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In This Edition

Norman Solomon returns with, "Don't Just Worry About Nuclear War-Do Something To Help Prevent It."

Ralph Nader exclaims, "Democrats-Broaden Your Campaign Messages And Strategies!"

Leonard Pitts Jr. reports, "Money No Longer Fears LGBTQ People."

Jim Hightower examines, "The Virginia Model."

Medea Benjamin wonders, "Who Deserves A Nobel Peace Prize In Ukraine?"

John Nichols concludes, "Ron Johnson Would Wreck Social Security."

James Donahue says, "Socialism Is Not Communism."

David Swanson wonders, "What's Worse Than Risking Nuclear Apocalypse?"

David Suzuki finds, "Canada's Declining Moose Populations Need Help."

Chris Hedges orates, "The Puppets And The Puppet Masters."

Juan Cole says, "To Deal With Saudi Arabia, Biden Should Fast-Track Both Iran Deal And The Greening Of Transportation ."

Robert Reich asks, "Why Is Trickle-Down Economics Still With Us?"

Thom Hartmann asks, "How Long Will The GOP Continue To Shrink The Middle Class Rather Than Grow It?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots'department The Waterford Whispers News reports "US Proves There's Nowhere They Can't Bomb," but first, Uncle Ernie over sees "The Drought Of 2022."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Kevin Siers, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Kent Nishimura, Daniel Quasar, Shivam Kumar, Jacquelyn Martin, Chris J Ratcliffe, Simona Granati, Finnbarr Webster, Myriams-Fotos, 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 -
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To End On A Happy Note -
Have You Seen This -
Parting Shots -

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The Drought Of 2022
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

I see where from the United States to China via Europe, the summer of 2022 was marked by drought across much of the Northern Hemisphere. Amid a climate crisis that is presenting its most damaging front in every corner of the planet, the question is almost inevitable: is global warming the root cause of the issue? A group of scientists specializing in the attribution of extreme weather phenomena to climate change - the World Weather Attribution (WWA) - presented a study on Wednesday in which they present evidence that the unusually high temperatures recorded in June, July and August were the primary cause of the extraordinary dryness of the soils in the affected areas. The researchers conclude that human-induced climate change has made these extremely dry conditions at least 20 times more likely in the extratropical region of the Northern Hemisphere. Scientists estimate that at the current level of warming, a drought of this magnitude and geographical extent may occur once every 20 years. By contrast, in the absence of climate change, it would be expected to happen once every 400 years.

This summer's global warming-fueled drought resulted in significant economic and ecological impacts in the Northern Hemisphere, but these issues were especially acute in West-Central Europe, the researchers noted. Among these damaging effects was a decrease in crop yields, which has further accentuated the international food cost and security crisis that the world is experiencing due to the war in Ukraine.

In order to establish links to climate change, the WWA scientists focused their research on the so-called agricultural and ecological drought, which is related to a lack of moisture in soils that has direct consequences on the growth and development of vegetation. In the report's findings, it was concluded the that variations in rainfall volume were not the determining factor in this case, but rather that "the strong increase in high temperatures" was to blame for the increased drought.

The analysis focuses on two regions. In the case of the extratropical Northern Hemisphere, the researchers concluded that "human-induced climate change made the observed soil moisture drought much more likely, by a factor of at least 20 for the root zone soil moisture," which corresponds to the first meter of soil. In West-Central Europe specifically, global warming has made a drought like the one experienced this summer between three to four times more likely. The report, which was compiled by scientists from Switzerland, India, the Netherlands, France, the United States and the United Kingdom, states that "the dry conditions observed in 2022 over both regions would have been less likely to occur at the beginning of the 20th century," when greenhouse gas emissions generated by human industrial activity were far lower than they are now.

Friederike Otto, a climatologist and senior lecturer at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London and a co-founder of the WWA, explains that the study attempts to answer a question posited in other reports of this type: "What role has climate change played in this extreme phenomenon?" To try and provide an answer, they calculate the probabilities of a specific event - such as a heatwave, floods or a drought like that of this summer - occuring before the current climate crisis was triggered due to the burning of fossil fuels.

The scientific community is in broad agreement that the earth has warmed by about 1.2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The WWA researchers calculate that in today's climate, a severe drought event like the one in 2022 now occurs once every 20 years. Scientists have issued multiple warnings that temperatures will continue to rise over the coming decades, leading to an increase in ecological and hydrological droughts, something the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasized in its most recent major report.

The summer just ended was the hottest recorded in Europe since at least 1880 - when reliable temperature data began - as confirmed a few weeks ago by the European Commission's Copernicus Climate Change Service. In the WWA attribution study for the 2022 drought, the researchers say the extreme heat conditions were responsible for more than 24,000 deaths in Europe. High temperatures led to water shortages, massive forest fires and reduced harvests. "During the summer, fires in Europe were the worst on record, China issued its first national drought alert and more than half of the United States was in drought," the report concluded.

The impact of the drought on food security is one of the issues that most concerns the authors of the report. "The drought in the Northern Hemisphere has had an impact on food prices, which had already been affected by the war," said Maarten van Aalst, director of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and a professor at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observations at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Compounding the food security crisis is the extreme heat experienced in India and Pakistan in March and April, which has also been attributed to climate change, or the recent floods in Pakistan. "All these extreme events combined add to the stress on international food markets," noted Otto.

"The impacts of climate change are coming faster than expected," said van Aalst, who is also an expert in disaster management. As such, he points to the need for countries to invest in adaptation so that populations can weather an increasing number of natural disasters, in addition to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming as much as possible.


10-16-1925 ~ 10-11-2022
Thanks for the entertainment!

10-22-1927 ~ 10-10-2022
Thanks for the music!

11-12-1935 ~ 10-10-2022
Thanks for the film!

10-16-1927 ~ 10-09-2022
Thanks for the film!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 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.

War torn buildings blight the skyline as children play in a park on May 26, 2022 in Borodianka Ukraine.

National Archives Says It's Still Missing Docs Trump Removed From White House
The U.S. government do everything in its power to lessen the chances of global nuclear annihilation.
By Norman Solomon

This is an emergency.

Right now, we're closer to a cataclysmic nuclear war than at any other time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. One assessment after another has said the current situation is even more dangerous.

Yet few members of Congress are advocating for any steps that the U.S. government could take to decrease the dangers of a nuclear conflagration. The silences and muted statements on Capitol Hill are evading the reality of what's hanging in the balance-the destruction of almost all human life on Earth. "The end of civilization."

Constituent passivity is helping elected officials to sleepwalk toward unfathomable catastrophe for all of humanity. If senators and representatives are to be roused out of their timid refusal to urgently address-and work to reduce-the present high risks of nuclear war, they need to be confronted. Nonviolently and emphatically.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has made thinly veiled, extremely reckless statements about possibly using nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war. At the same time, some of the U.S. government's policies make nuclear war more likely. Changing them is imperative.

For the last few months, I've been working with people in many states who aren't just worried about the spiking dangers of nuclear war-they're also determined to take action to help prevent it. That resolve has resulted in organizing more than 35 picket lines that will happen on Friday, October 14, at local offices of Senate and House members around the country. (If you want to organize such picketing in your area, go here.)

What could the U.S. government do to lessen the chances of global nuclear annihilation? The Defuse Nuclear War campaign, which is coordinating those picket lines, has identified key needed actions. Such as:

Rejoin nuclear-weapons treaties the U.S. has pulled out of

President George W. Bush withdrew the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002. Under Donald Trump, the U.S. withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 2019. Both pacts significantly reduced the chances of nuclear war.

