warming!
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"The world listened, but it didn't act strongly enough. As a result, climate change is a problem that is here, now. Nobody is safe. And it is getting worse faster." ~~~ Antonio Guterres ~ UN Secretary-General

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me
Help ~~~ The Beatles

I see where United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has warned that a failure to cut global emissions is setting the world on a "catastrophic" path to 2.7 degrees Celsius heating.

A UN report on 191 countries' emissions promises found that they would not meet the ambition of the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit human-caused global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures.

Instead, it showed "the world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7-degrees of heating," Guterres said in a statement on Friday, just weeks before crunch talks at the COP26 summit in November aimed at securing more ambitious climate action.

The new UN analysis said that under countries' current pledges, global emissions would be 16 percent higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 - far off the 45 percent reduction by 2030 that scientists say is needed to stave off disastrous climate change.

Without more ambitious commitments, global temperatures could hit 2.7C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, the UN said.

That would unleash far more devastating effects than those already battering countries around the world, from fatal floods to wildfires and storms.

"Overall greenhouse gas emission numbers are moving in the wrong direction," UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa said. "It's not enough, what we have on the table."

Espinosa said she had received "very positive signals" in talks with some countries that new commitments would arrive before the COP26 summit in Glasgow, without naming any.

The United States and the 27-country European Union - the world's second and third-biggest emitters after China - were among those to set tougher emissions-cutting targets this year.

Nations responsible for about half the world's emissions have yet to do so. China, India and Saudi Arabia are among them.

Brazil and Mexico submitted updated pledges that analysts said would cause higher emissions than those countries' previous targets.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said that "without action from all countries, especially the biggest economies, these efforts risk being in vain."

Countries including India have said they cannot cut emissions faster unless they receive more support from rich nations to invest in low-carbon energy and industries.

So far, promised support has not arrived. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said on Friday it was likely that wealthy countries missed a goal to contribute $100bn in 2020 to help developing nations cope with climate change.

The UN said it would publish another report on October 25, assessing any new climate pledges countries make before October 12.


08-18-1945 ~ 09-20-2021
Thanks for the music!

05-06-1965 ~ 09-20-2021
Thanks for the film!

09-20-1931 ~ 09-21-2021
Thanks for the film!

02-20-1964 ~ 09-21-2021
Thanks for the film!

09-25-1930 ~ 09-22-2021
Thanks for the film!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2021 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

As War Keeps Poisoning Humanity, Organizing Continues To Be The Antidote
By Norman Solomon

Last weekend, U.S. corporate media continued a 20-year repetition compulsion to evade the central role of the USA in causing vast carnage and misery due to the so-called War on Terror. But millions of Americans fervently oppose the military-industrial complex and its extremely immoral nonstop warfare.

CodePink and Massachusetts Peace Action hosted a national webinar to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 -- the day before Sunday's launch of the Cut the Pentagon campaign -- and the resulting video includes more than 20 speakers who directly challenged the lethal orthodoxy of the warfare state. As part of the mix, here's the gist of what I had to say:

When we hear all the media coverage and retrospectives, we rarely hear -- and certainly almost never in the mass media hear -- that when people are killed, whether it's intentional or predictable, those are atrocities that are being financed by U.S. taxpayers. And so we hear about the evils of Al Qaeda and 9/11, and certainly those were evils, but we're not hearing about the predictable as well as the intentional deaths: the tens of thousands of civilians killed by U.S. air strikes alone in the last two decades, and the injuries, and the terrorizing of people with drones and other U.S. weapons. We're hearing very little about that.
Part of the role of activists is to make those realities heard, make them heard loud and clear, as forcefully and as emphatically and as powerfully as possible. Activist roles can sometimes get blurred in terms of becoming conflated with the roles of some of the best members of Congress. When progressive legislators push for peace and social justice, they deserve our praise and our support. When they succumb to the foreign-policy "Blob" -- when they start to be more a representative of the establishment to the movements rather than a representative of the movements to the establishment -- we've got a problem.

It's vital for progressive activists to be clear about what our goals are, and to be willing to challenge even our friends on Capitol Hill.

I'll give you a very recent example. Two leaders of anti-war forces in the House of Representatives, a couple of weeks ago, circulated a "Dear Colleague" message encouraging members of the House to sign a letter urging the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, to stand firm behind President Biden's 1.6 percent increase in the Pentagon budget, over the budget that Trump had gotten the year before. The point of the letter was: Chairman Smith, we want you to defend the Biden budget's increase of 1.6 percent, against the budget that has just been approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee with a 3.3 percent increase.

That kind of a letter moves the goal posts further and further to the liking of the military-industrial complex, to the liking of war profiteers, to the liking of the warfare state. And so, when people we admire and support, in this case Rep. Mark Pocan and Rep. Barbara Lee, circulate such a Dear Colleague letter, there's a tendency for organizations to say: "Yeah, we're going to get behind you," we will respond affirmatively to the call to urge our members to urge their representatives in Congress to sign this letter. And what that creates is a jumping-off point that moves the frame of reference farther and farther into the militarism that we're trying to push back against. For that reason, my colleagues and I at RootsAction decided to decline an invitation to sign in support.

I bring up that episode because it's indicative of the pathways and the crossroads that we face to create momentum for a stronger and more effective peace and social justice movement. And it's replicated in many respects. When we're told it's not practical on Capitol Hill to urge a cutoff of military funding and assistance to all countries that violate human rights -- and when we're told that Israel is off the table -- it's not our job to internalize those limits that have been internalized by almost everyone in Congress, except for the Squad and a precious few others.

It's our job to speak not only truth to power but also about power. And to be clear and candid even when that means challenging some of our usual allies. And to organize.

At RootsAction, we've launched a site called Progressive Hub, as an activism tool to combine the need to know with the imperative to act.

It's not easy, to put it mildly, to go against the powerful flood of megamedia, of big money in politics, of the ways that issues are constantly framed by powerful elites. But in the long run, peace activism is essential for overcoming militarism. And organizing is what makes that possible.

(c) 2021 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

What Gives With Newspapers' Graphic Artists?
By Ralph Nader

The old saying that "art follows function" is being reversed by print newspaper editors alarmed over the shorter attention spans of readers who are moving to online news outlets. As a result, newspaper editors have ushered in a golden age for graphic artists giving them huge chunks of newspaper space formerly devoted to reporters and news.

Granted a sea of type from the old pre-TV days won't work well in today's visual culture. But there is still the factor of balance to be weighed.

Take, for example, one of our nation's most serious newspapers - the New York Times. Editors used to value the front-page sections of the Sunday Times and use this space for the most important articles and features. Now editors favor graphic artists and have pushed the articles into reduced space or off the front pages of sections entirely. The readers are losing news content.

