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In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "We've Got Our Own Reasons To Elect Biden -- And He Isn't One of Them."

Ralph Nader wonders, "Why Do Americans Give Away So Much Control To Corporations?"

Glen Ford returns with, "The US Dictatorship Of (White) Capital And Its Tools Of Bamboozlement."

Jim Hightower compares, "The Dow Jones v. The Doug Jones."

William Rivers Pitt says, "With The Passing Of Justice Ginsburg, Democracy Just Got Harder, Again."

Frank Scott returns with, "Questions Unlikely To Come Up During The Debates In The Most Important Election In The History Of The U.S.A. Since The Last One."

James Donahue is, "Using Nanotechnology To Make Sun Power Affordable."

David Swanson gives, "Six Reasons Julian Assange Should Be Thanked, Not Punished."

David Suzuki explains how, "Carbon Pricing Is Like Handwashing In A Pandemic."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Knew The Dark Elements In American History Never Die."

Juan Cole finds, "Affirming Jim Crow, Israeli Parliament Votes Down Bill Guaranteeing Equality For Palestinian-Israelis."

The U.S. Senate Republicans win this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich concludes, "For RBG It Was All Principle, For Mitch McConnell It's All Power."

Tom Engelhardt returns with, "Fire And Fury Like The World Has Never Seen."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Defensive Bob Woodward Claims He Withheld Interview Since Journalism Hasn't Worked On Trump So Far," but first Uncle Ernie finds, "A President Uniquely Ill-Suited."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Ted Rall, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, The Intercept, Jerry Dohnal, Ella Ivanescu, Niki Kahn, Ben Amos Gershom, Nikki Kahn, Brendan Smialowski, The Washington Post, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, 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 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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A President Uniquely Ill-Suited
By Ernest Stewart

"Americans depend on the decisions made-or not made, as the case may be-by a President uniquely ill-suited to command in this type of public-health catastrophe." ~~~ Susan B. Glasser ~ The New Yorker

"Biden know how Important it is to mobilize and motivate young voters, Latino voters, suburban women voters - all of whom have identified climate change as one of their top priorities." ~~~ Anthony Leiserowitz

"The American people should have a choice in the selection for their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have our next president." ~~~ Moscow Mitch McConnell

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

Lying Donald just claimed that the coronavirus "affects virtually nobody" as the U.S. death toll crossed 200,000, which is more than the combined number of Americans killed in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, and the Persian Gulf War. In fact, the number of U.S. deaths is equivalent to a "9/11 attack every day for 67 days." The U.S. death toll is expected to double to 400,000 by the end of the year as schools and colleges reopen and cold weather sets in.

You may recall that back in March, Trump said 200,000 deaths would mean that his administration had "done a very good job" of protecting Americans from the coronavirus. Of course, the truth is, had he reacted as he should have instead of trying to protect Wall Street the number of dead would be just approaching 20,000 instead of surpassing 200,000!

Do you recall Lying Donald saying back in February, "A lot of people think that goes away in April, with the heat." Remember, when Lying Donald says, "A lot of people think" what he really means is that is what he thinks and not anyone else! Or when Lying Donald told Fox News: "It's going to disappear, and I'll be right eventually." Meanwhile at a rally in Ohio today, Lying Donald bragged that he's done an "amazing" and "incredible" job, adding: "The only thing we've done a bad job in is public relations because we havent been able to convince people - which is basically the fake news - what a great job we've done." Lying Donald added: "By the way, open your schools!"

The fact is, the U.S. has the highest death toll of any country in the world, accounting for about 21% of the global death toll despite representing only 4% of the world's population, when it should have been 2% of the global death toll, not 21%! We have Lying Donald to thank for that!

In Other News

Global warming is starting to make inroads even into Rethuglican minds where Chinese plots once firmly stood. As the west coast continues to burn to the ground and the south gets hit by hurricane after hurricane after hurricane people are starting to believe what their lying eyes have been telling them, no matter what Lying Donald says!

Even Wall Street Joe Biden is beginning to see the light. Hell, it took Barry 6 years to begrudgingly get on the global warming band wagon. In Joe's case it maybe just throwing an old bone to the left but it is better than Lying Donald's corporate stand.

Democratic voters are more concerned than in prior presidential cycles, polling shows.

"It became one of the top priorities for the base of one of our two parties," said Anthony Leiserowitz, a Yale analyst of public views on climate. "For the first time, there was a real climate vote in the primaries."

Polling shows an extremely durable partisan divide.

For instance, Pew Research Center polling this year showed that 78% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said climate should be a top government priority, up from 46% in 2015.

"In contrast, only 21% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said this year that climate change should be a top priority - a virtually identical share as in 2015 (19%)," they note. While this isn't much improvement at least it's something!

Our only hope is pushing Joe farther to the left's view on global warming. If Lying Donald manages to steal another election we are truly doomed. We are quickly running out of time to do something to save all of our lives! Wall Street Joe got it right when he called Lying Donald a "climate arsonist."

And Finally

Do you remember, America, when Moscow Mitch said this back in February 2016? "The American people should have a choice in the selection for their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have our next president."

Or you might recall what Lindsey Graham said at the time? "I want you to use my words against me. If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination." Perhaps Lindsey wouldn't say things like that, if he was to come out of the closet? Ya think?

Are Rethuglicans hypocrites and liars? Well duh! Ergo, the Rethuglican controlled Sinate 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!


03-15-1933 ~ 09-18-2020
Thanks for everything!

04-15-1947 ~ 09-19-2020
Thanks for the music!

06-19-1928 ~ 09-21-2020
Thanks for the music!


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


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) 2020 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.

We've Got Our Own Reasons To Elect Biden -- And He Isn't One of Them
By Norman Solomon

Many people are now painfully aware that the United States is on the verge of falling under an iron fist of repressive rule, crushing basic democratic possibilities, if Donald Trump gets a second term as president. Yet the Democratic Party nominee is weak, uninspiring, often inarticulate and apt to be distasteful or worse when he's intelligible.

What are progressives to make of this truly dire situation -- and, most importantly, what are we to do? Right now.

At this potentially cataclysmic moment, I haven't seen better answers anywhere than on the new website, where a basic precept is laid out in big letters on the first screen: "We've got our own reasons to vote for Biden, and Joe ain't one."

The next words are from Cornel West: "A vote for Joe Biden is . . . a way of preserving the condition for the possibility of any kind of democratic practice in the United States."

The "Not Him Us" site goes on to ask a central question: "We wanted a political revolution. Now what?" The answers begin by reframing the current realities to include not just clear and present dangers but also great possibilities:

** "It might not feel like it right now, but our movements are starting to win. In the streets: one of the most massive uprisings in our nation's history is unfolding, demanding racial justice and systemic change. And in the halls of power: from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, to Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush, more and more people's champions are challenging a failed status quo -- and winning."

** "To continue to gain ground, we need to keep building our movements and elect more people's candidates. But right now our forward trajectory depends on stopping Trump in his tracks. Our organizations, movements, and people's candidates are engaged in an incredibly consequential contest for the future. If history is any guide, we cannot allow an authoritarian demagogue like Trump to continue to consolidate power."

** "We must defeat Trump soundly in November. It's up to us. Plug into a voter engagement effort in a priority state."

Tweeting in support of the Not Him Us project last week, Naomi Klein wrote: "Vote for a more favorable terrain. Our struggle goes way beyond elections. We're in the streets. We're talking to our neighbors and co-workers. But who controls the presidency changes what's politically possible for our struggles."

