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In This Edition

Norman Solomon sends, "A Message To Progressives: Adam Schiff Is Not Your Friend."

Ralph Nader is, "Buffeting Boeing CEO's Rope-a-Dope In Congress."

Glen Ford with a must read, "By Trying To Silence Sanders, The Corporate Media De-Legitimize Themselves."

Jim Hightower observes, "The Gloppy Mess Of Merger Mania."

Randall Amster returns with, "Dear Fossil Fuels: It's Over."

John Nichols wonders, "Why Is Scott Fitzgerald Running For Congress If He Doesn't Like Legislating?"

James Donahue explains what happens, "When The Lights Go Out."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Republicans Can't Break With Trump While They Invest In Voter Suppression."

David Suzuki reports, "Youth Lawsuit Draws Attention To Climate Crisis."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "Mike Pompeo's State Department Answers To Sean Hannity, Apparently."

David Swanson explores, "Charlottesville The Place Missed Charlottesville The Event."

Blue Dog Demoncratic Con-gress men Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich asks, "Would The Founding Fathers Impeach Trump?"

Jane Stllwater wonders, "America Claims Syria's Oil. Can Syria Now Claim America's Oil Too?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Sympathetic Representatives Let Lindsey Graham Into Impeachment Hearing After It Becomes Clear He Came To Disrupt It Alone," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Kansas City Bigots Celebrate Their Racist Victory."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Sack, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Charlie Riedel, Alex Wong, Olivier Douliery, Punit Paranjpe, Win McNamee, Ethan Miller, Melina Mara, Scott Bauer, Robin Loznak, Jane Stillwater, Jim Hightower, AFP, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Kansas City Bigots Celebrate Their Racist Victory
By Ernest Stewart

"The Paseo doesn't just mean something to one community in Kansas City. It means something to everyone in Kansas City. It holds kind of a special place in so many people's hearts and memories. It's not just historical on paper, it's historical in people's memory. It's very important to Kansas City." ~~~ Diane Euston

"My message is that we'll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. Yet I am one of the lucky ones. People are suffering." ~~~ Greta Thunberg, at UN Summit in New York

"Nancy Pelosi, at the beginning of this Congress, said if there's going to be impeachment, it has to be bipartisan. In fact, the only bipartisan vote today was against impeachment." ~~~ Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Republican whip.

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

Don't know if you heard anything about Tuesday's election in Kansas City? But a proposition on the ballot proposed to rename Matin Luther King Boulevard after a racist former name that is linked directly to racism and bigotry not only in Missouri but in Mexico City too.

The bigots in Kansas City thought it was a good idea to steal land from the black community and build a boulevard straight through their lands to remind them that whitey was still da massa. To top it off they decided to name it "The Paseo" after the Mexican City street once named "Paseo de la Emperatriz" or the "Promenade of the Empress" by the conquering French of Napoleon the second who made an Austrian, naval commander Emperor Maximilian of Mexico and his bimbo cousin/wife Empress Carlota who was wont to promenade the streets. So like Carlota the white folks could promenade through the black part of town. What they seemed to have forgotten that the rule of Maximilian lasted barely three years and with the reestablishment of the republic of Mexico and President Benito Juarez off came Max's head and Carlota fled back to Europe where she went insane. I question the word went, as she was clearly nutzo to begin with, much like the white folks a way down yonder in Kansas City. Juarez renamed the boulevard Paseo de la Reforma or The Walk of the Reform.

So you know what I did, don't you? That's right, I wrote the mastermind behind this tragedy Diane Euston the following note:

Congratulation Diane!

You have taken a street named after a national hero, Dr. Martin Luther King and replaced it with a street known for racism and bigotry! A street created by stealing some land from black folks and sticking white people right through the heart of their community. A street named after a similar street in Mexico city where the French overthrew the elected government of President Benito Juarez and named a street in honor of the Emperor Maximilian and his consort Empress Carlota, the "Paseo de la Emperatriz" or the "Promenade of the Empress" where she could strut her stuff in front on the peons so I must admit your Paseo is aptly named.

I would have said that your Paseo would now be forever known for racism and bigotry but it's always been known for that! Can't have them darkies having something of their own, can we? They got your number Diane and now so do I. I must give thanks to you and Timmy for writing this week's editorial for me, as my many readers around the world will soon know of your bigotry and racism too!

Of course, what would I expect from a place like Missouri where the white folks are a little to the right of Darth Vader, and apparently, just as evil! Can I get an heil Trump Diane? Can I? Have a nice day!

Ernest Stewart
Managing editor
Issues and Alibis magazine

If you'd like to share your thoughts with Diane too, here's her facebook page

Oh, and tell her that, Uncle Ernie sent you!

Also here's a link to read the full story:

In Other News

Back when I was a young person we came together to protest the Vietnam war and the draft. We are now friends with the Vietnamese people and the draft is no more. Today if you want to murder women, children, men, and babies you have to enlist to do so. Vietnam killed about 60,000 Americans wounded about 300,000 more and killed several million Asians but compared to what global warming will do, that was just a drop in the bucket! Global warming if unchecked will kill billions!

Today Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, leads the most important fight that the human race has ever faced, global warming! Greta joined fellow teenagers from throughout California Friday in telling a cheering crowd of hundreds at a Los Angeles rally that they can and will fight to save their planet from global warming. Yes I'm having a deja vu all over again, how about you?

Thunberg, who has been traveling across the United States since delivering a passionate speech in New York in September that demanded world leaders do more to combat global warming, spoke at a rally organized by Youth Climate Strike Los Angeles.

The group of young people used Friday's rally at California's oil-extraction industry to call for a phaseout of wells and other means of withdrawing petroleum from California's earth.

Before Thunberg spoke she joined a crowd of about 1,000 in marching from the lawn in front of City Hall to Gov. Gavin Newsom's Los Angeles office to demand that oil drilling begin to stop.

"I will never understand how they can put short-term interests above our lives, above the planet's future and our future," Thunberg said of businesses that produce fossil fuels and other products that contribute to global warming.

