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In This Edition

Cynthia McKinney examines, "Rich White Kids."

Joan Walsh reports, "Brett Kavanaugh's Fox News Interview Was A Disaster-For Him."

Glen Ford concludes, "Black People Don't Need Bill Cosby's Kind of 'Race Man.'"

Juan Cole finds the, "US Isolated."

Jim Hightower reveals, "The Shame Of Climate-Change Deniers."

John Nichols says, "Grassley Knows Exactly What He Was Doing 35 Years Ago-Scheming To Ban Abortion."

James Donahue tells, "The Secret American Vision For World Domination."

William Rivers Pitt wonders, "If Democrats Win In November, Will There Be A Reckoning With Trump?"

Heather Digby Parton says of the Republicans, "They Are All Lying Sacks Of Fetid Garbage."

David Suzuki says, "We Must Heed Storm Warnings To Build A Brighter Future,"

Charles P. Pierce reports, "Lisa Murkowski's Vote On Brett Kavanaugh Is Looking Tougher Than Ever."

David Swanson concludes, "Korea Should Reunify Outside The Empire."

Jane Stillwater pits, "Leonard Peltier Vs. J. Edgar Hoover."

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich tells, "Why I'm Betting On Millennials, This November 6th."

Chris Hedges explores an, "American Anomie."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "White House Raises Official Hurricane Florence Death Toll To -17" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Whether Or Not Brett Kavanaugh Sits On The Extreme Court Is All Up To The Ladies."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jen Sorensen, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Joe Raedle, Jacquelyn Martin, Chris Wattie, Bill Clark, 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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Whether Or Not Brett Kavanaugh Sits On The Extreme Court Is All Up To The Ladies
By Ernest Stewart

"President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be a rubber-stamp for an extreme, right-wing agenda pushed by corporations and billionaires." ~~~ Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

"Pollution from human activities is changing the Earth's climate. We see the damage that a disrupted climate can do: on our coasts, our farms, forests, mountains, and cities. Those impacts will grow more severe unless we start reducing global warming pollution now." ~~~ Frances Beinecke

"In an awkward moment, the United Nations General Assembly audience laughed at President Donald Trump when he mentioned that his administration achieved "more than any other administration in the history of our country." ~~~ Hallie Jackson

For united we stand
Divided we fall
And if our backs should ever be against the wall
We'll be together, together, you and I
United We Stand ~~~ Brotherhood of Man

For those of you who asked me, will Brett Kavanaugh be our next Extreme Court justice, that depends on the ladies. Maine's Susan Collins and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski. If they goose step along with Turtle boy and Grassley then we will have three, fascist sexual perverts on the Extreme Court, instead of two.

We can thank the Demoncrats being led by Joe Biden for Slappy. Joe currently goes around with his panties in a bunch moaning about what he put Anita Hill through, if only he had it to do over again, yada, yada, yada!

The good news is Susan and Lisa may vote against Kavanaugh. In Alaska a judge, well, a judge until the next election, let a man off the hook for knocking out a women and having his little perverted way with her and as you can imagine the ladies in Alaska have gone just a little berserk about the judges actions, if Lisa votes to confirm then all that raging hatred will be directed at her. Similarly, Susan has a similar problem in Maine with the author Stephen King saying
So if these "ladies" want to be reelected then Kavanaugh will be a thing of the past, and not, a thorn in our side for the next 30 years! We can but hope, America!

In Other News

I see where global warming is a whole lot like old sayings about Karma, "what goes around, comes around!" and "Instant Karma's going to get you!"

According to a major new report the US will be hit harder than almost any other country by climate change. Thanks a lot tRump, not!

The research is the first time that researchers have developed a reliable set of data that allows each country to know just how much economic damage will be done by carbon dioxide emissions. And the surprising results show that considerable damage could be done to some of the world's greatest powers.

The three countries set to lose the most from climate change are the United States, India and Saudi Arabia, according to the new research. The findings rely on measuring the social cost of carbon, in an attempt to understand how much is lost through climate emissions.

In fact, it also found that the damage being done worldwide by those emissions is significantly higher than in estimates used by authorities including the US government. Imagine that!

This new study shows that the US economy stands to lose considerably from climate change, despite repeated suggestions from politicians that the opposite is true. Kate Ricke lead author and University of California San Diego assistant professor says:
"Our analysis demonstrates that the argument that the primary beneficiaries of reductions in carbon dioxide emissions would be other countries is a total myth. We consistently find, through hundreds of uncertainty scenarios, that the US always has one of the highest country-level SCCs.

"It makes a lot of sense because the larger your economy is, the more you have to lose. Still, it's surprising just how consistently the US is one of the biggest losers, even when compared to other large economies."
Yes, our fearless leader tRump, the business genius, who only had to file bankruptcy 5 times is doing to the United States what he did to his businesses! And in this case simply by denying the truth so his 1% pals can sell a few more bushels of coal! Yeah, Karma is a bitch, America, and here it comes!

And Finally

Speaking of tRump, did you see our international embarrassment at the United Nations the other day, being laughed at by the general assembly. Here's a taste.

Oh, and did I mention that when tRump walked up the microphone, 60 delegate members got up and walked out? Apparently, the UN isn't buying tRump's bullshit any more, in fact, they're going around our backs and having meetings that we're not invited to! As Juan Cole put it:

Frederica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, chaired a special session of foreign ministers on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly meeting aimed at outmaneuvering Donald Trump on the Iran Deal.

The meeting was attended by the European Union "Big Three," i.e. Britain, France and Germany (the E3), plus Russia and China. So four of the five members of the UN Security Council participated. The US was conspicuous by its absence.

Apparently this is the first time in it's history that the Security Council has met without the United States being present. Methinks Rod Rosenstein is right and Congress must use the 25th Amendment before it's too late for us and for the world! Trouble is that would leave us with Pence, who is even more evil than tRump. So, I guess it's damned if we do, and damned if we don't!

Keepin' On

We're still $1100 short of our goal of paying off our bills for another year, I went to our post office box, and the only thing in it was spam. The bill is due nine days after the election on November 15th, so a little help if you please America. I don't need to tell you that we make nothing on putting out the magazine as we have since February 1, 2001. Never have, never will. All we ask is your help paying off our bills. Our advertising picks up half of the cost of producing Issues & Alibis. If you feel like knowing what's going down in this madhouse of America is important, in this day of "corporate news"", then would you pleases send us whatever you can, whenever you can and we'll keep tracking down the truth, day in, day out, for you and yours!


11-21-1942 ~ 09-23-2018
Thanks for the film!

07-11-1970 ~ 09-24-2018
Thanks for the film!


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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) 2018 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.

Rich White Kids
Drunk, promiscuous, with absentee parents? Is this what U.S. leadership is all about?
By Cynthia McKinney

As I read about the smear campaign being conducted by Democratic Party operatives using Dr. Christine Blasey Ford aimed to impugn the character and career of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and scupper his Supreme Court confirmation process, inevitably stained and poor first impressions spew from the pages tabloid-like accounts - including photographs of the accused and his accusers' respective pasts as: drunks, sexually promiscuous, and brazen hedonists whose amoral lifestyles were buttressed by their inattentive and indulgent absentee parents.

The secondary education debauchery depicted in reports of Kavanaugh's detractors contrast sharply with how I was raised. In Atlanta, I attended a private Catholic high school, but knew well the wantonness of the "elite behavior" of privileged high school kids. Wanting the best for my son, I made it a personal mission to see that he attended private, non-denominational "elite" schools in the U.S. and abroad. But, I prepared him for what was to come in the same way that my parents prepared me.

Blasey and Kavanaugh, through no fault of their own, are the victims of a culture that enshrines laissez-faire absentee parents who mindlessly leave their children behind when they go on their own vacations, pursue their careers, take long business trips, and fraternize with friends at social events, etc.; and, also, these affluent, latch-key-parents shower their ethically and morally unmoored children with cars, cash, contraceptives, and credit cards which, in turn, are used to purchase alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and bad companions.

As a high schooler, my parents NEVER left me home alone when they traveled out of town. Moreover, I couldn't even go to ANY house party-period-without my parents calling and actually speaking to the host parents, and, of course, as a parent I did the same with my son's "house parties."

Most African Americans who attend White elite private enclaves of privilege, learn from their responsible parents that they can NEVER do what their White classmates do. And so, most of us in such positions, don't. I know I certainly didn't. Moreover, I continued to admonish my son about the realities of his life, even into post university graduation and throughout law school. All the law enforcement racial disparity statistics bear fruit when one bothers to search, thus rendering what I've read about from the wild lifestyles of both Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh and others is just beyond my comprehension to ever eng in for any reason; however, the documents that I have read are wholly consistent with what I have observed in the conduct and character of offspring of the so-called elite, both in my generation and that of my son.

Smear or not, one thing here is clear: privilege. A certain no-holds-barred-debauched lifestyle is in full view; no wonder the U.S. is in decline if this is to what we entrust leadership and guidance of our society.


