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In This Edition

Pepe Escobar examines, "Caliph Closure: 'He Died Like A Dog.'"

Ralph Nader concludes, "Corporate Power Wins When A Nation's Civic Leaders And Experts Are Locked Out."

Glen Ford bids a fond, "Farewell To John Conyers Jr. - And To His Era."

Jim Hightower asks, "How Small Can A Giant Supermarket Chain Get?"

Juan Cole reports, "New War For Oil? Trump To Occupy Oil-Rich Syrian Province With Tank Corps, Asks For Kurdish Displacement There."

John Nichols says, "It's Just Wrong To Help Corporations Penalize Dissent."

James Donahue explains, "Everybody Hates Time Changes - So Why Do We Do It?"

William Rivers Pitt warns, "With Biden Floundering, Democratic Establishment Considers Clinton And Kerry."

David Suzuki exclaims, "The Election's Over; Now Let's Get To Work!"

Charles P. Pierce says, "No, I Do Not 'Respect The Office Of The Presidency'."

David Swanson says, "The World Must Compel The U.S. To Allow Korea To Have Peace."

Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "Trump's Emoluments Mess."

Jane Stllwater is, "A Tourist In Syria -- And Dallas...."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Trump Offers Freed ISIS Fighters A Group Rate At Trump Doral Resort." but first Uncle Ernie chants, "Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Rob Rogers, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, al-Furqan Media, Chris Yakimov, Scott Olson, Patrick Smith, Tasos Katopodis, Jim West, Alamy, Jane Stillwater, AFP, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!
By Ernest Stewart

"Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!" ~~~ crowd chant about Trump at game 5 of the World Series

"California experienced the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in its history in 2017 and 2018. Fueled by drought, an unprecedented buildup of dry vegetation and extreme winds, the size and intensity of these wildfires caused the loss of more than 100 lives, destroyed thousands of homes and exposed millions of urban and rural Californians to unhealthy air. While wildfires are a natural part of California's landscape, the fire season in California and across the West is starting earlier and ending later each year. Climate change is considered a key driver of this trend. Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation and make forests more susceptible to severe wildfire. The length of fire season is estimated to have increased by 75 days across the Sierras and seems to correspond with an increase in the extent of forest fires across the state." ~~~ Cal Fire

"I don't think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100 percent true." ~~~ Mark Zuckerberg

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

Did you watch game 5 of the World Series last Monday night? If so, you may remember what happened when Lying Donald, the first bimbo Melania Trump, White House aides, and a group of Republican lawmakers presence was announced on the park's public address system after the third inning.

That's where it hit the fan! When the stadium's scoreboard panned to Trump, seated in a luxury suite along the third base line the crowd began chanting "Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!" Lying Donald was smiling as he assumed they were chanting Lock Her Up but it didn't take long for him to realize they were chanting Lock Him Up and his smile turned into a giant frown! Those who weren't chanting were booing him with sustained boos!

Fans also expressed support for the president's impeachment by unfurling a large "Impeach Trump" banner and holding "Veterans for Impeachment" signs behind home plate. When it all sunk in Lying Donald beat a hasty retreat from the ball park!

This after coming off of his triumphal speech about criminal justice to a room full of political toadies at the historically black college Benedict College, in Columbia, S.C.. Boy did that go over well. When Lying Donald was about students were told to stay in their rooms between 12 and 4 pm while massa Trump was about. Ve have vays of making you cooperate, Ja! However, "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley!" And student protests soon broke out. The morons who run Benedict College should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. Apparently they only chose Lying Donald to speak on criminal justice as the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan was unavailable that day!

In Other News

According to Cal Fire there are currently at least 16 major fires burning in California. Also over 200,000 acres are burning or burnt, killing at least 3 people, they've lost over 400 building with 5,819 incidental fires, just in the last week or so. Oh, and all those numbers will certainly rise, probably double, by the time this column goes to press!

You would have thought with the last ten years of firestorms and such that there wouldn't be anything left to burn in California, but California is a big state. California ranks third as the largest US state behind Alaska and Texas with an area of 163,696 square miles and 3/4s of that is forested areas. So it has a way yet to go before there is nothing left to burn.

Traditionally these massive wild fires are followed by heavy rains and gale force winds which brings on "mudslide season" as there is nothing to hold the hill sides together after the trees and grasses have burnt to a crisp. And for the lucky folks whose houses weren't burn up, they can suddenly find themselves buried under 100 foot deep mudslides in the middle of the night.

To complicate matters, there are nearly 40 million people living in and around these fire zones, Yesterday there were about 200,000 of them running for their lives. I guess they all should have listen to Lying Donald and started raking the forrest from all those leaves on the ground, that would have solved the fire problem, right?

And Finally

I see where Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg defended the social network's decision not to send speech from politicians to third-party fact-checkers, a move that's drawn scrutiny, especially from Democrats in the US. Apparently as long as you pay the bill you can tell any political lie you like!

"I don't think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100% true," Zuckerberg said during a speech at Georgetown University. Said the man who happily allowed Russians to help get Lying Donald elected. If you got the money-honey, Mark's got the time!

The remarks highlight the social network's controversial approach to political speech as it tries to strike a balance between free speech and combating misinformation during elections. They also escalated tensions between Facebook and politicians as the 2020 campaign season heats up. Democrats and civil rights groups swiftly criticized Zuckerberg's speech, arguing that the company hasn't learned from its past mistakes. Well, Mark did learn, that publishing lies is good for the old bottom line!

You know what's coming next, right? That's right, Mark Zuckerberg wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

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


07-03-1948 ~ 10-26-2019
Thanks for the music!!

07-29-1930 ~ 10-26-2019
Thanks for the film!

01-27-1942 ~ 10-29-2019
Thanks for the laughs!


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

A screenshot of a propaganda video from 2014 allegedly shows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Caliph closure: 'He died like a dog'
Trump's victory-lap movie version buries the embarrassing story of deploying tanks to 'protect' Syrian oilfields
By Pepe Escobar

"He died like a dog." President Trump could not have scripted a better one-liner as he got ready for his Obama bin Laden close-up in front of the whole world.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, fake caliph, ISIS/Daesh leader, the most wanted man on the planet, was "brought to justice" under Trump's watch. The dead dog caliph is now positioned as the ultimate foreign policy winning trophy ahead of 2020 reelection.

The climatic scenes of the inevitable-as-death-and-taxes movie or Netflix series to come are already written. (Trump: I "watched it like a movie.") Cowardly uber-terrorist cornered in a dead-end tunnel, eight helicopter gunships hovering above, dogs barking in the darkness, three terrified children taken as hostages, coward detonates a suicide vest, tunnel collapses over himself and the children.

A crack forensic team carrying samples of the fake caliph's DNA apparently does its job in record time. The remains of the self-exploded target - then sealed in plastic bags - confirm it: it's Baghdadi. In the dead of night, it's time for the commando unit to go back to Irbil, a 70-minute flight over northeast Syria and northwest Iraq. Cut to Trump's presser. Mission accomplished. Roll credits.

This all happened at a compound only 300 meters away from the village of Barisha, in Idlib, rural northwest Syria, only 5km from the Syria-Turkish border. The compound is no more: it was turned to rubble so it would not become a (Syrian) shrine for a renegade Iraqi.

The caliph was already on the run, and arrived at this rural back of beyond only 48 hours before the raid, according to Turkish intelligence. A serious question is what he was doing in northwest Syria, in Idlib - a de facto cauldron-like Donbass in 2014 - which the Syrian army and Russian airpower are just waiting for the right moment to extinguish.

There are virtually no ISIS/Daesh jihadis in Irbil, but lots of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, as in al-Qaeda in Syria, known inside the Beltway as "moderate rebels," including hardcore Turkmen brigades previously weaponized by Turkish intel. The only rational explanation is that the Caliph might have identified this Idlib backwater near Barisha, away from the war zone, as the ideal under-the-radar passport to cross to Turkey.

Russians knew?

The plot thickens when we examine Trump's long list of "thank yous" for the successful raid. Russia came first, followed by Syria - presumably Syrian Kurds, not Damascus - Turkey and Iraq. In fact, Syrian Kurds were only credited with "certain support," in Trump's words. Their commander Mazloum Abdi, though, preferred to extol the raid as a "historic operation" with essential Syrian Kurd intel input.

In Trump's press conference, expanding somewhat on the thank yous, Russia again came first ("great" collaboration) and Iraq was "excellent": the Iraqi National Intelligence Service later commented on the break it had gotten, via a Syrian who had smuggled the wives of two of Baghdadi's brothers, Ahmad and Jumah, to Idlib via Turkey.