In response to the launch of #NotHimUs, former Bernie Sanders senior advisor and speechwriter David Sirota tweeted: "This is good. This is the right message. It's honest. It doesn't try to pretend Biden is awesome. It doesn't insult voters' intelligence. It doesn't try to insult or vote shame people into voting to defeat Trump. It makes a positive case. Solid." The project director for Not Him Us is Jonathan Smucker. The initiative draws on his 25 years as a grassroots organizer, mostly involving non-electoral social movements like Occupy Wall Street, which was heavily featured in his book Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals. He was an active volunteer on the Bernie 2020 campaign, and some of his training curriculum was used in the campaign's field program.

With less than six weeks till the end of voting in the presidential race, Smucker sees the peril and the promise for our lives, our country and the planet. "The bad news is that the Democratic Party's corporate-friendly old guard won the presidential primary," he told me. "Now we have a nominee that millions of working-class people and young people are not at all enthusiastic about, and this enthusiasm gap could spell a second term for Trump."

Yet meanwhile, Smucker went on, "the old guard is on its way out -- if we do the work. A growing wave of people's candidates, backed by growing popular movements, can frame the terms of debate and push Biden and Congress on key policies like a Green New Deal. But if Trump wins, we'll all be playing defense for at least four more years."

Playing defense in years ahead is the last thing progressives need. And Trump's increasingly obvious intentions to steal the election should be energizing instead of paralyzing. The need is now crystal clear for progressives nationwide: Organize and volunteer to boost the Biden vote against Trump in the dozen swing states.

At this ominous crossroads, Not Him Us offers vital clarity. (That's why at we eagerly accepted an invitation to partner on the project.) With so much at stake -- including social justice, human rights and this planet's climate -- Autumn 2020 is a time when people have the decisive opportunity to prevent the consolidation of illegitimate power by an authoritarian regime.

"We can do this on our own terms," Not Him Us points out. "We can lend a hand to people's organizations that are not just working to defeat Trump, but also working to upend an unacceptable status quo, defeat an out-of-touch political establishment, take on the powerful forces arrayed against us, and win the future for the many, not the few."

(c) 2020 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."

Why have we handed over the enormous assets we own to this expanding corporate state?

Why Do Americans Give Away So Much Control To Corporations?
The corporate "Borg" is sucking the ready availability of the good life, decent, secure livelihoods assured by our collective self-reliance, and the freedom to shape our future out of our political economy.
By Ralph Nader

The American people own most of the wealth-private and public-and most of the information in the country. The top one percent do not.

The American people have most of the power in the country. The top one percent do not.

These assertions may surprise you, because the top one percent and the giant corporations work overtime to control what you own. This means they do not have to seize what you own so long as their control provides them with both riches and power over you.

Let's spell this out with specifics. Our Constitution starts with the words, We the People..."; it doesn't start with 'we the corporations' or 'we the Congress' or 'we the super-rich.' The sovereign authority under the Constitution is us; we the people are the bosses. But we give our power away to the Big Boys who run the big companies that control most of our elected politicians. The politicians in turn proceed to corrupt our elections with campaign money, gerrymandering, deceitful ads, voter obstructions, and a totally dominant two-party duopoly. This corporate state destroys competitive democracy which would give our votes meaning, choices, and effectiveness.

Shouldn't we be discussing why, when we own the vast federal public land, one-third of America-and the vast public airwaves, do we give control of these resources to corporations every day of the year to profit from at our expense? We give the television and radio stations, that block our voices, free control and use of the airwaves, 24/7. We receive very little in royalties from the energy, mining, timber, and grazing companies extracting huge wealth from our federal lands.

We send our tax dollars to Washington, D.C., and the federal government gives trillions of these dollars to companies in the form of subsidies and bailouts.

Trillions of dollars are devoted to government research and development (R&D), which has built or expanded private companies. These include such industries as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, military weapons, computers, internet, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and containerization.

Our taxpayer-funded R&D is essentially given away free to these for-profit businesses. We the People receive no royalties nor profit-sharing returns on these public investments. Worse, we pay gouging prices for drugs and other products developed with our tax dollars.

We have trillions of dollars in savings and retirement money placed in giant mutual and pension funds. The managers of these institutions make big profits by investing your money in the stock and bond markets. If you controlled these trillions of dollars in stocks and bonds that you own, that is if there was real shareholder and bondholder power, you would control the ownership of all the big companies and turn the tables on the Big Bosses. Polls show a big majority of people think Big Business has too much power and control over us. Nonetheless, we regularly give these plutocrats control over what we own.

We own our personal information. Yet, we give it totally free to the likes of Facebook, Google, Instagram, and YouTube, etc. so they can make trillions of dollars selling data on what we buy, what we like, what we think, and what we're addicted to in the marketplace. The advertisers then pester us 24/7 and even betray our trust. Imagine Alexa eavesdropping in our homes and businesses. High-tech companies should not be privy to our personal information.

Unfortunately, giving companies our personal information, from which they profit immensely and gouge and penalize us profusely, started long ago. The moment we took out credit cards, for example, we began to lose control of our money and our privacy. With the internet, companies are generating new payment-system controls, with their dictatorial fine-print agreements and never-ending additional surcharges, driven by their greedy overreaches.

People spend lots of time just trying to get through to these companies for refunds, adjustments, corrections, and simple answers to their questions.

Why have we handed over the enormous assets we own to this expanding corporate state? Why have we surrendered to statism or corporate socialism? The corporate "Borg" is sucking the ready availability of the good life, decent, secure livelihoods assured by our collective self-reliance, and the freedom to shape our future out of our political economy.

Why are we allowing the United States-this rich land of ours-to have so many impoverished, powerless people, dominated by the few? With ever greater concentration or powers under corrupt Trumpism and its corporate supremacists, control of our lives is getting worse.

It starts with us being indoctrinated into being powerless (civic skills and practice are not taught in schools). This leads to the people not taking control of Congress (only 535 of them). We are allowing elections and debates to ignore raising these basic democratic issues of who owns what and who should control our commonwealth.

David Bollier and his colleagues are working to have adults and students learn about the commons-owned by all of us-and the few examples of people sharing in our commonwealth. Through the Alaska Permanent Fund, every Alaskan gets about $2000 a year from the royalties' oil companies pay for taking the people's oil from that state.

If you're interested in reading further about the "commons" we own but do not control go to and It's in our hands!

(c) 2020 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).

The US Dictatorship Of (White) Capital And Its Tools Of Bamboozlement
By Glen Ford

The New York Times and fellow corporate media discourage Americans from organizing against the rule of the rich by pretending that People Power is a fantasy.

Like three card monti scammers everywhere, the oligarchs that rule the United States strive constantly to keep the populace guessing where the "money card" - in this case, the real power in society - is located. The whole point of the corporate scam is to dazzle and confuse the rest of us -- the "marks" in this con game of corporate owned-and-operated, phony democracy - so that we never know who the "Powers-That-Be" really are. Thus, public anger is diffused, as the identities of the actual villains at the top of the wealth pyramid are lost in the shuffle of cards. Off with whose head?

