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In This Edition

Matt Taibbi reminds us, "Trump Is Just One Player In A Much, Much Larger Tax Story."

Dahr Jamail finds, "Hurricane Michael: Floridians Paying For Governor Scott's Climate Denialism."

Glen Ford explains why, "Facebook is Not Your Friend."

Bernie Sanders says, "Trump Lies About 'Medicare For All' and He's Made Health Care Worse."

Jim Hightower exclaims, "Have You Heard The News? Poverty Is Over!"

John Nichols wants you to, "Meet The GOP Senate Candidates Who Are Still Attacking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford And #MeToo."

James Donahue presents a, "Big Mystery - How Do We Explain Gravity?"

Kira Lerner reports, "Georgia Mayor Goes On Racist Rant After County Stops Black Voters Matter From Helping Elderly Vote."

Heather Digby Parton wonders, "Trump Approval Rises?"

David Suzuki concludes, "Protecting The Complex Web Of Life Should Be The Priority."

Charles P. Pierce asks, "These Are The Folks We Charge With Vetting Our Presidential Candidates?"

David Swanson orates, "We Need A New Armistice Day."

Jane Stillwater wonders, "Immigrants: Indians Are Finally Taking Back America?"

West Virginia Republican Eric Barber wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich tells, "The Truth About The Trump Economy."

Chris Hedges explores, "The Rats Revolt."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst is, Harassing The Harassee," but first Uncle Ernie is, "Getting Black Mailed."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Scott Stantis, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Jeffrey Asher, Jose Luis Magana, Joe Raedle, Justin Sullivan, Kevin Lamarque, The Daily Show, 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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Getting Black Mailed
By Ernest Stewart

"Blackmail threats are e-mails from madmen." ~~~ Michael Bassey Johnson, Master of Maxims

"Always look on the bright side of life." ~~~ Eric Idle

Comparing African-Americans to apes, even obliquely, as Housley did, has been a longstanding feature of racist American innuendo. ~~~ Daniel Marans

Help! I need somebody
Help! Not just anybody
Help! You know I need someone
Help ~~~ The Beatles

Just got this in my email box, just sent it off to the FBI. The far right has been after me since I made Nixon's enemies list and today is no different, here's what I got...
"I am aware --- one of your pass. Lets get straight to purpose. No-one has compensated me to check you. You may not know me and you're probably wondering why you're getting this email?

Well i, actually setup a malware on the adult vids (pornographic material) web site and there's more, you listed this website to have fun (you know what I mean). When you were watching videos, your web browser initiated working as a remote desktop having a key logger which provided me with accessibility to your screen and cam. immediately after that, my software gathered all your contacts from Messenger, Facebook and emailaccount. and then i made a video, 1st part shows the video you were viewing (you've got a fine taste Imho), and 2nd part shows the view of your cam, and it's u.

You do have not one but two possibilities. Shall we look at these types of possibilities in detail:

1st alternative is to skip this email. in this situation i will send your video clip to everyone of your personal contacts and also visualize regarding the disgrace you will definitely get. Further more in case you are in an affair, precisely how it will eventually affect?

Number 2 solution is to compensate me 3000 USD, We will name it as a donation. in this situation, i most certainly will asap eliminate your videotape. You will resume your daily life like this never occurred and you will not hear back from me.

You'll make payment via Bitcoin (if you don't know this, search 'how to buy bitcoin' in Google search engine).

BTC address to send to 14mPEDwquD9gUfaqq6NhZLfyeAgfe$2spxk
Case sensitive, copy & paste it

Should you are making plans for going to the cops, very well, this email cannot be traced back to me. I have dealt with my actions. i am just not trying to ask you for much, i wish to be paid. You have 48 hours in order to pay, i've a special pixel in this email, and right now i know that you have read this email message. if i don't get Bitcoins, i definitely will send out your video recording to all of your contacts including family members, co-workers, and so forth. Having said that, if i receive the payment, i will destroy the recording immediately. if you want evidence, reply Yea! then i will certainly send your video recording to your 6 friends. This is the non-negotiable offer, so don't waste my time and yours by responding to this email."
I've seen some interesting phishing attempts before but this one takes the cake! I caught him in several obvious lies, the password is an old one I haven't used in years and my camera on my computer is blocked so I can't be seen. However, if you get some porn in your inbox you've been warned and I'd be willing to bet it's none of mine! The right wing has been after me for years with various schemes, so I'm not surprised by this at all. However, this is my first blackmailing! When the FBI gets back to me I'll let you know their progress!

In Other News

I think I've found a way to get most of America involved fighting global warming! As soon as they find this out they'll be demanding that tRump do something about it!

It seems, over the next few decades, beer could become more scarce and thus more expensive because of human-caused global warming, a study reported Monday.

This is because the production of barley, the main ingredient in beer, is expected to drop substantially since severe droughts and heat extremes will become more frequent as the climate changes. "Average yield losses (of barley) range from 3 percent to 17 percent, depending on the severity of the conditions," the study reports.

Here in the U.S., beer shortages could reduce the amount Americans consume each year by as much as 900 million gallons. That's about 9 billion bottles of beer. 9 billion bottles of beer on the wall, 9 billion bottles of beer. If one of those bottles should happen to fall...

Co-author of this new study, Nathan Mueller of the University of California, Irvine says, "Future climate and pricing conditions could put beer out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the world."

This is the first study to quantify the impact of climate change on beer, which is the world's most popular drug.

"While the effects on beer may seem modest in comparison to many of the other impacts of climate change, there is nonetheless something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer," said study lead author Dabo Guan of the U.K.'s University of East Anglia.

To do the study, researchers used computer models to predict potential extreme climate impacts on barley yields in 34 regions around the world. They then examined the effects of the resulting barley supply shock on the supply and price of beer in each region under several future climate scenarios.

On the bright side, our death rates from drunk driving and drunken bar room brawls and getting hammered and taking it out on the wife and kids should go down as well! As Eric Idle once sang, "Always look on the bright side of life!"

And Finally

I see where a Rethuglican Senate candidate compared Michelle Obama to a chimpanzee during her meeting with the Queen and urged the former first lady to stand up "straighter."

Karin Housley who is currently a state senator who serves in Minnesota once took to Facebook to compare Ms Obama to the chimpanzee in 1951 film Bedtime for Bonzo, which starred Ronald Reagan.

"Michelle is soooo far from cool. Don't we expect our first ladies to at least stand up straight? And my dear sister, know the proper etiquette and DO NOT TOUCH THE QUEEN!"

"I do miss Nancy Reagan. Ronald even more. Speaking of Bedtime for Bonzo, I think even that chimp stood up straighter than Michelle. Uh-oh, someone is going to make a comment."

Ya think you might get a comment or two, Karin?

Meanwhile Jake Schneider, who is Karin's campaign spokesman, said: "The out-of-context Facebook post was being used to manufacture outrage" after it came to light.

"This is what the radical left does when they are losing, they attack Republicans so they don't have to come up with solutions to the problems Minnesotans are facing," Schneider said in a statement. Trouble is, Jake, Karin is trailing Democrat Senator Tina Smith for the seat that was held by fellow Democrat Al Franken, who resigned last January.

Ms. Smith is leading Ms. Housley in the polls by an average of sixteen points. Imagine that!

Keepin' On

I'm having that Mother Hubbard deja vu, all over again. Nothing but a piece of spam in the PO Box again and need I say that time is running out for the magazine. We need your help now more than ever. I don't spend 50 hour a week, every week, since February 1, 2001 because I lack things to do, I do it because we need to fight back lest we all becomes slaves again and that is exactly where this is leading!

I don't need to tell you what dire straights this country is in. I'm sure, that for many, that's the reason that they come here. The truth is something that you need to know in this day and age. All the old bets are off, and this is, in so many ways, quickly turning into a Brave New World. Might it not be handy, to have folks that you can trust, and know exactly what's going down and will tell the unvarnished truth to help us all through those dangerous daze to come. I think it might come in handy!

Ergo, if you can could give us a hand, by paying your fair share to help us keep fighting the good fight for you and yours! We make no money out of this, not a dime in 17 years; but the Internet is not free; and I have no money, as, maybe like you, I just have my head above water. But if you can please send us whatever you can, as often as you can, to help keep us, keeping on!


03-29-1974 ~ 10-17-2018
Thanks for the music!


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

****** We've Moved The Forum Back *******

For late breaking news and views visit The Forum. Find all the news you'll otherwise miss. We publish three times the amount of material there than what is in the magazine. Look for the latest Activist Alerts. Updated constantly, please feel free to post an article we may have missed.


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

Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2018 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Donald Trump with his ex-wife, Ivana, and his father Fred in 1988.

Trump Is Just One Player In A Much, Much Larger Tax Story
That big 'New York Times' expose should most of all remind us that upper-class tax evasion has been the norm for a generation
By Matt Taibbi

When New York Times reporters David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner published their exhaustive, gazillion-word expose on the Trump family tax practices last week, there was only one word for it.

"Tax bombshell," blared Yahoo!

By my count, this was roughly the 4,790th "bombshell" of the Trump presidency, but one of the few to deserve the title. The Times story is an extraordinary piece of investigative reporting and a monument to the kind of work we all should be doing.

The parts I found most interesting were less about the rapaciousness of the Trump family per se than the myriad opportunities for gaming the system one presumes is available to everyone of this income level. The ordinary person cannot hire an outside appraiser to tell the IRS what it thinks he or she is worth, but the Trumps could systematically undervalue their properties for tax purposes (and then go back and overvalue them when it served their public relations needs).

The timidity that enforcement officials show toward the very wealthy is also a running theme in the story. When the Trump family claimed a $17.9 million building had fallen to $2.9 million, supposedly losing 83 percent of its value in just 18 days, the IRS auditor who caught it made them push the value back up by just $100,000.

The infamous $3.35 million casino chip scheme - an illegal multi-million-dollar loan under New Jersey law - inspired just a $65,000 fine.

There is a lot in the piece that testifies to Trump's keen understanding of the media and how he knew he and his father could exploit it. Donald Trump, the bold filthy-rich investor, has always been a media creation. At an early age he realized reporters were basically dupes (and, usually, poorly paid dupes) who were easily conned into thinking a person was fantastically wealthy just by taking a ride past a few construction sites.

Donald and Daddy Fred furthermore understood that you can win an accomplice for life in the press just by telling a reporter something he or she thinks is a secret. In this piece, they're shown pulling various insider-trading/greenmailing schemes, with Fred buying stakes in companies like Time, Inc. just before Donald would whisper to a reporter that he was "taking a sizable stake" in the company. Shares then jumped and Daddy cashed out with a $41K profit, which was probably enough for lunch, at least.