"But we young people have had enough. We say no more. And if our parents won't speak up for us, we will," she added to thunderous applause from the crowd, which, although it leaned toward the young side, contained a cross-section of ages. My hero from the 60s Jane Fonda is getting arrested every Friday for daring to protest global warming as well!

Jane said of Greta, "She understands that if she's attacked it's because she's making a difference and that scares people. Especially the oil companies and the Pentagon."

The 81-year-old has vowed to protest every Friday until January to demand for action to be taken to address climate change. Can you do less, America?

In an interview with The Associated Press, Thunberg said she believes young people like herself are becoming more prominent in the climate-change movement because, with almost their whole lives ahead of them, they recognize how great the danger is to their generation.

"Many young people are aware that they will be very much impacted by what we are doing now and that their future will be destroyed. We know what is at stake in a way that many older people maybe don't."

The rally's lead organizer, 17-year-old college freshman Kailynn Cruz, agreed.

"I think it's fear," she said when asked what motivated her and other teenagers to begin dedicating so much time to fighting climate change. "We thought we're going to have a future, but we found out it was being taken from us."

Meanwhile, Lying Donald is cutting funds to California to fight those fires but offers his master Putin help to fight Russian wild fires. I know, WTF?

And Finally

Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota a far right wing Blue Dog Democrat voted with the Rethuglicans against impeaching Lying Donald. He along with Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey were the only Demoncrats to vote for Lying Donald. And in both cases their votes set off a firestorm in progressive Democrats in both states.

After it hit the fan they both said they were opened to vote for impeachment but didn't vote for the inquiry because they were paid not to. Of course, they didn't say that, but you know that it's true. After a lot of hemming and hawing they changed their tunes Van Drew said:

"I hope I'm a reasonably intelligent person, and I'm always a very open person to all ideas. So if something comes along that is really treasonous or truly a high crime and truly is at the level of impeachment - please understand how important and how serious impeachment is - at that time, of course I would."
I guess quid pro quo doesn't rise to impeachment in Jeff's tiny little mind?

And Peterson chimed in:
"I have been hearing from my constituents on both sides of this matter for months, and the escalation of calls this past week just shows me how divided our country really is right now. However, now that the vote has taken place and we are moving forward I will be making a judgment call based on all the evidence presented by these investigations."
That's right boys and girls, for only the second time we have a twofer, both Peterson and Van Drew win this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

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


01-15-1933 ~ 11-05-2019
Thanks for the read!

06-06-1936 ~ 11-06-2019
Thanks for the read!


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, speaks
during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on September 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

A Message To Progressives: Adam Schiff Is Not Your Friend
While tenaciously challenging a despicable president who should be impeached, we should be aware that the California Democrat remains deeply enmeshed with corporatism and militarism.
By Norman Solomon

A huge national spotlight is now on Adam Schiff, the member of Congress leading the impeachment inquiry. In his tenth term, Schiff is really going places. But where is he coming from?

This year, as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, he has relentlessly built a case against a horrendous president. For progressives eager to see Donald Trump impeached, Schiff is an enemy of their enemy. But whether he's a friend is another matter.

"Schiff's record on foreign policy, civil liberties, human rights and other key issues has often put him more in line with Republicans than with liberal Democrats," international affairs scholar Stephen Zunes told me. "It is ironic, therefore, that Trump and the Republicans are portraying him as some kind of left-winger."

For a backstory perspective on Schiff, I contacted a progressive activist who has been closely tracking his political career for two decades. Howie Klein, the publisher and editor of, lives in Schiff's congressional district in the Los Angeles area. They met when Schiff was a state senator running for Congress in 1990 against a Republican incumbent.

"I was all gung-ho and raised a lot of money for him from my music industry colleagues," Klein told me. "I didn't understand at the time that although he was a Democrat, he was a conservative Democrat. There were a couple of hints during the campaign, but it wasn't until he was elected and joined the Blue Dogs and started voting that I realized that we had traded a right-wing Republican for a GOP-light Democrat."

Schiff wasn't merely playing it safe with his constituents. "It was a rapidly changing district that in just a few years went from red to swing to blue to deep blue," Klein recalled. "The most Schiff was willing to move was from the Blue Dogs to slightly less odious New Democrats."

As for the dynamics that have elevated Schiff to star on the House impeachment stage, Klein commented: "Most of Nancy Pelosi's committee chairs do exactly what she tells them to do, but Schiff seems to be even more exact than most of the others. He's her guy and she has given him a perfect opportunity to transform himself into a political celebrity."

Alignment with the most powerful Democrat on Capitol Hill has paid off for Schiff. This month, Speaker Pelosi skipped over Jerrold Nadler-who, as Judiciary Committee chair would have ordinarily taken the lead-instead choosing to appoint Schiff to drive the impeachment train.

Schiff is tenaciously challenging a despicable president who should be impeached. At the same time, while Schiff has emerged as a marquee foe of Trumpism, we should be aware that he remains deeply enmeshed with corporatism and militarism.

Schiff is significantly more hawkish than Nadler. While Nadler was one of the 59 House Democrats who voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019, Schiff voted yes on that landmark measure-which abetted Trump's push for a massive two-year 11 percent boost in military spending. Pelosi, who also voted for the bill, proudly wrote to Democratic colleagues: "In our negotiations, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense."

The Pentagon has been able to rely on Schiff to vote for military spending increases throughout his career. And he has rarely done anything contrary to the interests of the military-industrial complex.

In March 2015, when Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against Yemen that began the ongoing murderous intervention, Schiff went out of his way to voice support. The Obama administration, he declared, "made the right decision" to support the Saudi bombing. Said Schiff: "The military action by Saudi Arabia and its partners was necessitated by the illegal action of the Houthi rebels and their Iranian backers."

After more than four years of vast suffering and death among Yemini people, Schiff recently played a positive role as he co-sponsored an amendment (accepted by the House) that could end U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Aside from his reflexive support for military spending hikes, Congressman Schiff's most egregious roles have involved policies in the Middle East. He voted to greenlight the U.S. invasion of Iraq that began in March 2003. "Schiff was among the right-wing minority of House Democrats who sided with Bush and Cheney over the broad consensus of Middle East experts, international legal scholars, independent arms control analysts and others who warned that an invasion of Iraq was unnecessary, illegal, and would be utterly disastrous," said Zunes, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco.