There are two double-standards in evidence today in relation to the Democratic attack using Blasey as a foil against Kavanaugh:

First, it is clear that every Trump Republican male is now vulnerable to an orchestrated Profumo-styled scandal hit job wherein political enemies will embark on vitriolic crusades of biographical-dumpster-diving seeking to unearth and resurrect all and any rumor, lie, hearsay, and unsubstantiated character flaws without interest in facts or genuine witnesses. In the age of #METOO, sexual allegations without foundation and outside the due process of law could well become the new normal - and now, a new allegation of drunken sexual behavior erupts against Kavanaugh from his college years-except that the new "witness," herself, admits that she was too drunk to know if what she thinks happened actually did happen. Clearly, we are witnessing a well-orchestrated, pre-meditated political drive-by shooting. I've been there and I know exactly what that looks like.

Second, the Democrats, in their desperation to derail a Supreme Court nominee who has been investigated six times and who has dozens of women testifying to his reliability, seem to be oblivious to their own vulnerability to similar attacks. Beginning with the Clintons, both alleged to have engaged in an unsavory relationship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and Joe Biden, now being challenged about videos showing him groping children on stage, there is no end to the number of Democratic "elites" vulnerable to similar attacks. (What makes them elite is that they do illegal and licentious things and get away, with impunity, year after year while winning the blessing of media and political allies).

I cannot explain the rationale of parents who tolerate, if not encourage, such behavior from their children or who fail to realize that their laxity as parents instills in their children a radical, morally-relativistic judgment system of thought and behavior-sure to create personal and social problems. Let's be honest with ourselves: The simple fact is that the children infected with acute "affluenza" come from elite families, and they rarely face any consequences for their immoral, illegal, or unethical behavior. But, you see, that's where character comes in-because should one have to personally face the consequences of ethically- or values-deprived behavior before knowing that such behavior is wrong? This multitude of corruptions of values and ethics on the personal level results in debasement of values and ethics on the societal level.

They've always been able to have their "youthful indiscretions" and rarely be hurt by them. I'm arguing that this is the kind of behavior on display that brings us full circle to where we are today with a society that is corrupt at every level, debasing of our humanity in every way, cutthroat politics that mean nothing except to those who win the prizes, and a civilization-if you want to call it that-in tatters.

One thing is for certain: had Blasey Ford exercised her good judgment and said "No" to the invitation to go to a private home with three young boys, she would not have even been in a position to have this happen to her. Even her ability to have a #MeToo moment now, is, in a way, a continuation of her privileged position in society.

Incredibly, there is no #MeToo moment for that multitude of women who do exercise good judgement and who then bear the bruises of assault; and if they're Black, they don't even get to "Stand [Their] Ground."


I now have some context for Chuck Schumer's "Six Ways To Sunday" comment. Knowing full well what has been sown, the U.S. Deep State knows how to reap its harvest bountifully. Along with all of the other real and manufactured divides in this country, I also see a sexual divide being laid on top of the already well-planted gender divide. The Black community has long been experiencing this too, through the usurpation of our culture by the popularization of "Gangsta Rap" and "Thug Life." Thanks to the long trail of individuals responsible for the debacle of D.C. unfolding today, the costs to U.S. society at large will be as high as they have been for the Black community. Before the U.S. can fully recover, not only will we have to devise an effective way to bridge the extant social divides in this country, we're also going to have to learn a way to bridge the man woman divide that is being created.

As I've said so many times before that I'm tired of saying it now, L"Stop it when they're doing it to us or they will surely do it to you." Thus, once again, the Deep State gets its way and the people of the U.S. are the ones who pay.

The Hillary faction of the U.S. Deep State just unleashed a "double tap" on the Trump faction.

From all of the foregoing, at least one thing is clear: Not only does the U.S. need a "Revolution of Values" as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said; the U.S. needs better parents and better leaders.

Drain the Swamp.
(c) 2018 Cynthia McKinney has become an internationally renowned human rights activist because of her readiness to step into the line of fire in order to achieve her goals. Cynthia has been stranded in international waters and rescued by the Lebanese Navy as she attempted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the besieged people of Gaza during Israel's 22-day military attack on Gaza, Palestine-Operation Cast Lead. Also as a result of her activism around Israel/Palestine issues she served 7 days in an Israeli prison for attempting to deliver school supplies to Gaza's children in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead.

As a Member of Congress, Cynthia challenged then-Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to tell the truth about his failures as an important leader in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She challenged the Africa Policies of both George W. Bush's Secretary of State Colin Powell as well as Bill Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Visit Cynthia here.

Brett Kavanaugh answers questions during a Fox News interview, September 24, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh's Fox News Interview Was A Disaster-For Him
He was stiff and unconvincing-and he put claims on the record that could easily be disproved.
By Joan Walsh

I expected Monday night's Brett Kavanaugh interview on Fox News to be a farce-an infomercial produced by Trump's state TV and orchestrated by former Fox honcho Bill Shine, who is accused of covering up sexual abuse by Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly and who now protects the sexual predator in the White House as his communications director.

But credit to where it's due: Anchor Martha MacCallum asked the embattled Supreme Court nominee some tough questions and went in for several sharp follow-ups, and Kavanaugh was just awful-a blinking, robotic mess. If you were playing a game where you had to drink when he said the words "fair process" or touted his treating women with "dignity and respect"-well, you'd be as blacked out as a Georgetown Prep senior during one of their keg parties.

Kavanaugh lost an enormous amount of ground in this interview. He tried to depict himself as a choir boy, telling MacCallum that in high school he was focused on "trying to be number one in my class and being captain of the varsity basketball team and doing my service projects, going to church...being a good friend to the boys and the girls that I was friends with." But not only was he stiff and unconvincing, he also put information on the record that could be disproven by previous statements he's made, both in speeches and in his high-school yearbook.

On Fox, Kavanaugh allowed he had a few beers, noting that the drinking age was 18 back then. But he's on record in several public settings, as an adult and even as a judge-check out this speech to his friends at the Federalist Society-joking about various times he had too much to drink in his youth and early adulthood.

"We had a good saying that we've held firm to, to this day, as the dean was reminding me before the talk, which is: 'What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep,'" he told a Catholic University crowd in 2015. "That's been a good thing for all of us, I think."

Kavanaugh's self-described "study and service" high school behavior is also undermined by one of his best friends, Mark Judge, who Dr. Christine Blasey Ford says participated in the assault against her. Judge has written repeatedly about the drunken, loutish culture of Georgetown Prep, even naming a character "Bart O'Kavanaugh," a party boy who was known to have puked in someone's car.

A longtime Twitter troll fond of harassing feminists (myself included) and minimizing claims of sexual abuse, Judge has denied he was part of the assault on Blasey Ford (and has since deleted his noxious Twitter account). But an ex-girlfriend told The New Yorker that he once confessed to being part of a group of Georgetown Prep students who forced themselves on a drunken young woman. It's no wonder the Senate Republicans refused to subpoena Judge; he could either implicate Kavanaugh in terrible high-school behavior, or somehow acknowledge the crime against Blasey Ford.

Fox's MacCallum also did something journalistically daring: She asked Kavanaugh about attorney Michael Avenatti's claim that a client has information about the federal judge's participating in "gang rape." To my knowledge, neither CNN nor MSNBC mentioned the details of Avenatti's claim today; to hear it on Fox was jarring, and Kavanaugh seemed rattled even as he denied it. Avenatti's claim followed the publication of a second claim of a Kavanaugh sexual assault, this time by a classmate at Yale University, published by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer in The New Yorker.

Kavanaugh's pretense to wholesome high-school behavior leaves the door open for Democratic senators to grill him about another place where his own words speak volumes in contradiction-quotes in his high-school yearbook. Much seems to be written in code-Avenatti claimed to be able to break some of the code, with disgusting sexual translations. But some of it is straightforward, like references to the "keg city club" and "100 kegs or bust," or the "beach week ralph club" (ralph being a common euphemism for vomiting back in the day). Some are hard to parse, but seem disturbing, like the "Rehobeth Beach Police fan club" (what was his interaction with the department, and why was he a fan?) or the "Bowling Alley assault." Senators must ask for translation.

One mysterious allusion under his name is a mystery no more: "Renate Alumnius" reportedly refers to a classmate, Renate Schroeder. Her name is mentioned by multiple Kavanaugh classmates in the yearbook, and it apparently refers to their claim that they'd been with her at some point sexually. A friend told The New York Times: "They were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate," said Sean Hagan about Kavanaugh and his friends. "I can't express how disgusted I am with them, then and now."

Schroeder herself had signed a letter supporting Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford came forward with her allegations of assault at a drunken party.
(c) 2018 Joan Walsh, is the author of "What's the Matter With White People? Finding Our Way in the Next America."