There is a lot in here that's educational about how the wealthy are able to pass riches back and forth without being taxed the way you or I would be. The Times couldn't find any paperwork explaining how Daddy Trump transferred 1,032 apartments to his children without incurring tax penalties. Tax records only showed that the "mini empire" had "shifted at some point from Fred Trump to his children."

The expose is painstaking, incredible work. The late Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice - my old boss and one of Trump's first biographers - kept a massive archive of Trump documents and spent years traversing this history. He would probably have shed a tear to see all this in print.

And yet, what will the impact be for Trump voters? I'm going to guess not much.

On the 2016 campaign trail, I couldn't find anyone at Trump rallies who was bothered by the candidate's multiple bankruptcies. That tale was also about a dynastic family manipulating the financial system to socialize losses and hoard assets. Trump's excuse - that he had "brilliantly" manipulated the bankruptcy system to stay rich _ impressed most of the Trump voters with whom I spoke.

If they read the Times piece, Trump supporters are sure to seize on sentences like, "The line between legal tax avoidance and illegal tax evasion is often murky." They will take that, add it to the fact that whatever Trump did, he clearly got away with it for a long time, and silently pump a fist: "Right on."

What Trump sells to voters is a vicarious fantasy. He shows off his appalling gold-leaf interiors and shows his selfies with celebs and talks up his tacky empire, and people think: "Man, if I had a billion dollars, that's how I'd live!"

Since most people don't like paying taxes, Trump fans will probably applaud his family's multi-generational avoidance. And they will look at stories like this and say, "Those reporters are only doing this because it's Trump."

They might have a bit of a point.

Where was this kind of hardcore investigative firepower into the brazen tax avoidance of the rich before?

There have been a few dedicated journalists like David Cay Johnston who, long before Trump, tried to evangelize for real tax collection from the super-wealthy. Johnston detailed horrific and brazen avoidance schemes and won critical acclaim, but not the same kind of attention.

I would describe Johnston's explanation of how 61 percent of American corporations paid no taxes at all over a five-year period between 1996 and 2000 as a "bombshell," but most of the journalism world did not agree.

Many of the biggest tax evaders are major media advertisers and sponsors of both parties - like Apple, for instance - which pioneered techniques like the "Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich," in which profits are sent overseas to tax havens.

Five years ago, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations laid out in painful detail how Apple in one year paid an effective tax rate of five-hundredths of one-percent. There were similar gruesome tales about other tech companies.

The private equity business similarly has produced many politically active multi-millionaires and billionaires who have spread money across both parties. For this reason, some truly repulsive systemic tax-avoidance schemes have gone without requisite attention. It's one of the reasons the absurd and indefensible carried-interest tax break (which helped people like Mitt Romney pay an effective 14 percent tax rate in 2011) was allowed to persist for so long.

Trump, of course, is likely far worse than the bulk of these actors. As the Times piece shows, his family's whole business model was founded on a kind of scam. The key illusion involved a media-generated myth of self-generated opulence, when in fact what Trump mostly did is spend decades playing keep-away from the IRS with dollars inherited from Daddy.

But the time to sound the alarm about this was decades ago. Trump voters might have been more receptive to this kind of reporting back then, before we institutionalized corporate and high net-worth individual tax avoidance. In fact, the longstanding inattention of both parties and the commercial media to this kind of behavior perversely became part of Trump's messaging in 2016.

This was what he meant by, "Nobody knows the system better than me. Which is why I alone can fix it." People cheered that line.

I manipulated this corrupt nation to get rich at your expense wasn't even the subtext there, but the primary meaning. America hates the IRS (although along with hemorrhoids and witches, they like it better than Congress) and Trump sold himself as an outlaw savior.

The Trump era has produced some stellar investigative reporting, but some of it yields an uneasy feeling. The relentless focus on Trump as the center of our media universe has left huge segments of the population with the impression he's a cause, not a symptom, of our problems. He is a rich scumbag who cheats on taxes, not the rich scumbag who cheats on taxes.

If anything, the awesome amount of ink spilled about him as a symbol of upper-class impunity has furthered the deception described in this Times story as having begun in the Seventies, when he took reporters on tours of his quasi-fictitious "jobs."

Trump is a person with a lot of money, but compared to tax-renouncing firms like Microsoft, Bank of America and Facebook - and even the executives running them - he's a nobody, a putz. It's great that we're unmasking at least one person from that world. But please, let's let it be just a start.

(c) 2018 Matt Taibbi is Rolling Stone's chief political reporter, Matt Taibbi's predecessors include the likes of journalistic giants Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O'Rourke. Taibbi's 2004 campaign journal Spanking the Donkey cemented his status as an incisive, irreverent, zero-bullshit reporter. His books include Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion, Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire.

Cameron Sadowski walks along the waves crashing onto the beach as the outer
bands of Hurricane Michael arrive on October 10, 2018, in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Hurricane Michael: Floridians Paying For Governor Scott's Climate Denialism
By Dahr Jamail

For the first time in recorded history, a Category 4 hurricane is striking the Florida Panhandle.

Hurricane Michael made landfall today, packing winds of 145 miles per hour - strong enough to collapse houses and cause massive damage to other infrastructure. Forecasts have also warned of a storm surge that could reach a stunning 14 feet in height.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Hurricane Center describes a Category 4 hurricane's winds thus:

Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
The storm is powerful enough that it will remain a hurricane long after it is far inland: Models show it will still have hurricane-force winds by the time it reaches as far inland as Albany, Georgia.

The storm exploded in intensity in the 24 hours before making landfall. Reuters reported on Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Hensen's assessment of this phenomenon: "Satellite images of Michael's evolution on Tuesday night were, in a word, jaw-dropping."

Experts are warning that damage is expected to be "catastrophic," and rainfall of up to half a foot could be dumped across much of the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Truthout has reported repeatedly on how human-caused climate change is super-charging the amount of rainfall potential for hurricanes. The current storm is displaying what scientists have been warning us about for years.

Hurricane Michael Is Not a Surprise

NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory has been warning us for years that human-caused climate change would increase key variables of hurricanes, including wind strength, the amount of rainfall, and storm surge levels.

The lab's main conclusions on "detectable" changes are clear: Sea-level rise should be causing higher storm surge levels, rainfall rates will likely increase, tropical cyclone intensities around the globe will increase, and the proportion of storms being either Category 4 or 5 will increase.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott, who made a name for himself as a world-class climate change denialist by forbidding state employees from using the words "climate change" or "global warming," is warning state residents of the ferocity of the current storm.

In 2017, Gov. Scott approved Florida's "anti-science law," which The Guardian reported as being "aimed at allowing legal challenges to the teaching of the realities of climate change and global warming in the state's classrooms."

Last year, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Gov. Scott's personal investments in the energy industry actively helped shape Florida's lack of adequate policies towards dealing with climate change impacts. The report showed how parts of Gov. Scott's quarter-billion-dollar fortune were invested in petroleum and power-generating companies that are directly opposed to restricting greenhouse gas emissions, as well as environmental regulations.

More importantly, given his denialism, Gov. Scott has not committed state resources to relocating people in flood zones, or preparing communities for storms like Hurricane Michael.

Given that we know human-caused climate change impacts will only continue to intensify from now on, and damage from hurricanes such as this one will increase right along with them, Florida is the micro of the macro of a country led by a climate change-denying president.

(c) 2018 Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

Facebook is Not Your Friend
By Glenn Ford

Facebook has become The Great Censor, ready to pull the pages of dissenters that seek to "stir up political debate" in ways that threaten the legitimacy of corporate rule.

Facebook has declared war on political dissent. In a rash of purges last week, the behemoth corporation banned 30 pages, with a total of 22 million fans, on the grounds that the accounts were "created to stir up political debate in the US, the Middle East, Russia and the UK." At the top of the list were the anti-police lawlessness pages Cop Block, Filming Cops, The Free Thought Project and Police the Police, with a combined audience of 8.1 million. The other banned pages range across the non-establishment spectrum, from the reactionary Right Wing News, to Punk Rock Libertarians and the pro-marijuana page, Hemp.

These pages are "inauthentic," Facebook claims, because they "use sensational political content" to "drive traffic to their websites." Of course, the New York Times, the Washington Post and virtually every other organ of corporate media also maintain Facebook pages that are designed to "drive traffic to their websites." The daily content of these imperial propagandists is filled with "sensational" stories that are designed to inflame the public, laying the groundwork for endless wars -- most often on evidence that turns out to be fictitious. Yet Facebook has enlisted as "fact-checkers" the same corporate media that vouched for the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, spread lies about Viagra-fueled mass rape by Muammar Gaddafi's soldiers in Libya, and continue to mask the U.S. alliance with al Qaida fighters in Syria. These same corporate "news" organs have treated allegations of Russian collusion with Trump during the 2016 elections as fact -- without a shred of evidence -- in order to whip up a new Cold War.

Polls have long showed that the U.S. public -- of all racial and political shades -- no longer believes the corporate media version of reality, which almost routinely turns out to be false, and which Black people have always known to be false. This crisis of legitimacy for the ruling class and its media organs became acute in 2016, when the wildly unpredictable Donald Trump seemed to threaten the gentlemen's agreement between the two corporate parties on regime change warfare and so-called free trade. Barely a week after Trump's surprise victory at the polls, outgoing President Barack Obama, on a visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, called for the imposition of a standardized version of truth.

"Because in an age where there's so much active misinformation and its packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television," said Obama. "If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won't know what to protect." Or, as he put it later in an interview with David Letterman: "One of the biggest challenges that we have to our democracy is the degree to which we do not share a common baseline of facts."

Obama was calling for censorship of the Internet, and for corporate media to reassert its ideological supremacy in defense of the ruling order. The "danger" was not to democracy, but to the legitimacy of the corporate rule.

A week after Obama's remarks in Germany, the Washington Post published the first salvo in the censorship offensive, with an article titled, "Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say." The "experts" were anonymous members of a shadowy organization called Prop-or-Not, whose identities the Post insisted on concealing. The Prop-or-Not list slandered 200 web sites, including many of the best left-wing addresses on the web, as "witting or unwitting" dupes of Russia. Black Agenda Report had the distinction of being the only Black-owned site on the list.

Facebook was dragooned into the censorship frenzy under relentless pressure from Democrats in Congress, who dutifully embraced the role of chief warmongers when Trump started making noises about improving relations with the Russians. Fully two-thirds of Americans are active monthly Facebook users who assumed that the service's constant invitations to share what's on their minds included political thought. Not any more. Mark Zuckerberg's behemoth, that began as a student social networking service at Harvard 14 years ago, is now valued conservatively at $140 billion and claims to reach 2.23 billion monthly active worldwide users, 214 million in the United States. Facebook is indispensable to maintaining the global corporate monopoly on truth -- as is Google, another mega-monopoly of the Internet. Both have joined the censorship project in defense of empire in decline.