Take U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.

Four hundred intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are armed and ready for launch from underground silos in five states. Because they're land-based, those missiles are vulnerable to attack and thus are on hair-trigger alert-allowing only minutes to determine whether indications of an incoming attack are real or a false alarm.

End the policy of "first use."

Like Russia, the United States has refused to pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.

Support congressional action to avert nuclear war.

In the House, H.Res. 1185 includes a call for the United States to "lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war."

An overarching need is for senators and representatives to insist that U.S. participation in nuclear brinkmanship is unacceptable. As our Defuse Nuclear War team says, "Grassroots activism will be essential to pressure members of Congress to publicly acknowledge the dangers of nuclear war and strongly advocate specific steps for reducing them."

Is that really too much to ask? Or even demand?

(c) 2022 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a press conference about the Child Tax Credit on July 15, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

Democrats-Broaden Your Campaign Messages And Strategies!
With their ample funds, the Democrats have to aggregate the case against the GOP's morbid opposition to humanity.
By Ralph Nader

With just over four weeks to Election Day, the Democratic Party still has time to realize its limitations, which have led to them losing winnable races, or barely squeaking by at the federal and state levels. Imagine the worst, most corrupt, lying, dictatorial GOP since its creation in 1854 having their most dangerous and extreme candidates win elections.

To liberate the many policies, messages, strategies, rebuttals, and ground-level ways to get out more votes, Democrats need to escape the controls of their incarcerating political/media consultants, who are too often conflicted by their ongoing corporate clients and their 15% commissions received from placing repetitive, vacuous video ads.

With their ample funds, the Democrats have to aggregate the case against the GOP's morbid opposition to humanity and contrast it with the Democratic Party's own lawmaking, votes, and positions. For example, the Dems need to compare all their pro-children work with the GOP's ugly record of cruelty to the little ones once they are born. (See my column: Big Campaign 2022 Issue: GOP's Cruelty to Children). Trump's GOP went out of its way to keep federal Medicaid funds from insuring children in GOP-dominated states, lunged to revoke an Obama rule to ban a pesticide, especially deadly to young children, and blocked all attempts to enact paid sick leave, family leave, and daycare. In 2017 the Republicans also slashed the already low tax rates for their Rich and Powerful paymasters.

Dems should move fast with a winning "Protect and Nurture ALL Our Children" platform.

The GOP is chronically antagonistic to freedom and equality for women. Republican opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, equal pay mandates, corporate marketplace discriminations and reproductive choice, and other serious biases can form the basis for a Democratic "Freedom for Women" platform plank.

With lives and public infrastructure being regularly destroyed by floods, ocean surges, winds, and wildfires from global warming, GOP candidates respond with a curled lip: NO! Republicans voted against, or successfully blocked the public works bills backed by congressional Democrats, costing lives, jobs, community stability and using tax dollars not to benefit the people, but to the corporate greed hounds of Wall Street and its plutocrats.

Most Democrats have been reluctant to take on the 800 lb. gorilla in the political arena-widely despised, by both liberal and conservative voters, Big Business controls coercions, bailouts, and exploitations over people's livelihoods. Over 70% of people, regardless of political labels, bear the brunt of abuses by corporate barons every day where they live, work, and raise their children. Plenty of press reports, pointed studies, and litigation data make the case that Democratic candidates who commit to All the parents, All the workers, and All the consumers to make giant companies our servants, not our masters, will garner large majority voter support. People are tired of double standards. They want corporate crooks to go to jail. They want runaway CEOs to be held accountable. Such stands would immediately contrast with the GOP's coverups of Wall Street, the big banks, insurance companies, and avaricious drug and health insurance companies. Many Democrats can point to their pending legislation holding these Goliaths to account that the Republicans have stifled.

The central point of these proposals-among others available-is to energize Democratic candidates and enliven their repetitive daily campaign routines and rhetoric. It is time for the Dems to go on the offensive against the GOP's made-up fake accusations and give a hungry media compelling substance. Reporters are tired of covering campaigns as horse races, and mainly reporting on campaign contributions and polling results.

Headlines could emerge by injecting fresh issues and slogans to grab more of the 120 million eligible voters who are expected to stay at home. Some examples follow.

"Go vote for a raise to $15 per hour, you've earned it and it's long overdue." The GOP hates the very idea of a minimum wage and has frozen the federal minimum at $7.25 per hour, while letting the likes of Apple's CEO Tim Cook, make $833 per MINUTE with low tax rates! Raising the minimum wage will help over 25 million voters.

"Go vote to extend the $300 a month child tax credit that reached 58 million children and cut the child poverty rates by a third, until the congressional GOP blocked its extension in January 2022."

Democrats who show they mean what they say, stay on the offensive, and hone debating skills to provide memorable contrasts with the GOP can win a working majority in the legislatures to get things done. Moreover, exposing the GOP's Death Cult that can't help opposing the concrete existing and proposed health, safety, and economic rights of American families, will motivate voters.

GOP Florida Senator Rick Scott, in charge of electing Republican Senators, wants to sunset laws, including Social Security and Medicare, as indicated in his "An 11 Point Plan to Rescue America." Run against this outrage daily.

These contrasts can be summarized on a single-sheet Voter Self-Help Guides distributed in the tens of millions everywhere on paper (and online). One side can poll the voters on a dozen positions. The other side can show that the Democratic candidate is "On Their Side" and the GOP candidate is not (supported by the facts and their record).

Together with civic leader Mark Green and two dozen experienced and accomplished civic advocates, we compiled a collection of such policies, strategies, and messaging to attract voters and retire GOP candidates who follow their leader, Herr Trump, in further wrecking our fragile climate, democratic institutions, voting procedures, and public health with their early denial of the Covid pandemic.

The Winning America effort has been endorsed by Senator Edward Markey, Reps. Hakim Jeffries, John Larson, Jim McGovern, Peter DeFazio, Jamie Raskin, and Carolyn Maloney, among others.

There is still time for candidates to listen, learn, and self-galvanize electoral energies. The question is: Will Democrats in the close House, Senate, and state legislative races be willing to break out of their managed cocoons and become Winning Monarch Butterflies on November 8, 2022?

Will the Democratic Party stop the GOP Party of Anxiety, Dread, and Fear from anointing Trump lackey Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as Speaker of the House and the corporatist Mitch McConnell ("The Guardian of Gridlock" who says he "will tell you what we're going to do AFTER we win the Election") to resume his control of the Senate?

Voter turnout will decide which future awaits America

(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).

Money No Longer Fears LGBTQ People
It's just that simple
By Leonard Pitts Jr.

More to the point, it understands that there is a market here. And if some LGBTQ folk are concerned by the commodification and merchandising of their identity, it's nevertheless important to understand what the very fact of those processes suggests: that the battle for hearts and minds is over, and LGBTQ won.

You know what's really conservative?

We're talking more conservative than Southern Baptists, Fox "News" and the GOP combined. You know what's that conservative?


Meaning big money - corporate money. It doesn't do quixotic or go out on limbs. Money likes safe harbors and sure things. Its risks are calculated and considered. It is not sentimental.

Keep that in mind as we ponder the fate of the first gay major-studio romcom. The lavishly promoted movie, "Bros," opened last week and performed like the Hindenburg did on its final flight. Which is to say, it went boom, a big, flaming disaster that racked up a measly $4.8 million in ticket sales - about half what had been expected.

