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In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "The More Joe Biden Stumbles, The More Corporate Democrats Freak Out."

Ralph Nader concludes, "The Ukraine Shakedown Is Important, But Not Sufficient To Let People Realize All The Other Things Trump Is Doing."

Michael Winship warns of, "Our Mad Dog President-And His Bible-Thumping Kennel Pals."

Jim Hightower asks, "Who's Behind The Increasing Suppression Of Your Right To Protest?"

Juan Cole explains, "How 'Citizens United' Decision Paved Way For Giuliani's Clients Parnas And Fruman To Buy Influence In America."

John Nichols supports, "Pocan's All In To Check And Balance Trump."

James Donahue finds, "Generic Drugs Protected From Litigation."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Lindsey Graham Defends Trump Because It's Good For Lindsey Graham."

David Suzuki reminds Canadians, "On October 21, Vote For Climate Solutions!"

Charles P. Pierce reports, "The Trump Administration* Has Surrendered Entirely To Industry."

David Swanson says, "The Nobel Committee Is Doing Better."

Sinator Lindsey Graham wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich examines, "Donald Trump: Xenophobe In Public, International Mobster In Private."

Jane Stllwater reports from, "Syria."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst says, "Blow That Whistle Like A Spy," but first Uncle Ernie warns, "Our Kafkian Nightmare Continues."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Ted Rall, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Win McNamee, Olivier Douliery, Alexandria Sheriff's Office, Pier Marco Tacca, Brent Lewis, Nati Harnik, Markus Spiske, Pexels, Gerald Herbert, Jane Stillwater, AFP, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Our Kafkian Nightmare Continues
America's 'metamorphosis' under Lying Donald
By Ernest Stewart

"So often, the president would say, 'Here's what I want to do and here's how I want to do it,' and I would have to say to him, 'Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can't do it that way. It violates the law.'" ~~~ Rex Tillerson

"Governments are at a much more advanced stage than the public thinks, but the problem is that there are no magic solutions, yet everything is happening at a tremendous speed and we need to adapt everything. Science gives us an idea of what could happen, but the question is how to incorporate this data into political action and democratic decision-making." ~~~ Grammenos Mastrojeni ~ deputy secretary general for Energy and Climate Action at the Union for the Mediterranean

"I think Lindsey Graham is a disgrace, and I think you have one of the worst representatives of any representative in the United States, and I don't think he should run. I don't think he could run for dog catcher in this state and win again. I really don't. Other than that, I think he's wonderful." ~~~ Lying Donald

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me
Help ~~~ The Beatles

Back in high school someone turned me on to Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis." I was amazed after reading it that I hadn't read it before as by this time a had a few hundred Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror books in my library. Like the "Valley of the Gwangi," I had a series of nightmares about it for a week or two and hence "Metamorphosis" was always etched into my mind.

So when the "Unite the Right" rally came along in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in August of 2017 I started having flashbacks to Metamorphosis. When Lying Donald was forced to make remarks about the rally he condemned, "hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides." There was only one side who were full of "hatred, bigotry, and violence." Like Lying Donald does, i.e., lie, he said that there were, "very fine people on both sides." And with that the America that I knew, the America that so many other Rethuglicans had tried to change to the far right was reborn as tiki torch carrying fascists. In the last couple of years it's only gotten worse! Even Ike wouldn't have ripped babies from their mothers arms, and put them alone in cages.

Sure, Ike caused the needless deaths of whole American towns out west by dropping a-bombs just over the hill to see what would happen in a near hit and what happened was whole towns died from horrible tumors. He shut down factories and let schools out so they could all play in the lovely pink snow that was falling all about. What a guy, huh?

Don't get me started on Tricky Dick and Ray-Guns, not to mention the Crime family Bush or the extreme court. Besides you may have read the thousand or so columns I've written about them! But thanks to them, and their brain washing of Americans, we got stuck with Lying Donald. The reason I started this magazine was because of what I saw in the 2000 elections, the extreme court coup d'etat that gave Smirky the Wonder Chimp the presidency, instead of Al Gore who actually won the election, when the votes were actually counted! Not just the popular vote but the electoral college as well. And please don't get me started on Hamilton!

This nightmare is far scarier than anything Kafka ever wrote. As a wise young girl once said, "Be afraid. Be very afraid," America!

In Other News

I see where the Mediterranean basin is one of the hot spots of this global warming crisis, and in some ways it is being "hit harder than other parts of the world," according to Wolfgang Cramer, scientific director at the French-based Mediterranean Institute of Biodiversity and Ecology (IMBE).

A new report, whose main conclusions were presented on Thursday in Barcelona, shows that the temperature increase in the Mediterranean region has already reached 2.7 degrees F above pre-industrial levels, which means that the warming effect in this area is 20% faster than the global average. Nearly as fast as the Arctic! 3.6 F or 2 C is the tipping point of now return!

And what's coming next, if additional measures to reduce greenhouse gases are not taken, is much worse: by 2040 the temperature increase will be 3.96 degree F, and possibly as much as 6.8 degrees F in some parts of the basin by 2100. In just two decades, 250 million people will suffer from water scarcity due to the droughts.

The report was presented at a meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean, an international organization whose members include EU states as well as countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.

Since 2015, a group of over 80 scientists working under Cramer's guidance has been working on a study that is being touted as "the first-ever comprehensive scientific report on the impact of climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean region."

"Never before had there been such as complete synthesis as this,"
says Cramer about a document that is filled with alarming information. The project coordinator notes that many people are in a vulnerable situation because "they live very close to the sea and also because they are poor and have few options for protecting themselves or moving away." The report warns that in future there will be longer and more intense heatwaves, as well as more frequent periods of drought.

Despite the pessimistic outlook, Cramer underscores that the goal of the study is to "provide balanced information about the risks for the entire Mediterranean basin" to politicians and their advisors. The scientist also makes a call for action: "The North needs to help the South to adapt, to guarantee stability for the economies of southern countries. Every ton of CO2 that is reduced makes a difference."

Grammenos Mastrojeni, the deputy secretary general for Energy and Climate Action at the Union for the Mediterranean, believes that this report can be useful to government leaders when they need to make policy decisions.

"We are not used to incorporating climate and nature into our policies and our planning. But if we don't, we will be the victims of a very strong dynamic that will change the foundations of the interests on which we have built the balance of the Mediterranean," he said in a telephone conversation.

"If we don't plan for this, it could become a very important destabilization factor. But if we manage to incorporate it into our policies, it could transform into an opportunity to improve our cooperation and achieve progress that is fair, lasting and equitable in the entire region," he adds.

And Finally

Lindsey Graham was described by my old friend William Rivers Pitt as a, "charlatan, phony, trickster, backslider, deceiver, fraud, imposter, mountebank, inveigler, scammer, sham, pettifogger," and those are his good points!

Lindsey once described Lying Donald thus: "The more you know about Donald Trump, the less likely you are to vote for him. The more you know about his business enterprises, the less successful he looks."" Truer words were never spoken! However, knowing how evil Lying Donald is, and the total destruction of America is in his plans, Lindsey thinks impeaching Lying Donald would "destroy the nation for no good reason." Don't you wish Lindsey would come out of the closet and be himself?

So, you know what I've done? NO, lets not see all the same hands... that's right, Lindsey Graham wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award! Congratulations Lindsey I bet your mama would be proud!

Keepin' On

If you think that what we do is important and would like to see us keep on, keeping on, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep telling you the truth!


07-13-1941 ~ 10-11-2019
Thanks for the film!

05-30-1934 ~ 10-11-2019
Thanks for the adventure!