An internal Google document assessed that: "In response to public outcries about the accessibility of unsavory and harmful content, tech firms have been adjusting their software to make it harder to stumble upon it." The firm was talking about itself, and the "public" it is responding to is actually the capitalist ruling class, seeking to regain legitimacy through censorship. Google has rigged its algorithms to hide blacklisted sites during web searches, resulting in decreased visitation of up to 75 percent. They are strangling the Left, including Black Agenda Report.

Facebook has signed on to the new Cold War, under the ruse of protecting U.S. elections from Russian interference. "We're excited to launch a new partnership with the Atlantic Council, which has a stellar reputation looking at innovative solutions to hard problems." In the real world, the Council is the global public relations and think tank resource for NATO, the U.S.-led military alliance, funded by the whole constellation of war industries. Facebook has outsourced its censorship project to the Deep State.

Clearly, the Revolution will not be Friended by such people. Some Black folks may celebrate Facebook's purges, glad that white supremacist Trump boosters and other overt racists are among the targets. But majorities of white people in the U.S. supported Trump, and there is no possibility that Facebook or any other corporation could effectively police -- or even recognize -- the racism of most of their users. But they do silence the cop-watchers. What Facebook is attempting to enforce is the absolute authority of the corporate media as the arbiter of Truth -- a dictatorship of the white moneyed classes. And that can never be in Black folks' interest.

(c) 2018 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Americans are very clear about which side they are on.

Trump Lies About 'Medicare For All' and He's Made Health Care Worse
Medicare for All is popular because it would save people money and assure them the health care they need. Trump's only defense is to lie about my bill
By Bernie Sanders

The American people have a very clear choice in the upcoming elections. On one side is Donald Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress, who made throwing 32 million Americans off of health insurance their number one priority in Washington. On the other side is my "Medicare for All" plan supported by 16 senators and 122 House members. It would guarantee everyone could get the health care they need without going into debt at far lower cost than the current dysfunctional system.

And Americans are very clear about which side they are on. In a poll last summer, 70 percent said they support expanding and improving Medicare to cover everyone in our country. They understand that there is something profoundly wrong when our current dysfunctional health care system is designed not to provide quality care to all, but to enable the private health insurance industry and drug companies to make billions in profits.

Despite spending almost twice as much per capita as any other country, 30 million Americans have no health insurance and many more are underinsured with high deductibles and co-payments. Further, the pharmaceutical industry charges us, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. It is insane that today it costs an average of $28,000 a year to provide health insurance to a family of four. It is equally insane that one out of five Americans cannot afford the prescription drugs their doctors prescribe.

Medicare is the most popular, successful and cost-effective health insurance program in the country. Today, only people 65 and older are eligible for it. Americans shouldn't have to wait that long to get the high-quality health care they need and deserve. As president, Trump has made our health care system worse. While we were able to defeat his budget which proposed a $1 trillion cut to Medicaid, a $500 billion cut to Medicare and a $72 billion cut to the Social Security disability fund, we were unable to stop other very harmful measures.

As a result of his efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, 13 million more Americans will become uninsured over the next decade while millions more have seen their premiums rise. Further, his administration is working alongside 20 Republican state attorneys general to end the protection that the Affordable Care Act now guarantees to people with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. No one can estimate how many thousands of those people will die if they can no longer purchase affordable insurance.

Medicare is the most popular, successful and cost-effective health insurance program in the country. Today, only people 65 and older are eligible for it. Americans shouldn't have to wait that long to get the high-quality health care they need and deserve.

As president, Trump has made our health care system worse. While we were able to defeat his budget which proposed a $1 trillion cut to Medicaid, a $500 billion cut to Medicare and a $72 billion cut to the Social Security disability fund, we were unable to stop other very harmful measures.

As a result of his efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, 13 million more Americans will become uninsured over the next decade while millions more have seen their premiums rise. Further, his administration is working alongside 20 Republican state attorneys general to end the protection that the Affordable Care Act now guarantees to people with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. No one can estimate how many thousands of those people will die if they can no longer purchase affordable insurance.

We have a different idea: Expand Medicare to all. My bill would provide comprehensive and cost-effective health care for everyone - without out-of-pocket expenses.

Study after study shows that when we eliminate private insurance premiums, deductibles and co-payments, the average American will pay substantially less for health care than he or she currently pays. For example, a recent study by RAND found that moving to a Medicare for All system in New York would save a family with an income of $185,000 or less about $3,000 per person a year, on average. Even the projections from the conservative Mercatus Center suggest that the average American could save about $6,000 under Medicare for All over a 10-year period.

Medicare for All not only benefits individuals and families, it would also benefit the business community. Small and medium sized businesses would be free to focus on their core business goals instead of wasting precious energy and resources navigating an incredibly complex system to provide employee health insurance. Equally important, with universal health care, workers would not have to stay at jobs they dislike just because their employer provides decent health insurance.

Medicare for All is better for seniors

Given the president's propensity to lie about almost everything, it is not surprising that Trump is grossly distorting what the Medicare for All legislation does.

Our proposal would not cut benefits for seniors on Medicare, as the president and his Republican allies claim. In fact, we expand benefits. Millions of seniors today cannot afford dental care, vision care or hearing aids because Medicare does not cover them. Our proposal does. In addition, Medicare for All would eliminate deductibles and copays for seniors and significantly lower the cost of prescription drugs. Medicare for All allows seniors and all Americans to see the doctors they want, not the doctors in their insurance networks.

Trump claims that Medicare for All is not affordable. That is nonsense. What we cannot afford is to continue spending almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other country on Earth. We can't afford the $28,000 it currently costs to provide health insurance for the average family of four. We can't afford to have 30 million Americans with no health insurance and even more who are under-insured with high deductibles and high co-payments. We can't afford to have millions of Americans get sicker than they should, and in some cases die, because they can't afford to go to the doctor.

Here is the bottom line: If every major country on earth can guarantee health care to all and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States of America cannot do the same.

(c) 2018 Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Elected Mayor of Burlington, Vt., by 10 votes in 1981, he served four terms. Before his 1990 election as Vermont's at-large member in Congress, Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Read more at his web site. Follow him on Twitter: @SenSanders or @BernieSanders

Have You Heard The News? Poverty Is Over!
By Jim Hightower

Someone needs to buy a Grassroots USA tour package for the members of Donald Trump's Council of Economic Advisers, so they can at least visit the real world once in their lives.

The three advisors are ivory tower ideologues whose sole professional expertise seems to be twisting reality to fit their boss' right-wing fantasia. In July, for example, the trio issued a fairy tale disguised as an official government report on poverty, essentially asserting that our US of A no longer has a poverty problem. Poof, declared these learned ones from on high - the need for food stamps, Medicaid, public housing, and other assistance has virtually disappeared in our land. Jobs abound, they lectured, the economy is pumping out great gobs of new wealth, and bluebirds of happiness are spreading joy everywhere.

You can imagine the comfort that this report has brought to the 45 million Americans now living below the poverty line. That line means they're trying to make ends meet on only $25,000 a year - not per person, but for a family of four! Let's see any of Trump's advisers try to live on that before smugly claiming that "poverty is largely over."

What's at work here is the political manipulation of statistics to support Trump's ideological delusion that poor people are losers who're addicted to safety net programs. As a narcissistic son of privilege, he is out to cut those programs and to impose strict work requirements on families seeking public assistance. Never mind that most recipients of aid already work, subjected to the hardships of poverty by the low wages of their jobs.

But that's the real world, and it doesn't mesh with Trump & Company's cruel self-deception that basic humane benefits make poverty "too pleasant." They're imposing a Dickensian governing ethic that is fundamentally obscene... and unAmerican.

(c) 2018 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

Donald Trump campaigns with Kevin Cramer in his run for Senate in Fargo, North Dakota, June 27, 2018.

Meet The GOP Senate Candidates Who Are Still Attacking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford And #MeToo
If you thought McConnell and Graham were odious, get a load of the challengers to Tammy Baldwin, Claire McCaskill, and Heidi Heitkamp.
By John Nichols

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley were certainly reprehensible in their determination to "plow right through" the system of checks and balances in order to place a scandal-plagued nominee on the US Supreme Court. But the over-the-top partisanship of McConnell, Grassley, and the Republican men who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee was nothing compared to the cruel and unusual advocacy for Justice Brett Kavanaugh by Republican challengers to Democratic senators who opposed Kavanaugh's confirmation.

It is likely that the fight for control of the Senate will be decided in states that backed the new justice's patron, Donald Trump, in 2016. And the Republicans who are seeking to displace Democratic senators from those states are going all-in: peddling appalling defenses of Kavanaugh and making visceral attacks on his critics central to their campaigns.

Congressman Kevin Cramer, the shoot-from-the-lip conservative who is the party's Senate nominee in North Dakota, dismissed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh as "absurd." Why? "These are teenagers who evidently were drunk, according to her own statement," Cramer asserted. Asked to clarify, the man who is challenging Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp claimed that "nothing evidently happened."

"My point was is that there was no type of intercourse or anything like that," he argued. "That was my point, that nothing happened in terms of a sexual event, um, beyond, obviously, the attack."

Besides, Cramer asked: "Even if it's all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago. But does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?"

Cramer was not the only GOP challenger to a Democratic senator who has been more vehement in advocating for Kavanaugh than even the most outrageous Senate Republicans. Though he admitted that he had seen only snippets of the Senate Judiciary Committee session on September 17, at which Dr. Ford and Kavanaugh testified, Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley dismissed the hearing (which even Kavanaugh backers like Senator Shelley Moore Capito [R-WV] called "very compelling" and "riveting") as "truly a circus." Even as he acknowledged that he was not aware of what all had been said, the man who is challenging Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill shrugged off Dr. Ford's testimony with a casual claim Democrats had "launched an ambush on a good man."

But at least Hawley kept campaigning in Missouri.

Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Leah Vukmir flew to Washington on the eve of the Judiciary Committee hearing and, before either Dr. Ford or Kavanaugh had testified, joined a rally calling for Kavanaugh's immediate confirmation. "Democrats need to stop the political posturing, and hold a vote this week on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination," declared the challenger to Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Vukmir dismissed well-documented concerns about the judge's past as "uncorroborated attacks on Judge Kavanaugh being irresponsibly published by the Fake News media." Vukmir ridiculed sincere calls for scrutiny of a nominee for the high court as "the Democrat delay circus" and claimed that "what has become clear is that the Far Left is engaged in an all-out, no-holds-barred, last-minute character assassination, rather than responsibly vetting and filling a seat on the Supreme Court."

After the hearing concluded, Vukmir turned to attacking the people who believed Dr. Ford. In an opinion piece for a Fox News website, she ripped criticism of Kavanaugh as "virtue signaling, smears and hyperbole." Citizens who urged senators to conduct a thorough examination of the allegations against the nominee-many of them survivors of sexual abuse who had paid their own way to Washington to lobby their elected representatives-were dismissed as a mob of "paid protesters [who] were instructed to corner and confront the so-called 'enemy.'"

