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In This Edition

Chris Walker says, "National Archives Says It's Still Missing Docs Trump Removed From White House."

Ralph Nader considers, "Corporate-Tied Republican Party's Cruelty To Children."

Leonard Pitts Jr. finds, "Racism Is Part of Republicans' Ideological DNA."

Jim Hightower says, "Jeff Bezos Goes To Sea."

Maya Schenwar joins us with, "William Rivers Pitt Dared To Hope For Our Future. Let's Do Right By His Memory."

John Nichols concludes, "Tony Evers And Mandela Barnes Need To Reclaim The Narrative."

James Donahue considers, "The Plastic Problem In World Oceans."

David Swanson reviews, "Riotsville."

David Suzuki concludes, "Canada Can't Let Industry And Provinces Stall Carbon Pricing."

Amy Goodman sees, "Climate Extremes And A Democracy Under Threat."

Juan Cole reports, "Climate Idiocy Of DeSantis Exposes Him As Threat To Entire Nation."

Robert Reich says, "This One Thing Made Alex Jones Stop Lying."

Thom Hartmann explains, "How This Solar Town Survived Hurricane Ian Shows The Promise Of A Green Energy Future."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports "Biden Issues Urgent Warning For Americans To Decide What To Be For Halloween Now," but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "How Stupid Is Governor DeSantis? Very!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Bas van der Schot, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, NASA, Emily Elconin, Sarah Silbiger, Ruthie Hauge, Jae C. Hong, Ronnel Marfil, Vuk Valcic, Paul Hennessy, Jeffrey Greenberg, Jim Hightower, Twitter, Pixabay, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments -

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

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

Hurricane Ian

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How Stupid Is Governor DeSantis? Very!
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"Nature has a myriad of weapons to combat human arrogance." ~~~ Wayne Gerard Trotman

You would have thought that hurricane Ian would have driven home the point to DeSanatis that global warming is real but I see where the Associated Press reported that "Ian's rapid intensification occurred after it traveled over Caribbean waters that are about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) warmer than normal, largely because of climate change." That warmer water creates "a lot more rocket fuel for the storm," Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach told the AP.

Despite the firmly established science linking global warming to more powerful hurricanes, as well as sea level rise that helps worsen their impact, many Florida Republican politicians, including the governor and both of its U.S. senators, have resisted government action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing warmer temperatures. Yet even while they avoid any admission that burning fossil fuels is the underlying cause of global warming, they must also try to manage growing risks in the state that scientists have linked to the warming world.

DeSantis has embraced spending for the restoration of the Everglades wetlands and "resilience" for coastal cities, such as improved drainage and raising sea walls. In May last year, he said his state must "tackle the challenges posed by flooding, intensified storm events [and] sea level rise." Without labeling the issue a global warming problem, the DeSantis administration estimates that sea level rise will put $26 billion in Florida residential property at risk of regular flooding by 2045.

The governor has steered clear of venturing an explanation as to why sea levels are rising and storms are intensifying, explaining that he fears that admitting that human activities cause global warming would accept the premise that people should change their ways to reduce its severity.

"What I've found is, people when they start talking about things like global warming, they typically use that as a pretext to do a bunch of left-wing things that they would want to do anyways," DeSantis said at an event about sea level rise last year. "We're not doing any left-wing stuff."

DeSantis's record on climate change has been less hard-line than his pugilistic comments might suggest. He appointed the state's first resilience officer, but after the appointee left the job a few months later, did not bother to find a replacement. He also created a position of chief science officer. Environmentalists were disappointed when he appointed Michael La Rosa, Florida chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization known for advocating fossil fuel-friendly policies, to the Florida Public Service Commission, which oversees the state's utilities.

DeSantis also supported buying 20,000 acres in the Everglades to prevent oil development, and the state is spending money on electric vehicle-charging stations. He even vetoed a utility-backed bill that would have hamstrung the rooftop solar market.

But Florida remains a laggard in utility-scale renewable energy, being among the minority of states with no legal requirement that its utilities increase the production of renewable energy. And this summer, DeSantis proposed prohibiting state pension funds from considering climate-change vulnerabilities and carbon emissions in its investments.

I saw a guy on TV the other day that had lost his house to Ian who was going to rebuild which may explain DeSantis as Governor? With 80% of Florida set to be underwater in a few years how stupid would you have to be to try and rebuild in coastal Florida? Stupid enough to support DeSantis!


04-14-1932 ~ 10-04-2022
Thanks for the music!

11-07-1949 ~ 10-06-2022
Thanks for the laughs!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2022 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand -up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Former President Donald Trump claps during a rally on October 1, 2022, in Warren, Michigan.

National Archives Says It's Still Missing Docs Trump Removed From White House
By Chris Walker

In a letter sent on Friday to chair of the House Oversight Committee, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) noted that Trump administration officials have not yet submitted all of the records that are due to be returned under the conditions of the Presidential Records Act.

Acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall wrote to the committee that the agency will take action in order to retrieve the missing documents, including consulting with the Department of Justice (DOJ) "on whether 'to initiate an action for the recovery of records unlawfully removed,' as established under the Federal Records Act."

"While there is no easy way to establish absolute accountability, we do know that we do not have custody of everything we should," Steidel Wall wrote in the letter.

Steidel Wall also noted that NARA has been unable to obtain records from "non-official electronic messaging accounts," as members of the former administration did not copy or forward messages (e.g. emails) to their official electronic messaging accounts, as required by law.

The letter from NARA to Congress came weeks after Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), the chair of the House Oversight Committee, wrote to the agency stating that lawmakers were "concerned that, given this pattern of conduct, [former President Donald] Trump may continue to retain presidential records at non-secure locations" - perhaps even at other Trump properties - and that these documents could include "classified material that could endanger our nation's security and other important records documenting Mr. Trump's activities at the White House."

NARA has been trying to obtain records Trump improperly had in his possession for almost two years, since before he left the White House. After his departure following his election loss to President Joe Biden, the agency continued to request that Trump return the documents, which he had moved to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Only after NARA threatened to involve Congress in the matter in late 2021 did Trump and his lawyers relent, allowing officials from that agency to collect some records in January 2022.

After reviewing the records they retrieved, NARA noted that some were marked as classified, and contacted the DOJ to further investigate. The department then subpoenaed Trump, demanding that he return more documents in June and requiring his legal counsel to affirm there were no more documents with classified markings in his possession. Following evidence showcasing that there were more documents at Mar-a-Lago marked as classified, a search warrant was executed in early August, during which 11,000 government documents were retrieved in total - including more than 100 classified documents.

More than 300 documents marked as classified have been retrieved by the DOJ from Mar-a-Lago since the start of 2022.

(c) 2022 Chris Walker is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analysing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people.

Student activists participate in a strike to demand action be taken on climate change outside the White House on September 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. Teenage Swedish
climate activist Greta Thunberg joined the group as part of a six-day visit to Washington ahead of the Global Climate Strike scheduled for September 20.

Corporate-Tied Republican Party's Cruelty To Children
The GOP has blocked pro-family votes and pushed for corporate anti-family policies
By Ralph Nader

Republican Party leaders didn't have a Platform in 2020. Their Senate leader, Senator Mitch McConnell (Rep. KY), presently tells reporters inquiring about the GOP agenda if the Republicans regain a congressional majority: "I'll let you know when we take it back."