To be specific: The Times's Sunday Business Page on August 15, 2021, devoted 80 percent of its front page to a giant ice cream sundae. That might be one reason the great financial crimes reporter, Gretchen Morgenson, left the Times. She used to regularly be on page one of the Business Page on Sundays giving indigestion to business bosses reading her exposes at breakfast. It didn't help hearing that the editors wanted to make the section "more business-friendly."

Long-time popular columnists of the Sunday Business section of the NYT were also dropped perhaps because of this shift in emphasis.

The August 15 NYT's Sunday Review section, which used to be seen as the most valuable journalistic real estate in the country, offered a page one filled with a black and blue graphic, with an additional huge splash of artistry inside the section straddling the middle of two pages. Imagine the substantive reporting/commentary lost by allowing excessive art to replace function.

The NYT's Sunday Book Review section devoted three-quarters of the front page to some figurative person in the woods. Ok, I suppose abundant art is more expected almost by definition in the Sunday Styles and the Arts and Leisure Sections, and the artists do not fail the viewing reader who likes newspapers being filled with the equivalent of magazine covers. But real readers want more news and analysis and are willing to leave the displays of modern art to the museums.

Even the photos are often too large, in some cases aspiring to bring a human face to its actual size facing the reader. I would have preferred to read more of Winona LaDuke's interview and see less of her full-page photo. Some of her most important criticisms of the Tar Sands Pipeline that were left out could have used some of the space used for the photo.

Since graphic arts are replacing content, it seems permissible to have a conversation about such editorial judgments starting with the artists themselves. Do they really think that a full page of graphics, without indicating the stories on the inside of these sections, attracts more readers? Would they think that having just half a page for their visually-conveyed themes would turn off readers? Do they believe art should follow function and not overflow to displace it?

My efforts in the past to reach the NYT's graphic artists editors on the telephone to discuss more balance when shortchanging readers, who receive less content, have been unsuccessful.

The Sunday Metropolitan Section with plenty of graphics is thin and scarcely tells suburban subscribers what's going on in the city. Sometimes, bizarre topics take up enormous space with spacious visuals.

The NYT charges about $10 to deliver each Sunday Times to your home (its contractors pay the delivery person, I am told, as little as 35 cents per delivery). Subscribers to the print Sunday Times tend to be older, serious readers wanting content.

Local non-chain weeklies in small towns are only surviving by giving readers real news and features. (Such as the Storm Lake, Iowa paper, Storm Lake Times). Given the price of paper and printing, they cannot afford huge full-page visuals or even many large photographs.

Long ago I started a file titled "Design." It grew out of the way the auto manufacturers pushed style over safety. They shaped buyers' tastes with an annual model change heavily defined by visual trivia such as a different grille pattern or fin structure. Year after year, styling pornography displaced engineering integrity, selling vehicles without crucial, available improvements in life-saving safety, fuel efficiency, and pollution control. When art ceases to serve a function, art degrades the latter and debases itself.

Unless that is, art is presented in places plainly reserved to be for "art for art's sake."

As artistic displays are allowed to intrude newspapers, with few boundaries, editors are even shrinking the size of the print itself so as often not to be adequately visible. Moreover, using some background colors means some print is unreadable and invites the artists to a tutorial by an optometrist.

More and more the print size and its lightness are sacrificed to graphic layouts which leave readers squinting or leaving.

Can anyone get a NYT graphic arts director to have a conversation on this topic?

(c) 2021 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Migrants carry food across Rio Grande from Mexico to a makeshift encampment on the U.S. side on September 18, 2021.

Treatment of Haiti Refugees Must Reflect Our Deepest Sense of Humanity
Once more the plight of Haitian refugees tests the measure of this administration's and this country's humanity. Will the U.S. simply dump thousands of the displaced in a country that has no way to protect them?
By Jesse Jackson

In one of the largest, fastest, most abrupt mass expulsions of refugees in modern U.S. history, the United States has begun flying some 12,000 Haitians camped in a Texas border town back to Haiti. Invoking executive authority asserted by Donald Trump, the Biden administration is enforcing the Donald Trump immigration policy when it comes to Haitians.

The first 320 migrants flown to Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, arrived dazed and distressed. Most were returned to a country that they had left years ago, migrating to Brazil or to Chile to find work - and then risking the dangerous trip to the U.S. border in the hope of improving their lives. On arrival in Haiti, they were given $100, tested for Covid-19, and left on their own. They arrive in a country ravaged by natural disaster and political chaos. The former president was assassinated. Only last month, the island was struck by a devastating earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people and destroyed more than 137,500 homes and some 900 schools. According to Haiti's Civil Protection Agency, fewer than half of the 83,000 families affected have received the food rations they need.

Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, the head of Haiti's national migration office, admitted that the Haitian state is unable to provide security or food for the deportees and pleaded for a "humanitarian moratorium."

What is the measure of our humanity? The Biden administration inherited an immigration policy shredded by Donald Trump, who fanned fears of immigrants as part of his race-bait politics. He illegally banned immigrants from Muslim countries. He scorned what he called "sh*thole countries," saying he only wanted immigrants from affluent white countries like Norway. He slandered Haitian immigrants as all having AIDS. And, of course, he made building The Wall a metaphor for America closing in on itself.

All this traduced America's values, laws and history. This is, after all, a nation of immigrants. It also is a policy designed to fail. Very few people want to leave their homes, their communities or their countries. They undertake dangerous and often fatal migration only in desperation. When one side of a wall is a desert of opportunity and the other side looks green, no wall or army of guards will stop people from taking risks to try to save their families.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the hemisphere; a country battered by political upheaval and natural disaster. Yet it is a proud nation and a proud people. In 1804, Haiti became the second republic in the Western Hemisphere (after the U.S.), when Haitian slaves fought and defeated their French slave owners, throwing off their colonial power. Haiti became the first modern state to abolish slavery and the first state in the world to be formed from a successful revolt of the poor.

A Haitian trader - Jean Baptiste Point DuSable - arrived in the U.S. in the 1780s and is regarded as the founder of Chicago. But U.S. relations with Haiti were always scarred by racism. Fearful of the example set by Haiti's slave revolt, the U.S. provided aid to attempt to put down the rebellion. When the revolution succeeded, slave interests in the U.S. blocked recognition of the new state until 1862 when the Southern states seceded.

In 1914, the Wilson administration sent U.S. Marines into Haiti, beginning an occupation that lasted 20 years. The U.S. took control of the assets of the Haitian National Bank, rewrote Haitian laws to allow foreigners to purchase land, and restructured the Haitian economy to serve U.S. interests. Haitian rebels who fought against the invasion were subjected to brutal repression. The horror led Smedley Butler, a general in the U.S. Marine Corps, to regret that "I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in."

In 1991, a Catholic priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, won the presidency in a democratic election with massive support from the poor. Seven months later, the Haitian military removed him in a coup that resulted in chaos. The U.S. military went back to occupy Haiti from 1994 to 1997 to "establish peace." When Aristide returned and won re-election again, the Haitian military once more removed him with the support of the U.S. military.