Senators swear an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same." As part of that oath, senators commit themselves to maintain a system of checks and balances that requires them to take seriously a duty to provide advice and consent regarding judicial nominations.

Cramer, Hawley and Vukmir have signaled that they have no interest in taking that oath seriously. This makes their races against Democratic women who opposed Kavanaugh-and who are seeking reelection in states that backed Trump in 2016-particularly important measures of the fallout from the bitter confirmation fight.

Baldwin seems to be doing well in Wisconsin. A poll taken at the time of the Kavanaugh vote had the Democrat-one of the first senators to come out against Trump's nominee-leading by 10 points. (The Marquette University Law School survey found that 44 percent of likely voters had an unfavorable view of Kavanaugh, while 42 percent had a favorable view.)

McCaskill, a sly strategist and able campaigner, was running roughly even with Hawley in several Missouri surveys taken as the Kavanaugh confirmation fight was at its most intense.

North Dakota's Heitkamp has been trailing through most of the year in a state where Democrat Hillary Clinton won just 27 percent of the vote in 2016. Despite speculation that a vote against Kavanaugh would doom her politically, Heitkamp cast just that vote. After the Senate backed Kavanaugh with a 50-48 division, Heitkamp's campaign began running a television ad in which she calmly explains: "I thought you should hear exactly why I voted against Judge Kavanaugh. First off, honestly I don't think he told the truth. And even if he did, he showed himself to be too biased to be impartial. I voted for Neil Gorsuch so I know there are many other conservative judges who can fill this job without tearing our country apart. I approve this message because I believe a senator has to put politics aside and do what's right for our country."

That's a far cry from Cramer, who is now attacking the #MeToo movement as "this movement toward victimization." Women in his family weren't complaining because, he claimed in an interview with The New York Times: "They are pioneers of the prairie. These are tough people whose grandparents were tough and great-grandparents were tough." Informed of Cramer's latest outburst, Heitkamp said, "I think it's wonderful that his wife has never had an experience, and good for her, and it's wonderful his mom hasn't. My mom did. And I think it affected my mom her whole life. And it didn't make her less strong."

Recalling her mother, Doreen Heitkamp, who was sexually assaulted as a teenager, the senator told a reporter: "I want you to put this in there: it did not make my mom less strong that she was a victim. She got stronger and she made us strong."

(c) 2018 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Big Mystery - How Do We Explain Gravity?
By James Donahue

Every high school physics student knows that Isaac Newton "discovered" the fundamental nature of gravity in the late 1600s. By unraveling the mysteries of planetary movement and the Earth's "pull" on all of us, he became the father of modern physics.

Yet beyond Newton, that is all we know about gravity, and we have been studying its principles for some 300 years.

If all of the other laws of physics were applicable, we should all be flying wildly off the surface of this spinning ball and cast adrift in deep space. Yet just the opposite is happening. We have to fire powerful rockets just to lift an object off the planet.

Gravity then is a powerful force that we have to contend with when we attempt to explore space. We also know from our space missions to the moon and the probes we have sent throughout our solar system, that all large planetary bodies and also our sun, a giant burning ball of gas, have gravity. Also we know that gravity increases in proportion to the size of the space body. Our astronauts were feather-weights when they were jumping around on the moon, even though they were wearing very cumbersome space suits.

While we don't yet know why, we know that there is another force at work that keeps everybody, our houses, our cars and all the animals firmly planted on the surface of Earth. Thus the mystery of gravity remains locked perhaps within the relatively new and difficult to understand world of quantum physics. Or perhaps the pull of the planet might be caused by a massless particle that yanks on us somewhat like a magnet pulls on metal. And that opens the door to yet another mysterious force that we will not attempt to discuss in this short commentary.

Yet, strangely, magnetism appears to be in some way related to gravity. And some physicists who have thought long and hard about this question, like Harvard's Lisa Randall, suggest that the only way to explain it would be to use mathematics with "exotic string theory notions like invisible 10-dimensional space."

And that is getting pretty abstract when you put your mind to it. Yet as hard as we might try, the problem of explaining gravity fails to hold a candle to some of the abstract ideas linked with dual universes, nano-technological sciences, genetic medicine and all of the other exciting new fields of science that have opened to us.

If we humans can learn to turn on the full capacity of our bicameral brains and evolve before we blow ourselves into extinction, perhaps someday we may understand gravity as well as these other new and exciting mysteries that await our resolve.

(c) 2018 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

Seniors in Jefferson county pose with black voters matter's bus.

Georgia Mayor Goes On Racist Rant After County Stops Black Voters Matter From Helping Elderly Vote
The mayor works in Jefferson County, where administrators stopped the group from bringing seniors to the polls.
By Kira Lerner

LOUISVILLE, GEORGIA - The mayor of a Georgia town in the same county where administrators blocked Black Voters Matter from bringing elderly black voters to the polls said on Facebook Wednesday that the group's work is "utterly reprehensible."

Barstow, Georgia Mayor Robert Morris, whose Facebook includes a number of racist posts, shared a status on Facebook two days after the county decided to prevent Black Voters Matter from bringing seniors to the polls.

"It is utterly reprehensible that your group maintains that all black voters should vote for a black candidate just because they are the same color as you," he wrote.

"A man named Jim Jones once ran an organization like that. Better check that Koolaid you are serving up."

Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown responded to the comment on the group's Facebook page without knowing Morris' role in Jefferson County.

"[I]f you knew our work you would know we have supported and continue to support both white and Black candidates," she wrote. "We support the best candidate for us. Your message makes an assumption based on your own racial bias."

Morris is the mayor of Bartow, a small town of just 286 people located 10 miles south of Louisville, where Black Voters Matter organized an event at a county-run senior center. Jefferson County is roughly 53 percent black, according to Census data. A historical plaque marking where a slave market once operated stands just down the street from the senior center.

Cliff Albright, Black Voters Matter's other co-founder, told ThinkProgress that Morris' views are shared by an alarming number of people.

"It is really a reflection of how as soon as we say 'Black voters matter,' all people like that hear is we only want to vote for black people because they're black versus because of what the issues are," Albright said.

"It's a reflection of their own biases because they know it's how they operate, and they assume that the way we see power is the same as the way they see power. In reality, right now we're supporting several white candidates."

Albright noted that most people first learned about their organization last year, when they helped Doug Jones, a white candidate, win his seat in the Senate in Alabama.

On his Facebook page, Morris also shared racist and Islamophobic memes, including one on Wednesday asking: "If a fox came to your home, would you put him in your chicken coop hoping he would integrate? Didn't think so. Stop the invasion of Islam into the free world."

He also shared on Wednesday Jefferson County's official statement about Black Voters Matter's activity at the senior center. Morris did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Stacey Abrams rallies with Georgia voters forced off Black Voters Matter bus

Morris isn't the only Jefferson County official to express his political beliefs on Facebook. Adam Brett, the county administrator who made the decision to have the seniors removed from the bus, wrote on Facebook in 2016 asking his Democratic friends to name one thing the government does well. "I don't think my belief in limited government will change any time soon."

On Wednesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams rallied in Louisville at an event attended by Black Voters Matter and the seniors who were removed from their bus.

"Even if there are obstacles, we have to recognize that those obstacles are only permanent if we don't fight them," Abrams said about the voter intimidation. "We want to make certain that the folks of Louisville in Jefferson County understand that we are standing with them as they cast their votes."

(c) 2018 Kira Lerner is a political reporter at ThinkProgress, where she covers a wide range of policy issues with a focus on voting rights and criminal justice reform. Her reporting on campaigns, elections, town halls, and the resistance movement has taken her to a long list of states across the country (but she's still working on hitting 50). A native of the Washington, D.C. area, she holds a degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Trump Approval Rises?
By Heather Digby Parton

I guess that's technically true. But look at what it rises to:

His approval rating has been at about 40% since he was inaugurated. I suspect that won't change unless the economy goes south and dislodges some of the selfish, rich, assholes who know he's a dangerous imbecile but don't care as long as their portfolios remain fat. That would probably peel off five or six points. Maybe a few more. But the rest are superfans. They may stick with him forever. In the meantime:

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

Caribou safeguard less-studied species with which it shares habitat. Under a "priority threat management"
assessment model, an endangered species we think is too costly to save could also be an ecosystem linchpin.

Protecting The Complex Web Of Life Should Be The Priority
By David Suzuki

News that Environment and Climate Change Canada is considering "priority threat management" to assess endangered species is troubling.

The method is often used to inform a "triage" approach in which some species are abandoned to focus resources on others ranked higher priority. The federal government is legally required to oversee recovery of all species at risk, not just those it chooses to prioritize.

It makes sense to model recovery measures at an ecosystem scale and forecast budgets accordingly, in part to determine the most cost-effective ways to advance recovery efforts. But economic models shouldn't be used to determine that it's "too expensive" to save some species.

The decision about whether or not to manage landscapes to recover imperilled wildlife is, ultimately, not economic but societal; it reflects the values that we, the public, embrace, and to which we hold our elected officials accountable. We need to be clear that if we let a species go, it's because we're choosing other values over its survival.

Many things can't feed into an economic model, including wildlife's intrinsic value and the cultural worth of a species to Indigenous Peoples. It's also difficult to conceive how a model can take into account the complex relationships between species when we still don't fully understand those relationships.

It's hubris to decide that we can afford to protect prey but not its predators, when we still know so little about how predator-prey relationships influence a landscape. What if a species that doesn't make the cost-effective recovery list is an umbrella species, such as caribou, which safeguards less-studied species with which it shares habitat? What if a species we think is too costly to save proves to be an ecosystem linchpin?

One thing is certain: We don't fully comprehend the components of ecosystem functionality, so we don't know what we lose when we lose a species. Research shows, though, that biodiversity and ecosystem resilience are connected.

The model underpinning priority threat management involves estimating the probability of recovery despite the fact that the science is so new that we don't yet know what measures work for many, if not most, species at risk. It also assumes that resources are constrained but doesn't take into account government investments in industry or the billions of dollars in royalties and profits that provinces and industries have raked in and continue to rake in through activities that destroy habitat species need to survive.

Recent articles on the triage approach note it is getting "huge buy-in" from industry. This isn't surprising. It provides a perverse incentive to industrial players that drive species to the point at which they are deemed "too costly" to save. If species are abandoned, so are requirements for habitat protection and restoration that many industries see as limiting to their bottom line.

Interestingly, industrial players and their allies have invested significant effort and resources into the narrative that species are too expensive to save by arguing that conservation will shut down the economy. Often they reference unpublished economic models or grossly exaggerate economic impacts of species conservation. For example, a group of six northern Alberta municipalities predicted an economic impact of $36 trillion, extending 200 years into the future, if caribou were conserved. (For reference, the total value of output for the Canadian economy in 2017 was $1.7 trillion and 200 years ago, the oil and gas industry didn't exist.)

