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In This Edition

Randall Amster returns with, "Youth Trumps Fossils."

Ralph Nader with a must read, "25 Ways The Canadian Health Care System Is Better Than Obamacare For The 2020 Elections."

Glen Ford says, "Drop The Term "Austerity" - It's The Race To The Bottom."

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

Juan Cole pointa out, "Bribery And High Crimes And Misdemeanors."

John Nichols says the, "F-35 Project Is The Military-Industrial Complex At Its Worst."

James Donahue wonders, "Can Great Lakes States Trust Their Government To Preserve The Lakes?"

William Rivers Pitt finds, "Saudi Arabia Owns The 45th Floor Of Trump Tower, And It Shows."

David Suzuki exclaims, "Let's All Support The Global Climate Strikes!"

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "Donald Trump's Ukraine Business Is The Beginning Of The End."

David Swanson explains, "How The U.S. Institute Of Peace Avoids Peace In Afghanistan."

Fox News host Laura Ingraham wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explores, "Trump's Economy Revealed."

Jane Stllwater reports, "Springsteen, Baez, Robeson & Me."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst considers, "Football Clinches And The Democratic Primary," but first Uncle Ernie asks, "Will Nancy Pelosi Actually Call For Impeachment?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jeff Parker, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, F. Santiago, Bob Blob, Amber Arnold, Drew Angerer, David Hume Kennerly, Unsplash, National Nurses United, R.J. Matson, Jane Stillwater, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Will Nancy Pelosi Actually Call For Impeachment?
By Ernest Stewart

"My Crimes Can't Be Investigated While I'm President." ~~~ Donald Trump

"Climate change endangers people by intensifying hurricanes, heat waves and drought and by reducing crop yields, seafood supplies and fresh water. Climate change also endangers ecosystems such as coral reefs, which have faced extensive damage already." ~~~ Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

"The climate hysteria movement is not about science. If it were about science, it would be led by scientists rather than by politicians and a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left." ~~~ Michael Knowles

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 that Lying Donald's refusal to release his taxes like he should have done before the election of 2016 is being challenged by the courts and various house committees. Lying Donald's attorneys have argued that such requests, like the ones from various House committees, constitute presidential harassment and supposedly lack "a legitimate legislative purpose." Last Thursday they came up with a novel new argument: "It's illegal to investigate a sitting president for any crimes he may have committed." To which Lying Donald chimed in, "My Crimes Can't Be Investigated While I'm President." Man are you juiced or tripping? It's got to be one or the other, one would imagine!

But Lying Donald being Lying Donald has been caught threatening a foreign country with their aid being withheld if they didn't look into Joe Bidens son Hunter, for political advantage, which is, you guess it, another impeachable offence! "Joe Biden and his son are corrupt," Lying Donald said. "But the fake news doesn't want to report it because they're Democrats. If a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they'd be getting the electric chair by right now. The electric chair. Maybe it's that prospect that's got him so worked up."

And those impeachable offenses of Lying Donald's will never, ever, end. Just one after another, after another, after another, after... well, you get my point! You would think that Nancy Pelosi would release the hounds, and you know what, she finally did! The hell I say? Perhaps Nancy finally grew a pair? If only. No, 80% of the House Demoncrat's made it perfectly clear they want to start the impeachment inquiry and Nancy finally said fine. Apparently either Lying Donald or Nancy was going to be impeached, she chose Lying Donald! Imagine that. This isn't an impeachment, just an inquiry and the heads of six committees and Nancy will decide on whether or not to impeach Lying Donald. Remember Nancy, talk is cheap! Actions speak louder than words!

Don't get me started on Lying Donald and his United Nations speech, or a dozen other faux pas, most of which were criminal this week. However, I would like to mention the look that sums it all up! Greta Thunberg staring at Lying Donald at The UN...

If looks could kill!

In Other News

I see where a leading group of international climate scientists is warning that "large-scale strategies are needed immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avert catastrophic circumstances" that threaten every part of the world!

In a paper published in the journal Science, 21 researchers from 14 countries said climate change is already damaging the planet more than scientists had projected, endangering everything from food supply to the existence of island nations. As I've said many times before we are caught in a loop because of the north ice packs melting.

Heat waves are intensifying in North America and Europe. Underwater heat waves are killing deepwater habitats and coral reefs. Insect populations are dwindling, threatening the food chain. And larger, more frequent wildfires, such as the blazes that have killed more than 100 people in California since 2017, are destroying forests and communities around the world.

"All of these things are happening faster than we thought," Rachel Warren, one of the authors, said in an interview. "There are more floods, more wildfire, more sea-level rise, more melting ice." Warren is a professor of global change and environmental biology at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

The paper comes four days before the United Nations convenes its Climate Action Summit in New York City to address what the organization calls "the global climate emergency." U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has invited world leaders to bring "realistic plans" to cut their nations' greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade.

The Science paper underscores the urgency. It exhorts the international community to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels by 2100 and warns about widespread harm if the global mean surface temperature rises by 2 degrees in that period.

Investments costing between $2 trillion and $4.5 trillion a year could prevent a 2-degree temperature increase and avoid $500 trillion in damages by 2200, the paper says.

It draws extensively from a special report released in October by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warned about the danger of global temperatures rising 2 degrees above those recorded from 1850 to 1900. The paper's lead author, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who is director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia, also was the lead author of the special IPCC report (Climatewire, Oct. 15, 2018).

"We're trying to change the message we're projecting from 'This is going to happen' to 'This is already happening, and to prevent this from getting worse, action needs to be ramped up,'" Warren said. "Scientists are very, very concerned. The picture for humans and ecosystems is really pretty grim if we don't achieve this."

And Finally

Fox News bimbo Laura Ingraham has come under fire for comparing teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg to the murderous youths in Steven King's horror film "Children of the Corn."

The fascist witch yelled at the 16-year-old Swedish activist on the Ingraham Hour Monday evening over her impassioned speech at the United Nations Climate Summit where the teen broke into tears as she called out world leaders for failing to take action against global warming.

The network played a video of Thunberg's fiery harangue, her face full of fury and eyes welling with tears, leading Ingraham to ask: "Does anyone else find that chilling?"

The network then cut to a clip from Stephen King's 1984 horror film Children of the Corn, which tells the tale of Christian fundamentalist children who ritually murder all the adults in their small Nebraska town.

"I can't wait for Stephen King's sequel, Children of the Climate," Ingraham quipped.

Her attack came just hours after Fox News panelist Michael Knowles slammed Thunberg as a "mentally ill Swedish child." Though Michael came in a close second, we're giving Laura Ingraham 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!


01-06-1969 ~ 09-21-2019
Thanks for the film!

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Thanks for the film!

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Thanks for the lyrics!

12-15-1928 ~ 09-24-2019
Thanks for the laughs!


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Climate action campaigners attended the Global Climate Strike in Santiago, Chile on Friday.

Youth Trumps Fossils
"Perhaps these youths don't have all the answers, but they're asking the right questions. How much more evidence do we need before taking action?"
By Randall Amster

This is a moment. Perhaps it's not the moment-since there have been others before it and more will surely follow-but it's certainly a moment that will help determine the future of life on this planet. Yes, people have marched before and initiated strikes of all sorts, and in particular around environmental issues and climate change. Likewise, young people have taken the lead in social movements both historical and contemporary, from civil rights to gun control. Still, this moment is different in key ways.

For starters, there's the indefatigable Greta Thunberg, about whom so much has been written and said that in its sheer magnitude may tend to obscure the full depth of her intervention. To be sure, the movement for climate justice and urgent policymaking isn't just about her or due solely to her, and she would probably be the first to remind us of that. Yet in every movement-which is really a series of moments-there are voices breaking above the din to focus the discourse and engage our imagination.

And she's done this, with a kind of clarity that is at once disarming and disquieting. She speaks truth to power, as movement mantra often aspires to do, in pointed terms without generating the sort of acrimonious repercussions that can lead to blowback and even open repression. Instead, her style of stating the case in unvarnished and incontrovertible terms while conveying to those elders in power that they ought to know better, inverts the standard narrative and flips the script of intergenerational justice.