04-16-1931 ~ 10-12-2019
Thanks for the music!

05-05-1946 ~ 10-14-2019
Thanks for the music!

01-18-1951 ~ 10-17-2019
Thanks for fighting the good fight!


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Sniffer Joe

The More Joe Biden Stumbles, The More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
By Norman Solomon

The Democratic Party's most powerful donors are running out of options in the presidential race. Their warhorse Joe Biden is stumbling, while the other corporate-minded candidates lag far behind. For party elites, with less than four months to go before voting starts in caucuses and primaries, 2020 looks like Biden or bust.

A key problem for the Democratic establishment is that the "electability" argument is vaporizing in the political heat. Biden's shaky performances on the campaign trail during the last few months have undermined the notion that he's the best bet to defeat Donald Trump. The latest polling matchups say that Biden and his two strong rivals for the nomination, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, would each hypothetically beat Trump by around 10 points.

As such realities sink in, the focus is turning to where the party's entrenched power brokers don't want it to go -- the actual merits of the candidates in terms of political history, independence from big-money special interests, and longtime commitment to positions now favored by most Democrats.

With the electability claim diminished, Biden faces a steep climb on the merits of his record and current policy stances. The looming crisis for the Biden forces is reflected in the fact that his top campaign operatives have already publicly conceded he could lose the first two nomination contests, the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

And in an era when small donations from the grassroots are adding up to big financial hauls, Biden is so uninspiring that he's losing the money race by a wide margin. Despite his relentless harvesting of big checks from hedge-fund managers, rich CEOs and the like, Biden's campaign raised a total of only about $15 million in the last quarter, compared to around $25 million that Sanders and Warren each received. The New York Times noted that the duo's fundraising totals are markers for "the collective enthusiasm in the party for progressive candidates pushing messages of sweeping change."

But Biden continues to greatly benefit from the orientations of corporate media outlets that loudly echo the concerns of corporate Democrats (often called "moderates" or "centrists") and their kindred spirits in realms like Wall Street. Rarely inclined to dispel the longstanding myth of "Lunch Bucket Joe," reporting has been sparse on his legislative legacy in service to such industries as credit-card companies, banks and the healthcare business.

Media affection for Biden is matched by the biases of corporate media that -- for many years -- have routinely spun coverage of Sanders in negative ways, amplifying the messages from people at the helm of huge corporations. Recent months have seen no letup of anti-Bernie salvos, with Sanders as a kind of "heat shield" for Warren, catching the vast majority of the left-baiting attacks that would otherwise be aimed at her. Yet, as Warren's campaign gains momentum, she is becoming more of a prime target for wealthy sectors and their media echo chambers.

A CNBC article summarized on-air comments from network star Jim Cramer: "The financial community is really worried about the possibility of Sen. Elizabeth Warren becoming president." A theme among corporate executives, he said, is that "she's got to be stopped."

Such rumblings have grown louder since that broadcast five weeks ago, as Warren has surged into virtual ties with Biden in national polls. In late September, CNBC reported: "Democratic donors on Wall Street and in big business are preparing to sit out the presidential campaign fundraising cycle -- or even back President Donald Trump -- if Sen. Elizabeth Warren wins the party's nomination."

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders (who I actively support) is even more antithetical to the economic powers that be. He directly advocates for an end to the biz-as-usual that has propelled the rapacious rise of corporate power and widening economic inequality.

Sanders underscored that advocacy in an ABC interview that aired on Sunday: "What we need is, in fact -- I don't want to get people too nervous -- we need a political revolution. I am, I believe, the only candidate who's going to say to the ruling class of this country, the corporate elite: 'Enough, enough with your greed and with your corruption. We need real change in this country.'"

And Sanders made explicit why -- at the same time that Warren is loathed on Wall Street -- he is even more feared and despised by champions of predatory capital. "Elizabeth considers herself -- if I got the quote correctly -- to be a capitalist to her bones," he said. "I don't. And the reason I am not is because I will not tolerate for one second the kind of greed and corruption and income and wealth inequality and so much suffering that is going on in this country today, which is unnecessary."

Days ago, the Bernie 2020 campaign began wide distribution of a sticker that boldly says, "Billionaires Should Not Exist." That kind of genuine progressive politics is an existential threat to the extremely wealthy, whose riches amid vast income inequality keep killing a lot of people.

Biden, speaking at the Brookings Institution in May 2018, was transparent about why corporate Democrats remain so enamored with him. "I love Bernie, but I'm not Bernie Sanders," he said. "I don't think 500 billionaires are the reason why we're in trouble. . . The folks at the top aren't bad guys."

No wonder Dianne Feinstein -- snubbing fellow California senator Kamala Harris -- recently hosted a high-profile fundraiser for Biden and last week formally endorsed him as "a tireless fighter for hardworking American families." Feinstein's net worth is close to $100 million, and her investment-banker husband Richard Blum is a billionaire.

At this point, the shaky Biden for President campaign appears to be the only realistic hope for those who want a defender of corporate greed at the top of the Democratic ticket next year. While progressives who understand Biden's actual record are determined to prevent him from becoming the presidential nominee, "the folks at the top" are doubling down on their best chance to win the nomination for someone who says they "aren't bad guys."

(c) 2019 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."

U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the press
while departing the White House on November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC.

The Ukraine Shakedown Is Important, But Not Sufficient To Let People Realize All The Other Things Trump Is Doing
The "abuse of the public trust," in Alexander Hamilton's phrase is overflowing.
By Ralph Nader

It is time for the House of Representatives to announce comprehensive articles of impeachment against the chronic outlaw and violator of the public trust-President Donald J. Trump who won the Electoral College, but lost the popular vote.

Six House Committees have been investigating and assembling for months the necessary evidence. Mr. Trump himself has taunted the House to impeach him. He has openly and brazenly defied Congressional subpoenas for documents and blocked subpoenaed witnesses from testifying. This obstruction of Congress is an ongoing impeachable offense-a grave one in the opinions of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the other framers of our Constitution, who knew the importance of critical separation of powers.

These committees are documenting his massive obstruction of justice, otherwise known as blocking law enforcement and the rule of law through intimidation, firings, and other forms of political coercion. They are filling in the details of the ten categories of obstruction described in the Mueller Report. They are cataloguing all the ways Trump is using his office to enrich his businesses-openly promoting his hotels before foreign governments and their agents.

Committee investigators are peeling off layer after layer of Trump's demanding from Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine to investigate a possible opponent to his re-election-Joe Biden and his son, having suspended nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine to pressure Mr. Zelensky.

The "abuse of the public trust," in Alexander Hamilton's phrase is overflowing. Over ten thousand Trump lies mean cover-ups, secrecy in government, deceiving innocent citizens about the air, food, water, and workplace danger, megalomania, about drug prices and health insurance for all. Lies matter; they tell us something about the president's mental instability, his detachment from reality, and the willingness of a large minority of the people to believe the fibs-even when they are about their own crucial livelihoods, health, and safety.

Being a serial sexual predator and earlier bragging about how he accosted women are a brutish model for youngsters. Legislators like Senator Al Franken lost his position for doing one percent of Donald's criminal and tortious acts. What would Hamilton also think of the commander in chief saying that if he is impeached, there might be a civil war? Incitation to mass violence for his political survival is not a minor matter.

Then there are the lawless uses of armed force abroad anywhere Trump wants, regardless of the absence of congressional appropriations or declarations of war. Dragnet enforcement without judicial warrants are a federal crime. The same for threatening registered federal whistleblowers.