Pretty smug and arrogant.

But the GOP's actions speak louder than their words. In no western democracy is there such a party that so slams its own country's children. Wasting no time, the GOP starts right at birth with opposition to adequate neonatal and maternal care, opposition in GOP-controlled states seeking available Medicaid coverage for poor families, opposition to universal health insurance for all children, opposition to paid family leave, maternity leave and child care, opposition to federally increasing the frozen minimum wage now at $7.25 per hour. All other western democracies meet these basic necessities.

The Republican Party's rulers go deep with their viciousness. Had they not, in 2017 under Trump, radically cut taxes for the wealthy (including Trump and McConnell's family) and giant corporations, the tax revenues from the 1 percent under-taxed super-rich would have paid for vital services and protections for all Americans, regardless of the political labels.

Moreover, in 2011, the GOP in Congress deliberately kept the IRS's budget so low year after year that the agency, according to its Trump-appointed IRS director, cannot collect about one trillion dollars in uncollected taxes a year! The Democrats can fairly accuse the GOP on Capitol Hill of actively aiding and abetting massive tax evasion.

Madcap McConnell openly calls himself "the Grim Reaper", "the Guardian of Gridlock" and brazenly declares that he wished he could obstruct more. Kentucky voters, wake up! The Reaper goes after you, too. Hundreds of thousands of your children (plus 58 million children nationwide) are, since January 2022, no longer receiving the benefits of the $300 a month child tax credit because the congressional Republicans blocked its extension.

The GOP knew this one benefit reduced overall child poverty by one third! They could care less.

Every day the Democrats should be exposing such GOP child abuses.

The GOP, ignoring their human benefits, keeps saying all these programs increase the deficit. Yet by cutting to a new low the taxes of the rich and corporate, and by their support of hundreds of billions of dollars in annual corporate welfare-subsidies, giveaways, and bailouts-they are creating this harsh deprivation for our children. We know their drill, year after year.

Historically and presently, the Republican Party has placed corporate greed over children's need. Even greed that radically undermines parental supervision and directly markets health harming products like junk foods and violent programming to children. Under Trump, the callous Republicans even pressed to have more junk food in school lunch programs. (See: Susan Linn's new book: Who's Raising the Kids? Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children.)

This corporate GOP, this fossil fuel party, this enabler of corporate assault against family interests, has blocked pro-family votes and pushed for corporate anti-family policies as a routine, predictable way of infesting the U.S. Congress.

The Democrats have piecemeal gone after their Republican opponents on their family-impact cruelty. But they haven't clustered the egregious assaults into a major, daily articulated campaign drive for November. Such a unified compilation has much greater impact. This platform would reach Republican parents who are concerned with real conditions, not distracting ideologies and slogans, when it comes to protecting their family where they live, work and raise their children.

The challenge in this election was put very well last July by Law Professor Robert Fellmeth, director of the effective Children's Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego Law School (

Children, of course, are our legacy. They're what we leave behind and what should be a leading frame in this year's campaigns. We prize our forebears who risked everything for us in the Eighteenth century. How are people 200 years from now going to view us? That's what all the candidates should be talking about. 'We've got the future of our children and country at stake here.'
Not the GOP who are taking big campaign money from the likes of the oil (Exxon/Mobil/Chevron Axis), gas and coal profiteers. Republican politicians are working overtime to block congressional policies directed against fossil-fuel driven climate disruptions including massive storms battering their own GOP-controlled southern states. Talk about not caring about the future of our children.

As children march and demonstrate for a faster transition toward renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) they make this repeated poignant plea to adults- "We are children and you are not protecting us."

To the Democratic candidates, I say: go on the offensive against the daily fake rhetoric and lawless behavior of the GOP. Make this last stretch of the November campaign a vibrant commitment to protect and nurture our children against the corporate-tied Republican Party trafficking in anxiety, dread and fear. (See for examples of how to counter the cruel GOP)

(c) 2022 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super -Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

A report from the Public Religion Research Institute quantified that Republicans, as a corporate body, are the most racist.

Racism Is Part of Republicans' Ideological DNA
It's just that simple
By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Tell us something we don't know.

Maybe that's an ungenerous way to respond to a study on an important social issue by a respected, non-partisan think tank. But, if you've been paying any attention at all, that may be your instinctive reaction to last week's report from the Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute quantifying that Republicans, as a corporate body, are the most racist folks there are.

Indeed, it's amusing - or maybe "appalling" is the better word - to note that the report was issued only days after a white man appointed by Florida's Republican governor Ron DeSantis as a commissioner in the state's only majority-Black county, abruptly resigned when pictures surfaced that seemed to show him wearing the white robe and pointy hood of the Ku Klux Klan. It also came just after Rolling Stone, citing "Confidence Man," New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman's new book about Donald Trump, reported an episode in which the 45th president, while hosting a reception for congressional leaders, "turned to a row of racially diverse Democratic staffers" and asked them to bring the hors d'oeuvres.

In other words, an ordinary week for the GOP.

The study used 11 questions to tease out respondents' racial attitudes and construct what it called a "Structural Racism Index" scale. The median score on that scale, which runs from 0 to 1, was 0.45. For Democrats, it was 0.27, for independents, 0.45. But for Republicans, it leaped to 0.67. In fact, no matter how they diced up the respondents by party and race, no other group ranked nearly as high. "Republicans" and "white Republicans" - terms that are functionally redundant - tied for the lead. In second place at 0.58? "Republicans of other races."

Again, this is hardly shocking. From the party's scramble to keep Black people from voting, to its performative cruelty toward South American refugees, to its embrace of the most brazenly racist president since Woodrow Wilson, Republican bigotry has long been self-evident.

It is past time for the rest of us to face it, yet one still hears people, even at this late date, even in the face of multiple studies to the contrary, ascribe its descent into its current madness to economic stress. But that just ain't so.

They have become what they are specifically because some of us are panicked at the thought of Black people, brown people, LGBTQ people, Muslim people and other historically disfavored people coming to visibility and power, and the GOP realized that catering to that resentment was a way to win votes. And also because there is no principle they will not abandon in doing so.

Muscular foreign policy? They make kissy faces at totalitarian regimes.

Support for law enforcement? Not when the laws are being enforced against Trump.

Street riots? They hate them - unless the street is Pennsylvania Ave. and the rioters are MAGA.

The one principle they will not compromise is the protection of straight, white hegemony. That's why, in the words of a satirical old Randy Newman song, "keepin' the n------- down" is pretty much the whole Republican platform. This is something the rest of us need to face promptly and squarely if we are to have any hope of understanding - much less fixing - what's wrong with this country. What the PRRI report quantified is damning and sad, yes. But here's one thing it isn't.

It isn't surprising in the least.

(c) 2022 Leonard Pitts Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004. He is the author of the novel, Before I Forget. His column runs every Sunday and Wednesday in the Miami Herald. Forward From This Moment, a collection of his columns, was published in 2009.

Jeff Bezos Goes To Sea

By Jim Hightower

It's been an all-time record year of runaway wealth for America's billionaires, with this tiny clique vastly widening the chasm separating them from us hoi polloi. For example, Amazon jefe Jeff Bezos hauled in $190 billion for the year. That pays him more than $360,000 a minute, for every single minute of the year.

So much taken by so few who do so little while harming so many.