Social change efforts often devolve upon a dynamic of youthful energy met with paternalistic indifference. The organizing done by young people usually is met with public pronouncements praising their spirit of civic engagement, coupled with blatant policy inaction that speaks volumes in its silence. We were all young once, the thinking goes, and can understand both the tone of urgency and sense of irresponsibility inherent in young minds. It's good when youth speak, but we don't have to really listen.

That is, until all of the young people-or at least a whole lot of them-raise their voices at once. That's the confluence of this moment, with images and sounds pouring in from across the globe of youth (joined by allies and supporters from all generations) taking the streets and taking the lead on climate change issues. And this time around, the obvious spark of urgency-conveyed in pointed demands for immediate action-is coupled not with rashness but a sober analysis of causes, effects, and responses.

Sometimes people use a phrase about locating "the grownups in the room" in a figurative sense, since it's usually applied to a room full of adults in which only a few are voicing responsible positions. Even more so, the phrase is meant to imply that the grownups are the ones capable of making the tough calls, staking out unpopular but necessary positions, and moving the discussion from handwringing to action. These proverbial grownups may use fewer words, making their gravitas even more impactful on others.

Current events turn all of this on its head. The chronological grownups blather incessantly, squandering precious time and dwindling resources while the planet inexorably burns. These aged grownups have shown a remarkable lack of backbone in making the tough calls about what it will actually take to immediately pump the brakes on decades of profligate overconsumption, unbridled waste, unrestrained fossil fuel exploitation, and the acquisition of wealth at the expense of having any future on this world.

In many cultures, it's the wisdom of elders that inspires veneration and conveys a long-term perspective essential for survival. And indeed, we needn't be ageist in interpreting the present moment as one in which purely virtuous young people are contrasted with nothing but doddering fossils bent on ignoring their claims. Many adults have been raising their voices about climate change, some for decades, in ways that have helped frame the discussion and build a stage from which today's youth can speak.

Perhaps these youths don't have all the answers, but they're asking the right questions. How much more evidence do we need before taking action? How many dire warnings will it take to prompt meaningful policy change? Why aren't more political figures taking seriously their responsibility to actually represent people and guard the future from the ravages of the present? Why haven't many elders gotten the message that their legacy is going to be the closure of the future for their descendants?

These questions reverberate in the streets, public fora, and halls of power as we speak. But they aren't being asked in polite terms so much as they're being pressed as urgent claims. The answers by now are almost self-evident, doled out by the bushel at the seniors-only luncheon in the form of gold-plated morsels marinated in oil. Meanwhile, beyond this ecocidal feeding frenzy, young people are hungry for change and won't accept empty promises any longer. They are indeed the grownups outside the room.

That's what this moment represents: a turning point in which the torch of moral clarity and political credibility is passed from one generation to another. Being somewhere in the middle of that dynamic-not quite old enough to be fossilized, yet clearly not taken for being young-presents an interesting vantage point. Any thoughts of a succession strategy in which power slips seamlessly from one generation to the next is nonsensical at this juncture, with the window of time to act rapidly closing.

Simply put, we can't wait for those who either refuse to see the problem or lack the courage to take tangible action to step aside and wander off into the sunset. The arc of agitation is ascending like the proverbial sunrise, with all its connotations of promise and possibility. History, too, is cyclical, with ebbs and flows and transitions from what was to what might be. It can be difficult to see these cycles in real time, but the message today isn't very subtle. Young people know what time it is, and it's their moment.

(c) 2019 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. Among his most recent books are Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012) and the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and the co-edited volume Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice (Syracuse University Press, 2013).

There are more than two dozen reasons, that "the Canadian health care system - and the resulting
quality of life in Canada - is better than the chaotic, wasteful and often cruel U.S. system."

25 Ways The Canadian Health Care System Is Better Than Obamacare For The 2020 Elections
Everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital. It will produce far less anxiety, dread, and fear. Can you hear that, Congress and the White House?
By Ralph Nader

Dear America:

Costly complexity is baked into Obamacare, and although it has improved access to healthcare for some, tens of millions of Americans still cannot afford basic medical care for their family. No healthcare system is without problems but Canadian-style single-payer - full Medicare for all - is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal for all basic and emergency medical and hospital services.

In the mid-1960s, President Lyndon Johnson enrolled 20 million elderly Americans into Medicare in six months. There were no websites. They did it with index cards!

Below please find 25 ways the Canadian health care system - and the resulting quality of life in Canada - is better than the chaotic, wasteful and often cruel U.S. system.

Replace it with the much more efficient Medicare-for-all: everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital. It will produce far less anxiety, dread, and fear. Hear that, Congress and the White House!

Number 25:

In Canada, everyone is covered automatically at birth - everybody in, nobody out. A human right.

In the United States, under Obamacare, 28 million Americans (9 percent) are still uninsured and 85 million Americans (26 percent) are underinsured. Obamacare is made even worse by Trumpcare restrictions. (See Trumpcare by John Geyman MD (2019)).

Number 24:

In Canada, the health system is designed to put people, not profits, first.

In the United States, Obamacare has done little to curb insurance industry profits and in fact has increased the concentrated insurance industry's massive profits.

Number 23:

In Canada, coverage is not tied to a job or dependent on your income - rich and poor are in the same system, the best guaranty of quality.

In the United States, under Obamacare, much still depends on your job or income. Lose your job or lose your income, and you might lose your existing health insurance or have to settle for lesser coverage.

Number 22:

In Canada, health care coverage stays with you for your entire life.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for tens of millions of Americans, health care coverage stays with you only for as long as you can afford your insurance.

Number 21:

In Canada, you can freely choose your doctors and hospitals and keep them.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the in-network list of places where you can get treated is shrinking - thus restricting freedom of choice - and if you want to go out of network, you pay dearly for it.

Number 20:

In Canada, the health care system is funded by income, sales and corporate taxes that, combined, are much lower than what Americans pay in insurance premiums directly and indirectly per employer.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for thousands of Americans, it's pay or die - if you can't pay, you die. That's why many thousands will still die every year under Obamacare from lack of health insurance to get diagnosed and treated in time. The survivors are confronted with very high, often unregulated drug prices.

Number 19:

In Canada, there are no complex hospital or doctor bills. In fact, usually you don't even see a bill.

In the United States, under Obamacare, hospital and doctor bills are terribly complex, replete with massive billing fraud estimated to be at least $350 billion a year by Harvard Professor Malcolm Sparrow.

Number 18:

In Canada, costs are controlled. Canada pays 10 percent of its GDP for its health care system, covering everyone.

In the United States, under Obamacare, costs continue to skyrocket. The U.S. currently pays 17.9 percent of its GDP and still doesn't cover tens of millions of people.

Number 17:

In Canada, it is unheard of for anyone to go bankrupt due to health care costs.

In the United States, health-care-driven bankruptcy will continue to plague Americans.

Number 16:

In Canada, simplicity leads to major savings in administrative costs and overhead.

In the United States, under Obamacare, often staggering complexity ratchets up huge administrative costs and overhead.

Number 15:

In Canada, when you go to a doctor or hospital the first thing they ask you is: "What's wrong?"

In the United States, the first thing they ask you is: "What kind of insurance do you have?"

Number 14: In Canada, the government negotiates drug prices so they are more affordable.

In the United States, under Obamacare, Congress made it specifically illegal for the government to negotiate drug prices for volume purchases. As a result, drug prices remain exorbitant and continue to skyrocket.

Number 13:

In Canada, the government health care funds are not profitably diverted to the top one percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, health care funds will continue to flow to the top. In 2017, the CEO of Aetna alone made a whopping $59 million.

Number 12:

In Canada, there are no required co-pays or deductibles in inscrutable contracts.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the deductibles and co-pays will continue to be unaffordable for many millions of Americans. Fine print traps are everywhere.

Number 11:

In Canada, the health care system contributes to social solidarity and national pride.