The House of Representatives already has enough evidence of Trump spending money for purposes not authorized by Congress, such as shifting $3.5 billion from Pentagon schools and other services to building his porous wall. If he reads the Constitution, the "power of the purse" was exclusively given to Congress.

That previous presidents have done some of the latter offenses does not exonerate Trump's violations. The Congress has to draw the line and stop the ever-faster drift under both parties toward executive tyranny in the White House.

The polls are moving over 50 percent in favor of impeachment. Other people wish Congress would focus on kitchen-table issues. They need to know that Trump's impeachable offenses include wholesale taking the federal cops off the corporate crime beat. He is making your air, water, food, and workplaces more hazardous by removing or weakening health and safety standards that save lives and diminish sicknesses. He's allowing more greenhouse gases to be emitted, worsening the climate disruptions which he says is a "Chinese hoax."

Law enforcement to protect your family budget has reached a record low. The loan sharks, credit, insurance, and banking industries know that. Fines imposed on wrongdoers by Trump's agencies have dropped precipitously (see Public Citizen's report, "Corporate Impunity"). With Trump, you're paying higher taxes as the wealthy classes get off and savor their large Trumpian tax escapes.

The foregoing is to urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver a full hand of serious impeachable offenses to the Congress and the American people. The Ukraine shakedown is important, but not sufficient to let people realize all the other things Trump is doing to them, their families, their Constitution, and their democracy.

The full, despicable portrait of Donald J. Trump must be revealed to provide the maximum possible public understanding. For over two and a half years, too many of his absurd tweets and assertions have gone without official rebuttals. His tactic is to dominate the news cycle every day as if his presidency is a reality show and he is the star.

The mass media is starting to wise up about being used and abused by Trump's fulminations and incitements. It is time for the mass media, and its broadening coverage of the forthcoming, nationally televised House impeachment proceedings, to prove it too can expose Trump's assault on both our Constitution's law of the land and the citizenry.

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

Like Trump, a would-be dictator madly claiming the overwhelming support of the populace,
the real-life Capone insisted that his criminal acts satisfied "a public demand."

Our Mad Dog President-And His Bible-Thumping Kennel Pals
The White House theocrats may be the biggest danger of all.
By Michael Winship

"I have done nothing to harm these people but they are angered with me, so what do they do, doctor up some income tax, for which they have no case... to harass a peaceful man."

You could be excused for thinking that Donald Trump spoke these words of self-pity. In fact, they're from Robert de Niro, playing that other gangster, Al Capone, in the 1987 movie The Untouchables, written by David Mamet.

Like Trump, a would-be dictator madly claiming the overwhelming support of the populace, the real-life Capone insisted that his criminal acts satisfied "a public demand." He declared, "I am just a businessman, giving the people what they want." And a certain percentage of the civilian population-Capone's "base," if you will-thought he was just swell.

Scarface even rigged elections. In 1924, in Cicero, Illinois, Capone was fearful that the Republican mayor who fit snugly in his pocket might be defeated for another term. So those who opposed the incumbent were kidnapped, beaten and murdered. Ballot boxes were stuffed and voters threatened. Problem solved.

Trump hasn't reached the point of kidnapping and killing voters-yet-but it's clear that he views elections with equal distemper and has no scruples about cheating to win or even eliminating elections altogether. He welcomed what has been thoroughly documented Russian interference in the 2016 election, yet continues to deny it ever happened, and now is doing his best to obstruct efforts for fair elections in 2020. The nationwide GOP effort to suppress voter turnout continues.

Not only is Trump trying to shake down other countries for real or imagined dirt on political opponents-and using Rudy Giuliani and other lowlifes to assist in the thuggery-he continues to market his office, seemingly eager to line his pockets and those of his family and friends with the lucre of bribery and extortion, much of it to be provided, evidence suggests, by the very countries in which, surprise, he has business interests.

It is, in the words of US Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), an extralegal "shadow foreign policy operation." Yet to some minds, such as they are, and Republican leadership in particular, this all seems somehow okay because he's doing it so blatantly. But on top of the graft and venality, Trump doesn't think through the implications of his impulsive and inconsistent policy choices, both here and overseas, whether it's Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea, China and the list goes on.

There's no longer anyone at the White House to stop him from crashing down the slope from one boulder to the next, caroming like a tangerine billiard ball, inflicting further death and despair on families at home and abroad and increasing the odds of complete disaster, including a resurgence of terrorist violence. See Syria, the Kurds, Turkey and a mindboggling series of boneheaded, deadly decisions.

Meanwhile, his appeals to racial prejudice, lies and seedy conspiracy theories are backed by cynical opportunists who know they're all false yet don't care as long as their own goals are achieved. They're joined by people so angry, clueless and out of touch with the way government actually works-or doesn't-that they think our bureaucracy is capable of pulling off plots like some wannabe James Bond villain.

But I digress: I've been out of the country the last couple of weeks and so much has been happening. What has become increasingly distressing over the last few days is that many of the aforementioned cynical opportunists have a theocratic agenda which, if they could make it happen, would see a Margaret Atwood-style, "Handmaid's Tale" Gilead descend like a shroud over the nation.

These aren't your garden-variety, come-to-Jesus evangelists, members of the religious right bemoaning gays and abortion, praying for your soul and eagerly awaiting the Second Coming. Rather, in contrast to the founders who favored the separation of church and state and rejected the encroachment into government of organized religion, these self-sanctified pomposities, pit bulls of dogma, would impose on the rest of us an illiberal hierocracy of Christian rules and regs that they alone would determine. All in the name of God, of course, with whom they apparently text on a regular basis.

In the last week, speeches from the second and third most powerful men in the Trump administration powerfully illustrate that the old-time religion they have in mind is more along the lines of the Inquisition than the Enlightenment.

On Friday, Attorney General William Barr, took it upon himself to speak to an audience at Notre Dame Law School not about jurisprudence but a "campaign to destroy the traditional moral order."

In that social order, Barr insisted, "moral values must rest on authority independent of men's will – they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being."

He decried what he saw as the "force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay; it is organized destruction. Secularists, and their allies among the 'progressives,' have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values."

The same day as Barr's closed-door address, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo-Savonarola to Barr's would-be American Torquemada-went before the American Association of Christian Counselors in Nashville. "I know some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work," he said. He asked that those in attendance "pray for my work in defending religious freedom," and added, "You will all be in my prayers as you do God's work, and I covet yours as I lead American diplomacy."

Trump hit the religion hot buttons, too, when he spoke on Saturday at the Value Voters Summit in DC, sponsored by the Family Research Council. But it's hard to take seriously anything he says about faith. Barr and Pompeo, on the other hand, really mean it.

Pompeo, who has said, "I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and his word, and the truth," has expressed his firm belief in the Rapture. Barr, as my friend Joan Walsh writes in The Nation, "is actually neck-deep in a web of extremist conservative Catholic institutions, and he has been for the last three decades." These include the Catholic Information Center, run by the far-right Opus Dei, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Bill Donohue's Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

This is all of a piece with the increasing right-wing embrace of a philosophy known as integralism, which, as colleague Mike Lofgren recently explained, "stresses a comprehensively integrated social and political order complete with religious and cultural conformity. Of course, somebody would have to do all that integrating, and that means a powerful state apparatus keeping everyone in line and inevitably deciding which religious views should be fostered and which are heretical."

Integralism's adherents-whether they know the word for it or not-are part of anti-democratic movements all over the world. We're right, you're wrong, they say, and like Al Capone, to hell with any egalitarian process or legality that gets in our way. In June, Adam Serwer at The Atlantic wrote, "The leaders of both the populist and establishment wings of the Republican Party have concluded that they cannot be allowed to lose power simply because a majority of American voters do not wish them to wield it."

