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In This Edition

Matt Taibbi wonders, "Is It Fair to Blame Trumpism For These Latest Explosive Devices?"

Thom Hartmann returns with, "It's A Right-Wing Cover-Up: Trump Was A Big Inspiration For The Synagogue Slaughter In Pittsburgh."

Glen Ford reports, "Fascism is Real, But the "Resistance" Is Mostly Fake."

Pepe Escobar watches the, "Summit In Istanbul As Ramifications Of The Khashoggi Debacle Roll On."

Jim Hightower is, "Empowering The People."

John Nichols declares, "Birthright Citizenship Is In The Constitution."

James Donahue explains, "How The Celtic Holiday Samhain Became Halloween."

William Rivers Pitt considers, "Broad-Daylight Fascism And The Bombs Of October."

Heather Digby Parton finds Trump, "Dumbass In Chief."

David Suzuki asks, "Are Governments Giving Up On Global Warming?"

Charles P. Pierce says, "The Troops Don't Deserve This."

David Swanson is, "Regulating Apocalypse."

Jane Stillwater relives her, "Commuter Nightmare."

The NRA wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explores, "The American Social Contract."

Chris Hedges with a must read, "The Cult Of Trump."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion says, "Nation's Fact-Checkers Confirm They'll Probably Wrap Up Evaluating Trump's Statements By 2050 At Latest" but first Uncle Ernie examines, "tRump's Love Affair With Nationalists."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Kirk Walters, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Jeenah Moon, Al Drago, Sue Fishkoff, Drew Angerer, Gary Williams, Spencer Platt, The New York Times, 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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tRump's Love Affair With Nationalists
By Ernest Stewart

"You know what a globalist is, right? A globalist is a person who wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much. You know what? I'm a nationalist." ~~~ Donald tRump

"Clearly, any further development of cryptocurrencies should critically aim to reduce electricity demand, if the potentially devastating consequences of 2C of global warming are to be avoided,." ~~~ Camilo Mora

"This is a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms. The 14th Amendment's citizenship guarantee is clear. You can't erase the Constitution with an executive order." ~~~ ACLU

"Give, but give until it hurts." ~~~ Mother Teresa

So tRump's a "nationalist," eh? You may recall other infamous nationalists, many of whom tRump adores. For example, Adolf Hitler a man whose book of quotes is kept close to tRumps bed as he likes to read them at night while he's not squatting and tweeting! Another one that beloved leader likes is Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini who many feel tRump apes even more than Hitler. Then there's another man that he admires too, Hideki Tojo! You may recall Tojo ordered the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Let's all sing, "America Uber Alles!"

Some current nationalists that tRump admires is the head of China, Premier Xi Jinping of whom tRump has said, "It is 'great' that the Chinese premier has paved the way to become president for life. maybe we'll have to give that a shot, some day!" I'm going to repeat that again, for those of you, on drugs:

tRump wants to be dictator for life!

Of course, you all know about tRumps love affair with Kim Jong Un another nationalist! Can anyone see a pattern being to form or is it just me? tRumps love affair with nationalists extends to Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and newspaper reporter murderer, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. Talk about a rouges gallery of monsters and these are people tRump admires and wants to be like. Yes, America, we're soooo screwed!

In Other News

Have you seen the new new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change finds that if Bitcoin is implemented at similar rates at which other technologies have been incorporated, it alone could produce enough emissions to raise global temperatures by 2 degrees C as soon as 2033. If this is true then we are truly doomed!

Randi Rollins, a master's student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and coauthor of the paper said, "Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency with heavy hardware requirements, and this obviously translates into large electricity demands."

Purchasing with bitcoins and several other cryptocurrencies, which are forms of currency that exist digitally through encryption, "requires large amounts of electricity. Bitcoin purchases create transactions that are recorded and processed by a group of individuals referred to as miners. Miners group every Bitcoin transaction made during a specific timeframe into a block. Blocks are then added to the chain, which is the public ledger. The verification process by miners, who compete to decipher a computationally demanding proof-of-work in exchange for bitcoins, requires large amounts of electricity."

The electricity requirements of Bitcoin have created considerable difficulties, and extensive online discussion, about where to put the facilities or rings that compute the proof-of-work of Bitcoin. As you can imagine, a somewhat less discussed issue is the environmental impacts of producing all that electricity.

A team of UH Manoa researchers analyzed information such as the power efficiency of computers used by Bitcoin mining, the geographic location of the miners who likely computed the Bitcoin, and the CO2 emissions of producing electricity in those countries. Based on the data, the researchers estimated that the use of bitcoins in the year 2017 emitted 69 million metric tons of CO2.

Researchers also studied how other technologies have been adopted by society, and created scenarios to estimate the cumulative emissions of Bitcoin should it grow at the rate that other technologies have been incorporated.

The team found that if Bitcoin is incorporated, even at the slowest rate at which other technologies have been incorporated, its cumulative emissions will be enough to warm the planet above 2 degrees C in just 22 years. If incorporated at the average rate of other technologies, it is closer to 16 years.

Critics of this report point to "how difficult it is to calculate power usage because of how dispersed the Bitcoin network is. They also point to the IT sector's efforts in reducing its footprint. It's not the case that energy consumption will remain fixed over the next hundred years."

Of course, when compared to coal, gasoline & oil, and natural gas use it's a drop in the bucket. As bad as these things are at least there is a practical use for them, I can't say the same for Bitcoin!

And Finally

I see where tRump thinks he has the ability to overturn the Bill of Rights especially the 14th amendment by an executive order. As you can see his grasp of reality is very fragile indeed! You may recall the 14th Amendment clearly states in it's first section:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The 14th Amendment was passed by Congress in 1866 during the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War. It was ratified in 1868 by three-fourths of the states. By extending citizenship to those born in the U.S., the amendment nullified an 1857 Supreme Court decision (Dred Scott v. Sandford), which ruled that those descended from slaves could not be citizens.

Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants' Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union in New York, said Tuesday that the Constitution is very clear.

"If you are born in the United States, you're a citizen, it's outrageous that the president can think he can override constitutional guarantees by issuing an executive order."

Jadwat said the president has an obligation to uphold the Constitution. Trump can try to get Congress to pass a constitutional amendment, "but I don't think they are anywhere close to getting that."

tRump should be careful as "momie dearest" wasn't really a citizen when she came here illegally and he might find himself and the whole Crime Family tRump sent across the border to Juarez. Yes, that "instant Karma" thing can be a real bitch!

Keepin' On

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

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

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


12-08-1950 ~ 10-29-2018
Thanks for the music!


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

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

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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Police investigators gather around a bomb squad truck outside the Time Warner Center in New York
after the discovery of an explosive device at the CNN offices on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018

Is It Fair to Blame Trumpism For These Latest Explosive Devices?
This history of terror reporting says to wait a day or two before the facts come out
By Matt Taibbi

Explosive devices and/or suspicious packages were sent to a number of major Democratic Party-linked figures this week, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, philanthropist and financier George Soros, former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and former CIA chief John Brennan.

The offices of the San Diego Union-Tribune were also evacuated after "suspicious packages" were found, and a device was removed from the Time Warner center in Manhattan, home to CNN.

Early news stories drew immediate connections to aggressive and irresponsible rhetoric from the right, including from President Trump. The Guardian noted that Soros has long been the target of right-wing paranoia, with Trump claiming Soros paid protesters against the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The New York Times story about the incidents was quick to draw a similar connection:

Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Soros and CNN have all figured prominently in conservative political attacks - many of which have been led by President Trump. He has often referred to major news organizations as "the enemy of the people," and has had a particular animus for CNN.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo - who also received a suspicious package that was quickly deemed "safe" by police - was asked if he had a message for Donald Trump.

"Bring down the heat. I want to bring down the rancor. There is an apparent political pattern to this," he said.

I have no love for Trump, his disgraceful rhetoric, or the blatantly anti-Semitic attacks against the likes of Soros. And no sane person can have anything but contempt for the kind of incitement of violence that has become routine online (witness Bill McKibben's story about anti-environmentalists calling for someone to dig up his address and bring "civil disobedience" to his home). Even without these bomb incidents, this should all be denounced in the strongest terms.

But if there's one thing history tells us about terrorism, it's that these stories often end up having very different narratives than what is first suspected in the heat of the moment. Facts that later emerge often leave us in a completely different place than we'd have expected.

Because of the 24-hour news cycle and our addiction to second-to-second updates from reporters, celebrities and politicians alike on social media, it's almost impossible not to speculate and point fingers right after we hear scary news. This is a form of journalistic malpractice that has gone sideways on more than a few of us in the business over the years.

The worst case was the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, in which reports after the attack said police were seeking two men of "Middle Eastern" appearance for questioning. The New York Times noted the bombing had taken place on the anniversary of Federal agents' assault on Waco.

But unnamed officials told them domestic right-wing groups lacked "the technical expertise to engage in bombings like the one today," and the paper speculated at length about Muslim connections.

CBS after the OKC bombing quoted a terrorism expert" who said the apparent intent to inflict as many casualties as possible was a "Middle Eastern trait." Columnist Cal Thomas pointed the finger at immigrants. Georgie Ann Geyer said the attack had the "earmark of the Islamic car-bombers of the Middle East."

Rampant speculation led to more threats and misbehavior, with Muslims around the country called baby-killers and worse. The furor didn't end until Janet Reno announced the attacks appeared "domestic in nature," and the arrest of Timothy McVeigh taught us to look inward when terror attacks take place.