Bezos erected his corporate empire on the backs of non-union workers he routinely exploits, plus millions of taxpayers he bilks. Indeed, his recent surge of wealth comes not from innovation or hard work, but from the windfall of bloated Wall Street stock prices, making him richer without lifting a finger.

Yet media and politicians hail Jeff as a Big Thinking Genius! Seriously? This self-centered ego's top achievement this year was to have the world's largest superyacht built for him - a 400 foot-long, sea going palace. But - oops! - Jeff's pleasure craft can't get to the ocean, because it's too tall to go under a bridge just downriver from the Dutch city where he's having it built. No problem for a billionaire "genius," though - Boss Bezos simply instructed local officials to dismantle their historic bridge so his toy could pass through. But, no go, for outraged locals learned of his imperious scheme and quickly organized a massive rotten-egg brigade, pledging to pelt the colossal yacht (and possibly Jeff). Very bad political optics. So, the American mogul's billions were not allowed to buy his way out.

It's still unclear how he'll get it out to sea. But one Dutch wag helpfully pointed out to him: "You can still take your giant boat out for short trips down to the bridge and back." If these mega-rich privileged ones are so smart, why are they so stupid?

(c) 2022 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

William Rivers Pitt with his daughter, Lola

William Rivers Pitt Dared To Hope For Our Future. Let's Do Right By His Memory
By Maya Schenwar

In sitting down to the impossible task of memorializing William Rivers Pitt, Truthout's illustrious and brilliant lead columnist whose work I edited for 15 years, I'm suppressing the urge to grab my phone and call Will.

"I don't know how to begin your eulogy," I would say.

"Easy!" he'd reply. "Lead with a trusty classic. You know the one."

And I'd know what he meant - the Irish blessing Will often shared with our staff in tough times. This is Will's slightly adapted version of that old prayer, whose author is unknown:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

May the rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God (or Whatever) hold you in the palm of their hand.

I love the blessing because it captures something about how Will connected with his readers: He saw the act of writing as an act of care. In his columns, even as he condemned Trump and excoriated complicit Democrats, even as he spoke out against imperial war and corporate greed and racism and the destruction of the environment, he made his audience understand that they deserved the warmth of the sun and the nourishment of the rain, just by virtue of being human.

Even as he raged against evil, Will loved humanity, and the Earth itself, with an even greater fervor.

Will wrote of how that great love hummed at the core of his being: "I came into this world a human tuning fork, humming with the tones surrounding me entirely against my will. I cannot stop it, and would not if given the chance. Mine is wonder, and awe, and I am overtaken by it, as if the air itself is transformed into high waves breaking on the beach. I drown daily, hourly, in minutes and in seconds, I drown in moments, and smile as I sink, because it is beautiful beyond words and space and time." He contrasted that love with the remorseless darkness that, too, pervades the world. But, Will assured his readers, even in the face of horror and heartbreak, "You are not alone. Reach for the light, always. It is there. I know. I've seen."

Those words are from a eulogy Will wrote for actor Robin Williams. Will wrote many eulogies, because he was not afraid to confront deep pain, and hoped to help ease the pain of others - and also because he wanted to memorialize each person who, as he put it in a tribute to peace activist Jerry Berrigan, "cared an awful lot."

How do you eulogize a eulogist? A person who wrote such moving, compassionate, exquisitely articulated tributes that you wished the honoree could come back from the dead to read them?

How do you eulogize a proclaimer, a person with a singular gift for characterizing a moment, a feeling, a political climate, a global climate in a way that made you feel just a little bit better - because he found the words that echoed the turmoil burning inside you, too, and called you to action?

How do you eulogize a wordsmith, someone who coined a new expression in every column, often sending me, his editor, frantically searching through the Oxford English Dictionary for clues as to the adage's origin … only to realize it was actually Will's spontaneous invention?

All I can do is tell you: Will was all of these things, and he was also more than the sum of them. Will Pitt was a gem at the center of Truthout. At the time of his death, Will had been at Truthout for over 20 years. He left his job as a high school English teacher to tackle the horrors of the Bush era, writing with a pure, raging fire, dutifully cataloguing every injustice the Republicans of that epoch perpetrated. As the Bush regime ended, Will urged us not to lose our memory of those injustices, in an open letter to the former president: "We have tasted the soot and smelled the blood on the wind; we have seen how fragile our way of government is when placed in the hands of low men such as you, and because of that, you will be remembered for all time."

Will Pitt was a leading voice in exposing the outrages of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Beyond his Truthout columns that touched millions of people, he was a bestselling author of several books focused on the Iraq war, including War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know (co-authored with Scott Ritter), The Greatest Sedition Is Silence, House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation, and The Mass Destruction of Iraq: The Disintegration of a Nation, Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible (co-authored with Dahr Jamail).

Our greatest electoral politics analyst, Will knew the ins and outs of Washington far better than the back of his hand, and blogged through every election for the past 15 years. He also knew the limits of party politics: Will was the Republicans' most comprehensive denouncer, but he also warned of the enormous dangers of "moderate" Democrats.

Will persistently sounded the alarm on the climate crisis for many years before the mainstream media took real notice. He urged us to recognize that the catastrophe was not simply a phenomenon of the future: "The future is now," he wrote, "and it is hot, thirsty, windy and dangerous. This truth is baked into tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow again... . How much worse it gets depends upon us."

He repeatedly reminded us of Trump's danger, even at times when many on the left wanted to simply laugh. "They laughed at Mussolini, too," Will wrote, "until it became a crime to do so. After that, the joke was on the world." And the signs of the January 6 coup attempt were clear to Will nearly two years before that day came to pass.

When pandemic times hit, Will dedicated himself to covering COVID - he wrote nearly a hundred columns about it - even when it became the unpopular topic, the one people wanted to move on from. He emphasized the ways in which the pandemic was entwined with the crisis of corporate power. At each pandemic peak, he reminded us, "[COVID] has not gone away and returned; it never left, and swells every few months whenever we decide to let our guard down because capitalism must be fed."

Will was not a commentator for comment's sake: He wanted his words to spur deeds. He urged readers to go beyond simply reading, no matter how small their actions, and he recognized that even seemingly small actions can save lives. "There is much to be done just within reach of your arm," he was fond of saying, when speaking of the climate crisis. "Do that, and you'll have one hell of a story, along with, perhaps, people left to hear the telling."

Will reminded us that when things are hardest, when fascism is ascendant, when war is imminent-that is when we must "dig in," must >"embrace the winter," must dissent, dissent, dissent.

Will dissented against injustice through his writing, but he also dissented against our culture of individualism and competition through his striking generosity of spirit, which blossomed over time, particularly after he became a father. Anyone who knows Will knows his wholehearted, wholeminded dedication to his daughter. His stubborn hope for our shared future was tied to his determination to help build a world in which his daughter would "get the chance to know what it is to reach, to fly, to rise, to become."

Will strove to teach his daughter to "do the right thing when nobody is looking," and within Truthout's staff, he did just that. He reached out to people regularly when he learned they were going through a rough patch, and was always quick to drop inspiring words into our group chat in times of collective crisis. He evolved a humble and amiable writerly spirit. As an editor, I am not used to hearing the words, "You're right!" But Will was not afraid to acknowledge that a paragraph should be cut here or there. He also acknowledged his interpersonal mistakes, and became a profuse apologizer (even when he'd done nothing wrong!); he believed in accountability and sought to put this belief into action on the micro level, with both humor and sincerity. Will Pitt saw the point and the power of relationships; he knew that, in these cataclysmic times, we must learn to work together, if life on Earth is to survive.