The ends-their desire for a Christian dominated, dictatorial theocracy-justify the means. In their use of religious belief to bolster this current autocratic government, Pompeo and Barr are hitting all the buzzwords and sounding the dog whistles. In many ways they are worse then Trump because they possess a clear and doctrinaire vision, know exactly what they want and how to make it happen. In the words of author and journalist Michael Tomasky, "Doubt nothing about what these people are capable of."

This is scary stuff, everyone. Be very afraid. Pay attention. Resist.

(c) 2019 Michael Winship is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow for Common Dreams. Previously, he was the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and, a past senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos and former president of the Writers Guild of America East. Follow him on twitter:@MichaelWinship

Who's Behind The Increasing Suppression Of Your Right To Protest?
By Jim Hightower

When did We The People vote to outlaw peaceful public protest against corporate profiteers who're running roughshod over our values, livelihoods, environment, and... well, our lives?

Answer: Never. Yet, behind our backs, for-sale state lawmakers are passing corporate-written laws that criminalize our protests against their greed, assessing inordinate jail time and exorbitant fines for the vague offense of "interrupting" or "interfering with" corporate operations and infrastructure.

Last year, the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-financed front group, wrote a model bill called the "Critical Infrastructure Protection Act" to sledgehammer peaceful protesters of corporate wrongdoing. Virtually-identical versions of ALEC's bill were then introduced in 22 state legislatures - and nine have already been enacted in: Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

The Texas version, which took effect September 1, was used just 11 days later to slap harsh felony charges on Greenpeace protesters and 20 others who were also arrested during the non-violent, symbolic shutdown of the Houston Ship Channel. It was lobbied through the legislature by Chevron, Dow, Exxon, Koch Industries, Shell, and other giants. Then it was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, whose top industrial donor group is - surprise! - oil & gas, which pumped more than $10 million into his 2018 election campaign.

These autocrats say they just want to stop violence and vandalism, but Greenpeace protesters committed neither. The real intent of these laws is to penalize legitimate protest, hoping to scare the American people from even trying to exercise our basic democratic rights. To help fight this blatant suppression, go to "PolluterWatch" at

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

This combination of Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, photos provided by the Alexandria Sheriff's
Office shows booking photos of Lev Parnas, left, and Igor Fruman. The associates of Rudy
Giuliani, were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy,
making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records.
The men had key roles in Giuliani's efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation
against Biden and his son, Hunter.

How 'Citizens United' Decision Paved Way For Giuliani's Clients Parnas And Fruman To Buy Influence In America
By Juan Cole

As I pointed out last week, the most powerful intervention in US politics allowing foreign influence in US elections, which contributed to Trump's victory in 2016, was the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) decision. Like Michaelangelo's God creating Adam with a pointing finger, SCOTUS created out of thin air a doctrine the corporations are persons. They added to this ridiculous conclusion their previous creatio ex nihilo, the terminally stupid argument that money is speech and so money in politics can't be regulated. The result is that corporations can now donate on their own to Super-Pacs. Since corporations are often opaque as to ownership and since foreigners can be prominent on their boards, SCOTUS has allowed foreigners to donate to and influence US elections.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested attempting to leave the US with one-way tickets to Austria, after they had been subpoenaed to testify before the House.

One of the charges on which they were arrested was that they set up a dummy corporation, represented as a gas and oil enterprise but which did not actually exist, calling it Global Energy Producers. GEP then made a donation of $325,000 to America First Action, a pro-Trump political action committee, in May of 2018.

They donated big sums to other PACs via their corporate personhood, funneling money from the Ukraine and $1 million from one Russian businessman alone. Citizens United allowed them to operate anonymously and to give as much as they liked (or as their foreign patrons liked).

They also used GEF to influence Republican congressman Pete Sessions to write a letter to secretary of state Mike Pompeo, demanding that he fire the US ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

They also did illegal fundraisers for Florida governor Ron DeSantis, helping him win the governorship.

I wrote last week:

"A series of pro-corporation Supreme Court decisions and the latter's disingenuous equation of money with speech, including "Citizens United", have turned the United States from a democracy to a plutocracy. It is not even a transparent plutocracy, since black money (of unknown provenance) has been allowed by SCOTUS to flood into elections. These developments are not only deadly to democracy, they threaten US security. It is increasingly difficult to exclude foreign money from US political donations. We not only come to be ruled by the billionaires, but even by foreign billionaires with foreign rather than American interests at heart."
At The Intercept, Jon Schwarz and Lee Fang explained that Citizens United (2010) changed everything, allowing corporations to contribute their own money to Super-PACs, with the only restriction that they not directly coordinate with the candidates' campaigns (a vague restriction, the contravention of which is almost impossible to prove).

Citizens United, by bestowing political personhood on corporations, opened US elections to foreign money in several ways, they point out.

Ghost corporations, the ownership of which is opaque, can be set up precisely for the purpose of contributing to super-PACs. The FEC is underfunded and castrated and lacks the resources and the will to look into the actual owners of the ghost corporations.

Further, some 25% of securities in US corporations are owned by foreign nationals, and it is absolutely impossible to squester foreign and US interests within these corporations or the super-PACs they support.

Non-profit foundations can also contribute to super-PACs. They write,

"Want an example? Consider, for instance, that the American Petroleum Institute is partially financed by the U.S. subsidiary of Aramco, the state-owned Saudi oil company. In the 2010 midterm elections, API was one of the funders behind attack ads that helped the Republican Party take back the House of Representatives from the Democrats and stop most of Obama's plans in their tracks."
Nor is there any prospect of this situation improving. When Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed on the Supreme Court, I wrote,
"Big Money Dominating Politics. Citizens United (2010) and other recent Supreme Court cases allowing the super-rich to saturate the airwaves with advertising for the candidate they back, with full knowledge that they thereby ingratiate themselves with the candidate and can expect to call in favors- all this has made money king in the American electoral system. It isn't that most Congressmen are personally bribed. It is their campaigns that receive the money. But a big war chest is job security for congressmen and senators.
Richard L. Hasen explains
that "Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the Supreme Court in 2010 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission," rejected the idea that it is corruption for large donors to the campaign of a politician is corruption. Rather, the donor receives only "Ingratiation and access" which is permissible. In a case decided in 2014, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, Chief Justice John Roberts went even further, celebrating the idea of politicians responding to the wishes of big donors and spenders. Not only are "ingratiation and access" afforded those making large campaign contributions not corruption, Roberts explained. Donors
"embody a central feature of democracy - that constituents support candidates who share their beliefs and interests, and candidates who are elected can be expected to be responsive to those concerns."
In a democracy, Roberts tells us, we should want politicians to be responsive to big donors.Citizens United was ... a fragile 5-4 decision that could have been weakened or ultimately overturned. Now, it is 6-3 and likely become set in stone to the vast detriment of our democracy."
So arguably if you're upset about soliciting or permitting foreign interference in US elections, John Roberts is somebody you should look at impeaching.

I think I nailed it.

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

U.S. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, responds to reporters' questions Wednesday at the Capitol
in Washington, after calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Pocan's All In To Check And Balance Trump
Trump's exploitation of his position and its authority is precisely what presidents are supposed to be impeached for.
By John Nichols

The Congress has become such a pathetic remnant of what the founders of the American experiment intended it to be that it is perhaps not surprising that some commentators were taken aback when U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan got serious about checking and balancing the Trump administration and its appointed henchmen.

After someone at the State Department - presumably Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - blocked testimony by a key witness to the president's scheming to strong-arm the Ukrainian government into investigating Joe Biden, Pocan proposed to withhold the salary of the obstructionist.