Black People Don't Need Bill Cosby's Kind of 'Race Man'
By Glenn Ford

Cosby represents a Black American political right wing whose views of the Black poor are just as crude and dehumanizing as their white counterparts.

Bill Cosby is still getting settled into his new home at Pennsylvania's State Correctional Institute at Phoenix, a huge, 3,830-bed facility not far from the suburban Philadelphia courtroom where Judge Steven O'Neill sentenced the 81-year old comedian to serve "no less than 3 years and no more than 10 years" for aggravated sexual assault against Andrea Constand, in 2004. That was the same year Cosby delivered his infamous "pound cake" rant at an NAACP awards ceremony, in Washington DC, marking the 50th anniversary of the Brown school desegregation decision. Cosby's contempt for the Black poor and their propensity to wind up in prison was on shameless display.

"These are not political criminals," Cosby told the tuxedoed celebrants. "These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake and then we run out and we are outraged, [saying] 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"

Cosby, who was once wealthy enough to daydream out loud about buying NBC, the network where The Cosby Show aired from 1984 to 1992, will find that safeguarding the few personal items allowed to inmates is problematic at the newly-constructed Phoenix facility, many of whose inhabitants are, like Cosby, just moving in. Prisoners complain that staff destroyed or vandalized prized photographs of loved ones or dumped paint on personal effects, religious objects and legal documents. "We were dehumanized. Our property was ... treated as trash," inmate Steven Reph told a Philadelphia newspaper. "One elderly gentleman had his dentures taken or misplaced. How is this man supposed to eat now?"

The Pennsylvania prison system has been under extended lockdown, imposed after guards complained that something on the job was making them sick. The presence of synthetic marijuana was blamed -- which was sufficient excuse to disrupt inmates' showers, phone privileges and email access, in the short term, and to totally revamp other aspects of prison life. The local newspaper reports:

"Inmate mail will be processed outside of the prisons, except legal mail, which will be copied by staff with the inmates present. The plan also calls for expanded detection of drones and use of body scanners.

"Visiting room staff will be doubled. Photos and vending machines will not be allowed for 90 days. A hotline for tips about drug smuggling or possession by inmates, staff or visitors was also organized."

This is the life Cosby will share with an inmate population that is 46 percent Black, although Blacks make up only eleven percent of Pennsylvania's general population. Most are from the same neighborhoods of Philadelphia that people "with names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed, and all that crap" come from, "and all of them are in jail," in Cosby's "pound cake" parlance.

Unlike most of the other Black inmates, Cosby will feel the eyes of white people glaring at him the whole time he is incarcerated – not just the white guards, but "the white man" in general. For Negroes of Cosby's stunted and warped worldview, the "white man's" opinion is paramount, and he sees everything. The greatest crime that poor Black people can commit is to embarrass and drag down the "better elements" of the Black community -- people like Cosby, or like Cosby was thought to be, before he got caught. "That white man, he's laughing," said The Cos. "He's got to be laughing: Fifty percent drop out, the rest of them are in prison." And now, so are you, Bill.

Does Cosby regret that he failed to live up to his part of the agreement that he imagines was struck between the Black poor and the respectable Negro elite -- a deal that he once said the Shaniquas and their children "are not holding up their end" of? If so, the new facility at Phoenix provides sex offender counseling, as the judge mandated for Cosby's lifetime, as well as classes on violence prevention and recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.

Andrew Wyatt, Cosby's publicist, seems not to have come to grips with his client's new status as embarrassment-to-the-race, as opposed to credit-to-the-race. (You are one or the other, in Cosby's world, with the laughing "white man" as the eternal arbiter.) As of Tuesday, Wyatt was still lauding Cosby as one of the "greatest civil rights leaders" in history and one of the "greatest educators of men and boys" of all time.

Cosby's wife, Camille, wasn't at the sentencing hearing, but had earlier compared her husband to Emmet Till, the 14-year-old Black boy murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly leering at a white woman. Publicist Wyatt provides a more contemporary comparison: Cosby, like Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court -- and accused rapist -- Brett Kavanaugh, is the victim of a "sex war." "What is going on in Washington today with Judge Kavanaugh is part of that sex war that Judge [Steven] O'Neill and his wife are a part of," said Wyatt, conflating the Cosby trial judge with Kavanaugh's confirmation process.

But, maybe Wyatt has a point. Cosby's mouth is as crude, ugly and dehumanizing as Kavanaugh's alleged teenage crime. Back in 2004, The Cos slandered poor Black women in terms the worst white supremacist would admire:

"Five, six children -- same woman -- eight, 10 different husbands or whatever. Pretty soon you are going to have DNA cards to tell who you are making love to. You don't know who this is. It might be your grandmother. I am telling you, they're young enough! Hey, you have a baby when you are 12; your baby turns 13 and has a baby. How old are you? Huh? Grandmother! By the time you are 12 you can have sex with your grandmother, you keep those numbers coming. I'm just predicting."
The Black right wing, of which Cosby was a celebrity spokesman, holds the same opinion of lower income Black people as do white supremacists like the celebrity racist in the White House. They both pine for an era before the country was ruined by all sorts of "liberations."

Whose taking bets that Trump will pardon Cosby?
(c) 2018 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

US Isolated
Europe's Big 3, plus China & Russia Outmaneuver Trump to keep Iran Deal at UN
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Frederica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, chaired a special session of foreign ministers on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly meeting aimed at outmaneuvering Donald Trump on the Iran Deal.

The meeting was attended by the European Union "Big Three," i.e. Britain, France and Germany (the E3), plus Russia and China. So four of the five members of the UN Security Council participated. The US was conspicuous by its absence.

In my whole 65 years I have never heard about 4 members of the UN Security Council meeting without the US and with the express purpose of outflanking Washington Policy! This is both weird and ominous.

These signatories of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran reaffirmed their complete commitment to the agreement, which British Prime Minister Theresa May recently acknowledged was being scrupulously observed by Iran.

The Iran Deal, which US president Donald Trump has violated, guaranteed Iran a lifting of international sanctions in return for it accepting severe restrictions on its civilian nuclear enrichment program.

The document issued by the E3, joined by the European Union in the person of Mogherini and by Russia and China, acknowledged that sanctions relief was key to making the deal work:

"6.Participants underlined their determination to protect the freedom of their economic operators to pursue legitimate business with Iran, in full accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

7. The participants equally highlighted the extensive work and substantial progress undertaken to date, the intensification of technical dialogues, efforts to maintain and improve bilateral economic relations, and the mobilisation of considerable resources by all, including with third countries interested in supporting the JCPOA and in pursuing, in a timely and effective manner, the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran.

8.In this context, the participants welcomed the fact that updates to the EU's "Blocking Statute" and the European Investment Bank's external lending mandate to make Iran eligible entered into force on 7 August."

What point 8 above is saying is that the EU is making available to Iran the European Investment Bank as a means of trading with the world. The Trump administration has barred Iran from using US banks or currency, and is threatening third party sanctions on countries that so much as buy Iranian petroleum.

This quasi-military use of America's position as provider of the world reserve currency in the form of a dollar was sure to produce pushback from Europe, Russia and China.

The European Union is now saying Iran can use its bank and can sell its oil in Euros, which removes transactions from the oversight of the US Department of the Treasury. All the US can do now is try to sanction the European Investment Bank. But since there is no longer any US Security Council decree placing sanctions on Iran (that lapsed in January of 2016), there is no reason in principle for European countries or concerns to cooperate with the US in boycotting Iran.

Mogherini afterward met with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, in hopes of reassuring him that the nuclear deal can be kept alive.

Larger firms such as the French oil giant Total S.A. and the French automaker Renault have already fled Iran in advance of Trump's Nov. 1 deadline. It is only the smaller firms that have little or no trade with the US that can afford to do business with Iran, and they likely can't generate enough such business to make the JCPOA worthwhile.

Still, it is an incredible sight to see a rump UN Security Council attempting to keep world peace via the Iran deal, in the face of warmongers like Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton.

Ronald Reagan had a fantasy, at a time when Russia, China and the US were the major powers and often hostile to one another, that an attempted invasion from outer space might unite humankind.

Reagan was right, that an external threat could bring the world together. What he couldn't imagine was that it would be a rogue Washington that accomplished the uniting.
(c) 2018 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 Shame Of Climate-Change Deniers
By Jim Hightower

Shame is that queasy feeling you get when you realize you've done something improper, ridiculous... or just flat-out contemptible. But it's socially invaluable, for feeling ashamed is a built-in jerk alarm, keeping most of us from doing the same embarrassing thing again.

But what if you're not embarrassed by being a jerk? Sure enough, some individuals who rise to high places are so consumed by self-importance, self-righteousness, self-aggrandizement, and all things selfish that they feel no shame - even when their narcissism does gross harm to others. One example is the clique of prominent polluters, politicos, and propagandists who are climate-change deniers. They shamefully use their prominence to enhance their own fame and fortune - while glaciers melt, oceans rise, extreme weather expands, species perish, and Earth itself spins toward being unlivable.