To this day, Haitian refugees receive what can only be called discriminatory treatment from this country. For example, both Cuban and Haitian refugees flee from dictatorships and repression. Yet Cubans, who are mostly white, receive special treatment, including a direct path to permanent residence. Haitian immigrants, generally of African descent, have been denied, repeatedly, the relief they are entitled to and must overcome significant obstacles to gain legal permanent residence.

Now once more the plight of Haitian refugees tests the measure of this administration's and this country's humanity. Will the U.S. simply dump thousands of the displaced in a country that has no way to protect them? Does the administration continue to treat them differently than refugees coming from Central America?

I believe that we should measure all human beings by one yard stick. Across America, millions are excited by football games on Saturday and Sunday. Central to what makes them exciting is that while the outcome is unknown, we do know that the playing field is level, the rules are public, and the referees are fair. Under those conditions, all can compete and all can win. The values of our foreign policy should not be less humane than those of our domestic policy. For refugees - families in distress - the rules should be clear and the playing field even.

(c) 2021 Jesse Jackson is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH.

Hey Washington: Follow The People

By Jim Hightower

"Those in the know," say that We the People should forget any progressive fantasy that - at long last - Washington might finally produce the kind of bold FDR-style agenda that America needs. They smugly lecture us that recalcitrant Republicans in Congress, not to mention a swarm of corporate lobbyists, are opposed to progressive change, so who could get it passed?

Here's an idea: Try the people themselves. Those in the know don't seem to know it (or don't want us to know it), but big majorities across grassroots America are strongly in favor of the fundamental changes that Washington elites are rejecting. For example:

Two-thirds of America (including a majority of moderate Republicans) say "Yes!" to doubling the minimum wage.

72 percent of the people, including 46 percent of professed Republicans, shout their approval for Medicare for all.

Eight out of 10 Americans, including strong majorities of Republicans, support a paid family leave program like every other developed nation provides for their people.

What about increasing taxes on the rich, expanding Medicaid for poor families, raising teacher pay, spending more for early childhood education? Yes, yes, yes, yes say majorities, not just in blue states, but also in GOP strongholds like Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah.

These are not just poll numbers, but solid ideas embraced last year by a broad cross-section of voters in ballot elections across the country. For example, Florida voters enacted a constitutional initiative to up the state's minimum pay to $15, with "yeas" topping "nays" by a whopping margin of more than 20 points - making it more popular than either Trump or Biden.

Instead of fearing the people, Democratic leaders need to get out of Washington and join them. Let's rally and organize the power of outsiders to produce transformative policies of, by, and for the people.

(c) 2021 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates,"is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell approaches members of the press for a briefing after a
Senate Republican Policy Luncheon at the U.S. Capitol September 14, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

McConnell, Manchin, Sinema And Pharma Dems Are Preparing To Torpedo Everything
By William Rivers Pitt

Portrait of a fiend in the wild: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it abundantly clear that there will be no Republican votes to avert the looming debt ceiling crisis. McConnell's feckless rationale? "Let me make it perfectly clear," he declared last week. "The country must never default. The debt ceiling will need to be raised. But who does that depends on who the American people elect."

Translation: Because Democrats control both chambers of Congress and the White House, they alone are responsible for raising the debt ceiling. Simply put, no such rule exists, nor has it ever existed. It was certainly not in play back in 2019, when then-Majority Leader McConnell sought - and received - bipartisan support on the very same issue. "The people in Kentucky who know him," notes long-time Democratic foe Rep. John Yarmuth, "understand that he can't be shamed into changing."

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made the stakes clear in a Sunday Wall Street Journal editorial. "The U.S. has never defaulted. Not once," she wrote. "Doing so would likely precipitate a historic financial crisis that would compound the damage of the continuing public health emergency." In 2011, even the (McConnell-driven) threat of a default sent the economy reeling. Combine the impact of default with what looks to be another COVID winter gnawing into the economy, and a tidy little recipe for disaster awaits.

McConnell seemingly could not care less. His interest appears entirely political and utterly without shame: He wants his people to go into the 2022 midterms with "tax-and-spend liberals" on every tongue. The same Republicans who aided the Trump administration's wild financial giveaways to corporations and the wealthy now intend to use the economy itself against President Biden's legislative attempt to address climate change and expand the social safety net, and all as a means of regaining the majority.

McConnell has plenty of help in this particularly nefarious endeavor; shamelessness, like gold, seems to have its own gravitational pull. "The Democrats have added enormous amounts of debt," echoed GOP Sen. Susan Collins, "including the $1.9 trillion package, now $3.5 trillion on top of that, so they bear the responsibility for increasing the debt limit." Never mind the stimulus package probably saved the economy during the most dire portion of the pandemic, or that Collins herself voted to explode the debt multiple times during the Trump years.

One disaster of this magnitude would usually suffice, but at present there are multiple meteors hurtling toward us. Congressional Democrats, seeking to use whatever leverage is available, are tying the debt vote to the also-looming vote to fund the federal government. If McConnell holds the line, there will be insufficient votes to pass either (assuming the inevitable GOP filibuster), and we could be looking at a double-barreled fiscal calamity at midnight on September 30.

With less than 11 days to go before that whole fiasco hits the zero hour, Democrats are also facing the threat of collapse within their own caucus. Joe Manchin, the coal baron senator from West Virginia, has used his swing-vote muscle to position himself and the Energy Committee he chairs as the authors of the climate provisions in Biden's massive budget bill. He is widely expected to throw a number of lifelines to the energy interests that pour campaign cash into his own pockets, and it is entirely possible the Progressive Caucus could bolt rather than vote for a polluted compromise.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has joined a trio of pharmaceutical industry-bought House members in refusing to support the Medicare/prescription drug reforms that are crucial to funding the overall legislation. "The Arizona Democrat is opposed to the current prescription drug pricing proposals in both the House and Senate bills," reports Politico. "They added that, at this point, she also doesn't support a pared-back alternative being pitched by House Democratic centrists that would limit the drugs subject to Medicare negotiation."

In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a perilous September 27 deadline that could potentially sink both the budget bill and the infrastructure bill. Conservative Democrats, at the frantic urging of an army of corporate and business lobbyists, want the two bills voted on separately. That way, they can pass the watered-down infrastructure bill and then kill the budget bill. The Progressive Caucus has vowed - if somewhat vaguely - to defeat the infrastructure bill if both are not combined into a single package for passage, and they have more than enough votes to do it. Whether they will follow through on the threat is the question of the hour, and that hour is up on the 27th unless they bump the deadline.

Finally, the Senate parliamentarian has scotched the immigration provisions within the budget bill, ruling they do not fit the requirements for reconciliation - a tactic that allows a bill to pass by simple majority if it affects the budget. The parliamentarian last ruled "No" on the attempt to include a minimum wage hike in the $1.9 trillion stimulus package back in February.