Of course, the oligarchs themselves don't stand in front of the portable card table on the street corner. They delegate that task to their shills and minions in media, universities and other corporate propaganda dispensing enterprises - like The New York Times, which earlier this month attempted to bamboozle the public (as Malcolm X would say) into believing that its list of "922 of the most powerful people in America" reflected the actual power relationships in the belly of the racist capitalist beast. For an extra spin of the wheel of confusion, the Times pretended that the racial makeup of its list of the "most powerful" was of paramount importance, as if individual ethnicity is the determining factor in how cogs in a corporate wheel operate. If only Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were Black, then racial justice would prevail in the land. Capitalism, however, seeks only its own accumulation, not social justice.

The Times insisted that these 922 individuals are the most "powerful," not the most "influential." That's an important distinction, since many voices can exert some kind of influence on the public - like Elvis Pressley or James Brown, Muhammad Ali or Alex Rodriguez, Walter Conkrite or Rush Limbaugh - but real power in a capitalist society resides in the Lords of Capital, who shape the social, legal and economic structures to their own benefit. Therefore, we need to delete from the Times list of "most powerful" the entire cast of 100 senators, 431 congresspersons (four vacancies) and 50 governors, since all are creatures of the two corporate political parties that are wholly owned by their deep-pocket donors. All of these elected officials have some influence with the public, but their power to affect change is severely constrained by corporate-dominated party structures - as the "progressives" in the Democratic "Squad" can attest. Scratch 581 not-really-powerful people from the list. The behavior of the Congressional Black Caucus -- 80 percent of whom voted for continued militarization of the police in 2014, while 75 percent opted to elevate cops to the status of "protected class" in 2018 - only makes sense when they are recognized as operatives of a corporate party, not "powerful" people in their own right, or as representatives of Black constituencies whom they refuse to serve.

We must also delete the 29 police chiefs and 25 prosecutors from the Times list. These men and women are cogs in the wheels of the machinery of the world's biggest police state. None of the top cops, including the 14 Black and Hispanic chiefs, have the power to dismantle the deeply embedded Mass Black Incarceration State, even if they wanted to. And although it's good that two of the 29 big city prosecutors are considered "progressive" (Lawrence Krasner in Philadelphia and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco), their presence alone does not alter the nature of the racist and predatory U.S. State.

The same goes for all 24 top Trump administrators, including the three Black, Hispanic and Asian operatives, who are functionaries of a corporate party apparatus that is a tool of at least one wing of a feuding corporate ruling oligarchy. The exceptions would be administrators like Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and a few others who are bonafide members of the billionaire ruling class. But most of the others, although relatively rich, made their bones by serving the ruling class, not as Lords of Capital. Any Democratic Administration contains a similar mix - like President Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin who accumulated a net worth of $100 million serving the banks in and out of public office, and Obama's man at the Treasury, Timothy Franz Geithner, a younger servant of the banks (as Federal Reserve of New York CEO) whose lifetime cut of the corporate cake is a modest $2 million. Some servants of Power earn more than others, but the oligarchs have plenty of eager operatives to watch out for their interests on both sides of the duopoly.

The same corporate duopoly that shapes the Congress fills the ranks of federal judges, including the U.S. Supreme Court, whether Black, white, Asian or Hispanic - so delete all nine SCOTUS justices from the power list. Their political leanings reflect differences within the ruling class, but all are products of the oligarchs' entrenched and pervasive Power.

The Times includes among its tally of the "most powerful" eight members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military, one of whom is Black. This is an easy delete: the military take orders from civilian officials chosen by the corporate duopoly parties. They are the quintessential servants and enforcers of global capitalist Power, nearly all of whom will directly serve the military industrial corporate complex on retirement. A few might head up universities, like the 25 Times-designated "most powerful" university chieftains -- one Black among them. But these higher education executives serve Power, not students or communities (other than the "community" of donors). They are trusted operatives for their funders and corporate collaborators - which is why their institutions are among the biggest gentrifyers in the nation.

The directors of the country's 15 largest news organizations are pure servants of power. All are identifiably allied with one or the other party (at this stage in the ruling class internecine split, most favor Democrats, but that will change somewhat once Trump is out of office), and all are pro-capital and dependent, directly or indirectly, on corporate ad dollars. The ten most-read magazine editors - as opposed to publishers - are also political operatives of the business end of their bosses' enterprises.

Having winnowed out the servants, we are left with the Lords of Capital or their corporate chief executives in the flesh, wielding Power on behalf of their own class. That includes the 25 corporate CEOs on the Times list. Only one of them is Black and five are Asian, but the Times is quick to add that there are four Black chief executives heading up smaller Fortune 500 companies - as if that makes a huge difference in the wider societal scheme of things. The five book publishers on the Times list also deserve to be there, because they head up huge communications conglomerates, are directly answerable to the shareholder class, and likely have a large stake in stock, themselves. The same goes for the 14 CEOs of music conglomerates, the 25 people at top Hollywood studios, and a similar number at fashion corporations: Nike, Prada, H&M, etc. The 99 owners of professional baseball, football and basketball teams were all oligarchs before they bought into the franchises, or teamed up with the super-rich to buy in. The ethnicity of the owners doesn't matter much -- all soak the public for stadiums and other subsidies.

Stripped of the corporate go-fers and servants, the Times list of the "most powerful "shrinks from 922 to 168. But that's deceptive, because the newspaper only showcased the top 25 corporate CEOs, thus giving the impression that the oligarchy's share of Power in society is dwarfed by the combined weight of the top elected and appointed officials, cultural , military, and higher education leaders, and corporate magazine and news overseers - people that have influence among the population only as long as they keep their jobs but who are ultimately answerable to the Lords of Capital, the "most powerful" ruling class.

Conspicuously missing from the Times tally were leaders of organized labor who, at least nominally, speak for 16.4 million dues-paying union members. Equally telling was the absence of leaders of the broad-based "Black Lives Matter" movement that inspired over 20 million people to take to the streets in every nook and cranny of the country in June - possibly the biggest and most widespread wave of protests on U.S. soil, ever. Given the hundreds of millions of dollars the real ruling class has allocated to buy off organizations associated with the words "Black Lives Matter," it appears the ruling class is very much aware that the only force capable of countering the power of Capital is the Power of the People in motion.

Like the three card monti hustler, the guardians of corporate hegemony at the New York Times seek to divert attention from the real root of the nation and world's problems - the Dictatorship of (white) Capital - by narrowing the definition of "power" to what can be achieved by climbing the corporate (or corporate party) ladder. They want us to look for the "money card," when what we really need is enough People Power to put a stop to rich men's schemes, forever.

(c) 2020 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

The Dow Jones v. The Doug Jones
By Jim Hightower

Wow, how about that Dow?

The Dow-Jones Average of corporate stock prices, I mean - the one economic indicator that our nation's establishment watches religiously. They're like ancient priests watching a burbling, hissing volcano to determine if the gods are pleased or angry. Bizarrely, despite the pandemic recession that's knocking down millions of Americans, corporate profits are soaring. So, believers in the infallibility of the Dow exclaim that these are boom times, with the economy showering shareholder wealth on us like manna from heaven!

But most Americans are asking: A boom for whom? America's real economy is a shambles. Joblessness is still above 10 percent, with a tsunami of new firings coming as airlines, retail chains, the restaurant industry, state and local governments, Main Street businesses, and so many more are now collapsing right in front of us.

Forget the Dow-Jones Average, we need policymakers who give a damn about the Doug Jones Average - how are Doug and Desiree doing? Telling them about the booming stock market is stupid, for the Jones don't share in that wealth. In fact, the number of Americans who own even one share of corporate stock has plummeted in the past two decades as the rich and superrich have grabbed the bulk of our nation's wealth. Today, nearly 90 percent of all stocks are in the hands of the richest 10 percent of Americans.