Zunes added: "Contrary to the wishes of the majority of his liberal California constituents, Schiff effectively renounced the UN Charter and the Nuremberg Principles by voting to authorize it and lied about Iraq having 'weapons of mass destruction.' In doing so, he contributed to the deaths of 4,500 young Americans and close to 1 million Iraqis and others, wasted $2 trillion of our tax dollars, helped destabilized the region, and helped inflict enormous environmental damage, including a huge carbon footprint."

Notably unconcerned about the human rights of Palestinian people, Schiff has consistently run interference for the Israeli government. "One of the great ironies of Schiff being accused of having a liberal bias in leading the impeachment investigation is that he was one of the leading critics of a 2009 United Nations investigation of violations of international law by both Israel and Hamas," Zunes said. "He co-sponsored a resolution claiming that the 585-page report, which confirmed earlier assessments by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and criticized both sides, was somehow 'irredeemably biased' against Israel and that its well-documented findings were 'sweeping and unsubstantiated' and therefore 'unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.' Like Republican critics of his impeachment hearings, Schiff has shown himself unwilling to consider the actual facts uncovered through a meticulously detailed investigation and instead simply attacks those doing the investigating."

In December 2016, as President Obama was preparing to leave office, Schiff urged him to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Schiff was among the lawmakers who couldn't stand the idea that Israel would be censured for violating international law with its settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories.

With Schiff's historic role in the impeachment process gearing up this week, I contacted Marcy Winograd, who mounted a strong primary challenge as a peace candidate 10 years ago in the LA area, throwing a scare into hawkish Congresswoman Jane Harman. Winograd said: "I would ask House Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Schiff, a skilled prosecutor undaunted in the face of Trump's relentless tirades, to broaden the laser-like impeachment focus on Trump's demagogic extortion of Ukraine to include abuses of executive power that might resonate more with the American people while not provoking a new Cold War nuclear arms race with Russia."

Schiff's front-seat presence on the Russiagate bandwagon has done wonders for his mega-media profile. He's well-positioned to run for California's Senate seat now held by 86-year-old Dianne Feinstein, while big money has been pouring in faster than ever.

Schiff brought in $6.25 million for his campaign committee during the last two-year election cycle, and he ended 2018 with $4.7 million in cash on hand. This year, as the intelligence committee chair, Schiff has picked up the fundraising pace, raising $4.37 million in just nine months; he now has close to $7 million in the bank. Schiff certainly doesn't need the money to get re-elected in his heavily Democratic district, where he has received more than three-quarters of the votes in every one of this decade's elections. His interest in higher office seems clear.

Right now, right-wing media are teaming up with the White House and congressional Republicans to vilify Adam Schiff while he leads impeachment efforts in the House. Under the circumstances, progressives might view him as an ally. But any alliance with the likes of Schiff should be understood as tactical and temporary.

(c) 2019 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Family members of those who died aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 hold photographs of
their loved ones as Dennis Muilenburg (R), President and CEO of the Boeing Company, and
John Hamilton (L), Vice President and Chief Engineer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes,
testify at a hearing in front of congressional lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 30, 2019.

Buffeting Boeing CEO's Rope-a-Dope In Congress
By Ralph Nader

This past week, Boeing's deadly 737 MAX crashes were the focus of two back-to-back hearings - one in the Senate and one in the House. In the House Transportation Committee hearing, at least 50 Democrats and Republicans criticized Dennis Muilenburg's mismanagement and implied criminal negligence. Muilenburg's actions allowed Boeing's marketeers to overrule Boeing's engineers so that Boeing could circumvent FAA's safety oversight, which had already been diminished by the Congress.

These hearings were held because of efforts by the families of the victims aboard preventable airplane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Family members attended the hearings, holding up large signs with photos of their lost loved relatives. There were 346 fatalities in two crashes driven down by stealth, faulty software installed to address, what Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger called, the reduction of the "aircraft's natural aerodynamic stability in certain conditions."

The hearings were held in a packed room, full of media members, staffers, lobbyists, and citizen activists. House lawmakers questioned Muilenburg and his chief engineer, John Hamilton, for over five hours, during which the hugely compensated CEO made over $75,000 for pretending to be humble and respectful. The Committee members demanded to know what the top brass knew about the plane's hazards and when they knew it. Lower-level Boeing engineers, technicians, and test pilots had already told Boeing executives about the plane's problems, but the warnings were ignored in the rush to market.

There were table-thumping questions and demands (e.g. for Muilenburg's resignation) by both Democrats and Republicans. However, no legislative proposals were on the table. One year after the Lion Airlines plane crashed into the Java Sea, there is still no tangible effort to provide the FAA with the stronger authority, a larger budget, and the staff needed to properly oversee the aircraft/airline industry. The FAA must be able to enforce meaningful laws with civil fines and, when necessary, referrals to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. The lack of proper regulation has allowed for continued unsafe aircraft manufacturing, corner-cutting, and cover-ups.

Ever since the Congress, under Boeing pressure, ordered the FAA to delegate more self-certifying power to Boeing and other aircraft makers, hearings with the FAA, Boeing, and airlines have been theater. Nothing results except giving in to aircraft manufacturers and carriers' demands, rubber-stamped by the toady FAA and an indentured Congress.

Given all the freebies the airlines give to the U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives (See the survey sent to every member of Congress, which has yet to receive a response) the Congress has never passed the comprehensive passenger bill of rights championed by Flyers' Rights and numerous aviation columnists.