When TWA flight 800 blew up over the Long Island Sound a year later, the Times reported that investigators were focused on "terrorism" and speculated the Boeing 747 could have been detonated by a Stinger missile, "such as the mujahidin used in Afghanistan." But that case remains unsolved.

Ten days after the TWA crash, a pipe bomb went off at the Atlanta Olympics. This led to rampant speculation that the guard who found the bomb, Richard Jewell, had planted the explosive himself.

Jewell became the focus of intense coverage by CNN, NBC, the New York Post and countless other outlets. A former Army explosives expert named Eric Rudolph was ultimately convicted of the crime, along with several abortion clinic bombings. Ironically, decades later, Sean Spicer seemed to blame the bombings on Islamic terrorists.

Social media has sped up rushes to judgment. After the Boston Marathon bombings, Reddit investigators pointed the finger at a (deceased, as it turned out) Brown University student named Sunil Tripathi. The New York Post under the headline BAG MEN put two other Middle Easterners on the front page, after their names and photos had circulated in online discussions.

More recently, an African-American gun-rights advocate named Mark Hughes became the subject of a public furor after a Dallas police Twitter account fingered him as a suspect in the sniper killings of five police officers.

If you're thinking the lesson in all these incidents is just to skip past the foreign suspects and go straight for the homegrown, flag-waving right-wing patriot, well, that doesn't always work out, either.

The infamous Anthrax letters sent in the wake of 9/11 to press outlets and a pair of Democratic Senators caused 17 to fall ill, and five to die. They were written to sound like they came from Islamic terrorists.

Domestic sleuths quickly decided the letters were a pose and shifted their focus to a former Army doctor named Steven Hatfill. Hatfill was a flamboyantly patriotic type who regaled acquaintances with stories of battling communists in youthful trips to then-Rhodesia (Zimbabwe today).

Members of the US Marine Corps Chemical/Biological Incident Response Force get ready to enter the
Longworth House building to sweep for Anthrax. The Longworth Office Building houses members of the US Congress.

In a column for the Times, Nicholas Kristof, calling Hatfill "Mr. Z," said that if he "were an Arab national, he would have been imprisoned long ago." He then went on to speculate that "Mr. Z" was not only guilty of murder, but genocide. Addressing the FBI in the apostrophic column, he wrote:
Have you examined whether Mr. Z has connections to the biggest anthrax outbreak among humans ever recorded, the one that sickened more than 10,000 black farmers in Zimbabwe in 1978-80? There is evidence that the anthrax was released by the white Rhodesian Army fighting against black guerrillas, and Mr. Z has claimed that he participated in the white army's much-feared Selous Scouts...
Hatfill, it seems, was innocent. As the Atlantic later pointed out:
Kristof didn't mention that the majority of soldiers in the Rhodesian army, and in Hatfill's unit, were black; or that many well-respected scientists who examined the evidence concluded that the Rhodesian anthrax outbreak emerged naturally when cattle herds went unvaccinated...
A huge problem with terror stories is that journalists are rushed for scoops and often take short cuts they otherwise wouldn't. An infamous case involved Channel 4 in England, which relied on one source to identify the culprit in the Westminster terror attack. The man turned out to be in prison at the time of the incident.

Worse, a lot of TV programs have national security consultants who are paid specifically to speculate before facts are in, in cases just like this. Same with analysts from think tanks, whose job at least partly is to sit at desks, waiting to supply calling reporters with quotes. This is how you'll get wildly divergent guesses about how terror incidents have "fingerprints" that "point to" this or that group, even before there's a suspect or any kind of evidence.

Just as bad is the penchant for non-press actors these days to engage in phony terror attacks in order to get eyeballs and clicks. We've seen a YouTuber pretend to throw acid at people in England, trying to surf on real fears about a real rise in acid attacks in Britain. There's a whole genre of staged "terror" attacks online.


There's no question that our current climate of vicious political rhetoric is out of hand, and that our president is significantly responsible. In the early stages of Trump's campaign in the summer of 2015, a pair of jackasses beat up a Hispanic homeless man in Boston. One of them was heard saying upon arrest, "Donald Trump was right, all of these illegals need to be deported."

Trump's infamous response - that his supporters are "very passionate" - told us even then what he was all about.

But in something on the scale of what's happening this week, waiting a day or two to freak out makes sense. History tells us perpetrators of such atrocities often count on media overreactions and stumbles.

Moreover, unless this turns out to be some wannabe Internet celebrity's unfunniest-ever idea of a Punk'd stunt - in which case said person should be dropped down to the bottom of the deepest salt mine we have - this series of incidents will certainly result in calls for sweeping political change. Something this upsetting will likely inspire radical security proposals that may alter all our futures on a fundamental level. Given that, let's at least know exactly what we're dealing with before the next round of our increasingly savage national argument commences.

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

A vigil at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California to remember the victims of a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Oct. 27, 2018

It's A Right-Wing Cover-Up: Trump Was A Big Inspiration For The Synagogue Slaughter In Pittsburgh
We can't let them conceal the motive for the killings, which lead back to Trump
By Thom Hartmann

It's already started. They're messaging, texting, tweeting, and even calling into my radio/TV show. Breitbart is even bragging that they got it on CNN.

"This killing in Pittsburgh has nothing to do with Donald Trump. He's not an anti-Semite; his daughter converted to Judaism and his grandkids are Jews! How can you blame him for the 'mentally ill' guy [a phrase used to describe terrorists only when they're white]?"

But the shooter, by his own words-words that are almost entirely missing from most TV coverage-acted because of what both Trump and Newt Gingrich have said was the main election-year message of Trump and the entire Republican Party: Immigration by people of color.

As the terrorist himself posted on social media just a few hours before he walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh with an AR-15, he was going to kill members of a congregation that supported the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS).

HIAS (whose slogan is "Welcome the stranger; Protect the refugee") had designated October 19 and 20 of this year as the "National Refugee Shabbat" and when they did so, the terrorist posted on a right-wing social media site, "Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided."

HIAS was founded in New York in 1881 to help resettle Jewish refugees, but in recent years has moved many of its efforts toward other refugees, including people from Africa, the Americas, and people who practice Islam. As HIAS's president, Mark Hetfield, told the New York Times, "We used to welcome refugees because they were Jewish. Today HIAS welcomes refugees because we are Jewish."

Dark skin and "Muslim" are triggers for bigots like the cowardly terrorist and his buddies on social media. In another post, presumably referencing HIAS, he wrote, "Open you [sic] Eyes! It's the filthy evil jews [sic] Bringing the Filthy evil Muslims into the Country!!"

HIAS used to have a link on its website to the 270 congregations in 32 states that were participating in the work to bring refugees into the United States (and elsewhere), although that link now just points back to their homepage (perhaps because the event is over, or maybe because of the terrorist's threat).

Noting the terrorist's pointing out that link to the congregations, which included Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, the Times of Israel reported, "To mark the organization's personal involvement, at the back of the hall, information on volunteer opportunities in the refugee and immigration committees of participating synagogues and HIAS materials were available for attendees to take home, including a bookmark with the words 'My People Were Refugees Too.'"

Apparently this festered with the terrorist, because just a few hours before he walked past those brochures and started murdering people at Tree of Life, he posted to a right-wing social media site, "HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."

And in he went, guns blazing.

So, Trump and Gingrich and Fox are giving all-day, all-the-time coverage to a ragtag band of Central American refugees, mostly women and children, who are traveling together on foot for their own mutual safety, lying that there are Arab terrorists and evil gang members among them. This white American terrorist gets increasingly agitated by it all, freaked out that more people of color (or even Muslims!) might be coming to our border to legally apply to asylum, and decides it's time to take out one of the groups associated with HIAS, who is helping refugees.

It's a straight line-through Fox and right-wing hate radio-from Trump's rhetoric about immigrants to the terrorist himself.

Certainly this terrorist had a history of hating Jews; he had repeatedly posted on one of his snowflake "safe places" for haters, "Kill all the Jews!" and "There is no MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation."

But this wasn't entirely an anti-Semitic attack, by the attacker's own words.

A few days after another white terrorist "history of mental illness," said the media) with Trump and Fox graphics and slogans all over his van attempted the largest political assassination in U.S. history, we now have the single most lethal attack on Jews in this country's history-in part because their synagogue supported helping immigrants coming into America.

And all of it being amped up, day after day, over and over again, by Trump.

This aspect of xenophobic immigrant-hating, along with the insanity of the U.S. allowing AR-15s and other weapons of war on our streets, must be discussed along with the horrors of anti-Semitism.

This is all one package brought to us by Trump, and it's beginning to eerily resemble a previous insecure man with little hands, single testicle, and a big mouth in the 1930s who warned his people about both immigrants and Jews.

We all know how well that turned out for Germany and the world.
(c) 2018 Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show.

Fascism is Real, But the "Resistance" Is Mostly Fake
By Glenn Ford

Fascism is always a danger under capitalism, with its frequent crises and endemic white supremacy, but the phony "resistance" is only concerned about electing Democrats.

With last weekend's election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, white men's parties now lead governments that preside over the two largest concentrations of Black people outside Africa. Both Bolsonaro and Donald Trump are widely described as fascists -- which is correct. But it does not follow that everyone who calls such men "fascists" is a friend of Black and other oppressed people and, therefore, worthy allies in a "united front" of "resistance."

Who are the fascists, and where do they come from? More precisely, what are they defending?