There's no way US Special Forces could have pulled this off without complex, combined Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian Kurd intel. Additionally, President Erdogan accomplishes one more tactical masterpiece, juggling between performing the role of dutiful, major NATO ally while still allowing al-Qaeda remnants their safe haven in Idlib under the watchful eye of the Turkish military.

Significantly, Trump said, about Moscow: "We told them, 'We're coming in' ... and they said, 'Thank you for telling us.'" But, "they did not know the mission."

They definitely didn't. In fact, the Russian Defense Ministry, via spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, said it had "no reliable information about US servicemen conducting an operation to 'yet another' elimination of the former Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the Turkish-controlled part of the Idlib de-escalation zone."

And on Trump's "we told them," the Russian Defense Ministry was emphatic: "We know nothing about any assistance to the flight of US aircraft to the Idlib de-escalation zone's airspace in the course of this operation."

According to ground sources in Syria, a prevalent rumor in Idlib is that the "dead dog" in Barisha could be Abu Mohammad Salama, the leader of Haras al-Din, a minor sub-group of al-Qaeda in Syria. Haras al-Din has not issued any statement about it.

ISIS/Daesh anyway has already named a successor: Abdullah Qardash, aka Hajji Abdullah al-Afari, also Iraqi and also a former Saddam Hussein military officer. There's a strong possibility that ISIS/Daesh and myriad subgroups and variations of al-Qaeda in Syria will now re-merge, after their split in 2014.

Who gets the oil?

There's no plausible explanation whatsoever for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for years, enjoying the freedom of shuttling back and forth between Syria and Iraq, always evading the formidable surveillance capabilities of the US government.

Well, there's also no plausible explanation for that famous convoy of 53 brand new, white Toyota Hi-Luxes crossing the desert from Syria to Iraq in 2014 crammed with flag-waving ISIS/Daesh jihadis on their way to capture Mosul, also evading the cornucopia of US satellites covering the Middle East 24/7.

And there's no way to bury the 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) leaked memo that explicitly named "the West, Gulf monarchies, and Turkey" as seeking a "Salafist principality" in Syria (opposed, significantly, by Russia, China and Iran - the key poles of Eurasia integration).

That was way before ISIS/Daesh's irresistible ascension. The DIA memo was unmistakable: If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

True, the fake caliph has been proclaimed definitely dead at least five times, starting in December 2016. Yet the timing, now, could not be more convenient.

The facts on the ground, after the latest ground-breaking Russia-brokered deal between the Turks and the Syrian Kurds, graphically spell out the slow but sure restoration of Syria's territorial integrity. There will be no balkanization of Syria. The last remaining pocket to be cleared of jihadis is Irbil.

And then, there's the oil question. The "died as a dog" movie literally buries - at least for now - an extremely embarrassing story: the Pentagon deploying tanks to "protect" Syrian oilfields. This is as illegal, by any possible interpretation of international law, as is, for that matter, the very presence in Syria of US troops, which were never invited by the government in Damascus.

Persian Gulf traders told me that before 2011, Syria was producing 387,000 barrels of oil a day and selling 140,000 - the equivalent of 25.1% of Damascus's income. Nowadays, the Omar, al-Shadaddi and Suwayda fields, in eastern Syria, would not be producing more than 60,000 barrels a day. Still, that's essential for Damascus and for "the Syrian people" so admired within the Beltway - the legitimate owners of the oil.

The mostly Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) did in fact take military control of Deir er-Zor when they were fighting ISIS/Daesh. Yet the majority of the local population is Sunni Arab. They will never tolerate any hint of a longtime Syrian Kurd domination - much less in tandem with a US occupation.

Sooner or later the Syrian army will get there, with Russian air power support. The Deep State might, but Trump, in an electoral year, would never risk a hot war over a few, illegally occupied oilfields.

In the end, the "died as a dog" movie can be interpreted as a victory lap, and the closure of a historical arc languishing since 2011. When he "abandoned" the Syrian Demoratic Forces Kurds, Trump effectively buried the Rojava question - as in an independent Syrian Kurdistan.

Russia is in charge in Syria - on all fronts. Turkey got rid of its "terrorism" paranoia - always having to demonize the Syrian Kurd PYD and its armed wing YPG as a spin-off of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatists inside Turkey - and this may help to settle the Syrian refugee question. Syria is on the way to recover all its territory.

The "died as a dog" movie can also be interpreted as the liquidation of a formerly useful asset that was a valued component of the gift that keeps on giving, the never-ending Global War on Terror. Other scarecrows, and other movies, await.

(c) 2019 Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan." He may be reached at

For starters, the talking heads who are invited on news shows rarely, if ever, speak of the corporate crime wave,
the corporate welfare scandals, or many preventable mass casualties that flow from corporate negligence and cover-ups.

Corporate Power Wins When A Nation's Civic Leaders And Experts Are Locked Out
The foregoing case for a single-payer health insurance system is just one example of how corporate power prevails when there is media and political exclusion of the informed and experienced civic community.
By Ralph Nader

The lawmakers are doing it. The candidates are doing it. The mass media are doing it. All are excluding from their arenas the leading citizen groups as never before, since the early nineteen sixties. The nonprofit national advocacy/research organizations that led the way for social reforms are being shut out of the political process. These groups were pioneers in consumer rights, environmental protections, labor rights, and whistle-blower protections. These groups fought for freedom of information laws and practices and access to justice in ways that have made our country better in so many ways.

Television anchors like Judy Woodruff (The News Hour, PBS) and Chuck Todd (Meet the Press, NBC) prefer to interview reporters, political consultants or tired columnists, instead of knowledgeable civic leaders who use facts and speak truth to power.

One result of this marginalization is that the public discussion of key services and safeguards for the people is often vapid and fact-starved. For starters, the talking heads who are invited on news shows rarely, if ever, speak of the corporate crime wave, the corporate welfare scandals, or many preventable mass casualties that flow from corporate negligence and cover-ups. The few news articles on such subjects are often thin and untimely because reporters are not in regular touch with citizen groups, instead choosing to rely on irregular official leaks and occasional insider information.

Take, for example, the current discussion on Medicare-for-All or single-payer health insurance. The Democratic presidential candidates and other progressive lawmakers who support catching up with dozens of other industrial nations are not making the strongest case for this basic human right. They say that all Americans should have access to health care, referring to the unaffordable price of care.

The corporatists and some of these Democratic presidential hopefuls attack Medicare-for-All, asserting that the program would be prohibitively expensive by citing wild projections from biased think tanks. Bernie Sanders rebuts by proposing overdue restoration of higher taxes on the wealthy and big business. He asserts that whatever increases there are on the middle class would more than be made up by no longer having to pay health insurance premiums and out of pocket costs.

Moreover, most advocates of single payer do not stress the millions of ailments and injuries which persist because people cannot afford health insurance to get diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. According to the Wall Street Journal, roughly 30 million Americans are uninsured and 86 million Americans are underinsured. And about 40,000 of them die from that same deprivation each year. Such casualties due to lack of insurance do not happen in countries with universal insurance.

Furthermore, little mention is made of Canada's far more efficient single-payer (public insurance, private delivery of care) that covers every Canadian at half the average per capita cost of that in the U.S. Canada also has free choice of doctor and hospital, in contrast to the cruel, narrow networks in the U.S.

Canada has better outcomes, less billing fraud by far and fewer casualties due to "medical error and negligence." This is because the U.S. has a serious problem of over-diagnosis and over treatment, due to profit motives built into our chaotic, wasteful, corrupt, and profiteering system.

Single payer means one billing agent in Canada, not inscrutable bills from 1500 insurance companies with manipulated codes and discriminatory fees (for example, many hospitals charge the uninsured more in the U.S.).

In Canada, there is far less anxiety, dread, and fear about medical bills than in the U.S. Imagine what that is worth!

In the U.S. people worry that if they change jobs, they'll lose their insurance. In Canada, physicians practice medicine, not complex bookkeeping. In the U.S., physicians plead for permission to treat their patients, while slow-paying insurance companies look out for their corporate bottom line.

The sheer administrative costs in the U.S. are, as a percentage of overall costs, more than double the administrative costs in Canada. Health care in Canada is on average less than $5000 average per capita per year; in the U.S. it has just soared over $10,000 per capita per year. Canada spends 10% of its GDP on health care and covers everyone; the U.S. is reaching 18% of GDP while leaving out tens of millions of people.

No one in Canada has to go bankrupt due to medical bills, as is the case half a million times a year in the U.S. Drug prices for the same drugs are lower in Canada than in the U.S. due to the bargaining power of Canadian single-payer system. Just in terms of correlating health care data, single payer detects what works and what doesn't far better than the secret proprietary data of many U.S. insurance companies (which excessively compensate their executives). For example, in 2017, Aetna paid its CEO, Mark Bertolini, nearly $59 million as compensation (see the Hartford Courant article published on April 7, 2018). These salaries and compensation packages come out of your pockets, as do the co-pays, deductibles. The maddeningly complex fine-print exclusions add insult to injury.