Will's understanding of the perilousness of life on Earth pervaded each piece he wrote. Yet so did the reality that we can't predict the future: We have to do the future. Last year, in a column commemorating his 20th anniversary at Truthout, Will wrote:

If I could make any wish, it would be to get another 20 years to do this, if only for the chance to sit here two decades hence and talk about all the good shit that went down after we cured COVID, kept Trump out of office, vanquished fascism, found a way to turn CO2 and methane into marijuana fertilizer, and shot all that sea-bound plastic into space.

Likely as not, though, I'll be back here in 20 years talking about the day we lost Boston and New York to the Atlantic Ocean. Or maybe not.

That's the thing about tomorrow: It's only a rumor. The rest is up to us.

William Rivers Pitt reminded us that the fate of the world is not decided. We have a choice: Will we speak out even when we're not sure our words will make a difference? Will we gather the courage to act in the face of injustice? Will we admit when we've screwed up, and transform the circumstances to create more beauty and love in the wake of mistakes? Will we commit acts of radical kindness even when no one is looking? Will we put our faith in humanity, even when the odds look grim? For Will, the answers were yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Will often ended his columns with the gentle encouragement, "Stout hearts!" It was a reminder that although we can't always mentally strategize our way out of turbulent times, we can get through them together using deeper human tools: compassion, vulnerability, real feeling, righteous anger, righteous love.

As we face the impossibility of this larger-than-life man's death, we must turn to those tools. I'm going to let myself feel Will's death fully. I'm going to cry angry tears for a long time. I'm going to rededicate myself to the work of transforming this screwed-up world, in community with all of you.

As Will taught us, "All I have, all you have, all we have, is the power to do good and right within our own reach."

We've worked with Will's family to create this fundraiser in the hopes of raising some money to support his 9-year-old daughter Lola's needs, including her future education. All funds raised will go directly to a trust for Lola. Please give what you can.

(c) 2022 Maya Schenwar is Truthout's editor-in-chief.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes meet with supporters after a rally in the Deer District in Milwaukee on Aug. 10.

Tony Evers And Mandela Barnes Need To Reclaim The Narrative
By John Nichols

Richard Nixon believed Republicans could secure major wins in the 1970 midterm elections by running a campaign that claimed Democrats were the party of crime, campus turbulence and urban unrest. The narrative that Nixon and his vice president, Spiro Agnew, thought would prevail was that the Democrats were "radical liberals." Nixon and Agnew traveled the country to amplify attacks on political rivals, and Nixon's fundraising machine poured resources into the bitterly negative and often racially charged campaigns of GOP nominees for governorships and U.S. Senate seats.

"Republican party leaders are involved in a major political effort to win control of the House and Senate in November through the exploitation of fear, anxiety, and frustration," noted The New York Times in an Oct. 12, 1970, editorial. "Instead of offering proposals aimed at solving the very real domestic problems before the country, they are shouting at scapegoats, working up emotions to a more intense pitch, and exacerbating the mistrust of one group of Americans for another."

Sound familiar? Fifty-two years later, Republicans have settled on a strategy of attacking Democrats with messages every bit as crude and dishonest as the messaging from Nixon and Agnew in 1970.

As in the past, this year's GOP campaign is based on a national template.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans are attacking Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman for supporting pardons and paroles for people who were convicted of marijuana-related offenses. In Wisconsin, Republicans are attacking Democratic Gov. Tony Evers for his record of pardoning people who have paid their debts to society.

In Florida, Republicans are attacking Rep. Val Demings, a former police chief who is the Democratic nominee against GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, for supporting proposals that the Black Lives Matter movement outlined for criminal justice reform. In Wisconsin, Republicans are attacking Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the Democratic challenger to GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, for arguing that communities can know both safety and justice.

The Democrats are described as "dangerous" and "radical leftists."

As in 1970, the Republican attacks are based on false premises, distortions and outright lies. And, as in 1970, when Nixon was implementing his "southern strategy" to attract segregationist votes, Republicans are seeking to stir up racial resentment and division as part of a plan to win at any cost. That's especially evident this year in the ugly campaigns being mounted against Black candidates such as Demings and Barnes.

The polls suggest Republicans have made some progress with this strategy. But the races where they have focused their greatest energy - including the contests for governor and senator in Wisconsin - remain close. Democrats can win these races if they counter GOP attacks with a strategy that shifts the debate toward the issues that matter most to voters.

That's what Democrats did in Wisconsin in 1970, and it worked.

The Democratic ticket in Wisconsin that year was led by Pat Lucey, a former lieutenant governor who was seeking the governorship, and Sen. Bill Proxmire, who was seeking a third full term. Lucey and Proxmire were experienced politicians. They had been working to build the modern Democratic Party in Wisconsin for as long as Nixon had been forging his desperate political career. Lucey and Proxmire did not blink in the face of Nixon's attacks. They did not stumble. They reclaimed the narrative from Republicans and defined the debate in their favor.

When Nixon and Agnew portrayed Proxmire as a supposedly soft-on-crime ally of student demonstrators, the Democrat dismissed the claims and focused on his successful advocacy for a "truth-in-lending" law that protected consumers from usurious interest rates, his fight against the redlining practices of big banks, and his support for Wisconsin workers and industries. Proxmire's TV ads portrayed the senator as "fighting in Washington for a healthy Wisconsin economy." The ads talked up his work to create "more markets for Wisconsin agriculture," "more jobs for Wisconsin labor" and more prosperity for "Milwaukee, Kenosha Green Bay and Superior."

When Nixon and Agnew attacked Lucey as an ally of student radicals, Lucey, a bespectacled realtor who looked every bit the successful businessman that he was, turned the discussion around on Nixon and suggested that the president's policies - in Vietnam and at home - had stoked division and resentment. Then, like Proxmire, Lucey shifted back toward a deep discussion of economics - with an emphasis on concerns about rising inflation and unemployment.

Instead of getting distracted or overwhelmed by the Republican attacks, Proxmire and Lucey stayed on message, even when Nixon flew to Green Bay and attacked the Democrats as allies of a "very loud minority in this country." Nixon used his Wisconsin speeches to claim that a silent majority would rise up and defeat the Democrats. Naming the Republican candidates who were opposing Lucey and Proxmire, he declared, "the most quiet, powerful voice in the world (would prevail) by voting on Nov. 3 for Jack Olson, for John Erickson." Nixon was wrong. The campaign of fear and intimidation failed.

On Nov. 3, the steady campaigns of Pat Lucey and Bill Proxmire - candidates who refused to be rattled by the attacks and instead focused on bread-and-butter economic issues that actually mattered to Wisconsin voters - were swept to victory.

These are different times, to be sure. Evers and Barnes are different political figures than Lucey and Proxmire. But the Republican attacks are coming from the same playbook. And today's Democrats need to respond with the same clarity and the same determination to shape the narrative as Democrats who won critical races of the past.

(c) 2022 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

The Plastic Problem In World Oceans
By James Donahue

Plastic has been around since about the beginning of the Twentieth Century. It was first produced from plant cellulose and used to make simple household products like combs, hair brushes, mirror handles and perhaps some toys.