It was a bitterly disappointing fate for a film with such a history-making pedigree. Billy Eichner, who starred in, co-wrote and produced the movie, complained on Twitter that "straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, just didn't show up."

Some observers have taken to wondering what the failure portends for the future of LGBTQ cinema. One suspects it won't be quite the genre killer they fear. "Bros," for what it is worth, delivered pretty much everything you'd want from a romcom, i.e., tortured romance and razor-edged comedy. It was also raunchy as all get out, a frankly carnal cavalcade of lusty gay sex. Which was likely its downfall.

As progressive as America has become on LGBTQ issues, many straight men still grapple with what was once dubbed in this space the "primeval ick factor" of seeing guys make out. Girls? That's entertainment. Guys? That makes some fellows squirm, even now.

That's not to say it's right. It's not to say it's fair. It's just to say that it is. Which likely comforts Eichner not at all. It should, however, comfort the rest of us who support LGBTQ empowerment. It suggests that ultimately, the movie's failure will be little more than a speed bump en route to that goal.

Because money is conservative, yet look what it's been supporting:

Oreos put out special Pride Month-themed cookies this year.

In 2019, Listerine marked Pride Month with a rainbow bottle.

The new reboot of NBC's "Quantum Leap" features a character who seems clearly non-binary.

They introduced a gay guy into Archie Comics - Archie Comics! - over a decade ago.

And Janelle Monae. And Lil Nas X. And Ricky Martin. And so on and so forth.

Obviously, money no longer fears LGBTQ people. More to the point, it understands that there is a market here. And if some LGBTQ folk are concerned by the commodification and merchandising of their identity, it's nevertheless important to understand what the very fact of those processes suggests: that the battle for hearts and minds is over, and LGBTQ won.

Granted, the revanchists on the political right have yet to concede. They are still pushing anti-LGBTQ laws like Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill and ramping up anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, as in the Texas GOP dubbing gay people "abnormal." These are the folk who usually champion big money, but now, big money sees opportunity in inclusion, so they double down on homophobia instead. The irresistible force of commerce meets the immovable object of intolerance.

In the long run, always bet on the former. Note that another LGBTQ love story - "Spoiler Alert," with Jim Parsons - is already set to premiere in December. Nor should anyone be surprised. This is America.

Money always has the final word.

(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.

The Virginia Model

By Jim Hightower

Last year's gubernatorial race in Virginia was narrowly won by Republican Glenn Youngkin. An elite Wall Street multimillionaire, he was going to lose - until he discovered a right-wing racist bugaboo called Critical Race Theory. Glenn suddenly turned into an anti-CRT attack dog, fomenting parental fear and promising to sweep all teaching of the theory out of Virginia classrooms.

But, golly, CRT was not actually taught in any of the state's public schools. To help Youngkin dodge this inconvenient fact, a partisan front group called Metric Media created 25 fake news sites in Virginia that ran nearly 5,000 articles during the election, spreading the CRT bugaboo. While these "papers" have no subscribers and no significant readership, they allow demagogues like Youngkin to use such lies in speeches, ads, etc. - laundering them as facts by simply saying: "As reported in the Such-and Such newspaper..."

With success in Virginia, Metric Media and other fake sites are pumping out CRT sludge in Florida, Texas, and other states with gubernatorial races this year. Indeed, the lie has become its own political industry, with such billionaire extremists as the Koch brothers'pumping money into it.

This is why America must have actual local newspapers (widely available and affordable, either in print or online) that have the community commitment and journalistic resources to do the job of nurturing truth and democracy. Otherwise, we're ceding "news" to the shams and scams that are inevitable under hedge fund profiteers and networks of partisan hacks that already dominate wide swaths of America's media landscape.

Journalism is not a private commodity to be controlled by a few for their personal profit or political advancement - it is an essential public resource, key to democratic self-government. And America should start investing in it as such, providing adequate public funding for local, independent, watchdog reporting.

(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

Woman with peace flags and No War sign takes part in the national demonstration against the war in Ukraine on March 5, 2022 in Rome, Italy.

Who Deserves A Nobel Peace Prize In Ukraine?
A critical look at the committee's latest selection.
By Medea Benjamin

In what was described as a harsh rebuke of Russia, the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties, along with Belarusian human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski and the Russian human rights organization Memorial. While at first glance, the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties might sound like a group that is well deserving of this honor, Ukrainian peace leader Yurii Sheliazhenko wrote a stinging critique.

Sheliazhenko, who heads up the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement and is a board member of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, accused the Center for Civil Liberties of embracing the agendas of such problematic international donors as the U.S. Department of State and the National Endowment for Democracy. The National Endowment for Democracy supports NATO membership for Ukraine; insists that no negotiations with Russia are possible and shames those who seek compromise; wants the West to impose a dangerous no-fly zone; says that only Putin violates human rights in Ukraine; never criticizes the Ukrainian government for suppressing pro-Russian media, parties, and public figures; never criticizes the Ukrainian army for war crimes and human rights violations, and refuses to stand up for the human right, recognized under international law, to conscientious objection to military service.

Supporting conscientious objectors is the role of Sheliazhenko and his organization, the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement (UPM). While we hear a lot about Russian war resisters, as Sheliazhenko points out even inside Ukraine, which is portrayed in Western media as a country entirely united in its war with Russia, there are men who don't want to fight.

The Ukrainian Pacifist Movement was founded in 2019 when fighting in the separatist-ruled Donbas region was at a peak and Ukraine was forcing its citizens to participate in the civil war. According to Sheliazhenko, Ukrainian men were "being given military summonses off of the streets, out of night clubs and dormitories, or snatched for military service for minor infractions such as traffic violations, public drunkenness, or casual rudeness to police officers."

To make matters worse, when Russia invaded in February 2022, Ukraine suspended its citizens' right to conscientious objection and forbade men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country; nevertheless, since February, over 100,000 Ukrainian draft-eligible men managed to flee instead of fight. It's estimated that several thousand more have been detained while trying to escape.

International human rights law affirms peoples' right, due to principled conviction, to refuse to participate in military conflict and conscientious objection has a long and rich history. In 1914, a group of Christians in Europe, hoping to avert the impending war, formed the International Fellowship of Reconciliation to support conscientious objectors. When the U.S. joined WWI, social reformer and women's rights activist Jane Addams protested. She was harshly criticized at the time but, in 1931, she became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

In Russia, hundreds of thousands of young men are refusing to fight. According to a source inside Russia's Federal Security Service, within three days of Russia's announcement that it was drafting 300,000 more recruits, 261,000 men fled the country. Those who could booked flights; others drove, bicycled, and walked across the border.

Belarusians have also joined the exodus. According to estimates by Connection e.V., a European organization that supports conscientious objectors and deserters, an estimated 22,000 draft-eligible Belarusians have fled their country since the war began.

The Russian organization Kovcheg, or The Ark, helps Russians fleeing because of anti-war positions, condemnation of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, and/or persecution they are experiencing in Russia. In Belarus, the organization Nash Dom runs a "NO means NO" campaign to encourage draft-eligible Belarusians not to fight. Despite refusing to fight being a noble and courageous act for peace-the penalty in Russia for refusing the draft is up to ten years in prison and in Ukraine, it is at least up to three years, and likely much higher, with hearings and verdicts closed to the public-neither Kovcheg, Nash Dom nor the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, were announced as Nobel Peace Prize winners yesterday.

The U.S. government nominally supports Russia's war resisters. On September 27, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declared that Russians fleeing Putin's draft were "welcome" in the U.S. and encouraged them to apply for asylum. But as far back as last October, before Russia invaded Ukraine, amid tit-for-tat U.S.-Russia tensions, Washington announced it would henceforth only issue visas to Russians through the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, 750 miles away from Moscow.