Yet, the menagerie of laissezfairyland ideologues and lawmakers now in charge of our economic policy continue genuflecting to the Dow, insisting that the price of stock equates to a high standard of living for all. As Republican Senator Pat Toomey recently proclaimed, "Life is better today than it ever has been for the majority of the American people." His proof? Toomey pointed to the fact that cars now come equipped with seat warmers.

(c) 2020 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

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday, is photographed in the
East conference room at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on August 30, 2013.

With The Passing Of Justice Ginsburg, Democracy Just Got Harder, Again
By William Rivers Pitt

"If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump's term, and the primary process is started, we'll wait to the next election." - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), on filling a Supreme Court vacancy right before an election, October 2018 Right. Ol' Lindsey nearly broke both legs walking that one back upon the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If Senate Republicans can seat a new Justice before the election, they will do it. If they can seat a new Justice before the end of January (in the event of a Trump loss), they will do it.

Of course they will do it. Three right-wing Justices in one single presidential term? Plenty of presidents have gotten two or three over two terms. FDR got eight in six years... and gosh, d'ya think it had an effect on history?

Three in one term is ridiculous, and a full-scream nightmare turn during this gruesome administration.

Of course McConnell and the GOP will leap on this preposterously historic opportunity - combined with the 200-plus new federal judges they have stuffed into the lower courts - to lock in wealth protection and the white supremacist voting structure for at least another generation.

"Control the coinage and the courts," counseled old Jacob Broom. "Let the rabble have the rest." Mitt Romney, Chuck Grassley, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins - four GOP senators who have piped up about the upcoming nomination brawl in the last 24 hours - will not be able to stand in the way of this tornado. One of them will buckle, and that will be that. Just this morning, Romney's office already walked back his earlier commitment not to vote for a nominee until after inauguration.

I strongly suspect the placement of a new Justice won't happen before the election - too tight, too fraught, and that four might hold - but I am grimly certain we will be swearing in a new Justice by bleak February.

I say this with love: If you doubt it, if you have hope for a different outcome, you have not been paying sufficient attention, or you're letting your heart do the talking in your head.

This is about power: Raw, unmistakable power. This is the Republican Party grasping with both hands the last bulwark it has to defend its eroding standing against the rushing tide of history. This is Mitch McConnell fulfilling his destiny; though he may be despised by tens and tens of millions, all the Right People in all the Right Rooms will sing his name to sainthood, and that is all he cares about.

They will do this, because they can, full stop.

Parting thought: Anyone who needs a refresher course on the profound fragility of our democracy need only look at how very much depended on the health of one extraordinary individual from the Bronx.

Democracy just got harder, again. Stout hearts.

(c) 2020 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.

Questions Unlikely To Come Up During The Debates In The Most Important Election In The History Of The U.S.A. Since The Last One
By Frank Scott

Is private profit achieved by selling at the market the best way to benefit the greatest number of people and if so, how come so many people are homeless, unemployed, poor, without health care, while market forces accumulate trillions for war and billions for pets?

Speaking of war, if mass murder, blasting bodies to bits, crushing and burning them to death, destroying cities, reducing nations to rubble with populations of cripples and refugees and such are all legal outcomes and not "war crimes," what the hell is wrong with machine gunning your annoying neighbor, raping his children and setting fire to his house?

If Biden is a murderous sexist maniac for rubbing women's backs in public is Trump a murderous sexist maniac for leaving the toilet seat up, as recently revealed by the 35th hooker to write a book about his toilet habits? Which immediately became a best seller?

Which of the major parties of capital's candidates can put together a paragraph of reasonable, coherent, unrehearsed thought expressed in reasonable coherent English in response to a question from an unpaid citizen without first taking meds and reading from a teleprompter?

What is the meaning of life?

Is Israel more, less, or just as important to you as New York, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Alabama, and you know, those other American places?

When making love to your wife do you ever allow her to get on top?

Do either of you favor expulsion from society of all those public figures - political leaders, talk show hosts, sex workers, street vendors and such - who claimed Trump could not/would not be elected in 2016, considering them a detriment to American mental capacity, already in a condition judged by some experts as terminally critical and near total brain death?

And if not, candidate Biden should you be elected will you select some of them for your cabinet? And candidate Trump, should you be elected will you select some to be executed?

Would either of you ever dare to debate the Green party candidate for president, publicly, with questions submitted to you from an audience of Americans with less than a quarter of a million in the bank?

Have you ever heard of the Green Party?

Have you ever heard of Americans with less than a quarter million in the bank?

(c) 2020 Frank Scott writes political commentary and satire which appears online at the blog Legalienate.

Using Nanotechnology To Make Sun Power Affordable
By James Donahue

About 13 years ago the use of silicon chips to build costly solar panels that capture solar energy appeared to be over. That was because Nanosolar, a rising new star from California's Silicon Valley was emerging in 2007 with a new technology called PowerSheet solar cells.<9> Backed by a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and Google's founders, Nanosolar began production of its new product that cut the cost of purchasing and installing solar panels on homes, office buildings for heating and producing electric power.

It looked like a sure thing as America began shifting to renewable energy sources in the world effort to combat global warming. But big business interests had other plans and Nanosolar was out of business after only about six years of production. Technically that should never have happened.

Nanosolar, based in San Jose, was using discoveries in nanotechnology to produce cells that capture the energy of the sun that are so small, they can be applied in a wafer-thin coating, just like paint. You can slap it on roof shingles, on window frames and exterior walls. As a writer for Popular Science Magazine put it, the stuff "seems to suck power from the air." It converts light into energy and makes the concept of solar power so inexpensive and easy to consider anybody could have it.

The material wasn't really applied with a paint brush, but rather, via a machine that behaves like a printing press. The PowerSheet solar cells are set on a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets that are as thin as aluminum foil, thus keeping the cost of production low.

The system of manufacturing solar cells with silicon required laying the cells on glass, making the panels heavy, dangerous, and expensive to not only ship but to install because the panels had to be especially mounted. Up to 70 percent of the silicon gets wasted in the manufacturing process.

The Nanosolar cells do not contain silicon but the company claimed its cells are as efficient as most commercial silicon cells and at a cost as low as 30 cents a watt, compared to an estimated $3 a watt from conventional cells.

Company CEO Martin Roscheisen announced that once full production began early in 2008, the company expected to produce 430 megawatts' worth of solar cells a year, more than the combined total of every other solar plant in the U.S. But competition to purchase these cells will be steep. The first 100,000 cells were committed to a European consortium that was building a 1.4-megawatt power plant.

In 2008 the biggest problem for Nanosolar was if it could produce enough solar cells to meet the public demand.

Peter Harrop, chairman of IDTechEx, an electronic consulting firm involved in Nanosolar, said the company was already planning a factory in Germany to meet a potential rush for orders.

Believe it or not, Nanosolar was forced out after China began producing and marketing crystalline silicon panels at such a cheap price it took over the market. By 2013 Nanosolar was out of business.

Roscheisen stated on his personal blog that Nanosolar "ultimately failed commercially." and that he would not enter this industry again because of slow-development cycle, complex production problems and the impact of cheap Chinese solar power production.

(c) 2020 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.

