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In This Edition

Chris Walker finds, "Watchdog Exposes Huge Conflicts Of Interest Missteps With DeJoy Appointment."

Ralph Nader exclaims, "GOP Senators Reduced To McConnell Mush!"

Margaret Kimberley considers, "The Many Crimes Of Colin Powell."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Why Would We Let Wall Street "Care For" Our Pets?"

William Rivers Pitt examines, "Explosive Report Says GOP Congress Members Helped Plan Jan. 6 Capitol Attack."

John Nichols considers, "Joe Manchin's Surefire Strategy To Ensure That Democrats Lose In 2022."

James Donahue explores, "The Celebration Of Halloween."

David Swanson is, "Learning from Prince Tokugawa."

David Suzuki asks, "Why Not Leave Those Leaves Alone?"

Charles P. Pierce says, "Bankruptcy Is A Well-Appointed Fallout Shelter For Corporations."

Juan Cole reports, "'A Psychopath With Infinite Resources:' Al-Jabri Accuses Saudi Crown Prince MBS."

Robert Reich says, "Don't Believe Corporate America's 'Labor Shortage' Bullshit. This Is An Unofficial General Strike."

Thom Hartmann concludes, "Conservatives & Billionaires Want You To Confuse 'Rights Of Citizenship' For 'Welfare.'"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Democrats Attempt To Woo Joe Manchin For Reconciliation Bill By Taping Single Hershey's Kiss To Latest Draft," but first, Uncle Ernie exclaims, "Damn Global Warming, US Plans To Ramp Up Gas And Oil Production!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Adam Zyglis, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, David McNew, Graeme Jennings, Tayfun Coskun, Media News Group, Peter Rock, Anna Moneymaker, Sue Carroll, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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To End On A Happy Note-
Have You Seen This-
Parting Shots-

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Damn Global Warming, US Plans To Ramp Up Gas And Oil Production!
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

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

Now here's a surprise, not, despite global warming promises, governments plan to ramp up fossil fuel production.

According to a new report from the United Nation despite lofty commitments by governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they are still planning to extract huge amounts of energy from fossil fuels in the coming years.

The report published Wednesday details how the world's largest fossil fuel producers plan to carry on using coal, gas, and oil - despite promises made under the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming.

The world's governments plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030, with just a modest decrease in coal production. That's contrary to promises to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and 45% more than what would be consistent with warming of 2 degrees, according to the report.

This latest report comes as the world's leaders are set to meet at the UN climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow beginning on Oct. 31.

Executive Director of UN Environment Programme Inger Andersen said in a statement that at that COP26 conference, "governments must step up, taking rapid and immediate steps to close the fossil fuel production gap and ensure a just and equitable transition."

Limiting warming to this threshold is important to avoid the worst case scenarios of climate change, according to scientists. Scenarios that I've been pointing out for the last two decades!

A recent study showed the current rate of warning and policies that fail to address needed cuts in pollution, climate events like heat waves will happen more often, be stronger, and last longer - posing a serious risk to younger generations. Other climate events like flooding and wildfires are more likely to happen, as well. As I write this California is bracing for mass flooding and mud slides as a monster storm strikes the west coast!

Taken together, governments' energy plans mean that fossil fuel production will increase overall, to at least 2040.

Specifically, the group of 20 major industrialized countries have directed nearly $300 billion in new funds toward those continued fossil fuel activities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic - far more than they have toward clean energy efforts.

The U.S. specifically has shown a 17% planned increase of oil production and 12% with gas by 2030 compared to 2019 levels, according to Wednesday's report.

And it again reminded the world that "global fossil fuel production must start declining immediately and steeply."

Additionally, if carbon dioxide removal technologies fail to develop at a larger scale, or if methane emissions are not rapidly reduced, the gap between climate commitments and plans of governments will continue to expand, the report says.

Andersen said, "There is still time to limit long-term warming to 1.5 degrees C [above pre-industrial levels], but this window of opportunity is rapidly closing."


11-02-1938 ~ 10-22-2021
Thanks for the music!!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2021 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

United States Postmaster General Louis Dejoy speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on February 24, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Watchdog Exposes Huge Conflicts Of Interest Missteps With DeJoy Appointment
By Chris Walker

Recently released documents from the United States Postal Service (USPS) reveal that, in the first months of Louis DeJoy's tenure as Postmaster General, he had more than a dozen instances of conflicts of interest due to his and other family members' investments in companies tied to the government agency.

The documents show that DeJoy had failed to divest himself from several companies that had contracts with USPS, including XPO Logistics, a transportation company he used to be the chief executive of and had between $30 million and $75 million in financial interest in when he began serving as postmaster general. In addition to that, DeJoy and his family had notable conflicts of interest with other companies due to investments, including AT&T, CVS, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, Discover Financial Services, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and more. These companies have government contracts with USPS.

The documents detailing DeJoy's conflicts of interest - as well as his failure to stay out of decision-making processes in the first few months after he was appointed Postmaster General by former President Donald Trump - were obtained after the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and won a court challenge earlier this year requiring USPS to release them.

Federal law requires government employees, including agency heads, to divest from investments worth more than $15,000 in companies that may be affected by their work. Although the documents that CREW obtained do not put a set dollar amount on how much he had, they do show his and his family's investments exceeded that amount for all 14 companies they were involved with.

The documents also detail how DeJoy didn't begin the formal process for recusal from decision-making matters related to these companies until August 2020 - months after his initial appointment by the USPS Board of Governors in May of that year. If DeJoy was involved in awarding contracts to his former company XPO Logistics, CREW wrote, he may face criminal liability.

"There was a period of time where the head of the Postal Service was making decisions when there could have been a conflict, and he could have been thinking about his own financial interest, rather than the interest of the Postal Service and the country," CREW president Noah Bookbinder said. "That's significant."

"The United States Postal Service seriously mismanaged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's conflicts of interest from the start," wrote CREW digital director Meghan Faulkner, adding that "USPS's initial decision to allow DeJoy to recuse from matters involving his former company XPO Logistics rather than divesting from the conflict-creating assets was clearly insufficient."

The refusal of USPS to be forthright in releasing the information - only releasing it due to a court order, after CREW sued to have the documents made public - also "raises questions about whether they were trying to cover up how badly they mismanaged DeJoy's conflict," Faulkner wrote.

DeJoy's conflicts of interest from the start of his tenure "were handled about as badly as ethics watchdogs had feared," as he was "allowed to continue holding millions of dollars in shares of a USPS contractor, which was awarded additional contracts before he ultimately divested," Faulkner added.

The revelations will likely step up efforts by some Democrats in Congress who are calling for DeJoy, a holdover from the Trump administration, to be fired. In addition to his connections to private companies that could benefit from his being postmaster general, DeJoy has been heavily criticized for implementing a number of policies that could cause significant harm to USPS's reputation, including plans that will make mail delivery considerably slower.

DeJoy can only be fired by the USPS's Board of Governors. The current chair, Ron Bloom, a Democratic appointment to the board, has signaled he won't support such action against the current Postmaster General. However, Bloom could soon be replaced by President Joe Biden, as his term is set to expire in December. Biden could, some Democrats hope, replace him with a member who is open to ousting DeJoy.

(c) 2021 Chris Walker is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analyzing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people.