It was during World War II, when raw materials for just about everything were being used for the war effort, that things like nylon, rayon and harder plastics made from hydrocarbon molecules derived from the refining of oil started getting used for more and more things, from women's stockings to automobile tires, toys and telephones.

I remember when I was a young boy trying to make some extra money going door to door and selling a new type of nylon comb that was guaranteed to last a lifetime and never break. I sold a few, never made any money at it, but gained a collection of combs that I used for years. The promotion was right. The combs never broke. They just got lost and were eventually replaced by plastic ones.

Today, as raw materials around the world are now being used up and getting costly, more and more things are being made of plastic. Even our cars are partially made of plastic. We have plastic that is so tough that it is used to make guns, machines, tool parts and aircraft. Plastic is used to make fabric used in clothing and carpeting. It is in wallpaper, the building materials in our houses, the framework of our electronic devices and even the shoes on our feet.

Plastic also is being used to make throw-away hospital equipment, dishes, cups and eating utensils, store bags and packaging material . . . all of which gets thrown away into the trash every week. In our house alone we put at least one large bag filled with mostly wrapping paper and plastics, old magazines, junk mail and empty plastic bottles once used for juice or drinking water. Some towns now try to recycle the plastics, glass and cardboards, but most of this stuff ends up in landfills.

Ships at sea have been tossing trash like this overboard for many years. It was believed that the oceans of the world were so large that a bag of trash would eventually be lost forever.

Unfortunately, garbage scows from coastal cities have been doing the same thing.

The problem with plastic, at least until recently, is that it does not break down like other natural materials. It breaks into minute pieces but remains in its plastic state for thousands of years. And this has created a massive ecological problem that nobody expected to happen when it all began.

The world's oceans have become polluted, mostly from plastic debris. Researchers at the University of Cadiz, Spain, recently published the results of an alarming study that found microplastic particles in 88 percent of samples taken from ocean surfaces all over the world.

This stuff, caused by what the researchers said was "aggressive consumption and subsequent disposal of plastics since the 1950s" is showing up in even remote areas like the arctic regions and the open ocean.

New types of plastic have been invented that disintegrate naturally, but this material is only recently been used, and mostly for items that end up in landfills. The big problem is still out there, floating in sometimes large globs of trash on the open waters of the world. Places like this have been dubbed "ocean garbage patches" by some writers.

How is this affecting us? Consider that sea life is consuming these tiny plastic particles. If it doesn't kill the sea creatures, it certainly gets in their bodies. When we eat fish from the sea, we also are consuming minutes plastic particles. No one knows what that is doing to the health of us all. The same research team from the University of Cadiz has been studying this problem for a few years. The team also is reporting a strange unexplained phenomenon that is alarming some scientists. It seems that the volume of plastic, even though it is presently large, also is starting to disappear.

Because plastic doesn't disintegrate naturally, the question is... where is it going? Theories range from a continued breakdown until the pieces are no longer detectable, to a possible sinking of the plastic to the bottom of the oceans, where it is resting indefinitely on the ocean bottom. Some think the tiny microchips may even be getting mixed with beach sands during storms.

So what will all that plastic do to our environment over the years? No one knows.

The findings of the Cadiz team were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

(c) 2022 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.

By David Swanson

A preview of the film "Riotsville" is here.

There's a good review of the film here, and another here.

In the late 1960s, the U.S. military built a fake town called Riotsville (or a fake "inner city" actually) on the Fort Belvoir base in Virginia, and then another at Fort Gordon in Georgia - the same state where the Atlanta police are now working on the construction of an enlarged, updated, high-tech Riotsville commonly called "Cop City."

The film "Riotsville" includes some stunning footage of fake suppression of fake riots, with crowds of generals and police chiefs looking on from bleachers and cheering the brutal arrests of black "agitators" who have led peace demonstrators into such horrible actions as sitting down in a street (they get major doses of tear gas).

The film includes powerful narration denouncing the horrors of the time.

The film raises more questions than it tries to answer. Militarized classist and racist policing was not new in the 1960s. It's not gone away since. Police are loaded up with military weapons today. They're trained on major new complexes or in real cities or in public parks or in foreign countries or in combat with U.S. residents or Palestinians or in the wars that many police are veterans of - and not just police, but also military, border guards, immigration police, and private mercenary companies do all of these things - all of which is also not new.

How big a leap was taken in the 1960s? What role did militarized policing play in halting the social advances and activism of the 60s? The film seems to imply a major role, but is not explicit. How much of the drive behind the Riotsville rehearsals was training, and how much was public relations? Television news shows reported on the fake riot war games. The military created the riots as it wanted them and suppressed them as it wanted to, and filmed it all before a live studio audience.

Snipers were a common excuse for arming police with military weapons, and the Riotsvillians did trainings against snipers at Riotsville, even though snipers were (then, not know) a largely fictional scenario. Following the footage of counter-sniper trainings (i.e. sniper trainings) we see footage of white women buying and learning to use guns and professing their intent to kill if "necessary." Was the military leading, following, or going with the flow of poisonous political winds?

The film sets its events in the context of the time, the riots, the war, the politics, and the Kerner Commission's official mainstream report that concluded there was a need for massive investment in alleviating poverty and suffering but made only a single recommendation that the U.S. Congress actually acted on: investment in police. (The "news" footage we see on the Kerner Commission of course focuses on the time-honored HOWYAGONNAPAYFORIT? question, but - unlike anything you'd see today - actually mentions that a similar amount is being dumped into a war.)

There's also some footage here of the DNC in Chicago and the RNC in Miami. "Riotsville" makes a case that we should pay more attention to the police violence in Miami. I wish the film had also mentioned the arrest and false prosecution of peace activists.

The main question I'd like to see investigated is that of what - if anything - might have worked better, and might work better now. I mean better than riots. What organized massive nonviolence might be most effective? What could have or still could move those in the pay of the wealthy to stop blaming and start helping the poor?

(c) 2022 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.

Done well, carbon pricing is a proven economic lever to help with a smoother transition to cleaner energy, fewer emissions and better lives.

Canada Can't Let Industry And Provinces Stall Carbon Pricing
By David Suzuki

In Canada and many places worldwide, those who pollute the atmosphere must pay. By putting a price on activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions, governments make polluting more expensive and solutions more affordable.

As a Deloitte report puts it, "Carbon pricing reduces transition costs, in line with economic theory, because it acts as a financial incentive for consumers and businesses to modify their energy usage."

With Phase 1 of Canada's carbon pricing regime moving to Phase 2 from 2023 to 2030, most people have adjusted and incorporated it into business plans.

But, as with many measures to protect the environment and ourselves, vested interests are set on unravelling carbon pricing and fomenting backlash. That's unfortunate because, as a powerful tool in the ambition to shift the "market" to cleaner energy sources, Canada's carbon pricing needs to be strengthened, not stalled or weakened. And it needs to be much tougher on the biggest emitters, including the oil and gas industry, and fairer for Indigenous communities and small businesses.

The International Monetary Fund says 46 countries are pricing emissions and others are considering it.

Sweden's carbon price, implemented in 1991 at about US$40 a tonne, is now $137, the world's highest. According to Reuters, the country is a leader in renewable energy use, its 2018 carbon emissions per person were 3.5 tonnes, well below the 6.4 tonne EU average, and it cut emissions by 29 per cent over the past three decades.