In the U.S. people resort to GoFundMe campaigns to collect money for major operations that cost far more than they would in Canada. After all, to get the same procedures all Canadians have to do is show their Medicare card which is given to them at birth.

At the extreme, people in the U.S. commit minor crimes just to go to jail to get health insurance. Recently, a couple in their seventies in Washington state took their lives due to being so overwhelmed by their soaring medical bills.

These and other examples further illustrate the advantages of a single-payer system. These numerous points were conveyed in a printed pamphlet personally delivered to dozens of members of Congress (see "25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections" and Some of these deliveries were followed by my personal calls. To date, not one office, other than Congressman Jamie Raskin's, acknowledged receipt. Nor have any of these lawmakers or the presidential candidates used such obvious arguments in this pamphlet or other available materials to rebut or to explain. Rarely do any media outlets present the overwhelming advantages of a single-payer health care system.

Recently, liberal columnist, Mark Shields appeared on the PBS News Hour and mindlessly characterized single payer as being too expensive.

When Medicare was established in 1965, the elderly had no trouble giving up their private health insurance plans that could at any time have been weakened, dropped, or not renewed. Just as today, workers with private company plans can be forced to accept less coverage or be laid off without any coverage. Mr. Shields seemed to have forgotten the fear that workers have about the unilateral power of companies to change the rules and delay or limit the benefits.

The foregoing case for a single-payer health insurance system is just one example of how corporate power prevails when there is media and political exclusion of the informed and experienced civic community. Speak up, people!

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

Farewell To John Conyers Jr. - And To His Era
By Glen Ford

John Conyers' long career is a window on the decline of Black politics in the two generations since the demise of the mass Black movement.

John Conyers passed away at age 90 this week, the sixth longest-serving U.S. Representative in history, having spent more than half a century representing Detroit, and the longest-serving Black congressperson, by far.

I remember Conyers with great affection, both as a friend and as the last vestige of a time when it still could be imagined that some Black Democratic politicians might play a positive role on the road to Black liberation and world peace. He was also a jazz lover who liked to smoke a little herb - a detail that's shareable now that Michigan has legalized recreational pot.

As a standard-bearer of the progressive Black petit bourgeoisie, attorney Conyers was the best of the early Congressional Black Caucus, which he helped found in 1971 along with 12 other lawmakers. Conyers was already on President Nixon's enemies list, a distinction he shared with fellow Black congressman Ron Dellums, of California.

Immediately upon entering office in 1965, after a hairs-breadth election victory, Conyers hired campaign worker Rosa Parks, the exiled and jobless heroine of the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. "If it wasn't for Rosa Parks, I never would have gotten elected," Conyers told a Parks biographer. Parks remained on his payroll until she retired in 1988.

Conyers was one of only seven lawmakers to vote against funding the Vietnam War in 1965, the year of the first massive U.S. troop buildup under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1972, Conyers introduced a resolution to remove Nixon from office for his conduct of the war. When Martin Luther King was assassinated, Conyers quickly put forward a bill to make the martyred leader's birthday a national holiday, which finally became law in 1983. Along with Rep. Dellums and future Georgia congressman John Lewis, Conyers was among those that sponsored the "call" for the formation of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, founded in 1973 and most closely associated with communist former political prisoner Angela Davis. (The Alliance was later dissolved, but will be "refounded" in Chicago, at a November 22 conference.)

The mass movement of the previous decade was not yet fully dead in the mid-Seventies. It was not considered scandalous - certainly, not in Black America -- that Conyers and Dellums (who died in 2018) were openly socialist members of Congress. Both lawmakers would later become active in the socialist-lite DSA, the Democratic Socialists of America.

On a train ride with Conyers from Washington to New York in early 1977, I asked him why he didn't run on a socialist ticket, since he was winning as much as 86 percent of the vote in his district. His mouth fell open in horror. "But...the Party would destroy me," he replied - as if that was as obvious as daylight. I didn't pursue the subject any further, preferring not to cause my friend further trauma.

Conyers had done me a great favor by agreeing to be featured in the pilot program of "America's Black Forum" (ABF), the first nationally syndicated Black news interview show on commercial television, which I co-founded and hosted starting in January, 1977, the week that "Roots" debuted on ABC. It was a selfless contribution on Conyers' part, since the pilot would be dated and never air once the syndication had signed up enough affiliated stations to begin weekly production. Beginning with its first broadcast, taped in the studios of the ABC affiliate in Washington, "America's Black Forum" did what no other Black news entity in journalism history had accomplished: it made news, consistently generating stories picked up by U.S. and international news agencies and aired on network radio and TV newscasts.

Within months, ABF had interviewed nearly all of the 16 or so members of the Congressional Black Caucus, often in twos and threes. When Conyers appeared on the show, we beat him up from the left, just as we did every other elected official. But John didn't complain; he was glad to have been useful to the project.

The Black Caucus was almost uniformly "progressive" back then, by today's tepid standards. The Democratic Party had not yet begun aggressively gerrymandering districts to spread the reliably Black vote around in order to make up for wavering white support. The Caucus was pro-labor, with virtually all of its members heavily dependent on union contributions to ward off primary election challenges. Gus Savage, from Chicago, and Harold Ford Sr., of Memphis, were outstanding union stalwarts, and reliably progressive on the whole range of issues, as were most other CBC members. (Two decades later, Rep. Ford bequeathed his seat to his misbegotten son, Harold Ford Jr., who became George Bush's favorite Black congressman.)

After four years of broadcast, as the Age of Reagan was dawning my co-founder and I sold our shares in "America's Black Forum" (ABF) to a group of unscrupulous Black hustler/entrepreneurs. ABF remained on the air for the next 20 years without ever again generating a millisecond of news, devolving into a showcase of collaboration with the most rightwing forces in the nation (as detailed in a December, 2002 issue of The Black Commentator).

The Democrats lurched rightward in the Eighties, when for the first time General Motors' financial arm registered bigger profits than its manufacturing division - signaling the triumph, and soon hegemony, of financial capital. Black electoral politics in general, and Black congressional representatives in particular, embraced a politics of symbolism over substance. John Conyers wracked up the biggest symbolic victory of all, when his MLK Birthday bill became law in 1983. But he was USEFUL to movement politics, as well, holding hearings in localities across the country on criminal justice system abuses, South African apartheid, and a host of other issues. The Black Caucus was in the legislative vanguard in the ultimately successful fight to divest from South African apartheid, a great defeat for the Reagan administration. And Conyers will always be known for introducing H.R.40, his Black reparations study bill, in 1989, and reintroducing it (almost) every year later until his death.

The rot was palpable, however. By 1994, a majority of the Black Caucus was hunting for young Black "predators," in sync with their Democratic Leadership Council-founding president, Bill Clinton, as detailed by Michelle Alexander a generation later. Only 11 Black Caucus members voted against the crime bill that led to an exponential increase in the incarceration of African Americans.

The year after the crime bill debacle, Conyers became the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. His behavior from that point on was clearly tailored towards winning the coveted chairmanship. When the Katrina catastrophe hit in 2005, forcing over 100,000 Blacks into exile from New Orleans, the entirety of the Congressional Black Caucus -- except for Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney -- slavishly obeyed House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's dictate that there be no Democratic hearings on Katrina-related crimes against the people. Pelosi feared that Katrina hearings would taint the party as too pro-Black, endangering Democrats' chances to retake control of the House in 2006. John Conyers also rolled over for his party leader, knowing his chairmanship depended on Democratic victory and Pelosi's favor. From then on, he would be far less useful to progressive causes, despite heading one of the most important committees from 2007 to 2011.

At no time during my social interactions with John Conyers did ever impress me as the kind of man that would be brought down by the #MeToo movement. But the former congressional firebrand was, indeed, laid low by a woman: Nancy Pelosi.

In the absence of Democratic Katrina hearings, Rep. McKinney attended House Republican hearings on the catastrophe, incurring the wrath of Pelosi and ritual shunning by the rest of the Black Caucus, marking the definitive end of that body's claim to relevance in Black America. McKinney became a Black Caucus of One, but lost her seat for the second time in 2006.

By now, the Black Caucus had lost all political coherence, and was home to a gaggle of right-wingers - a faction that had not existed in the previous decade. In a critical 2005 vote on corporate telecoms' bid to gut public protections in the new era of digital communications, the Black Caucus voted more in favor of telecoms than the Democratic Caucus as a whole.