Unable to acknowledge shame, they need help. Luckily, a feisty group called Cowboys for Liberty has stepped forward to acknowledge it for them by establishing a "Climate Deniers Hall of Shame." Among the first class of infamous deniers are Charles and David Koch, who've dumped more than $100 million into front groups opposing efforts to halt climate change; Sen. Jim Inhofe, the dotty old dean of deniers, who has called global warming a conspiracy spawned by the Weather Channel; and the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, who secretly funded hoked-up "academic" reports to discredit the science of climate change.

The Hall of Shame is fun, but it's not a prank. It points out that climate change is not only caused by human action, but also by human inaction - and putting names and faces to the small group of humans selfishly preventing progress can help the majority of us see that we can (and must) rise up to stop them.
(c) 2018 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

Chuck Grassley shows Brett Kavanaugh to his seat during Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing on September 5, 2018.

Grassley Knows Exactly What He Was Doing 35 Years Ago-Scheming To Ban Abortion
The Judiciary Committee chair will bend every rule to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as part of his career-long mission to overturn Roe.
By John Nichols

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, in a particularly troublesome attempt to defend Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, announced in a radio interview this week that he'd "hate have someone ask me what I did 35 years ago."

That has earned the 85-year-old career politician a good share of mockery, because, of course, Grassley was a senator 35 years ago-a very conservative Republican from Iowa who entered the chamber in 1981 as an anti-reproductive-rights zealot. His long struggle to ban abortion has guided Grassley's approach to the Supreme Court nomination fights he has overseen as chairman of the committee that effectively decides whether nominees will be confirmed-or even considered. In 2016, he bent every rule in order to block the confirmation of a highly qualified and highly regarded nominee to fill a vacancy on the high court, Judge Merrick Garland. Now, just two years later, he is bending every rule he can get away with bending to clear the way for the confirmation of a far less qualified and far more controversial nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Opponents of reproductive rights hailed Grassley for obstructing Garland's nomination, just as they now hail the committee chair's obstruction of opposition to Kavanaugh's nomination. They have literally declared that "Grassley was made for this moment."

The seven-term senator was trying to make another of his many excuses for the nominee when the chairman responded to charges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 by telling a conservative radio host, "We're talking about, you understand we're talking about 35 years ago. I'd hate to ask, have somebody ask me what I did 35 years ago. And I think I look at it this way."

Grassley's flip response to an extremely serious matter-the question of how the committee he heads plans to consider Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that she was assaulted by Kavanaugh-invites consideration of the senator's decades-long crusade to deny women the right to choose.

Grassley knows exactly what he was doing 35 years ago. It is the same thing he is doing now: using every strategy and every tactic, making every excuse and manipulating every standard in order to make possible a Supreme Court decision that reverses Roe v. Wade. He is a wily legislator who will arrange a facade of fairness. But behind that facade is a sense of mission that so animates the senator and those around him that Mike Davis, the chief counsel for nominations on Grassley's Judiciary Committee, announced, even as the chairman was making pious pronouncements about affording Dr. Ford an honest hearing, that they were "Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh."

Grassley, who began his political career during Dwight Eisenhower's second term, was one of the first wave of senators to be elected with the backing of the so-called "religious right"-backing that went to candidates who were explicit about their determination to overturn the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Elected in the Republican-wave year of 1980 that put Ronald Reagan in the White House, Grassley beat a liberal Democrat, John Culver, in a contest where one Iowa newspaper noted that "Culver was targeted for defeat by several conservative interest groups, including the anti-abortion lobby, which flooded the state with anti-Culver literature in the final days of the campaign."

Grassley campaigned during his first term for a constitutional amendment that would lay the groundwork for undoing Roe-the decision that determined that the right to privacy outlined in the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extends to a woman's decision to seek an abortion-by declaring: "A right to abortion is not secured by this Constitution." Even in a Republican-controlled Senate, even in a time when many conservative Southern Democrats were voting against abortion rights, this effort did not get far. The big test came in 1983-35 years ago-when the chamber voted on the so-called "Human Life Federalism Amendment," which would have permitted Congress and the states to restrict or even bar access to abortions. The measure needed 67 votes to advance. It got just 49.

One of the 49 was Chuck Grassley, who would spend the next 35 years focusing on a different strategy for overturning Roe. Instead of seeking to amend the Constitution, Grassley put his energy into amending the high court.

Over the past three and a half decades, Grassley has worked to pack the federal courts with anti-abortion stalwarts. He has not won every fight and, as a savvy senator, he has compromised where necessary in order to attain respect and power. He has stood down when it has not been possible to block some pro-choice nominees-as have many of the Senate's most ardent foes of reproductive rights. But Grassley has remained strikingly focused on that work of overturning Roe. The Judiciary Committee has been his workplace. Grassley is a farmer, not a lawyer. But he has been a stalwart member of the committee since he came to the Senate in 1981. And he has made little secret of his mission on the committee-a mission that he is now maneuvering to complete.

Grassley may say, "A good judge never bases decisions on his preferred policy preferences." He may warn members of the committee-as he did at the opening of the initial Kavanaugh hearing-that "seeking assurances from a nominee on how he will vote in certain cases or how he views certain precedent undermines judicial independence and essentially asks for a promise in exchange for a confirmation vote. It's unfair and unethical."

But there is no question about Chuck Grassley's preference when it comes to judges. He wants judges like Kavanaugh-a veteran political operative and jurist whose record, as we are reminded by Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, "shows that if confirmed to the Supreme Court, he would destroy our reproductive rights by, at minimum further hollowing out Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that recognized the constitutional right to abortion." The past several years, beginning with the Garland fight and extending to this money, mark what Grassley and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell see as the final stage in a long struggle. They know what is at stake. They literally meet with the National Right to Life committee and other anti-choice groups to plot strategy for obstructing or advancing nominations.

"Senator Grassley has surrendered every pretense of independence," then-Senate majority leader Harry Reid, said in 2016.

Grassley announced that year that he would use his chairmanship to block any Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Barack Obama-in a letter from Judiciary Committee Republicans that vowed to "not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee until after our next president is sworn in on January 20, 2017." Reid said at the time that the Iowan was determined "to go down in history as the most obstructionist Judiciary chair in the history of this country."

That's true. But the greater truth is that, since he came to the Washington, Grassley has been determined to go down in history as the Judiciary Committee member and chairman who packed the highest court in the land with reliably right-wing judicial activists to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. Planned Parenthood's Laguens says that "any Senator who supports him is complicit in the further erosion of women's rights in America."

But no senator is more complicit than Chuck Grassley. This has been his mission for the past 35 years.
(c) 2018 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. 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.

The Secret American Vision For World Domination
By James Donahue

Not long ago we read a frightening report of a long-range plan by United States (mostly Republican neo-conservative leadership), dating back to the Reagan Administration and the collapse of the Soviet Union, that would force a reshaping the world into the America's image.

There was an organization called Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, that was formed just after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This organization promoted the idea that it was time for America to take "preemptive action" to enforce U. S. interests abroad. Included in this plan was the removal of unfriendly governments so that the world can be changed as "favorable to American principles and interests."

PNAC was identified as a "new-conservative" non-profit organization, founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1997. It had the financial backing of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation and the Bradley Foundation.

These names may not be familiar to most Americans. In brief: Kristol is considered the founder of the neoconservative movement in America and Kagan is a neoconservative scholar and writer for various political journals. The Sarah Scaife Foundation is controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife, an American billionaire, publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and a man heavily involved in banking, oil and aluminum industries. The John M. Olin Foundation is controlled by John M. Olin, president of Olin Industries, a chemical and munitions manufacturing operation. The Bradley Foundation, which controls about a half billion dollars in assets, supports "American democratic capitalism and the institutions, principles and values that sustain and nurture it."

Here is the kicker. Serving on this board since its inception were President George W. Bush; his top advisor Karl Rove; his brother and former governor of Florida Jeb Bush; Vice President Dick Cheney; former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy Secretary of Defense and now the controversial head of the World Bank; Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former official to the vice president; and Richard Armitage, former deputy Secretary of State under Bush from 2001 to 2005.

Also: Dr. Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and the highest ranking Muslim on the president's cabinet; Richard N. Perle, former Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration and Chairman of the Board on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee for the Bush Administration from 2001 to 2003; Dan Quayle, Vice President under President George H. W. Bush and R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency for President Bill Clinton and undersecretary of state John Bolton.

With almost all of the Bush cabinet participating, it was small wonder that PNAC was a major advocate for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This assault, which was indeed preemptive, became a centerpiece of this group's neoconservative agenda. That the invasion ended in a disastrous failure fortunately was the undoing of PNAC as a political force. It was formally dissolved in 2006.