Given the formidable organization of the knowledgeable families and consistent, thorough media coverage, will Congress do its job? So far, the answer is - not likely. Not one member of Congress has yet returned Boeing's campaign contributions - over three hundred members take the cash regularly. No Congressional Committee has demanded resignations of Dan Elwell or Ali Bahrami, the FAA officials responsible for enabling Boeing's "regulatory capture" of the FAA. This failure of regulation was even condemned by the likes of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

No Congressional Committee has even pressed for repealing the notorious provisions, inserted by Boeing, into the 2018 FAA Authorization Act that pushed the FAA further under Boeing's giant thumb.

On the other hand, the families of the crash victims and Flyers' Right's Paul Hudson are advancing critical findings by the National Safety Transportation Board (See their report) and the Joint Authorities Technical Review (See their report), along with the serious findings of a long-neglected 2017 airline union-sponsored report (See Aircraft Certification "Transformation" Pre-Decisional Involvement Report). With increasing numbers of aerospace safety specialists and inspectors who have been coming forward, maybe Congress can end its indentured status. Maybe the national legislature can stand tall for airline safety regulation and a reformed Boeing corporation, shorn of its presently complicit executives and trophy Board of Directors.

To make action on Capitol Hill more likely, the Congressional Committees must schedule hearings now for consumer groups, families, the airline industry unions, and very importantly, the experienced technical critics of the 737 MAX and Boeing's handling of that aircraft - past, present, and future. All these parties have been waiting with rising impatience to be called.

In public releases, October 23 and 29, 2019, the families of Boeing's MAX victims laid out what Boeing and the FAA need to do before the hundreds of MAX planes are allowed in the air.

Summarizing their demands:

If the MCAS (software) fix is not publically disclosed, the 737 MAX should not fly;

If the purpose of the MCAS system is not determined, the 737 MAX should not fly;

If there is no recertification of the whole plane as an integrated system, the 737 MAX should not fly;

Until Boeing fixes its culture to eliminate undue pressure on engineers, the 737 MAX should not fly; and

Until Boeing identifies and removes those who made the decision to conceal the MCAS from the FAA, pilots, and the public, the 737 MAX should not fly.

Paul Hudson, the longtime director of Flyers' Rights, who is on an FAA Advisory Committee, has put forth numerous MAX-related demands, as well as a detailed series of recommendations to reform the FAA from top to bottom.

Airline passengers, please note that Boeing intends to put 5,000 flawed 737 MAX airplanes into operation. Already about 400 of them have been grounded since March by U.S. and foreign airlines.

With Boeing already in trouble with its big pentagon and NASA contracts, don't bet on its full-page ads and other propaganda. Boeing's P.R. spin will not protect you. Rely on your own vigilance and "Axe the MAX" from your future travel plans.

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

By Trying To Silence Sanders, The Corporate Media De-Legitimize Themselves
By Glen Ford

Sanders has been made into a non-person, and his proposals routinely distorted, because the corporate media want Americans to meekly submit to the Race to the Bottom.

Bernie Sanders' campaign has finally gone full-throat with the obvious: the Democrat-aligned corporate media have thrown all journalistic principles to the wind to impose a "Bernie Blackout."

How can someone who was the most popular politician in the nation in 2017 be made into a non-person? It's all intimately entwined with the multiple crises afflicting late stage capitalism.

In the absence of massive, grassroots movements, corporate voices always drown out all the others. Capitalist ownership of the media allows the rich to frame their own worldview as the political "center," thus relegating contending ideologies to the "extremes" of left or right. In this sense, "centrism" is nothing more than the political position of the corporate owners, who construct media versions of reality that make corporate-concocted policies seem the most logical, commonsensical and socially responsible approach to the world's problems. As long as the rich can sustain broad public trust in the "truth" of their "journalistic" products -- newspapers, electronic newscasts, books and other media created by professional operatives directly answerable to rich owners - widespread revolt against the corporate order is unlikely.

Most people in all societies want to be perceived -- and to see themselves -- as sensible, responsible and knowledgeable. When polled on political questions, they are eager to give the "correct" (corporate-endorsed) answers. Only the most marginalized, alienated and systematically demonized sectors of society will consistently buck the corporate narrative. In the United States, the biggest historical resistance to the corporate (rich white man's) worldview has come from Black America, a besieged people with a unique social perspective who were compelled to create their own media in desperate defense of their collective humanity. However, the demise of Jim Crow apartheid and subsequent absorption of many of the "best and brightest" Black minds into corporate service, has dulled Black defenses. After two generations without a mass, grassroots Black movement - a politically desolate period briefly interrupted by the "Black Lives Matter" mobilizations of 2014-15 -- African Americans are also more likely to give the "correct" answers to corporate media surveys.

But not the youth of all races, who know that capitalism, as they experience it, promises them nothing but endless austerity and war. Majorities of young Americans now embrace a version of "socialism" that is actually merely a less vicious capitalism, made kinder by a comprehensive system of social supports - similar to the "social democratic" order in northwestern Europe. But late stage capitalism is relentlessly eviscerating the European model and has no intention of allowing a replica to be erected in the United Corporate States of America, the global headquarters and armory of the Lords of Capital.

Late stage capitalism is beset with accumulated contradictions that allow it no option but to conscript the whole world into a Race to the Bottom. This vast army of precarity must include many of the previously imperially-privileged classes - white people whose entire personal identities are entwined with empire and their right to share in the spoils of conquest. As rulers of the oldest and most successful white settler state, U.S. oligarchs cannot find the language to tell their white subjects that the implicit imperial contract has been terminated -- a fact that should have been obvious over two generations of deindustrialization.

In addition to being eclipsed on the world stage by a Chinese command economy that continues to expand even when the rest of the world is in deep recession, the Lords of Capital face an internal crisis that is both general and racial. American rulers must convince a multiracial imperial population to take its place in the Race to the Bottom - including a white majority that thought it was sitting on top of the world.

The megalomaniacal hustler-capitalist Donald Trump jumped into the systemic late capitalist contradiction with racist, gleeful abandon in 2016. Speaking the plain language of white supremacy, Trump promised to put "America First" and avoid entanglements with the darker races of the world -- the "shit-hole" people. By throwing red meat to his fellow racists, Trump massacred his dog-whistling opponents in the established Republican Party. At first, the Democratic half of the corporate duopoly was ecstatic. They thought Trump would appeal to only a minority of whites, allowing the Democrats to pick up tens of millions of "moderate" Republicans while scaring Blacks and Latinos to vote Democrat in huge numbers. But the moderate Republicans were as mythical as the "moderate" U.S.-backed jihadists in Syria. Trump won solid majorities of whites, including white women, and took the presidency.