Society needs transparent, explicit decision-making around how public money is spent to reduce risk to species. Yet the main challenge for species recovery in Canada is far greater than the need for tools to prioritize limited funds. In essence, it's our failure to put sufficient limits on human activity and prioritize wildlife persistence over status quo business operations.

We have tough choices, including how to make decisions about the future of wildlife in Canada. Will we call for limits on how much humans can encroach on the space wildlife needs to survive? Will we hold those who profit from habitat destruction accountable for its protection and restoration? Will we use existing science and traditional knowledge to ensure our landscape management policies sustain the ecosystems that support natural processes, wildlife and humans alike? It's up to all of us to decide.

(c) 2018 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co_founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

These Are The Folks We Charge With Vetting Our Presidential Candidates?
The Iowa legislature is completely off the rails.
By Charles P. Pierce

Don't think Iowa politics is all about butter sculptures and nice ladies with hot dishes hosting caucuses on snowy evenings every four years. Oh, no, sir. There's more going on in the Hawkeye State than that. From The Des Moines Register:

The depositions, taken under oath by about two-dozen lawmakers and legislative staffers, comprise more than 1,000 pages of documents previously unreleased to the public. They were part of a landmark sexual harassment case that resulted in the state of Iowa paying a $1.75 million settlement last year.

Multiple staff members watched pornography at work, including male staffers who gathered to view a video of topless women jumping on a trampoline to the tune of "Jingle Bells." Staff members and lawmakers described female co-workers and lobbyists in lewd or sexually derogatory ways. For example, male legislative staffers would "go out in like a little pack," assessing the physical attributes of female lobbyists. One male legislative employee called women "c----", a vulgar term referring to female genitalia. A senator gossiped with a colleague that a female senator was sexually promiscuous, while another senator asked a staff member on the Senate floor about the size of her nipples. The latter senator's drinking problems prompted a Senate leader to bring a breathalyzer to test his colleague before he spoke on the Senate floor.

The Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair

I don't think the whole breathalyzer thing is a bad idea generally for most legislative bodies and, perhaps one day, for oral arguments in the Supreme Court, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. But the rest of this is grotesque, and I don't know how in the hell Iowa got out from under this for less than $2 million.
The misconduct detailed in the documents stretches back more than a decade. One current staffer, for example, testified that one of her co-workers was fired about 20 years ago for being pregnant. In retrospect, some senators now say the problems have been compounded by silence and inaction: When staffers came forward to complain about harassing behavior, little or nothing was done...

Anderson - who in a court deposition described feelings of shame and defeat because of the sexual harassment she experienced - said in a Register interview that her termination is evidence that the fear of retaliation is real. She describes the Legislature as "a culture of secrets."

"Putting more sunshine on these issues is good, and I think it would have quashed my situation pretty fast," Anderson said. "I think there needs to be more accountability. It's disappointing that there hasn't been, and there still isn't." The Capitol fosters an atmosphere that protects people who act badly, Anderson said. As an example, she pointed to the accusations in her lawsuit - documented by emails and multiple people's testimony - detailing a December 2012 GOP staffer's comment that a job applicant "likes rhythm." When a co-worker asked what he meant, the staffer - Jim Friedrich, a former GOP candidate for state representative - said in front of at least six people: "She likes the black d---," referencing male genitalia.

Keep in mind that, in about a year and a half, these people, and the people who elected them, will perform the first vetting of the candidates running for the office of President of the United States. I'm beginning to wonder if we should leave the whole thing to the Butter Cow.