Six Reasons Julian Assange Should Be Thanked, Not Punished
By David Swanson

1. The effort to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for journalism is a threat to future journalism that challenges power and violence, but a defense of the media practice of propagandizing for war. While the New York Times benefitted from Assange's work, its only reporting on his current hearing is an article about technical glitches in the court proceedings - utterly avoiding the content of those proceedings, even falsely suggesting that the content was inaudible and otherwise unobtainable. The corporate U.S. media silence is deafening. Not only does President Donald Trump's effort to imprison Assange (or, as he has publicly advocated in the past, kill him) conflict with media fictions about Russia, and contradict fundamental pretenses about U.S. respect for freedom of the press, but it also serves an important function that is clearly in the interest of media outlets that promote wars. It punishes someone who dared to expose the malevolence, cynicism, and criminality of U.S. wars.

2. The Collateral Murder video and the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs documented some of the greatest crimes of recent decades. Even the exposure of the misdeeds of a U.S. political party was a public service, not a crime - certainly not the crime of "treason" against the United States by a non-U.S. citizen, a concept of treason that would make the entire world subject to imperial dictates - and certainly not the crime of "espionage" which has to be committed on behalf of a government, not on behalf of the public interest. If U.S. courts were to prosecute the actual crimes exposed by Julian Assange and his colleagues and sources, they would have little time available for prosecuting journalism.

3. The idea that publishing government documents is something other than journalism, that real journalism requires hiding government documents while describing them to the public, is a recipe for misleading the public. Claims that Assange assisted a source in criminally (if morally and democratically) obtaining documents lack evidence and appear to be a smokescreen for the prosecution of basic journalistic practices. The same goes for claims that Assange's journalism harmed people or risked harming people. Exposing war is the very opposite of harming people. Assange withheld documents and asked the U.S. government what to redact prior to publishing. That government chose not to redact anything, and now blames Assange - without evidence - for a small number of deaths in wars that have killed huge numbers of people. We have heard testimony this week that the Trump administration offered Assange a pardon if he would reveal a source. The offense of refusing to reveal a source is an act of journalism.

4. For years the United Kingdom maintained a pretense that it sought Assange for criminal accusations from Sweden. The idea that the United States sought to prosecute the act of reporting on its wars was mocked as paranoid fantasy. For global society to now accept this outrage would be a significant blow to press freedom globally and to the independence of any vassal state from U.S. demands. Those demands tend to be, first and foremost, to buy more weapons, and, secondarily, to participate in the use of those weapons.

5. The United Kingdom, even outside of the European Union, has laws and standards. The extradition treaty it has with the United States prohibits extradition for political purposes. The United States would punish Assange brutally pre-trial and subsequent to any trial. The proposal to isolate him in a cell in a prison in Colorado would amount to a continuation of the torture that UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer says Assange has already been subjected to for years. An "espionage" trial would deny Assange the right to put forward any case in his own defense that spoke to his motivations. A fair trial would also be impossible in a country whose top politicians have convicted Assange in the media for years. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called Wikileaks a "non-state hostile intelligence service." Presidential candidate Joe Biden has called Assange a "hi-tech terrorist."

6. The legal process thus far has not been legal. The United States breached Assange's right to client-lawyer confidentiality. During the last year at the Ecuadoran Embassy, a contractor spied on Assange 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including during his private meetings with his attorneys. Assange has been denied the ability to properly prepare for the current hearings. The court has displayed extreme bias in favor of the prosecution. Were corporate media outlets reporting on the details of this travesty, they would soon find themselves treated in a hostile manner by those in power; they would find themselves on the side of the serious journalists; they would find themselves on the side of Julian Assange.

(c) 2020 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.

People in Canada are among the highest per capita carbon emitters in the world, so we
have a long way to go to tackle our fair share in the fight to address global heating.

Carbon Pricing Is Like Handwashing In A Pandemic
By David Suzuki

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the basics. During the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials have repeated clear messages about handwashing, physical distancing and mask-wearing. These are relatively simple preventative measures to limit the virus's spread.

Responding to climate change isn't so simple, yet it's every bit as urgent. Although many paths can help steer us toward meeting our 2030 and 2050 climate commitments, evidence shows some policies are essential to the mix. They're the climate version of handwashing in a pandemic. One of these is putting a price on carbon to make polluters pay.

The Supreme Court of Canada is about to hear a case that references carbon pricing but speaks to bigger issues of constitutional jurisdiction and climate policy. It goes to the heart of how our country is tackling the climate crisis.

Three provinces led by conservative premiers asked their highest courts to rule on whether the federal government's Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which requires provinces to put a price on carbon pollution or adhere to the federal carbon tax, exceeded federal authority. The federal government won its cases in Saskatchewan and Ontario's Courts of Appeal but lost in Alberta. All three provinces appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which will hear the case September 22-23.

Pollution doesn't stop at borders, and the greenhouse gases that go into the air of one province affect the entire country's ability to meet its Paris Agreement commitments. People in Canada are among the highest per capita carbon emitters in the world, so we have a long way to go to tackle our fair share in the fight to address global heating. Provinces that do as little as possible on the climate front hurt us all.

As Canada makes choices on whether its economic recovery will be green and just, moving ahead with a carbon pricing requirement throughout the country makes even more sense. Those who pollute the most will help fund a green recovery. Pricing carbon, along with removing fossil fuel subsidies, stimulates investment in low-carbon energy technologies that will lead the way to a decarbonized economy and a shift away from fossil fuels. It accelerates investments in green innovation, nature-based climate solutions, electrified public transit and electric vehicle charging networks.

Returning to "business as usual" and the myriad intractable problems and crises associated with it is not an option. Putting a price on carbon works. Emissions in B.C. would be up to 15 per cent higher if the province had not put its carbon tax in place in 2008, according to Canada's former Ecofiscal Commission. Meanwhile, B.C.'s real gross domestic product per capita between 2008 and 2015 increased by 6.4 per cent, compared to only 3.1 per cent in the rest of Canada.

In addition to the potential to drive deeper emissions reductions as carbon prices go up, evidence shows the policy helps change individual and business behaviours - for the good of all. Carbon pricing has the added benefit of providing these outcomes at a lower economic cost than other policies. The pricing system is designed to be fair. In provinces without their own carbon pricing, households under the federal system will receive more money in rebates than they pay in fuel charges, according to the parliamentary budget officer.

Large industry must also pay its fair share under the federal carbon tax. The policy rewards low-carbon innovation and, through "output-based allocations," ensures that producers from polluting countries don't have an advantage over our own industries when they export carbon-intensive products to Canada. As the former Ecofiscal Commission reported, "It allows Canada to put a price on carbon in vulnerable industrial sectors while other jurisdictions catch up on climate policy, and allows us to do so without undermining our economic prosperity."

Carbon pricing isn't the only climate policy needed at this time. But it is an essential one that must be part of the mix.

It's unimaginable to conceive of a pandemic response in which the federal government doesn't work closely with the provinces for the benefit of all people living here. The pandemic response taught us that being prepared, listening to science and acting decisively and early pays off. We must demand the same for our response to the climate crisis.

(c) 2020 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Knew The Dark Elements In American History Never Die
The associate justice of the Supreme Court, whose career runs parallel to that of Justice Thurgood Marshall, is dead at 87.
By Charles P. Pierce

I will remember her most for the umbrella in the rain.