It is generally understood among the Left that fascists are the political products of capitalism in crisis, reactionaries that promise to restore order by purging the society of unwanted peoples and ideologies. Their targets depend on the particularities of the society in crisis: in Germany, it was the Jews and the Bolsheviks, enemies that Hitler conflated as one and the same. In the post-Reconstruction southern region of the United States, whites imposed the world's first totally racially regimented society, one that would serve as a model and inspiration for emerging fascists for generations to come. The Jim Crow order was heralded as a new day for the white working man, who would no longer have to compete with Black labor -- enslaved or free -- but instead join in the profits (and priceless white social and political privilege) from Black people's super-exploitation.

In Latin America, a native-born white elite lorded it over the surviving descendants of the original inhabitants and the millions of slaves imported to the "New World" by European colonialists -- especially to the colossus, Brazil. Although the post-slavery racial order was never as regimented as in the U.S. -- indeed, racial ambiguity was encouraged among the dark lower classes, to keep them divided -- the people at the top always knew they were "white" (Portuguese), and defended the racial hierarchy with horrific force, when necessary.

The New World and the old were united by globalizing capital as most of the planet was divided between the western European powers, with the fiercely racist U.S. unilaterally declaring a kind of sovereignty (Monroe Doctrine) over the south of the hemisphere, a region where the racial pedigrees of even the elites were suspect to North American eyes -- "mongrels," the white southern politicians called them.

At the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 the industrial capitalist powers divided the world among themselves, with their respective colonial empires reserved for the "home" country's super-exploitation -- globalization made formal. The newly unified German state stepped forward to claim its rightful portion of the spoils -- its White Right. In 1898, the United States, which had been represented in Berlin, seized Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines to become a full-fledged imperial power. Not long afterward, President Teddy Roosevelt sailed his "Great White Fleet " around the world to show that the U.S. was not only a great power, but a major defender of white "civilization."

The U.S. claimed to be late to the colonial game, but had in fact been catapulted to major economic power status on the backs of its super-exploited internal colony of slaves, whose bodies were mortgaged to securities traded throughout the developed capitalist world, as were the deeds to the fields they toiled.

Brazil was the last Latin American country to abolish slavery, in 1888. The elite tried to overwhelm the freed men and women with white immigrants, importing between 70,000 and 80,000 newcomers each year from 1870 to 1930, mainly Portuguese and Italians. Much of the same attempts at whitening the population occurred elsewhere in Latin America, as elites tried frantically to certify their membership in the global white club.

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, an arch racist who segregated the federal civil service and praised the Klan-loving film "Birth of a Nation" as "writing history with lightning,"

sought to perfect the post-World War One international order by backing formation of a League of Nations. But Wilson's rhetoric on people's rights to "self-determination" was meant for white people only. Wilson gave no encouragement to the colonized people of Africa, Asia and the Americas; instead, he invaded and occupied Haiti and the Dominican Republic -- as was his right, as leader of a Great White Nation.

This global white ruling structure was built on a doctrine of white supremacy - or, as Marxists correctly maintain, the ideology of white supremacy evolved to justify the crimes of the western European colonizers and settlers against the rest of the world. Either way, that ideology was supreme on the planet -- a mature world system -- when fascists started calling themselves by that name, most notably in post-World War One Italy and Germany. Mussolini and Hitler wanted nothing less for their nations than what Britain and France had long enjoyed: a free hand in subjugating the "lesser races" of the world -- a white privilege that the U.S. had arrogated to itself, internally, and against its neighbors, at whim.

In a sense, the western Europeans and their settler states had forged an ideology of white "exceptionalism" over the centuries since the piratical European breakout of 1492. The Haitian Revolution of 1804 was a challenge to the white world order of a magnitude that would not be exceeded until 1917, with the Russian revolutionary declaration of the rights of all peoples to "free self-determination, including secession and formation of a separate state." The Soviet stance was seen as a declaration of war, not just on capitalism, but on white people's "exceptional" right to supremacy over darker peoples -- a revolutionary idea whose time would not come for most of the colonized peoples of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean for two generations.

Fascism would consume Europe, as Hitler pursued his super-white Aryan nation dream, a genocidal ambition derived directly from the centuries-long planetary colonization project of Britain, France, the Dutch, Spain, Portugal and other globe-trotting thieves.

White supremacy is deeply embedded in Euro-settler culture. It provides an implicit, if not explicit, explanation for Euro-American dominance in the world, and an excuse for the tens of millions slaughtered in reaching that zenith. The histories of Euro-American world conquest and capitalism are entwined -- that is, the history of capitalism begins in the holds of slave ships. It is impossible to separate these historical developments.

It is also near impossible to isolate "fascists" as if they are some peculiar and discreet strain of "ism." They are able to garner mass followings when the prevailing order is threatened -- and in the Euro-American world (including, of course, Latin America), that order is inherently white supremacist and capitalist.

Fascists always win power with the assent of strong sections of the ruling class, since those are the social forces that have the biggest stake in the old order. Such was the case with Hitler, Mussolini and, yes, Trump and Bolsonaro. Therefore, the question is not, What do we do about the miscreants Trump and Bolsonaro, but, How do we defeat this system -- the rule of capital, buttressed and justified by white supremacy -- and those elements of the ruling class and their minions that have empowered these ugly fascists? That means Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. and a host of political parties and business enterprises in Brazil. It means indicting the oligarchs at the top of late stage global capitalism and their protector, U.S. imperialism, which confronts growing resistance, worldwide.

Washington began intervening to get rid of the Workers Party government in Brazil, years ago. In other words, the U.S. government was fomenting fascism in Brazil (again) long before Trump got his hands on the levers of power. Bolsonaro and Trump did not march into their capital cities at the head of goose-stepping mobs, overrunning the old order. They came to save the old order -- or, at least, to salvage the white supremacist aspects of it, which is what their grassroots followers care about. The entire ruling class was rewarded with trillions in tax breaks and deregulation, once Trump was in office. All of the capitalist vultures in Brazil can expect the same -- while the nation's Black population braces for a reign of police and military terror, with leftists pushed underground or disappeared.

I have no problem labeling Trump a fascist, and Bolsonaro appears to have no problem being called one. My problem is with a phony "resistance" that defines fascism so narrowly that it applies, domestically, only to Donald Trump and his most crazed followers. For Democrats, the fascist label is mere political epithet, a demon-word hurled for election purposes. Even self-styled "progressive" Democrats will not break with a lawless U.S. "exceptionalism" that has killed upwards of 15 million people around the globe since World War Two -- six million in the Congo, alone, which makes Uncle Sam (Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Trump) a bipartisan mass genocidal murderer on a par with Belgian King Leopold. Except that Leopold confined his genocides mainly to the Congo, while the U.S. superpower lays waste to non-white peoples worldwide.

During the whole colonial period, most of the Left in Europe treated Black, brown and yellow lives as if they didn't matter, all the while claiming to be the vanguard of humanity's struggle for dignity. Then the mass murdering monster that had been marauding the darker world for centuries, fattening Europe, turned inward to eat Europe alive. Fascism was perceived as a new and singular evil, rather than the logical outcome of capitalism+white supremacy.

In the wake of World War Two, Aime Cesaire, the poet and politician from Martinique, explained that Europe had incubated fascism in its colonies, where millions perished and whole cultures vanished for the sake of capital accumulation. He argued "that they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimized it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it, and that before engulfing the whole of Western, Christian civilization in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack."

In the postwar U.S., white people couldn't recognize a fascist without his uniform - which is understandable, since much of the white population were themselves fascist, in that they endorsed a police state and enforced political and social subordination for Black people at home, and supported wars to suppress non-whites' right to self-determination, abroad. The Black liberation movement of the Sixties provoked a fascist white general response: Black mass incarceration, a system that "oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack," enmeshing millions of whites in the carceral state as collateral damage in the unceasing war on Blacks. The biggest incarceration state in the world must be, by definition, the world's biggest police state. If there is a fascist regime on the planet, this must be it -- otherwise, the only conclusion is that Black Americans are congenitally criminal, and deserve to be the most imprisoned people on earth.

(In fact, Native Americans, Maoris in New Zealand, and Roma in eastern Europe are locked up in proportions that rival Black U.S. incarceration -- as are Blacks in the UK, it has been argued. But this only confirms that white supremacy is an incubator of fascism, worldwide.)

So, where have all the anti-fascists been hiding, the last 50 years, as Black America was methodically tortured, destabilized and dismembered by the State? Did they cry "fascist" when Barack Obama broke all records in deporting undocumented people? Of course not -- no fascism there. They denounce Trump's anti-Muslim tirades, but did they mobilize an anti-war movement to halt Obama's proxy jihadist war against Syria that has left half a million dead? No, instead they applaud Trump when he bombs Syria and condemn Russia for defending a sovereign state from unprovoked attack by the U.S. and its allies. Do they care about international law? Never heard of it. They are not upset that the U.S. spent $5 billion to overthrow an elected government and install actual Nazis in power in Ukraine -- after which Hillary Clinton had the nerve to call Putin "Hitler." No, the "resistance" is mad at the Russians for...everything.

Is it disturbing to the "resistance" that Colombia, a CIA-nurtured narco-regime that is the most dangerous place in the world to be a union or peasant organizer, and where millions of Black and indigenous people have been displaced to fatten the profits of U.S. corporations, is about to join NATO? Truth be told, are they really angry about Bolsonaro getting elected in Brazil, except as a talking point to hammer Trump?

Any real resistance to fascism would defend freedom of speech and seek to broaden, rather than further restrict, popular access to media of all kinds. But much of the "resistance" cheers Facebook and Google censorship of material that might "sow division" in U.S. society -- including Black Agenda Report -- as if conformity with imperialism and institutional white supremacy is a bulwark against fascism.