Canada has had carbon pricing in all jurisdictions since 2019 (Alberta and B.C. since 2007 and 2008, respectively). It started at $20 per tonne of emissions, and rose to $50 on April 1 this year. It will increase by $15 a year to reach $170 by 2030. Although it varies by jurisdiction, many households get rebates, and revenues are returned to the provinces they came from.

Even with a relatively low price, it's helped tame transportation emissions that would otherwise have surged, and its effectiveness will increase as it rises.

Canada permits provinces and territories to design their own systems or adopt the federal plan. All have submitted 2023 proposals for review, as required. Those with their own systems must meet minimum national stringency standards to ensure they're comparable and contribute their fair share of reductions. If a province doesn't meet the standards or fails to implement a system, the federal scheme will be imposed.

Many experts say Canada will start to see greater benefits as the price rises. "Modelling conducted by Deloitte indicates that a gradual rise in carbon pricing to $170 per tonne in 2030 will drive major emissions reductions, bringing Canada three-quarters of the way to its Paris Agreement target," with minimal impact on economic performance, Deloitte reports.

Although carbon pricing is widely accepted as a critical tool to help resolve the climate crisis, it faces persistent myths perpetrated by vested interests and some politicians and premiers. One is that it's a significant factor in surging inflation and affordability issues. Although it's designed to reduce fossil fuel use, including in transportation, it has a far smaller and more predictable influence on things like rising car costs and volatile gas prices than global events and companies that take advantage of them.

When carefully designed, carbon pricing has little negative economic impact on most individuals, especially those curtailing fossil fuel use by driving less or improving home energy efficiency, for example.

But there's need for improvement here. In April, environment commissioner Jerry DeMarco released an audit that found Canada hasn't done enough to ensure the carbon price is applied fairly to the biggest industrial emitters. He also said more exposure is needed on how provincial systems compare to the federal benchmark, and that "grant money to help small businesses become more energy efficient has been slow to roll out."

Canada's environment minister must now decide which provincial pollution-pricing schemes meet the grade and which are too weak. He should also close any loopholes and reject requests from provinces and industry for exemptions or further concessions. And all governments should collaborate to support and protect marginalized people in the shift to clean electricity.

Done well, carbon pricing is a proven economic lever to help with a smoother transition to cleaner energy, fewer emissions and better lives.

(c) 2022 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Protesters hold a 'Refugees Welcome' banner during the demonstration in the City of London.

Climate Extremes And A Democracy Under Threat
Hurricanes and drought are now displacing millions, driving climate migration that increases anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe and the U.S.
By Amy Goodman

The hurricane season and the election season have converged in the United States. The prospect of catastrophic, irreversible climate change and the potential demise of democracy are both very real. The fate of these essential pillars of our society hinge largely on what we all do in the coming weeks and months.

The climate catastrophe enveloping the planet requires a truly global solution-one that a majority of the world's population is eager to achieve. But the will of the masses means less and less these days, as more governments fall under control of autocrats. Nationalists, racists, xenophobes and ideologues are gaining power in country after country.

Italy is an important case in point. Just this week, a formerly fringe neofascist political party obtained a plurality in national elections. Giorgia Meloni is expected be Italy's first far rightwing Prime Minister since Benito Mussolini was driven from power in 1943. "She really sees her party as carrying the heritage of fascism into today," Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, said on the Democracy Now! news hour. "Ignazio La Russa, who's a party elder...said a few days ago, 'We are all heirs of the Duce [Mussolini].'" Meloni's Brothers of Italy party joins an increasingly powerful far-right movement in Europe that includes Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party; Spains Vox party; France's National Rally led by Marine Le Pen; and the Sweden Democrats, with roots in that country's neo-nazi movement, now poised to lead a new rightwing coalition government there. Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary is the European rightwing's model strongman, suppressing the press and free speech, openly advocating racist, anti-immigrant policies, and criticizing European integration and the European Union.

Orban, Meloni and other European rightwing leaders are being embraced by the Republican Party in the U.S. and its would-be strongman Donald Trump. The U.S. Republican Party has been effectively purged of any Trump critics, and is rapidly organizing in states across the U.S. to simply reject election results they don't like. Rather than storming the Capitol, as thousands of Trump's supporters did on January 6th, 2021, the GOP now has a plan to quietly seize power by suppressing the vote and declaring victory regardless of the outcome in November, 2024. Corrupt, gerrymandered state legislatures and Trump-aligned governors and secretaries of state have already put this plan into motion as they seek to consolidate more power in the 2022 midterm elections just over one month away.

Trump has repeatedly labeled climate change a hoax. His European adherents aren't so blatant, but generally support expanded burning of fossil fuels, increased reliance on nuclear power, and a rejection of the United Nations climate negotiations.

Those negotiations are dubbed "COPs," for "Conference of Parties" to the Kyoto Protocol. This year's conference in November, COP27, will be in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, where a broad coalition has appealed to the military dictatorship of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to allow participation of civic and environmental groups, and for the release of Egypt's many political prisoners.

The UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, often relies on dictatorships. Past hosts have included Qatar and Morocco, where genuine protest is effectively banned. Next year's COP will be in oil-rich Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Let's not let the COPs be run by cops.

"Part of the job for climate campaigners is to work for functioning democratic states, where people's demands for a working future will be prioritized over vested interest, ideology and personal fiefdoms," climate activist Bill McKibben wrote last April, reflecting on climate activism in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In nations where protest is somewhat tolerated, like the United States, the stakes are high and time is short. NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus understands this. He was arrested last April while protesting JP Morgan Chase's continued investments in fossil fuel projects.

"I keep yelling at the top of my lungs. I'm risking arrest. I've been forced to become a climate activist," Kalmus said on Democracy Now! "I'm terrified of the inaction of world leaders, who keep dancing around the real issue which is we have to rapidly ramp down the fossil fuel's a bittersweet thing. We're finding exoplanets. We're doing these amazing missions like redirecting asteroids, and yet with all that technology, with all that knowledge, somehow it's not translating into stopping what is clearly the biggest threat facing humanity, which is global heating."

Hurricanes and drought are now displacing millions, driving climate migration that increases anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe and the U.S. This further empowers racist xenophobes like Trump and Meloni.

Climate and democracy are under enormous threat. Our ability to weather this storm depends on concerted action by the global majority who care, against increasingly difficult odds.

(c) 2022 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now,!" a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 750 stations in North America. She is the co"author of "Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times," recently released in paperback and "Breaking The Sound Barrier."

The Quotable Quote -

"Democracy is not a spectator sport."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at a campaign stop on the Keep Florida Free Tour at the Horsepower Ranch in Geneva.

Climate Idiocy Of DeSantis Exposes Him As Threat To Entire Nation
Ron DeSantis is one of the dumber and more sinister politicians now vying for the presidency, so that he can ruin the whole country the way he has ruined Florida.
By Juan Cole

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has abruptly been handed an honest-to-God crisis that may distract him from his usual antics of trolling Venezuelan asylum-seekers, firing elected prosecutors who disagree with him on coerced childbirth, and firing scientists who wouldn't manipulate state COVID statistics for him.

DeSantis called Hurricane Ian a once-in-a-500-year flood event.