To put a further damper on Russian hopes of refuge in the U.S., on the same day as the White House held its press conference where it encouraged draft-eligible Russians to seek U.S. asylum, the Biden administration announced that it would be continuing into fiscal year 2023 its FY2022 global refugee cap of 125,000.

You would think that those resisting this war would be able to find refuge in European countries, as Americans fleeing the Vietnam war did in Canada. Indeed, when the Ukraine war was in its early stages, European Council President Charles Michel called on Russian soldiers to desert, promising them protection under EU refugee law. But in August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked his Western allies to reject all Russian emigres. Currently, all non-visa travel from Russia to EU countries is suspended.

As Russian men fled after Putin's draft announcement, Latvia closed its border with Russia and Finland said it was likely going to be tightening its visa policy for Russians.

Had the Nobel Peace Prize awardees been the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian organizations that are supporting war resisters and peacemakers, it would have drawn global attention to the courageous young men taking this stand and perhaps opened more avenues for them to get asylum abroad. It could have also initiated a much-needed conversation about how the U.S. is supplying Ukraine with an endless flow of weapons but not pushing for negotiations to end a war so dangerous that President Biden is warning of "nuclear Armageddon." It certainly would have been more in line with Alfred Nobel's desire to bring global recognition to those who have "done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies."

(c) 2022 Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is the author of the new book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection. Her previous books include: Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control; Don't Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart, and (with Jodie Evans) Stop the Next War Now (Inner Ocean Action Guide). Follow her on Twitter: @medeabenjamin

Sen. Ron Johnson has floated the notion of making Social Security a discretionary program, meaning its funding would be subject political whims.

Ron Johnson Would Wreck Social Security
By John Nichols

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and his supporters are pouring tens of millions of dollars into the most intellectually dishonest campaign in Wisconsin history. They are desperately attacking Johnson's Democratic challenger, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, because they don't want attention paid to the Republican incumbent's dismal record. Or to the threat that Johnson's reelection would pose to Social Security.

Ever since the Social Security program was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt 87 years ago, conservative Republicans have sought to undermine it with privatization schemes and a trick bag of threats to the guarantee established by FDR and his allies. Usually at election time Republicans try to cloak their intentions. But this year the head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee - a prime source of funding for the attack ads being run on Johnson's behalf - openly proposed to sunset all federal programs every five years.

Under the plan advanced by Florida Sen. Rick Scott, every federal program would have to be reauthorized on a quinquennial schedule. That would put Social Security in jeopardy on a regular basis and - if Republican proponents of privatization are in charge at the time of a reauthorization review - potentially end the program as we know it.

How might they do that? By following Ron Johnson's proposal to eliminate Social Security and Medicare as federal entitlement programs and instead require that the funding for these programs be approved as discretionary spending by Congress. In other words, instead of a guarantee, under Johnson's plan Social Security would be replaced with a possibility, based on the whims of politicians such as the senior senator from Wisconsin.

That prospect unsettles longtime defenders of Social Security, such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who says: Johnson "wants to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block. He has argued that the benefits which millions of Americans rely on every day shouldn't be guaranteed, but should be subject to partisan infighting here in Washington. He would like to revoke the guarantee of Medicare and Social Security and make them discretionary. Well, you know what happens when we make things discretionary around here? All too often they get cut, or even eliminated."

Republicans say even mentioning the prospect that conservatives could upend Social Security is a "scare tactic." They dodge questions by claiming that they really do support Social Security and just want to tinker with things to make improvements.

But the fact is that in August Johnson complained, "Social Security and Medicare, if you qualify for the entitlement, you just get it no matter what the cost." His proposed solution: "We ought to turn everything into discretionary spending so it's all evaluated." Any Wisconsinite who thinks they could trust Johnson to do that evaluation should consider the words of James Roosevelt, the grandson of FDR who for many years led efforts to defend Social Security. "Like Roe v. Wade, many people have denied that the guarantee of Social Security could ever be overturned. But that is exactly what extremist U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is proposing."

Stating the facts about Johnson's long record of threatening Social Security is not a "scare tactic." It's an acknowledgment of the scary reality that Ron Johnson, Rick Scott and Republicans like them are, indeed, scheming to wreck Social Security.

(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.

Socialism Is Not Communism
By James Donahue

There has been confusion concerning the differences between communism and socialism. For example, we heard television talking heads once declare that the late Hugo Chavez, the dynamic leader of Venezuela, was a communist. He was really a socialist and instrumental in leading a large block of neighboring South American countries into a collective socialist state.

From our perspective, that appeared to be a good political move for Chavez and his friends, and the people seemed to like it. The Bush Administration, on the other hand, declared Chavez as an enemy and might even have considered going to war against Venezuela if the military wasn't already so involved in improper actions in the Middle East.

We believe much of the confusion lies in the fact that there are similarities between the two political ideologies. Even Karl Marx believed that socialism was a stage on the way to communism. Because of what he taught, many of the people who got interested in communism at beginning of the Twentieth Century were calling themselves socialists. And while Russia was under the harsh communist dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, the nation was known to the world as the Soviet Socialist Republic.

It is important to understand that Marx did not invent communism or socialism. Both ideologies existed and were tried among communities and some countries before Marx. But Marx, who published his Communist Manifesto in 1848, became the single most-respected authority concerning the world movement toward communism in his day.

Marx, a brilliant philosopher, political economist and revolutionary, believed that capitalism would eventually be replaced by socialism, which in turn would develop into communism. In his day, before the concept of communism was misused, Marx perceived this as a very good thing. A lot of people who read his book agreed with him.

The general definition of communism is a social system in which all property is owned by the community. Under socialism, the collective ownership of management of only the material agencies of production becomes property of the whole community.

Thus Chavez, whose government has seized the nation's oil wells and production facilities, but not the property of the people, was a socialist. Under Stalin-ism and under Maoism, the people of both Russia and China literally became the property of the state. Their homes, their jobs, and everything they were allowed to have and do, were decided by the state. It was easy to see that this was an extremely radical concept and one that people in the West could not accept.

The concept of communism was to make everything the property of the whole community. But under Stalin and Mao, and Cuba under the rule of Fidel Castro, the community appeared to lose its voice under the force of dictatorial rule. Thus communism was perceived by the western world as an evil and "godless" form of government that must be stopped in its tracks. The United States got involved in two major wars, in Korea and Vietnam, in its attempt to do just this.

These nations were called godless because both the Soviet Union and China were ruled by atheist regimes that insisted that religious institutions remain subordinate to the state. In China, all houses of worship were converted into non-religious buildings for secular use and religious worship was discouraged. This rigid rule has been relaxed in recent years and people are beginning to return to open religious worship. In fact, the 1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China guarantees "freedom of religion" although there remain a number of restrictions.

Marx and Friedrich Engels, another author living at about the same time, collaborated in numerous publications promoting the concept of socialism and communism as a relief for the struggling working class of their day. Their vision for the future, however, was not the kind of politics that erupted following the Russian revolution that toppled the Tsar.

Marx perceived everyone turning to a socialist state, where all people shared in the fruits of their labor. Then as they evolved through improved education and spiritual enlightenment, he believed the central government would disappear as economic cooperation improved. Marx, who actually believed the human could evolve and share this kind of utopian existence, taught that the principles of distribution were "from each according to his or her ability, to each according to his or her need."