We at BAR are always ready to join with genuine anti-fascists. But, outside of Black America, which endured the world's first fascist regime in the Jim Crow South, and continues to suffer under fascism's second, mass Black carceral incarnation, real anti-fascists are hard to find in the United States. The historical Black consensus on peace and social justice is constantly undermined by the pervasive presence in our communities of the Democratic Party, acting as an agent of its corporate masters. Under the Party's money-drenched influence, 80 percent of the Congressional Black Caucus voted in 2014 to continue the infamous 1033 Pentagon program that funnels military weaponry, gear and training to local police. And earlier this year, three quarters of the Black lawmakers in the U.S. House supported a bill that made police a protected class. Attacks on cops are to be treated as hate crimes.

Self-determination and socialism are the antidotes to fascism, a social pathology born in the bowels of white supremacist capitalism -- the only kind of capitalism that exists in the "West." (We'll find out what those Chinese capitalist-roaders are cooking up, in time, but U.S. imperialism is the main danger to humanity in this epoch.) These two topics are always on the agenda at the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, which holds its annual march on the White House and national conference, this weekend.

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

The slaying of Jamal Khashoggi has rocked the House of Saud and questions are still being asked about factors behind the incident and how it will affect the Middle East.

Summit In Istanbul As Ramifications Of The Khashoggi Debacle Roll On
The Russia-Turkey-Germany-France summit in Istanbul suggests that Russia is in control of Syria's future; meanwhile, consequences of the brutal slaying continue to rock the House of Saud
By Pepe Escobar

The Russia-Turkey-Germany-France summit in Istanbul today (October 27) is an extraordinary affair. The Kremlin has been deploying a wily strategy, downplaying the summit as just "comparing notes", and not a breakthrough. Yet Istanbul is a de facto breakthrough in itself - on superimposed layers. It signals the top two EU powers acquiescing that Russia is in control of Syria's future. It confers extra legitimacy to the Astana format (Russia, Turkey, Iran) on Syria, as well as adding new meaning to the efficacy of a quad.

The nominal Quad (US, Japan, India and Australia) is essentially a mechanism of Chinese containment already showing signs of derailment. In contrast, there's a Eurasian Quad that will be discussing not only the geopolitical chessboard in wider southwest Asia but also the supreme trans-Atlantic dilemma: how to deal with Washington's sanction obsession.

Istanbul, of course, won't "solve" the tragedy in Syria. President Putin is carefully maneuvering around President Erdogan's neo-Ottoman ambitions while the EU pair is not exactly in a strong negotiating position.

Putin has already appeased Saudi Arabia, and that's no mean feat. No more funding and weaponizing of any forms of Salafi-jihadism in Syria. The Arab League - with no Saudi objections - is even embarking on normalizing relations with Damascus.

Imran Khan seeking resolution for Yemen

Riyadh is now part of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which will in fact be "renamed as the Russian-Chinese-Saudi Fund", as revealed by its director, Kirill Dmitriev, at the Future Investment Initiative, or "Davos in the Desert". The fund was originally set up in 2012 by RDIF and China Investment Corporation (CIS) to turbo-charge bilateral economic cooperation between Moscow and Beijing.

Davos in the Desert, by the way, yielded a bombshell that was virtually ignored by the 24/7 news-cycle dementia. Prime Minister Imran Khan, fresh from receiving a much-needed Saudi cash injection to his nation's economy, revealed that Pakistan is mediating a resolution for the tragedy in Yemen between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Geopolitically, Moscow and Beijing - as well as Tehran - have kept a thunderous, strategic silence on the Pulp Fiction saga at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which is pregnant with ramifications. In parallel, unlike US businessmen, Russian and Chinese executives duly attended Davos in the Desert.

And then, just out of the blue, the grisly Khashoggi story that kept the global news cycle hostage for three weeks simply vanished from the front pages, displaced by the US pipe bomb "suspicious package" mail campaign.

Bone Saw conundrum

Still, the Quad in Istanbul is directly linked to Pulp Fiction in Istanbul. After Erdogan masterfully played Death by a Thousand Leaks - and on top of it determined full Saudi responsibility for the killing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi - by now it's clear that a deal has virtually been struck with the House of Saud. The Chinese torture of leak after leak, deployed by Turkish media, magically vanished.

King Salman, Alzheimer's or not, had to send an ultra-high level emissary, Prince Khalid al-Faisal, the governor of Mecca and Medina, to Ankara for some heavy bargaining. Terms remain hazy: a heavily rumored $5 billion - or as much as $30 billion - Saudi investment package in Turkey may be part of it, as well as the end of the Saudi and UAE blockade of Qatar. Additionally, it's no accident the Trump administration suddenly backtracked and decided not to cut Iran off SWIFT.

And then there's Syria. Erdogan has prevailed on his demand that the House of Saud must cease for good weaponizing an array of Salafi-jihadi outfits - in parallel to Washington ending its collaboration with Syrian Kurds.

Erdogan is, geopolitically, sitting at the top of the world, at least his world. The gruesome audio-video soundtrack of the killing of Khashoggi - crucially examined by CIA head Gina Haspel in her whirlwind return flight - offers unbounded leverage.

No deal could possibly be clinched without direct Trump administration involvement. King Salman simply cannot afford to let his son Mohammed bin Salman (MBS, or Mohammed Bone Saw, as cynics prefer), fall. Neither can Trump, as MBS is the cornerstone of his Middle East strategy.

Prince Turki bin Faisal, a former close pal of Osama bin Laden, former head of Saudi intel and former sponsor of Jamal Khashoggi, maintains that whatever happens the House of Saud will rally behind MBS.

That may not be the case, according to a Western business source very close to the House of Saud, who told Asia Times, "the CIA never wanted MBS but Mohammed bin Nayef. He is still under house arrest and that was King Salman's fatal mistake. Mohammed bin Nayef is wise and against terrorism. He should be the next King and that may not be far away. MBS made a fatal mistake in arresting the sons of King Abdullah such as Mutaib. He has lost the National Guard, the clergy, the royal family and the military through the Yemen misadventure."

In all plausible scenarios the House of Saud is rotting from the inside. Erdogan-aligned Turkish media, incidentally, now is going no holds barred: it's the whole House of Saud that's gotta go.

Still, a US Deep State preference for Nayef over MBS presupposes nothing drastic should happen to the petrodollar. The question is how to tame the array of Saudi billionaire princes - some of them former, royally extorted "guests" at the Ritz-Carlton jail - who will double down on getting rid of MBS by any means necessary.

Salman does Russia-China

Major loose ends are not tied up - yet. As Alastair Crooke argues no one knows whether Erdogan will ever be able to extricate the Trump administration from relying on the Saudis and the Emiratis and instead support the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood model.

Some have claimed that the CIA knew MBS intel goons were planning to kidnap Khashoggi, but never warned the Washington Post writer.

Which brings us to Erdogan's chief aide Yigit Bulut's explosive claim that "Khashoggi's murder was staged to put Saudi Arabia and the king in a very difficult position and to surrender Saudi Arabia completely to the United States."

And that leads us to the potentially larger than life geopolitical game-changer. What did King Salman really discuss with President Putin when he went to Moscow almost a year ago? What if Russia - not to mention China - are the wily old king's "alliance" backup plan, as he figured the alliance with the US might finally be dwindling? What if Russia, China and Saudi Arabia soon start bypassing the petrodollar?

A case can be made that the House of Saud, slowly but surely, might have been steered - by the King, not MBS - towards a Russia-China strategic partnership, which means Eurasia integration. Significantly, King Salman called Putin, and not Trump, when Pulp Fiction in Istanbul started to calm down.

The roulette is still turning. MBS might as well be confirmed as The Bone Saw Killer. The House of Saud may once again save itself via its ability to buy its way out of anything. Alternatively, the whole Pulp Fiction may have been a convoluted psy-ops designed to frame MBS, pre-empt any possibility of closer Russia-China-Saudi cooperation, and place the House of Saud under unmistakable US control.

Istanbul has certainly not unveiled all its secrets.

(c) 2018 Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan." He may be reached at

Empowering The People
By Jim Hightower

Is it possible to get public policies out of our political system that benefit common people rather than moneyed elites?

Yes! We the people can bypass corporate-purchased lawmakers and write the laws ourselves. In 26 states and numerous cities, grassroots people can put statutes and constitutional amendments on the ballot through a citizens initiative process, that in this era of plutocratic rule, has become a major avenue for achieving progressive change.

For example, on November 6, voters in Albuquerque, Baltimore, and Denver will be offered new forms of small-dollar, public financing of elections to counter secret, unlimited donations by corporations. A South Dakota measure would ban corporate donations to candidates and political parties and bar "gifts" from lobbyists to elected officials. To stop incumbents from hand picking their voters by gerrymandering their districts, people in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah will have a chance to turn redistricting over to independent, non-partisan commissions - and other various reforms to democratize voting are proposed in Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Maryland, South Dakota, and Massachusetts.

Ballot measures have proven so successful that corporate front groups have begun proposing deceptively worded initiatives that - get this - would forestall citizens from putting initiatives on the ballot. So far this year, initiatives to stop or restrict initiatives have been filed in Maine and South Dakota to curtail people's access to this process of direct democracy. Also, ALEC, the secretive, Koch-funded anti-democracy group, has generated bills in six state legislatures essentially to keep citizen initiatives off the ballot.

Corporate elites are so afraid of democracy that they're actually trying to outlaw it! To help protect direct democracy, go to:

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

Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Murphysboro, Illinois, on October 27, 2018.