Trump's triumph threw the rulers into confusion and disarray. By Election Day, most of the ruling class and their national security state were clustered in one party, the Democrats. They had lost control of half the governing duopoly, and Sanders, an anti-austerity candidate who was less enthusiastic about eternal warfare, had come close to winning on the Democratic side. The Lords of Capital had thought the "deplorable" Trump would be their straw man who presented enough threat to Black and Latino America and "decent" whites that the masses would gladly follow enlightened corporate (Democratic) direction and file into line for the global Race to the Bottom. But the 2016 election showed that the majority of white Americans want restoration of white privilege (as if it ever expired), including good "white" jobs. Many of them of them have already been running the Race to the Bottom, and demand that the nation rescue them by any means necessary. And they were not nearly as deeply invested in foreign wars as had been assumed.

The crises of late stage capitalism had suddenly multiplied in the belly of the imperial beast. On top of everything else, the system was suffering a crisis of legitimacy: nobody believed the official narrative anymore. Corporate warmonger Hillary Clinton was a world class loser; the maddeningly unpredictable Donald Trump had gone from fodder for ridicule to Commander-in-Chief of the empire; and self-styled socialist Bernie Sanders was the most-favored U.S politician - not thanks to his looks or charm, but because he championed BIG health, education and labor programs supported by supermajorities of the people. For the first time in neoliberal era history, the Race to the Bottom - the general blueprint of late stage capitalism -- was in trouble in the imperial headquarters country.

The rulers have not handled the multi-crisis well. With the national security state on point, the Russiagate scam has vastly worsened the U.S. regime's already existing crisis of legitimacy. In the attempt to wound, weaken and control Trump, the Democrat-aligned political operatives and their media have savaged the Office of the President and made half of Americans believe the U.S. electoral system can be decisively subverted by actors half a world away with an ad budget of $100,000. What kind of superpower is that?

Corporate media has ruined itself, abandoning every artifice of "objectivity" crafted over generations to convince the people that corporate journalism can be trusted as an arbiter of truth -- a Humpty-Dumpty that can never be put back together again. The half of white America that supports Trump will never believe anything reported on anti-Trump media - a huge and irreparable crisis of legitimacy for the system as a whole.

Yes, the Left - what there is of it - will have to figure out alternative ways to communicate and organize now that Internet algorithms are openly rigged and Facebook has become a hostile environment, especially for Black speech. But, Russiagate has stripped the ruling class's legitimacy-sustaining tools of all credibility, and they can't buy it back.

The rulers have turned the same machinery against Bernie Sanders. The New York Times and the Washington Post, the premier opinion molders of the corporate press, every day run front-page stories on the Democratic presidential race that either malign Sanders or pretend he doesn't exist. As Sanders speechwriter David Sirota pointed out , when CNN commissioned a poll that showed Sanders in first place in New Hampshire, the news network put up a graphic that showed him in second place.

The corporate media methodically try to confuse the public about the cost and benefits of Medicare For All, free public higher education and the rest of Sanders' signature proposals, seeking to render him a non-person with an illegitimate program. But, in doing so, they further erode their own legitimacy, and their usefulness to their masters, the Lords of Capital, who have no vision for the future except the Race to the Bottom.

Tens of millions of Americans now know that the Democrats are a bastion of corporate greed and war, the Republicans are the White Man's Party, and the corporate media tell lies for a living. Late stage capitalism has derelict institutions as defenders.

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

The Gloppy Mess Of Merger Mania
By Jim Hightower

Here's a recipe for you: Chop up some Oscar Mayer wieners, stir in Heinz ketchup, blend with Cool Whip and Maxwell House Coffee, sprinkle Planters peanuts over the mixture, add A-1 Steak Sauce, then top it with Cheez Whiz and blast it in the microwave.

Sounds like a gloppy mess, but an even messier version was cooked up in 2015 when Kraft Foods merged with H.J. Heinz, thus conglomerating more than 200 brand-name products - including all of the above - into one $28 billion-a-year behemoth. The combine was hailed at the time as a whiz-bang deal that would prove that bigger is always better.

Uh... apparently not. Four years later, Kraft Heinz's sales have slumped, profits are tumbling, its stock price has plummeted by half in the last year, investors are bailing out, shareholders are suing, regulators are investigating, employees are dispirited, and... well, as some business journalists have put it, the mega-merger is a mega-mess.

The Kraft Heinz consolidation was engineered from outside by a Brazilian corporate takeover outfit named 3G, in cahoots with US buyout buccaneer Warren Buffett. They are ideological disciples of the old orthodoxy that the sole responsibility of corporate executives is to jack up the stock price and profits for big shareholders - in this case, themselves. Their self-serving approach to increasing Kraft Heinz's profit was to squeeze "costs," meaning squeezing out experienced managers, workers, product development, and the vibrancy of the corporation itself - which has steadily squeezed out their own profits.

This old model of self-enrichment through corporate takeover, consolidation, and contraction, turns out to be not just bad morals, but bad business. It's time for us, the media, and public officials to start saying "NO!" to merger mania.

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

A boy holds a poster as he participates in a protest against governmental inaction towards climate breakdown
and environmental pollution, part of the Fridays for Future demonstrations in Mumbai, India on Sept. 20, 2019.

Dear Fossil Fuels: It's Over
Breaking up is never easy, but humanity is ready for this toxic relationship to end once and for all.
By Randall Amster

We know that this has been a difficult period for you, and there's never really a good time to break up. But it'll be better for you (and us) if we just rip off the bandage quickly and get it over with. We've had some fun times together, and we're grateful for what you've given us: food, clothing, shelter, and of course energy. But we're done-and just to be clear: it's you, not us. (Well, mostly you, and a bit of us.)