It was 2013, and the Supreme Court was announcing its decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act and in which Chief Justice John Roberts declared the Day of Jubilee, writing:

Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. Shelby County contends that the preclearance requirement, even without regard to its disparate coverage, is now unconstitutional. Its arguments have a good deal of force. In the covered jurisdictions, "[v]oter turnout and registration rates now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.""
In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg measured Roberts for a feckless child who understands less about this country and its history than he knows about Sumerian calligraphy. She told him in no uncertain terms what his fanciful decision would mean in the real world.
Congress approached the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA with great care and seriousness. The same cannot be said of the Court's opinion today. The Court makes no genuine attempt to engage with the massive legislative record that Congress assembled. ... One would expect more from an opinion striking at the heart of the Nation's signal piece of civil-rights legislation...Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.
It was more than a clever metaphor, although clever it was. It was a statement of remarkable prescience, a statement from someone who knew that the dark elements in American history never die, but only sleep until the opportunity to wreak the old vengeances reveals itself again, as it almost always does. Justice Ginsburg fought those forces in the days when nobody even acknowledged their existence. Her career runs parallel to that of Justice Thurgood Marshall-two champions of freedom and equality who won great victories in front of a Court that they eventually were asked to join. It is a very small club. To join you need a will of iron, an unshakable granite commitment to principle, and a good measure of controlled, implacable ferocity. It is the ferocity that is the most important thing.

The ferocity is the most important thing.

By all accounts, Justice Ginsburg was a boon companion, the late Antonin Scalia's opera buddy, and a woman of great personal charisma. (On MSNBC Friday night, Hillary Rodham Clinton reminisced about how Justice Ginsburg essentially talked President Bill Clinton into nominating her to the Court by completely acing her face-to-face interview.) Her former clerks adored her. In an admirable demonstration of self-effacement, she thoroughly embraced her late-in-life persona as The Notorious RBG, even inviting camera crews in to watch her workouts. But, make no mistake, there was in Ruth Bader Ginsburg the soul and the heart of a terrifying opponent for the late rounds. In a remarkable string of victories before the Supreme Court in 1971, she forced the country to admit that, yes, the 14th Amendment's guarantees covered women, too. This was a fight for a winter soldier and that was what it found in Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just as racial equality had found one in Thurgood Marshall. And she did it through broken ribs and five different fights with cancer.

We should diverge briefly into the politics of the moment-which, it must be said, are sliding precipitously toward utter armageddon. The politics didn't wait for the body to cool. Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, caught in a desperate re-election campaign against Theresa Greenfield, was quick out of the gate to start fundraising on the vacancy on the Court that had so suddenly opened up. And Mitch McConnell was quick to demonstrate that he is the same soulless gremlin he's always been.

In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia's death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president's second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president's Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year. By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate. This is brave talk from a guy whose Senate majority is hanging by a thread right now. Senator Lisa Murkowski already has said she won't vote for anyone this president* nominates. Senator Lindsey Graham has been on record to the same effect for almost two years, and he's in the middle of a dead heat with Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison. The odds are they'll fold under pressure, but there's no predicting that at the moment. It's possible that Arizona's Martha McSally and Colorado's Cory Gardner are such lost causes that they'd vote for a nominee because why the hell not, but Susan Collins in Maine has to be sweating ball bearings. And that's not even to mention the sweaty, stumbling bull in this china shop who might decide to nominate his daughter, or Michael Flynn. I don't know what lies beyond chaos in constitutional government, but I think we're about to find out.

So I choose to honor the memory of Justice Ginsburg by honoring the controlled ferocity that burned in her small, wiry frame. I remember the first time I sat in on oral arguments in the Supreme Court. She looked as though her chair would swallow her up. But, when it became her turn to question the litigants, I swear to god it looked as though she grew as I was watching. The force and precision of the intellect she brought to bear gave her size and heft that made her look like a giant. She literally was bigger than life, right there before your eyes. It was an honor to watch her work. Now, the umbrella is gone and, Christamighty, is it ever raining.