Birthright Citizenship Is In The Constitution
If Trump abuses his powers in order to undermine the 14th Amendment, that's a lawless and wholly impeachable offense.
By John Nichols

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Yet, this week, as part of his ongoing campaign to divide and conquer the country he is supposed to serve, the president is claiming that he has the power to override the Constitution with an executive order.

In a blatant attempt to ratchet up anti-immigrant sentiment prior to the November 6 election, Trump is saying that he could unilaterally end birthright citizenship—the historic commitment that a child born within the United States, and subject to its jurisdiction, is automatically and unquestionably a US citizen. Ranting in his newly proclaimed "nationalist" mode, the president announced that "We're the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States...with all of those benefits. It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. And it has to end."

The president is wrong. Many countries provide for birthright citizenship, and the United States, a nation of immigrants, has a very long history of embracing this humane and practical protection.

The president is even more wrong when he asserts, as he has in an interview with Axios that, "It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't."

Challenged on his claim, Trump said, "You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order."

" What the president proposes is a stunning abuse of power.

The Citizenship Clause outlined in the first sentence of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States declares that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

There is no "lack of clarity." There is nothing "in dispute." There is nothing "open to question." The Constitution says, "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." The president has no authority to overturn a section of the Constitution with an executive order. The president and his allies in Congress, such as noxious white nationalist Steve King (R-Iowa), cannot use a simple act of Congress to cancel the 14th Amendment—or any other amendment to the Constitution.

As Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, one of the nation's foremost experts on constitutional law, explains it: "If the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship could be wiped out with the stroke of Trump's pen, the whole U.S. Constitution could be erased that way. There's no limit to that dictatorial claim over all our rights."

The president should be given no ground on this issue. After so many years of peddling so many racist and xenophobic falsehoods—about former president Obama's birthplace, about walls and refugees and caravans—Trump cannot be permitted to use a lie about the Constitution to advance his nationalist crusade.

If he abuses his position in an effort to undermine the protections afforded by an amendment to the Constitution that bars any abridging of the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, the president must be immediately checked and balanced by responsible members of Congress and by the courts. The response from New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood office was appropriately blunt: "The Constitution is clear. If President Trump's pre-Election Day ploy to unconstitutionally end birthright citizenship moves forward, we will see him in court."

If Trump persists in this lawless endeavor, he should be introduced to an essential requirement of the Constitution. Article 2, Section 4, of the founding document states that "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

A serious effort to overturn or cancel a section of the Constitution by executive fiat represents a classic impeachable offense. If Trump attempts it, he should be dealt with according to the dictates of Article 2, Section 4.

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

How The Celtic Holiday Samhain Became Halloween
By James Donahue

Halloween is a contemporary version of an ancient Celtic holiday called Samhain, a celebration of the last harvest, the end of summer and for them, the first day of the New Year.

The Celts celebrated the beginning of the New Year on November 1 because it was the mid-way point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice.

The day also had a dark side because it marked the beginning of the long cold winter. It was a time of the year associated with human death.

The Celts believed on the night before the New Year, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. Samhain thus was a strange event that occurred on the night of October 31. The people believed it was a time that the spirits of the dead returned to earth.

The spirits were believed to damage crops and cause other troubles so the Druids built large sacred bonfires to frighten them off. During the celebration, the people wore costumes, usually consisting of animal heads and skins.

When Christianity swept Europe and reached its tentacles into Ireland and Scotland, the Celtic people not only adopted this new religion, but the church strangely absorbed the Samhain celebration. Today the fundamental Christians want no part of Halloween and proclaim it profane.

Yet the holiday persists, and it has evolved through a variety of names including Day of the Dead, All Soul's Day, All Saint's Day, Hallowtide, Hallowmass, Harvest Home, Witches New Year, All Hallow's Eve and finally Halloween.

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

In the Seventh Century Pope Boniface IV declared November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It was said the pope was attempting to use the religious holiday to displace the Celtic festival of the dead. Instead of destroying it, the people of Ireland merely blended the two celebrations together, creating the All Hallows Eve. The big bonfires, costumes and tricks never ceased.

The name of the two-day holiday eventually became twisted to Hallowmas, and then Halloween.

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

So where did the other traditions of Halloween come from?

The scary face in the pumpkin, or jack-o-lantern, is nothing more than another old custom designed to ward off ghosts and witches. It was believed these evil spirits feared fire, thus the candle in the pumpkin. Originally it was said the people merely posted a candle on the top of a turnip. This evolved into the face in a pumpkin.

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

The black cats, skulls and witches also were part of the old Celtic story. They believed witches used skulls to communicate with the dead. They derived their power to evoke evil spirits from black cats.

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

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

Law enforcement officials, including a bomb disposal technician, respond to a
suspicious package at a US Post Office facility on October 26, 2018, in New York City.

Broad-Daylight Fascism And The Bombs Of October
"You know what I am? I am a nationalist, okay?" -Donald Trump, Houston rally, October 22, 2018
By William Rivers Pitt

Even in the smallest corners of New Hampshire, far from the doings of the great and powerful, the word is out and the fear is real.

"Over the past couple of days, several suspicious packages addressed to well-known persons were intercepted or discovered in various locations by law enforcement officials," reads the notice sent to all municipalities by the NH Department of Safety. "In light of these events, we have attached the New Hampshire Suspicious Package Protocol to assist public safety agencies in response to such incidents. Please share this protocol with those individuals that are responsible for handling your mail to ensure they are aware of the process should they deem a package suspicious in nature."

And so it came to pass this very morning in little towns like Pittsburg, New Hampshire - population 813 souls, the last US stop before Quebec - that the workers in the post office on Main Street, along with the workers in every other post office in every other town and city in these United States, were warned by the authorities to beware of bombs.

We have come to it at last. The moment too many have been whistling past in the ill-placed hope that everything would fix itself has arrived. The Achilles heel of democracy - the use of the democratic process to install a government bent on dismantling democracy - has been pierced with deliberation and intent. It is everywhere now, and all of us are involved.

"We must disenthrall ourselves," I wrote 12 years ago, "from the idea that our institutions, our traditions, the barriers that protect us from absolute and authoritarian powers, cannot be broken down. They are being dismantled a brick at a time. The separation of powers has already been annihilated. It is a whispered fascism, not yet marching down your street or pounding upon your door in the dead of night. But it is here, and it is laying deep roots. We must listen beyond the whispered fascism of today to the shouted fascism of tomorrow."

The "shouted fascism of tomorrow" is here today, right now, blaring from the television whenever the networks decide to air one of Donald Trump's rage-flecked campaign rallies. Last week in Montana, the president gave a clinic on the deployment of fascist rhetorical tactics to the masses. It began, of course, with the glorification of the military and the state:

"We're going to have the most powerful military by far that we've ever had. And a lot of it's already coming, those brand-new, beautiful planes, those incredible stealth F-35s, the - you have the F-35, you have the F-18s, the Super Dupers, the Hornets. We have them all. We've got them coming left and right, and you know the great thing?

"There's nothing more important than the military, but we build them all right here in the USA. We don't send them to other countries to be built. We build them right here. We have the best military equipment in the world. We build the best. There's nothing even close. Best missiles, best planes, best ships, best everything. We build them here, and there's nothing like best submarines. Submarines, we're so far ahead of everybody, forget it."

... before pointing the crowd toward his enemies:
"And now we're starting to find out - and I won't say it 100 percent - I'll put a little tiny question mark at the end - but we're probably not going to need it, but we have the fake news back there. Fake news. But a lot of money has been passing to people to come up and try and get to the border by Election Day, because they think that's a negative for us.

"Number one, they're being stopped. And number two, regardless, that's our issue. So this is the problem with them. They have one thing. They stick together. They vote together. They're bad politicians. They have horrible policy. They hate ICE. They don't like our military. They don't like our vets. They're always fighting us on that


"Crooked Hillary is a great unifier. [Audience chants: "Lock her up!"] It is incredible the deep state where they don't even look at her. Isn't it incredible? Think of it, 33,000 e-mails, she gets a subpoena from the United States Congress. Forget about all the other things, forget about - and you can never forget about Benghazi, ever. But forget about everything else. Never forget Benghazi."

Within a week of this venomous diatribe - just one of the hundreds Trump has unleashed in the last three years - pipe bombs packed with shards of broken glass were delivered to the homes and offices of two former Democratic presidents, a former Democratic vice president, a former Democratic candidate for president, a former attorney general, a former CIA director, a pro-Democrat philanthropist, a former Democratic congresswoman, a sitting Democratic congresswoman, a world-famous liberal-leaning actor and a major news organization. On Friday morning, two more bombs were interdicted after they were sent to a sitting Democratic senator and a former director of national intelligence.

What do these people have in common? They are all either Democrats, critics of Donald Trump, or both. At one time or another, and many times for most, Trump has leveled his invective against each and every one of the bomb recipients.

The term "stochastic terrorism" was coined by a DailyKos blogger several years ago, and is defined as, "The use of mass communication to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable." The word is derived from the Greek stochastikos, which translates to mean "skillful in aiming."

Make no mistake: I neither believe nor allege that Donald Trump has any knowledge whatsoever about the origin and intent of this attempted bombing spree. But someone out there was listening to Trump's every word. His name is Cesar Sayoc Jr., a Florida man with a long history of making threats who has been arrested for posting these pipe bombs. I believe Sayoc listened long and hard to what Trump was saying, and finally decided to pull the pin.

I do not believe there are accidents in politics. Trump's long record of cheerfully inciting violence with his bombastic rhetoric has been well-documented. He may be willfully and brazenly ignorant on matters of vital national import, but he is as media savvy as any man alive today. If nothing else, Donald Trump is very "skillful in aiming."