Conyers did tentatively take action on impeachment of President Bush for invading Iraq. Conyers filed a resolution to consider impeachment, in 2005, when he was still ranking Judiciary Democrat. But Pelosi was opposed to impeachment, and Conyers let others - notably Keith Ellison (MN), Cynthia McKinney (GA) and Dennis Kucinich (OH) -- carry the ball, which became a dribble to nowhere.

Conyers had introduced single payer health care legislation in 2003, when there was no chance that the Republican Congress would pass it, or that George Bush would sign it. Presidential candidate Barack Obama deceptively deployed buzz words like "universal" health care to cause the public to believe that he, too, favored single payer. But when Obama launched his meticulously choreographed health care offensive in 2009, the doors to the White House were shut to Conyers and other single payer advocates. Inside the executive mansion lobbyists for Big Pharma and the insurance industry crafted a bill designed to forestall single payer for another generation, while boosting corporate profits to new heights. Conyers was unceremoniously pushed aside, humiliated and rendered irrelevant in chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's White House, where progressives were derided as "nutty."

In the end, the single payers caved to the First Black President.

Conyers would have to look to the past for his Last Hurrah. The "Dean of the Caucus's" political end came with awful ignominy. But Conyers managed to preserve some shred of dignity years longer than the Black Caucus as a whole, which collapsed into incoherence and rank opportunism at the first intrusion of big corporate capital at the turn of the 21st century. In 2014, 80 percent of the Black Caucus voted to continue the infamous 1033 program that funnels billions in military weapons and gear to local police, and in 2018 75 percent of Black lawmakers voted to make the cops a protected class, with assaults against police punishable as hate crimes. (See "The Black Caucus Sells Out Its Constituents Again - to the Cops" - May 23, 2018.) The Caucus had passed from pitifully useless to actively evil.

But, until his forced exit, John Conyers voted right almost every time, earning a 100 percent rating from the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign, and a 90 percent legislative score from Americans for Democratic Action. Black Agenda Report's CBC Report Card gave Conyers a 90 percent score for his votes in 2017, his last year in office. Fourteen other Caucus members earned the same score - an unusually high number, due to the dearth of controversial bills that year. None of the Caucus got a perfect grade, we wrote, because "all of the full-voting Black Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives lost ten points for prostrating themselves before the power of the Israel lobby."

Black elected officials have no fear of voting against the interests of their constituents -- the people the cops prey on - but are horrified at the very thought of running afoul of the Israel lobby.

I'm reminded of that Amtrak trip to New York with Conyers, 42 years ago, when I asked why he didn't run on a socialist ticket. "The Party would destroy me," he said.

It took a long time, but they finally destroyed him, anyway.

(c) 2019 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

How Small Can A Giant Supermarket Chain Get?
By Jim Hightower

Do you shop at a Kroger supermarket? Or maybe at Ralph's, Fred Meyer, King Sooper's, or... well, never mind, all of these and more are part of the vast Kroger fiefdom of 2,759 grocery stores spanning the US, plus owning 38 food processing plants, 1,556 gas stations, and 251 jewelry stores. In short, Kroger is BIG - sacking up revenues topping $121 billion a year from us consumers.

Yet, for all of its mass and money, Kroger has recently shown itself to be pathetically small - small as in petty, snooty... bullying.

The chain's carefully crafted PR image portrays it as "America's Grocer" - wherever you are, they claim to be your friendly neighbor and dedicated community supporter. So imagine the surprise of real neighbors this month when aloof executives in Kroger's faraway Cincinnati headquarters turned on hundreds of communities in 35 states by arbitrarily tossing out all local newsweeklies and community papers that had been distributed in the stores free of charge.

While establishment newspapers that peddle the corporate line - from hedge fund-owned dailies to the Wall Street Journal - are still allowed to sell their papers inside Kroger, customers can no longer find racks of their free local papers. In such major cities as Colorado Springs, Lansing, Louisville, Memphis, Omaha, and Salt Lake City, these unique papers are in the historic tradition of America's pamphleteers,and independent populist weeklies. They cover a wide diversity of local stories, offer alternative viewpoints, publish investigative exposes, report on community events, and otherwise actually let people know what's happening in their town.

By shutting out these community papers, Kroger is literally banning the free press from its stores. That's not only unneighborly - it's unAmerican.

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

Trump goes back and forth between dismissing Syria as an unimportant desert and playing up its small oil reserves.

New War For Oil? Trump To Occupy Oil-Rich Syrian Province With Tank Corps, Asks For Kurdish Displacement There
The notion of a US invasion and occupation of Deir al-Zor is entirely illegal in international law.
By Juan Cole

Trump said he talked to Syrian Democratic Forces leader Gen. Mazloum Abdi on Thursday. As usual, Trump's report of the conversation is marred by outright lies and bizarre allegations. He said,

We know that Abdi (who sometimes goes by the nom de guerre Mazloum Kobane) is not actually happy with "what Trump did," in inviting Turkey to invade the Kurdish regions of northeast Syria because he repeatedly said so.

What Trump was likely referring to was Abdi's relief at the pause in fighting arranged by vice president Mike Pence last week, which gave Russia time to impose severe limits on Turkey's advance into Syria.

Trump had earlier said, "This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else, Now we're getting out. ... Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand."

Trump goes back and forth between dismissing Syria as an unimportant desert and playing up its small oil reserves. Northeast Syria, from which Trump pulled 1,000 US special operations personnel, is the most fertile agricultural area in Syria and is for the most part not desert.

As for the issue of oil, Syria's reserves are mostly in the east, with the bulk in the southeast province of Deir al-Zor (Deir Ezzor). Its population is largely Sunni Arab and it had been controlled by ISIL, but Abdi's Kurdish troops and some Arab allies fought down there. The al-Assad regime wants this region back, and even risked tangling with the US over a Conoco Gas plant in 2018.

The Guardian's Julian Borger points out that Trump administration officials are talking about the possibility of a US tank force invading Deir al-Zor from Iraq and occupying it. The goal would be to deny the oil resources to a resurgent ISIL but also to keep them out of the hands of the Syrian government. Also, the US is somehow convinced, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that it can block Iranian personnel and supply lines into Syria with this southeast garrison.

h/t Energy Consulting Group

Trump appears to have encouraged a massive Kurdish population movement down to Deir al-Zor from the northeast in order to deny ISIL and Damascus the petroleum. This suggestion would please Turkey, which dreams of kicking hundreds of thousands of Syrian Kurds out of their homes and replacing them with Sunni Arab Syrian refugees now resident in Turkey. As Samantha Power observed, Trump is signing on to Erdogan's ethnic cleansing effort, for his own purposes.

Although the YPG took military control of Deir al-Zor during its fight with ISIL, the local Arab population is not happy with even this light Kurdish presence. The Kurds are unlikely actually to emigrate to Deir al-Zor in any numbers. And anyway, they have invited Bashar al-Assad's Syrian Arab Army into their territory to protect them from Turkey, so their presence to the south wouldn't keep al-Assad from having a presence in Deir al-Zor.

The notion of a US invasion and occupation of Deir al-Zor is entirely illegal in international law. The US has no grounds for militarily occupying part of Syria after it withdrew from another part. Washington also has no grounds for denying Syrian oil resources to the Syrian government.

Also, wouldn't this require Congressional approval?

As Borger points out, occupying Deir al-Zor would certainly take a big US force, much bigger than the 1000-strong spec ops soldiers who have just been withdraw. So much for Trump binging the troops home.

Iraq would also have to cooperate with this move, which seems to me unlikely.

Sen. Lindsay Graham and other senators want to bring Abdi to Washington for consultations and have asked secretary of state Mike Pompeo to expedite his visa.

The senators are concerned about the impact of Trump's withdrawal in favor of Turkey on the continued fight against ISIL extremism in eastern Syria, which Trump has endangered by demoralizing his Kurdish allies.

About 100 hardened ISIL fighters have escaped in the chaos.

In response, the Turkish government threatened to have Abdi extradited to Turkey for terrorism, branding him a member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which both the US and Turkey consider a terrorist organization. Ankara does not make a distinction between the People's Protection Units (YPG) of the Syrian Democratic Union Party and the PKK, even though they are quite distinct. Abdi is YPG. Abdi, moreover, is the general who led the campaign against ISIL and took their capital of Raqqa, losing 10,000 of his men in the effort. Turkey did almost nothing against ISIL. Let's just say I don't think the US justice system is very likely to extradite Abdi to Turkey.

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

Opponents of Enbridge Energy's plan to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern
Minnesota protest in St. Paul before a state Public Utilities Commission meeting on the project.

It's Just Wrong To Help Corporations Penalize Dissent
By John Nichols

Mitt Romney famously announced in 2011 that, "Corporations are people, my friend."

That was an absurd statement. It is lunacy to suggest that corporations should have the same rights and protections as human beings.