Yet another frightening proposal emerging from that nutty think tank was a plan for military domination of space and cyberspace, and a proposal to establish and maintain a "Pax-Americana," or the U.S. dominance in world affairs. The organization called for control of the new "international commons" of outer space and cyberspace, paving the way for creation of a new military service called U.S. Space Forces that had a mission of space control.

A position paper published by PNAC states that "American leadership is both good for America and good for the world." It also says that "such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle."

The organization promoted a policy of accomplishing all of this by military force, if necessary, and "preserving and extending an international order friendly to U.S. security, prosperity and principles."

Understanding PNAC helps us understand the actions of the U.S. government after George W. Bush took office in 2001.

What this organization of secret planners did not consider was that there was a serious flaw in their thinking. By attempting to carry out their mission, in spite of what may have been good intentions at the start, the United States turned itself into a bully that now is feared and hated by many other nations. Consequently we are now a target of extremist terrorist groups.

We also generated military spending in Russia and China so these nations are now opposing superpowers capable of challenging the United States in war. There is a race among countries all over the world to develop nuclear weapons as a possible hedge against the type of invasion carried out against Iraq, and to develop space programs to ward off an American military dominance from above.

That the Iraq war turned out to be a miserable failure; that the world has just reached a peak demand for existing supplies of known oil deposits, and that the nations are now banding together to head off the rising threat of global warming caused by industrial burning of carbon fuels, has all but taken the bite out of PNAC.

The neo-conservatives who dreamed up this scheme did not foresee the changes looming on the horizon. We now have a great world socialist movement sweeping Europe, Asia and South America as a necessary prelude to joining forces to head-off the problem of war over dwindling natural resources. There is strong indication that a growing interest in socialism is developing in the United States as well.

For PNAC to have gotten its way would have forced democratic-capitalistic governments to emerge everywhere, thus stimulating a demand on world resources that is growing impossible to meet.

Leading up to the 2014 elections, America had not lost its ability to be the great nation it once was. President Barack Obama began his presidency facing a lot of the dark political and financial baggage left over from the Bush years, but he was working hard to get things back into balance. The Supreme Court decision to open the campaign financial floodgates to big corporate dollars in 2014 managed to utilize a cleverly developed advertising blitz that tipped the scales back into ultra-conservatism. The blitz successfully fooled voters into stacking the two houses with ultra-conservative members that rebelled against Mr. Obama and consequently brought Washington to its knees. The House and Senate have remained basically idled since.

In 2016 we have a choice between two unpopular presidential candidates to succeed Mr. Obama in January. The struggle for control of the House and Senate was raging in every state, and the corporate money was flowing. What we needed was leadership willing to lay down arms and put out a hand of friendship and cooperation with other nations. Instead we had two candidates who appeared willing to pour even more dollars into our already powerful military. Voter selection of Donald Trump proved to the world that the United States was willing to maintain its role as a world bully.

As we should have sadly learned from our military adventures in the Middle East, the rest of the world does not share our value of democracy and capitalism. And they do not take kindly to our efforts to force our way of life down their throats.
(c) 2018 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.

A billboard reading: 'Impeachment Now Make America America Again!' calling for President
Donald Trump's impeachment is seen along a street leading to Mar-A-Lago on March 19, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

If Democrats Win In November, Will There Be A Reckoning With Trump?
By William Rivers Pitt

November is coming. I know, because a tree told me. The stout maple outside my office window has grown a beard of red, like the first flecks of gray in a young man's whiskers. The trees outside Donald Trump's windows aren't changing yet -it's a muggy 81 down there compared to my foggy 58 -but to crib a line from Melville, it is already a damp and drizzly November in his soul.

The 2018 midterm elections are six weeks and an eyelash away. It will be another two months after that before the 116th Congress is sworn in. If the political prognosticators are right about November and the ultimate constitution of that new legislative body, the next three months may well be the last peaceful ones Trump will ever know. It is hard to say for certain if he knows this, but you'd think he must have at least an inkling. How could he not? Even Fox News can read a poll number.

Currently, there are 240 GOP-controlled seats in the House of Representatives. One hundred of those seats are within striking distance of being won by Democratic candidates, with 60 either in deep peril or already doomed to defeat. The Democrats need to pick up 24 seats in total to claim majority power. Those numbers are all you need to know about why House Speaker Paul Ryan abruptly decided to call it a career and go home.

The chance of Republicans maintaining majority control of the Senate is definitely better, but is no longer the cakewalk it appeared to be a few short months ago. To secure that chamber, the Democrats will have to pitch the electoral equivalent of a perfect game, and November is a cold month for baseball.

With the gruesome Jon "Not A Factual Statement" Kyl temporarily filling the seat left open by the late John McCain, Senate Republicans currently maintain a minuscule majority. Democrats must win or defend 12 seats -Texas, Tennessee, New Jersey, Florida, West Virginia, North Dakota, Nevada, Indiana, Montana, Wisconsin, Missouri and Arizona -to take the Senate, and more than a few of those races are long shots at best. For all that, it is a goofy year for electioneering; if the so-called "blue wave" crests high enough, there are some who think even Mississippi might be in play. Stranger things have happened.

For the moment, let's lay aside a discussion on the Senate and focus instead on the House, where their prospects are far better. What will happen if they recapture the Speaker's gavel? In recent history, we've seen Democrats celebrating victory with, "Hooray, we won! Let's be Republicans now!" If they take the stronger path, however, the fruits of victory could be substantial indeed.

"Get ready," writes Lesley Clark for McClatchy News. "If Democrats take control of a chamber in the November election, expect a flood of hearings, investigations, probes and special commissions starting in January. Democrats on two government watchdog House panels say Republicans have stifled and blocked nearly 75 lines of inquiry into various Trump policies and issues. Democratic members of Congress are already at the starting gate, ready to pounce."

The immediate change will be visible and dramatic. Nancy Pelosi will seek to replace current House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is taking his ball and going home after denouncing the poisoned political atmosphere he was instrumental in creating. If there is a genuinely muscular showing by progressives in November, however, Pelosi may have a contest on her hands if she wants her old position back. However that shakes out, whoever does wind up holding the gavel will have a (D) after their name.

All the committee chairmanships will flip. Barring some legislative swap meet between House Democrats, Eliot Engel will replace Ed Royce on Foreign Affairs, Maxine Waters will replace Jeb Hensarling on Financial Services, Jerrold Nadler will replace Bob Goodlatte on Judiciary, Elijah Cummings will replace Trey Gowdy on Oversight and Government Reform, and the indefatigable Adam Schiff will replace Devin Nunes on Intelligence.

For Donald Trump, the switch from Nunes to Schiff will be the equivalent of finding out his most trusted bodyguard has been replaced by a bull shark. Devin Nunes spent the last two years being all places at once in his effort to derail and destroy his own committee's investigation into Russian collusion by Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Schiff, for his part,has been waiting in the tall grass with all the subpoenas he has not been allowed to issue. Once seated, a newly minted Chairman Schiff will release them like a horde of angry bees.

The change will be equally dramatic on the Oversight Committee, where Trey Gowdy has spent his chairmanship turning down dozens of motions for subpoenas put forth by Democrats. During the Trump years, Gowdy has allowed a grand total of exactly zero subpoenas to be issued. (This is a swooning departure from his days as chairman of the preposterous Benghazi Committee, when he issued no less than 13 subpoenas while investigating President Obama and Secretary Clinton.) This no-subpoena norm will change virtually overnight when Elijah Cummings takes Gowdy's seat.

"If Democrats win the majority in November," said Cummings this past August, "we would finally do what Republicans have refused to do, and that is conduct independent, fact-based, and credible investigations of the Trump Administration to address issues like the security clearance process, conflicts of interest, the numerous attempts by Republicans to strip away healthcare from millions of Americans, postal service reforms, prescription drug pricing, and voting rights."

Specifically, these newly minted House committees are likely to investigate:

the question of Russian election collusion;
corruption within the Trump Organization and Trump Foundation;
the location and content of Trump's infamous tax returns;
Jared Kushner and the process of security clearances;
the refusal of the White House to produce vital policy documentation;
the administration's ghastly response to Hurricane Maria and the ongoing plight of Puerto Rico;
corruption among Trump's Cabinet secretaries;
the process that led to immigrant children getting ripped out of their parent's arms at the southern border.

"We need to attack the problem of corruption we see in the administration and do our oversight," Adam Schiff recently told The New York Times. "But Democrats are mindful of the fact that if we want to stay in the majority, we have to show that we are responsibly governing."

That is code for "We're not talking about impeachment right now because impeachment is a long shot thanks to the Senate so don't say impeachment out loud, OK?" Personally, I'd like to see the entire Trump administration put into orbit around Neptune, but that's probably why I'm not in charge. In any event, the Democrats haven't won anything yet except a bunch of polls. If they do win in November, there is no guarantee they will do what is required to begin salvaging this ridiculous state of affairs.