DeSantis, who hates people who know what they are talking about the way the devil hates holy water, shouldn't be relied on for either science or history. The flooding caused by Ian could well be the worst for thousands of years. The most recent warm era in the north Atlantic, the medieval warming period, around 900-1200, seems to have seen ocean surface temperatures that were still colder than today's. It is our very warm surface ocean temperatures that feed monster storms such as Ian. Moreover, it isn't going to be something that only happens once in a half-millennium. Massive hurricanes and floods are the new normal caused by humans burning petroleum, coal and fossil gas, which puts billions of tons a year of the dangerous heat-trapping gas, carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.

This is the same DeSantis who signed a bill into law that forbade Florida municipalities from getting off fossil fuels and turning to wind and solar instead by restricting land use, banning fracking, or interfering with pipelines. The law was supported by the Florida Natural Gas Association. Sunny Florida, which could put in as much solar power as California if its government wanted to, is instead locked into getting 70% of its power from dirty fossil gas, which produces the CO2 that heats the oceans and calls forth monster storms like Ian.

This is the same DeSantis who according to the Orlando Weekly "wants to prohibit state investments that use 'environmental, social and governance" ratings, which can include taking into account impacts of climate change.'" Kartik Krishnaiyer at The New Republic argues that although DeSantis has in the past paid lip service to acknowledging human-caused climate change, in recent years he has done nothing to abate it or prepare Florida for the ever worsening storms and sea level rise it will face.

So let us underline this policy. The governor of the most vulnerable state in the union to the climate emergency is pulling $250 billion of state investments out of corporations that have a social conscience, including ones working to stop the worst effects of climate change. His rationale? These companies are "woke." DeSantis wants to be president so much that he is playing to the MAGA crowd in the Republican Party with these self-defeating stunts, mortgaging Florida's future to his political fortunes. It is the textbook definition of corruption.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is full of people who know what they are talking about, explains the link between hot, tropical ocean water and hurricanes. They conclude, "Recent studies have shown a link between ocean surface temperatures and tropical storm intensity-warmer waters fuel more energetic storms."

NOAA notes that hurricanes subside when they go north over colder water or go inland, and lose the fuel of their hot water base. One problem we are now seeing is that the ocean water up north is no longer as cold, and there are more and more warm-water anomalies where water is 80 degrees F. (26.6C) or more so hurricanes can remain strong all the way up to New York, Boston and even Newfoundland. The water off Newfoundland used to be cold. It isn't that it never got hit by a storm, but in the future the impact will be more severe and more frequent, according to the CBC.

Here is how a meteorologist explained the vast destruction that befell Newfoundland from Hurricane Fiona recently:

If Newfoundland is in trouble, you know Florida is under the hammer.

You know it. Ron DeSantis, one of the dumber and more sinister politicians now vying for the presidency-so that he can ruin the whole country the way he has ruined Florida-doesn't.

(c) 2022 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

This One Thing Made Alex Jones Stop Lying
By Robert Reich

Alex Jones will have to pay millions to the parents of Sandy Hook victims.

Fox News might be on the hook for over a billion dollars after making bogus 2020 election claims.

It turns out there actually might be a way to stop the constant stream of lies coming from the right-wing media. How can we do it? Two words:

Sue. Them.

This won't defeat the right's media ecosystem overnight - but defamation law may prove to be one vital weapon in the battle against misinformation. Let me explain.

Alex Jones, you may recall, had used his website InfoWars to portray the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre as a hoax involving actors, aimed at increasing gun control. Parents of victim children sued Jones and his media company for $150 million - ultimately winning an initial settlement of $49 million.

Courts in Texas and Connecticut had already found Jones liable for defamation. And as a result, Jones' parent company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy.

Even though Jones lost this case and finally admitted that the Sandy Hook massacre was "100 percent real," he's probably not going to stop making harmful and deceptive videos anytime soon.

But this defamation lawsuit will serve as a warning to both Jones and others in the media who build their business models around spreading lies.

Like OAN

One America News, a Trump-allied media organization that pushed conspiracy theories about the election, is facing so many defamation lawsuits from those harmed by the start-up network's lies that its future is now in doubt.

Cable providers have dropped OAN like an extremist hot potato, and the network is now only available to a few hundred thousand people who subscribe to smaller cable providers.

Talk about cutting the chord.

Defamation lawsuits have also been filed against more established right-wing media organizations, like Fox News.

Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of election information technology used widely across the country, is suing Fox for $1.6 billion over false claims they say the network knowingly made about its software following the 2020 Election.

The case could potentially be a huge financial blow to Fox, and serve as one of the most consequential First Amendment cases in a generation.

Again, to be clear, defamation litigation will not single handedly stop the rampant spread of misinformation taking over the airwaves and the internet. These lawsuits can take years and often end up being expensive, plus some of the media organizations peddling lies are bankrolled by conservatives with deep pockets and a radical agenda.

It can also be abused, and in some cases, pose potential threats to the free press. Although, if news outlets are alerted to errors and correct them quickly, defamation shouldn't be a problem.

But at a time when social media companies clearly can't be trusted to moderate themselves against weaponized lies - and elected officials have done little to step-in - the courts might be the best avenue we have to take on manufactured deception and put it to rest.

Where other methods to counter half-truths and exaggerations being spewed by Fox News and their ilk have failed, defamation law might make companies think twice before they knowingly spread falsehoods - and help stop the vicious cycle of lies, clicks, and profits that further divides our country.

(c) 2022 Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He 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

Florida, Babcock Ranch, first Solar Powered planned community.

How This Solar Town Survived Hurricane Ian Shows The Promise Of A Green Energy Future
The Babcock Ranch community near Ft Meyers shows building a resilient and low-carbon America will save both money and lives. We need to start now.
By Thom Hartmann

The media is all over the story that Governor DeSantis was notified that the danger threshold for evacuation was hit on Sunday, but he waited until Tuesday to order one (leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake).

But there's another story out of Florida-a good news story-that's not getting anything close to the coverage it deserves.

Just 12 miles northeast of Fort Meyers-a community devastated by the hurricane with total loss of power, water, and massive loss of life-another community not only came through the hurricane just fine but never even lost power.

Today's crises in Florida and Puerto Rico should kick-start an entirely new generation of building codes and energy systems that can quickly go nationwide.

If you've been watching the coverage, you know by now that much of the loss of life in Florida was in Lee County. What you may not know is that the Babcock Ranch community-a small town, really, partly in Lee County-not only suffered only minimal damage but is now a refuge for people displaced by the storm.

When groundbreaking for Babcock Ranch-Florida's first 100% solar-powered community with over 700,000 panels providing more than enough electricity for all 2000 homes-happened in 2015, it wasn't a bunch of environmentally-minded old hippies putting the project together. In fact, the community-like the region around it-tends to vote solidly red.

It wasn't to save the world that they built an all-electric, all-solar community: it was to avoid exactly what happened to the surrounding area; electric and water outages and the collapse of infrastructure that typically accompanies a hurricane.

In 2010 it cost around $6/watt to install residential solar with batteries (just the solar panels themselves were around $2/watt), so a typical home's system cost between $40,000 and $60,000.

Today it's around $1.40/watt (the panels themselves are now around $.38/watt) and not only is the price typically below $20,000 but there are huge federal incentives to make the systems even cheaper.