European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a Trump campaign donor who was awarded an ambassadorship not because of his competence but because he wrote big checks, was supposed to provide testimony last week to the House Intelligence Committee. That testimony was blocked at the last minute, causing an outcry over obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry. Sondland may testify this week. But the prospect that Pompeo and the Trump cabal may continue their stonewalling is real. So Pocan is offering a real response.

The Wisconsin Democrat wrote to Pompeo last Tuesday, demanding details about the blocking of Sondland's testimony. But Pocan's was not a typical "strongly-worded letter." It packed a punch. Referring to "section 713 of Division D of Public Law 116-6 signed by the President earlier this year," the congressman explained that, "As you are aware, this section prohibits paying the salary of any 'officer or employee of the Federal Government who prohibits or prevents... any other officer or employee of the Federal Government from... communication or contact with any Member, committee, or subcommittee of the Congress.'"

"I believe," added Pocan, "(that) the person prohibiting Ambassador Sondland from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee is in violation of this statute, and that their salary should be withheld until Ambassador Sondland appears before Congress."

As Pompeo is in charge of the State Department, and as he is notoriously "hands-on" when it comes to doing the president's bidding, the salary in question is undoubtedly his. Yet, the congressman is not interested in personalities. He is interested in making two points.

First: "We refuse to bankroll this administration while they hold witnesses hostage," said Pocan.

Second: The Congress needs to get more serious about utilizing "the power of the purse." Along with the authority to declare (or block) wars and to impeach presidents, the authority of the Congress to authorize or refuse the spending of public dollars is an essential check and balance on the executive branch. James Madison referred to it as <>I>"the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance..."

Pocan is asserting that power and his willingness to do so - along with this long overdue impeachment inquiry - suggests that Congress might finally be prepared to reclaim its authority as a co-equal branch of government.

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

Generic Drugs Protected From Litigation
By James Donahue

Most Americans are now covered by medical insurance that makes generic drugs the best if not the only choice when doctors prescribe medicine. What most folks don't know is that thanks to a ruling by the old maverick "Gang of 5" on the Supreme Court, we swallow those pills at our own risk.

By the usual 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that drug companies that manufacture generic drugs are now exempt from litigation for fraud, mislabeling, side effects and accidental death. Only brand name drugs are subject to possible legal action if things go wrong. The ruling was calculated to impact an estimated 80 percent of all drugs sold in the United States. This means an estimated 240 million Americans are unprotected from the pharmaceutical industry, which statistically has been shown to be responsible for more preventable deaths than any other cause.

Don't count on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to keep you safe. Like nearly all of the federal departments (except the military) the FDA is suffering from financial cuts, is understaffed, and under pressure to accept new pharmaceuticals on the market and trusting the drug makers to have properly safety tested them. But the court ruling also protects the FDA from litigation because of bad generic drugs.

The court ruling states that the FDA has the ultimate authority over pharmaceuticals sold in the United States. And if this agency declares a drug to be safe, this takes precedent over whatever happens to the patient that takes the drug.

What is especially troublesome about this ruling is that about 80 percent of prescription drugs consumed in the United States are now manufactured in China or India. This has lowered costs, but it raises questions as to just how safe the drugs are, and whether the FDA is keeping on top of the quality of those drugs before they reach the market.

The five troublesome judges on the high court at the time of this ruling were Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Anton Scalia and Anthony Kennedy. They voted together in support of the ruling.

The case involved a suit by plaintiff Karen Bartlett against Mutual Pharma over the generic anti-inflammatory drug Sulindac. The drug was prescribed to Bartlett for her sore shoulder. But the side effect was a permanent skin disease called toxic epidermal necrolysis. It is extremely painful; it has the effect of third degree burns and causes the skin to peel away.

Bartlett brought suit against Mutual in New Hampshire, arguing that the drug company issued no warning about the possible side effect. She won her case in the state court and was awarded $21 million in damages. Mutual appealed to the high court and the case was overturned.

This now appears to be the bottom line. We must accept the cheaper generic brands of perscribed drugs and if they turn out to be poison, we may have no recourse.

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

Sen. Lindsey Graham attends the Ambrosetti International Economic Forum on September 6, 2019, in Cernobbio, Italy.

Lindsey Graham Defends Trump Because It's Good For Lindsey Graham
By William Rivers Pitt

"Any time you leave a bad idea or a dangerous idea alone, any time you ignore what could become an evil force, you wind up regretting it." -Sen. Lindsey Graham on Trump, March 2016
I swear to Dog, when this is all over - if it ever really is over - I am sending my exhausted, old thesaurus on a first-class trip to some isolated, sun-drenched paradise where it only has to come up with words for "More rum, please" and "Dessert sounds lovely."

The poor sot certainly deserves a vacation. It has for many long years been my constant companion in a quest to find new and interesting ways to describe the daily parade of irredeemable hypocrisy put forth by congressional Republicans. I fear it might be too late to heal my trusty word guide, however; Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina, may have finally battered its stout hardcover into the pulp from whence it came.

Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey, what are we to do with you? Charlatan, phony, trickster, backslider, deceiver, fraud, imposter... all these possible substitutions for "hypocrite" are now but smoking holes on the page because of Senator Graham and his mind-erasing embrace of all things Trump.

If Trump ever actually shot someone on 5th Avenue, Graham would be there to polish the bullets - but only after spending years denouncing murder as wrong and evil. When asked about his sudden reversal on homicide, Graham would smile and smile. "What happened to me?" he would ask, as he did in Greenville, South Carolina, when speaking to a pro-Trump audience back in February of 2019. "Not a damn thing."

Mountebank, inveigler, scammer, sham, pettifogger... more smoking holes on the page. There is no bottom to this drawling barrel, it seems. That Greenville crowd gave him a standing ovation after that remark, and Trump's rabid supporters have embraced him as a brother. Still, I wonder how he manages the bathroom mirror every morning. He appears to be shaving every day. The trick, I imagine, is avoiding looking into your own reflected eyes for any length of time.

There was a stretch, during the 2016 presidential election in which Graham was a candidate for a time, when he described Donald Trump with properly cutting accuracy. "The more you know about Donald Trump, the less likely you are to vote for him," Graham told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in March of that year. "The more you know about his business enterprises, the less successful he looks."

Trump, for his part, made no bones about his feelings about Graham during that race. "I think Lindsey Graham is a disgrace," Trump told a February 2016 crowd in Graham's own back yard of South Carolina, "and I think you have one of the worst representatives of any representative in the United States, and I don't think he should run. I don't think he could run for dog catcher in this state and win again. I really don't. Other than that, I think he's wonderful." That was then, as a sage once said, and this is now. Trump's open defiance of the House impeachment inquiry into his administration's Ukraine dealings has hurled the country into a no-bullshit constitutional crisis. While most congressional Republicans are either standing mute or offering tepid rationalizations for Trump's actions, Graham stands the gaff with full-throated support.

Claiming that the impeachment of Trump would "destroy the nation for no good reason," Graham has invited Trump attorney and notorious fabulist Rudy Giuliani to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the former New York City mayor will be free to spray his convoluted and contradictory conspiracy theories into the wind. "I think Rudy's got a story to tell," Graham told the hosts of Fox & Friends. So did Rasputin. "This seems to me like a political setup," said Graham on the CBS news show "Face the Nation" in late September. "This is all hearsay. You can't get a parking ticket conviction based on hearsay." Speaking to The Washington Post on October 3, Graham claimed Trump sounded like a "normal person" during the July 25 phone call in which Trump pushed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. "If you take half of my phone calls with him," said Graham, "it wouldn't read as cleanly and nicely."