GOP Senators Reduced To McConnell Mush!
By Ralph Nader

"Mush" barks McConnell and forty-nine Republican Senators, as if tied to a dog sled obey. The malicious McConnell - easily the most powerfully brutish, corporatist, citizen-blocking, lawless, corrupt Senator in modern American history - doesn't even bother polling his Senators for their yea or nay on a myriad of votes. The Republican Senators are obedient automations obeying McConnell's demands.

McConnell is a control freak in the most powerful legislature in the world. He relishes stopping everything for the people while bending over for his corporate paymasters from Wall Street to Houston and to the Koch brothers.

Easily re-elected every six years due to the default of an anemic Kentucky State Democratic Party, McConnell is a daily, snarling obstruction of justice. It is not just political. He has psychological problems. As an elderly, pouting dictator he revels in being called "the Grim Reaper" and "the Guardian of Gridlock."

The lives and livelihoods of the American people are afflicted, harmed, deprived, undervalued, and disrespected by McConnell, a pasty corporation masquerading as a U.S. Senator. He sits on great personal wealth and dutifully represents the wealthy with a cynical disregard for the abuses of outlaw former President Trump and the attack on our nation's rule of law.

Nothing matters to the forty-nine Senators whose principal concern is to avoid a primary challenge and the unleashing of Internet vitriol against them and their families. The cowardly Senators rationalize their subservience, believing dissent is futile and goes nowhere, so why suffer the aggravation.

A good number of Senators, to be sure, are pathetic mini-McConnell's or aspire to be. Others have minds of their own, are educated, and have worldly experience. In the past, led by stalwart leaders such as McConnell's predecessor, Kentucky Senator John Sherman Cooper, they would seek to get some things done for the country and provide some necessities for the people on Main Street. Alas, the citizenry has no opportunity to have such GOP representation. The great majority of GOP Senators have conceded their role and are narcissistic ditto-heads of their evil leader.

Surprisingly many Republican voters, sometimes a majority of them, favor President Biden's proposals. These include childcare, paid family leave, expanded Medicare, higher taxes on the super-rich and global corporations, raising a frozen federal minimum wage (now at $7.50 per hour), support for better healthcare for the elderly, lowering gouging "pay or die" drug prices, doing something about student loan rip-offs, cleaner air and water, solar energy, and stronger regulation of the Wall Street Barons.

Granted, none of that matters to mad McConnell. But it should matter to Senator Robert Portman (R-OH) (retiring), Richard Shelby (R-AL) (retiring) a former plaintiff tort attorney, Charles Grassley (R-IA) walking easily into his last successful re-election, even Richard Burr (R-NC) (retiring) and wealthy Mitt Romney (R-UT). What do they have to worry about?

It is not as if the House GOP is much better. There, too, there is no dissent, with a couple of easy vote exceptions, from Bakersfield, California tyrant Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, a Trump toady.

Sometimes more is going on within GOP ranks that is not evident. Some GOP Senators lack self-respect and fail to voice support for legislation that a majority of Republican voters want but that is derided and opposed by "the Grim Reaper."

Some fear losing campaign money. Some vulnerable Senators, who oppose popular bills that would gain them votes, they fear a primary opponent. But others have no concern with raising campaign money; they come from slam-dunk, safe states and could easily overpower any primary challenger. Remember, it only takes three or four out of the forty-nine to secure passage of these bills, taking into account the opposition of Senators Manchin and Sinema. Senate Democrats do have some dissenters or those who threaten to oppose, unlike the goose-stepping Republicans.

Without mind-readers, penetrating psychologists, psychiatrists or somehow overhearing the lawmakers' private confessions, we may have to wait for the post-retirement regrets, remorse, and forthright remembrances of these non-profiles in courage to explain this wholesale abdication of responsibility by the GOP Senators.

Mush, mush orders the leader to his dog sled!

(c) 2021 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

The Many Crimes Of Colin Powell
By Margaret Kimberley

Colin Powell's death is an opportunity to question the inclination to respect the Black face in a high place. Powell's career includes a litany of crimes that must never be excused.

"But we already had two firsts. Colin Powell was one of them, and Condoleezza Rice, his successor as secretary of state. How did that redound to the benefit of black people for the United States to have a black - put a black face on imperialism, on aggressive war, on violations of international law? How does that make black people look better in the world? Is that the kind of burden that black people want to carry around?" ~~~ Glen Ford

The late Colin Powell certainly had a storied career. It wound through various Republican presidential administrations from Ronald Reagan, to George H.W. Bush to George W. Bush. He served as National Security Adviser, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State. He said this about his life and work, "All I want to do is judge myself as a successful soldier who served his best."

His desire to justify himself shouldn't oblige anyone else to go along. This question must be answered in assessing Powell's career. What makes a soldier successful? This point is especially important when talking about a man who took part in every foreign policy action from Vietnam, to Iran Contra, to Panama, to Iraq, to Haiti. Simply put, a good soldier follows orders, makes operations run smoothly, and makes his bosses look good. Powell did all of those things and that is why his legacy is so dubious.

When Major Colin Powell was stationed in Vietnam in 1968 he and his superiors received a letter written by a soldier whose tour of duty was ending. Tom Glen stated that U.S. soldiers were carrying out atrocities against civilians. Major Powell was tasked with investigating, which should have included an interview of the soldier himself. Neither he nor anyone else spoke to Glen and when Powell responded he blamed the whistle blower for not reporting the crimes to people who had chosen to do nothing about them. He then wrote a classic yes-man response which concluded, "In direct refutation of this portrayal, is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese are excellent."

The following year a second soldier, Ronald Ridenhour, ended his tour with an expose of the U.S. massacre of an estimated 500 civilians in the village of My Lai. Ridenhour conducted his own investigation and sent his letter off to federal officials including president Nixon. On this occasion Powell got a surprise visit from the Inspector General's office and was asked about combat activity around the date in question. Good soldier Powell reported only what was in the falsified record and thus played a role in an attempt to cover up which fortunately proved to be futile.

Of course Powell had committed his own crimes during his first tour of duty in Vietnam. He admitted as much in his memoir, My American Journey. "We burned down the thatched huts, starting the blaze with Ronson and Zippo lighters. Why were we torching houses and destroying crops? Ho Chi Minh had said the people were like the sea in which his guerrillas swam. Our problem was to distinguish friendly or at least neutral fish from the VC swimming alongside. We tried to solve the problem by making the whole sea uninhabitable. In the hard logic of war, what difference did it make if you shot your enemy or starved him to death?" Of course, collective punishment against a civilian population is by definition a war crime, but Powell succeeded in rising to the top and as such was immune from such truthful descriptions of his activities.

If Powell would run interference for army brass in Vietnam, he would do no less for his boss, president George W. Bush. In early 2001, Powell said of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, "He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." Two years later Powell made a great show at the United Nations saying just the opposite. Bush decided to invade Iraq and good soldier Powell was tasked with making the public case for a war of aggression. He famously held up a vial which he said represented the weapons of mass destruction which he knew did not exist.

Those who remembered his assurances that Hussein posed no threat were few in number and the corporate media were ready to help the Bush administration get support for the invasion. Powell's past statements magically disappeared as were any narratives that might contradict the Bush administration. Powell was the public face of the case for a war crime which eventually killed some 1 million people in Iraq.