In the United States, Obamacare is divisive, with rich and poor in different systems and tens of millions left out or with sorely limited benefits.

Number 10:

In Canada, delays in health care are not due to the cost of insurance.

In the United States, under Obamacare, patients without health insurance or who are underinsured delay or forgo care and put their lives at risk.

Number 9:

In Canada, nobody dies due to lack of health insurance.

In the United States, tens of thousands of Americans will continue to die every year because they lack health insurance or can't pay much higher prices for drugs, medical devices, and health care itself.

Number 8:

In Canada, health care on average costs half as much, per person, as in the United States. And in Canada, unlike in the United States, everyone is covered.

In the United States, a majority support Medicare-for-all. But they are being blocked by lawmakers and their corporate paymasters.

Number 7:

In Canada, the tax payments to fund the health care system are modestly progressive - the lowest 20 percent pays 6 percent of income into the system while the highest 20 percent pays 8 percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the poor pay a larger share of their income for health care than the affluent.

Number 6:

In Canada, people use GoFundMe to start new businesses.

In the United States, fully one in three GoFundMe fundraisers are now to raise money to pay medical bills. Recently, one American was rejected for a heart transplant because she couldn't afford the follow-up care. Her insurance company suggested she raise the money through GoFundMe.

Number 5:

In Canada, people avoid prison at all costs.

In the United States, some Americans commit minor crimes so that they can get to prison and receive free health care.

Number 4:

In Canada, people look forward to the benefits of early retirement.

In the United States, people delay retirement to 65 to avoid being uninsured.

Number 3:

In Canada, Nobel Prize winners hold on to their medal and pass it down to their children and grandchildren.

In the United States, a Nobel Prize winner sold his medal to help pay for his medical bills.

Leon Lederman won a Nobel Prize in 1988 for his pioneering physics research. But in 2015, the physicist, who passed away in November 2018, sold his Nobel Prize medal for $765,000 to pay his mounting medical bills.

Number 2:

In Canada, the system is simple. You get a health care card when you are born. And you swipe it when you go to a doctor or hospital. End of story.

In the United States, Obamacare's 954 pages plus regulations (the Canadian Medicare Bill was 13 pages) is so complex that then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said before passage "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy."

Number 1:

In Canada, the majority of citizens love their health care system.

In the United States, a growing majority of citizens, physicians, and nurses prefer the Canadian type system - Medicare-for-all, free choice of doctor and hospital , everybody in, nobody out and far less expensive with better outcomes overall.

It's decision time, America!

(c) 2019 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Drop The Term "Austerity" - It's The Race To The Bottom
By Glen Ford

In the corporate-organized Race to the Bottom, withdrawal of health care is a weapon to discipline workers and their families, as is the whole "austerity" regime.

Let's get straight to the point. The striking General Motors workers are locked in an epochal struggle against the global corporate drive to reduce the entirety of the world's working class to a state of abject desperation, leaving the great mass of people -- from Detroit to Bangladesh -- with no options but to accept whatever wages and conditions of labor the bosses offer. This is the essential, global imperative of today's late stage capitalism, and the tie that binds the money-men that control both U.S. governing parties, their counterparts in Europe, and billionaires the world over. Most commonly dubbed "austerity," it is a calculated and multifaceted strategy to save late stage capitalism through a relentless "Race to the Bottom," globally buttressed by U.S. imperial power, from which no one is to be spared except the relatively small slice of population that most directly serves the scientific, technical and security interests of the Lords of Capital -- a political alliance of the .1 percent and the upper 10 percent.

The 50,000 GM workers demand "No MoreTiers!" -an end to the two-tier system of wages that separates older and newer hires -- and permanent status for the "perma-temps," supposedly temporary workers who in fact labor for years doing the same work as regular employees but with less pay, few benefits and no rights. All reports from the picket lines show the strikers are adamant for solidarity and equality among all the tiers, although United Auto Workers leadership is shaky, as usual, having swallowed those poison pills of labor division in previous negotiations with the bosses.

Labor solidarity is the overarching, determining factor, the only power that working people posses. Therefore, for the past half-century or so, the political task of corporate operatives in boardrooms, government and media has been to methodically dismantle the safety net of social supports -public health and occupational safety, adequate income, free and effective education, affordable housing, collective bargaining rights and fundamental civil liberties -- erected during the New Deal and Great Society eras. Collectively, these "social democratic" reforms raised the standards of living of workers in the rich nations and gave them the practical life options to bargain with employers, as individuals and as a class. Through this arrangement, the Lords of Capital reluctantly shared some portion of the fruits of imperial plunder with at least some (whiter) sections of the domestic working classes in the home countries.

Finance capital exerted its supremacy on the strength of U.S. capital's penetration of the planet, backed by the most formidable and aggressive military in history. Although rates of profit fell, signaling a late stage of capitalism, the ensuing crises had the effect of hastening consolidation of capital, spurring quickening monopolization of the imperial economies. The beneficiaries of this crisis -the finance capitalists that had prospered by devouring their weaker fellows -mounted a grab-back of public goods and social supports that came to be called neoliberalism, marked by "austerity." Both corporate parties turned dramatically rightward.

The restructuring of the U.S. and European political-economies in service to monopoly capital was always justified as a governmental cost-saving measure, as well as a moral crusade to discipline those domestic constituencies (mainly Black folks, in the U.S.) whose supposed cultural failings required renewed inculcation of the "work ethic." Deficits continued, and ever-increasing military budgets were said to be necessary to counter the "Soviet threat" -and when that suddenly disappeared, other enemies were conjured up. But capital had found a solution to falling profits with the promise of super-exploitation of labor in what used to be called the Third World, now cleansed of the trade barriers of European colonialism. A whole planet of people could be set against each other -under the discipline of American military and financial power -in competition for employment at rates and conditions with no lower limits but human endurance, itself. The Global Race to the Bottom had begun.

The strikers on the picket line at GM are running that race. Corporate management, led by $22 million a year president Mary Barra, cut off the strikers' medical benefits, dramatically demonstrating why even U.S. corporations like GM that bear huge costs for their workers' private health insurance oppose Medicare for All, even though this puts their companies at a disadvantage against competitors in most of the rest of the industrial world where health care is state-financed. In the corporate-organized Race to the Bottom, withdrawal of health care is a weapon to discipline workers and their families, as is the whole "austerity" regime. But, thanks to the obfuscations of Democrats and Republicans and the conniving corporate media, Americans are led to believe that the endless austerity regime is about reducing government deficits -- a patent absurdity, given that the biggest deficits of the 21st Century have been amassed by GOP austerity hawks George W. Bush and Donald Trump. The Orange Menace this year submitted the first trillion dollar deficit in history while slashing every "people's program" below the bone.

Barack Obama attempted to forge a Grand Austerity Bargain with Republicans, offering to cut more in social spending than the GOP had asked for and appointing his own right-wing Democrat-led Deficit Commission to rationalize the carnage. Only the racism of the White Man's Party, which could not bring itself to collaborate with the First Black President even when he served their common corporate master, skewered the deal. However, huge cuts were enacted, savaging what was left of the social safety net even as the masses of Americans struggled to recover from the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression.

Obama's reboot of austerity had the desired effect. So desperate were American workers, they accepted a whole new generation of "gig" contract, part-time, "contingent," low-wage, no-benefits jobs, sometimes taking on two or three of them just to get by. A study by economists at Harvard and Princeton found that fully 95 percent of the jobs created in the Obama era were shit jobs, hardly worthy of the term "jobs," at all.

Austerity -- a corporate policy of neoliberal capitalist parties -- is designed to induce mass desperation so that workers are forced to accept whatever the bosses offer. However, the term, has been deliberately and systematically misused to connote responsible deficit reduction rather than a weapon of class warfare that marks a new and horrific stage of global capitalist plunder.

Just call it the Race to the Bottom, a plain spoken term that people can understand, and join together to resist, in solidarity.