That part, at least, I believe completely... but it is certainly a far cry from the fire-and-brimstone tone Graham took while serving as one of the House managers during the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

"Impeachment is not about punishment," Graham piously intoned in a speech he delivered from the floor of the Senate during Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999. "Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office. You don't even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role."

Evolution is fascinating, don't you think? Especially when it goes backwards. Two decades ago, Graham was all in for making honor and integrity the watchwords for basic presidential behavior. I have no complaint with that. Removing a president for acting out of the bounds of their role even in the absence of a criminal conviction is, once again, an area where 1999 Lindsey and I share common ground. Where did that Lindsey go? Oh, right: Mar-a-Lago.

"To set aside an election is a very scary thought in a democracy," concluded Graham that day in 1999. "I do not agree with this president on most major policy initiatives. I did not vote for this president. But he won. He won twice. To undo that election is tough."

Yet there he stood, House Manager Graham, laboring to "undo" the presidency of Bill Clinton as an act of "cleansing" in the name of "honor and integrity." Now? Doing so to Trump will "destroy the country for no good reason." Move along, nothing to see here.

To be sure, Graham is not the only congressional Republican trying the patience of my thesaurus on the matter of hypocrisy. A pile of Republicans who were all in for the power of congressional oversight during the preposterous Benghazi investigation against the Obama administration are singing quite a different tune now that a fellow Republican is under scrutiny. Messrs. Pompeo, Jordan and Gowdy: Your table is ready.

Asking "Why?" at this juncture feels like a car accident in my head. Power politics in the raw, galactic shamelessness, fear of exposure and defeat, and the sense that they've already carried so much water for this small fraction of a president that reversal now is unthinkable. As to Graham's specific motivations, some say he changed after Sen. John McCain died; the passing of one of Trump's chief nemeses seems to have freed Graham to plumb the depths of his inner toady. Others believe the hard right saw him as too squishy for their taste, leaving him vulnerable to a primary challenge.

In any event, "Why?" is now academic. It happened: Lindsey Graham chose the short-term course that is terrible for the country but good for Lindsey Graham. He is doing what most elected Republicans are doing, only much louder and, amazingly enough, with even less shame.

Yet this choice has also bought Graham some very specific short-term trouble. Rudy Giuliani's "shadow diplomacy" in Ukraine on Trump's behalf has exploded into a whole constellation of new revelations after two of Giuliani's henchmen were arrested trying to flee the country. It appears Giuliani was set to meet these men in Vienna for reasons not yet clarified. They have also been subpoenaed by the House to testify in the Ukraine affair. According to ABC News, Giuliani's relationship with the pair is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation in New York.

Graham's invitation to have Giuliani testify before his committee is looking especially fascinating at this point: If matters continue to unspool in the current fashion, Trump may become the first president in U.S. history forced to pardon his own attorney. Watching Lindsey and Rudy try to explain all this away during a Senate committee hearing will be mandatory television if it actually happens.

Lindsey Graham knows who and what Donald Trump is, because he told us. Then, when it was convenient, Graham turned his coat and helped grease the rails for every act of piracy and fraud perpetrated by this administration. He is not alone, but he leads the way.

There's a word for that, too: quisling. Thank you, thesaurus. You've never let me down.

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

Although the only discussion now should be about solutions and how to implement them quickly,
some people in and out of the political sphere still refuse to accept the massive
amounts of evidence for human-caused global heating and the need to address it.

On October 21, Vote For Climate Solutions!
By David Suzuki

Politicians are finally talking about climate change. How could they not? In Canada, more than 800,000 young people and their supporters took to the streets on September 27, joining more than 7.6 million worldwide, to demand that adults take the crisis seriously. It was exhilarating to see half a million people marching in Montreal, more than 100,000 in Vancouver and many smaller marches throughout the country. But is it too little too late?

I don't think so, but every day we stall means emissions continue to rise, making it increasingly difficult to avert the worst consequences. We've already pumped so many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and destroyed so many carbon-storing natural areas that the planet would continue heating even if we halted emissions immediately.

For decades, I and others have been speaking about the need to conserve energy, shift to renewables and protect natural spaces, all while being told the transition won't happen overnight. Meanwhile, over many nights and days, Canada has continued to expand fossil fuel development and infrastructure, and representatives from across the political spectrum argue we need new pipelines designed to last at least 50 years to transport dirty fuels the world has committed to moving away from in less time!

It doesn't make sense to pin our future on a polluting, climate-altering sunset industry that already employs far fewer people than the clean energy sector. It's why we must take the upcoming federal election seriously. Fortunately, every major party now has a climate plan. Unfortunately, not every plan will get us to our Paris Agreement targets - and even those targets seem inadequate in the face of escalating consequences.

Although the only discussion now should be about solutions and how to implement them quickly, some people in and out of the political sphere still refuse to accept the massive amounts of evidence for human-caused global heating and the need to address it. A common refrain is that Canada produces a relatively small percentage of emissions, so it doesn't matter what we do.

Most countries could use the same excuse, and it ignores that we don't account for the emissions from burning the fossil fuels we sell globally. And while it's true Canada produces less than two per cent of global emissions, we have one of the highest per capita rates, behind the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, and we're the 10th largest emitter overall. Countries like Canada that contribute two per cent or less to emissions add up to close to half the emissions, which means we all have to do our part. The top 15 emitters, including Canada, generate about 72 per cent.

China produces more than 27 per cent (although far less per capita than Canada), the U.S. produces just under 15 per cent, and India, in third place, produces under seven per cent. More than 90 per cent of emissions have occurred in less than 100 years, with more than half in less than 30!

It's taken us hardly any time to pollute air, land and water and alter the climate with our wasteful consumer and car culture. There's no reason to continue down this road. It's been proven many times that money, cars and excess stuff don't bring happiness. In Canada, we could go a long way by being less wasteful, but that's just a start.

We've put off tackling the problem in a meaningful way, and people - especially youth - have had enough. There's no shortage of solutions; we just need political will. It's time for us all to demand that politicians stop thinking in short-term electoral cycles and start focusing on the future.

We should all examine the roster of candidates and parties where we live, compare their environmental platforms and records, and ask local contenders about their climate commitments. Remember, in Canada, we don't vote for a prime minister; we vote for a member of Parliament to represent us.

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of so many - youth, Indigenous people, environmentalists, politicians, business leaders and innovators - the climate crisis has become Canada's top election issue. We must ensure it stays top of mind, no matter which party or parties end up governing after October 21.

Whether you vote in an advance poll or on election day, vote for climate solutions!

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

Minewater Spill Creeps Its Way Into Animas River

The Trump Administration* Has Surrendered Entirely To Industry
Everything, including our natural treasures, is for sale.
By Charles P. Pierce

On Saturday, when we moved the shebeen into Joy Reid's studio, I wore a T-shirt that honored the late Frank LaMere, a remarkable man and a Native activist who was central to the defense of the land and the water in Nebraska, and also central to the fight against our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel and perennial conservative fetish object. I met Frank only once, but he left a profound impression. He passed away in June. What he fought for didn't. From the Navajo Times:

Both the New Mexico Environment Department and the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management reported today that they were notified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a wastewater spill from the Silver Wing Mine in the area of Eureka Gulch, north of Silverton, Colorado, which occurred Wednesday afternoon. According to the San Juan OEM, the spill was the result of a "burp" from the mine and is unrelated to either the Gold King Mine or the Bonita Peak Superfund site. The source is 10 miles from the Animas River and the spill was expected to dilute by the time it reached Silverton. The spill was moving slowly and was expected to reach the San Juan River.