(c) 2018 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"A liberal to me is one who - and it suits some of the dictionary definitions - is unbeholden to any specific belief or party or group or person, but makes up his or her mind on the basis of the facts and the presentation of those facts at the time. That defines what I am.
~~~ Walter Cronkite

We Need A New Armistice Day
Remarks at the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz, Calif., on October 12, 2018.
By David Swanson

Video slowly uploading will be at

Exactly at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918, 100 years ago this coming November 11th, people across Europe suddenly stopped shooting guns at each other. Up until that moment, they were killing and taking bullets, falling and screaming, moaning and dying, from bullets and from poison gas.

Wilfred Owen put it this way:

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Sweet and proper it is to die for a nation. So they have said for centuries. It may be proper, never sweet. Also never beneficial. Also never to be appreciated or thanked or imagined to be some sort of service or honored, only mourned and regretted. The largest number of those who do it today in the United States die for their nation through suicide. The Veterans Administration has said for decades that the single best predictor of suicide is combat guilt. You won't see that advertised in many Veterans Day Parades. Bitter truth is never as proper as sweet lies. There are very few parades on Conscientious Objectors Day, but in a wise society headed in the right direction there would be.

And then they stopped, at 11:00 in the morning, one century ago. They stopped, on schedule. It wasn't that they'd gotten tired or come to their senses. Both before and after 11 o'clock they were simply following orders. The Armistice agreement that ended World War I had set 11 o'clock as quitting time.

Henry Nicholas John Gunther had been born in Baltimore, Maryland, to parents who had immigrated from Germany. In September 1917 he had been drafted to help kill Germans. When he had written home from Europe to describe how horrible the war was and to encourage others to avoid being drafted, he had been demoted (and his letter censored).

After that, he had told his buddies that he would prove himself. As the deadline of 11:00 a.m. approached on that final day in November, Henry got up, against orders, and bravely charged with his bayonet toward two German machine guns. The Germans were aware of the Armistice and tried to wave him off. He kept approaching and shooting. When he got close, a short burst of machine gun fire ended his life at 10:59 a.m.

Henry was the last of the 11,000 men to be killed or wounded between the signing of the Armistice six hours earlier and its taking effect. Henry Gunther was given his rank back, but not his life.

The physically and mentally wounded, and the impoverished, would continue to die for some time. The flu spread by the war would take even more victims, and the disastrous manner of eventually negotiating the peace would predictably - by facilitating a sequel, Mass Insanity Part II, the Return of the Sociopaths - take more lives than the war and the flu combined. The great war (which I take to have been great in approximately the Make America Great Again sense) would be the last war in which some of the ways people still talk and think about war would be true. The dead outnumbered the wounded. The military casualties outnumbered the civilians. The killing took place largely on battlefields. The two sides were not, for the most part, armed by the very same weapons companies. War was legal. And lots of really smart people believed the war lies sincerely and then changed their minds. All of that is gone with the wind, whether we care to admit it or not.

But I want to back up a couple of months to September 28, 1918. That was the day of the stupidest parade I've ever heard of. And, let's be frank, this is a world awash in stupidity. Donald Trump wanted to hold a weapons parade in Washington this November. That was not exactly a genius idea. It was not as insidious as renaming a holiday for veterans but barring Veterans For Peace chapters from participating in parades, as some cities do every November. Trump's proposal was more vulgar, and also embarrassing. Vulgar because it would have advertised the mass murder machinery of an operation the U.S. public is supposed to think of as philanthropic. Vulgar because it would have promoted some of the biggest campaign bribers, excuse me - contributors, who operate within the pristine U.S. election system that is already under threat from nefarious if bewildering Facebook ads bought by the dastardly commies, I mean Russians. And embarrassing because traditionally the weapons parades have been used when there was a pretense of a victory, as during the Gulf War. Boy did that victory work out well for everyone, huh? To hold a weapons parade just because it's been so many years since anyone could pretend a victory for longer than it takes to stand on an aircraft carrier in San Diego might be, as someone might tweet about it, sad.

Why was this shindig cancelled? That it would have cost millions of dollars seems like a sensible reason except that that's a rounding error in a subcontract entirely susceptible to getting misplaced entirely by the accountant gurus at the Pentagon. Part of the reason, though it's the last thing they'd tell us, is probably that the public, the media, and the military showed very little interest in the thing, and many adamantly opposed it, including many of us who publicly promised to turn out everyone we could to block it, denounce it, and instead celebrate Armistice Day. We also committed to going ahead with that celebration, and all the more so, if the parade was cancelled. But when it was cancelled, a number of groups lost all their enthusiasm for moving forward. That I consider a shame and a strategic error. But some scaled back events are planned for DC, and some good models are available for promoting Armistice Day everywhere on earth. More on that shortly.

Let's not overlook the point, though, that public sentiment contributed to cancelling the Trumparade. If Trump launches a big new war it will be in part because he believes the public will cheer for it. This is why it is so critical that we make clear right now that we will condemn it - and worse, we won't watch it. It will get bad ratings. If we can communicate that to Donald Trump we may have peace evermore.

I want to get back to the parade that was even dumber. Recall that Woodrow Wilson had been reelected on the slogan "he kept us out of war," although he'd been trying for a long time to get the U.S. into the war. He'd hoped to get the British and the French to agree to his terms for a postwar world with a peace without victor, and his 14 points drafted by Walter Lippmann and others and including a League of Nations meant to preserve peace, plus disarmament and free trade and an end to colonialism. Despite their refusal, Wilson went ahead and pushed the U.S. into the war using all sorts of lies about sunken U.S. ships and a brutal propaganda campaign that let virtually everyone know what to think and locked up those who didn't think correctly.

Recall that the Great War was the worst, most concentrated violence that white people had ever imposed on themselves, and that they were not used to it. On top of the dramatic death toll, the United States shipped soldiers and sailors with the flu off to the trenches of Europe from which the deadly disease spread around the world, killing perhaps 2 or 3 times the number of people killed directly in the war. Ignorance about the flu was encouraged by policies that forbid newspapers to report anything less than cheerful during a war. Spain didn't have those restrictions. So news of the epidemic was first reported in Spain, and people began calling the disease the Spanish Flu.

Now, the U.S. government wanted to hold a parade in Philadelphia with more weapons than even Trump might have demanded plus crowds of flu-infected veterans just returned from the trenches. Numerous health experts pointed out that this was about as smart as machine gunning and poison gassing millions of young men in the name of ending war - or as a popular poster at more recent protests has put it: fornicating for virginity. But Philly's health director Wilmer Krusen had about as much respect for the general public as a Philadelphia Eagles fan has for an opposing team. Krusen announced that the flu was fake news. He proposed that people just stop coughing, spitting, and sneezing. Seriously. The Christian Scientists or the pray the gay away people were in charge. Stop sneezing. That will fix everything.

One purpose of the parade was to sell bonds to pay for the war, and each city wanted to sell the most, including Philadelphia. Instead, what Philadelphia grabbed the record for was spreading the most influenza. A massive outbreak was predicted and occurred.

One man who may have come down with the flu as a result of the epidemic that was hugely increased by the parade was Woodrow Wilson. When Wilson travelled to Versailles to negotiate the peaceful paradise he had promised the world, he found, as expected, that the British and the French wanted no part in it. Instead they wanted to punish the Germans as viciously as possible. One reason that Wilson put up hardly any fight for what he had sworn he would fight for was almost certainly the amount of time he spent sick in bed in France. And one reason he was sick in bed may very well have been the dumbest parade in history - a parade that helped kill on the scale of the war and perhaps a much larger scale.

Smart observers predicted World War II the moment they saw the nasty terms of the peace agreement that Wilson had seen roll over his sick bed. That second fit of collective lunacy would, as I've said, kill more than the first one and its flu combined. And the legacy of World War II would be the endless ongoing slaughter of millions of civilians in a normalized permawar that has ended all peace. And that has included permanent WWII propaganda rendering it impossible to question WWII and therefore much more convenient never to think about WWI. So, the moral of the story is: plan your parades carefully.

Actually, there are some other morals of the story. If you read Sigmund Freud's biography of Woodrow Wilson, he cites the fact that following the disaster at Versailles, Wilson could blatantly contradict himself in a matter of days as evidence that Wilson had lost his mind. Of course we have now progressed so far beyond Freudian mythology as to recognize that a U.S. president really ought to blatantly contradict himself in a matter of minutes.

A more serious moral of the story is one that Freud and most everyone else ignores, namely that - as usual - there were some people who got things right very early on and were not listened to: the peace activists. We shouldn't excuse World War I on the grounds that nobody knew. It's not as if wars have to be fought in order to learn each time that war is hell. It's not as if each new type of weaponry suddenly makes war evil. It's not as if war wasn't already the worst thing ever created. It's not as if people didn't say so, didn't resist, didn't propose alternatives, didn't go to prison for their convictions.

In 1915, Jane Addams met with President Wilson and urged him to offer mediation to Europe. Wilson praised the peace terms drafted by a conference of women for peace held in the Hague. He received 10,000 telegrams from women asking him to act. Some historians believe that had he acted in 1915 or early in 1916 he might very well have helped bring the Great War to an end under circumstances that would have furthered a far more durable peace than the one made eventually at Versailles. Wilson did act on the advice of Addams, and of his Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, but not until it was too late. By the time he acted, the Germans did not trust a mediator who had been aiding the British war effort. Wilson was left to campaign for reelection on a platform of peace and then quickly propagandize and plunge the United States into Europe's war. And the number of progressives Wilson brought, at least briefly, to the side of loving war makes Barack Obama look like an amateur.

Not only were peace activists right about why and how to try to end World War I, but some of them immediately predicted World War II after Versailles. Some of them marched and protested against the build up to a war with Japan for many years leading up to Pearl Harbor, which was as much a surprise as Lindsey Graham voting for Brett Kavanaugh. And some of them made every effort to get Jews and other targeted people out of Germany for years, with the only government interested in helping them being that of Adolf Hitler.

World War II was not humanitarian and was not even marketed as such until after it was over. The United States led global conferences at which the decision was made not to accept Jewish refugees, and for explicitly racist reasons, and despite Hitler's claim that he would send them anywhere on luxury cruise ships. There was no poster asking you to help Uncle Sam save the Jews. A ship of Jewish refugees from Germany was chased away from Miami by the Coast Guard. The U.S. and other nations refused to accept Jewish refugees, and the majority of the U.S. public supported that position. Peace groups that questioned Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his foreign secretary about shipping Jews out of Germany to save them were told that, while Hitler might very well agree to the plan, it would be too much trouble and require too many ships. The U.S. engaged in no diplomatic or military effort to save the victims in the Nazi concentration camps. Anne Frank was denied a U.S. visa. Although this point has nothing to do with a serious historian's case for WWII as a Just War, it is so central to U.S. mythology that I'll quote here a key passage from Nicholson Baker:

"Anthony Eden, Britain's foreign secretary, who'd been tasked by Churchill with handling queries about refugees, dealt coldly with one of many important delegations, saying that any diplomatic effort to obtain the release of the Jews from Hitler was 'fantastically impossible.' On a trip to the United States, Eden candidly told Cordell Hull, the secretary of state, that the real difficulty with asking Hitler for the Jews was that 'Hitler might well take us up on any such offer, and there simply are not enough ships and means of transportation in the world to handle them.' Churchill agreed. 'Even were we to obtain permission to withdraw all the Jews,' he wrote in reply to one pleading letter, 'transport alone presents a problem which will be difficult of solution.' Not enough shipping and transport? Two years earlier, the British had evacuated nearly 340,000 men from the beaches of Dunkirk in just nine days. The U.S. Air Force had many thousands of new planes. During even a brief armistice, the Allies could have airlifted and transported refugees in very large numbers out of the German sphere."
One reason peace advocates have not been and still are not listened to is the system of propaganda first created for World War I. The propaganda machinery invented by President Woodrow Wilson and his Committee on Public Information had drawn Americans into the war with exaggerated and fictional tales of German atrocities in Belgium, posters depicting Jesus Christ in khaki sighting down a gun barrel, and promises of selfless devotion to making the world safe for democracy. The extent of the casualties was hidden from the public as much as possible during the course of the war, but by the time it was over many had learned something of war's reality. And many had come to resent the manipulation of noble emotions that had pulled an independent nation into overseas barbarity.

However, the propaganda that motivated the fighting was not immediately erased from people's minds. A war to end wars and make the world safe for democracy cannot end without some lingering demand for peace and justice, or at least for something more valuable than the flu and prohibition. Even those rejecting the idea that the war could in any way help advance the cause of peace aligned with all those wanting to avoid all future wars - a group that probably encompassed most of the U.S. population. As Wilson had talked up peace as the official reason for going to war, countless souls had taken him extremely seriously. "It is no exaggeration to say that where there had been relatively few peace schemes before the World War," writes Robert Ferrell, "there now were hundreds and even thousands" in Europe and the United States. The decade following the war was a decade of searching for peace: "Peace echoed through so many sermons, speeches, and state papers that it drove itself into the consciousness of everyone. Never in world history was peace so great a desideratum, so much talked about, looked toward, and planned for, as in the decade after the 1918 Armistice."

That remains true today. The peace movement of the 1960s was huge. That of the 1920s was all-encompassing.