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

Why Would We Trust Plutocrats To Save Us From Plutocracy?
By Jim Hightower

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

Likewise, today's workaday families should do a mass inventory of their silverware, for the fast-talking CEOs of 181 union-busting, tax-cheating, environment-contaminating, consumer-gouging corporations are asking us to believe that they stand with us in the fight against... well, against them. From Wall Street banksters to Big Oil polluters, these profiteers are suddenly trumpeting their future intentions to serve not just their own greed, but every "stakeholder" (which is what they call employees, customers, supplies, et al).

But vague proclamations are cheap, and it's worth noting that these new champions of the common good propose no specifics - no actual sacrifices by them or benefits for us. A few media observers have mildly objected, saying it's "an open question" whether any of the corporate proclaimers will change how they do business. But it's not an open question at all. They won't. They won't support full collective bargaining power for workers, won't join the public's push to get Medicare for All, won't stop using monopoly power to squeeze out small competitors and gouge consumers, won't support measures to stop climate change, won't back reforms to get their corrupt corporate money out of our politics...won't embrace any of the big structural changes necessary to reverse the raw economic and political inequality that has enthroned their plutocratic rule.

In fact, their empty proclamation is what West Texas cowboys might call "bovine excrement," meant to fend off the actual changes that real reformers are advancing. Corporate elites won't fix inequality for us - they're the ones doing it to us.

(c) 2019 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

According to the Washington Post, President Donald Trump asked the Ukrainian president to
investigate Biden's demand, when he was vice president, that the Ukrainians fire a prosecutor.

Bribery And High Crimes And Misdemeanors
Did Trump finally go full impeachable in Ukraine calls?
By Juan Cole

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that in the course of his conversation in July with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump pressed him on eight separate occasions to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden.

Biden when vice president is known to have pressured the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor whom the International Monetary Fund and the Obama administration felt to be ineffective in dealing with corruption. The prosecutor had once upon a time investigated a company on the board of which Biden's son Hunter served. But by the time Biden exerted his pressure, that investigation was dormant and there were never any Ukrainian findings of corruption on the part of Hunter Biden.

This is a non-story, but Trump has a history of trumping up non-stories and using them to smear his opponents, as he and his surrogates did to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Trump's pressure on Zelensky to investigate Biden constitutes asking a foreign country to intervene in a US election.

As the Law and Crime blog points out "It should be noted that the initial reporting on the whistleblower complaint said that concerns were raised about a 'promise' Trump made to a foreign leader."

We do not know what Trump might have promised Zelensky, but if he did suggest an inducement to the Ukrainian government to cooperate with Rudy Giuliani in investigating Biden, then Trump was offering a bribe.

We know that Trump has leverage over Zelensky, since Ukraine is facing Russian occupation of Crimea and an ongoing intervention in eastern Ukraine, and Trump can either help Kyiv or leave it to the tender mercies of Vladimir Putin.

In August Congress appropriated $250 million for Ukraine, but Trump stopped it from going to Zelensky. He recently reinstated it. All this is very mysterious. I had originally thought that Trump stiffing Ukraine was just one more of his weird attempts to appease Putin. But you have to wonder whether Trump's denial of aid was further pressure on Kyiv.

So bribery is an impeachable offense.

The US Constitution, Art. 2, Section 4, says,

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and Misdemeanors.

Philip Bobbitt, of the Columbia University Law School, pointed out a couple years ago at Just Security that bribery is actually two possible offenses here. One is to accept a bribe. The other is to offer a bribe.

Bobbitt argues that Trump appears to have offered Comey the possibility of keeping his job as FBI director if he would quash any investigation into Trump, and that this offer should be construed as a bribe.

It is probably far more consequential if Trump offered Zelensky a bribe, since his motive was to entangle a foreign country in interfering in the 2020 presidential election.

I think it could also be argued that Trump was soliciting from Zelensky a thing of value, i.e. oppo research of the sort political campaigns routinely pay investigative firms for.

The US civil code says,

52 U.S. Code - 30121. Contributions and donations by foreign nationals

U.S. Code Notes

(a) Prohibition

It shall be unlawful for- (1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make-

(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election.

(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or (2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

So Trump may have broken two laws if the reporting on this incident is correct so far. One was to offer Zelensky a bribe, which is explicit constitutional grounds for impeachment.

The other was to solicit a campaign contribution of sorts from a foreign national. Surely that would fall under "high crimes and misdemeanors."

We do not have enough facts to make this determination yet, and the executive is blocking Congressional access to the whistleblower complaint, so nobody who doesn't work for Trump has the facts. But clearly people in the Trump administration are upset enough by all this to leak to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

On the face of it, articles of impeachment could certainly be drawn up on this basis if the charges were proved.

My guess? They won't be. Nancy Pelosi doesn't want it because she doesn't want Democrats to lose the Blue Dogs elected from conservative districts that barely voted Democratic but perhaps have a sneaking admiration for Trump. Mitch McConnell doesn't want it because it could sink the Republican Party and put at risk the interests of the party's main backers, the billionaire class.

(c) 2019 Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

People opposed to bringing the F-35 fighter jets to Madison protest
Sept. 12 outside a meeting on the plan at the Alliant Energy Center.

F-35 Project Is The Military-Industrial Complex At Its Worst
By John Nichols

Let's review some headlines from the past several years regarding Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, shall we?

From Fortune magazine: "Pentagon Report: The F-35 Is Still a Mess."

From Scientific American: "What Went Wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin's Joint Strike Fighter? The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired but has turned out to be one of the greatest boondoggles in recent military purchasing history." From Popular Mechanics: "WTF-35: How the Joint Strike Fighter Got to Be Such a Mess: The story of the F-35, and what went wrong to put the Joint Strike Fighter so far over budget and behind schedule."

From National Interest: "The F-35 Is a $1.4 Trillion Dollar National Disaster."

From Defense News: "The Pentagon is battling the clock to fix serious, unreported F-35 problems."

From Americans for Tax Reform: "The F-35 is a 'big government' disaster in its worst form."

From the Foundation for Economic Education: "The F-35 Project Has Been a Disastrous Waste of Money: A cherished Pentagon boondoggle, the F-35 program is the most expensive weapons system in history."

The list goes on. And on. And on. The F-35 project, which a New York Times report recently referred to as "arguably the most notorious weapon ever produced," is such a fiasco that former acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan reportedly referred to the Lockheed Martin program that developed it as "f-cked up." That got Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, in hot water, so the Pentagon's inspector general stepped in to examine whether the acting secretary was unfairly biased against a project developed by a competing cog in the military-industrial complex.

No, the inspector general determined, Shanahan did not display undo bias when he referred to the F-35 program as "f-cked up," and complained about how frequently the planes were grounded. He was just repeating the common thinking at the Department of Defense. According to, "that sentiment appears to be widespread among Pentagon leaders. Witnesses said his comments about the F-35 program are consistent with those made by other defense leaders, the report states."

Michael Gilmore, the director of operational testing and evaluation for the Pentagon, was particularly blunt. "The F-35," he said, "is an extreme example of optimistic, if not ridiculous, assumptions about how a program would play out."

So where might this turkey land? At Madison's Truax Field. The prospect has stirred significant opposition locally, especially since a draft environmental impact statement released by the Air Force determined that bringing the National Guard's F-35 Fighter Squadron to town would subject almost 2,800 people to substantially increased noise levels - with an average sound level of 65 decibels or more. Some areas near the airport would become "incompatible for residential use," according to the report. With substantial spending to mitigate against the increased noise, homes in and around those areas might be made livable. But the questions of how decisions regarding mitigation will be made and what guarantees will be given Madisonians remain unresolved.

Proponents of the F-35 project remain enthusiastic about it, suggesting it could produce as many as 65 new jobs - and, potentially, secure the future of the Truax facility. But state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, said, "I just really question (whether 64 or 65 jobs are) really worth it to displace people. Is it really worth it to disrupt the quality of life for these people?"

Thousands of Madisonians are answering "no" because of concerns about the potential displacement and disruption that the military admits could be associated with the plan to base F-35s in the city. But even if the planes were silent, there's a strong case to be made against linking Madison's future with this F-35 fiasco.