Yolanda Barney, program manager for the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency's Public Water Supply Program, said Thursday NNEPA is aware of spill and is still gathering information. Sources in Durango, Colorado, reported Thursday the river appears normal. In 2015, a breach in the abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton released three million gallons of wastewater into the Animas, causing the river to run orange and closing irrigation canals on the Navajo Nation.

There's a lot of this kind of thing in the news these days. In northeast Minnesota, there's a raging controversy over a copper-nickel mine project proposed by PolyMet, a mining behemoth with something of an appalling track record. The Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general has been looking into the permit process, and that investigation has expanded and is now a nationwide probe. From The Timberjay:
"The OIG's objective for this audit is to determine whether the EPA's reviews of state-proposed NPDES permits verify that the permits adhere to Clean Water Act requirements," wrote Kathlene Butler, Director of the EPA's Office of Audit and Evaluation. Butler notes that the decision to expand the inspector general's investigation is based on the investigation completed so far on the handling of PolyMet Mining's water discharge permit, also known as an NPDES permit. "We will incorporate the results from our work assessing the PolyMet permit review into this nationwide audit of the EPA's NPDES permit reviews," Butler stated.

The decision to expand the federal investigation not only suggests that examiners are concerned with their findings to date. It also points to a substantially longer delay before the federal investigation is completed. Whether that could impact the ability of PolyMet Mining to advance its proposed NorthMet copper-nickel mine project near Hoyt Lakes remains to be seen.

Frank LaMere is gone, but what he fought for isn't.
The inspector general's investigation has already been actively underway for months. Investigators have met with staff in the EPA's Region 5 office as well as water quality staff from the Fond du Lac Band, which has been intensely engaged in the permitting process for PolyMet, particularly on issues of potential water pollution. "The fact that there is this expanded national audit, predicated on this complaint, tells me they're taking this very seriously," said Nancy Schuldt, Water Protection Coordinator for Fond du Lac.
At the same time, a Chilean corporation called Antofagasta plans to open a mine in the Rainy Waters watershed not far from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Northern Minnesota sits on top of some of the richest deposits of metal in the world. Unfortunately, what sits atop it is one of the most beautiful and pristine forestland anywhere in the world, and that's not to mention that it sits right next to Lake Superior and 10 percent of the planet's fresh surface water. And those circumstances have been kept in a very tenuous balance that is in imminent danger of falling off in the direction of the people who want to dig out what's beneath all these natural treasures. From the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. remains one of the countries where the type of dam used in the Brazil disaster, known as an upstream design, is still being built. They are effectively banned in parts of Canada, in many situations in the European Union and now, in Brazil itself. The planned dam outside of Embarrass uses the design. Last month a court suspended permits for the mine until the builder makes clear how it has assessed the Brazil disaster.

"We are allowing dams in the U.S. that countries in the developing world do not accept," said Steve Emerman, the owner of Utah-based mining and groundwater consultants Malach Consulting.

In the Brazil disaster, a dam holding tons of iron ore tailings near the town of Brumadinho crumbled, sending water, rock and mud flooding over a square mile. Inspectors had worried about the dam's integrity for months. Upstream design dams are built up with the tailings in a stair-step fashion. The design is one of the simplest and least expensive. Critics say it is also one of the most dangerous. The U.S., unlike some other mining nations, doesn't have an accessible database of upstream dams, though experts estimate there are more than 500.