An example of that savvy is the laughable fact that Trump has blamed the media itself for the current poisonous tone even as he deliberately uses that media to establish that very tone. His defenders have taken to the airwaves to blame the recipients of these bombs, claiming it is all a "false flag" operation to generate sympathy for the Democrats on the eve of the midterm elections. Their best argument? The bombs didn't explode, therefore the whole thing is fake. These claims are old tricks found on the pages of an old, bloody book that should never have left the shelf.

Earlier this week during a rally in Houston, Donald Trump proudly named himself a "nationalist." Those still trying to whistle past the bare-naked truth of that statement argued that he doesn't really know what the word means, he's just doing his "America First" routine. Balderdash.

Trump's proclamation was yet another escalation of his deep dive toward right-wing authoritarian rule, and I believe Cesar Sayoc took the cue and put bombs in the mail. Donald Trump knows exactly what he is doing, as do his fervent supporters, and it is high time the rest of us got right with the truth of this before it is too late. "When someone shows you who they are," said poet Maya Angelou, "believe them the first time."

(c) 2018 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.

Dumbass In Chief
By Heather Digby Parton

This is so idiotic I don't even know what to say:

President Donald Trump complained that his predecessor Barack Obama wasn't criticized for the 2015 mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in an interview with Fox News on Monday.

After Laura Ingraham asked the president about last week's attempted bombings of almost a dozen prominent Democrats who have been frequent targets of his incendiary rhetoric, Trump pivoted to criticizing the Washington Post before making the bizarre comments about Obama.

Referring to media reports that connected Trump's rhetoric with the attempted bomber, whose van was covered with stickers supporting the president and taking aim at numerous Democrats and the media, Trump said, "They didn't do that with President Obama with the church, the horrible situation with the church. They didn't do that.?

Ingraham did not follow-up on Trump's remarks to ask why Obama could have been blamed for a mass shooting that was carried out by a white supremacist.

Most of the time he's just dumb as dirt.

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

2017 Canada Summer Games

Are Governments Giving Up On Global Warming?
By David Suzuki

The U.S. president may think global warming is a hoax perpetrated by China, but his administration has concluded Earth's average temperature will rise 4 C over pre-industrial levels by 2100 if we fail to address the causes. Overwhelming scientific evidence concludes that such a rise would be catastrophic for humanity and many other animals and plants on this small blue planet.

The 500-page statement detailing this frightening scenario, prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wasn't a warning, though. It was meant to justify the president's decision to stall federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. The statement's authors claim global average temperature will rise in any case, so freezing fuel-efficiency standards won't make enough of a difference to matter.

They write that avoiding such catastrophic warming "would require substantial increases in technology innovation and adoption compared to today's levels and would require the economy and the vehicle fleet to move away from the use of fossil fuels, which is not currently technologically feasible or economically feasible."

So, it's not economically feasible to save humanity from the disastrous, incredibly costly impacts of global warming - Impacts confirmed in the recent IPCC report? And we're to ignore the rapid technological advances in so many areas of society, throw up our hands and say it's impossible to change? It's an astounding conclusion, but not unusual. A common refrain from Canadians who reject the need to address climate change is that Canada's contribution to overall global warming is so small that it makes no difference what we do, so we might as well go full speed ahead.

One has to wonder if this makes up some of the thinking behind the desire of Canada's federal and some provincial governments to ramp up fossil fuel development with pipeline mega-projects, oilsands expansion, offshore drilling and massive liquefied natural gas developments, all while stating a commitment to addressing climate change.

Scientists offer detailed evidence that we must leave most fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we are to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, but our prime minister has stated, "No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there."

As Canadian citizens are on the hook for the $4.5 billion our government paid to buy an old pipeline, along with billions more to expand it, the government is also considering a massive oilsands project that will ultimately drive up greenhouse gas emissions. According to The Narwhal, "The proposed mine would produce 260,000 barrels per day of bitumen at its peak, cover 24,000 thousand hectares and - during its 41-year lifespan - tap into reserves in the neighbourhood of 3.2 billion barrels."

Although Teck, the company behind the project, touts its commitment to keeping emissions under control - claims supported by the Alberta and federal governments - it doesn't account for the emissions from burning the extracted bitumen!

Meanwhile, the B.C. government has given the green light - along with at least $5.35 billion in subsidies - to a massive, emissions-intensive, $40 billion liquefied natural gas project in northern B.C. The joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corporation, Malaysian-owned Petronas, PetroChina and Korea Gas Corporation would include a 670-kilometre pipeline to carry mostly fracked gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, where it would be liquefied and exported in tankers.

Extensive research shows that industry and government have seriously underestimated emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane (which is what natural gas is mostly composed of) and that fracking causes numerous environmental problems, from earthquakes to water contamination. Yet, the B.C. government is offering "the largest and most profitable multinationals in the world" carbon tax breaks, elimination of the LNG income tax and reduced electricity rates, The Narwhal reports.

It's as if many people who are supposed to represent our interests either lack the imagination, foresight and long-term thinking needed to deal with a crisis as massive as human-caused climate disruption, or they've given up and decided short-term economic gain and positive election prospects are more important than ensuring that we and our children and grandchildren will have a viable future.

That's unacceptable. It's up to us to hold politicians and business leaders to account. It's time our governments started representing the interests of citizens over the fossil fuel industry.

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

The Troops Don't Deserve This
You support the troops? Don't let the president* use them as political props.
By Charles P. Pierce

I think it's time for everyone who Supports The Troops actually to do so. I think if you applaud the Troops that are introduced at ballgames, or if you Thank Them For Their Service in airports, or stick yellow ribbons on the bumper of your SUV, you should be marching right now on the White House to protest the fact that the president* of United States has enlisted 5,000 of the Troops into a racist fantasy that he's peddling for political advantage-and a racist fantasy that already has a body count, at that-and to protest the waste of taxpayer money spent on moving a brigade-level mass of men to the southern border to fend off an "invasion" of shoeless Central American peasants who, in any case, are still at least a month of walking south of Brownsville.

If you Support The Troops, scream and holler and push back hard against the use of the U.S. Army as set decoration for his most recent spasm of bigoted insanity. From The New York Times:

"This is using the troops as props," said Jason Dempsey, who served as an Army infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. "We're using a bunch of people to waste their time while they backstop the Border Patrol."

The military buildup is the culmination of Mr. Trump's efforts in recent weeks to appeal to his most fervent supporters and to focus the nation's attention on the migrant caravan. "Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border," the president wrote Monday on Twitter. "Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"

You may recall that Mr. Bowers of Pittsburgh had some thoughts that he wanted to share about the impending Jewish-financed invasion of starving toddlers.

This is both genuinely cynical and absolutely insane. Literally, there is nothing for these 5,000 soldiers to do down there, and there would not be even if the marauding infants were at the gates, except hand out shoes and blankets-unless the president* is prepared to ignore both the Constitution and the posse comitatus law, possibilities that spokesliar SaraHuck refused to rule out on Monday.

This comes as Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen has reassured us that the administration has "no intention right now" of shooting the refugees if and when they actually get here. In addition, the Media Auxiliary of Camp Runamuck is working every time-honored Otherness xenophobic lever in the manual.

Members of the migrant caravan walking from Central America to the U.S. Southern border.

(Does this low farce have a spiffy name? Of course, it does. "Operation Faithful Patriot." Once again, we refer you to Mr. S. Spade of San Francisco: "The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.")

Goddamn, the American military doesn't deserve to be used in the service of this kind of rancid political puppet show. I can't believe that there isn't some serious grumbling up all the way through the ranks at being deployed in the interest of re-electing Ted Cruz and Steve King to Congress. (In itself, this is not a healthy thing, either.)