Just last week, Defense News reported that the F-35 program - as well as the F-22 - "will not meet an 80 percent mission-capable rate requirement set by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis." Proponents of the F-35 project keep claiming things are getting better, arguing that Lockheed Martin is finally getting its act together. But, by too many measures, it remains the mess that the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was talking about during one of the last hearings he chaired while serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee. "The F-35 program's record of performance has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance," said McCain. "It's a textbook example of why this committee has placed such a high priority on reforming the broken defense acquisition system."

Wisconsin has a rich tradition of objecting to the absurd excesses of the military-industrial complex. It goes back a century to when former Sen. Robert M. La Follette warned his constituents to be wary of "gentlemen interested in war as a business." Former Sen. William Proxmire became famous for identifying excessive and irresponsible Pentagon spending with his Golden Fleece awards. Former Sen. Gaylord Nelson led Senate battles against unnecessary weapons systems. And former Sen. Russ Feingold worked with McCain to identify and address abuses by military contractors - including, notably, Lockheed Martin.

Objecting to the waste, fraud and abuse that is perpetuated by the military-industrial complex that former President Dwight Eisenhower identified is a Wisconsin tradition. La Follette laid the marker down long ago, declaring that we should always guard against "the tide of sentiment that, under the guise of patriotism, is actually based on commercial greed."

The F-35 project is an example of commercial greed at its most indefensible. It has no place in Madison or anywhere else in Wisconsin.

(c) 2019 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Can Great Lakes States Trust Their Government To Preserve The Lakes?
By James Donahue

As fresh potable water has been growing scarce throughout the world, residents of the eight states surrounding the Great Lakes have gone to great lengths to preserve and protect this great natural resource.

The lakes have proven their recreational and industrial value, have maintained a major fishing industry and have been a source of water for all of the great cities surrounding them, from Chicago east to Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo.

Over the years . . . even before the great aquifers deep under the earth began going dry . . . farmers and big cities located in places far away from the lakes entertained thoughts of tapping into the lakes for commercial and industrial reasons.

Among the worst of the threats came from western coal companies that proposed a multi-billion dollar scheme in the 1970s to build a coal slurry pipeline from Lake Superior west to the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana. The Peabody Coal Company, with major strip mining operations on the Hopi and Navajo Reservations in Arizona, pumped the great aquifer under that territory to run slurry pipelines to various power plants serving electricity as far west as Los Angeles. They pumped so much water the people even in 1998 were complaining of wells going dry.

In the 1980s, under a mandate from Congress, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers studied the feasibility of diverting Great Lakes water to agricultural regions in the Midwest. This occurred after water supplies from the once-vast Ogallala Aquifer began showing signs of going dry.

The eight U.S. state governments plus the Canadians have been working together for many years with the common interest of preventing any company or government body from tapping into the Great Lakes, the largest source of fresh water in the world, for any reason.

In 2008 came something called the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, an international agreement that is supposed to ban the export of Great Lakes water via pipeline, truck or railway cars. All eight states surrounding the lakes, and the U.S. Congress ratified the compact into international law that year. The document was signed into law by President George W. Bush.

Government and private leaders lauded the document as a long-needed legal shield designed to protect the Great Lakes from private, business or industrial invasion.

The compact is supposed to be a legally binding interstate compact among the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The compact details how the states manage the use of the Great Lakes Basin's water supply and builds on the 1985 Great Lakes Charter and its 2001 Annex. The compact is the means by which the states implement the governors' commitments under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement that also includes the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec.

The Council of Great Lakes Governors, which guided the negotiations that resulted in the Compact, now serves as secretariat to the Governors' Compact Council created by the Compact, and now operates as the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.

But can Americans trust their government enough to believe such a document won't be a disguised trick? Remember how titles of various Congressional bills have resulted in the very opposite of what the name suggests. Examples would include the Patriot Act, the Employee Free Choice Act, the Timber Salvage Bill and the Safe Drinking Water Act. If you look up the history of these acts of legislature, and just what the bills were designed to do, you will find that the outcome was just the opposite of what the names implied.

Indeed, some Michigan legislators and lawyers are looking at this Great Lakes agreement with a somewhat jaundiced eye.

Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan demanded more assurance that the treaty won't, in fact, open the door for federal jurisdiction on Great Lakes waters, and subsequently allow a reversal of rules at some future date that will be out of local government's hands.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of State and the international Joint Commission, Stupak notes: "Ratifying the compact could allow Great Lakes water to no longer be held within the public trust and instead be defined as a product for commercial use. I want to thoroughly understand the lasting impact this compact could have on Great Lakes water for years to come." He said he wants to make sure "we are not opening the door for the commercialization" of Great Lakes water.

Traverse City lawyer James Olson, part of a legal team that defeated a bid by Nestle Co. to extract and sell bottled water, said "It's the 11th hour for the Great Lakes Compact, but let's be sure it's not the 11th hour for the Great Lakes. Before the U.S. House acts on the compact, Congress needs to take steps to assure the document doesn't expose this magnificent ecosystem to commercial exploitation."

Indeed, they can call on Congress for all kinds of protection of our lakes and our environment, but can we really trust people who are living high in the pockets of big business interests? Why has Congress been unable to impeach a president, vice-president and staff that has clearly acted in the interests of big business and only big business since it moved into Washington? That the orange monkey in the White House has just reversed a long-standing rule preventing the release of industrial and agricultural waste into the nation's lakes and streams has only intensified this threat.

What makes anyone think this compact agreement will, in any way, protect the Great Lakes from future exploitation? The only way to really keep the lakes safe may be for local citizens to set up militia forces and protect the lakes with guns drawn.

(c) 2019 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

President Donald Trump greets Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad
Bin Salman Al Saud at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 29, 2019.

Saudi Arabia Owns The 45th Floor Of Trump Tower, And It Shows
By William Rivers Pitt

Before Donald Trump even took office in January 2017, serious concerns were being raised about his nebulous business connections with Russian oligarchs, Saudi royals and other international actors. The list was long and singularly troubling, made all the more so by Trump's flat refusal to release his tax records despite repeated promises to do just that. Now that accusations of Iranian involvement in an attack on a major Saudi oil facility are flying out of the White House, Trump's financial connections to Saudi Arabia have once again moved to center stage.

Trump's financial dealings with Saudi Arabia have been anything but small change. In 2001, he sold the entire 45th floor of Trump Tower to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for $4.5 million. The fact that Trump is the 45th president serves as further proof that the universe has a gruesome sense of humor.

"The five apartments included 10 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms at the time of the sale," reports The New York Daily News, "and had yearly common charges of $85,585 for building amenities, documents obtained by the Daily News show. If those common charges remain the same, Trump was paid at least $5.7 million by the Saudi government since 2001." In 2008, that entire 45th floor of Trump Tower, according to the Daily News, "became part of the Saudi Mission to the United Nations."

Shorter version: The government of Saudi Arabia is literally living in Trump's house today, right now, and is paying him for the privilege.

This was not the first time Trump and Saudi Arabia crossed financial paths. Ten years before the Trump Tower deal, Trump (again) found himself hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. He was forced to hand his 281-foot mega yacht, originally purchased from the sultan of Brunei and dubbed "Trump Princess," over to creditors. The creditors subsequently sold the boat to Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who is a stakeholder in the Plaza Hotel in New York, another Trump property.

"They buy apartments from me," Trump said at a rally in Alabama in 2015. "They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much." Trump has ample reason to "like them very much": After his inauguration, the Saudi government "spent $190,273 at the Trump hotel [in Washington D.C.] in early 2017, as well as an additional $78,204 on catering," according to The New York Times.

Of course, Trump denies this reality as he denies all realities that do not conform to his needs or desires. "For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter)," he indignantly tweeted a little more than a year ago. "Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!" Hundreds of millions of dollars in confirmed, publicly detailed deals with Saudi Arabia say otherwise.

Now, after the recent attack against a significant portion of Saudi Arabia's petroleum infrastructure, the commander in chief of the United States armed forces appears to have verbally ceded decision-making power over to the 45th floor tenants of Trump Tower.