Congress passed an Armistice Day resolution calling for "exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding ... inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples." Later, Congress added that November 11th was to be "a day dedicated to the cause of world peace."

That is the tradition we need to restore. It lasted in the United States up through the 1950s and even longer in some other countries under the name Remembrance Day. It was only after the United States had nuked Japan, destroyed Korea, begun a Cold War, created the CIA, and established a permanent military industrial complex with major permanent bases around the globe, that the U.S. government renamed Armistice Day as Veterans Day on June 1, 1954.

Veterans Day is no longer, for most people, a day to cheer the ending of war or even to aspire to its abolition. Veterans Day is not even a day on which to mourn or to question why suicide is the top killer of U.S. troops or why so many veterans have no houses.

In the years following World War I, war was something to be lamented, exactly as if it were not desirable. World War I had cost, as one author calculated it at the time, enough money to have given a $2,500 home with $1,000 worth of furniture and five acres of land to every family in Russia, most of the European nations, Canada, the United States, and Australia, plus enough to give every city of over 20,000 a $2 million library, a $3 million hospital, a $20 million college, and still enough left over to buy every piece of property in Germany and Belgium. And it was all legal. Incredibly stupid, but totally legal. Particular atrocities violated laws, but war was not criminal. It never had been, but it soon would be.

The Outlawry Movement of the 1920s-the movement to outlaw war-sought to replace war with arbitration, by first banning war and then developing a code of international law and a court with the authority to settle disputes. The first step was taken in 1928 with the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which banned all war. Today 81 nations are party to that treaty, including the United States, and many of them comply with it. I'd like to see additional nations, poorer nations that were left out of the treaty, join it (which they can do simply by stating that intention to the U.S. State Department) and then urge the greatest purveyors of violence in the world to comply.

I wrote a book about the movement that created that treaty, not just because we need to continue its work, but also because we can learn from its methods. Here was a movement that united people across the political spectrum, those for and against alcohol, those for and against the League of Nations, with a proposal to criminalize war. It was an uncomfortably large coalition. There were negotiations and peace pacts between rival factions of the peace movement. There was a moral case made that expected the best of people. War wasn't opposed merely on economic grounds or because it might kill people from one's own country. It was opposed as mass murder, as no less barbaric than duelling as a means of settling individuals' disputes. Here was a movement with a long-term vision based on educating and organizing. There was an endless hurricane of lobbying, but no endorsing of politicians, no aligning of a movement behind a party. On the contrary, all four - yes, four - major parties were compelled to line up behind the movement. Instead of Clint Eastwood talking to a chair or Donald Trump's 4th-grade vocabulary, the Republican National Convention of 1924 saw President Coolidge promising to outlaw war if reelected.

And on August 27, 1928, in Paris, France, that scene happened that made it into a 1950s folk song as a mighty room filled with men, and the papers they were signing said they'd never fight again. And it was men, women were outside protesting. And it was a pact among wealthy nations that nonetheless would continue making war on and colonizing the poor. But it was a pact for peace that ended wars and ended the acceptance of territorial gains made through wars, except in Palestine, the Sahara, Diego Garcia, and other exceptions. It was a treaty that still required a body of law and an international court that we still do not have. But it was a treaty that in 90 years those wealthy nations would, in relation to each other, violate only once. Following World War II, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was used to prosecute victor's justice. And the big armed nations never went to war with each other again, yet. And so, the pact is generally considered to have failed.

What has failed is the idea of the United States as a law abiding citizen. The U.S. National Security Advisory, who poses a threat to actual security, not only holds the United States to be above the law, but publicly threatens any nation that supports the rule of law, even while violating the U.N. Charter by threatening war on others under the guise of law enforcement. And while most people in the United States are not eager for more wars, and there would be no rebellion if we were given peace, there is broad consensus across the political spectrum in the United States that the United States is special, so special as to merit its own standards and privileges properly denied to ever other nation.

I might add here that there is bad as well as good in people shunning Saudi Arabia over the murder of one U.S. corporate journalist but not over the murder of thousands of non-Americans. There's also something very disturbing in the accepted notion that one should sell bombs only to governments that do not abuse human rights, meaning kill anyone without bombs. There is also something both evil and incompetent in Trump arguing that you sell them weapons anyway to create jobs, since military spending is in fact a drain on jobs and the reverse arms race that the United States could easily lead could be made to economically benefit everyone.

In my latest book, Curing Exceptionalism, I look at how the United States compares with other countries, how people think about that, what harm this thinking does, and how to think differently. In the first of those four sections, I try to find some measure by which the United States actually is the greatest, number one, the only indispensible nation, and I fail.

I tried freedom, but every ranking by every institute or academy, abroad, within the United States, privately funded, funded by the CIA, etc., failed to rank the United States at the top, whether for rightwing capitalist freedom to exploit, leftwing freedom to lead a fulfilling life, freedom in civil liberties, freedom to change one's economic position, freedom by any definition under the sun. The United States where I>"at least I know I'm free" in the words of a country song contrasts with other countries where at least I know I'm freer.

So I looked harder. I looked at education at every level, and found the United States ranked first only in student debt. I looked at wealth and found the United States ranked first only in inequality of wealth distribution among wealthy nations. In fact, the United States ranks at the bottom of wealthy nations in a very long list of measures of quality of life. You live longer, healthier, and happier elsewhere. The United States ranks first among all nations in various measures one shouldn't be proud of: incarceration, various sorts of environmental destruction, and most measures of militarism, as well as some dubious categories, such as - don't sue me - lawyers per capita. And it ranks first in a number of items that I imagine those who shout "We're Number 1!" to quiet down anybody working to improve things do not have in mind: most television viewing, most paved asphalt, at or near the top in most obesity, most wasted food, cosmetic surgery, pornography, consumption of cheese, etc.

In a rational world, nations that had found the best policies on healthcare, gun violence, education, environmental protection, peace, prosperity, and happiness would be most promoted as models worthy of consideration. In this world, the prevalence of the English language, the dominance of Hollywood, and other factors do in fact put the United States in the lead in one thing: in the promotion of all of its mediocre to disastrous policies.

What we need is not shame in place of pride, or some new version of patriotism. What we need is to stop identifying ourselves so much with a national government and a military. We need to identify more with our actual smaller communities, and with the wider human and natural community of this little planet. We need a new Armistice Day conceived of by people who view the world and each other in those terms.

At the website you'll find a list of events around the world and the opportunity to add an event not yet listed. You'll also find resources that include speakers, videos, activities, articles, information, posters and flyers to help with your event. One activity promoted by Veterans For Peace is the ringing of bells at that moment of 11 o'clock on the 11th day of the 11th month. Groups can contact us at World BEYOND War for help planning any activities. But I think they might also want to contact the Santa Cruz peace community as you have really taken the lead in restoring this peace holiday by marking it and the date one month before it and two months before it, etc. It's wonderful what you've done. Wonderful also is the Collateral Damage monument in Santa Cruz - a model for a culture of peace.

I also want to plant another future activity idea in your heads that I just learned about this week. It seems that next April 4th is not just 51 years since the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and 52 years since his best known speech against war, but it's also the 70th birthday of that wonderfully benevolent institution called NATO. So, there's going to be a big NATO Summit in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 2019, and we at World BEYOND War believe there should be a peace summit there too. We're starting to build a coalition, to plan speaking events and more festival-like big-art public demonstration events at that time and the previous weekend.

Now, I know that Trump said NATO should be abolished, just before he backed continuing and expanding NATO and badgered NATO members to put more money into NATO and weaponry. So, therefore, NATO is anti-Trump. And therefore NATO is good and noble. And so I have no business saying No to NATO / Yes to Peace. On the other hand, NATO has pushed the weaponry and the hostility and the massive so-called war games right up to the border of Russia. NATO has waged aggressive wars far from the North Atlantic. NATO has added Colombia, abandoning all pretense of serving some purpose in the North Atlantic. NATO is used to free the U.S. Congress from the responsibility and the right to oversee the atrocities of U.S. wars. NATO is used as cover by NATO member governments to join U.S. wars under the pretense that they are somehow more legal or acceptable. NATO is used as cover to illegally and recklessly share nuclear weapons with supposedly non-nuclear nations. NATO is used, just as the alliances that created World War I, to assign nations the responsibility to go to war if other nations go to war, and therefore to be prepared for war. NATO should be buried in Arlington Cemetery and the rest of us put out of our misery. The turn out against NATO in Chicago five years before this coming summit was encouraging. I plan to be out in the streets again this time to say No to NATO, Yes to peace, Yes to prosperity, Yes to a sustainable environment, Yes to civil liberties, Yes to education, Yes to a culture of nonviolence and kindness and decency, Yes to remembering April 4th as a day associated with the work for peace of Martin Luther King Jr. I hope you'll join us in the swamp in the springtime.

Thank you for everything you're doing for peace! Let's do more!

(c) 2018 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Immigrants: Indians Are Finally Taking Back America?
By Jane Stillwater

Well, what do you know? The buffalo are gone from the Great Plains, 100 million Native Americans are dead, Lakota lands are now being stolen by oil companies, most A.I.M. leaders are either murdered or in jail, and Chief Joseph will fight no more forever. The Indian Wars are truly over.

Or are they?

There appears to be a new breed of Native American that has started the Indian Wars all over again -- reluctant warriors.

Was it Sitting Bull who traveled back to Washington DC, saw how many White men there were back there and said,

"Holy cow! These white-eyes are everywhere! We're never going to get our lands back!" And although Sitting Bull defended his Lakota family with all his heart and soul, it was no use. There were just too many White men.

But now the tide appears to have turned as even more Native Americans are currently pouring into the USA in great numbers, thousands a day, coming up from the south to reclaim Native lands.

"Who me?" say the immigrants. "I'm only just looking for a job here. Whatda ya got?" Stoop labor? Meat packing? Trench diggers and roofers? Nannies and maids? "Count me in."

Who knew that our red-skinned brothers from the south would come here to right a great wrong, to take back stolen lands?

"Not me," say the immigrants. And yet the thing speaks for itself. What's the story here? Do unto others as you would have others do unto you? Nope. "What goes around comes around."

But it really doesn't have to be like this -- all this "us versus them" bull dookie, America's infamous genocidal policy modeled after George Armstrong Custer and Hitler's rantings in Mein Kampf.

There is a better way.

We can all learn from each other.

Wherever cultures and races interact nicely, we can always see new talents, insights, solutions and ideas being born. To quote one of America's greatest philosophers, "Please won't you be my neighbor...."

PS: I'll be going to El Paso in early November to work on the Beto O'Rourke campaign (who in their right mind would even consider voting for sleazy Ted Cruz?) And does anyone know the location of any I.C.E. slave-labor camps down there that I can picket while I'm in El Paso? In the spirit of Crazy Horse?

I know that there is a grossly-huge tent-city concentration camp for young Native American children at Tormillo but don't know how to get down there. Would Uber give me a Lyft?

I also plan to visit Juarez while I'm down there. Any hot tips on the best taco places to visit in Juarez? And does Juarez have a Yelp site?

(c) 2018 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Dead Letter Office-

Heil Trump,

Dear Stadtrat Barber,

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 comment of "Better get your coathangers ready liberals" to Kavanaugh's getting a Supreme Court seat, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 11-24-2018. We salute you Herr Barber, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Truth About The Trump Economy
By Robert Reich

I keep hearing that although Trump is a scoundrel or worse, at least he's presiding over a great economy.

As White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow recently put it, "The single biggest story this year is an economic boom that is durable and lasting."

Really? Look closely at the living standards of most Americans, and you get a very different picture. Yes, the stock market has boomed since Trump became president. But it's looking increasingly wobbly as Trump's trade wars take a toll.

Over 80 percent of the stock market is owned by the richest 10 percent of Americans anyway, so most Americans never got much out of Trump's market boom to begin with.

The trade wars are about to take a toll on ordinary workers. Trump's steel tariffs have cost Ford $1 billion so far, for example, forcing the automaker to plan mass layoffs.

What about economic growth? Data from the Commerce Department shows the economy at full speed, 4.2 percent growth for the second quarter.

But very little of that growth is trickling down to average Americans. Adjusted for inflation, hourly wages aren't much higher now than they were forty years ago.

Trump slashed taxes on the wealthy and promised everyone else a $4,000 wage boost. But the boost never happened. That's a big reason why Republicans aren't campaigning on their tax cut, which is just about their only legislative accomplishment.

Trump and congressional Republicans refuse to raise the minimum wage, stuck at $7.25 an hour. Trump's Labor Department is also repealing a rule that increased the number of workers entitled to time-and-a-half for overtime.

Yes, unemployment is down to 3.7 percent. But jobs are less secure than ever. Contract workers - who aren't eligible for family or medical leave, unemployment insurance, the minimum wage, or worker's compensation - are now doing one out of every five jobs in America.

Trump's Labor Department has invited more companies to reclassify employees as contract workers. Its new rule undoes the California Supreme Court's recent decision requiring that most workers be presumed employees unless proven otherwise. (Given California's size, that decision had nationwide effect.)

Meanwhile, housing costs are skyrocketing, with Americans now paying a third or more of their paychecks in rent or mortgages.