There are dozens of ways this can go terribly wrong. Here's one: some folks in camo show up at the border to protect the nation from the "invasion." The soldiers then find themselves between pitiful refugees and armed wankers on a blood-spree. You want a civil war, even a small one? You've got one.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."
~~~ John F. Kennedy ~ Profiles in Courage

Regulating Apocalypse
By David Swanson

"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good!"
"Don't be such a purist!"
"Be strategic!"
"Do what's possible!"
"You can't deny reality / human nature / religious text."

The phrases used to oppose proposals for major change haven't changed much for centuries, in both meanings of that phrase. No doubt these sayings sound better in certain circumstances than others, depending on the details. But in general, I find that they sound worse since the status quo locked in the climate collapse, and since the risk of nuclear catastrophe reached it's current record high and rapidly climbing position.

I've just read a new book called War, Law, and Humanity by James Crossland that looks at efforts to regulate or end war from the 1850s up through the beginning of the 1900s. One strain of thought was that war needed to be eliminated and replaced with nonviolent arbitration. Another was that war needed to be regulated, doctors and nurses admitted onto battlefields, standards upheld for the treatment of prisoners, particular weapons banned, etc. The peace advocates were mocked as dreamers. The humanizers were the "realists."

One must now write history from a nonexistent future. History cannot actually judge anything or anyone because it will not exist any longer in the brains of any living homo sapiens. But we can, pre-extinction, imagine our way forward and look back. If we end in nuclear holocaust, will those who tried to end war still have been silly dreamers? Or will world government or mandatory arbitration or disarmament sound slightly less goofy if the alternative that peace advocates identified for many decades as apocalypse turns out to be apocalypse?

Crossland does a good job of telling the story of the transition from wars in which the wounded were left to moan in agony on the battlefield for days before dying to wars in which great steps were taken to save the wounded and if possible get them ready to head out for more killing and possibly dying. The Crimean War brought with it war journalism, which brought with it public concern for the discarding of wounded soldiers as so much rubbish. Very quickly so-called unnecessary suffering was distinguished from supposedly necessary suffering. Much of the suffering was from diseases like cholera that still kill the primary victims of war - now civilians, but back then soldiers.

The Northern side of the U.S. Civil War borrowed many ideas from the humanizers of the Crimean War, because the U.S. public cared about soldiers, and because the military came to see healthy soldiers as more useful than sick or dead ones.

The U.S. in turn inspired Europeans to push the regulation of proper mass-murder extravaganzas further, resulting in the first Geneva Convention and the Red Cross. This inspiration was in the area of health and medicine, but also in the area of law. Francis Lieber's Lieber Code laid out the limitations on proper civilized warfare and stipulated that any and all limitations could be waived in the name of "military necessity" or - in other words - whatever horror General Sherman felt like committing. Thus, both humanitarians and eager mass-killers were equally pleased.

During the U.S. Civil War, Britain helped the Confederacy build ships. The U.S. after the war wanted reparations. The two countries went to arbitration in 1871 with representatives of Italy, Switzerland, and Brazil. Peace was made, and a model was made available for any countries that were willing, in certain cases, to settle for peace rather than their own desired wars.

In Europe, the peacemakers tried to win over humanizer conferences, while the humanizers sabotaged efforts directed at peace. Perhaps if both groups had fully united for one cause or the other, that cause would have had a better chance.

When the Czar of Russia backed efforts for peace, one leading peace advocate wrote to another that now, finally, "the world will not shriek Utopia!" I don't know about the world, but the governments of the war-making nations certainly shrieked it, including at the Hague conference of 1899.

Many learned to shriek utopia a lot less after the Great War, which ended one century ago this November 11th. And then all but about 8 people and a couple of dogs learned to shriek it at top volume in chorus following the sequel and the war on Korea and the establishment of permawar. Millions of people are now such well-trained utopia shriekers that all one need do is mention war abolition or fossil fuel abolition or an end to meat industries or to incarceration or the banning of guns. In fact, all one need do in the United States is propose levels of destruction or standards of socialism at a European level to produce ear piercing shrieks of utopia from people who don't for a minute imagine Europe to be utopian.

In acceptable, respectable non-utopia, climate collapse creates war. It does so all by itself. No humans are involved. Why should they be? Humans exerting their will to change things is utopian. In real, serious, shriekfree progressland, one cannot stop driving off a cliff, but one can devote tremendous energies to replacing the windshield wipers. If that's the best that can be done, then it ought to be where all our energy goes. But nobody has ever identified any actual evidence that it's the best that can be done, or any reason we should have any respect for ourselves if we don't try to do better.

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

Commuter Nightmare
Three (3) torturous hours stuck in gridlock!
By Jane Stillwater

"Someone just gave me two free tickets to a photography class at one of those huge computer mega-campuses in Silicon Valley tomorrow,">I> said a friend. "Wanna come along and be my plus-one?"

At Google? Apple? FaceBook? Sounds intriguing. "Sure!"

The campus was huge and beautiful and chic. I got some great photography advice. End of story? I wish. I still had to drive back home to Berkeley in rush-hour traffic.

It took me three (3) freaking hours to drive merely 40 miles -- all that distance and yet never getting out of second gear even once? Hell, I hardly ever got out of first gear. Three (3) nightmare hours of my life that I will never get back. My knees still ache from all that clutch and brake activity, and my poor sweet 1990 Toyota Tercel may never be the same.

A nice cop in San Francisco even let me cut into line at the Bay Bridge entrance ramp because I was crying so hard.

I will never ever ever get stuck in urban rush-hour traffic ever again!

And yet for far-too-many of my fellow Americans, being stuck in three (3) horrid hours of gridlock urban rush-hour traffic twice a day, day in and day out, has become an actual way of life for them. All these thousands of cars on the road at rush-hour every weekday don't come from nowhere.

And what is even worse is that Big Oil has screwed our environment for life and slaughtered over a million civilians in the Middle East just so American commuters can continue to have the phony privilege of wasting six hours of their lives five days a week -- six hours a day that they will never get back. Really? Can't anybody out there think up a better way to spend our time and money? Apparently not.

Right now, the U.S. stock market is rocketing downward at the rate of 500 points a day -- but perhaps the one good thing that might come out of this looming disaster might be that urban Americans would no long be able to afford so many freaking cars.

But still.

You won't ever again catch me anywhere near any kind of urban freeway between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm on a weekday. Never ever again. Once was more than enough. Thank goodness for public transit!

Halloween comes only once a year for most of us -- but apparently urban commuters are being forced by economic reality to re-live this singular Halloween commuter trick (with no treat) at least twice a day, five days a week. What kind of a life is that?

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Wayne tells some lies

Heil Trump,

Dear NRA,

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 constant bribing of Congress to keep the murders happening, to keep the country divided, 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 11-24-2018. We salute you NRA, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The American Social Contract
By Robert Reich

With divisions this deep, it can often feel like we can't agree on anything.

So, what do we share as Americans?

America does have a common set of norms about what makes a good society. These aren't written down in the constitution. They are unwritten standards that, taken as a whole, define who we are and what we believe in.

Based on responses to polls, a majority of us-Republicans, Democrats, and Independents- have consistently agreed to 5 simple principles. This is the American Social Contract.

First: Everyone should have an equal chance to get ahead.

Second: No one should be discriminated against because of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference.

Third: No one who works full time should have to live in poverty.

Fourth: People should take responsibility for themselves and their families, but deserve help if they need it through no fault of their own.

And fifth: No one should have special privilege and power based on wealth or class.

These values are anchored in moral teachings and democratic ideals that often predate the founding of our republic.

We know we've veered far away from all these principles. But that doesn't make us any less dedicated to them.

No matter how discouraging things may seem right now-regardless of the bigotry, cruelty, and greed that dominate our politics and corrupt our society-it's important to remember the positive values we share and the social contract that binds us together.

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

The Cult Of Trump
By Chris Hedges

Cult leaders arise from decayed communities and societies in which people have been shorn of political, social and economic power. The disempowered, infantilized by a world they cannot control, gravitate to cult leaders who appear omnipotent and promise a return to a mythical golden age. The cult leaders vow to crush the forces, embodied in demonized groups and individuals, that are blamed for their misery. The more outrageous the cult leaders become, the more they flout law and social conventions, the more they gain in popularity. Cult leaders are immune to the norms of established society. This is their appeal. Cult leaders demand a God-like power. Those who follow them grant them this power in the hope that the cult leaders will save them.

Donald Trump has transformed the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult. All cults are personality cults. They are extensions of the cult leaders. The cult reflects the leader's prejudices, worldview, personal style and ideas. Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned for a cult leader. They were desperately looking for someone to rescue them and solve their problems. They found their cult leader in the New York real estate developer and reality television show star. Only when we recognize Trump as a cult leader, and many of those who support him as cult followers, will we understand where we are headed and how we must resist.

It was 40 years ago next month that a messianic preacher named Jim Jones convinced or forced more than 900 of his followers, including roughly 280 children, to die by ingesting a cyanide-laced drink. Trump's refusal to acknowledge and address the impending crisis of ecocide and the massive mismanagement of the economy by kleptocrats, his bellicosity, his threats against Iran and China and the withdrawal from nuclear arms treaties, along with his demonization of all who oppose him, ensure our cultural and, if left unchecked, physical extinction. Cult leaders are driven, at their core, by the death instinct, the instinct to annihilate and destroy rather than nurture and create. Trump shares many of the characteristics of Jones as well as other cult leaders including Marshall Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles, the founders of the Heaven's Gate cult; the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who led the Unification Church; Credonia Mwerinde, who led the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God in Uganda; Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong; and David Koresh, who led the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas. Cult leaders are narcissists. They demand obsequious fawning and total obedience. They prize loyalty above competence. They wield absolute control. They do not tolerate criticism. They are deeply insecure, a trait they attempt to cover up with bombastic grandiosity. They are amoral and emotionally and physically abusive. They see those around them as objects to be manipulated for their own empowerment, enjoyment and often sadistic entertainment. All those outside the cult are branded as forces of evil, prompting an epic battle whose natural expression is violence.