Progressive Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are among those demanding that Majority Leader Schumer ignore or replace the parliamentarian, as the GOP did the last time such a decision went against them. "An unelected person isn't a real barrier to the much-needed investments we were elected to make," Tlaib wrote on Twitter. "Ignore this ruling or get a new one. The GOP didn't hesitate when they pushed their corporate agenda."

A number of prominent Democrats made the TV rounds on Sunday, trying to put a happy face on the roiled circumstances. "We're going to have to work it out, as we did with the American Rescue Plan," Sen. Bernie Sanders told CBS News. "Now is the time to stand up to powerful special interests. Now is the time to start representing working families." Ultimately, he predicted that, "because of the pressure of the American people we're going to come together again and do what has to be done."

Let's hope he's right. The axis of McConnell, Manchin, Sinema and the House Pharma Dems are hard at work even at this moment, and it is going to be a wild week in Washington. Halloween could be a genuinely terrifying holiday, when the people learn to their sorrow that vampires are not just real, but are pulling down government paychecks.

(c) 2021 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and, on his left, NDP challenger Jagmeet Singh.

Bernie Sanders Backs Canada's Left Rival To Justin Trudeau
The New Democratic Party and its dynamic young leader, Jagmeet Singh, score a cross-border endorsement.
By John Nichols

"In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party," Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said during the 2020 presidential campaign. "But in America, we are."

AOC was making a point about the fact that, these days, the United States is essentially a political duopoly. Every member of Congress-except Maine Senator Angus King and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders-is a Republican or a Democrat. And the two independents caucus with the Democrats.

In the United States, both major parties are election machines that focus primarily on defeating each other. Reliant upon special-interest money, the parties and their media echo chambers embrace a system where progressive voters are told there is no alternative to a Democratic Party that often bows to centrist blackmail, while the few remaining principled conservative voters are told there is no alternative to a Republican Party that mirrors Donald Trump.

In Germany, where voters go to the polls Sunday, September 26, voters will choose from six parties that have a realistic chance of winning substantial numbers of parliamentary seats. Under the German system, the next government will likely be a coalition including as many as three of those parties.

In Canada, where voters go to the polls today, at least five parties are positioned to win parliamentary seats. There, a coalition is also possible-perhaps involving the Liberals led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the New Democratic Party led by 42-year-old criminal defense lawyer and human rights activist Jagmeet Singh.

During the Trump interregnum, Trudeau was celebrated by American liberals for presenting a stark contrast-both stylistically and on a host of issues-with the infernal president. But in Canada, many progressives have been frustrated by the prime minister's tendency to talk a good game on the global stage while governing cautiously at home-especially when it comes to addressing economic inequality, strengthening the country's national health care program, responding to historically neglected Indigenous communities, and taking the necessary steps to tackle the climate crisis.

Trudeau has been good on a number of issues. But not good enough, say Singh and the left-leaning New Democrats, who argue that Canada is "Ready for Better"-with an emphasis on expanding the welfare state, raising wages, reforming the criminal justice system, and taxing the rich.

Plenty of US Democrats are cheering on Trudeau, who called a snap election in hopes of increasing his party's parliamentary majority. Last week, former president Barack Obama effectively endorsed the Liberal Party leader, with a tweet that read, "Wishing my friend @JustinTrudeau the best in Canada's upcoming election. Justin has been an effective leader and strong voice for democratic values, and I'm proud of the work we did together." Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton was even more enthusiastic, tweeting, "I have seen my friend @JustinTrudeau show leadership in the fight for accessible child care, protected reproductive rights, and ambitious climate action. I'm wishing him and our progressive Canadian neighbors the best in Monday's election."

But Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has not succumbed to the latest version of Trudeaumania.

"Canada goes to the polls Monday," the former presidential candidate announced last Friday. "There's one party that stood up for working people in the pandemic. One leader who has the courage to make the wealthy pay their fair share so everyone gets the medication they need. That's why I support the NDP and Jagmeet Singh."

Singh responded: "Bernie, you have fought courageously for public health care, affordable medication, making the rich pay their fair share, and tackling the climate crisis. We're doing the same here. Canada, better is possible. But, you have to vote for it!"

Endorsements from abroad may not carry much weight. But this is a hotly contested election. The latest polls show Trudeau's Liberals with around 31 percent support, the Conservative Party led by Erin O'Toole at around 30 percent, and Singh's NDP at 20 percent. So a cross-border boost from Sanders could count for something.

It's clear why he gave it.

The NDP is the political descendent of the radical Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, which under the leadership of the late Tommy Douglas laid the foundation for Canada's national health care system. Historically backed by progressive labor unions, the NDP positions itself to the left of the Liberals. Singh has certainly done that in the current campaign, especially on environmental issues. "Justin Trudeau promised to tackle climate change in 2015 and 2019," says the NDP leader. "But he has the worst climate record in the G7-and he increased subsidies to big oil. We can't afford another four years of broken promises."

In the United States, where the political system is weighted against dynamic democracy in general and alternatives to major parties in particular, Singh's critique might be dismissed as valid but insufficient to make the case for breaking with the two-party duopoly. However, Canada's parliamentary system is considerably friendlier to third, fourth, fifth, and sixth parties. Smaller parties have an easier time gaining ballot access, get more coverage in the media, and often have regional bases of strength, as does the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec. The NDP has historically enjoyed significant support in Canada's far west and in a number of heavily unionized communities, and it has made considerable progress in recent years in the country's most populous province, Ontario.

While the NDP is unlikely to form the next government, the party could be part of it. If the Liberals fall short of an outright majority, they'll turn to the NDP as a coalition partner. That would position Singh as "a kingmaker"-allowing the NDP to demand cabinet positions and stronger policies to address the climate crisis and challenges facing the health care system.

When left parties join coalitions, they can leverage their position to push centrist and center-left parties to govern more boldly.

That's one of the advantages of a multiparty democracy, where there's often a greater emphasis on ideals than personalities. Voters and elected officials can find political homes that make sense to them, rather than compromising principles because "there is no alternative." Perhaps that's why so many American progressives have been attracted to the Canadian competition.

AOC joined Singh last year in a livestreamed video game competition that raised money to address food insecurity. This year, after Sanders signaled his support for Singh and the NDP, Michigan US Representative Rashida Tlaib circulated the senator's tweet with the declaration, "I endorse this message." Tlaib's Detroit district is just across the river from Windsor, Ontario, a historic auto-making city with a multiracial and multiethnic population.

The NDP member of parliament for the Windsor-West constituency, Brian Masse, is campaigning for reelection today with a strong endorsement from Tlaib, a democratic socialist who notes that Masse crossed the border in 2018 and helped knock doors for her breakthrough Democratic primary win as one of the first two Muslim women to serve in the US House.

Like Sanders and Singh, Masse and Tlaib are practicing something we could use more of: international solidarity.