But what is even more absurd is the proposal now circulating in the Wisconsin Legislature to give corporations more rights and protections than people. Republican legislators, and some Democrats who are apparently in the service of the fossil fuel industry rather than the voters of Wisconsin, are proposing a bill that would create super-protections for oil, gas and energy-industry conglomerates that seek to build pipelines and other controversial projects.

The goal of the legislation, a Wisconsin variation on measures that have been promoted nationally by the shadowy, corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), would impose extreme penalties on Wisconsinites who protest pipelines and so-called critical infrastructure projects-even in cases where those protesters are legitimately concerned that these projects pose threats to the environment, tribal lands or public health and safety.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, "Protesters found guilty under the proposed changes could receive up to six years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both, for protesting on an energy company's property if the penalty under current law stays intact. And, because the bill would apply to all property owned held by the oil and gas industry in Wisconsin, protesters would face the same penalties for demonstrating at corporate headquarters as they would for demonstrating at a pipeline or other 'critical infrastructure.'"

The multinational corporations that develop pipelines and other controversial projects are, of course, protected by laws against trespassing. They are, as well, protected by laws that penalize the damaging of property.

So why do they need special protections that extend beyond those afforded homeowners, farmers and small business owners?

Because they want to prevent protests. Corporations never want to face accountability. They hire lobbyists to thwart regulations. They hire lawyers to block legal challenges. Their influence is vast. But the people are not so easily bought off. When citizens object to pipelines and power lines and other projects that despoil the land and imperil public health and safety - with protests that sometimes include civil disobedience - it tips the balance back toward honest debate.

So why would legislators, especially Democratic legislators, propose extreme penalties for people who assemble to petition for the redress of grievances? Some legislators are simply doing the bidding of ALEC and the networks of campaign donors developed by the billionaire Koch brothers. Some are just rubber stamps who do as legislative leaders tell them. Some are fools who do not recognize the free speech implications of laws that threaten to fill our jails with citizens who dare to practice non-violent civil disobedience.

Whatever their motivation, they are wrong.

"This is a solution in search of a problem. People can already be prosecuted if they damage property," said Patricia Hammel, a lawyer with the Madison chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. "The oil company's property should be no different than your propriety, my property, the tribes' property. They don't deserve any special protection."

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

Everybody Hates Time Changes - So Why Do We Do It?
By James Donahue

People all over the United States will be turning back their clocks one hour this weekend as they shift from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. There is a collective national moan when we have to do it, but everybody (almost everybody that is) marches in lock step and adapts to the change.

This writer never has adapted. When I used to wear a watch I refused to change the time on it. I just adjusted the times when I had to show up for appointments to an hour earlier, or later, than before. I occasionally run into other people who, out of defiance, do the same thing. If we have to acknowledge time, we run on Standard Time, no matter what.

Creating Daylight Savings Time was, in general, a very bad idea. People on the Navajo Nation, which covers portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah, agree. They refuse to roll back their clocks even though the four states around them do it. So if you visit the Navajo during certain times of the year, they will be operating on a different time than everybody else.

They don't change the time in Hawaii or the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands either, in case you are interested.

A national law forcing Daylight Savings Time was tried twice. When a national act was adopted in 1918 establishing uniform time zones, it called for a yearly switch to Daylight Savings Time. The idea was so unpopular it was taken off the books the following year. It went into effect nationally again during World War II, not to conserve energy but to help people cope with operating without lights for fear of being bombed.

That was about the only time Daylight Savings Time made much sense. Proponents of it today say it reduces the amount of time we must use lights so it saves energy, but that has been shown to be a false claim. People just use their time doing other things that demand the use of even more energy than they would if they just stayed home, read a book or went to bed.

The big arguments favoring Daylight Savings Time is that it provides for greater play time, mostly on golf courses, parks and other recreation areas, and encourages more evening shopping hours. It also extends U.S. office hours to periods of greater overlap with the European Economic Community, thus allowing for more business transactions from place to place.

And those are not valid reasons. There is no reason why offices can't remain open later, with staffers overlapping their times on the job. As for people who want to put us all through hell twice a year so they can have more time on the golf course . . . they can shove those golf clubs and the balls . . . well you know where.

There is one other claim that may have merit. Researchers say that more daylight during the time people are most active tends to decrease the number of traffic accidents, traffic fatalities and incidences of crime.

Countering that, however, is a new study by a Swedish medical team that shows in increase in heart attacks during the first three weekdays after the spring shift to daylight savings time. They blame this on sleep deprivation and the shock on the natural biologic rhythms of the body. The people most vulnerable are those who are on uncompromising work shifts and punch a clock.

Older, retired people are the least affected by the time changes. They just stay in bed longer, or go to bed earlier, whatever feels natural for them.

Dr. Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute and Dr. Rikard Ljung of the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, said in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine the problem is noticed most in the spring when clocks are shifted ahead, and people lose that important hour of sleep.

When clocks are turned back in the fall, the heart attack rate appears to remain unaffected. If anything, the rate drops some.

So there we have it. Without daylight savings time we may have more traffic fatalities but less heart attacks. With daylight savings time we have more heart attacks and an entire society aggravated by having to adjust to the time change.

The whole concept of forcing workers to show up for specific periods of time to earn their payment for work performed stems back to the days of serfdom and slavery. But because of the dramatic way in which the world is changing, we may soon be forced to give it up.

As factory type jobs diminish, we are finding that more and more people are driving miles to work where they sit at desks and work at computers, telephones and other electronic devices. There is no reason why these people can't do the same work in their homes, even in pajamas, thus saving the cost of having to buy costly duds and put up with heavy traffic jams while burning the last of the world's fuel driving to and from their jobs.

Contrary to popular belief, employers do not have to stand guard over their workers with whips to assure that work is being done. Work output can be measured in a variety of ways, even if it involves answering the telephone and typing letters.

As the world's oil supply dwindles, and economic conditions worsen, we also may be seeing a time when people return to bartering, that is trading skills for services or personal items for food. The old neighborhood Mom and Pop businesses, like corner stores where we can grab a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk without driving for miles, could be reappearing.

When this happens there won't be so much driving to and from jobs or to the store to get stuff.

With changes like these in the works, we believe it is time for states to consider giving up the yearly shift to daylight savings time once and for all.

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

Former vice president Joe Biden speaks to the press after addressing the United Food and
Commercial Workers' 2020 presidential candidate forum on October 13, 2019, in Altoona, Iowa.

With Biden Floundering, Democratic Establishment Considers Clinton And Kerry
By William Rivers Pitt

If The New York Times has the right of it, the Democratic establishment is beginning to sweat live bullets over the gaseous anomaly that is the third-try presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden. On Tuesday, the Times ran a hilariously titled piece - "Anxious Democratic Establishment Asks, 'Is There Anyone Else?'" - in which some possible Biden alternatives were floated: Michael Bloomberg, John Kerry and, of course, Hillary Clinton.

Way to go, Joe.

A little context is in order here. On that same Tuesday, former Ukraine ambassador William Taylor evisceratedDonald Trump's "no quid pro quo" defense of his Ukraine dealings during a closed-door hearing before the House Oversight Committee that included several Republicans (a fact which should muzzle the mayhem House Republicans unleashed on Wednesday, but probably won't).

In the face of this damning turn of events, Trump decided it was high time to change the subject by letting his unvarnished racist flag fly free in the breeze. "All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching," he tweeted early that morning.

An immediate detonation of outrage justly followed Trump's decision to equate his own constitutionally appropriate political woes with the generational massacre of Black Americans. Rep. Elijah Cummings passed only days before Trump vomited his vile comment onto the nation's carpet, but one needs no imagination to know what his reaction would have been.

Joining the chorus of condemnation that day was Joe Biden. "Impeachment is not 'lynching,' it is part of our Constitution," he tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. "Our country has a dark, shameful history with lynching, and to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent. It's despicable."

It took only a few hours for Biden's own words to boomerang on him, again. A video clip of Biden describing the Clinton impeachment as a "partisan lynching" went viral, and he was forced to apologize for his choice of language. "This wasn't the right word to use and I'm sorry about that," he tweeted that same night.

Abhorrent. Despicable. Utterly predictable.

Joe Biden's Senate career spanned from 1973 to 2008, a 45-year run that saw him take a number of praiseworthy actions that were brutally offset by a larger number of genuinely terrible actions. Salted throughout his long career are enough verbal car accidents to leave the general impression that "Gaffe" is his middle name.