"A cult is a mirror of what is inside the cult leader," Margaret Thaler Singer wrote in "Cults in Our Midst." "He has no restraints on him. He can make his fantasies and desires come alive in the world he creates around him. He can lead people to do his bidding. He can make the surrounding world really his world. What most cult leaders achieve is akin to the fantasies of a child at play, creating a world with toys and utensils. In that play world, the child feels omnipotent and creates a realm of his own for a few minutes or a few hours. He moves the toy dolls about. They do his bidding. They speak his words back to him. He punishes them any way he wants. He is all-powerful and makes his fantasy come alive. When I see the sand tables and the collections of toys some child therapists have in their offices, I think that a cult leader must look about and place people in his created world much as a child creates on the sand table a world that reflects his or her desires and fantasies. The difference is that the cult leader has actual humans doing his bidding as he makes a world around him that springs from inside his own head."

George Orwell understood that cult leaders manipulate followers primarily through language, not force. This linguistic manipulation is a gradual process. It is rooted in continual mental chaos and verbal confusion. Lies, conspiracy theories, outlandish ideas and contradictory statements that defy reality and fact soon paralyze the opposition. The opposition, with every attempt to counter this absurdism with the rational-such as the decision by Barack Obama to make his birth certificate public or by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to release the results of her DNA test to prove she has Native American ancestry-plays to the cult leader. The cult leader does not take his or her statements seriously and often denies ever making them, even when they are documented. Lies and truth do not matter. The language of the cult leader is designed exclusively to appeal to the emotional needs of those in the cult.

"Hitler kept his enemies in a state of constant confusion and diplomatic upheaval," Joost A.M. Meerloo wrote in "The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing." "They never knew what this unpredictable madman was going to do next. Hitler was never logical, because he knew that that was what he was expected to be. Logic can be met with logic, while illogic cannot-it confuses those who think straight. The Big Lie and monotonously repeated nonsense have more emotional appeal in a cold war than logic and reason. While the enemy is still searching for a reasonable counter-argument to the first lie, the totalitarians can assault him with another."

The cult leader grooms followers to speak in the language of hate and violence. The cult leader constantly paints a picture of an existential threat, often invented, that puts the cult followers in danger. Trump is doing this by demonizing the caravan of some 4,000 immigrants, most from Honduras, moving through southern Mexico. Caravans of immigrants, are, in fact, nothing new. The beleaguered and impoverished asylum seekers, including many families with children, are 1,000 miles from the Texas border. But Trump, aided by nearly nonstop coverage by Fox News and Christian broadcasting, is using the caravan to terrify his followers, just as he, along with these media outlets, portrayed the protesters who flooded the U.S. capital to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as unruly mobs. Trump claims the Democrats want to open the border to these "criminals" and to "unknown Middle Easterners" who are, he suggests, radical jihadists. Christian broadcasting operations, such as Pat Robertson's The 700 Club, splice pictures of marching jihadists in black uniforms cradling automatic weapons into the video shots of the caravan.

The fear mongering and rhetoric of hate and violence, as I saw in the former Yugoslavia, eventually lead to widespread acts of violence against those the cult leader defines as the enemy. The 13 explosive devices sent last week to Trump critics and leaders of the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, along with George Soros, James Clapper and CNN, allegedly by Cesar Sayoc, an ex-stripper and fanatic Trump supporter who was living out of his van, herald more violence. Trump, tossing gasoline on the flames, used this assault against much of the leadership of the Democratic Party to again attack the press, or, as he calls it, "the enemy of the people." "A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News," he tweeted. "It has gotten so bad and hateful that is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its acts, FAST!"

It should come as no surprise that on Saturday another enraged American white male, his fury and despair seemingly stoked by the diatribes and conspiracy theories of the far right, entered a Pittsburgh synagogue and massacred eight men and three women as he shouted anti-Semitic abuse. Shot by police and arrested at the scene was Robert Bowers, who believes that Jewish groups are aiding the caravan of immigrants in southern Mexico. He was armed with a military-style AR-15 assault rifle, plus three handguns. The proliferation of easily accessible high-caliber weapons, coupled with the division of the country into the blessed and the damned by Trump and his fellow cultists, threatens to turn the landscape of the United States into one that resembles Mexico, where at least 145 people in politics, including 48 candidates and pre-candidates, along with party leaders and campaign workers, have been assassinated over the last 12 months, according to Etellekt, a risk analysis firm in Mexico. There have been 627 incidents of violence against politicians, 206 threats and acts of intimidation, 57 firearm assaults and 52 attacks on family members that resulted in 50 fatalities. Trump's response to the mass shooting at the synagogue was to say places of worship should have armed guards, a call for further proliferation of firearms. Look south if you want a vision of our future.

Domestic terrorism and nihilistic violence are the natural outcomes of the economic, social and political stagnation, the total seizure of power by a corporate cabal and oligarchic elite, and the contamination of civil discourse by cult leaders. The weaponization of language is proliferating, as seen in the vile rhetoric that characterizes many political campaigns for the midterm elections, including the racist robocall sent out against Andrew Gillum, an African-American candidate for the governorship of Florida. "Well, hello there. I is the negro Andrew Gillum and I'll be askin' you to make me governor of this here state of Florida," a man speaking in a caricature of a black dialect accompanied by jungle noises said in the robocall. Cults externalize evil. Evil is embodied in the demonized other, whether desperate immigrants, black political candidates and voters, or the Democratic Party. The only way to purge this evil and restore America to greatness is to eradicate these human contaminants.

The cult leader, unlike a traditional politician, makes no effort to reach out to his opponents. The cult leader seeks to widen the divisions. The leader brands those outside the cult as irredeemable. The leader seeks the omnipotence to crush those who do not kneel in adoration. The followers, yearning to be protected and empowered by the cult leader, seek to give the cult leader omnipotence. Democratic norms, an impediment to the leader's omnipotence, are attacked and abolished. Those in the cult seek to be surrounded by the cult leader's magical aura. Reality is sacrificed for fantasy. Those who challenge the fantasy are not considered human. They are Satanic.

Meerloo wrote:

The dictator is not only a sick man, he is also a cruel opportunist. He sees no value in any other person and feels no gratitude for any help he may have received. He is suspicious and dishonest and believes that his personal ends justify any means he may use to achieve them. Peculiarly enough, every tyrant still searches for some self-justification. Without such a soothing device for his own conscience, he cannot live. His attitude toward other people is manipulative; to him, they are merely tools for the advancement of his own interests. He rejects the conception of doubt, of internal contradictions, or man's inborn ambivalence. He denies the psychological fact that man grows to maturity through groping, through trial and error, through the interplay of contrasting feelings. Because he will not permit himself to grope, to learn through trial and error, the dictator can never become a mature person. ... It is because the dictator is afraid, albeit unconsciously, of his own internal contradictions, that he is afraid of the same internal contradictions of his fellow man. He must purge and purge, terrorize and terrorize in order to still his own raging inner drives. He must kill every doubter, destroy every person who makes a mistake, imprison everyone who cannot be proved to be utterly single-minded.
Behavior that ensures the destruction of a public figure's career does not affect a cult leader. It does not matter how many lies uttered by Trump are meticulously documented by The New York Times or The Washington Post. It does not matter that Trump's personal financial interests, as we see in his relationship with the Saudis, take precedence over the rule of law, diplomatic protocols and national security. It does not matter that he is credibly charged by numerous women with being a sexual predator, a common characteristic of cult leaders. It does not matter that he is inept, lazy and ignorant. The establishment, whose credibility has been destroyed because of its complicity in empowering the ruling oligarchy and the corporate state, might as well be blowing soap bubbles at Trump. Their vitriol, to his followers, only justifies the hatred radiating from the cult.

The cult leader responds to only one emotion-fear. The cult leader, usually a coward, will react when he thinks he is in danger. The cult leader will bargain and compromise when afraid. The cult leader will give the appearance of being flexible and reasonable. But as soon as the cult leader is no longer afraid, the old patterns of behavior return, with a special venom directed at those who were able to momentarily impinge upon his power.

The removal of Trump from power would not remove the yearning of tens of millions of people, many conditioned by the Christian right, for a cult leader. Most of the leaders of the Christian right have built cult followings of their own. These Christian fascists embraced magical thinking, attacked their enemies as agents of Satan and denounced reality-based science and journalism long before Trump did. Cults are a product of social decay and despair, and our decay and despair are expanding, soon to explode in another financial crisis.

The efforts by the Democratic Party and much of the press, including CNN and The New York Times, to discredit Trump, as if our problems are embodied in him, are futile. The smug, self-righteousness of this crusade against Trump only contributes to the national reality television show that has replaced journalism and politics. This crusade attempts to reduce a social, economic and political crisis to the personality of Trump. It is accompanied by a refusal to confront and name the corporate forces responsible for our failed democracy. This collusion with the forces of corporate oppression neuters the press and Trump's mainstream critics.

Our only hope is to organize the overthrow of the corporate state that vomited up Trump. Our democratic institutions, including the legislative bodies, the courts and the media, are hostage to corporate power. They are no longer democratic. We must, like liberation movements of the past, engage in acts of sustained mass civil disobedience and non-cooperation. By turning our ire on the corporate state, we name the true sources of power and abuse. We expose the absurdity of blaming our demise on demonized groups such as undocumented workers, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, liberals, feminists, gays and others. We give people an alternative to a Democratic Party that refuses to confront the corporate forces of oppression and cannot be rehabilitated. We make possible the restoration of an open society. If we fail to embrace this militancy, which alone has the ability to destroy cult leaders, we will continue the march toward tyranny.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

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Nation's Fact-Checkers Confirm They'll Probably Wrap Up Evaluating Trump's Statements By 2050 At Latest
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Explaining that they needed time to properly inform the public about instances in which the commander in chief had knowingly made false claims, the nation's fact-checkers confirmed Tuesday that they'll probably wrap up evaluating President Trump's statements by 2050 at the latest.

"As we've seen numerous times, the president has a tendency to stretch the veracity of objective fact, but we're confident that we'll have finished fully assessing the truthfulness of his claims within the next several decades," said PolitiFact researcher Gregory Wu, stressing that the country's fact-checkers wanted to take their time and thoroughly vet all declarations made by the president in order to ensure that they could compile a complete list of corrections within the next half century.

"We're working around the clock, which is why we're currently on pace to finish fact-checking everything President Trump said during his first 100 days in office by the late 2020s. It's crucial for us to carefully examine every word and phrase in order to determine whether the president is deliberately lying and using false information, or whether he simply misspoke or was taken out of context. By 2050, we expect to have fact-checked every one of President Trump's public statements, interviews, state speeches, and extemporaneous remarks so that American voters can make an informed decision about the president's relationship with the truth."

At press time, a new speech at a campaign rally by Trump had forced the fact-checkers to push back their deadline to 2075.

(c) 2018 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 18 # 43 (c) 11/02/2018

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