(c) 2020 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-

"Well, I don't think science knows actually."
~~~ Donald Trump

The Knesset roundly rejected the bill, with both the Likud-led far-right coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and the Blue and White bloc of his foreign minister and sometime rival, Benny Gantz, voting against it."

Affirming Jim Crow, Israeli Parliament Votes Down Bill Guaranteeing Equality For Palestinian-Israelis
During the past year, the Knesset has shot down numerous proposals to amend the National Law to forbid discrimination against non-Jews.
By Juan Cole

The London pan-Arab daily al-Quds al-Arabi (Arab Jerusalem) reports that the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, voted down a proposed basic law introduced by Yousef Jabareen on behalf of the Joint List. It aimed at altering the constitutional basis of the Israeli state, requiring democratic principles, cultural pluralism, and complete equality for all citizen on both civil and national levels.

What follows is a paraphrase of the article with a few comments by me. One comment by me to begin with: Israel has all along had a choice between being a democratic state for all its citizens or being an ethno-nationalist oligarchy with second-class citizens at home and Apartheid subjects in the West Bank. This is not the first Knesset vote to demonstrate forcefully that the Israeli majority wants the latter.

The bill aimed at providing existential and democratic human rights, especially complete equality and the recognition of the Palestinian-Israeli ethnic identity. Israelis of Palestinian heritage comprise about 21% of Israel's citizen population.

The Knesset roundly rejected the bill, with both the Likud-led far-right coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Blue and White bloc of his foreign minister and sometime rival, Benny Gantz, voting against it.

The bill specified that "Israel shall be a democratic state, guaranteeing equality in rights, and concentrating on the principles of human dignity, liberty, and equality, in accord with the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations." It further said that "the state will provide equal legal protection to all its citizens, and will guarantee completely national, cultural, linguistic, and religious privacy to the two national groups within it, the Jews and Arabs."

The law specifies that "Arabic and Hebrew are the two official languages in the state, and the two languages have an equal position in all the functions and work of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches."

It sought to guarantee "to the aboriginal Palestinian Arab minority the just right to be represented and to be influential in all the branches of government in the state, in public institutions, in every setting where decisions are made," and that "the Palestinian Arab minority in the state will have the right to establish its own institutions in the realms of education, culture and religion and will be authorized to manage these institutions via representative bodies chosen by Arab citizens."

Jabareen, who has law degrees from Hebrew University and the American University and has taught law at Tel Aviv University and the University of Haifa, noted that international laws and instruments specify the protection of these rights of aboriginal minorities and that some countries, such as Canada and Australia, also guarantee them.

Canada recognizes special rights for the First Nations (what U.S. tribes tend to call Indians, a term disliked among Canadian tribes). These rights are generic and specific:

"Generic rights are held by all Aboriginal peoples across Canada, and include:
Rights to the land (Aboriginal title);
Rights to subsistence resources and activities;
The right to self-determination and self-government;
The right to practice one's own culture and customs including language and religion. Sometimes referred to as the right of "cultural integrity"; and
The right to enter into treaties;
Specific rights, on the other hand are rights that are held by an individual Aboriginal group. These rights may be recognized in treaties, or have been defined as a result of a court case.

Canada also recognizes special rights for the French minority (which settled before the English), and is an officially bilingual state.

According to al-Quds al-Arabi, Jabareen said that Israel has defined itself since it was established after the Catastrophe (nakbah) that befell the Palestinians as "a democratic Jewish state."

Documents in the Israeli National Archives show that Zionist militias of the late British Mandate of Palestine admitted that they were responsible for 85% of the ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian population in 1947-48. Contrary to international law, Israel refused to allow the 720,000 Palestinians expelled to return to their homes, making their families permanent refugees. There are now 12 million Palestinians, with some 2 million Israeli citizens, 5 million living under Israeli military occupation and kept stateless, and the rest refugees scattered among many countries, especially Jordan and Lebanon.

Then in the summer of 2018, Israel legislated what is known as the "National Law," which defines it as a state of the Jewish people, ignoring the Israelis of Palestinian heritage and making them guests in their own country.

The first article of the National Law speaks of "the land of Israel" being the historic homeland of the Jewish people, wherein the state of Israel was established. As for the fourth article, it says that "the Hebrew language is the official language of Israel," effacing Arabic, which had long been the second official language.

This law, which some consider to be racist, says that "the state considers the development of Jewish settlements to be a national value, and works to encourage and support their establishment and maintenance."

During the past year, the Knesset has shot down numerous proposals to amend the National Law to forbid discrimination against non-Jews.

The Joint List, which largely comprises Israelis of Palestinian heritage along with leftist Jews, announced that it is forestalled from voting to amend the National Law because its fundamental position is that the law must be repealed in its entirety, and the complete equality of Palestinian Arab citizens must be enshrined.

Bonus Video added by Informed Comment: i24 News from last March: "Success for the Arab Party in Israel's Third Round of Elections"

(c) 2020 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.

The Dead Letter Office-

Moscow Mitch gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Rethuglican Uberfuhrers,

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 Samuel (Sammy the con) Alito.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your intentions of jamming through an Extreme Court injustice instead of doing what you did to America under Barry, 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 "Rethuglican 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 10-10-2020. We salute you Rethuglican Uberfuhrers!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

For RBG It Was All Principle, For Mitch McConnell It's All Power
By Robert Reich

People in public life tend to fall into one of two broad categories - those who are motivated by principle, and those motivated by power.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday night at the age of 87, exemplified the first.

When he nominated her in 1993, Bill Clinton called her "the Thurgood Marshall of gender-equality law," comparing her advocacy and lower-court rulings in pursuit of equal rights for women with the work of the great jurist who advanced the cause of equal rights for Black people. Ginsburg persuaded the Supreme Court that the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection applied not only to racial discrimination but to sex discrimination as well.

For Ginsburg, principle was everything - not only equal rights, but also the integrity of democracy. Always concerned about the consequences of her actions for the system as a whole, she advised young people "to fight for the things you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, exemplifies the second category. He couldn't care less about principle. He is motivated entirely by the pursuit of power.

McConnell refused to allow the Senate to vote on President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, in March, 2016 - almost a year before the end of Obama's term of office - on the dubious grounds that the "vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

McConnell's move was a pure power grab. No Senate leader had ever before asserted the right to block a vote on a president's nominee to the Supreme Court.

McConnell's "principle" of waiting for a new president disappeared Friday evening, after Ginsburg's death was announced.

Just weeks before one of the most consequential presidential elections in American history, when absentee voting has already begun in many states (and will start in McConnell's own state of Kentucky in 25 days), McConnell announced: "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

This is, after all, the same Mitch McConnell who, soon after Trump was elected, ended the age-old requirement that Supreme Court nominees receive 60 votes to end debate and allow for a confirmation vote, and then, days later, pushed through Trump's first nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

Ginsburg and McConnell represent the opposite poles of public service today. The distinction doesn't depend on whether someone is a jurist or legislator - I've known many lawmakers who cared more about principle than power, such as the late congressman John Lewis. It depends on values.

Ginsburg refused to play power politics. As she passed her 80th birthday, near the start of Obama's second term, she dismissed calls for her to retire in order to give Obama plenty of time to name her replacement, saying she planned to stay "as long as I can do the job full steam," adding "There will be a president after this one, and I'm hopeful that that president will be a fine president."

She hoped others would also live by principle, including McConnell and Trump. Just days before her death she said, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Her wish will not be honored.

If McConnell cannot muster the senate votes needed to confirm Trump's nominee before the election, he'll probably try to fill the vacancy in the lame-duck session after the election. He's that shameless.

Not even with Joe Biden president and control over both the House and Senate can Democrats do anything about this - except by playing power politics themselves: expanding the size of the court or restructuring it so justices on any given case are drawn from a pool of appellate judges.

The deeper question is which will prevail in public life: McConnell's power politics or Ginsburg's dedication to principle?

The problem for America, as for many other democracies at this point in history, is this is not an even match. Those who fight for power will bend or break rules to give themselves every advantage. Those who fight for principle are at an inherent disadvantage because bending or breaking rules undermines the very ideals they seek to uphold.

Over time, the unbridled pursuit of power wears down democratic institutions, erodes public trust, and breeds the sort of cynicism that invites despotism.

The only bulwark is a public that holds power accountable - demanding stronger guardrails against its abuses and voting power-mongers out of office.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg often referred to Justice Louis Brandeis's famous quote, that "the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people." Indeed.

(c) 2020 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

There's no question that, at the beck and call of the fossil-fuel industry, Donald Trump and his demonic
crew have worked without qualms or remorse to ensure that this would be a fiery and furious America.

Fire And Fury Like The World Has Never Seen
Think of him as the president from hell and here I mean a literal hell.
By Tom Engelhardt

It was August 2017 and Donald Trump had not yet warmed up to Kim Jong-un, North Korea's portly dictator. In fact, in typical Trumpian fashion, he was pissed at the Korean leader and, no less typically, he lashed out verbally, threatening that country with a literal hell on Earth. As he put it, "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen." And then, just to make his point more personally, he complained about Kim himself, "He has been very threatening beyond a normal state."