I got out of the prediction business two years ago when I discovered, along with most every other political analyst on the planet, that my divining rod was badly bent. What will be will be, the song says, and anything else is conjecture. However, impeachment is on the table along with all manner of other things whether Nancy Pelosi likes it or not. At a bare minimum, the nation and the world may be three short months away from bearing witness to something unseen for far too long: oversight, investigation and perhaps -gasp -a reckoning.
(c) 2018 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.

The Republican Party

They Are All Lying Sacks Of Fetid Garbage
By Heather Digby Parton

You've probably heard about the New Yorker bombshell which has another woman coming forward to say that Kavanaugh drunkenly assaulted her. They were freshmen, it was a drinking game, and Kavanaugh allegedly pulled out his penis and put it in her face. You will hear a lot more about it over the next day or so I'm sure.

I just want to highlight the opening paragraph:

As Senate Republicans press for a swift vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh's nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.
They wouldn't let the FBI investigate. They concocted a ridiculous "doppleganger" conspiracy theory and blamed an innocent man for the assault. They went nuts trying to get him on the court before anyone found out.

What scumbags they all are.
(c) 2018 Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Members of the North Carolina National Guard assist families evacuate
after flooding from Hurricane Florence forces them from their homes.

We Must Heed Storm Warnings To Build A Brighter Future
By David Suzuki

In 2012, North Carolina's Coastal Resources Commission warned that sea levels there could rise by a metre over the next century. The warning was based in part on U.S. Geological Survey findings that "sea level rise along the portion of the East Coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts is accelerating at three to four times the global rate" and that sea level in the region "would rise up to 11.4 inches higher than the global average rise by the end of the 21st century," according to ABC News. It was meant to help the state prepare its long, wide, low-lying coast for the kinds of severe occurrences that are becoming increasingly common as climate change ramps up. But developers and others complained the forecasts could hurt property values and increase insurance costs.

Politicians came up with a novel "solution." They passed a law banning policies based on the forecasts.

Under the law, predictions can be for 30 years at most and must be based on historical data about sea level rise. This ignores mountains of scientific evidence about global warming and its consequences, including the fact that sea level rise is accelerating as ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions drive global average temperatures higher.

The law allowed developers and government to continue building homes, buildings, roads and bridges along the coast, oblivious to threats outlined by people who study climate and oceans. Whether heeding the warnings would have mitigated the devastation and tragedy from Hurricane Florence depends in part on actions government might have taken. But refusing to accept scientific evidence for the sake of short-term profits, although all too common, isn't the way to protect citizens and property.

The Coastal Resources Commission released a more modest warning in 2015, concluding sea level rise could be 15 to 20 centimetres over 30 years - less than other research predicts. North Carolinians also elected a governor last year who accepts the reality of climate change and has committed to taking action. But so far, not enough has been done to safeguard the vulnerable coastline from sea level increases or storm surges exacerbated by climate change.

As meteorologist Eric Holthaus explains in the Washington Post, "A warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor - producing heavier downpours and providing more energy to hurricanes, boosting their destructive potential."

The notion that storms and other weather events will follow predictable historical patterns is being shattered by record climate-related storms, droughts, floods and heatwaves worldwide. The tragedy so many are facing, from loss of homes to loss of lives and livelihoods, is compounded by the fact that much of it is or was preventable. Employing solutions while continuing to develop new knowledge and technologies in everything from agriculture to renewable energy would create good jobs and economic gains, while protecting human health and well-being and the very life-support systems that keep us alive and well.

Many in the U.S. understand this. While the federal government rolls back environmental laws and protections,"more than 3,000 U.S. cities, states, businesses, investors, counties, regional associations, faith communities, and post-secondary institutions are on track to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 17% - and possibly by as much as 24% [by 2025], bringing the country close to meeting its promised target under the Paris Agreement," an Energy Mix article states.

Those reductions depend on how well signatories to Bloomberg Philanthropies' America's Pledge keep their commitments on a range of goals regarding renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, carbon pricing, carbon sequestration strategies and preventing methane leaks. But the benefits of doing so go beyond ensuring our survival and well-being - though that should be enough!

A study by C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors and the NewClimate Institute concluded, "Cities around the world could create 13.7 million jobs and prevent 1.3 million premature deaths per year by 2030 by pursuing 'ambitious urban climate policies' that 'vastly reduce carbon emissions globally,'" Energy Mix reports.

As our thoughts and hopes are with the people of the U.S. East Coast, the Philippines and other places caught in terrifying weather, we must remember that we're all in the storm now. Our way to safety is also our way to a brighter future.
(c) 2018 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co_founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Murkowski's Vote On Brett Kavanaugh Is Looking Tougher Than Ever
A startling incident in her home state brings things into focus-and ramps up the stakes.
By Charles P. Pierce

A very smart person of my acquaintance pointed this out.

There is a boatload of red-hot outrage in the state of Alaska at the moment at the decision by a judge to go easy on a man who was convicted of throttling a woman, and, in the exact wording of the charges, "committing harassment by contact with bodily fluids." From Alaska Public Radio:

Police said the victim in the August 2017 assault reported that the man - later identified as Justin Schneider, now 34 - offered her a ride across town. Instead, Schneider choked her unconscious and - at least according to the original charges - committed harassment by offensive contact with bodily fluids. Anchorage TV station KTVA reported that Schneider was a "free man" Wednesday after Superior Court Judge Corey accepted a plea deal and sentenced Schneider. The state agreed to drop the kidnapping and harassment charges and Schneider was sentenced to time served.

Williams says the night she saw the KTVA report, she discovered online that Corey's six-year term on the Superior Court was up for a retention vote this November. "And, ultimately, it is the judge who's responsible because he's responsible for who walks out of court. And in this case we really think he messed up," Williams said. Williams says she understands that the judge was sentencing Schneider under the guidelines for the remaining charge in the deal prosecutors struck. And she thinks the laws should be tougher and prosecutors should feel pressure, too. But, Williams says, the judges are the ones voters can directly affect.

So the judge is probably roadkill. But, as my very smart friend said, think about this. In this moment, with her home state embroiled in a huge #MeToo moment, does Senator Lisa Murkowski really want to be the vote that helps Brett Kavanaugh to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court? I'm not sure she does.
(c) 2018 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-