His 1988 presidential campaign collapsed in the shame and disgrace of a plagiarism scandal that should have been enough to end or at least severely curtail his political career, but Biden was a senator from Delaware, and Delaware is Valhalla for big banks, credit card companies and other massive corporations. Those entities dug a campaign finance moat around Biden's Senate seat, chasing off anyone who might challenge him in a primary. This served to protect Biden from his own blunders, allowing him to hold his place for nearly a half-century without experiencing any electoral consequences for his serial missteps. Over those years, Biden has repaid their largesse with interest.

After Biden's second failed run for president in 2008 ended in the single digits after Iowa, he was rescued from Delawarean obscurity because Barack Obama needed him on the ticket to appease white establishment voters, and for the money he could bring in because he has the financial industry on speed dial.

Somehow, this long and badly damaged resume has been translated into a belief within Democratic establishment circles that Joe Biden is the only candidate who can defeat Donald Trump in 2020. Now, as his third and presumably last run for the Oval Office sputters visibly, that belief is being sorely tested.

Biden's "lynching" calamity is telling: The rank offensiveness of Trump's horrid comment was clear and unequivocal... until yet another verbal ghost from Biden's past rattled its chains and blew up the narrative. It has happened before, it will happen again, and the members of the Democratic establishment are finally beginning to figure that out. This begs the question: What's their ultimate motive?

In a recent meeting of influential Democratic donors, according to the Times, unease over Biden's lackluster campaigning turned the conversation to some well-worn political retreads who could conceivably be lured into the race: >I>"Would Hillary Clinton get in, the contributors wondered, and how about Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor?"

Several of the candidates mentioned in the Times piece seemed unsure their entry would garner much interest, which is at minimum a credit to their clarity of thought. Other old-guard Democrats are more certain in their opinion. "She's done a great service to our country and public service and I supported her wholeheartedly," said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of a possible Clinton candidacy, "but I believe it's time for another nominee."

"Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bloomberg have both told people privately in recent weeks that if they thought they could win, they would consider entering the primary - but that they were skeptical there would be an opening," reads the Times piece. "Former Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who associates say has wondered aloud about whether he should have run and has found it hard to watch Mr. Biden's missteps, has also been urged to get in."

Endeavoring to make sense of the establishment's line of thinking on this is like trying to see to the bottom of a cowflop. Faced with the possible re-election of a president who represents an existential threat to democracy in the U.S., the Democratic establishment apparently believes the solution lies with a Wall Street billionaire, a man who lost to George W. Bush, or a woman who already lost once to that same existential threat.

This potential scenario sets up a rather dizzying Hobson's Choice for progressive voters who don't think Biden, much less any of the others mentioned by the Times, are the cure for what ails us.

If those voters are effective in thwarting Biden's quest for the nomination, it could invite the entry of any or all of the Times' anointed trio. If those voters are not effective in thwarting Biden, he could stumble into the nomination by dint of name recognition. Of course, Biden to this point has not needed much assistance in spiking the tires on his own campaign bus, but the situation is frustrating enough to invite despair.

Bernie Sanders is an FDR Democrat straight out of central casting. Elizabeth Warren is an enthusiastic capitalist. Pete Buttigieg has practically taken to wearing a "Yes I Am A Centrist" sign around his neck as he fishes for freaked-out would-be Biden voters. What is it exactly about this wide field of non-Biden candidates that is so terrifying to the Democratic establishment that they would even consider dumping Bloomberg and/or two previously defeated also-rans into an already crowded race?

Guessing is a hazardous undertaking in matters of such grievous import, but I'm going to toss one on the stoop and see if the cat laps it up, because it is starting to feel very 1972 around here... and not in the way establishment Democrats remember it.

In 1972, the Democratic Party was controlled by old-school political bosses like Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and AFL-CIO president George Meany. Their preferred candidates that year were Sen. Ed Muskie of Maine or Sen. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, because both Muskie and Humphrey were thoroughly beholden to the party machine.

George McGovern, a liberal senator from South Dakota (yes, such a thing did exist once) blew their plans up by winning the nomination, however, which threatened to end Daley and Meany's stranglehold on the party. Daley and Meany - the 1972 version of the Democratic establishment - decided four more years of Richard Nixon would be preferable to handing the party over to an antiwar "radical" like McGovern. They sat on their hands for the remainder of the election, and Nixon went on to win by a historic landslide.

Would McGovern have won with Daley and Meany's help? Probably not, given the massive unforced error he made in choosing Missouri Sen. Tom Eagleton as a running mate before dumping him and throwing a sop to the establishment by tapping Sargent Shriver. But the fact that the Democratic establishment of that day chose a lawless Republican president over a good and decent Democratic senator in order to maintain control of the party gives me cold sweats.

Today's Democratic establishment hears that story and says, "See? You can't nominate anyone who is too far to the left!" I see that story and think of the old bulls from the fabled tale, who won't leave until they get run off.

The old bulls of today's Democratic establishment are bereft of new ideas, and cling to their vividly failed policies and beaten candidates with frustrating vigor. As in '72, they seem more focused on maintaining control of the party than in defeating Donald Trump in 2020. If they pull a similar stunt this time around because they fear a party run by someone outside their calcified little circle of power, you may as well hand the election to Trump the November after next.

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

Many politicians want to be seen to be doing something, as long as it doesn't hurt their re-election
chances, rather than demonstrating their commitments in ways that might not show immediate returns.

The Election's Over; Now Let's Get To Work!
By David Suzuki

The election may be over, but there's no time to be complacent. Canadians voters - and many people too young to vote - demanded that politicians take climate disruption seriously. The parties and candidates listened and, for the first time, climate became a top election issue. Now we have to make sure they all come together to keep their promises and step up their ambitions.

We must hold elected representatives from every party to account, to avoid the usual scenario where parties and leaders concentrate on what will benefit them most before the next election rather than making serious attempts to curtail a problem that spells catastrophe over a longer period if we don't act quickly and decisively. It's an inherent weakness in our political systems. Many politicians just want to be seen to be doing something, as long as it doesn't hurt their re-election chances, rather than demonstrating their commitments in ways that might not show immediate returns.

We don't have time for political posturing or ego-fuelled divisions. Scientists have warned we have little more than a decade, if that, to bring emissions down to a point where they don't keep the planet heating for years to come.

Although every major party campaigned with a climate plan, none went far enough. Even if the new government were to adopt the best ideas from other parties, the flaws in our economic and political systems could prevent us from bringing about necessary change. One flaw is the aforementioned election-cycle stasis. In part, that's what keeps politicians and governments holding onto the status quo, fearing the bold, transformative policies the country and world so desperately need in this time of climate crisis.

Although every day we fail to take decisive action makes it that much harder to address global heating, the benefits of doing so still far exceed keeping the planet livable for humans and other species - although that alone should be enough. Some have argued bizarrely that protecting the very things that keep us alive and healthy is not economically viable. They elevate a recent, human-constructed system created under considerably different conditions than today's above the natural systems that provide all we need to live, from air to water to food.

That in itself shows our economic systems are failing us and should be altered to fit today's reality. But even under current economics, doing all we can to slow and halt catastrophic heating will pay many dividends. A recent study in Science by an international group of scientists concludes, "Over the next few decades, acting to reduce climate change is expected to cost much less than the damage otherwise inflicted by climate change on people, infrastructure and ecosystems."

A report released around the same time by the Global Commission on Adaptation, representing leaders in business, science and politics, echoes that. It focuses on adaptation to the now-unavoidable consequences of climate disruption but doesn't dismiss the need to prevent the crisis from worsening.

"Adaptation is not an alternative to a redoubled effort to stop climate change, but an essential complement to it. Failing to lead and act on adaptation will result in a huge economic and human toll, causing widespread increases in poverty and severely undermining long-term global economic prospects," according to "Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience."

Researchers conclude that "investing $1.8 trillion globally in five areas from 2020 to 2030 could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits." Those areas are "early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture crop production, global mangrove protection, and investments in making water resources more resilient."

The Science study notes we have little time to spare. "The investment is even more compelling given the wealth of evidence that the impacts of climate change are happening faster and more extensively than projected, even just a few years ago."

We need to do everything to slow and eventually halt the climate crisis and to adapt to the consequences our stalling has already set in motion. The voters of today have spoken, and those who will soon be old enough to vote couldn't be clearer: We need all political representatives to cast aside their differences and work together to solve this challenge. An election is just the start.

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

No, I Do Not 'Respect The Office Of The Presidency'
Of course a renegade president* should be heckled at a baseball game. It's the least we can do.
By Charles P. Pierce

I never have seen a politician yet who wasn't booed if he or she showed up at the ballpark. But, I have to admit, the reception given to El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago at the World Series on Monday night in Washington, D.C., was a remarkable exercise of the First Amendment right to deliver the ol' bazoo. And the "Lock him up!" chant was a sauce for the goose moment to end all sauce for the goose moments. Nobody who sat through the orgy of unbridled hate in Cleveland in 2016 could see it as anything but a comeuppance richly deserved.