The whole idea was to come up with a political and economic system where all people were guaranteed equality and that all wealth was evenly shared. They saw that capitalism, which grew out of the old feudalistic concept, was driven by the need to constantly increase profits which created a "dog-eat-dog" mentality.

As it has turned out, these brilliant thinkers were right. A socialist system may still be a good solution for the great problems of the world, but the stigma attached to the name, because of what happened under Stalin and Mao, may prevent this from ever happening.

Capitalism is and always has been incapable of protecting or sustaining the Earth's ecology, which is now in great peril. Since the Western nations still insist on clinging to capitalism and the wealthy "kings" are back on their thrones of power, understanding the differences between communism and socialism may be moot.

(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.

What's Worse Than Risking Nuclear Apocalypse?
By David Swanson

(Note: Together with several other people, I sent this note to the Washington Post, asking for a meeting with their editorial board and criticizing their atrocious reporting on Ukraine. They declined to meet and suggested we send an op-ed. I send them an op-ed and they complained that I'd referenced this poll which they dismissed as being from "an advocacy organization." I resubmitted (as below) without mentioning the poll, or trying to explain its value, and they still said no. I encourage others to try, and to send to World BEYOND War to publish what the WaPo refuses - we'll add a "Washington Post Rejected" badge of honor at the top.)
What is worse than risking the obliteration of life on Earth through nuclear war and the creation of a nuclear winter? What is more important than protecting the world from the climate collapse on fast-forward that would be a nuclear apocalypse?

Do you want me to say "courage" or "goodness" or "freedom"? Or "standing up to Putin"? I won't do it. The obvious answer is the right one: nothing. Nothing is more important than preserving life. The dead have very little freedom and do practically no standing up to Putin.

If you want war criminals held accountable, ask the U.S. government to support the International Criminal Court and the rule of law for all, including Americans, exactly as Chief U.S. prosecutor Justice Robert Jackson promised at Nuremberg. But don't risk Armageddon.

If I have the miserable luck to find myself alone in the rubble and darkness of a world inhabited mainly by cockroaches, the thought "Well, at least we stood up to Putin," will not go over well in my internal monologue. It will be immediately followed by the thoughts: "Who decided to make that little jerk so powerful? There should have been additional millennia of life and love and joy and beauty. He should have been a footnote in obscure history texts."

But what, you may ask, is the alternative to risking nuclear war? Lying down and giving invading militaries anything they want? While that would indeed, yes, be a preferable alternative, there are much better ones available and always have been.

One alternative would be to pursue a ceasefire, negotiations, and disarmament, even if it means making compromises with Russia. Bear in mind that compromises are two-way enterprises; these would also involve Russia making compromises with Ukraine.

With dozens of nations supporting a ceasefire and negotiations for months now, and in recent remarks at the United Nations, shouldn't the U.S. government at least consider the idea?

Even if support for a ceasefire and negotiations are not majority views in the United States, don't they deserve to be considered in the public fora of a society supposedly supporting mass violence in the cause of defending democracy?

The Presidents of Ukraine and Russia have declared that they will not negotiate over the fate of any territories. Yet both sides are planning lengthy, if not endless, warfare. The longer that warfare continues, the greater the risk of the use of nuclear weapons.

Both sides have been willing to negotiate and can be again. Both sides have successfully negotiated on grain exports and prisoner exchanges - with outside help, but that help can be provided again, just as easily as can be more weapons.

As we approach the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, many questions arise. Why did we let it get so close? Why did we later imagine the danger had gone away? Why isn't Vasily Arkhipov honored on some form of U.S. currency? But also this: why did President Kennedy have to be secretive about pulling U.S. missiles out of Turkey while demanding that the Soviets publicly take them out of Cuba?

Are we sorry he did that? Would we rather not have had the past 60 years of existing, in order to have had Kennedy refuse to give an inch to Khrushchev? What percentage of Americans can even say what Khrushchev's first two names were or what his career looked like? Should we really have all died or not been born in order to stand up to that guy? Do we really imagine that choosing to preserve life on Earth while standing up to his generals and bureaucrats made Kennedy a coward?

(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.

It's time for governments to provide better management and protection for moose populations and the habitat they depend on, including stricter hunting restrictions.

Canada's Declining Moose Populations Need Help
By David Suzuki

Moose management in Canada is unique compared to other wildlife management. The primary driver of most species'decline in Canada is habitat loss and fragmentation. Yet moose enjoy the new browse that springs up after an area has been disturbed, so it's long been thought they benefit from industrial activities like clearcutting. Because moose are widely hunted, provinces and territories are charged with managing their habitat, ensuring healthy populations and granting tags to hunters.

Although Canada hasn't assessed moose as at risk nationally, reports are increasing of their worrisome decline in many provinces. Governments cite myriad factors, include disease, climate change, parasites and habitat alteration.

"The population is, in my opinion, heading toward a crisis and if the decline isn't stopped it could create a situation from which it may take decades to recover," retired Ontario moose biologist Alan Bisset writes of his province. "If it gets low enough, predation and unregulated hunting could keep it from growing at all, or worse, result in local extinction."

Since governments control the hunt, decreasing the number of seasonal hunting tags seems like a straightforward way to reduce at least one pressure moose populations face. Yet Bisset's proposal to reduce moose tags also reveals a social dynamic that complicates management, as he recognizes this will likely incur backlash from hunters. "Moose are being managed by hunting interests for hunting interests with little apparent concern for the future of the herd or the interests of other Ontario residents," he writes.

Of course, many responsible hunters support strong management and protection measures. The conservation movement was initiated by hunters to ensure sufficient habitat for preferred game species. But some are also deeply invested in their right to hunt and view hunting limitations as an inherent threat.

In fact, the right to hunt belongs to Indigenous Peoples, and they've been among the loudest voices calling for change recently. Many consider moose a cultural keystone species. This summer, the Tsilhqot'in Nation in B.C. issued a news release, "condemning the B.C. government's destructive moose harvest allocation for the Chilcotin Region in recent days and expressing its opposition, in the strongest terms, to B.C.'s drastic escalation of Limited Entry Hunts (LEH) for moose in Tsilhqot'in territory."

Moose decline also played a significant role in the landmark legal case between Blueberry River First Nations and the Province of B.C. in 2021, and its precedent-setting ruling. Blueberry River community members argued that moose and caribou - which they rely on for sustenance - became increasingly scarce at their usual hunting grounds in the territory in conjunction with high levels of cumulative industrial disturbance approved by the province, and that this reflected the province's failure to uphold their treaty right to hunt.

The case brought moose habitat needs, and the impacts of industrial activity on them, into sharper focus. Research reveals that moose rely on forests for parts of their life cycle, and that clearings and roads increase hunter access, sightlines and success rates. As Bisset observes regarding Ontario, "In essence, the numbers of tags have never regulated the kill over most of the province. The kill depended on how many moose were vulnerable and exposed to gunfire or arrows." Scientists called as witnesses for Blueberry River First Nations in B.C. testified that large-scale forest change was having negative repercussions for moose populations.

After reviewing the evidence, the judge ruled in favour of Blueberry River, explaining: "While the Province relies on the 'early seral forage'created after logging to say that such disturbances benefit moose, they do not acknowledge the limiting factor created by a lack of effective winter habitat/old forest. I conclude the evidence establishes that the moose declines are the result of anthropogenic [human-caused] disturbances, including industrial development impacts upon habitat."

The Blueberry River ruling set legal precedents and made clear that new governance and decision-making systems are needed to manage lands and waters in ways that uphold treaty rights and ensure wildlife abundance.