"There is reason to believe that we know the culprit," Trump tweeted on Saturday, "are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!"

"Waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Every member of the vast, wildly expensive U.S. intelligence-gathering apparatus can take an early lunch, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff can stay in bed, because the president says Saudi Arabia will tell him who launched the attack, and when it will be time to go to war (against Iran).

Trump doubled down on the cognitive dissonance the following day. "Because we have done so well with Energy over the last few years (thank you, Mr. President!)," he tweeted on Sunday, "we are a net Energy Exporter, & now the Number One Energy Producer in the World. We don't need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there, but will help our Allies!"

We don't need the oil, but we are possibly going to engage in a calamitous war with Iran in the name of our "allies"? So much for "America First" - I guess those kinds of nationalist considerations go by the boards when you're drafting foreign policy on the back of a cashed Saudi government check.

"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations," promised Thomas Jefferson at his inauguration, "entangling alliances with none." The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia did not exist when Jefferson took office, and the only oil he knew of came from whales, but it's not too much of a stretch to imagine the third president was thinking of someone very much like the 45th president when he spoke those words.

The emoluments clause of the constitution was written specifically with someone like Trump in mind, and for a long list of vivid reasons: Presidential "foreign entanglements" of a financial nature are dangerous, and potentially lethal. It comes as no surprise that an emoluments case against Trump is wending its way through the courts, even as serious questions are being raised about Trump making hotel money off of the U.S. Air Force.

Of course, this whole Saudi Arabia/Iran crisis could be avoided if Trump simply heeded his own advice. "Saudi Arabia should fight their own wars," he tweeted in 2014, "which they won't, or pay us an absolute fortune to protect them and their great wealth-$ trillion!"

Clearly, consistency is too much to ask of this man and his garish transactional morality. After all, there is money to be made, and that is all that really matters. "Absolute fortune," indeed.

(c) 2019 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Although skipping work or school to march in the streets may be out of some people's comfort zones,
the strikes offer an important opportunity to let decision-makers know that we, the people, want action.

Let's All Support The Global Climate Strikes!
By David Suzuki

No one who understands science questions whether humans are causing the climate to change to our detriment, mostly by burning fossil fuels. The evidence is indisputable. It's been verified and accepted by every reputable scientific institution in the world, and by almost every government except the current, fact-averse U.S. administration.

The only real debate is about how best to address it. Do we need mitigation or adaptation? Is a carbon tax or cap-and-trade more effective? Should we reform agricultural practices?

The truth is that we need to deploy every available solution quickly and keep developing new ones. Thanks largely to efforts by the fossil fuel industry and its supporters in media, governments and the public to sow doubt and confusion for decades about the overwhelming scientific evidence, we've stalled so much that addressing the crisis gets harder daily, especially because carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for many years, and will continue to alter the climate even after we slow or halt emissions - if we do.

Many young people understand what their elders have failed to grasp: we're jeopardizing their futures.

Because adults aren't acting quickly enough to solve the crisis, despite the abundance of solutions, young people are stepping up and speaking out in many ways and places. The #FridaysForFuture climate strikes have grown into a worldwide movement since then 15-year-old student Greta Thunberg began her solitary strike outside Sweden's parliament a year ago.

Thunberg recently arrived in New York, after a cross-Atlantic journey in a zero-emissions yacht, gearing up for a week of climate action from September 20 to 27 that includes the Friday strikes, a UN youth climate summit on September 21 and a global UN climate action summit on September 23. She also plans to attend the September 27 Montreal climate strike.

Youth are asking everyone to join the strikes and activities. The main Canadian strikes are on September 27, but you can find when and where they'll be in your area at According to, more than 2,500 strikes have been registered in 117 countries.

Although skipping work or school to march in the streets may be out of some people's comfort zones, the strikes offer an important opportunity to let decision-makers know that we, the people, want action.

"We strike so that in the United Nations meeting, when they speak, it is with our beliefs on their tongues. We strike so that when they raise their hands to vote, it is with the weight of our vision hanging from the tips of their fingers. We strike so that when they stand, it will be with the might of the youth, the workers, and the people," School Strike for Climate Australia's Evan Meneses said.

Among other things, climate strikers are asking for a rapid shift from fossil fuel energy to renewables; respect for Indigenous land, sovereignty and treaties; environmental justice that includes supporting those most affected by pollution and poverty; protecting and restoring biodiversity and habitat; and moving toward sustainable or regenerative agriculture.

As adults, we owe it to the youth and those not yet born to do everything in our power to ensure they have a livable future, with clean air, drinkable water, healthy food, biodiverse life and a stable climate. Dropping what you're doing for one or more days to get out and march may not sound like much, but the more people show up, the louder the message to governments, media, industry and society.

Many of us grew up in times and places when we didn't fully realize that our postwar shift to consumerism as economic policy was depleting Earth's resources and throwing natural systems and cycles, including the carbon cycle, out of balance. We maybe had an inkling that some wealth in the developed world came at the expense of people in poorer nations, but we didn't consider that driving around in large vehicles and burning gas were doing much more than causing some pollution, easily resolved by removing lead from gas and making fuel-efficient cars.

Now we've known for decades where the planet is headed if we continue with business as usual, and it's not a human-friendly place.

Let's all get out there to demand action - and show the kids we care!

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

President Trump Addresses Meeting On Religious Freedom At The United Nations

Donald Trump's Ukraine Business Is The Beginning Of The End
Something has shifted in the political tectonics.
By Charles P. Pierce

Mr. Madison thought it indispensable that some provision should be made for defending the Community agst. the incapacity, negligence or perfidy of the chief Magistrate. The imitation of the period of his service, was not a sufficient security. He might lose his capacity after his appointment. He might pervert his administration into a scheme of peculation or oppression. He might betray his trust to foreign powers.

-James Madison, Notes on the Federal Convention, Saturday, June 2, 1787.

From the Washington Post:

President Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine at least a week before a phone call in which Trump is said to have pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of former vice president Joe Biden, according to three senior administration officials. Officials at the Office of Management and Budget relayed Trump's order to the State Department and the Pentagon during an interagency meeting in mid-July, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. They explained that the president had "concerns" and wanted to analyze whether the money needed to be spent. Administration officials were instructed to tell lawmakers that the delays were part of an "interagency process" but to give them no additional information - a pattern that continued for nearly two months, until the White House released the funds on the night of Sept. 11.
This has to be the beginning of the end. The House Democrats, slower than molasses up until this point, suddenly have been transformed into quick drying cement around the president*'s ankles. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut now has come close to calling for an impeachment inquiry; she is a close friend and closer ally to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, so that's a signifying development, as is the op-ed signed by seven rookie Democratic congresscritters from toss-up congressional districts, all of whom, significantly, have experience in the national security apparatus, in which they call for investigations to intensify. The Ukraine business has shifted something in the political tectonics. The slippage has begun in earnest, on one side of the aisle, anyway.

On the other side, there are clues within the Post stories that folks are feeling the ground shift under their feet as well. Consider:

Besides Bolton, several other administration officials said they did not know why the aid was being canceled or why a meeting was not being scheduled. The decision was communicated to State and Defense officials on July 18, officials familiar with the meeting said. By mid-August, lawmakers were acutely aware that the OMB had assumed all decision-making authority from the Defense and State departments and was delaying the distribution of the aid through a series of short-term notices. Several congressional officials questioned whether the OMB had the legal authority to direct federal agencies not to spend money that Congress had already authorized, aides said.
Between the lines there, you can hear the pitter-patter of little feet as they begin to jog toward the lifeboats. "Don't quote me, but we all knew something was screwy here and, by the way, I was against the whole business from the start." Some people are hearing the klaxon of the political termination alarm ringing in the near distance. There's more of this in The New York Times' account of events. American government officials were left in the dark as well. When staff members at the State Department and Defense Department who work on issues related to Ukraine learned of the holds in July, they were puzzled and alarmed, according to current and former government officials familiar with the situation.

Yes, phony-baloney jobs are at risk here, and it's every apparatchik for themselves.