Of course his boss wasn't finished with his criminality and Haiti was next in the cross hairs. The U.S. wanted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide out, kidnapped him at gunpoint, and took him to the Central African Republic in March of 2004. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) such as Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel must be credited with speaking up. When Powell claimed that Aristide wanted to be taken out of his country because he feared for his life, Rangel called him a liar saying, "... this information about Aristide asking to leave the country or that his life was in danger was never shared with us." These CBC members and everyone else who protested were marginalized and the "moderate" Powell won the day without a peep from the rest of congress or the corporate media.

Powell was the ultimate careerist, striving to get ahead, proving himself to be of service to the powerful. Although in the end he was hoisted on his own petard. Bush informed him his services were no longer needed just days after the 2004 election. Powell committed crimes on Bush's behalf and then was unceremoniously let go. The dirty work had been done, Bush was safely in office again and the man who was falsely marketed as a moderating force no longer served a purpose. He retired to a nice life, making lots of money giving speeches and sitting on corporate boards.

Yet he had accomplished something very significant. Colin Powell paved the way for Barack Obama to become president. After years of seeing a Black man working side by side with presidents, and carrying out U.S. foreign policy imperatives, the thought of another Black man being the actual president no longer seemed outlandish to millions of white people. Powell was well liked by the press and the liberal chattering classes and many of them would have supported him had he chosen to run for president. Obama profited from this new dynamic in his own successful presidential campaign.

Aside from the Vietnamese, Panamanians, Iraqis and Haitians who directedly suffered at his hands, Black people were most negatively affected by him. By the time Powell came to prominence the notion of liberation came to mean little more than having access to those places where only white people had been allowed. If one of those places entailed being a decision maker when bombs rained down and coup plots were hatched, so be it. Black politics had diminished to such a point that Black people turned against their own ethos and were no longer averse to aggression and criminality if someone who looked like them was a party to the wrongdoing.

The people who excused Powell's actions ended up excusing Barack Obama when he destroyed Libya, a country they previously viewed in a positive light and defended when no one else would. The destroyer in chief was not to be questioned because his very presence in office seemed to validate them and as such he gave them a dangerously false feeling of comfort. That inclination has not dissipated ever since Powell worked for presidents or Obama was one himself.

The desire to respect the Black face in a high place is still very much present among Black people. There have been endless paeans to Powell among people whose politics indicate that they should know better than to join in the seemingly obligatory deification. Congressman Jamaal Bowman felt the need to express admiration and inspiration. Public Enemy also felt obliged to honor the fallen criminal. Nina Turner joined them in believing she had to give condolences too.

Their need to announce some sort of respect for Powell reflects the feelings of most Black people. It doesn't matter that they opposed the wars against Iraq and the continued attacks on Haiti's sovereignty. There was a Black person in the room when the terrible decisions were made and that is all that matters, even to many of those who think of themselves as being left or progressive. The call to this perverse version of racial solidarity outweighs all other considerations.

This reaction must be understood but it should not be legitimized or respected. The fight for self-determination is not just an external one. It is an intra-group battle amongst people who may otherwise be on the same page but who may lose their political perspective when one of their own reaches what is considered a place of honor.

Of course the U.S. foreign policy apparatus is a place of great dishonor. America has bloody hands and the Black people who rise to the places of high level criminality are no exception. That is still the challenge. The so-called high place is in fact one of the lowest and worst.

(c) 2021 Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com.

Why Would We Let Wall Street "Care For" Our Pets?

By Jim Hightower

Question: What does a packet of M&M's and your local veterinarian have in common? Answer: Both are owned by Mars Inc., the global candy monopolist.

Since the 1980s, we've seen massive consolidations in industry after industry - from airlines to newspapers, the internet to candy. These monopolists run roughshod over consumers, workers, communities, suppliers, and our nation's commitment to the Common Good. And now the corporate attitude seems to be, "what the Hell, why not let monopolization go to the dogs?"

This change has been led by "private equity groups." They are corporate-takeover sharks that borrow billions of dollars to buy out, plunder, then sell off the remnants of established businesses. They target enterprises that can be grabbed on the cheap but have assets like a loyal customer base. Then the sharks raise prices on those customers while cutting staff and quality of service.

This has been happening to thousands of local vet practices and hospitals, which have quietly been plucked by Wall Street entities bearing non-descript acronyms like IVC, JAB, KKR, and VCA. At first locals don't notice the takeover, because the corporate outfit not only buys your friendly "Dr. Barry Bones" vet service, they also buy the Doc's name. As an IVC takeover consultant confided: "People like to take their dog to local vets and not feel like it's a corporate machine."

But increasingly, it is. Solo practitioners who became veterinarians to provide friendly, community-based service now must answer to bean counters at headquarters - and, foremost, they must serve profit over animals. Veterinary Center of America (VCA), for example, is one of the most aggressive monopolizers, controlling access to and prices charged by 1,000+ vet facilities in 43 states. In 2017, VCA was taken over by Mars Inc.

One feisty group battling monopolizers is the National Veterinary Professionals Union - Get info at

(c) 2021 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

Supporters of then-President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021.

Explosive Report Says GOP Congress Members Helped Plan Jan. 6 Capitol Attack
By William Rivers Pitt

"Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in 'Dozens' of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff," roared the late-Sunday Rolling Stone headline. The report describes two January 6 protest insiders who claim they worked "back to back to back" with several Republican House members - Representatives Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Marjorie Taylor Greene - and their senior staffers, who they allege were "intimately involved in planning both Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent."

These two January 6 organizers "have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol," according to Rolling Stone. "This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses. While there have been prior indications that members of Congress were involved, this is also the first account detailing their purported role and its scope. The two sources also claim they interacted with members of Trump's team, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who they describe as having had an opportunity to prevent the violence."

If confirmed, this report would put the word "bombshell" to shame, and would also go a long way toward explaining why Trump's congressional allies have been turning themselves inside out trying to change the subject. An unfortunate grain of salt must be taken with this, however. Rolling Stone's journalistic reputation took a hit over its reporting on the University of Virginia rape scandal seven years ago. Because of this, confirmation by other news outlets is essential.

There is good reason to believe the Rolling Stone report is sound. First and foremost, it reveals that these two sources have been actively cooperating with the January 6 commission, providing specific details on who was involved with which aspects of the insurrection. Such a claim could and likely would be debunked by members of that committee if it weren't accurate.

The Rolling Stone report comes in tandem with a damning Washington Post report detailing how space within the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. was used as a war room for efforts to overthrow the 2020 election. "They called it the 'command center,'" reports the Post, "a set of rooms and suites in the posh Willard hotel a block from the White House where some of President Donald Trump's most loyal lieutenants were working day and night with one goal in mind: overturning the results of the 2020 election.... Their activities included finding and publicizing alleged evidence of fraud, urging members of state legislatures to challenge Biden's victory and calling on the Trump-supporting public to press Republican officials in key states."

Central to this effort was the enormous pressure brought to bear against Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to certify the election results on the same day as the insurrection took place. While Pence wobbled badly under the strain, seeking advice at one point from fellow former Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle, he ultimately chose to certify the election results. At the peak of the day's violence, Pence was whisked from the building by the Secret Service as a mob of furious Trump supporters stormed the halls of the Capitol demanding his head. The Willard operation was so serious, in fact, that its members brought in a retired Army colonel named Phil Waldron, who specialized in psychological operations, to aid in the overall effort.