We recognize how much we've grown while being with you, and even though it's over now we're still going to keep some of the mementos from our time together-I mean, we're not giving up our vinyl record collection, so don't even think about it on your way out! And until we can get our lives completely disentangled (which isn't easy to do after being together for all these years), we'll still remain connected.

Very soon, though, it'll be totally finished between us, one way or another. We're not into name-calling and cliches, but this obviously has been a toxic relationship from the beginning. You've held all of the power due to your inherited wealth, doling it out in just enough doses to keep us coming back for more and becoming dependent on you. Yes, we should've pulled the plug long ago, but that's not how controlling dynamics work; we've felt trapped by the guilt and distracted by the pleasures all at once.

Hey, this could be a good thing for you, if you think about it constructively. You're free to hook up with any other species you'd like, and now you can finally stop complaining that we've just been using you and bleeding you dry without replenishing your reserves over all these years. True, you might still get the last laugh when we finally decay into your coffers-but that's like millions of years away, so whatever dude.

Listen, not to be harsh or anything, but we want to leave you with a few things that might help you in the future. First, you've really got to clean up your act; stop leaving a mess everywhere and take some responsibility for your impact on others. Second, try and give people some room to breathe, okay? You've been slowly smothering us for decades, and that's just no way to build a healthy relationship. Seriously.

As for us, we've got big plans, and the sky's the limit. It might hurt to hear it, but we've been seeing the Sun on the side lately, and now we're ready to make that old Sol our main squeeze. No, we're not settling down or anything-I mean, Wind and Tides look pretty good too, and you know what they say: Green is the new Black. We're gonna play the field for a while, and at least without you there'll be fields to play in.

Okay, so we're still kind of bitter about the whole deal, but that's our problem to work on going forward. Maybe it's unfair to resent you for who you are, and we know that basic character really doesn't change. All we can say is that you've brought out our worst tendencies (competitiveness, manipulation, selfishness, greed, wastefulness, and even violence), and it hurts to look at ourselves so closely.

Maybe this is who we've always been, or at least part of who we are by nature. But during all these years with you, it sometimes felt like only those qualities were on display. Still, we've grown a lot in some ways too, finding new potentials and creative capacities under your spell. Yet that doesn't change how we feel now, and all of that growth and newness might have been found in healthier ways without you.

Dear Fossil Fuels, may you find solace and comfort in the future, perhaps reveling in some alone time and a much-needed period of relaxation and recharge. Any relationship is a two-way street, and clearly you've felt exploited at times as well. Really, this will be better for all of us: we'll be healthier and happier, and who knows what you might someday become. The future is wide open now, and we're finally moving into it.

(c) 2019 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. Among his most recent books are Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012) and the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and the co-edited volume Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice (Syracuse University Press, 2013).

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald wants to replace retiring Congressman James
Sensenbrenner. Fitzgerald has been working hard to win the nomination, elbowing
aside other Republicans and pursuing national money and endorsements.

Why Is Scott Fitzgerald Running For Congress If He Doesn't Like Legislating?
By John Nichols

If the folks at Merriam-Webster are looking for an illustration for the term "career politician," they could do no better than a photo of Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. The Chicago-born Fitzgerald was elected to the Senate a quarter century ago, after an ugly primary campaign in which he elbowed aside a respected Republican member of the Senate, Barbara Lorman. He attacked Lorman for being "too moderate," which was another way of saying that she was willing to work across lines of partisanship and ideology in order to get things done.

Fitzgerald will never be accused of being "too moderate," or of getting much done. He's a hard-core partisan whose "service" begins with the premise that protecting his own position and power matters more than the common good. Now, he wants to go to Washington, as the replacement for retiring Congressman James Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls. Fitzgerald has been working hard to secure the seat, elbowing aside other Republicans and pursuing national money and endorsements. If he wins, as is quite possible in eastern Wisconsin's overwhelmingly Republican 5th District, he'll surely do his best to make a fractured and dysfunctional Congress more fractured and more dysfunctional.

So what is it that motivates Fitzgerald to bid for higher office? It's clearly not the desire to legislate in an effective or meaningful way.

Fitzgerald will confirm his disdain for legislating next week. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has called a special session of the Legislature to address gun violence. The governor has made two modest proposals, both of which are popular with the voters. Evers wants to expand background checks for gun purchases, and he'd like to see Wisconsin adopt a "red flag" proposal that would permit judges to take guns from individuals who have been determined to pose a risk to themselves or others. But Fitzgerald has announced that the Senate will not consider the bills. No hearings, no debates, no votes.

Fitzgerald can get away with rejecting the actual work of legislating because he has rejected the actual work of electioneering. For most of the past decade, Fitzgerald's authority has extended not from the voters but from the gaming of the redistricting process that took place after the 2010 census.

The majority leader has enjoyed the benefits of extreme gerrymandering since he and his allies drew legislative district lines that were so uncompetitive that the will of the people is no longer reflected in election results.

In 2018, when Democrats won every statewide contest, Republicans actually picked up a state Senate seat. That year, Republican candidates attracted a few more votes than Democratic candidates. But Republicans also got the most seats in years when Democratic candidates got the most votes.

In 2016, for instance, Democrat candidates won a majority of the vote cast by Wisconsinites for state Senate seats, while Republican candidates took just 48 percent. Yet Republicans won 56 percent of the seats up for election, while Democrats took just 44 percent.

In 2012, a year that saw President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin secure solid statewide victories for the Democrats, Republicans won most of the contests for the gerrymandered state Legislature. As a study conducted after the election by the nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism report concluded, "In the state Senate, Republicans won six of 11 contested races, including two seats that had been held by Democrats. The Republicans now have a 17-15 advantage in the state Senate, which will likely increase to 18-15 after a December special election in an overwhelmingly Republican district. But the Democrats actually outpolled the GOP in these contested state Senate elections, winning 50.5 percent of the 941,000 votes cast."

Gerrymandering has been very good for Fitzgerald. Since the new district lines that he helped to formulate were put in place for the 2012 election, he has had no trouble maintaining his grip on his leadership position.