"...the President's noncompliance with the committee's subpoenas is a usurpation of the power of the House of Representatives and a serious breach of his duty to 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.' In refusing to comply with limited, narrowly drawn subpoenas, which seek only materials necessary to conduct a full and complete inquiry into the existence of possible impeachable offenses, the President has undermined the ability of the House to act as the 'Grand Inquest of the Nation.' His actions threaten the integrity of the impeachment process itself; they would render nugatory the power and duty of the legislature, as the representative of the people, to act as the ultimate check on Presidential conduct."

Former Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox speaks with reporters at the National Press Club in Washington DC
on October 21, 1973, the morning after President Richard Nixon fired him during what is knowns as the Saturday Night Massacre.

The Democratic caucus was scheduled to meet late Tuesday afternoon to discuss the way forward, which suddenly seems a lot clearer than it did three days ago. Years ago, while recounting the cascading events of the summer of 1974 that led to the excision of Richard Nixon from the body politic, political historian Walter Karp wrote of the impeachment vote in the House Judiciary Committee that "the hour of the Founders had come around at last." Karp was unsparing in his criticism of how dilatory the system had proven itself to be in the face of Nixon's crimes. He criticized the Republicans for enabling a criminal administration, and he criticized the Democrats for having had to be dragged into their constitutional duty by their ears. Karp wrote:
It was the reluctance of Congress to act. I felt anew my fury when members of Congress pretended that nobody really cared about Watergate except the "media" and the "Nixon-haters." The real folks "back home," they said, cared only about inflation and the gasoline shortage. I remembered the exasperating actions of leading Democrats, such as a certain Senate leader who went around telling the country that President Nixon could not be impeached because in America a person was presumed innocent until proven guilty. Surely the senator knew that impeachment was not a verdict of guilt but a formal accusation made in the House leading to trial in the Senate. Why was he muddying the waters, I wondered, if not to protect the President? It had taken one of the most outrageous episodes in the history of the Presidency to compel Congress to make even a pretense of action.
Karp was talking about the Saturday Night Massacre, when Nixon decapitated the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and his attorney general and deputy attorney general quit rather than swing the ax. We are there again. Despite Republican enabling and Democratic timidity, the hour of the Founders has come around again. There is no place left for anyone to hide, no clever dodge left to employ, nothing left to kick down the road. History accepts no alibis.