(c) 2021 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Attacks Against Mr. Biden May Be Unwarranted
By James Donahue

President Joe Biden is a man under constant assault. He succeeded Donald Trump who was also the brunt of vicious attacks. I know our earlier presidents were also under the media radar with every move they made. Whether the assaults were justified is questionable. But they obviously are making the nation's top job more difficult than it ever should have been.

The things Mr. Trump did and said during his time in office were so strange and radical he was an open target for the media outlets all over the world. But now we are seeing the same kind of media attacks against President Biden. But Biden, a former Vice President and long-time legislator, conforms to the established norms of White House occupancy. He has an agenda that appears to be popular with the voting public, but he is being constantly blocked from getting much past his battling Congress.

Thus Biden is accused of not getting much done.

The attacks are coming from the Republicans and from the media. The social media is producing chilling accusations and commentary from faceless subscribers who offer no proofs. Even the political cartoonists are painting a picture of Biden as a doodling old fool.

The harshest attacks against Mr. Biden point out his inability to deliver a speech without stumbling on his words. What is not shared is that Mr. Biden has stuttered all of his life. Through special training he has found a way to deal with the stuttering but it gives the appearance of a break in thought. That speech impediment does not mean Mr. Biden is a slow thinker, or low in intelligence.

Because of that one biological flaw, however, the media and his enemies are making the public believe Mr. Biden is unfit for the job.

While it has always been the media's job to get the facts about public candidates for office, once these people are elected, it seems as if it would be better if the stories were more supportive. The constant attacks against not only our presidents but nearly every public figure by the social media are destroying the very fabric of our political system. We literally cannot run for public office these days without having everything about us dragged into public view. And we all have a few skeletons tucked away in the closet.

(c) 2021 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

Mike Pence, Donald Trump, and the Trump supporters mobbing the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

Mike Pence's 6-Point Plan To Steal The Election: Republicans Leave Roadmap For Future Authoritarians
The memo from John Eastman was circulated in January to some of Trump's staunchest Republican defenders in Congress
By Heather Digby Parton

One of the most important lessons of the 2020 election is just how easy it would be for someone with a little bit more savvy to upend the constitution and prevent the peaceful transfer of power in the future. Democracies don't always crumble as a result of violent revolution. It's often done by manipulating the law and using intimidation to ensure compliance.

The most famous example is the German Enabling Act of 1933, also known as The Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Reich. That law allowed Adolph Hitler to enact other laws, including ones that violated the Weimar Constitution, without the approval of either parliament or Reich President Paul von Hindenburg, effectively making Hitler a dictator. Through some adroit maneuvering and the detention of certain members of the Parliament, he was able to gain the two-thirds majority required and the courts all went along with it. The rest, as they say, is history.

Donald Trump is no Hitler, of course. He is not that clever. But he does have some of the same impulses, particularly when it comes to seizing power.

This week we learned, through the new Woodward and Costa book "Peril," that one of Donald Trump's closest legal advisers, a law professor by the name of John Eastman, had prepared a memorandum to serve as guidance for the Vice President to overturn the election on January 6th. The memo laid out a six-point plan:

First: The Vice President begins the counting with the state of Alabama as usual.

Second: When Pence gets to Arizona, he sets the electoral votes aside under the premise that there was an alternate set of electors that had been submitted. Likewise, he also sets aside the votes of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico under the false assertion that they too had sent alternate Trump electors. (They had not.)

Third: Pence then declares that the alternate states will not be included and since Trump then "won" the remaining votes, he has been reelected.

At that point he predicted the Democrats would "howl" and Pence would then compromise and decree that the vote could go to the House as the constitution allows in case of a tie. This would simply confirm a Trump victory since the Republicans controlled 26 out of 50 state delegations. Easy Peasy.

The remaining two points regarded commissioning Ted Cruz or Rand Paul to ensure that the filibuster remained intact so they could at least create a "stalemate" and allow states "more time to weigh in to formally support the alternate slate of electors." (This explains the frantic calls by Rudy Giuliani and Trump even as the insurrection was in full effect to Senator Tommy Tuberville, R-AL exhorting him to "try to just slow it down so we can get these legislatures to get more information to you.") But most importantly, Eastman insisted that Pence not ask anyone for permission to do any of this and instead just declare that he had the authority and that was that. The course for Trump's dictatorship would be set.

As we know, however, Pence dithered about all this before eventually asking former Vice President Dan Quayle what he should do. Quayle told him he had to follow the Constitution and perform his ceremonial duty as all previous Vice Presidents have done in this situation. (If his conscience didn't already tell him that he needs to turn in his little American flag pin and enter another line of business.)

What we didn't know until now was that this memo was circulated in January to some of Trump's staunchest Republican defenders in Congress, Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Utah Senator Mike Lee, both of whom took it very seriously and had their top expert staff members look it over. They concluded that it was unconstitutional and in Graham's words, "third grade."

I guess we should be grateful that Trump's lawyers were so lame because it's quite clear that if they had been able to legally engineer this coup more professionally, people like Graham and Lee might very well have gone along with it. How do we know this? Because even though there was no evidence of voter fraud in the election, they didn't dismiss the idea out of hand. They were apparently open to the idea that Pence really could overturn the election on January 6th. They're both lawyers. They're both conversant with the Constitution and, more importantly, with the concept of democracy in which the loser of the election accepts the results and bows out gracefully. And yet they didn't object publicly to Trump's Big Lie until thousands of rioters stormed the Capitol. Of course, there were dozens of other Republican officials also saying there were reasons to "investigate" and pushing various aspects of the Big Lie as well. But these two knew what Trump was trying to do and they said nothing.

The lawyer who came up with this mad plot, John Eastman, gave a speech at the insurrection rally that told the whole story. In fact, one might even suggest it was the primary inspiration for the riot. He said he had petitions before the Supreme Court and he babbled a litany of false voter fraud claims before ending with this:

All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1:00 he let the legislators of the states look into this so we get to the bottom of it, and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government, or not. We no longer live in a self governing republic if we can't get the answer to this question. This is bigger than President Trump. It is a very essence of our republican form of government, and it has to be done. And anybody that is not willing to stand up to do it, does not deserve to be in the office. It is that simple.
I don't know if he believed that or if he's just a Trump partisan willing to win by any means necessary. But it doesn't really matter. This was a coup attempt. It was unsuccessful, but only because of the sloppiness with which it was put together, not because of the attempt itself. The Big Lie has since metastasized, largely at the hands of Republican officials who believe it will be useful to them in trying to regain power. Does anyone think that a more elegant "Enabling Act" wouldn't be supported by most of them?

Trump's greatest legacy may end being the fellow who showed Republicans just how dependent our democracy is on the goodwill and decency of the people who run it. He and his legal flunkies just left a roadmap for other unscrupulous authoritarians to follow.

(c) 2021Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Activists march at an event in New York to kick off Climate Week, in September, 2020.