It's time for governments to provide better management and protection for moose populations and the habitat they depend on, including stricter hunting restrictions. This won't make everyone happy, but it will provide food security for Indigenous Peoples, benefit other wildlife and ensure healthy moose populations.

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

Supporters of Julian Assange protest outside of a court hearing on April 20, 2022 in London.

The Puppets And The Puppet Masters
The judicial proceedings against Julian Assange give a faux legality to the state persecution of the most important and courageous journalist of our generation.
By Chris Hedges

This is the speech given by Chris Hedges outside the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. on Saturday October 8 at a rally that called on the U.S. to revoke its extradition request for Julian Assange.

Merrick Garland and those who work in the Department of Justice are the puppets, not the puppet masters. They are the facade, the fiction, that the longstanding persecution of Julian Assange has something to do with justice. Like the High Court in London, they carry out an elaborate judicial pantomime. They debate arcane legal nuances to distract from the Dickensian farce where a man who has not committed a crime, who is not a U.S. citizen, can be extradited under the Espionage Act and sentenced to life in prison for the most courageous and consequential journalism of our generation.

The engine driving the lynching of Julian is not here on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is in Langley, Virginia, located at a complex we will never be allowed to surround - the Central Intelligence Agency. It is driven by a secretive inner state, one where we do not count in the mad pursuit of empire and ruthless exploitation. Because the machine of this modern leviathan was exposed by Julian and WikiLeaks, the machine demands revenge.

The United States has undergone a corporate coup d'etat in slow motion. It is no longer a functioning democracy. The real centers of power, in the corporate, military, and national security sectors, were humiliated and embarrassed by WikiLeaks. Their war crimes, lies, conspiracies to crush the democratic aspirations of the vulnerable and the poor, and rampant corruption, here and around the globe, were laid bare in troves of leaked documents.

We cannot fight on behalf of Julian unless we are clear about whom we are fighting against. It is far worse than a corrupt judiciary. The global billionaire class, who have orchestrated a social inequality rivaled by pharaonic Egypt, has internally seized all of the levers of power and made us the most spied upon, monitored, watched, and photographed population in human history. When the government watches you 24-hours a day, you cannot use the word liberty. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. Julian was long a target, of course, but when WikiLeaks published the documents known as Vault 7, which exposed the hacking tools the CIA uses to monitor our phones, televisions, and even cars, he - and journalism itself - was condemned to crucifixion. The object is to shut down any investigations into the inner workings of power that might hold the ruling class accountable for its crimes, eradicate public opinion, and replace it with the cant fed to the mob.

I spent two decades as a foreign correspondent on the outer reaches of empire in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans. I am acutely aware of the savagery of empire, how the brutal tools of repression are first tested on those Frantz Fanon called "the wretched of the earth." Wholesale surveillance. Torture. Coups. Black sites. Black propaganda. Militarized police. Militarized drones. Assassinations. Wars. Once perfected on people of color overseas, these tools migrate back to the homeland. By hollowing out our country from the inside through deindustrialization, austerity, deregulation, wage stagnation, the abolition of unions, massive expenditures on war and intelligence, a refusal to address the climate emergency, and a virtual tax boycott for the richest individuals and corporations, these predators intend to keep us in bondage, victims of a corporate neo-feudalism. And they have perfected their instruments of Orwellian control. The tyranny imposed on others is imposed on us.

From its inception, the CIA carried out assassinations, coups, torture, and illegal spying and abuse, including that of U.S. citizens, activities exposed in 1975 by the Church Committee hearings in the Senate and the Pike Committee hearings in the House. All these crimes, especially after the attacks of 9/11, have returned with a vengeance. The CIA is a rogue and unaccountable paramilitary organization with its own armed units and drone program, death squads, and a vast archipelago of global black sites where kidnapped victims are tortured and disappeared.

The U.S. allocates a secret black budget of about $50 billion a year to hide multiple types of clandestine projects carried out by the National Security Agency, the CIA, and other intelligence agencies, usually beyond the scrutiny of Congress. The CIA has a well-oiled apparatus to kidnap, torture, and assassinate targets around the globe, which is why, since it had already set up a system of 24-hour video surveillance of Julian in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, it quite naturally discussed kidnapping and assassinating him. That is its business. Senator Frank Church - after examining the heavily redacted CIA documents released to his committee - defined the CIA's "covert activity" as "a semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies and consorting with known torturers and international terrorists."

All despotisms mask state persecution with sham court proceedings. The show trials and troikas in Stalin's Soviet Union. The raving Nazi judges in fascist Germany. The Denunciation rallies in Mao's China. State crime is cloaked in a faux legality, a judicial farce.

If Julian is extradited and sentenced and, given the Lubyanka-like proclivities of the Eastern District of Virginia, this is a near certainty, it means that those of us who have published classified material, as I did when I worked for The New York Times, will become criminals. It means that an iron curtain will be pulled down to mask abuses of power. It means that the state, which, through Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs, anti-terrorism laws, and the Espionage Act that have created our homegrown version of Stalin's Article 58, can imprison anyone anywhere in the world who dares commit the crime of telling the truth.

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight against powerful subterranean forces that, in demanding Julian's extradition and life imprisonment, have declared war on journalism.

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight for the restoration of the rule of law and democracy.

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to dismantle the wholesale Stasi-like state surveillance erected across the West.

We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to overthrow - and let me repeat that word for the benefit of those in the FBI and Homeland Security who have come here to monitor us - overthrow the corporate state and create a government of the people, by the people and for the people, that will cherish, rather than persecute, the best among us.

You can see my interview with Julian's father, John Shipton, here.

(c) 2022 Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. His most recent book is "America: The Farewell Tour" (2019).

The Quotable Quote -

"If a financial institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

To Deal With Saudi Arabia, Biden Should Fast-Track Both Iran Deal And The Greening Of Transportation
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Reuters reports that the Biden White House is upset with Saudi Arabia over the recent OPEC+ decision to cut the output of the 21 nations grouped in the bloc by 2 million barrels a day. President Biden told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview Tuesday, "there will be consequences" for Saudi Arabia's relationship with the U.S.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is also angry, and has said he will put a hold on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in response. The OPEC+ cut guarantees higher gasoline prices going into the midterms, which hurts Democrats. It also helps Russia, an OPEC+ member, realize more earnings on every barrel of oil it manages to sell despite US and European Union sanctions, and so helps fund the war against Ukraine.

Although it would not be such a bad thing for fewer high-tech weapons to flood into the oil Gulf states, Menendez's solution to the problem is not very satisfactory. Saudi Arabia has currency reserves plus a sovereign wealth fund that total all together $1.1 trillion, and that is apart from their regular annual oil income. So if Riyadh wants fancy weapons, it can buy them from France or the UK or Russia if the US won't sell to the Saudis.

The correct way to take the Saudis down a notch is two-fold. One is to make a full court press to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. With its current domestic problems, which derive in part from the US trade and financial blockade on Iran, the government in Tehran has reason to be more flexible. If the Democrats do well in the mid-terms, the same would be true of Biden. Bringing Iran in from the cold would put another two million barrels a day on the market in short order. Biden is also trying to take sanctions off Venezuelan production, but that country's industry is degraded and Caracas will need time to ramp up production. Letting Iran sell its oil, as the US did before May, 2018, would completely make up for the OPEC+ cut, and maybe then some.

An Iran freely pumping oil would also hurt Russia, which would see clandestine markets dry up, and would put even more pressure on Putin to back down.