Multiple witnesses are set to testify under subpoena before the committee about what they knew of premeditated plans for violence on January 6, and how high up the chain that premeditation went. One of them, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon - who said on his podcast the day before the violence that "all hell is going to break loose" and >"tomorrow is game day" - is ignoring his subpoena. By a vote of 229-202, the House approved a measure holding Bannon in contempt of Congress, and his legal fate now rests in the strangely quiescent hands of Attorney General Merrick Garland.

There are many moving pieces to this, but a sense is growing that those involved in planning and executing the attempted overthrow of the election on January 6 may be running out of room to maneuver. Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the January 6 investigation committee, told CBS News on Sunday there is "no question" the attack that day was premeditated. One wonders if Thompson is among the committee members who have spoken to the sources in the Rolling Stone report. It sure sounds like it.

Thirty years ago this week, the remnants of Hurricane Grace were engulfed by a powerful nor'easter in the waters off the Mid-Atlantic states. The combined system, jostled by a barometric ridge and a cold front, charged north as a subtropical cyclone before becoming a wildly atypical hurricane itself. The "No-Name Storm," or the "Halloween Storm," as it came to be called, raged for days and killed 13 people. Not long after it passed, a National Weather Service forecaster named Robert Case and an adventure author named Sebastian Junger gave it a name that stuck: The Perfect Storm.

Thirty years later, another perfect storm is brewing over Washington, D.C. If it comes together just so, the obedient minions of Donald Trump, along with Trump himself, could be exposed as active practitioners of treason within the halls of the very government they purported to serve.

We take all kinds of pills that give us all kind of thrills
But the thrill we've never known
Is the thrill that'll getcha when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone...
- Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show
(c) 2021 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) speaks at a press conference outside his office on Capitol Hill on October 6, 2021.

Joe Manchin's Surefire Strategy To Ensure That Democrats Lose In 2022
If Democrats appease Manchin and fail to act on the climate crisis, they will lose a vital appeal to the young voters they need to win.
By John Nichols

If Joe Manchin gets what he wants in negotiations with the Biden White House and his fellow Democratic senators regarding climate policy, which now seems likely, it could have a devastating impact on the planet-and on Democrats' prospects in 2022.

How so? Let's answer that question by asking and answering two other questions.

First: Name an issue that young people-an increasingly important and frequently decisive voting bloc-are passionate about? When the US Conference of Mayors surveyed potential voters between the ages of 18 and 29 in 2020, 80 percent said the climate crisis was "a major threat to human life on earth as we know it." By a 3-1 margin, young people said "bold measures" needed to be taken to address that threat.

Second: Name the issue that Democrats are now talking about downplaying in the "Build Back Better" agenda in order to secure the West Virginia senator's support? The Biden administration is by all accounts preparing to cut from the budget plan the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), a key climate initiative that would use a combination of incentives and mandates to get utilities to embrace renewable energy.

Much of the serious reporting on the issue has focused on the devastating impact that losing those clean-energy provisions could have on upcoming climate negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Without them, it will be tougher for Biden to convincingly pledge a 50 percent reduction in US carbon emissions by 2030. That could undermine negotiations on the issue, according to Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State. So serious is the threat that Mann greeted the news of Manchin's push to abandon the CEPP by declaring, "Joe Manchin just launched a hand grenade at Glasgow."

The president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say they will continue to focus on global warming concerns. But Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is right when she argues that clear action to reduce emissions "is not something you can kick down the line."

Young people know this. They understand the difference between "bold measures" on climate and mere hot air. Promises will not be sufficient to mobilize the mass turnout of these voters, who are far more likely to cast Democratic ballots than older voters, in 2022. Without that mass turnout, Democratic prospects will dim.

Democrats are already on shaky ground heading into next year's elections. A so-called "midterm curse" often costs the party that holds the White House seats in Congress. With a 50-50 tie in the Senate, and with only a narrow majority in the House, Democrats can't afford any losses. They have to beat the curse. To do so, however, they will need the support of young people, just as they did in 2018 and 2020.

"Half of Americans ages 18-29 cast a ballot in the 2020 general election, one of the highest youth voting rates in recent history and an 11-point increase from 2016 (from 39% to 50%)," according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. That turnout increase provided a critical boost for Biden, as voters age 18–29 favored the Democrat by an overwhelming 60-36 margin over then-incumbent President Donald Trump. Among 18–24-year-olds, the margin jumped to 65-31 in the CNN exit poll.

The role that young voters played in the last midterm election was even more critical for the Democrats.

As Tom Bonier, CEO of the political data analysis group TargetSmart explained, the youth vote lagged more than that of any other group, accounting for only 7.2 percent of the votes: "The end result? Republicans won the national popular vote for the US House by almost 6 points, adding 13 seats to their already substantial majority. The GOP also gained 9 seats in the US Senate."

"Jumping ahead to the 2018 midterm elections, no age group saw a larger surge in turnout than voters under the age of 30," he added. "The youth vote drove the Blue Wave, as this group gave Democrats a margin of almost 2 to 1. In the end, voters under the age of 30 accounted for 11.4% of all votes cast, a 4.2-point increase over their 2014 vote share. Of course, 2018 saw Democrats recapture the House, winning the national popular vote by almost 9 points-a swing of almost 15 points from the previous midterm election."

Democrats will need that level of support, or more, from young people in 2022. But it is far from assured that they will get it.

Polling conducted in the spring of this year by Hart Research Associates for the League of Conservation Voters found that young voters "want and expect action on climate, and absence of such action would substantially endanger Democratic candidates gaining their votes next year."

At this point, according to a polling memo from Hart's Geoff Garin, Jay Campbell, and Corrie Hunt, 44 percent of young voters are not certain they will vote in 2022. "However," the memo adds, "79 percent of young Democrats say they would be MUCH more motivated to vote for Democrats in 2022 if Democrats take strong action on combating climate change to address the causes of global warming."

"Action on climate and clean energy will not only motivate these key audiences to vote, it can help to generate excitement about Democratic candidates," the memo concludes.

Inaction, on the other hand, runs the risk of depressing enthusiasm in the midterm election, a prospect that Democrats cannot afford if they hope to govern boldly for Joe Biden's entire term. The results from past elections tell us that when Democrats fail to deliver on promises of progress, they suffer some of their most serious setbacks-as happened in 1994, during Bill Clinton's first term, and in 2010, during Barack Obama's first term.

The history doesn't lie. Neither does the recent polling about what mobilizes young voters. The more Democrats bow to Joe Manchin's demands, the more likely they are to lose the Congress in 2022, and the presidency in 2024

(c) 2021 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

The Celebration Of Halloween
By James Donahue

As readers of my stories have probably realized by now, I really like Halloween. It is among my favorite events, mostly because it has never been officially declared a real holiday, it has ancient Celtic roots and has not been adulterated to the extreme by Christianity.

Not that the Vatican hasn't tried to attach its tentacles to Halloween. And of course, the day has been commercialized to the extreme with stores offering not only special candy treats and costumes for children to lawn decorations and even special lighting and sound recordings depicting screams, evil laughs and other scary noises. But in some ways, these things have only added to the fun of the night when all of the ghouls and goblins come knocking on people's doors asking for treats to ward off the threat of a "trick" performed on the property under cover of darkness.