Trump's response? Drastic cuts in low-income housing. His Secretary of Housing and Urban Development also wants to triple the rent paid by poor households in subsidized housing.

Healthcare costs continues to rise faster than inflation. Trump's response? Undermine the Affordable Care Act. Over the past two years, some 4 million people have lost healthcare coverage, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund.

Pharmaceutical costs are also out of control. Trump's response? Allow the biggest pharmacist, CVS, to merge with the one of the biggest health insurers, Aetna - creating a behemoth with the power to raise prices even further.

The cost of college continues to soar. Trump's response? Make it easier for for-profit colleges to defraud students. His Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is eliminating regulations that had required for-profit colleges to prove they provide gainful employment to the students they enroll.

Commuting to and from work is becoming harder, as roads and bridges become more congested, and subways and trains older and less reliable. Trump's response? Nothing. Although he promised to spend $1.5 trillion to repair America's crumbling infrastructure, his $1.5 trillion tax cut for big corporations and the wealthy used up the money.

Climate change is undermining the standard of living of ordinary Americans, as more are hit with floods, mudslides, tornados, draughts, and wildfires. Even those who have so far avoided direct hits will be paying more for insurance - or having a harder time getting it. People living on flood plains, or in trailers, or without home insurance, are paying the highest price.

Trump's response? Allow more carbon into the atmosphere and make climate change even worse.

Too often, discussions about "the economy" focus on overall statistics about growth, the stock market, and unemployment.

But most Americans don't live in that economy. They live in a personal economy that has more to do with wages, job security, commutes to and from work, and the costs of housing, healthcare, drugs, education, and home insurance.

These are the things that hit closest home. They comprise the typical American's standard of living.

Instead of an "economic boom," most Americans are experiencing declines in all these dimensions of their lives.

Trump isn't solely responsible. Some of these trends predated his presidency. But he hasn't done anything to reverse them.

If anything, he's made them far worse.

(c) 2018 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

The cover art of Ralph Nader's new book is by Mr. Fish.

The Rats Revolt
By Chris Hedges

There is no American who has fought with more tenacity, courage and integrity to expose the crimes of corporate power and to thwart the corporate coup d'etat that has destroyed our democracy than Ralph Nader. Not one. There is little he has not tried in that effort. He has written investigative exposes on the unsafe practices of the auto industry; published best-sellers such as "Who Runs Congress?"; founded citizen action and consumer groups; testified before countless congressional committees; written a raft of environmental and worker safety bills that were passed in Congress under the now defunct liberal wing of the Democratic Party; and, when he was locked out of the legislative process by corporate Democrats, been a candidate for president. He even helped organize the first Earth Day.

His latest assault is a fable called "How the Rats Re-Formed the Congress." (And though at times the prose can be a bit stilted and the scatological jokes on par with the humor of the average 10-year-old-the rats crawl up out of the toilet bowls as congressional leaders are taking a dump-Nader is deadly serious about the revolt the rats engender.)

The key in Nader's story to the citizens retaking control of Congress and the government is sustained mass nationwide demonstrations and rallies. These demonstrations, like all protests that are effective, are organized by full-time staff and steadily build in numbers and momentum. The demonstrations are funded by three enlightened billionaires. I don't share Nader's faith-also expressed in his other foray into fiction, "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us"-in a renegade wing of the oligarchy funding the overthrow of the corporate state, but he is right that successful movements need to be sustained, grow in size and power, have dedicated organizers and amass significant cash and resources so they do not disintegrate.

Nader writes in his new book:

Protests rise and fall in the ether for the most part. They generally don't ripple out from the core group of concerned people who originate them. Experts on crowds attribute this to little planning, minuscule budgets, poor leadership, and the lack of focus which induces protest fatigue among the core before they make an impact. The core never convincingly answers the questions, "Just How Far Do the Majority of Our Fellow Citizens Want To Go and How Do They Expect to Get There?"

Another explanation for the lackluster showing of protest movements in this country is that American politicians, over the past twenty-five years, have learned to quietly dismiss big rallies, demonstrations, and even temporary "occupations," because they have gone nowhere. The lawmakers never consider them when making decisions. Remember, too, that in Washington, giant rallies, such as those against the Iraq War, for the environment or for a jobs program were traditionally held on weekends when neither the members of Congress nor the journalists were around. These crowds are lucky to get a picture in the Sunday newspapers. The lack of publicity curtails any impact they might have had. The smaller gatherings, even those by Veterans for Peace, get zeroed out completely, rating at best a paragraph squib deep in the paper.

The demonstrations for the restoration of our democracy take place in cities around the country. They also see enraged citizens pour into Washington, D.C., to surround and occupy the Capitol and the headquarters of other government agencies and institutions to demand a return to democratic rule. The ruling elites become afraid.

Indeed, it is only when the elites become afraid of us that there will be any hope of destroying corporate power. Politics, as Nader understands, is a game of fear.

As Nader points out, elected officials have surrendered their constitutional power to do the bidding of corporations in return for corporate money. It is a system of legalized bribery. The consent of the governed has become a joke. Politicians in the two ruling parties are the agents of corporate exploitation and oppression, the enemies of democracy. They no longer hold public hearings at the committee level. They govern largely in secret. They pass bills, most written by corporate lobbyists, and appoint judges to protect corporations from lawsuits by those these corporations have wronged, injured or defrauded. They deny our standing in the courts. They divert money from the country's crumbling infrastructure and social services to sustain a war machine that consumes half of all discretionary spending. They run up massive deficits to give tax cuts to the ruling oligarchs and orchestrate the largest transference of wealth upward in American history. They suppress the minimum wage, break unions and legalize the debt peonage that corporations use to exact punishing tribute from the citizenry, including from young men and women forced to take on $1.5 trillion in debt to get a college education. They revoke laws, controls and regulations that curb the worst abuses of Wall Street. They abolish our most cherished civil liberties, including the right to privacy and due process. Their public proceedings, as was evidenced in the one held for new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, are shameless political theater that mocks the democratic process.

"Congress itself is a clear and present danger to our country," Nader writes. "It feasts on raw global corporate power and is oblivious to various fateful degradations of life on the planet." He calls Congress "a concentrated tyranny of self-privilege, secrecy, exclusionary rules and practices."

Nader warns that any uprising has to be swift to prevent the ruling elites from organizing to crush it. It has to capture the public imagination. And it has to have a sense of humor. He writes of the fictitious uprising in "How the Rats Re-Formed the Congress":

A contingent from New York and New England, led by nurses and students, delivered a truck load of "Wall Street Rats" with the sign explaining that they would obviously be welcomed by the Congress that had refused to pass a Wall Street speculation tax, such a sales tax would have provided $300 billion a year that might have been utilized to provide healthcare and reduce the student loan burdens. Millions of postcards were being sent showing one giant black rat on the Capitol Dome with a sign saying, "You Didn't Listen to Them-The People-But Now You're Going To Listen To Us." This was only a sliver of the corrosively critical anthropomorphism attributed to the rats and their imagined political agenda. They had become the voice of the public! Little statuettes of [House Speaker] Blamer, [Minority Leader] Melosay, and [Senate Majority Leader] Clearwater, wearing crowns upon which lolled a pompous rat, were selling like hotcakes. Poster art rose to new heights of imaginative, symbolic, and real-life portrayals of what was increasingly being called the perfidious "Withering Heights" of Washington, DC.

The calendar was filled with non-stop street action: rallies, soapbox speeches, marches, and sit-ins at zoos where the protesters said the rats should be given luxury cages as reward for their heroic takeover. The media couldn't have enough of it. Ratings soared and increasing print, radio, and TV time was being devoted to what was making a very deep impression everywhere. Protests-across the country, red state, blue state, north, south, east, and west-were moving into mobilization stages with overdue specific demands for justice, fairness, and participation qua citizens replacing control qua wealth as the sine qua non of government functioning. And, the most ominous sign of all for incumbents: there were early indications of candidates, holding the same beliefs as the protesters, readying challenges to the lawmakers in the upcoming primaries.

Petitions were circulating on the Internet demanding the members go back to their jobs regardless of the rat infestation. Millions of workers show up every day at jobs far more dangerous. They don't cower in fear. If they did, they would have their pay cut or be fired by their bosses. The petition pointed out that Members of Congress were getting paid while they stayed home in bed. Outrageous! These petitions contained common left/right demands-the kind that really scare politicians.

No revolution will succeed without a vision. Nader lays out the basics-a guaranteed living wage, full government-funded health insurance, free education including at the university level, the prosecution of corporate criminals, cutting the bloated military budget, an end to empire, criminal justice reform, transferring power from the elites to the citizenry by providing public spaces where consumers, workers and communities can meet and organize, breaking up the big banks and creating a public banking system, protecting and fostering labor unions, removing money from politics, taking the airwaves out of the hands of corporations and returning them to the public and ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry while keeping fossil fuels in the ground to radically reconfigure our relationship to the ecosystem.

He writes of the popular convergence on the centers of power:

Meanwhile, by car, bus, rail, plane and even by bicycles and by foot, people of all ages, backgrounds, and places continued to pour into Washington. They filled the restaurants and the motels. They usually had to find a room in a city where there were few affordable apartments but many large, under-inhabited houses whose longtime owners wanted to make some money to pay for their property taxes and repairs. So they were renting to the new arrivals.

The ways these visitors made their voices heard were quite imaginative. There was a cavalcade of horseback riders in a procession down Constitution Avenue resplendent with the signs, "Pass this ..." or "Pass that ..." always ending with the ominous "or Else." One horseman was using his trumpet to raise the emotional level of the demonstration, which was fully covered in the press. Others joined the daily "resign ... or else" rally going on at the backside of the Capitol while mini-demonstrations were becoming daily events in front of the White House and at other major government buildings containing departments and agencies. Even those agencies in the suburbs, such as the Pentagon, the CIA, the Patent Office, or the Food and Drug Administration, where the employees had thought they would be beyond reach, did not escape the rallying.

It is a wonderful vision. I hope it comes to pass. But even if it does not, we should try. Appealing to the ruling elites and the two corporate political parties, as well as attempting to have our voices and concerns addressed by the corporate media, which has blacklisted Nader, is a waste of time. The corporate state will be overthrown by a citizens' revolt or we will continue to barrel toward a political and ecological nightmare. Nader dares to dream. We should too.

(c) 2018 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Keep up with Chris Hedges' latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Scott Stantis ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Harassing The Harassee
By Will Durst

The Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation process has stumbled forward like a 10-year-old pushing a marble pedestal twice his size up a four-story stairwell. You could say that Christine Blasey Ford's allegations concerning Kavanaugh have sort of gummed up the proceedings. You could also say that blue meat best not be eaten raw.

Ford claims that 36 years ago when she was a drunken 15-year-old at a high school party, the 17-year-old future judge threw her on a bed and covered her mouth to prevent her screaming. He denies everything: being there and/or knowing the girl. He even tried floating an evil twin theory. The only argument he hasn't trotted out is the Donald Trump defense, which characterizes the charges as being baseless because she wasn't pretty enough.

The president who nominated him doubts the accusation as well. Then again, he doesn't believe many women. Not any of the dozen women who accused him of sexual harassment. Not the women who claimed Judge Roy Moore attacked them. Not the other two women who have come forward to accuse Kavanaugh. As far as the president is concerned, it's not a "he-said, she-said" thing but more of a "he-said, she-lies" deal.

A major hitch in the Kavanaugh proceedings is the visual aspect of the Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee. All 11 members are white males. Not just white, but bordering on translucent. Their answer to these unfortunate optics is to hire a substitute female to ask questions if and when Ford testifies. Going straight to the Stunt Surrogate Senator Solution.

Overall, the conservative response has been fluid, morphing from "she's mixed up, it didn't happen," to "it might have happened, but it wasn't that bad," to "OK, maybe it happened and was bad but it's way too late to do anything about it." The next position will inevitably be "don't worry, he'll be fine ruling on cases from his prison cell."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cautioned supporters not to worry about testimony or an investigation because "We will plow right through it" to confirm Kavanaugh as a Supreme. Giving the impression Ford is a human speed bump the GOP machine is willing to run right over to reach their conservative agenda. With studded snow tires.

Committee chairman Chuck Grassley seems to be in a bit of a rush to confirm Kavanaugh to his lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land. He needs to get this over by the first Monday of October when the new court convenes, and has arbitrarily imposed made-up deadlines to further harass the person who claims to have been harassed. Because, well, obviously, she's used to it.

Kavanaugh's polling has sunk so low, you'd need the newest high-tech spelunking gear to detect it ... and then only through sonar. Six weeks before the midterm election, and the GOP has taken dead aim at women. Smooth move.

Someone needs to remind this collection of clueless white guys that the 19th Amendment gave women the vote a couple of years ago ... 98 to be exact. Perhaps the 2020 Centennial Party will kick-off early, maybe this Nov. 6, by plowing right through a few Republican males.

(c) 2018 Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former Pizza Hut assistant manager. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, "Durst Case Scenario," please visit:

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Issues & Alibis Vol 18 # 41 (c) 10/19/2018

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