It's Climate Week Again, But The Calendar Is Running Out
A slow transition away from carbon will be costlier than a fast one, but each year that we keep spewing carbon is a year in which fossil-fuel companies' current business models stay intact.
By Bill McKibben

It's Climate Week in New York City, an event that, as it has every autumn since 2009, features a series of speeches, awards, presentations, and protests that coincide roughly with the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. I'm glad that it's happening, but, as with the endless annual global climate negotiations (this year's will be in November, in Glasgow), there's a danger that we'll come to think of the climate crisis as a standard piece of our mental furniture and as not what it actually is: a time-bound emergency that must be tackled full on, right now. The city has had Fashion Week since 1943, and the Toy Fair since 1903; but there's clearly much more work to be done in climate than in couture or Candyland, and not nearly as much time.

In fact, the single most dangerous message of the moment is that we have some margin. The Times reported that the Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, is weighing the possibilities for the $3.5-trillion budget bill now before the Senate, and that "Manchin's version is widely expected to have less ambitious renewable energy requirements for electric power companies. His version could also reward utilities that build new power plants designed to burn natural gas." The White House version of the bill would reward utility companies "if they increase the amount of clean electricity they supply to customers by 4 percent a year through 2030," the Times added, but "Manchin is likely to lower that requirement to 3 percent a year or less, said two people familiar with the matter."

If Senator Manchin does push these changes, it will not be because he has consulted with scientists who tell him that we're going too fast in addressing climate change, because that's not what scientists say. (Earlier this month, for instance, two hundred medical journals around the world joined together to "call for urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees C, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health.") Nor can it be because he has consulted with economists. As a paper released last week by the University of Oxford's Institute for New Economic Thinking makes clear, the cheapest path forward, by many trillions of dollars, is a speedy switch to renewable energy, which essentially decarbonizes the world within a quarter of a century, leaving lots of expensive hydrocarbons in the ground and relying instead on ever-cheaper renewable energy. As the authors explain it, "the Slow Transition is not as cheap as the Fast Transition. This is because the current high spending on fossil fuels continues for decades and the savings from renewables are only realized much later."

If Manchin is not listening to scientists or economists, however, he is apparently taking, as the Times reported, the counsel of Nick Akins, the head of American Electric Power, a major electricity provider that "relies on West Virginia coal for many of its power plants." Akins and Manchin, according to the Times, have each other's cell-phone numbers. Manchin, Akins said, "is supportive of a clean energy future, like we all are." He added, "But these transitions take time. We can't cram all that into eight years."

But we do have to cram it into this decade-that's what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change told us in 2018. We must cut emissions in half by 2030 or else kiss the targets set in the Paris accords adieu. Of course, we wouldn't be facing this deadline if we had acted when scientists issued their first warnings, three decades ago-but, of course, utility companies spent big to make sure that didn't happen. Their interest in time is to take as much of it as possible, because each year that we keep spewing carbon is a year in which their current business model stays intact.

Earlier this month, Manchin went as far as to advocate for a "strategic pause" on the budget bill. The immediate result of that would be effectively to sabotage the Glasgow talks and with them a chance to pressure other nations to ratchet up their targets and their timetables. It's hard to remember when as much of the future hung on a single person's whim. (And on his vested interest-as the Times noted, he's recently taken more money from the fossil-fuel industry than any other Senator, and his interest in a coal brokerage that he founded in 1988, and which is now controlled by his son, has paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars.) And yet there's no obvious way to confront him: in a deadlocked Senate, he holds the high cards. Maybe there will be a panel looking back on all this during Climate Week 2046, and maybe the U.N.'s shining tower will still be safely above sea level. And maybe it won't. Time will tell.

(c) 2021 Bill McKibben is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign and a contributing writer to The New Yorker. He writes The Climate Crisis, The New Yorker's newsletter on the environment.

It Isn't Just Joe Manchin And Kyrsten Sinema. A Handful Of Cowardly Democrats Are Letting Them Front This
There's nothing about the filibuster or the parliamentarian in the Constitution. They're only roadblocks because some have chosen to believe in them, and they could be gone in a moment.
By Charles P. Pierce

In 1922, Bernard DeVoto published Mark Twain in Eruption, a carefully culled selection of the Old Gentleman's unpublished work. Twain still carried a substantial national audience 12 years after his passing. There is in this collection a section in which Twain discusses the United States Senate.

There are many Senators whom I hold in a certain respect and would not think of declining to meet socially, if I believed it was the will of God. We have lately sent a United States Senator to the penitentiary, but I am quite well aware that of those who have escaped this promotion there are several who are in some regards guiltless of crime--not guiltless of all crimes, for that cannot be said of any United States Senator, I think, but guiltless of some kinds of crime.
Twain, of course, was writing about the Senate of the last Gilded Age, a body made up of bought-and-paid-for corporate stooges appointed by state legislatures made up of more cheaply bought corporate stooges. And, while our current Senate is made up of people who are at least part-time corporate stooges, it is also made up of a remarkable number of people who seem to be natural born time-servers dedicated to the proposition that the best day of work is that which is dedicated to making sure nothing gets done. Given a choice between corruption and apathy, we're in the middle of what appears to be dead heat, emphasis on "dead" and certainly not on "heat."

Right now, the Democratic majority is tied up in knots because too many of its members have entangled themselves comfortably in customs and traditions so that a serious response to serious national crises are beyond the reach of the upper chamber of the Congress. On Sunday, the Senate's parliamentarian, an official of no real constitutional authority, declared that immigration reform could not be included in the reconciliation package. From Politico:

The parliamentarian underscored the power of the chamber's rules to clip Democratic ambitions on Sunday night, ruling against the majority party's bid to include immigration reform in its social spending bill. That isn't the only call Democrats are anxious about getting: They'll likely also need parliamentarian approval to include provisions on labor, clean energy and drug pricing in their party-line bill. The Senate Budget Committee declined to comment about their strategy for winning those go-aheads. What the parliamentarian lets stay or forces out of the multitrillion-dollar measure could have enormous consequences for its ultimate success and Biden's legacy. And the referee has stymied Democrats' plans before, most notably when she ruled out a minimum wage hike for a coronavirus aid bill they passed earlier this year using reconciliation.
And the Democratic majority is going to go along with this, just as it is going to go along with preserving the filibuster, because a handful of cowardly senators are letting Senator Joe Manchin front for them. In fact, the parliamentarian's ruling is purely advisory, just as the filibuster is purely a matter of custom, not of law, and certainly not of the Constitution.

These are ghosts in the machine, spectral roadblocks given substance only through the fact that some people believe in them. A Senate majority could do away with the filibuster with 51 votes. The vice president could dismiss the parliamentarian's position out of hand. Certainly, Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence, respectively, would have hand-waved their way past both barriers. But Democrats don't do that. Neither do they seem to care enough about voting rights even to carve out an exception to the filibuster to pass a bill that Joe Manchin designed. This isn't just Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. There are other Democratic senators in the weeds here. Complicity is the most enervating form of corruption there is.