Even though it is a favored holiday for most Americans, Halloween has never been declared a national holiday. This should not be surprising since it is a celebration that has never been sanctioned by the Christian church. There are a few hard-line right-wing fundamentalist Bible thumpers out there who would probably like to see Halloween trashed. It they could pass a law banning the celebration, they would probably do it. They perceive it as a devil's holiday, a time when the witches gather around secret campfires and raise evil spirits.

So what are the origins of this strange celebration? It began as an ancient Celtic holiday called Samhain, a celebration of the last harvest, the end of summer, and for the Celtics, the first day of the New Year. The Celts marked the start of the New Year on November 1 because this was the mid-way point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice.

The day also marked the beginning of the long cold winter. It consequently was a time of darkness associated with human death. The Celts believed that on the night before the New Year the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. Thus Samhain on October 31 was a time when the spirits of the dead returned to earth.

These spirits were believed to damage crops, frighten people who dared to come out of their homes and cause so much trouble that the Druids built large sacred bonfires to frighten them off. They dressed in costumes, usually consisting of animal heads and skins as they gathered around the fires.

When Christianity reached Europe and spread into Ireland and Scotland, the Celtic people adopted this new religion. Strangely, the Roman Catholic Church in turn absorbed the Samhain celebration.

Before Christianity arrived the Romans conquered the Celtic territory and during the 400 years of Roman rule, the festivals of the Romans became blended in with those of the Celts. The Romans brought Feralia, a day in October when they commemorated the passing of the dead. They also celebrated Pomona, a tribute to the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. It was from this old holiday that the tradition of "bobbing" for apples on Halloween had its origins.

As the holiday evolved under the influence of the Romans and later the Christian church, its name changed from Samhain to Day of the Dead, then All Soul's Day, All Saint's Day, Hallowtide, Hallowmass, Harvest Home, Witches New Year, All Hallow's Eve and then Halloween.

In the Seventh Century, Pope Boniface IV declared November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It was said that the pope was attempting to create a religious holiday to displace the Celtic festival. Instead of destroying Samhain, it merely changed the holiday. The people of Ireland continued holding big bonfires, wearing their costumes and playing tricks, but they called it All Hallows Eve.

People still practice the old Samhain traditions by dressing up as spirits on Halloween. While the adults gather for parties, the children roam from house to house seeking treats. The practice of leaving food at the door goes back to a time when people believed if they pleased the spirits they would be left alone during the long winter months.

There is a variety of other traditions and myths linked to Halloween that also have their origins in the distant past. The scary face in the jack-o-lantern, for instance, is another old custom that was supposed to frighten away ghosts and witches. It was believed the evil spirits feared fire. Originally the Celts posted a candle on top of a turnip. The candle later was moved inside the gourd, probably because an open candle was quickly extinguished in the night breeze.

The very name jack-o-lantern has Irish origins. There is an old folk tale about a man named Jack that played a trick on the Devil. To get back at Jack, the Devil threw a burning coal from hell. Jack used the coal to light his lantern and then roamed the earth in search of a place to rest.

Black cats, skulls and witches also evolved from Celtic beliefs. They believed witches used skulls to communicate with the dead and they received their power from black cats.

The Celts believed black cats were originally humans that were transformed by the witches.

Enjoy Samhein this season with an understanding of just what you are celebrating.

(c) 2021 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.

Grant Pine at Zojoji Temple, planted by then-U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant at the Tokugawa family shrine.

Learning from Prince Tokugawa
By David Swanson

Japan's Prince Iyesato Tokugawa ought perhaps to be of more interest to us right now than a Japanese princess currently marrying a "commoner," or Hollywood movies so focused on the violent moments in history that they've now got actors shooting cinematographers.

I was sent a book called "The Art of Diplomacy: Fifty Years of Secret US-Japan Relations Revealed" by Stan Katz. There's little if anything secret in it. It jumps around chronologically so much that I have no idea whether it's about 50 years. It cites strange sources or none, has no endnotes, includes weirdly false information (such as the fabricated description of what's in the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which could have been corrected in 2 minutes by reading the Kellogg-Briand Pact), and is written as a mixture of fact, opinion, and pseudo-eternal proverb ("It appears a contradiction, but to maintain peace, a nation doesn't wish to be seen as weak or vulnerable." Really? A nation? It has wishes? Which nation? In which brain?), but the topic is irresistible, apparently outrageously neglected, and the effort to bring it to the world's attention in 2021 is highly admirable.

The U.S. Senate seems intent on bowing before Prince Biden and sending Rahm Emanuel off as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, with a mission of selling more weapons and building a greater threat of war on China. Prince Tokugawa was of a different era, that in which Joseph Grew, a sane and educated and experienced diplomat served - and it was actually a service - as U.S. Ambassador to Japan. When the Japanese military attacked and sank a U.S. ship in 1937, Tokugawa and Grew did everything they could to avoid war, and - whether through their efforts, or simply because Franklin Roosevelt didn't want a war yet - peace was maintained. (Grew also warned the U.S. government about Pearl Harbor, though his warnings were ignored, and it's now some sort of patriotic duty to continue ignoring them.)

Tokugawa died in June 1940, and by September Japan was aligned with Germany and Italy. How decisive Tokugawa's death was in that development would require more research. Clearly, the struggle between hawks and doves in both the Japanese and U.S. governments had been inching toward a major hawk victory for years. Clearly we have been living through the same process again for years now, albeit with Japan and the United States united against China rather than China and the United States united against Japan. Stan Katz's bizarre conclusion that the reigns of Obama and Abe in the U.S. and Japan would have been seen by Tokugawa as the fulfillment of his dreams misses the eradication of the Article 9 prohibition on war in the Japanese Constitution, the pivot to Asia, the militarization of every last inch of Okinawa, the new U.S. bases around the Pacific, the increased weapons sales, and the general normalization of hyper-militarization pushed by Abe and Obama - not to mention their successors.

Prince Iyesato Tokugawa (1863-1940) was heir to the Shoguns who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1868, educated at Eton, President of the upper house of the Japanese Parliament for 30 years, mentor and key advisor to Emperor Hirohito, world traveler and diplomat, key organizer of the Washington Naval Conference of 1921-1922 (the first international arms reduction conference, which opened on the day after Armistice Day, and had significant success, despite the U.S. spying on the Japanese delegation and the growing military industrial complex working the loopholes. Tokugawa was an outspoken advocate for peace for decades, and a leader in promoting the Rotary Club, the Red Cross, and countless cultural exchange initiatives, including the gift of the cherry trees to Washington D.C. and the development of a festival around them. Prince Tokugawa founded the first Japanese Symphony orchestra, created exhibits of Japanese art in the United States, established student exchange programs between the U.S. and Japan, and hosted a global conference on education, among much else. He sought a culture of peace while opposing the Armenian genocide and the rise of antisemitism. He was the keynote speaker at Rotary International's 25th Anniversary Convention in 1930.

Even in his final years, even in the United States, Tokugawa spoke against the threats of war, advocating peace in terms that it's hard to find any flaw in. On Armistice Day 1934 he joined with Nicholas Murray Butler in transmitting a global radio broadcast over CBS urging peace among the world's "family of nations." Tokugawa even tried meeting with William Randolph Hearst in an effort to tamp down on the pro-war "journalism" - with what success is not clear. China's propagandists combined with weapon interests and FDR's determination to find a way into the war in Europe were powerful forces.