"All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field."
~~~ Albert Einstein

Korea Should Reunify Outside The Empire
By David Swanson

Korea Should Reunify Outside The Empire The majority of dictatorships on planet earth - by the U.S. government's designation of which countries are dictatorships - are sold U.S. weapons. And most of their militaries are trained by the U.S. military.

If I had to pick a dictatorship to object to the U.S. government's position on, it would be one of these many, and probably it would be Saudi Arabia. But, then, I'm not a Progressive Senator. If I were, then I would object to anything less than complete hostility toward a country that the U.S. has not armed or trained in war, but rather sits on the edge of going to war against - a country that the U.S. president not long ago threatened to drop nuclear bombs on.

Imagine if the United States made peace with North Korea. There are perhaps three ways to do it.

1. The United States deals directly with North Korea and transforms it into another weapons customer, thereby facilitating U.S. weapons sales on both sides of the demilitarized zone. Nobody in Korea is likely to stand for this.

2. The United States allows Korea to reunify, but keeps all the weaponry and troops in Korea that it now has in the South (as required by current U.S. law) and adds some more weaponry and troops to the northern part of the unified country. This will require at least a few days of telling the U.S. public that the only defense against the evil Chinese or Russians is a well-armed unified Korea. That's perfectly doable.

3. The United States allows Korea to reunify, disarm, and promote peace in the world. This would be something new under the sun. It's what the people of Korea need and struggle for. The resulting firestorm in the U.S. media would be 10 times worse than Russiagate. Trump would be denounced in exactly the terms he ought to be denounced in for his actual offenses.MO< > For possibility #3 to prevail, millions of people in the United States who are smart enough to oppose lots of horrible things Trump has done would have to strain their brains and find somewhere within them the capacity to make Trump aware that he will receive tons of praise if he does a good thing.

The most likely outcome and the best outcome are not the same. But the reason we're considerning any of them at all is because the two Korean governments are already trying to work around the disastrous U.S. presence - so who knows what's possible?
(c) 2018 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.

Leonard Peltier Vs. J. Edgar Hoover
Still haunted by the ghost of COINTELPRO
By Jane Stillwater

You should see my fabulous new "Free Leonard Peltier" T-shirt! It's the best souvenir of Florida that I could possibly find. Long story.

Leonard's tragic saga first began back in 1924 -- when that un-American rat-fink J. Edgar Hoover became the first director of the FBI and began turning his new-found powers to the Dark Side. Even now, even 46 years after J. Edgar's death, we are still discovering more and more info regarding all the dirty tricks Hoover played on America's working class, justice-seekers, intellectuals and people of color. Trust me, this guy was bad news -- the proud father of the FBI's duplicitous, divisive, perfidious, sneaky, unjust and subversive reputation, one that the FBI still struggles with to this day.

By the 1960s and '70s, Hoover and his infamous COINTELPRO goon squad consistently declared war on Blacks, immigrants, Native Americans, Vietnam protesters, gays, unions, rock 'n' roll and basically just about anyone who wasn't either a Stepford Wife or a body snatcher. I was there. It really was that bad.

Several people, however, did stand up against J. Edgar and his minions back then -- even though it was both dangerous and hard. Martin Luther King, JFK and Bobby Kennedy, to name a few. And also Mumia abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier.

Back in 1975, the FBI had illegally invaded the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, on Lakota land. Back then, even though Hoover had finally died, his poisonous and hateful policies still lingered on. Back in 1975, it was like playing cowboys and Indians on the rez -- only the Indians weren't allowed to fight back. Those who did try to defend themselves and their families soon found themselves to be dead. An estimated 300 Native Americans died that way.

But then Leonard Peltier and other A.I.M. organizers began to rally the Lakota for a protest at Wounded Knee -- at the cost of making themselves visible to the FBI. So when two gun-toting hot-shot FBI cowboy-wannabes (who should never have been on the reservation in the first place) turned up dead at Pine Ridge, the finger of blame pointed to Leonard. A scapegoat was needed and a scapegoat was found.

But don't take my word for it. Get the full story of the FBI's brutality, lies and betrayals yourself, as meticulously documented by author Peter Matthiessen in his well-researched book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.

And 44 years later, Leonard Peltier is still stuck in jail for a crime he didn't commit -- and people are still wearing their "Free Leonard" T-shirts.

Peltier is now 76 years old. He is incarcerated in a high-security federal prison in Coleman, Florida, just outside of Tampa.

At the book convention I attended in St. Petersburg/Tampa area recently, I asked author Tim Dorsey if he had named his infamous fictional character after the notorious Coleman prison. "No," Dorsey said. Oh. Leonard, fortunately, is now incarcerated in the elderly unit at Coleman and no longer has to worry (much) about getting beat up by gangs (again). He teaches art to the convicts and also paints stirring portraits of "traditional" Pine Ridge Native Americans in his spare time.

Leonard's health is failing. He is not now a danger to himself or society -- and he never was. Isn't it time that our government finally frees Leonard Peltier from the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover? Peltier is one of the last of the heroes who stood up to Hoover's COINTELPRO gang of lame-asses, putting Leonard in the same class as MLK and JFK. We should be giving Peltier a homecoming parade instead of keeping him locked up in some dungeon for the rest of his life for a crime that he didn't commit.

PS: Wanna buy your very own ultra-chic "Free Leonard" T-shirt just like mine? You don't have to visit Tampa like I did. You can just order it online.

PPS: I forgot to mention about those four brave Freedom Riders who left Mankato MN on horseback 55 days ago, and have ridden their horses all the way to Florida to go see Leonard at Coleman prison. On horseback! They are almost there. What a heroic trek! Say hello to Leonard for me when you get there, okay?

PPPS: Don't let the ghost of J. Edgar go on laughing at Leonard from inside his special-agent crypt in Hell. Instead, write to President Trump (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC 20500) and ask him to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier (who is much more deserving of clemency than Paul Manafort, BTW). And Trump just might do it too -- considering what Trump himself currently thinks (and tweets) about the FBI!
(c) 2018 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Dead Letter Office-

Chuck returns the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Uber Fuhrer Grassley,

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 35 year fight to take women's rights away from them, 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 09-28-2018. We salute you Herr Grassley, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Why I'm Betting On Millennials, This November 6th
By Robert Reich

Millennials (and their younger siblings, generation Z's) are the largest, most diverse and progressive group of potential voters in American history, comprising fully 30 percent of the voting age population.

On November 6th, they'll have the power to alter the course of American politics - flipping Congress, changing the leadership of states and cities, making lawmakers act and look more like the people who are literally the nation's future.

But will they vote?

In the last midterm election, in 2014, only 16 percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 bothered.

In midterms over the last two decades, turnout by young people has averaged about 38 points below the turnout rate of people 60 and older. Which has given older voters a huge say over where the nation is likely to be by the time those younger people reach middle age and the older voters have passed on.

I'm not criticizing younger non-voters. They have a lot on their minds - starting jobs, careers, families. Voting isn't likely to be high on their list of priorities.

Also, unlike their grand parents - boomers who were involved in civil rights, voting rights, women's rights, the anti-Vietnam War movement - most young people today don't remember a time when political action changed America for the better.

They're more likely to remember political failures and scandals - George W. Bush lying about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction; Bill Clinton lying about Monica; both parties bailing out Wall Street without so much as a single executive going to jail.

Most don't even recall when American democracy worked well. They don't recall the Cold War, when democracy as an ideal worth fighting for. The Berlin Wall came down before they were born.

Instead, during their lives they've watched big money take over Washington and state capitals. Which may explain why only about 30 percent of Americans born in the 1980s think it "essential" to live in a democracy.

Many young people have wondered if their votes count anyway, because so many of them live in congressional districts and states that are predictably red or blue.

Given all this, is there any reason to hope that this huge, diverse, progressive cohort of Americans will vote in the upcoming midterms?

My answer is, yes.

First, the issues up for grabs aren't ideological abstractions for them. They're causes in which Millennials have direct personal stakes.

Take, for example, gun violence - which some of these young people have experienced first-hand and have taken active roles trying to stop.

Or immigrant's rights. Over 20 percent of Millennials are Latino, and a growing percent are from families that emigrated from Asia. Many have directly experienced the consequences of Trump's policies.

A woman's right to choose whether to have a baby, and gay's or lesbian's rights to choose marriage - issues Millennials are also deeply committed to - will be front and center if the Supreme Court puts them back into the hands of Congress and state legislatures.

Millennials are also concerned about student debt, access to college, and opportunities to get ahead unimpeded by racial bigotry or sexual harassment.

And they're worried about the environment. They know climate change will hit them hardest since they'll be on the planet longer than older voters.

They've also learned that their votes count. They saw Hillary lose by a relative handful of votes in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

They've been witnessing razor-thin special elections, such as Conor Lamb's win by a few hundred votes in the heart of Pennsylvania Trump country, and Hiral Tipirneni's single-digit loss in an Arizona district Trump won by 21 points in 2016.

They know the importance of taking back governorships in what are expected to be nail-bitingly close races - in states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kansas. They're aware of the slim but increasingly real possibility of taking back the Senate. (Who knew Ted Cruz would be so vulnerable? Who even knew the name Beto O'Rourke?)

As doubtful as they these young people are about politics, or the differences between the two parties, they also know that Trump and his Republican enablers want to take the nation backwards to an old, white, privileged, isolated America. Most of them don't.

In my thirty-five years of teaching college students, I've not encountered a generation as dedicated to making the nation better as this one.

So my betting is on them, this November 6th.
(c) 2018 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

American Anomie
By Chris Hedges

The French sociologist Emile Durkheim in his classic book "On Suicide" examined the disintegration of social bonds that drive individuals and societies to personal and collective acts of self-destruction. He found that when social bonds are strong, individuals achieve a healthy balance between individual initiative and communal solidarity, which he called a "life-sustaining equilibrium." These individuals and communities have the lowest rates of suicide. The individuals and societies most susceptible to self-destruction, he wrote, are those for whom these bonds, this equilibrium, have been shattered.

Societies are held together by a web of social bonds that give individuals a sense of being part of a collective and engaged in a project larger than the self. This collective expresses itself through rituals, such as elections and democratic participation or an appeal to patriotism, and shared national beliefs. The bonds provide meaning, a sense of purpose, status and dignity. They offer psychological protection from impending mortality and the meaninglessness that comes with being isolated and alone. The shattering of these bonds plunges individuals into deep psychological distress that leads ultimately to acts of self-annihilation. Durkheim called this state of hopelessness and despair anomie, which he defined as "ruleless-ness."