(c) 2021 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"Rebuilding our crumbling physical infrastructure -- roads, bridges, water systems -- is important. Rebuilding our crumbling human infrastructure -- health care, education, climate change -- is more important."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

UN: Earth Heading To 16% Increase In Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 2030, Risking Climate Instability
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - A United Nations study of the greenhouse gas reduction targets announced by the 191 signatories to the Paris Convention has come up with an alarming result.

If countries follow through on their stated plans, greenhouse gas emissions will actually rise. In 2025, they will be 15.8% higher than in 2010 and fully 58.6% higher than in 1990.

It gets worse. By 2030, they will be even worse - 16.3% higher than in 2010, and 59.3% higher than in 1990.

I want to stand back and underline this outcome. This is a study of the countries who signed the Paris climate accords in 2015 and who have stepped up and submitted their carbon dioxide and methane emissions plans by 2020. These are the good guys. And they are villains. We are villains.

This is like if you made a New Year's resolution to drop from 300 pounds to 250 and you end up weighing 400 pounds.

What should be happening is that by 2030 the world must cut emissions by 45% over 2010 levels in order to keep global heating to 2.7 degrees F. above 1750 norms (that is 1.5 degrees C.).

The earth is heated by the sun's rays, which then radiate back out to space. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane trap the sun's heat on earth and do not let it escape, making the earth hot.

Extra carbon dioxide is produced when we burn gasoline to fuel our cars, burn coal and gas to heat or air condition our homes, burn coal or natural gas to make electricity.

It should be underlined that 2.7 degrees F. increase doesn't sound like much but actually it is dire. We are talking about that kind of increase in the average surface temperature of the whole earth, including cold oceans and the antarctic.

Any particular spot on normal dry land, such as Phoenix, AZ, could see an increase of 15 degrees F. I've been in Phoenix in July and I wouldn't have wanted it to be 15 degrees hotter. At all.

The arctic is heating up much more than most of the rest of the world. So that 2.7 degrees increase is an average that is just not spread around evenly. Where you live, it will likely be much worse.

Moreover, it isn't just a matter of it being hotter on average. Hotter surface temperatures in oceans produce sea level rise since warm water expands; they produce more humidity in the air above the ocean; they cause glaciers and ice sheets to melt, which also raises the sea level; and the warm water fuels more destructive hurricanes and cyclones. Likewise, more heat in the US southwest and west dries things out and leads to massive droughts and wildfires. The higher the temperatures go, the more destruction will ensue.

If we cause enough of these extreme-weather events with our gasoline and coal and gas burning, we could make it harder to have civilization. The electricity and internet would constantly be being knocked out, and millions of people would be made homeless and have to go live elsewhere, perhaps fighting wars with the people already settled there.

The UN study finds that unless the countries of the world (and especially the biggest emitters- North America, Europe and China) get serious, we are going to blow past the 2.7 degrees F. limit, beyond which many climate scientists fear the earth's climate could start to experience severe instability.

The small bit of good news is that about 113 countries updated their plans after 2020 and these new plans would get us to a 12% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030. The New Scientist reports that the UN study also could not take into account China's recent pledge to be carbon neutral by 2060.

Still, a 12% reduction is not nearly enough. Remember, we need a 45% reduction by 2030. And China's plans involve continuing to build coal plants for the rest of this decade.

Coal has to be outlawed pretty much immediately. We need a rapid transition to green transportation. We need wind-solar-hydro as the main generators of electricity. We need sustainable farming and cement. You and I as individuals cannot get this work done, though we can pitch in (I have solar panels and bike to work in the good weather). We need to pressure governments to do big green infrastructure projects.

The current plans for such a project by the Democrats and the Biden administration are being held up by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

You can contact Sen. Manchin (be polite) and plead with him to save the planet here.

You might share with him the warnings that with increased global heating, West Virginia will suffer from more flash flooding, challenging its infrastructure, and more cloud cover that will damage its agriculture and its maples:

The other thing we need to do is to buck history and to increase the number of pro-environment sentators and congressional representatives in 2022. It isn't fair to Sen. Manchin to have everything fall on his shoulders. He just needs one more progressive colleague and he wouldn't have to carry such a heavy burden. We should pull out the stops to have Val Demmings replace Marco Rubio in Florida, for instance. And, of course, Democrats have to keep the Senate seats they already have. It will be a hard slog, but Gavin Newsom just showed how it can be done- tie Greg Abbott, Rod DeSantis and Donald Trump around their necks and make sure women know that their control of their bodies is imperiled and the safety of their children in school is endangered.

The U.N. study is telling us that we aren't doing it right, and our planet, our children and grandchildren depend on us doing it right.

Bonus Video:

The Straits Times: "UN says world likely to miss climate targets"

(c) 2021 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

A New Endeavor
By Robert Reich

Today I am launching a digital newsletter on power, politics, and the real economic system.

It will include thought pieces from me, along with audio recordings, office hour opportunities, and even a few of my drawings.

I'm hoping to create a more direct line with readers on the issues facing America, where the power is lodged, and how to change the structure to make our system work for the people. Please consider joining the community at

The first post is duplicated below. We've been through a traumatic few years - Donald Trump, the pandemic, a racial reckoning, an anti-democracy insurrection, environmental devastation. The tempest isn't over. If anything, the forces of authoritarianism, inequality, corruption, climate change and injustice seem to be intensifying.

Over the years I've grown ever more convinced that the only way our society can improve and our democracy can function is if people know the truth, and understand how the system functions and actions they can take to improve it.

Which is why, whatever else I've done, I've always been a teacher - in classrooms, as a writer of books and columns, and a maker of documentaries and videos (and even an amateur cartoonist). And I was a teacher in a different way when I argued before the Supreme Court, served as a cabinet member, and advised politicians.

In recent years, I've utilized social media - working with a small team of talented people who have helped me hone sometimes complicated concepts into sharp, simple, sometimes humorous messages. This is the essence of good teaching.

But I've wanted to try a medium whose success can't be measured in the number of clicks on social media or even in how many people have watched one of my documentaries or read one of my books. I've wanted more direct communication - a means of building a community of learners, activists, reformers, and organizers.

Most of all, I'm seeking thoughtful people who are curious about the system - why it's failing so many, and how to change it for the better.

Let me begin by setting out my hopes and expectations for this letter. First, I'm excited to see what this space brings and hope you'll be part of shaping it.

I'm planning to post most days, and reserve at least one day for discussion.

I want to key off current news, but I don't want this to be a mere summary of what's happened or will likely happen. You can get that elsewhere. I will try to provide context, background. Connect the dots.

I want to try out several media in this space - not just the written word but also a podcast, some drawings, and a few videos that I and my team are producing. And I want to hear back from you. To be a good teacher is to be engaged in a discussion and be willing and eager to learn from the people you're teaching.