(c) 2019 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"Liberals are the greatest proponents of reason."
~~~ Bill Branyon

How The U.S. Institute Of Peace Avoids Peace In Afghanistan
By David Swanson

Four years ago, I wrote this after a meeting at the U.S. Institute of Peace:

"The president of USIP Nancy Lindborg had an odd response when I suggested that inviting Senator Tom Cotton to come speak at USIP on the need for a longer war on Afghanistan was a problem. She said USIP had to please Congress. OK, fine. Then she added that she believed there was room to disagree about exactly how we were going to make peace in Afghanistan, that there was more than one possible path to peace. Of course I didn't think 'we' were going to make peace in Afghanistan, I wanted 'us' to get out of there and allow Afghans to start working on that problem. But I asked Lindborg if one of her possible paths to peace was through war. She asked me to define war. I said that war was the use of the U.S. military to kill people. She said that 'non-combat troops' could be the answer. (I note that for all their non-combatting, people still just burned to death in a hospital.)"
On Thursday, September 19, 2019, I received an email from Mick, Lauren E CIV SIGAR CCR (USA), who wrote:

"At 11:00AM EST, Special Inspector General John F. Sopko will unveil SIGAR's latest lessons learned report - "Reintegration of Ex-Combatants: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan" - at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. The event will feature remarks from Inspector General Sopko, followed by a panel discussion. This report is the first independent, public U.S. government report examining this topic. Watch a live webcast of the event here: "Key Points

"- The reintegration of former fighters will be necessary for sustainable peace, and one of the most pressing challenges facing Afghan society, the government, and the economy.

"- If the Afghan government and Taliban reach a peace agreement, an estimated 60,000 full-time Taliban fighters and some 90,000 seasonal fighters may seek to return to civilian life.

"- The current environment of ongoing conflict in Afghanistan is not conducive to a successful reintegration program.

"- The absence of a comprehensive political settlement or peace agreement was a key factor in the failure of prior Afghan reintegration programs that targeted Taliban fighters.

"- The United States should not support a reintegration program unless the Afghan government and the Taliban agree to terms for the reintegration of former fighters.

"- Even today, the U.S. government has no lead agency or office for issues concerning the reintegration of ex-combatants. In Afghanistan, this has contributed to a lack of clarity about reintegration goals and their relation to reconciliation. . . .

"Inspector General Sopko's remarks note

"- 'As long as the Taliban insurgency continues, the U.S. should not support a comprehensive program to reintegrate former fighters, because of the difficulty in vetting, protecting, and tracking former fighters.'"

Notice anything funny?

The United States is supposed to have a "lead agency" and support or not support particular programs to reintegrate Afghans into Afghanistan after the coming of peace.

So peace is not supposed to involve the departure of the United States.

But, of course, that means there won't actually be peace.

And, "The current environment of ongoing conflict in Afghanistan is not conducive to a successful reintegration program." Really? The past 18 years of U.S. occupation has not been conducive to reestablishing a society free of U.S. occupation?

This is the sort of utter nonsense generated by having a bunch of people fully dedicated to U.S. wars tasked with doing stuff they call peace.

Oh, by the way, the United States just reintegrated a whole bunch of Afghans with a drone strike. How much more U.S.-led reintegration can one place be expected to withstand?

Here's an idea promised by the last U.S. president, campaigned on by the current U.S. president, and advocated by several Democratic presidential candidates: Get the fuck out!

(c) 2019 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

The Dead Letter Office-

Laura gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear propaganda ansager Ingraham,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your attack on Greta Thunberg for daring to tell the truth about derr fuhrer's lies on global warming, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Republican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's Economy Revealed
By Robert Reich

Donald Trump and his enablers are hoping that a strong economy will help the American people look past the damage they are doing to the country. That's why Trump is constantly crowing about job numbers and the stock market in order to paint a rosy picture of the economy.

But when you look closer, the numbers reveal a very different story about Trump's economy:

1. Wages are still stuck. The median annual earnings of full-time wage and salaried workers in 1979, in today's dollars, was $43,680. The median earnings in 2018 was $45,708. So much for the $4,000 pay raise Trump and Republicans in Congress promised when they cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations.

2. Percent of people with jobs is low. While the unemployment rate is low, employment is not nearly as good as it may look when you consider how many people have given up looking for jobs. The labor-force participation rate - the percent of working-age Americans with jobs - is the lowest it's been since the late 1970s, when wives and mothers first began streaming into paid work to prop up family incomes.

3. Many people are working part-time jobs. Nearly 4 million Americans are stuck in part-time jobs, unable to find full-time jobs. Many of these part-time gigs are either freelance or contract, offering fewer rights and benefits. In turn, this has increased economic insecurity for millions of families.

4. A growing number of college graduates are overqualified for their current jobs. One in 10 college grads are underemployed, which is much higher than 20 years ago. At the same time, the cost of college has skyrocketed, with students going deeper into debt to pay for their education: 45 million Americans now owe 1.6 trillion in student debt.

5. The cost of health care continues to increase. Since 2008, average family premiums have soared 55 percent, which is twice as fast as workers' earnings and three times as fast as inflation. Prescription drug prices also continue to rise - jumping almost 11 percent in the first half of 2019 alone.

6. Housing costs have skyrocketed. Nearly 39 million American households are now paying more than they can afford on housing. And more than one in four renters are spending over half their income on housing.

7. Americans are going deeper into debt to stay in the middle class. Consumer debt, excluding mortgages, has climbed to $4 trillion, which is the highest it's ever been, even after adjusting for inflation.

So is anyone benefiting in Trump's economy? The wealthy and corporations have never had it this good. In fact, under the Trump-Republican tax cut, 83 percent of the gains will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.

But most Americans are being left behind.

The next time Trump and his enablers boast about the economy to distract from the damage they're really doing to America, know the truth. Their failed economic agenda has made Americans poorer and less secure.

(c) 2019 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

Springsteen, Baez, Robeson & Me
My five minutes of fame in Damascus
By Jane Stillwater

The conference I'm attending in Damascus has been going on for over seven hours already. Approximately 200 trade-union delegates from all over the world had arrived here in order to express solidarity with their fellow trade unions in Syria.

However, unlike in America where corporate CEOs are the top guns and only teachers and nurses have enough cajones to go out on strike, workers' unions in Syria are totally helpful and alive. For example, all of us delegates are staying in a massive four-star hotel whose usual purpose is to give hundreds of Syrian workers and their families a week-long all-expense-paid vacation destination.

Can you even imagine Walmart doing anything like that for its workers? Or Jeff Bezos? Ha.

I arrived at the conference hall early and grabbed a front row seat so I could see all the action. "You can't sit there!" said another delegate who had also arrived early. "You're not in a union!"

"The hell I'm not!" I exclaimed. SAG-AFTRA, bitches. Union Maid through and through.

But then a nice Korean union representative said I could have a seat next to him, a nice South African union rep also volunteered a seat for me and a nice union rep from Belfast patted my hand. Union solidarity forever!

Seven hours of speeches later? The conference hall was starting to empty out. Only 50 or so delegates were left. "It's time for you to make a speech, Jane." Me? Oh, okay. I can do this! Slouching hesitantly up to the podium and bravely looking the last remaining 30-odd delegates in the eye, I began to do my best -- and hoped that somehow it might be good enough.

"I had some other kinda cheesy speech prepared to give here today about my own wonderful union," sez me, "but after seeing Damascus and talking with dozens of Syrians, I've changed my mind. I want to talk about America instead -- and what, exactly, the Syrian people are actually up against. And how heroic you all are to take an almost-hopeless stand against the American killing machine."

So far so good. No one has thrown me off the podium yet. No rotten tomatoes. I slogged on.

"21 trillion dollars. That's how much debt the American government is in right now. It's as if you went out to buy a car. A fancy car. A Maserati, let us say. And then you were told that no matter how much money you spend on this car, it doesn't matter. Your credit card will never be maxed out. Your Visa card will always be good."

At that point some of the delegates had actually stopped leaving. I cleared my throat and muscled on.

"This is what the Syrian people are up against. Bottomless wealth. But. It is a false wealth. It is an illusion, a fantasy. And yet the American people still cling to this unrealistic dreamland. But. America can't be a global invader, an international empire, the world's only superpower -- not based solely on play money and plastic. America is just a house of cards."

This speech is going on far too long. I expect Vanna White to suddenly come across the stage and cut me off at any moment -- or Steve Harvey to slap his buzzer. But Chris Harrison didn't come out to lead me tearfully away from the rose ceremony and so I continued.

"Making your average American aware of the fact that he or she is standing on an economic cliff, about to tumble over? That is the hard part for honest American journalists. No one ever wants to be told that they are about to commit economic suicide. But the bottom line here is that while economic sanctions do hurt Syria badly, please be aware that America is also sanctioning itself. 21 trillion dollars worth of sanctions. For which America may never recover."

Is this speech ever going to end? Have I reached the five-minute mark yet? What the freak am I going to say next? And, even more important, am I going to get shot for treason when I get home -- for pointing out that our American emperors have no clothes?

"We Americans here in Damascus must return to the Belly of the Beast itself and try to make Americans there aware of this false illusion. That has to be our next job. And one thing that seems to work well in fighting fake news and false propaganda is to pick just one talking point and stick with it. Such as 'President Assad has kept Syria from becoming another Libya'. Sooner or later you will get your point across." Or finally just give up. But hopefully not.

"Another technique that historic labor unions have used in the past to gain support for their cause has been to compose heart-wrenching songs such as The Ballad of Joe Hill. When you get a chance later, please google Joan Baez, Paul Robeson or ever Bruce Springsteen's version of this song. And here's my own version of it -- sorry in advance for singing off-key."

And then it was time for my big finale. Good grief, was I actually going to do this? Make a fool of myself in front of the remaining 30-odd delegates? The Korean guy had already left but the South African guy was still hanging in there. Here goes nothing. Break a leg! And why not. Syria has excellent free healthcare.

"I dreamed I saw the SAA [Syrian Arab Army] last night,
Alive as you or me. Says I 'But guys you're eight years dead.'
"We never died, said they.
"We never died," said they.

"From Damascus in the south
To Iblib and Latak-e-aaa
Wherever workers organize
It's there you'll find the martyrs of the SAA
The martyrs of the SAA!"

Ye cats! People actually applauded! "And the Oscar goes to...." Oops, wrong dream. I just hope that Joe Hill and The Boss might be proud.

PS: I'm saving you the trouble of googling "Joe Hill". Here are three different versions. You can thank me later.

Joan Baez:

Paul Robeson:

The Boss:

PPS: Did you know that Dubai is currently going all out, no holds barred, spending billions and billions of dollars on its "Dubai World Expo 2020" which starts this October -- and yet the UAE just allied itself with all this freaking war-mongering about attacking Iran (always a bad idea -- just ask the Iraqis). How can Dubai possibly expect to lure people into visiting its Expo 2020 when the UAE is determined to hold it in the middle of a freaking war zone???

It makes no sense at all -- but then nothing else that America, the Saudis, NATO countries or the Zionists have done in the Middle East in the last 70-odd years has made any sense either.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jeff Parker ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Football Clinches And The Democratic Primary
By Will Durst

Got an embarrassing admission here. I was scheduled to summarize the Democratic candidates debate last week, but also had a deadline about the opening of the football season, and they kind of got mixed up together. Don't you hate it when two things vie for your attention at the same time? Must be what's making Donald Trump so irascible.

Of course, when you get right down to it, the two do have quite a bit in common. Both politics and football are sports that don't finish until there's blood on the field. You cannot comment on either one without your trusty basket of cliches. And the losers are forgotten as soon as the contest is over (if not before).

So apologies all around and here goes:

Joe Biden. This crafty veteran comes to play every day and always gives 110 percent, but you can't help but suspect some of those unforced errors early in the season are going to come back to haunt him.

Elizabeth Warren. Everyone knows she always brings her "A" game and is making plays on both sides of the ball, but now it's gut-check time and she needs to put the rock in the house.

Bernie Sanders. Not only does he believe that winning isn't everything, it's the only thing, but also, that louder is better. This old war-horse has been there before and knows what to do; the question is does he still have what it takes?

Beto O'Rourke. He comes to play every day, dealing with one debate at a time, proving to all the fans in the stands that he can play with the big boys. And girls. Or will he toss his long-shot personal ambition aside and take one for the team?

Andrew Yang. He matches up well with the Democratic message and talks a good game, but now its time to punch it in. The only worry is whether his giveaway strategy will help or hurt over the course of a grueling schedule.

Pete Buttigieg. His back is up against the wall with lousy field position and is looking at 4th and forever, so it might be Hail Mary Time.

Kamala Harris. The momentum may have shifted, but she has proven over a long career that she won't be denied, as we saw when she threw her game plan out the window to concentrate on running it right up the middle and is knocking on the door.

Amy Klobuchar. It's a game of field position and she's got some room to operate, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to who can score the most points and how bad she wants to run to daylight.

Cory Booker. You can't stop him, all you can hope to do is contain him. He doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit." Other words he's unfamiliar with are "victory," "triumph" and "harpsichord."

Julian Castro. With his back up against the wall, he left it all on the debate stage, never pulls his punches and demonstrated he believes the best offense is a good offense.

But let's hope none of them relax, because Tom Steyer has shaken off plenty of would-be-tacklers, isn't running out of money any time soon and appears to be en fuego. Its obvious the man came to play.

(c) 2019 Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed comedian, columnist, and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For past columns, commentaries and a calendar of personal appearances, please, please visit:

The Gross National Debt

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 37 (c) 09/27/2019

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