Ruleless-ness means the norms that govern a society and create a sense of organic solidarity no longer function. The belief, for example, that if we work hard, obey the law and get a good education we can achieve stable employment, social status and mobility along with financial security becomes a lie. The old rules, imperfect and often untrue for poor people of color, nevertheless were not a complete fiction in the United States. They offered some Americans-especially those from the white working and middle class-modest social and economic advancement.

But the capture of political and economic power by the corporate elites, along with the redirecting of all institutions toward the further consolidation of their power and wealth, has broken the social bonds that held the American society together. This rupture has unleashed a widespread malaise Durkheim would have recognized.

"When society is strongly integrated," he wrote, "it keeps individuals in a state of dependency, holding them to be in its service and consequently not permitting them to dispose of themselves as they wish. Society is thus opposed to them escaping from their obligations towards it through death. ... The bond that attaches them to their common purpose attaches them to life; and, in any case, the high goal towards which their gaze is turned alleviates the suffering that they feel from life's troubles. Finally, in a coherent and vital community, there is a continual exchange of ideas and feelings from all to each and from each to all which is like mutual moral support, so that the individual, instead of being reduced to his resources only, participates in the collective energy and draws on it when his own is exhausted." The reconfiguring of American society into an oligarchy and the collapse of our democratic institutions have left most of the population disempowered. The elites, predatory by nature, have discarded all restraint. "The state of disorganization, or anomie, is thus reinforced by the fact that passions are less disciplined at the very time when they need stronger discipline," Durkheim noted of the avarice of the rich.

"It is not for nothing that so many religions have celebrated the benefits and the moral value of poverty," Durkheim wrote. "This is because, of all schools, it is the one that best teaches man to restrain himself. By obliging us to exercise constant discipline over ourselves, it prepares us to accept collective discipline with docility, while wealth, by exalting the individual, constantly risks awakening the spirit of rebellion that is the very fount of immortality."

The political process, as the research by professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page underscores, no longer advances the interests of the average citizen. It has turned the consent of the governed into a cruel joke. "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence." This facade of democratic process eviscerates one of the primary social bonds in a democratic state and abolishes the vital shared belief that citizens have the power to govern themselves, that government exists to promote and protect their rights and interests.

The economic structures, like the political structures, have been reconfigured to mock the belief in a meritocracy and that hard work leads to a productive and valued role in society. American productivity, as The New York Times pointed out, has increased 77 percent since 1973 but hourly pay has grown only 12 percent. If the federal minimum wage was attached to productivity, the newspaper wrote, it would be more than $20 an hour now, not $7.25. Some 41.7 million workers, a third of the workforce, earn less than $12 an hour, and most of them do not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance. A decade after the 2008 financial meltdown, the Times wrote, the average middle class family's net worth is more than $40,000 below what it was in 2007. The net worth of black families is down 40 percent, and for Latino families the figure has dropped 46 percent.

The economic disparity and political dysfunction have been exacerbated by the collapse of the judicial system, as Matt Taibbi writes in his book "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap." There is aggressive criminalization of the poor while the ruling elites are protected by high-priced lawyers and non-enforcement or rewriting of laws. Amid selective enforcement of laws in the ruleless society, the high rollers on Wall Street and in wealthy enclaves are not prosecuted for possessing and ingesting illegal drugs but the poor are thrown into prison and must forfeit all their property for being caught with small amounts of the same drugs. HSBC, the world's seventh largest bank by total assets, after admitting to laundering $800 million for Central and South American drug cartels, was slapped with largely symbolic fines and a deferred prosecution agreement, which is the legal equivalent of a get-out-of-jail-free card. The poor, meanwhile, are hounded, arrested and fined for absurdly criminalized activities such as not mowing their lawns, loitering, selling loose cigarettes, carrying open containers of alcohol or "obstructing pedestrian traffic"-which means standing on a sidewalk. These fines are used to fill state and county budget shortfalls resulting from corporations and the wealthy fixing the rules to avoid paying meaningful taxes, if they pay taxes at all. This virtual tax boycott by the rich has broken yet another social bond, the idea that everyone contributes a significant portion of his or her income to make the society function.

The elites, who sacrifice nothing for society and are not held accountable for their criminal behavior, live in what Taibbi calls a "stateless archipelago." They are empowered to pillage the nation, amass obscene wealth and wield unchecked political and legal control. The result has been the obliteration of the primary social bonds that, however biased in favor of the white majority, held the nation together.

The shattering of these bonds has left tens of millions of Americans adrift. Society, Durkheim wrote, is no longer "sufficiently present for individuals." Those cast aside can participate in the society, as Durkheim wrote, only "through sadness." The self-destructive pathologies that plague the United States-opioid addiction, morbid obesity, gambling, suicide, sexual sadism, hate groups and mass shootings-rise out of this anomie. My new book, "America: The Farewell Tour," is an examination of these pathologies and the anomie that fuels these self-destructive behaviors.

Durkheim noted that the poor have lower rates of suicide. The poor know the rules are rigged against them. James Baldwin made much the same point when he wrote that African-American men are less prone to a midlife crisis than white men because they are less susceptible to the myth of the American Dream. Most African-Americans learn very early in life that there are two sets of rules. But white Americans, because of white supremacy, are more susceptible to the myth, and therefore more infuriated when that myth is exposed as a con. This, I suspect, is why nearly all mass shooters and members of right-wing hate groups, along with a majority of supporters of Donald Trump, are white men.

Capitalism, Durkheim wrote, is antithetical to creating and sustaining the relationships that are vital to social bonds. Capitalism rewards those for whom relationships are transactional and temporary. Relationships under capitalism are mercenary. They are part of the scheme for personal self-advancement and require the oily manipulation of others. To advance in a capitalist system it is necessary to build and then discard a series of ultimately hollow relationships. These empty relationships-and you can see them on display at any business gathering-contribute to the collective anomie and disintegration of social bonds.

Capitalism may cater to a natural desire among many for self-enrichment, but you don't want this belief system to dominate society. Capitalism rewards single-minded narcissists and often con artists devoid of empathy and incapable of remorse. It rewards those focused exclusively on personal gain and self-aggrandizement. These dedicated capitalists often lack the capacity to form meaningful bonds, seeing in other people tools for commodification and exploitation. Once a capitalist class achieves complete control, as it has in the United States, it dismantles the structures that make social bonds possible, seeing in them an impediment to profit. The more concentrated wealth becomes, as with corporate capitalism, the more damage it inflicts on society, sending jobs to overseas sweatshops and leaving American workers underemployed or unemployed.

Karl Marx saw alienation as a positive force, one that estranged workers from the means of production and moved them to question the structures of power, educate themselves about their exploitation, and revolt. But for Durkheim this alienation, or anomie, is debilitating. It is, he wrote, "a collective asthenia" that drains us of energy and will. It manifests itself in self-loathing. We may indeed understand what is happening around us, Durkheim argued, but we lack the ability to free ourselves from the despair, frustration and rage that cripple our lives.

"Our actions require an object outside of themselves," Durkheim wrote. "It is not because we need to sustain the illusion of some impossible immortality: it is because it is implicit in our moral being and it cannot be lost, even partially, without that moral being losing its reason for existence. There is no need to demonstrate that in such a state of collapse the slightest cause for depression can easily give rise to desperate acts. When life is not worth living, everything becomes a pretext for ridding ourselves of it."

"For individuals are too closely involved in the life of society for it to be sick without their being affected," Durkheim added. "Its suffering inevitably becomes theirs."

President Trump is not a product of the theft of the Podesta emails, James Comey or racism-although he and many who support him are racists-or Russian bots. Demagogues arise from failed democracies plagued by ruleless-ness and anomie. They tell an enraged population what it wants to hear and crudely, to the delight of the betrayed, ridicule the elites who sold them out.

Removing Trump from office without confronting the ruleless-ness and anomie that define the lives of tens of millions of Americans would do nothing to restore democracy. In fact, it would probably consolidate the power of a Christianized fascism that cloaks itself in a cloying piety and false morality. Vice President Mike Pence, because he is a creature of the Christian right and has ingested its protofascist ideology, would probably be worse than Trump if he gained the presidency.

The left, like most critics of Trump, personalizes our decay. It focuses myopically on Trump, who is the symptom, not the disease. It spits back the thought-terminating cliches about the Russians stealing our elections while it refuses to examine the deep wounds within the society, wounds exacerbated when the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton sold out working men and women. If we do not heal these wounds, if we do not restore the social bonds shattered by predatory corporate capitalism, when the next financial crisis arrives-and it will arrive-this collective anomie will explode. Frightening demons, harnessing these dark, self-destructive pathologies, will rise from the depths of the ruleless morass.

See part one of Hugh Hamilton interviewing Chris Hedges about his new book, "America: The Farewell Tour" (via YouTube).
(c) 2018 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Keep up with Chris Hedges' latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

The Cartoon Corner-

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

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

White House Raises Official Hurricane Florence Death Toll To -17
'Over A Dozen People Have Been Born, Brought Back To Life, Spontaneously Generated As A Result Of The Storm'
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Proclaiming that the government's rescue efforts have brought several U.S. citizens into the world, the White House announced Monday that the official Hurricane Florence death toll had been raised to -17.

"Thanks to President Trump's incredible hurricane response team, the population of North and South Carolina is actually skyrocketing, with over a dozen people being born, spontaneously generating, or being resurrected," said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, adding that despite 90-mph winds and 7-foot flood zones, FEMA and the National Guard had found several newborns, clones, and reincarnated individuals nearly every hour on the hour.

"Not only have zero American citizens died during this record-breaking storm, but over the past few days alone, workers have also located a number of missing people, including many Puerto Ricans who were declared missing or dead during Hurricane Maria. As the storm continues to move up the coast, we can only pray that many, many more Americans are created in the wreckage."

At press time, Sanders emphasized that President Obama had never once bothered to spontaneously generate life during his presidency, let alone during a Category 1 hurricane.
(c) 2018 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 18 # 38 (c) 09/28/2018

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