The other way to address Saudi bad pricing behavior is to push the electrification of transportation even harder. Electric cars are freedom-mobiles. Petroleum is mainly used for transportation,, and if US transportation quickly goes green, it will pull the rug out from under Riyadh and Moscow, depriving them of their ability to blackmail the world because of their energy resources. Electric cars have doubled to 6% of new car purchases in the US this year.

China and Europe are way ahead of us, which has implications for the future of the automobile industry. In China this year, battery electric vehicles were 19% of new car sales, and plug-in hybrids were another 5%, so almost a quarter of new cars were some sort of EV. In Europe, BEVs are 10% of new car purchases, and PHEVs are 9%, so nearly 20% of new cars registered in the European Economic Area are EVs.

Why did Saudi Arabia defy Biden? Global oil production is up by over 4 million barrels a day to about 100 million barrels a day this year compared to last. The extra production this summer had begun to bring down prices from a high of $120 a barrel last spring to $95 a barrel today. Before the cut was announced, prices had gone even softer, sometimes under $90 a barrel.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was founded in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Its membership has fluctuated since, with some countries joining and others leaving, depending on their petroleum output and their sensitivity to prices. OPEC is a cartel, which conspires to influence prices. Its members do not control enough of the market to set prices, but they seek to smooth out the ups and downs. Primary commodity prices are a roller-coaster, which is inconvenient for producers who don't want to be broke one year and rich as Croesus the next. How can you plan out building airports, roads and office buildings that way? Many primary commodity producers have attempted to establish such cartels at one time or another, as with tea.

OPEC+ for the past several years has grouped 11 OPEC members with 10 non-OPEC producers, including Russia, Malaysia and Mexico.

Last week OPEC+ agreed on a cut to their country quotas that would yield an over-all reduction of two million barrels a day. Given stable or rising demand, that cut in supply will cause prices to rise.

The Biden administration was all along unrealistic in hoping for a rise in Saudi or OPEC production. Analysts concluded earlier this year that the oil producing countries were already producing at their peak capacity, including Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis tried to tell the Americans that. Washington, however, chose to believe that they were just being fed a line and that there was more oil out there to be had. There wasn't.

In the early twenty-first century, Saudi Arabia had a low-price policy, because it did not want to kick-start the electric vehicle revolution with high gasoline prices. But now, as the US, China and the EU are backing EVs strongly and the percentage of new car buys that are electric is rising quickly, that game is over. Saudi Arabia is now in a race to get as much money as possible for its petroleum before transportation is largely electrified. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman wants to use the current value of petroleum to pay for a Saudi transition to a non-oil economy. He can't do that by lowering the price of oil.

The US and Saudi Arabia are no longer on the same page about the future and how to get there. The US is going green because of the climate crisis. The Saudis are happy to wreck the planet to get the last penny of value from their stranded asset. We may as well recognize this fact and begin doing some offshore balancing by bringing Iran in from the cold.

(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.

Protester holds up a placard against trickle down economics as they march through the streets
during the 'Enough is Enough' Rally Against Energy Bills, on 1 October 2022 in Bristol, England.

Why Is Trickle-Down Economics Still With Us?
By Robert Reich

Within weeks of taking office, Britain's new prime minister, Liz Truss, and her chancellor of the exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, proposed a radical new set of economic measures that echoed the trickle-down policies of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan - heavy on tax cuts for the rich and deregulation.

Last Monday, after a backlash from investors, economists and members of his own party, Mr Kwarteng reversed one of the proposals, deciding against abolishing the tax rate of 45% on the highest earners. But proposals for other tax cuts worth tens of billions of pounds remain intact, as the government insists it is on the right path.

What's bizarre about this latest episode of trickle-down economics - the abiding faith on the political right that tax cuts and deregulation are good for an economy - is that this gonzo economic theory continues to live on, notwithstanding its repeated failures.

Advertisement Ever since Reagan and Thatcher first tried them, trickle-down policies have exploded budget deficits and widened inequality. At best, they've temporarily increased consumer demand (the opposite of what's needed during high inflation that Britain and much of the world are experiencing).

Reagan's tax cuts and deregulation at the start of the 1980s were not responsible for America's rapid growth through the late 1980s. His exorbitant spending (mostly on national defense) fueled a temporary boom that ended in a fierce recession. The Donald Trump White House's tax cut never trickled down.

Yet the US never restored the highest marginal tax rates before Reagan, and deregulation - especially of financial markets - is a continuing legacy.

The result? From 1989 to 2019, typical working families in the United States saw negligible increases in their real (inflation-adjusted) incomes and wealth.

Over the same period, the wealthiest 1% of Americans became $29tn richer. The national debt exploded. And Wall Street's takeover of the economy continued. Meanwhile, and largely as a result, America has become more bitterly divided along the fissures of class and education. Trump didn't cause this. He exploited it.

The situation in the UK after Thatcher has not been dramatically different.

Even during the past decade of economic growth, social progress on many fronts - from education and healthcare to rights and tolerance - has declined in Britain. According to the Social Progress Index, the UK is one of only four countries to have slid backwards since 2011 (the others are Syria, Venezuela and Libya).

So why is trickle-down economics still with us? What explains the fatal attraction of this repeatedly failed economic theory?

The easiest answer is that it satisfies politically powerful moneyed interests who want to rake in even more. Armies of lobbyists in Washington, London, and Brussels continuously demand tax cuts and "regulatory relief" for their wealthy patrons.

But why has the public been repeatedly willing to go along with trickle-down economics when nothing ever trickles down? What accounts for the collective amnesia?

The answer is that the moneyed interests have also invested a portion of their gains in an intellectual infrastructure of economists and pundits who continue to promote this failed doctrine - along with institutions that house them, such as, in the US, the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and Club for Growth.

Consider Stephen Moore, the founder and past president of the Club for Growth and a leading economist at the Heritage Foundation, whose columns appear regularly in the Wall Street Journal and is a frequent guest on Fox News.

Moore helped draft and promote Trump's trickle-down tax. In recent weeks he praised Ms Truss for her willingness "to challenge the reigning orthodoxy by sharply cutting taxes to boost growth," calling her package "a gutsy and sound policy decision" that "will bring jobs, capital and businesses back to the UK."

Moore and others like him are happy to disregard the evidence and history of trickle-down's abject failures. They simply repeat the same set of promises made decades ago when Reagan and Thatcher set out to convince the public that trickle-down would work splendidly.

The public has so much else on its mind and is so confused by the cacophony that it doesn't remember - until immediately after the next trickle-down failure.

(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

How Long Will The GOP Continue To Shrink The Middle Class Rather Than Grow It?
Republicans always work against middle class people, worsen poverty, and direct all their efforts and opportunities toward the top 10 percent (and, particularly, the top 1 percent) of Americans
By Thom Hartmann

A middle class, when mishandled, can be a powerful and fearsome thing, as the rulers of Iran and Russia are discovering. Both regimes are now teetering on the edge of collapse because of popular uprisings that would not have happened without a middle-class in each country.

People paralyzed by grinding poverty rarely revolt - it takes a lot to produce "barrio uprisings" - because their lives are consumed with day-to-day survival issues.

But when people are prosperous enough that they've left behind the most severe economic insecurity - believing they'll always find another home, job, or can get into another university - they begin to demand a responsive government and will rise in protest when it fails to meet their demands.

Republicans have been warning about this since the 1950s, although not in the way you may think.

While President Franklin D. Roosevelt started America on the path to becoming the first nation in the history of the world to see over half its citizens in the middle class, conservative thought leaders have been warning their politicians about the danger of an "over-large and over-prosperous" middle class.