The Los Angeles Times of March 21, 1934, on page 22, according to Katz, included a column - he doesn't say by whom, but it should be here if you pay for it (I haven't) - that stated:

"Prince Tokugawa speaks the language of enlightenment and understanding when he says there is no reason for the conflict between the United States and Japan. He is also probably correct in his statement that the majority of the Japanese people desire peace, as he is certainly correct in saying the majority of Americans desire it. It is jingoism in both countries and the fear they cause which are dangerous for peace. So far as his addresses serve to allay fear, Prince Tokugawa performs a distinct service by this tour. His report to his native land of what he saw here should overcome a good deal of jingoism. If the Hearst press here and its Japanese [equivalents] could be silenced by public opinion, all misunderstanding between the two nations would speedily disappear."
The more things change . . . .

(c) 2021 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.

"Leave the leaves" is the name of a growing international campaign led by the U.S.-based Xerces Society.

Why Not Leave Those Leaves Alone?
By David Suzuki

As autumn brings cooler, shorter days, people in Canada will rake, mow and blow leaves from more than six million lawns. It's a task you might want to ignore. Leaving the leaves can save you time and help pollinators like butterflies and bees.

Why do leaves fall in the first place? It starts with photosynthesis, which is how plants make their own food using energy from sunlight hitting their leaves. You may recall that chlorophyll is the hero of the story. It's a pigment that absorbs sunlight and gives plants and leaves their green colour. Plants use that energy to convert carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil to create glucose, a type of sugar. They combine sugars and nutrients from the soil to grow, releasing oxygen in the process.

Once fall arrives, deciduous trees shed their leaves through a process called "abscission," which means "to cut." Chlorophyll molecules begin to break down, which allows other less-celebrated pigments to reveal themselves. These include carotenoids, the same molecules that make bananas yellow and carrots orange, and anthocyanins, which give red leaves their brilliance. Sunny warm days, cool nights and dry conditions can draw the colours out longer, while cold, wet, overcast weather can speed up the leaf decomposition process, creating compounds called "tannins," which produce less glamorous brown foliage.

When leaves hit the ground, they almost immediately begin to break down into the soil at the base of the tree. They provide a warm blanket to shield roots from the biting cold of winter and eventually send nutrients back into the soil. This is the tree's cycle of life: nutrients from fallen leaves are absorbed into the roots and help produce buds and leaves again next spring. Drop, decompose, absorb, repeat.

As for pollinators, while the migratory flight of monarch butterflies generates much buzz, most butterflies and moths spend their winters closer to home, overwintering as eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises or adults. Swallowtail butterflies camouflage their chrysalises as dried leaves, which get mixed into tree leaves as they fall. Woolly bear caterpillars tuck themselves into leaf layers. Critters like bumblebee queens that have burrowed into the ground to hibernate also appreciate a layer of leafy insulation. And insects in the leaf layer provide a natural fall buffet for birds, chipmunks and squirrels, including birds called thrashers that "thrash" the fallen leaves to find insects.

What can you do to help these critters? The easiest option is to "leave the leaves" - the name of a growing international campaign led by the U.S.-based Xerces Society. Instead of mowing, blowing, raking and bagging, consider leaving leaves where they fall.

Research shows leaving a thin layer of mulched leaves over winter won't smother your beloved turfgrass. Instead, it can boost soil and lawn health. Just run the mower over the leaves and allow them to break down naturally. If you're fortunate enough to have many trees and a colourful abundance of leaves, consider using them as mulch for garden beds and around trees and shrubs. If you must keep your lawn leaf-free, perhaps find space to pile them somewhere to naturally decompose.

Fall is also a good time to think about other ways to make your yard a safe haven for beneficial insects and wildlife. Many insects overwinter as pupae in the soil, and most wild bees overwinter underground, so when you tidy your garden, avoid disturbing the soil. When cleaning up your veggies and herbs, leave the roots in the soil so they can naturally decompose and add nutrients for next spring. And be sure to leave some seed heads and berries to feed birds through the winter. Fall is also the best time to expand your wildflower garden. Seeds and bulbs should be planted once it gets too cool for them to germinate.

(The David Suzuki Foundation's Bee-bnb program offers tips on how to be a superhost for bees and butterflies.)

I hope you get to see wondrous fall landscapes, filled with brilliant reds, yellows and oranges. But before you start raking, know that leaves are not litter. They're nature's butterfly nursery and a free source of mulch and fertilizer. So, put your feet up and try a little wilderness this fall.

(c) 2021 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Bankruptcy Is A Well-Appointed Fallout Shelter For Corporations
Meanwhile, Polluters Pay laws never seem to get a foothold at the local level.
By Charles P. Pierce

One thing I never will understand is why lobbyists and donors are so successful at turning off Polluters Pay laws at the state level. Why aren't the people affected so outraged that they vote out politicians who front for the people who poison their land and their water? Big civil verdicts are fine, and they make great movies, but why aren't the big polluters so...ah...toxic that their money and their support is an electoral burden impossible to carry? I do not understand my fellow citizens sometimes.

Case in point: at the beginning of this month, a ship's anchor ruptured an antiquated oil pipeline off Orange County, California, spilling 25,000 gallons into the sea. They haven't yet even identified what company owned the ship that broke the pipeline, but the pipeline itself is owned by Amplify Energy. From the Los Angeles Times:

The firm that operates the San Pedro Bay pipeline is facing intense pressure from federal regulators as well as businesses and residents suing over the effects of the spill...Filing for bankruptcy protection...could become an attractive option for the pipeline's parent company, granting it temporary reprieve from financial and legal duress. But it's too early to tell if Amplify Energy Corp. will take that step. Its oil production is less dependent on California than Venoco, but it's also a relatively small player in an industry in which the financial blow from an environmental disaster can be devastating.

"They can easily throw their hands up and declare bankruptcy," said longtime energy markets analyst and advisor Stephen Schork.

For comparison's sake, the Times references a spill in Santa Barbara County six years ago that dumped 140,000 gallons onto the beaches at a state park.
The company that owned the pipeline survived the onslaught of lost revenue and lawsuits that followed, but the offshore producer that used the line to transport its oil did not. After twice seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Venoco Inc., eventually walked away from its drilling operation in Southern California, leaving the state to deal with millions of dollars in costs to close down the inactive wells.
It shouldn't be that easy to walk away from the damage you do. Bankruptcy law shouldn't be as well-apportioned a fallout shelter as it is for miscreant corporations. (Individual bankruptcy, of course, is a whole different bowl of stone soup, especially for ordinary citizens.) The Obama administration tried to tighten up regulations regarding insurance coverage for oil companies, but the companies howled, and the effort petered out when Obama's successor* took office.
It's unclear how much insurance Amplify Energy carried at the time of the spill, but experts say it's unlikely that the policies could pay for every claim. The number of lawsuits piling up "may be a significant driver" of a potential bankruptcy, said Lexi Hazam, a San Francisco lawyer representing a group of plaintiffs that includes commercial fishers and a whale-watching company. The number of legal complaints has already reached double digits, including those filed by Laguna Beach coastal property owners, a Huntington Beach surf school, a Seal Beach bait and tackle store, and several groups of fishing and seafood sales companies.