But the Civility Police never sleep. By Monday morning, a panel convened on Morning Joe was deploring the whole scene, and Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware had found something to meep about on CNN

"I have a hard time with the idea of a crowd on a globally televised sporting event chanting 'lock him up' about our President. I frankly think the office of the President deserves respect, even when the actions of our President at times don't," Coons told CNN's John Berman on "New Day." He continued: "I certainly hope that we won't hear 'lock him up' chants at Democratic rallies or at our convention. I think that's one of the most regrettable, even at times despicable, actions by candidate Trump when he was running for president in 2016."
That was the election that Going Low won and Going High lost.

The president* was heckled on his night out.

This was 12 hours after he greeted Sunday morning by treating some heroic work by the U.S. military-and by the Kurdish forces he'd sold out a week earlier-as though those troops were his own personal button men. For that, I would argue, he at least deserved the same reception at the ballpark as a shortstop does when he boots three easy grounders in an inning, or as a manager does who leaves a reliever in one pitch too many. And, as for "Lock him up," well, since he still uses the original chant as a highlight at every stop in his traveling wankfests, I'd say it's well inbounds at least until the country is rid of him and the posse of fools he brought to the game with him.

But Coons's argument is one I've heard all too often in my lifetime, very often as a dodge for inexcusable conduct and outright crimes. "Respect for the office" is a self-governing citizen's sin of idolatry. In that context, the Presidency is a graven image. Why should I respect the office of the president when the occupant so clearly doesn't? Why should I respect the office of the president when it serves as a clubhouse for cheap crooks and mountebanks? Guns don't kill people, we hear after every mass shooting, only people kill people. So, The Presidency doesn't commit crimes, only presidents do?

In my lifetime alone, from The Office of the Presidency, I have seen mass murder from the skies, torture, the overthrow of governments, burglaries and the cover-up of same, the selling of missiles to a terrorist state and the cover-up of same, the arming of distant murderers, and that was all before this president* even got there-and even he, with his exceedingly dim wits, saw the potential for high crimes that long had become inherent in the office.