Solar and wind are now the cheapest ways to produce electricity in the United States. This is why over a quarter-million Americans today earn their living installing and maintaining solar and wind systems.

Babcock Ranch designed their homes with a low wind profile and the houses were set far enough above the streets that the streets themselves are designed to flood (and run off) leaving the homes high and dry. Power and internet lines are buried and using native plants as landscaping helped to catch and slow runoff to minimize flood damage.

Which is why Babcock Ranch homes came through Hurricane Ian largely intact and its solar-powered school and community center is now full of refugees from nearby towns.

While Babcock Ranch is an upscale community with homes in the half-million to million-dollar (and up) range, that's because it's larger homes on big lots, rather than the result of the community's hurricane-proof design and super-resilient solar power system.

These resilience aspects should be a model for all of Florida-and the rest of the country that experiences floods, derechos, and hurricanes-starting right now. This isn't rocket science and it's about the same price as throwing up stick houses that'll simply explode or get washed away in the next storm: when you add in the reduced cost and increased reliability of electricity and other essential services, it's cheaper than typical construction over the life of the homes.

There are even innovative economic models already adopted by other countries we could use to rapidly propagate solar across the United States as part of an effort to harden our electric systems.

In September, 2009 I was invited to join German Member of Parliament Herman Scheer to give presentations at a conference (page 11) put on at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona in Spain.

Almost a decade earlier, Scheer had shepherded his "100,000 Rooftops" program through the German Parliament and was eager to talk about how it worked and could work in Spain.

We talked at length about his program (his presentation was brilliant), which, in his original idea (which was only partially implemented; there were tons of compromises, most having to do with Russia) was elegantly simple.

By the 1990s, Germany was facing an energy crisis of sorts: people were freaked out about the nation's nuclear plants and wanted them shut down. For good reason, it turns out.

Back in 1986 on my birthday, May 7th, I flew into Frankfurt to finalize my work visa to move my family to Germany for the following thirteen months (we moved in June). It was a gray, rainy day when I walked out of the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) in downtown Frankfurt to walk a block or two to my favorite hotel.

I was shocked to see the city I'd visited so many times completely empty of pedestrians and nearly drained of cars.

At the hotel, the clerk was frantic to take my wet hat and raincoat and send them to the hotel's laundry. "Chernobyl melted down two weeks ago," he told me, "and the cloud with the radiation is right above us now. You must go take a shower immediately!"

As I learned living in rural northwest West Germany for the rest of that year and most of 1987, all of Germany was as flipped out as the hotel clerk.

I'd brought a hand-held Geiger counter with me when we moved, and walking through the rural supermarkets it'd occasionally click rapidly, particularly when I passed local mushrooms or meat. That would always draw a crowd (and dirty stares from the shopkeepers!).

And I wasn't the only one walking around with a Geiger counter: the German government had to change the acceptable standard for radiation in milk, and people were constantly finding "hot" radioactive particles from Chernobyl in the nearby forests.

Germans wanted to get rid of their nuclear power, but how? They didn't want to revert to more coal or oil power; that's why they'd gone to nuclear in the first place.

So Scheer's original proposal, as he laid out the concept to me, was simple and elegant.

Banks would loan people the money to put rooftop solar on their houses at a super-low interest rate, with defaults backstopped by the government. No risks, in other words, to the banks.

Power utilities would buy surplus power from those homes at a "feed-in tariff" rate that was higher than the retail price of electricity until their bank loans were paid off (typically 5-10 years).

The tariffs were set so, for example, if the monthly payments on your loan for your rooftop solar system were $100, the local utility would be paying you (or reducing your normal electric bill) by around $100 a month as that "feed in tariff."

The tariff payments would last until your loan was paid off: in effect, you'd get the solar system, which will last for decades, for free.

What the utilities got out of it was immediate expansion of their power-generating sources at no expense to them whatsoever. They didn't have to build expensive new power plants: the nation's houses and office buildings would provide that.

As more and more homes came online, the power that was then being generated by nuclear plants would be replaced by electricity from the "100,000 rooftops" and the extra expense to the utilities for the feed-in tariffs would still cost less than building a new power plant, be it nuclear or fossil fuel-powered.

Everybody wins economically, the government handles the risk by backstopping the banks and utilities (and it's a minor expense for a national government), and Germany gets off its growing nuclear power addiction.

Scheer got the feed-in tariffs passed in 1999 as part of his 100,000 Rooftops program, followed by the German Renewable Energy Act of 2000. It wasn't implemented as simply and elegantly as I've described here and as he shared with me over lunch in Barcelona (politics intervened, of course, leading to imports of Russian natural gas), but it got a long way there.

Other countries around the world copied parts of his program, although some of Germany's for-profit and regional utilities were committed to sabotaging it and have had some successes in that effort since his untimely death at age 66 in 2010.

And in most parts of the world-and most all of the USA-solar works even better than in Germany, which is the cloudiest country in Europe and at the same latitude as Calgary. The science proving this can work even better in the US is both solid and irrefutable.

Today, as a result of Scheer's visionary leadership two decades ago, over a million German homes have both solar panels and battery storage, and the country is upgrading their system to a "smart grid" to handle it all. There's an absolutely amazing collection of charts and graphs explaining it all here.

Additionally, they were shutting down their last nuke (it's on hold because of the Ukraine crisis), and beginning the process of phasing out coal (although slowdowns on renewables are causing them to have to default to natural gas in a few places).

As the MIT Technology Review notes: "The country avoided pumping about 74 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2009. The German environment ministry also touts a side benefit: nearly 300,000 new jobs in clean power."

Milton Friedman, the godfather of "disaster capitalism," was fond of pointing out that most people and most countries would only consider significant changes to the way they do things in the face of a crisis.

We're there, now.

Today's crises in Florida and Puerto Rico should kick-start an entirely new generation of building codes and energy systems that can quickly go nationwide.

Much of the work has already been done by California, which mandated in 2018 that most new construction must have solar rooftops starting in 2020 and recently updated and tightened their standards for 2022.

Building a resilient and low-carbon America will save both money and lives. We need to start now.

(c) 2022 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

The Cartoon Corner -

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Bas van der Schot ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Biden Issues Urgent Warning For Americans To Decide What To Be For Halloween Now
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In an address to the nation in which he warned that preparations for the upcoming holiday must begin at once, President Joe Biden on Friday urged Americans to decide now what they were going to be for Halloween.

"It is vital that we start making our way to a Spirit Halloween store or browsing online retailers so that we have a plan in place come Oct. 31," said President Biden, noting that Americans would soon be faced with parties, trick-or-treating, parades, and office Halloween observances in which they would be embarrassed if they wore an unimaginative costume that was clearly thrown together at the last minute.

"There are many cultural touchstones from the past year that can provide us with inspiration, whether one wishes to go as Anna Delvey, a Squid Game competitor, or a recently deceased celebrity such as Queen Elizabeth II or Coolio. Even if your Halloween preferences run toward the more traditional, such as a sexy pirate, this is a critical decision that cannot be made at the last minute, especially if you're hoping to do a couple's costume.

"How many times must we as a nation learn to plan ahead so that we're not forced to grab some weird hat from our closet and have some ironic costume that must be explained to every person we meet and is never funny?" Asked by reporters, Biden stated that he had in fact decided to be a sexy pirate this year.

(c) 2022 The Onion


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 39 (c) 10/07/2022

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