During the years when Fitzgerald's longtime ally, Scott Walker, held the governorship, the majority leader did not have to think much about actual legislating. He served as a rubber stamp for the governor, and for the out-of-state campaign donors who the two men cultivated.

Since Walker's 2018 defeat, however, Fitzgerald has been forced into a position where he must be more than a rubber stamp. This could have been a moment when he stepped up and actually did the work of a legislative leader. But Fitzgerald has shown no interest in that work _ as it would require him to listen to others, display at least a measure of flexibility, and try to find a small measure of common ground. Instead, in a lame-duck session that was called before Evers took office, Fitzgerald conspired with Walker and the Republican speaker of the state Assembly, Robin Vos, R-Rochester, to rewrite the rules in a way that disempowered the Democratic governor and newly elected Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Evers has still been able to outmaneuver Fitzgerald and Vos, especially on budget issues. And now, the governor is calling for a special session to consider ways to promote public safety, but Fitzgerald's response is simply to say "no."

It won't be any different if Fitzgerald gets to Washington, which ought to give the voters of the 5th Congressional District pause.

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

When The Lights Go Out
By James Donahue

Pacific Gas & Electric chose to turn the power to my Santa Cruz County home in California at 8 p.m. I was suddenly forced to stop what I was doing and just go to bed. I realized the room night light was out, my electric clock was blank and the portable heater I use to keep the room comfortable was out as was the working air purification unit. The entire building we occupy was plunged into a dead silence. This happened on one of the shortest days of the year so I sat up in my room for the next 11 hours in total darkness.

Who can sleep when all the natural sounds, lights and comforts of home are unexpectedly turned off?

Imagine how unnerving it would be to find you in a situation like this without prior warning. Other than a flashlight I had within reach there was absolutely nothing within my grasp that black night to give any comfort for dealing with my situation. It is amazing how slow time passes when the power goes out in the night. I became so desperate for any kind of light I opened the shades to my windows hoping for some starlight. And I found that cloud cover eliminated any chance of natural night light. There was no moon. Every other building within sight of my home also was black.

I paced the floor using my flashlight on occasion to get my bearings until the sun began pushing back the darkness at about 7 a.m. A rooster in my neighbor's chicken pen announced the new day as the precious daylight spilled out over the yard and through my east window. Imagine then spending the next two days without any electric service. The telephone service was dead. There was no Internet, no television. I found an old battery operated radio, put batteries in and tuned in on local radio. It was only then that I finally tuned in on the threat of high winds and out-of-control fires raging all around our state.

We were luckier than many other residents of California that week. The wind was not as damaging where we live and there were no fires threatening the area so the power came back on in the third day. Many others remained in the dark for the week and may still be out of power as fires are still raging especially in Southern California. The fires were destroying homes. Because of the danger entire cities were evacuated as fires bore down on the roads leading from their neighborhoods.

PG&E is taking a lot of heat for what occurred. Defective power lines are being blamed for some of the fires. Schools and businesses were forced closed for lack of power. People living via medical equipment in their homes were left fighting to stay alive. We suspect that there were some deaths. People couldn-t buy gasoline or food from closed business places. They were unable to eat a warm meal or get to their jobs. It was total chaos everywhere.

It is frightening when a situation like this occurs that we become aware of how dependent we have become to the electric power serving our homes and businesses. To adapt I personally resorted to reading a book, listening to radio broadcasts and feeding on cold food. I took a walk and found my neighbors doing the same thing. Thus some old-fashioned neighborhood comradery began to evolve. I put that down as a good thing.

With battery operated devices and lighting, with candles and portable generators, it was interesting to notice how people were adapting to the loss of electric power. We Californians demonstrated how quick we can deal with stuff like this. There seems to be hope for our generation in spite of the horrors now generated by dramatic weather changes.

When I got back on line I found that a few fools posting on the social media were still saying weather change is a hoax. Our personal experience amid the California fires and blackouts convinced me how dead wrong they are.

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

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gavels the close of a vote by the House of Representatives on a resolution formalizing
the impeachment inquiry centered on President Trump on October 31, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

Republicans Can't Break With Trump While They Invest In Voter Suppression
By William Rivers Pitt

The first formal vote in the House impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump took place Thursday, and fell nearly universally along party lines: The House of Representatives voted 232-196 in favor of a resolution laying out the rules for the inquiry going forward, with only one Republican voting "Aye" and two Democrats voting "No."

Justin Amash, the Michigan Independent and former fire-breathing Freedom Caucus member who bailed on the GOP over its obeisance to Trump, voted with the majority. Two Democrats - Colin Peterson of the MN 7th district and Jeff Van Drew of the NJ 1st district - voted with the minority, gifting the Republicans an opportunity to claim that impeachment opposition is bipartisan.

It won't matter. Unless the Potomac thwarts its banks and subsumes the District or Trump personally invents in a functioning cold fusion reactor and saves us all from climate doom, the numbers say impeachment in the House is inevitable. The only real surprise to come out of Thursday's vote is that Amash, in this instance, apparently has more integrity than two of Speaker Pelosi's delicate red-district reclamation projects.

"The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!" tweeted Trump in the immediate aftermath of the vote. "A group of Republican lawmakers were invited to have lunch with Trump at the White House after the vote Thursday on the resolution related to the impeachment inquiry," reported The Washington Post on Thursday afternoon. Oh, to have been a fly on that wall.

The resolution as passed is incredibly friendly to Trump and the Republicans, if you ignore the fact that it's part of an ongoing impeachment process. By the rules, Trump and his lawyers can query witnesses once the show reaches the Judiciary Committee. The Intelligence Committee is authorized to release transcripts of the "Soviet-style" depositions they've been taking, which (by the way) have been open to all Republican members of the involved committees the whole time.

The rules furthermore allow Republicans to subpoena witnesses and documents of their own, pending majority agreement of the committee members, which should provide for some comedy when Matt Gaetz and Louie Gohmert try to make use of this largesse: The pair have made the peddling of shouted nonsense their life's work. Also included in the rules are special procedures allowing Republicans to make up to 90-minute arguments against the issues at hand as they arise. Again, comedy should ensue.