And this newest dam is being built to handle the waste from the PolyMet mine. At the same time, the massive Pebble Mine in Alaska threatens one of the world's great salmon fisheries. A number of the Democratic presidential candidates-most notably, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris-have made environmental racism and environmental justice an important part of their campaign platforms. (By contrast, for example, Amy Klobuchar has been wobbly on the issues related to what has been proposed in northern Minnesota.) The current administration* has surrendered entirely to industry; that's part of what keeps Republican politicians from turning against it. We're going to have to clean up more than land and water when these people get done.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of the people tempered by fear."
~~~ William E. Gladstone

The Nobel Committee Is Doing Better
By David Swanson

The committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize was right not to give the prize to Greta Thunberg, who deserves the highest prizes available, but not one created to fund the work of abolishing war and militaries. That cause ought to be central to the work of protecting the climate, but it is not. The question of why no young person working to abolish war is given access to television networks ought to be raised.

The vision that Bertha von Suttner and Alfred Nobel had for the peace prize - the promotion of fraternity between nations, the advancement of disarmament and arms control and the holding and promotion of peace congresses - has not yet been fully grasped by the committee, but it is making progress.

Abiy Ahmed has worked for peace in his and neighboring countries, ending a war and establishing structures aimed at maintaining a just and sustainable peace. His peace efforts have included environmental protection.

But is he an activist in need of funding? Or is the committee intent on continuing its practice of recognizing politicians rather than activists? Is it sensible to award only one side of a peace agreement? The committee acknowledges in its statement that two sides were involved. Is it appropriate for the committee to state, as it does, that it intends the prize to encourage further work for peace? Perhaps it is, even if it reminds people of prizes like Barack Obama's that were never retroactively earned. There are also prizes like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's that were indeed retroactively earned.

Last year's award went to activists opposing one sort of atrocity. The year before, the award went to an organization seeking to eliminate nuclear weapons (and whose work was opposed by Western governments). But three years ago, the committee gave the prize to a militarist president who had made up one half of a peace settlement in Colombia that has not worked out well.

The committee used to recognize more than one side of an agreement: 1996 East Timor, 1994 Middle East, 1993 South Africa. At some point possibly the decision was made to pick only one side. In this year's case perhaps it is more justified than in 2016.

The 2015 prize to Tunisians was a bit off topic. The 2014 prize for education was wildly off topic. The 2013 prize to another disarmament group made some sense. But the 2012 prize to the European Union gave money for disarmament to an entity that could have raised more simply by purchasing fewer weapons - an entity now developing plans for a new military. From there on back through the years, it gets worse.

Recent years have seen moderate improvement, in terms of adherence to the legal requirements of Nobel's will. Nobel Peace Prize Watch recommended that the prize go to any of a long list of worthy recipients, including activists working to uphold Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, peace activist Bruce Kent, publisher Julian Assange, and whistleblower turned activist and author Daniel Ellsberg.

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Lindsey gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Graham,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your assurance that impeaching the Fuhrer would "destroy the nation for no good reason," Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Republican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 11-23-2019. We salute you Herr Graham, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Donald Trump exits after speaking at a campaign rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Friday.

Donald Trump: Xenophobe In Public, International Mobster In Private
The founding fathers said betraying America to foreign powers was an impeachable offense. The president must go
By Robert Reich

The most xenophobic and isolationist American president in modern history has been selling America to foreign powers for his own personal benefit.

Trump withdrew American troops from the Syrian-Turkish border, leaving our Kurdish allies to be slaughtered and opening the way for a resurgent Islamic State. Trump's rationale? He promised to bring our soldiers home.

There could be another reason. Trump never divested from his real estate business, and the Trump Towers Istanbul is the Trump Organization's first and only office and residential building in Europe. Businesses linked to the Turkish government are also major patrons of the Trump Organization. Which may be why Trump has repeatedly sided with the Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been intent on eliminating the Kurds.

Back home, Trump has separated families at the border, locked migrant children in cages and tried to ban Muslims from entering the country. He says he wants to protect America's borders.

But guarding America's geographic borders isn't nearly as important as guarding the integrity of American democracy, which Trump has repeatedly compromised for personal political gain. He did this on 25 July when he asked the president of Ukraine to do him a personal "favor" by digging up dirt on Joe Biden, his most likely 2020 opponent.

Trump justifies his trade war with China as protecting America from Chinese predation. But he asked China to start an investigation of Biden, and last week his adviser on China conceded he spoke with Chinese officials about the former vice-president.

During the 2016 election, Trump publicly called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails. Within hours, Russian agents sought to do just that by trying to break into her computer servers.

Special counsel Robert Mueller found that Russia sought to help Trump get elected, and Trump's campaign welcomed the help.

Now Trump is playing at being a double foreign agent - pushing the prime minister of Australia, among others, to gather information to discredit Mueller.

Rudy Giuliani is Trump's international thug, arranging deals with foreign powers. On Wednesday, two of Giuliani's business associates were arrested in connection with a criminal scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for office, including donations to a Super Pac formed to support Trump.

Under Trump, thuggery has replaced diplomacy. On Friday, in an opening statement for congressional impeachment investigators, Marie Yovanovitch, former US ambassador to Ukraine, said people associated with Giuliani "may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine."

Meanwhile, even as Trump spews conspiracy theories about the Biden family, his own children are openly profiting from foreign deals. Eric and Don Jr have projects in the works in Ireland, India, Indonesia, Uruguay, Turkey and the Philippines.

Trump is pocketing money from foreign governments eager to curry favor by staying at his hotels. The practice has become so routine that during Trump's 25 July phone call, the Ukrainian president assured him that the "last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower."

According to a former Trump Organization official, foreign governments spent more than a million dollars at Trump businesses in 2018, mostly at the Trump International hotel in Washington. Trump will make even more money if he carries out his plan to host next year's G7 meeting at his Doral golf resort, in Florida.

All of this is precisely what the founding fathers sought to prevent.

When they gathered in Philadelphia 232 years ago to write a constitution, a major goal was to protect the new nation from what Alexander Hamilton called the "desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils."

To ensure no president would "betray his trust to foreign powers," as James Madison put it, they included an emoluments clause - barring a president from accepting foreign payments.

They also gave Congress the right to impeach a president for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." During the Virginia ratifying convention, Edmund Randolph confirmed that a president "may be impeached" if discovered "receiving [help] from foreign powers."

You don't have to be an originalist to see the dangers to democracy when a president seeks or receives personal favors from foreign governments. There is no limit to how far a foreign power might go to help a president enlarge his political power and wealth, in exchange for selling out America.

Donald Trump is a xenophobe in public and international mobster in private. He has brazenly sought private gain from foreign governments at the expense of the American people.

This is shameful and criminal. At the very least, it is impeachable.

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

Eating the Kurds -- and why
By Jane Stillwater

What's with Donald Trump? Is he really all that stupid? Or just playing with us like a fox in the hen house?

I recently went to a guest lecture at the University of Damascus, given by visiting Australian professor Tim Anderson. There were approximately 600 students in attendance -- not counting the balcony seats.

Professor Anderson is an acknowledged expert on Syria. "But I couldn't even get my books published in Australia." Sounds typical. Tell the truth and shame the media? Never a safe idea. Just ask Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

"I don't believe that Trump is a stupid man," said the professor, "but the system is making him stupid. There is a great deal of cynicism in Washington. They say one thing and do another. For instance, America funded and weaponized ISIS. It's all documented."

After the lecture, I found a tiny little ice cream shop in the Old Damascus souk and thought about what the professor had said -- in view of this latest Turkish invasion against Syrian Kurds.

No, Trump isn't stupid. While on the surface he appears to finally be doing the Christian thing and pulling American troops out of Syria where they never belonged in the first place.

But Trump is acting stupidly -- like a fox, a fox in the hen house. Not Christian at all. And the Syrian Kurds are his chickens. They were told that they weren't but they are.

And Trump has just left the Kurdish hen house unlocked.

And yet.... And yet Americans seem to actually hate Trump for endangering the Kurdish chickens, right? But. When your goal is to turn all of independent wonderful Syria into Kentucky Fried Chicken, then leaving the Kurdish hen house unlocked is the wily thing to do. A Kurd is a Kurd, sure, but the bottom line is that a Syrian Kurd is still a Syrian.

And Trump the Fox is set on having President Assad for his Sunday dinner. How ironic. Right after he and Melania get back from church.

President Assad is a good guy who has been lied about and maligned by American media -- both Left and Right. But it's hard for most Americans to see the president of Syria as a good guy when Trump's swamp in Washington can only see him as dinner.

To paraphrase what else Professor Anderson said in his lecture, "If chickens ever want to stay safe, they need to stick together." For Christ's sake, yes!

PS: At the university president's reception, I was amazed and pleased when they served us Ferrero Rocher chocolates. See? The Syrian chickens have more in common with us American chickens than you would think.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Ted Rall ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Blow That Whistle Like A Spy
The president says the whistleblower is "like a spy," but this White House is like one of those Vaudevillian plate spinners who isn't happy until all the plates come crashing down to the ground.
By Will Durst

This White House breathes chaos. They're like one of those Vaudevillian plate spinners who isn't happy until all the plates come crashing down to the ground. The attraction consists of the cast kicking through the detritus, which is always loud and cacophonous.

But even given that standard, the current state of disarray is breathtaking. Staffers are quitting, subpoenas are being issued; terms like "treason," "civil war" and "like a spy" are being bandied about. This is more than your run of the mill ordinary pandemonium; this is super-exceptional pandemonium, like a monkey in a tuxedo juggling bayonets. On a unicycle. In hell.

This latest chapter in mayhem and bedlam occurred in the wake of a whistleblower coming forward to claim Donald Trump attempted to shake down a foreign leader to interfere on his behalf in the next election, which is so illegal, even Vladimir Putin was impressed.

Holding hostage an arms shipment that Congress had already approved, the President first asked a favor of Vlodomyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president; not-so-slyly intimating the arms would be released only if the Ukrainians were able to dig up some dirt with an investigation of Joe Biden's son, Hunter. And Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris: whoever you got. Marianne Williamson, not so much.

Trump also threatened to keep Vice President Pence from making a state visit unless ball was played, which is a weird form of intimidation. Keeping Mike Pence from coming to your country doesn't sound very menacing. More like a reward. As a matter of fact, next time the stable genius might want to promise Rudy Giuliani and William Barr would stay equally far away. Might provide more leverage.

Despite previous confusion, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, was listening in on the very phone call, records of which were diverted to a super secret server that stores other calls and documents that make the president look bad. So, it must be one hell of a server. Maybe a warehouse in Bethesda?

The president responded by saying the whistleblower was like a spy, and in the old days, they knew how to deal with spies. Suggesting we execute witnesses to his crimes; isn't that an impeachable offense as well? He's stacking'em up like 747s circling O'Hare after a surprise blizzard the day before Thanksgiving.

Trump doesn't deny the call with Zelensky and released a transcript maintaining that the conversation was "perfect and beautiful." And because we've gone through this process for 33 months, we all know how the rest is going to play out. He'll say even if he did it, many people are saying there was nothing wrong with it. There will be stonewalling. He'll say plenty of other people did the same thing, especially Obama.

He'll increasingly attack the accuser, threaten lawsuits and call the scandal just another partisan witch-hunt, which further exemplifies the larger conspiracy against he, the best president in the history of ever. And during all these predictable machinations, he'll continue to distract the public by offering up other tantalizing morsels for public and media consumption.

Maybe he'll finally release his tax returns or leak photos from the night he spent with Stormy Daniels or start a war. But we all know how it'll turn out. He'll blame Hillary. And then break more plates.

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

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 40 (c) 10/18/2019

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