This explains why Republican actions always work against middle class people, worsen poverty, and redirect all their efforts and opportunities toward the top 10 percent (and, particularly, the top 1 percent) of Americans. It explains why Red states remain mired in poverty, crime, and have the shortest life-spans in America.

Way back in 1953 Russell Kirk published The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. Quoting at length from 18th century British conservative Edmund Burke, who famously warned that if "hairdressers and candle-makers" were allowed to vote it would do "violence" to a nation, Kirk argued that modern America was on the verge of collapse because of the very middle class that FDR had created by raising taxes on the rich and legalizing unions.

If the middle class got too large - at that time it was not yet half of America - Kirk and followers of his work said:

*Working people would cease to fear their bosses;

*Women would no longer bend their knees to their husbands;

*Young people would ignore or resist authority;

*Middle class people would disruptively demand a better quality of life;

*And minorities would demand an equal place at the table with whites.

Kirk was largely ignored by mainstream Republicans when he was writing in the 1950s (although Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley found his work inspiring and transformational).

But the 1960s changed everything:

*The 1961 introduction of the birth control pill kicked off "Women's Liberation";>{?} *The 1965 war in Vietnam produced massive nationwide student protests;

*The Civil Rights movement was in full flower (and cities were burning in response to police killings of unarmed Black people and the assassination of MLK);

*In 1965 and 1967 Rachel Carson and Ralph Nader kicked off the environmental and consumer crusades;

*Prosperity was so widespread that only 28% of 18-29 year-olds lived with their parents in the 1960s.

*And working class people were joining unions so frequently that their wages were actually growing faster than CEO salaries.

It shocked American conservatives the way today's protests by largely middle-class women in Iran are shocking the mullahs.

Something had to be done about the fact that over 60 percent of Americans had the security of a middle-class lifestyle. People with factory jobs were buying vacation homes, visiting Europe on retirement pensions, and sending their children to college without debt.

And - horrors of horrors - these same working-class people wanted the government to keep those high tax rates in place to pay for middle class benefits like good schools, free college, public roads and transportation, Social Security and Medicare, and a generous social safety net program (LBJ's "War on Poverty" and "Great Society") to reduce poverty and give poor people a leg up into that growing middle class.

Suddenly Kirk looked like a prophet, and the Republican Party - rejecting the moderation and union support of Dwight D. Eisenhower - fully embraced Kirk's imperative to cut the "bloated" middle class down to size.

Their standard bearer in this mission was a B-movie actor, Ronald Reagan, who was charming, handsome, and - most important of all - could easily memorize the lines he was given.

The year John F. Kennedy was assassinated fully 78 percent of Americans "trusted government to do the right thing" for this country. The top income tax rate on the morbidly rich was 91%, over 50% on corporations, and regulatory agencies were looking into workplace safety, pollution, and worker's rights.

Unions were growing and college was so cheap as to be free in most of America. Within a few years women would receive full financial and workplace rights, and minorities were appearing in the workplace and the media.

All the "government interference" in the "free market" that was growing this "culturally dangerous" middle class was intolerable to America's oligarchs: something had to be done!

So Fred Koch's John Birch Society and other rightwing groups re-calibrated their efforts away from "fighting the communist threat" to fighting the middle class threat.

Over the next decade - as rightwing billionaires and fossil fuel barons funded literally hundreds of think tanks, policy groups, and publications all saying that government was evil and dangerous - public trust in government collapsed to around 34% by the late 1970s.

Their propaganda campaign about "jackbooted thugs" in the IRS, overreaching regulatory agencies, and corrupt union bosses was working.

Following that script, Reagan cut the top tax rate on the morbidly rich from 74% to 27%, filled the corporate tax rate with loopholes, gutted regulatory agencies, tried to kill the EPA (through the corrupt efforts of Neil Gorsuch's mother), and declared open warfare on the unions who represented about a third of American workers.

The conservative effort to cut the American middle class down to size has, so far, succeeded beyond their wildest dreams:

*In the 42 years since Reagan won the 1980 election, the American middle class has collapsed from almost two-thirds to fewer than half of us.

*Unions now represent only about 6% of workers in the private sector.

*Middle class college debt represents almost as much - $2 trillion - as Trump's single 2017 tax gift to billionaires.

*Fully 52% of people 18-29 years old are now living with their parents.

*Housing costs have gone from an average of 2.2 times the average annual salary to over 10 times worker's average income.

*Three men now own more wealth than the bottom half of Americans.

*The reliably Republican top 10% of Americans own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

Republican-controlled Red states now wallow in poverty - dragging the entire country down - and the GOP is doing everything possible at the national level to bring down Blue states as well.

And now Senator Rick Scott has a plan to kill off Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid within five years that is widely endorsed across the GOP.

With this wind under their wings, Republicans are doubling down with a batch of candidates for the 2022 midterms who not only want to cut more taxes, gut more regulatory agencies, and kill more unions, but are openly saying they won't even respect the will of voters in the 2024 presidential election if given positions of power this fall.

The net effect of all these policies that Republicans advocate, from tax cuts to gutting unions to allowing political bribery by corporations, is to further impoverish working class people and cause more and more to fall out of the middle class.

Just since 1980, Republican tax cuts have produced a transfer of over $50 trillion in wealth from the middle-class to the top 1%.

While over 60% of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck, three people own more wealth than the bottom half of American society. Got that? That's 1, 2, 3 people with more wealth than the bottom 165 million people.

Every step that further impoverishes and indebts the middle class decreases the chances that they will rise up against their bosses, right-wing media, the Republican Party, or the billionaires who own them.

Will Republicans succeed at indebting and frightening enough Americans to continue blocking progressive demands for taxes on the morbidly rich to pay for social programs?

How many more years can they get away with keeping the middle-class shrinking rather than growing?

Will their NASCAR and Country Music branding - and white supremacist terror campaigns against racial, gender, and religious minorities - be enough to make white Republican- and swing-voters forget that the GOP only truly serves the wealthy and giant corporations?

Stay tuned: we'll find out on November 8th.

(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
~~~ Kevin Siers ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

US Proves There's Nowhere They Can't Bomb
By The Waterford Whispers News

NASA's successful mission to crash a spacecraft onto a distant asteroid has been heralded as a complete success, and proof that even deep space isn't safe from aerial assault by the US government.

The 'DART'mission, not affiliated with the even more dangerous transport system in Dublin, was launched in November of last year in a bid to test the earth's defences against incoming disaster movie plots.

The craft impacted with an asteroid in a galaxy far, far away at around 7pm yesterday, marking the first time in history that an off-plant target was successfully struck, and the first time in decades that the US had bombed an area that did not contain oil.

"Nobody can hide from us. Not terrorists, not binary asteroid systems, nothing," beamed a jubilant US defence spokesperson yesterday, while other NASA eggheads and pencil-necks celebrated their own little nerdy accomplishments nearby.

"Yes, we've shown that we can Armageddon the fuck out of a planet-threatening heavenly body should it ever head our way. Love that for earth, I really do. But it should also show that we can bomb anything, anywhere, at any time. We can tackle threats both foreign and domestic, and now extraterrestrial too. USA! USA!"

Meanwhile the Pentagon are downplaying reports that suggest the footage of the DART crashing into the asteroid shows what appear to be alien children playing nearby, second from impact.

"Those were active combatants," came the official line.

(c) 2022 The Waterford Whispers News


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 40 (c) 10/14/2022

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