If Amplify Energy were to file for bankruptcy, there's a good chance that plaintiffs wouldn't see as much compensation as they hoped, experts say. Bankruptcy judges set the amount of potential damages that can be paid out by companies in Chapter 11, and even the federal government can't force a company to cough up more than that amount, said Eric Smith, a business professor at Tulane University and associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute.

Don't stick up a gas station, though. You can get in real trouble.

(c) 2021 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-

"Finally, let us understand that when we stand together, we will always win. When men and women stand together for justice, we win. When black, white and Hispanic people stand together for justice, we win."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

'A Psychopath With Infinite Resources:' Al-Jabri Accuses Saudi Crown Prince MBS
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Scott Pelley at CBS's "60 Minutes" interviewed Dr. Saad al-Jabri, the number 2 man in Saudi intelligence until 2014, when he fled for his life to Canada.

Al-Jabri made a number of serious accusations against Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, including alleging that MBS sent a hit team or "Tiger Squad" to Toronto to assassinate him. This attempt was made soon after the October 3, 2018 murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul of dissident Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.Al-Jabri says that he was warned by an old friend in Saudi intelligence not to go near any Saudi consulate or embassy because he was next on the list. He says this was before Khashoggi's murder had become known.

As a former spy who lied for a living, who stands accused of embezzling $500 million from the Saudi counter-terrorism budget, al-Jabri's credibility cannot be taken for granted. Some of what he says, however, seems to be corroborated by the Canadian government, according to Pelley.

60 Minutes: "Former Saudi intelligence official accuses Mohammed bin Salman of multiple murder plots, kidnapping"

Pelley brought on former CIA deputy director Mike Morrell to testify that al-Jabri worked closely with American intelligence on counter-terrorism in the Obama era and was responsible for foiling an al-Qaeda plot to blow up airplanes by slipping bombs into desktop printers in the cargo hold. Morrell said that there were many other such instances where al-Jabri's help was crucial but that they remain classified.

Al-Jabri alleged that in 2014, in a meeting with then Minister of the Interior (i.e. intelligence) Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Mohammed Bin Salman said that he wanted to kill King Abdullah. He allegedly remarked that he could procure a poisoned ring from Russia and that when he shook hands with the king, it would kill him. King Abdullah died of natural causes soon thereafter, on 23 January 2015, and was succeeded by MBS's father, Salman b. Abdulaziz, King Abdullah's half brother.

Personally, I seriously doubt that if you were seriously thinking of knocking off the king, you would tell his chief intelligence officials about it, and this story seems wholly unlikely to me.

Al-Jabri also said, in a clip aired on YouTube in 60 Minutes Overtime (see below) that he once asked Bin Salman what he wanted to be, and he alleges that the prince replied, "Have you heard of Alexander the Great"?

Al-Jabri was implying with this anecdote that Bin Salman has ambitions to conquer other countries. While he may have delusions of grandeur, however, MBS so far hasn't had much of a record as a conqueror. He launched the war on Yemen in the spring of 2015, which turned into a quagmire from which he has yet to extricate himself. He never committed significant Saudi troops to the war effort, pursuing it from 30,000 feet with air strikes. Saudi Arabia's citizen population is small, 20-some million, and it cannot credibly mount wars in the region. So al-Jabri's apparent interpretation of the remark is not likely.

So it seems to me that the most believable allegation al-Jabri made is that MBS sent a Tiger squad hit team to kill him in Canada. Al-Jabri made this charge publicly a little over a year ago. The CBC says that the Canadian government seemed to confirm it, writing "Public Safety Minister Bill Blair would not comment on the specific allegations in the lawsuit but said the government was aware of incidents in which foreign actors have tried to monitor, intimidate or threaten Canadians and people in Canada. 'It is completely unacceptable, and we will never tolerate foreign actors threatening Canada's national security or the safety of our citizens and residents,' Blair said in a statement. 'We invite people to report any such threats to law enforcement authorities.'"

So there really weren't any new allegations in al-Jabri's interview that are particularly credible, as far as I can see. Of course, if MBS is sending hit teams to kill people in North America, that is a matter for alarm in Ottawa and Washington, D.C.

MBS's control of Saudi Arabia's trillions of dollars in reserves and its sovereign wealth fund, however, makes him indispensable, and after stonewalling him for months, President Biden recently sent National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to meet with MBS on ending the Yemen war. In his presidential campaign, Biden had threatened MBS with "consequences" and seemed to pledge to have nothing to do with him.

Since Bin Salman is likely to be king with the decade, both the U.S. and Canada will want to keep on his good side while doing what they can to discourage his attempted killing spree against their residents. So I fear that if Mr. al-Jabri felt he could sideline the crown prince with this interview, he may as well not have bothered. I wish I could be more optimistic.

Henry Kissinger, the arch-Realist, said that diplomacy is a game played with the pieces on the board. MBS is a piece on the board.

(c) 2021 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

Don't Believe Corporate America's 'Labor Shortage' Bullshit. This Is An Unofficial General Strike
By Robert Reich

For the first time in years, American workers have enough bargaining leverage to demand better working conditions and higher wages - and are refusing to work until they get them.

Here's where that leverage comes from. After a year and a half of the pandemic, consumers have pent-up demand for all sorts of goods and services. But employers are finding it hard to fill positions to meet that demand.

The most recent jobs report showed the number of job openings at a record high. The share of people working or looking for work has dropped to a near-record low 61.6 percent. In August, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs, the highest quit rate since 2000.

Republicans have been claiming for months that people aren't getting back to work because of federal unemployment benefits. Rubbish.

The number of people working or looking for work dropped in September - after the extra benefits ran out on Labor Day.

The reluctance of people to work doesn't have anything to do with unemployment benefits. It has everything to do with workers being fed up.

Some have retired early. Others have found ways to make ends meet other than a job they hate. Many just don't want to return to backbreaking or mind-numbing low-wage jobs.

In the wake of so much hardship, illness and death, peoples' priorities have shifted.

The media and most economists measure the economy's success by the number of jobs it creates, while ignoring the quality of those jobs. Just look at the media coverage of the September jobs report: The New York Times emphasized "weak" job growth. For CNN, it was "another disappointment."

But when I was Secretary of Labor, I met with working people all over the country who complained that their jobs paid too little and had few benefits, or were unsafe, or required unwieldy hours. Many said their employers treated them badly.

With the pandemic, it's even worse. That's why, in addition to all the people who aren't returning to work, we're also seeing dozens of organized strikes around the country - 10,000 John Deere workers, 1,400 Kellogg workers, over 1,000 Alabama coal miners, and thousands of others.

Not to mention the unauthorized strikes and walkouts since the pandemic began, like the mostly Black sanitation workers in Pittsburgh or the Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island.

In order to lure workers back, employers are now raising wages and offering other incentives. Average earnings rose 19 cents an hour in September and are up more than $1 an hour over the last year. But clearly, that's not enough to get workers back.

Corporate America is trying to frame this as a "labor shortage."

But what's really happening is more accurately described as a living-wage shortage, a hazard pay shortage, a childcare shortage, a paid sick leave shortage, and a health care shortage.

Unless these shortages are rectified, this unofficial general strike will continue. I say it's about time.