Only a year and a half later, our asteroidal president would, of course, say of that same man, "We fell in love." Still, that threat by an American leader to-it was obvious-launch a nuclear strike for the first time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nearly obliterated in August 1945 was memorable. The phrase would, in fact, become the title of a 2018 bestselling book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by journalist Michael Wolff. Two years later, amid so many other threatening phrases from this president, "fire and fury" has, however, been left in history's dustbin, largely forgotten by the world.

"This Is Not an Act of God"

Too bad, since it seems so much more relevant now that California, Oregon, and Washington, not to speak of a Southwest already officially in a "megadrought," have experienced the sort of apocalyptic fire and fury (and heat and smoke) that has turned daytime skies an eerie nighttime orange (or yellow or even purple, claims a friend of mine living in the San Francisco Bay Area). We're talking about a fire and fury that's forced cars to put on their headlights at noon; destroyed towns (leaving only armed right-wing militants behind amid the flames to await imagined Antifa looters); burned millions of acres of land, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans under evacuation orders; turned startling numbers of citizens into refugees under pandemic conditions; and crept toward suburbs and cities, imperiling the world as we've known it.

In the wake of the hottest summer on record in the Northern Hemisphere, we are, in other words, talking about the sort of apocalyptic conditions that the president undoubtedly had in mind for North Korea back in 2017, but not even faintly for the U. S. of A; we're talking, that is, about a burning season the likes of which no one in the West has ever seen before, a torching linked to the overheating of this planet thanks to the release of fossil-fuel-produced greenhouse gasses in ever greater quantities. In fact, as Washington Governor Jay Inslee pointed out recently, we shouldn't even be talking about "wildfires" anymore, but about "climate fires" whose intensity has already outpaced by years the predictions of most climate scientists. (Or, as Inslee put it, "This is not an act of God. This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."

Significant hunks of the American West have now been transformed into the natural equivalent of furnaces, with fires even reaching the suburban edges of Portland, Oregon (which, for days, had the worst air quality of any major urban area on the planet), and promising a future in which cities will undoubtedly be swept up in such conflagrations, too. Admittedly, Donald Trump didn't threaten to launch "fire and fury like the world has never seen" against Portland (though he did send federal agents there to snatch peaceful protesters off its streets and continues to insult and threaten that city's mayor). If anything, as the fires scorched those states to a crisp, he did his best to avoid the subject of the burning West, as in these years more generally he's largely treated climate change (that "hoax") like... well, a pandemic that should be ignored while America stayed "open."

And it's not a subject he's been grilled on much either, not until recently when Western governors began laying into him over his stance on climate change. To offer just one example, as far as I can tell, Bob Woodward, the Washington Post editor and court chronicler of presidents who, for months, had unparalleled access to Trump and grilled him on so many subjects, never bothered to ask him about the most important, most dystopian, most apocalyptic future Americans face. And mainstream Democrats didn't do much better on the subject while those fires were building to a crescendo until Joe Biden finally called the president a "climate arsonist." He added, aptly enough, "If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?" There's no question that, at the beck and call of the fossil-fuel industry, Donald Trump and his demonic crew have worked without qualms or remorse to ensure that this would be a fiery and furious America. Freeing that industry of restrictions of every sort, withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, opening up yet more areas for oil drilling, wiping out environmental safeguards, and even (at the very moment when the West was burning) appointing a climate-science denier to a top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the president and his crew proved themselves to be pyromaniacs of the first order.

Of course, the heating of this planet has been intensifying for decades now. (Don't forget, for instance, that Barack Obama presided over a U.S. fracking boom that left people referring to us as "Saudi America.") Still, this president and his top officials have put remarkable energy (so to speak) into releasing yet more carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. And here's the strange thing: they made it deep into the present apocalyptic moment in the West without-Greta Thunberg and climate change protesters aside-being held faintly accountable for their urge to fuel the greatest danger humanity faces other than nuclear weapons. In fact, as is increasingly obvious from the torching of the West, what we're beginning to experience is a slow-motion version of the nuclear apocalypse that Trump once threatened to loose on North Korea.

In an all-too-literal fashion, The Donald is indeed proving to be history's "fire and fury" president.

And don't for a moment think that there was no warning about the over-the-top burning now underway in this country. After all, in 2019, parts of Australia were singed to a crisp in a way never before seen, killing at least 25 humans and possibly more than a billion animals. And that country, too, was headed by a climate-change denier, a man who once brought a piece of coal to parliament and handed it around while soothingly telling other legislators, "Don't be afraid, don't be scared." In addition, in recent years, the Arctic (of all places) has been smoking and burning in an unprecedented fashion, heating its permafrost and releasing staggering amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Oh, and this June, the temperature in a small town in Siberia crossed the 100-degree mark for the first time.

By the way, Russia, too, is run by a leader who until recently was a climate denier. I mean, what is it about the urge of so many of us in such a crisis to support those dedicated to quite literally destroying this planet as a livable place for... well, us? (Hey there, Jair Bolsonaro!)

Our Very Own Firenado

An almost unimaginable near-half-century ago on a different planet, I lived in San Francisco. I can still remember the fog rolling in daily, even during summer in one of the coolest, breeziest cities around. Not this year, though. On September 6th, for instance, the temperature there broke 100 degrees, "crushing" the previous record for that day. In Berkeley, across the Bay, where I also once lived long, long ago, it hit 110. As a heat wave swept the state (and the West), temperatures near Los Angeles soared to a record-breaking 121 degrees (almost challenging overheated Baghdad, Iraq, this year), while reaching 130 degrees in the aptly named Death Valley-and that's just to start down a list of soaring temperatures across the West from the Canadian to the Mexican borders.

As those fires filled the skies with smoke and ash, turning day into the eeriest of nights, a smoke cloud the likes of which had never before been seen appeared over the coastal West. Meanwhile, firenadoes were spotted and the ash-filled air threatened terrible things for health. As has been true for the last 46 years, I'm thousands of miles away from my old Bay Area haunts. Still, I regularly check in with friends and TomDispatch authors on that coast, some aged like me and locked in their homes lest the smoke and ash, the air from hell, do them in. Meanwhile, their cars are packed to go, their evacuation checklists ready.

My heart goes out to them and, really, to all of us (and, above all, to those to whom we oldsters will be leaving such a blazing, tumultuous world).

Sadly, among the endless scandals and horrors of the Trump era, the greatest one by far scandalized all too few for all too long among those who officially matter on this beleaguered planet of ours. Even in 2016, it should have been obvious enough that a vote for Donald Trump was a vote for the apocalypse. Give him credit, though. He made no secret of that fact or that his presidency would be a fossil-fueled nightmare. It was obvious even then that he, not climate change, was the "hoax" and that this planet would suffer in unique ways from his (ad)ministrations.

And in every way imaginable, Donald Trump delivered as promised. He's been uniquely fiery and furious. In his own fashion, he's also been a man of his word. He's already brought "fire and fury" to this country in so many ways and, if he has anything to say about it, he's just gotten started.

Don't doubt for a second that, should he be losing on November 3rd (or beyond, given the mail-in vote to come), he'll declare electoral fraud and balk at leaving the White House. Don't doubt for a second that he'd be happy to torch that very building and whatever, at this point, is left of the American system with it before he saw himself "lose."

Since he is, in his own fashion, a parody of everything: a politician, a Republican, an autocrat, even a human being, he sums up in some extreme (if eerily satiric) fashion human efforts to destroy our way of life in these years. In truth, fiery and furiously fueled, he's a historic cloud of smoke and ash over us all.

By his very nature, to use those 2017 nuclear words of his, he is "threatening beyond a normal state." Think of him as the president from hell and here I mean a literal hell. Four more years of him, his crew, and the fossil-fuelized criminals running the major oil, gas, and coal companies who are riding his coattails into profit heaven and planetary misery are the cast of a play, both comedy and tragedy, that none of us should have to sit through. He's our very own firenado and-it's not complicated-four more years of him will consign us to a hell on Earth of a sort still only faintly imaginable today.

(c) 2020 Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's His sixth and latest book, just published, is A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books).Previous books include: Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World (with an introduction by Glenn Greenwald). Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050 (co-authored with Nick Turse), The United States of Fear, The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's, The End of Victory Culture: a History of the Cold War and Beyond, as well as of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from here.

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To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Defensive Bob Woodward Claims He Withheld Interview Since Journalism Hasn't Worked On Trump So Far
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In response to criticism for withholding "bombshell" audio of the president, veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward defended his actions Friday by noting journalism has had no effect on Donald Trump so far.

"In my defense, I only kept this damning interview with the president from the American people because it's not going to make any difference whatsoever," said the reporter famous for breaking the Watergate scandal, adding that he has filed hundreds of hard-evidence-backed stories on the myriad unspeakable things Donald Trump has said and done in the past four years and none of the articles resulted in a single consequence.

"Trust me, I would have released this tape of Trump openly brushing off the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans back in February if we lived in a world where ironclad evidence of the president's dishonesty would lead to repercussions-but we don't. All I'm saying is there were plenty of other stories that made you say, 'Oh my God, the president behaved unprofessionally,' back in March, and not one of them moved the needle. I actually thought I was helping by not piling on."

Woodward added that the only way he could see Trump being affected in the slightest by the damning audio would be if someone threw the recording device at him.

(c) 2020 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 39 (c) 09/25/2020

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