Most of this will be available to all readers, although I intend to limit some of it to paid subscriptions because I want to compensate my colleagues for their time and efforts, and be able to invest in other projects - perhaps another documentary. The more support you're able to provide, the more I'll be able to do.

I hope you sign up to receive this newsletter, and that many of you will also pay for a subscription.

And I hope our discussions will inspire you to reach out to others - widening our community and deepening our own powers of understanding, persuasion, and activism.

Please join me.

(c) 2021 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

The Cancer Of Money In Our Politics Gives A "Thumbs-Up" For Big Pharma To Kill More Americans
The cancer of money in our politics is much deeper than just a handful of corrupt Democrats; they're also now blowing up President Biden's effort to put America back together and save American lives
By Thom Hartmann

Want to know who owns your member of Congress? Just look at how they vote.

For example, this week Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Scott Peters (D-CA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and, on another committee, Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) all voted with 100% of their Republican colleagues to kill the ability of Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

To put this into context, the VA and every insurance company and hospital group in America negotiates prescription drug prices. Only Medicare is forced to pay around $60 billion a year more than they should. Which echoes as higher retail drug prices through our entire healthcare system.

And this time it isn't just about pharmaceuticals. As Rep. Schrader's metown newspaper, The Oregonian, noted in their headline: "Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon Helps Kill Drug Pricing Bill, Endangering Biden Infrastructure Plan."

It's a safe bet that none of them did it because they were representing the interest of the people in their districts who helped put them in office. A national poll published just last week found:

An 87% majority of voters over age 65 favor allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices... Among Democratic seniors, 89% are in favor, as are 87% of Republican seniors and 81% of independent seniors.
Instead, these Democrats are enthusiastically and publicly representing the interest of the pharmaceutical industry, which, Senator Bernie Sanders notes, "[H]as spent over $4.5 billion on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past 20 years and has hired some 1,200 lobbyists to get Congress to do its bidding."

Americans pay an average of $1500 a year more for prescription drugs than citizens of any other nation. But the crisis isn't just the rip-off that's making Big Pharma executives rich: it's quite literally killing us.

Dr. Nicky J. Mehtani, a resident physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, writes about the pain of having to tell a family that their mother and grandmother has died when the most likely reason was because her patient couldn't afford the heart medication she'd been prescribed.

"[I]n this patient's case, there was no truer underlying cause of death than the blatant unaffordability of her prescription medications," writes Dr. Mehtani.

This is an everyday story all across America. Last year 2.3 million seniors (and 15.5 million people under 65) couldn't afford to pay for doctor-prescribed medication. One in four Americans say they "have difficulty" paying for pharmaceuticals, and one-in-eight "ration" their own pills.

Dr. Mehtani notes that the patient who died in her hospital had a prescription for the heart medications she needed.

"But upon arrival to her pharmacy," Dr. Mehtani writes, "she learned that, despite being insured, one of her heart medications would cost over $200 per month. Though she had $200 in her bank account, she also had eight grandchildren to care for and feed. She figured she could skip a few days of medication and fill the prescription two days later, when she was due to receive her Social Security check.

"But two days without these expensive medications was enough to cause her to have a second heart attack - one that would ultimately take her life and drastically change those of her eight grandchildren, some of whom would later enter the foster care system."
Meanwhile, members of Congress rake in the Big Pharma cash, laughing all the way to the bank as people in their districts cut pills in half and die.

It's easy to dismiss Reps Schrader, Peters, Rice and Murphy as corrupt sellouts and, certainly in this case, the label fits. And it's frankly surprising that they were the only ones who publicly sold out their constituents' grandparents: Big Pharma is throwing money around Congress and on TV ads like a kid with a Super Soaker at the beach.

You've probably by now seen the dueling TV ads from AARP and the pharmaceutical lobby about negotiating Medicare drug prices; the industry is trying to provide cover for the members of Congress who said, "How high?" when the big drug companies said, "Jump!"

But the cancer of money in our politics is much deeper than these four corrupted Democrats (and 100% of the Republicans), and it goes back to a corrupted and sold-out US Supreme Court.

In their 5-4 split 2010 Citizens United decision, they concluded not only that corporations are persons and thus able to exercise their Constitutional right to "free speech" by owning pet politicians but that, because corporations don't have mouths, the form of speech they (and the morbidly rich) can use is money.

That's right: that stuff you have in your pocket is "free speech."

At the time there were five Republican appointees on the Court and four Democratic appointees. Justice John Paul Stevens, a Democratic appointee, wrote the main dissent, noting:

"The fact that corporations are different from human beings might seem to need no elaboration, except that the majority opinion almost completely elides it... corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. ... They are not themselves members of 'We the People' by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."
Writing as if he were seeing the "swamp" the Roberts Court's decision left us with today, he added:
"Politicians who fear that a certain corporation can make or break their reelection chances may be cowed into silence about that corporation. On a variety of levels, unregulated corporate electioneering might diminish the ability of citizens to 'hold officials accountable to the people,' and disserve the goal of a public debate that is 'uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.'"
Our problem isn't just a few corrupt, for-sale Democrats; it's pervasive across our political system and mostly because five conservatives on the US Supreme Court chose to corrupt the system to benefit that corporations and billionaires who helped put them on the Court in the first place.

It's why our politics are more polarized than ever before in living memory; corporations and rightwing billionaires are pouring money down the throats of increasingly radicalized Republicans and a few sellout Democrats across the country.

As I document at length in my book The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America, until we overturn these corrupt Court decisions and get money out of politics, every effort to save lives and move this nation forward will face often-insurmountable resistance.

(c) 2021 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jen Sorensen ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Taliban Condemns Restrictive Texas Abortion Law
By The Waterford Whispers News

"FROM one region under the tyrannical regime of religious fundamentalists to another," read a statement from the Taliban, after learning that the US Supreme Court refused to intervene after Texas passed a law that would result in a near total ban on abortions in the southern American state.

"Wow, even for us this is a bit much," added the Taliban, pouring over the details of the law which could see members of the public, with no connection to a patient or clinic, sue and recover legal fees, as well as $10,000 if they win a case against a woman trying to avail of an abortion outside of the new law's limited definition.

"Unable to avail of an abortion after 6 weeks and no exceptions for rape or incest, I mean it sounds like something we'd support but... I dunno, you can sue the taxi driver who drops a woman off at a clinic? That's crazy, like level above 'Taliban crazy'. I thought it was American, not Ameri-ban," added a dumbfounded Taliban spokesperson.

"And people call us backward? But even we know laws like don't prevent abortions, they just prevent safe abortions. Surely these fundamentalists have easier ways of killing their women?"

A bill proposed by the state's women which would see men who impregnated women financially responsible for a foetus after 6 weeks was rejected by white male Christian Republican politicians who cited the fact they are abortion clinics best repeat customers as justification.

Elsewhere, the men of America have said they have more pressing concerns because bro didn't you hear, Joe Rogan has Covid.

(c) 2021 The Waterford Whispers News

Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 38 (c) 09/24/2021

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