So, no, I don't Respect The Office any more (or less) than I respect the Congress or the federal judiciary or the Department of Agriculture, for all that. Right now, all over the world, from Lebanon to Chile, hundreds of thousands of people are in the streets demanding a voice in their governments. Capital cities are being shut down. And we're all supposed to be alarmed that a renegade president* got heckled at a baseball game? For a country founded through acts of unruly dissent, that's as mild as milk.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment."
~~~ Bertrand Russell

The World Must Compel The U.S. To Allow Korea To Have Peace
By David Swanson

I've never heard of or even seen fantasized a society or a government that wasn't deeply flawed. I know neither North nor South Korea is an exception. But the primary impediment to peace in Korea appears to be the United States: its government, its media, its billionaires, its people, and even the arm of the U.S. called the United Nations. The U.S. public has, and chooses to have, very little control over its government, and is easily manipulated by the corporate media. But public opinion still matters. In U.S. national mythology, the wars most easily twisted into glorious undertakings loom largest. The U.S. war for independence is glorious because, obviously, as everyone knows, Canada, India, and the rest of the British Empire remain brutally enslaved by the English monarch. The U.S. Civil War is glorious because it was against slavery, while much of the world ending slavery and serfdom without similar slaughters is a freak occurrence one can draw no lessons from. And, above all, World War II is glorious because it was to save the Jews from the Nazis, even though it wasn't that until after it was over.

These wars all involved something else that living members of the U.S. military know only from distant legends. They involved surrenders by defeated enemies. The surrenders may have been primarily to the French in one case and to the Russians in another, but they happened, and it's not hard to pretend they were surrenders of evil to goodness. In fact it's heresy to even hint at anything subtler than that.

Nobody - not even Barack Obama, who tried - has figured out how to effectively sell what they call the Korean War as a glorious victory. And so one hears very little about it. Most things that happened in the United States at the time of the Korean War are simply described as happening "after World War II." The transformation of the peace holiday Armistice Day into the war holiday Veterans Day, for example. Or the development of the permanent military industrial complex, and permanent wars, and CIA wars with nothing off limits, and nuclear threats, and deadly sanctions.

Nobody gives the Korean War era credit for all the wonderful and lasting things the United States did to itself in that period. Without the accomplishments of those days it's even possible that something could go wrong in the United States today and not be blamed on Russia. Imagine having to live in such a world.

When the Korean War is mentioned it is often mentioned purely as an occasion when the sainted Troops obeyed orders and served. Never mind served what. One must oneself be a good troop and not ask that question. Or it is depicted as a defensive war that rescued freedom from aggression. I have no doubt that more people in the United States could tell you that North Korea started the war than could tell you where Korea is on a map, what language is spoken there, or whether the United States has any troops there.

So, I think it's important that we remember a few things. The United States government divided Korea in half. The United States government imposed a brutal dictatorship on South Korea with a U.S.-educated dictator. That dictator, with U.S. complicity, massacred South Koreans. He also sought out war with North Korea and launched raids across the border prior to the official start of the war. The U.S. military dropped 30,000 tons of explosives on North Korea, much of it after pilots began complaining about the "scarcity of strategic targets" left standing. The U.S., in addition, dropped 32,000 tons of napalm on the Korean Peninsula, principally targeting civilian human beings where they lived. Still not satisfied, the United States dropped insects and feathers containing bubonic plague and other diseases in hopes of starting epidemics. A side benefit of those efforts is very probably the spread of Lyme disease, very likely spread from Plum Island off the tip of Long Island, New York. The U.S.-led war on North Korea may have killed some 20 to 30 percent of the population of the North, not to mention those in the South killed by both sides. Few Koreans in the North do not have relatives who were killed or wounded or made homeless. U.S. politics is still twisted by the U.S. Civil War of over 150 years ago, but few in the United States imagine that the Korean War of less than 70 years ago has anything to do with current North Korean behavior.

The United States has prevented the war from officially ending or the two Koreas from reuniting. It has imposed deadly sanctions on the people of the North, which have been failing spectacularly to accomplish their stated purpose for several decades. It has threatened North Korea and militarized South Korea over whose military it has maintained war-time control. North Korea negotiated a disarmament agreement with the United States in the 1990s and for the most part abided by it, but the United States did not. The United States called North Korea part of an axis of evil, destroyed one of that axis's other two members, and has threatened to destroy the third member ever since. And ever since, North Korea has said that it would re-negotiate but has built the weapons it thinks will protect it. It has said it would renegotiate if the United States will commit to not attacking it again, will stop putting missiles in South Korea, will stop flying practice nuking missions near North Korea.

That we have seen steps toward peace and reunification is remarkable, and greatly to the credit of nonviolent activists from the South and the North, with some small assistance from others around the world. Success would present a model to the world, not only of how to end a long-standing war. We've just seen a Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia for that feat. Success would present the world with a model of how to end a long-standing war that the U.S. government does not want ended. The whole world has a stake in what happens in Korea, not only because we are all brothers and sisters, and not only because the notion of a contained nuclear war is a product of dangerous ignorance, but also because the world needs examples of how to keep the peace against the will of the world's self-appointed policeman.

Because people in the United States hear almost nothing about the Korean War, they can be told that North Korea is simply evil and irrational. Because they have no idea how many people live in North Korea, they can be told that North Koreans are going to take over the United States and remove their freedoms. Because dozens of U.S. wars have been marketed as bringing human rights to people by bombing them, the U.S. public can be told that North Korea is being threatened for human rights. And because they have identified with one or the other of the two big U.S. political parties, members of the U.S. public can be outraged if Donald Trump talks peace with North Korea, far beyond their outrage when he threatens nuclear war in violation of the UN Charter and all human decency. The United States sells weapons to 73 percent of the governments that the United States calls dictatorships, and trains most of them in the use of those weapons. Surely merely speaking with a dictator is preferable to the typical U.S. relationship with dictators.

When somebody compliments Trump on his hair or whatever it is, and he swings from threatening apocalypse to proposing peace, the appropriate response is not partisan outrage, not a declaration that U.S. troops must never leave Korea, but rather relief and encouragement. And if the President of South Korea believes that giving Trump a Nobel Peace Prize would cause him to allow peace in Korea, then I'm all for it. The prize has been given out before to people who never earned it.

I think, however, that there are other means available to us to encourage peace. I think we need to shame and reform and take over and replace U.S. media outlets that cheer for war and condemn peace talks. I think we need to shame those who profit when weapons stocks soar on Wall Street because Trump threatens Armageddon, and who lose fortunes when the danger rises of peace breaking out. We need our local governments and universities and investment funds to take our money out of weapons of mass destruction.

The world, through the United Nations and otherwise, needs to demand a permanent and complete end to war rehearsals in and near South Korea. The U.S. Congress needs to restore the Iran nuclear agreement, making it a treaty, and uphold the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and comply with the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, so that the government of North Korea begins to have some basis for believing anything the U.S. government says.

The United Nations needs to cease providing cover for U.S. wars. The U.N. instructed the United States in 1975 to dissolve the so-called United Nations Command in South Korea, to take the U.N. name off a U.S. imperial enterprise. The U.S. is in violation of that resolution. The U.S. builds, tests, and threatens to use nuclear weapons far beyond what North Korea does, yet the U.N. sees fit to sanction North Korea, and not to sanction the U.S. government.

It is long since time for the world to hold the United States to the rule of law on an equal basis with every other government. It is long since time for the world to follow through on banning all nuclear weapons. I know seven people in the United States called the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 who are at risk of 25 years in prison for protesting nuclear weapons. There was a man not long ago in South Korea who burned himself to death in protest of U.S. weapons in his country. If these people can do so much, surely the rest of us can do more than we have.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill not yet agreed to by the Senate which, among other things, would support ending the Korean War, and would require that the Pentagon justify every foreign military base as somehow making the United States safer. Those two steps would allow a peace agreement in Korea and, if truly followed through on, require the closure of every golf course and chain restaurant in every mini-United-States-fortress in South Korea and around the globe, since these bases do not make the United States safer, and in many cases generate hostilities. So, we need to keep those measures in the so-called National Defense Authorization Act.

Ultimately, we need public pressure from around the world and within the United States, and through global institutions, to compel the U.S. government to plan and begin a withdrawal from Korea. This need not be an abandonment of Korea. It could be a deeper friendship with a unified or unifying Korea. I certainly manage to be friends with people who don't oversee armed occupations of my house. Such friendships may be rare and treasonous and isolationist, but I think they're possible nonetheless.

But Korea is one corner of the world. We need with some urgency to similarly advance toward an ending of wars and war preparations everywhere. That's the mission of a global organization I direct called World BEYOND War. I encourage you to go to and sign the declaration of peace there which has been signed in 175 countries. Together we can make war and the threat of war things of the past.

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Heil Trump,

Dear Geschaftsfuhrer Zuckerberg,

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 decision to allow lies in political ads, 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 "Corporate Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's Emoluments Mess
By Robert Reich

Trump reversed his decision to host next June's G-7 meeting of heads of state at Trump National Doral Miami because, he said, it would have been an impeachable offense and a violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause.

No, that's not the reason he gave. He said he reversed himself because of "Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational hostility."

In reality, Trump has been funneling government dollars into his own pockets ever since he was elected. The Doral deal was just too much even for his Republican enablers to stomach.

Since he's been president, Trump has spent almost a third of his time at one or another of his resorts or commercial properties - costing taxpayers a bundle but giving those resorts incomparable publicity.

One of his golf resorts, Turnberry in Scotland, has gotten business from U.S. Air Force crews overnighting while their planes were refueled. In September, Vice President Pence stayed there for two nights at a cost to American taxpayers of nearly $600,000 in ground transportation fees alone.

Foreign governments seeking to curry his favor routinely check their officials and lobbyists into the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Mar-a-Lago, Trump's oceanfront resort in Palm Beach, charges its foreign government visitors up to five hundred and fifty dollars a night for their rooms, according to ProPublica.

How does he get away with this?

Presidents of the United States are exempt from the federal conflict-of-interest statutes - a glaring omission that was never a problem before Trump exploited this loophole. To make matters worse, Trump has refused to put his assets into a blind trust, so he knows exactly how much he gains from these transactions.

Theoretically, the public is protected from Trump's moneymaking by the Constitution, which strictly limits the "emoluments" - that is, a payment of money or anything else of value - a president can receive.

Article II, Section 1 says a president receives a salary while in office but "shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States." Trump violates this clause every time taxpayer money finds its way into his pockets.

And then there's Article I, Section 9, which states that no federal officeholder can receive any "Emolument" from any foreign state. Trump violates this clause whenever he makes money from a foreign government.

History shows that the reason the Framers of the Constitution included these provisions wasn't just to prevent a president from being bribed. It was also to prevent the appearance of bribes, and thereby maintain public trust in the presidency.

The appearance if not reality of bribery continues to haunt Trump. For example, when he decided to withdraw U.S. troops from the Turkish-Syrian border - a move that has led to the slaughter of Kurds, and opened the way for a resurgence of ISIS - it was far from clear whether he had in mind the interest of the United States or his own business interests. Trump Towers in Istanbul Turkey is his largest European property.

Clearly, Trump continues to violate the Constitution's emoluments clauses. So how to hold him accountable? Three ways.

The first is through the federal courts. A lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia accuses Trump of violating the Constitution by holding a financial interest in the Washington hotel.

Another brought be several plaintiffs allege that Trump's businesses pose unfair competition.

A third lawsuit by 215 Democratic members of Congress seeks "the opportunity to cast a binding vote" on the issue, since the Constitution requires the president to obtain "the consent of Congress" before accepting any emolument.

But all these cases are moving through the courts at a slow pace-probably too slowly to stop Trump from lining his pockets this term of office.

The second way to hold Trump accountable is through impeachment, which has already begun in the House.

Trump's violation of the emoluments clause should be added to the likely grounds for impeachment already being investigated - seeking the help of a foreign power in an election, and obstruction of justice.

The third and most important way to hold Trump accountable occurs November 3, 2020.

That's when the American public can stop Trump from making money off his presidency by voting him out of office.

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

A Tourist In Syria -- And Dallas...
By Jane Stillwater

What's on my bucket list right now? To die in Tibet. To visit the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. To find out who really shot JFK. Murder mysteries? Tourism? I've got a lot to say about that! Give me a second here to organize my thoughts.

1. The same people who murdered President Kennedy are the same people who tried to murder President Assad of Syria -- and who also murdered Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. And the same people who will eventually murder you and me too. No mystery there.

2., I'm currently reading one of Eliot Pattison's excellent murder mysteries that take place in Tibet, and he makes that rugged land and those rugged people so appealing that all I want to do is move there for the rest of my life.

3. I just finished writing my own murder mystery -- and it takes place in Tibet too. It's not as good as Pattison's books but writing it was totally fun. Traveling Well is the Best Revenge. Buy it and see!

4. Ah, Syria! I miss it already. All those fabulous historical sites. Did you know that before Syria was ruthlessly invaded by America and its allies al Qaeda and ISIS, the tourist industry in Syria scored at least eight-point-four billion dollars in income per year. But.

Now that Syria is back to belonging to its own residents again and its torrid home-invasion tragedy is finally almost over, my true bucket-list dream is to go buy a suitcase, Hawaiian shirt and tacky sunglasses, fly off to Damascus and put the Syrian tourist route back on the map! Ancient Aleppo! Palmyra! The Roman amphitheater at Bosra! "The Krak de Chevaliers is a Crusader castle dating back to the 10th century." There are currently six (6) UNESCO sites in Syria right now and six more being vetted. I wanna go there! Put me in charge of Syrian tourism! Please.

5. And as for Dallas, I'll be going there next week -- to attend BoucherCon, a famous gathering of murder-mystery readers and writers from all over the world. If anyone can name names and point fingers at who specifically murdered JFK in Dallas, it would be us. But there's certainly no mystery regarding who caused that fierce tornado in North Dallas recently -- the same people who murdered President Kennedy and tried to murder President Assad. The same people who are bringing us the climate catastrophe. Those war-mongering petroleum whores. To be blunt.

What's on your bucket list?

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Rob Rogers ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Trump Offers Freed ISIS Fighters A Group Rate At Trump Doral Resort
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Calling it a "once-in-a-lifetime incredible deal," Donald Trump on Friday offered recently-escaped isis fighters a group rate at the Trump National Doral Miami.

"I am giving isis a group rate that entitles them to the full run of the golf course, the spa, you name it," he said. "This is going to make the isis people very, very happy."

The fighters can qualify for the group rate by presenting proof of isis membership and their recently freed status, Trump said.

Trump declined to say whether he would extend the same group rate to Kurdish fighters in Syria. "I'm not a fan of the Kurds," he said. "Where were the Kurds in 1776 when George Washington took control of the British airports?"

Shortly after Trump made the offer to isis, however, the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, issued a lukewarm response.

"We've read some not-so-great things about the Doral on TripAdvisor," Baghdadi said. "If we wanted to go to a golf resort, we'd pick one that doesn't have bedbugs."

(c) 2019 Andy Borowitz

The Gross National Debt

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 42 (c) 11/01/2019

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