(c) 2021 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

Conservatives & Billionaires Want You To Confuse 'Rights Of Citizenship' For 'Welfare'
While the "safety net" prevents personal, family or community disasters, "rights of citizenship" provide the foundation for society itself
By Thom Hartmann

Senator Joe Manchin, echoing the rightwing billionaire's think-tanks' PR and every Republican in Congress, recently said his objection to free college for students and eyeglasses for seniors was that such things created an "entitlement society," a slur that means "a nation of welfare recipients."

In that, he displays a fundamental ignorance about what governments do and how societies work, as well as the difference between what we usually call the "social safety net" and things people should expect simply as a "right of citizenship" in a first-world country. He also misunderstands the difference between expenses and investments.

A "social safety net" is there to catch you when you fall. Unemployment insurance keeps you from becoming homeless when capitalism has one of its periodic hiccups. Food stamps tide you over in rough times. FEMA programs provide mobile homes and a stipend to keep people rendered homeless by natural disasters like hurricanes, forest fires, and floods alive and well.

These are the sorts of things that we generally refer to as "welfare." They're there to "catch us" and keep us from falling through society's "floor."

They also prevent people from "breaking" when they fall, whether it's a temporary hiccup in capitalism (recession, depression), a natural disaster, or a region that's failed to invest in itself so long that there are simply no jobs available. We know, for example, that inequality, along with the poverty and mental illness it causes, drive up costs to society that can be covered with these kinds of help.

So these shorter-term programs (or, in some cases, even longer-term for already-wounded people) keep society stable. Finland, for example, is providing free housing for all their homeless; it's cheaper than the police, hospital and mental health services that houseless people otherwise use. But these are still programs to "catch" people and regions who've fallen or been injured by life, not to grow and expand society.

A "citizenship right" is something altogether different. It's what nations provide as rights of citizenship to keep a society functioning on a normal plane, and to help that society grow and improve socially and economically.

As citizens of America, for example, we expect good public schools, decent roads, police and fire protections, and a functioning government funded by tax dollars to keep it all going. We expect as citizens that when we pay into Social Security and Medicare our entire lives, those systems will be maintained in a way that can keep us healthy, productive, and out of poverty when we retire.

While the "safety net" protects us from personal, family or community disasters, the "rights of citizenship" provide the foundation for society itself.

The physical infrastructure of a nation makes possible normal life, and the more sophisticated and functional that infrastructure is, the more vibrant a nation's economy will be.

This was the core rationale for Republican President Dwight Eisenhower building the interstate highway system: it not only made it easier to visit grandpa and grandma, it also made it easier to transport goods and thus facilitated commerce leading to the economic boom of the 1950-1980 era.

Ditto for an advanced air traffic system, quality public transportation, and a national high-speed rail system like in every other advanced country.

The same is true for the "human infrastructure" of a nation.

The more citizens a country has who are college educated, the more competitive and prosperous that nation becomes. The better the health of a country, the more reliable and efficient its workforce. When government helps young parents care for their children, it frees them up to more fully participate in the commercial and civic life of the country.

Thus, infrastructure - be it physical or human - is not welfare. It doesn't produce an "entitlement society." Instead, it's the core foundation on which a functional society rests, the soil in which business can root itself, and the launching pad for a horizon-free future.

Another way to think of it is through the lens of economics and accounting.

"Welfare" is an expense. It doesn't make things better: when appropriately funded it simply keeps them from becoming worse. It pays dividends in that it keeps people alive and functional, but just barely. The "return on investment" to the government is minimal outside of its moral duty.

"Rights of citizenship" like infrastructure, on the other hand, are investments. They pay returns and dividends. Invest "x" and over years or decades you'll get multiples of "x" in return. Even police and fire, when run right, keep neighborhoods crime-free and facilitate commerce, growing the local economy. New transportation, education, and healthcare infrastructure build prosperity and attract investment in the larger community.

Not understanding this simple distinction is the major failure of neoliberal and "conservative" politicians, guided, in large part, by so-called "think tanks" and pundits funded by rightwing billionaires who, frankly, don't care about either "welfare" or "rights of citizenship/infrastructure."

After all, being morbidly rich billionaires, they don't need either.

They can afford the best healthcare in the world with their pocket change; they travel on private jets outside of public airports (never even having to go through security); and they send their kids to the best private schools in the world regardless of the local tax base.

And since welfare and infrastructure are both are funded by tax dollars - which the morbidly rich go to great lengths to avoid paying - pushing politicians to reject both only adds more dollars to their money bins that otherwise would have gone to taxes.

While Joe Manchin's understanding of these fundamental, high-school-civics differences in government programs is disappointing, it shouldn't be surprising. He was born into wealth and is, himself, a multimillionaire coal baron, living on the largest yacht at my old home, the Capital Yacht Club (among his other homes).

But Joe Biden - who spent his life traveling home from DC to Delaware every weekend on public transportation via Amtrak - understands this at a gut level. New roads, bridges, and broadband infrastructure are investments that will return dividends to both society and our economy. He knows that strengthening our infrastructure strengthens our nation.

Biden understands that replacing fossil-fuel based energy infrastructure with made-in-America renewables like solar and wind both reduce our dependence on brutal foreign oligarchs like Saudi Arabia's murderous MBS while producing power for generations with little more than simple maintenance.

He knows that sending young people to college at no or little cost - as is done in every other advanced democracy in the world - is a simple investment in our nation's families and intellectual infrastructure that will pay dividends for generations into our future.

Progressives working on his legislative agenda realize that providing people with a robust and low-cost healthcare system is an investment in our ultimate infrastructure: our people. Without healthy workers there is no reliable economy; with healthy workers an economy becomes ever-more vibrant, which is why every other developed country in the world except the US provides free or low-cost universal healthcare and takes care of all their seniors' medical needs.

Rightwing billionaire propaganda aside, these are not "welfare" or "entitlements," and they don't cause people to "become lazy" or "refuse to work." As we strengthen and "Build Back Better" our physical and human infrastructure, we simultaneously strengthen our nation while moving us into a cleaner, safer, and more reliable future.

In every other developed country in the world, these things are simple rights of citizenship. They should be here, too, if we want to compete in the 21st century and improve our (slipping) status as a First World nation.

(c) 2021 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Adam Zyglis ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Democrats Attempt To Woo Joe Manchin For Reconciliation Bill By Taping Single Hershey's Kiss To Latest Draft
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In their latest effort to bring the centrist lawmaker aboard for the party's signature legislation, Democrats reportedly attempted to woo Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Monday by taping a single Hershey's Kiss to the reconciliation bill's latest draft.

"Although we understand Joe won't budge on certain issues, we thought a sweet little treat might be just the thing to help move the needle," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of the foil-wrapped chocolate candy, which the majority leader had taped to the 329th page of the $2 trillion bill's provision for a Child Tax Credit next to a smiley face and the words "For You, Joe!"

"Frankly, anything that helps inch us closer to a Clean Energy Standard is worth trying, and if that means sweetening the pot with a tasty morsel to brighten up Senator Manchin's day, then so be it. Just making him smile is worth the effort, either way."

At press time, Schumer added that should Manchin find the confection to his liking, there could be several more Hershey's Kisses coming his way.

(c) 2021 The Onion

Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 43 (c) 10/29/2021

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