Republican reaction to this entirely fair and deeply balanced resolution was predictable. "Democrats are trying to impeach the president because they are scared they can't defeat him at the ballot box," bleated House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. "To my colleagues on the other side, I say this: Give the people back their power. Let them choose the next leader of the free world. Follow the principles of our Constitution. And do not dilute our democracy by interfering in elections from Washington."

There's an old lawyer's saying: When the law is on your side, pound on the law. When the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. When neither the law nor the facts are on your side, pound on the table.

The law is not on the side of the Republicans, and they know it. The facts are not on their side, and they know it. McCarthy's aria - Let the people decide! - is almost certain to be the core GOP talking point going forward. That is how they will pound on the table: by making it sound like the impeachment process is stealing people's right to decide who they want to be president in 2020.

The problem with that argument, of course, lies at the heart of why we are here in the first place. By attempting to leverage a foreign power into running a campaign of smear and interference against Democrats, it was Trump himself who tried to mess with the people's right to choose their leader in a fair and open process. Trump attempted to foul the very process McCarthy sounds like he's defending.

McCarthy's reaction was among the more subdued coming from the ridiculous right. When gruesome conservative commentator Ann Coulter learned that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard had voted in favor of the impeachment rules resolution, her reaction was swift and, well, awesome if you like this sort of thing. "No she didn't," raged Coulter on Twitter. "Tulsi is a SENATOR, meaning she's in the SENATE and doesn't vote on HOUSE resolutions."

Gabbard is the House member from the HI 2nd district. Being wrong is one thing. Being wrong in ALL CAPS online for all the world to see is why they invented the internet. Pound the table, Ann. Not your own sad, strange head. The table.

Word has been out for a while now that a large number of Republicans would vote to impeach or remove Donald Trump (depending on which chamber they reside in) if the vote were taken in the dark while everyone else was watching the ballgame. That's not how this works, as the lady in the Esurance ad reminds us, but it is telling.

The reason these secret Republican anti-Trumpers are so nervous about actually doing the right thing is entirely mathematical in nature. Many of them rightly fear a primary election backlash from Trump's wildly devoted voter base. That base has such power in their minds because primary elections typically suffer from low voter turnout, making Trump voters - who would turn out for their man if it was raining live, flesh-eating jaguars outside - more powerful than their numbers would normally indicate.

As I pondered the somber faces of congressional Republicans as they cast their "No" votes in solemn uniformity on Thursday, an idea struck me. There is a really easy way for these timorous GOPers to get out from under the electoral sword of Damocles represented by Trump voters in low-turnout primary elections: Increase turnout! Get more people to vote in Republican congressional primaries, and the Law of Large Numbers insists that the impact of Trump's base would be diminished.

The dream died quickly, however, as I remembered that the only thing Republicans are more invested in than Trump is figuring out new and interesting ways to get fewer people to vote. Trying to get more people to vote is a highway to anathema for that party, a total non-starter.

Talk about getting hoist with your own petard. You either throw in with Trump and come to regret it or watch as your party gets sucked into his vortex with no power to stop it, and the only way available to salvage the situation without losing your gig cuts against the grain of your party's core ethos - the ethos of repression and exclusion.

Speaking of comedy, that's about as funny as it gets. Buy the ticket, Republicans. Take the ride.

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

Children shouldn't have to march in the streets or take their governments to court. But in times of
crisis people have to do what they can to get the many available and emerging solutions implemented.

Youth Lawsuit Draws Attention To Climate Crisis
By David Suzuki

Children and teens are at a disadvantage. They can't vote and have little say in many plans and policies that will determine their futures. The political decisions made today will affect their lives profoundly.

Scientists worldwide have warned we only have a decade to get emissions down substantially or face the well-known consequences of rapidly accelerating global heating. The costly effects are already being felt - from contaminated air and water to increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events to melting permafrost and species extinction.

With no real say in the political process, children and youth are taking to the streets worldwide, demanding that those in power do more to address this very real crisis. The message appears to be getting through. Climate disruption and plans to deal with it became a key issue in the recent Canadian election.

But instead of doing everything possible to ensure these young people have a secure, healthy future, governments here and elsewhere continue to expand fossil fuel infrastructure, arguing - as they have for decades - that we can't get off fossil fuels overnight. It's kind of like an addict who really isn't ready to quit.

A group of young people has decided marching isn't enough. The 15 youth, ranging in age from seven to 19, and hailing from Vancouver Island to the Northwest Territories to Nova Scotia, are taking the federal government to court "to protect their charter and public trust rights from climate change harms," claiming the federal government's failure to take actions consistent with the scientific evidence violates their rights to life, liberty and security of the person under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and for failing to protect essential public trust resources.

Since climate change disproportionately affects youth, they're also alleging that government's conduct violates their right to equality under section 15 of the charter. The youth are supported by the David Suzuki Foundation, Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation and Our Children's Trust and represented by law firms Arvay Finlay LLP and Tollefson Law Corporation.

They aren't seeking money. Rather, they'll ask for a Federal Court order requiring Canada's government to prepare a plan to redress charter and public trust doctrine violations by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making a sufficient contribution to preventing, mitigating and redressing dangerous climate change.

As 13-year-old Saj Starcevich from Saskatchewan says, "The planet is dying. The animals are dying. We will all die if we don't act. As an Indigenous vegan, I fight for Earth and her inhabitants. The youth have to step up because no one else has. We need you to join us to end this climate crisis."

A gradual transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation would have been possible had we taken the climate crisis seriously even in the 1980s, when scientists including NASA's James Hansen were sounding the alarm. But, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change points out, we've now pumped so many greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere that we've locked in many inevitable consequences.

Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for a long time, while gases like methane remain for less time but have a greater effect on rising global temperatures. Everything we pump into the air now will remain for decades, causing the planet to continue heating for years. To prevent runaway impacts, we have to cut emissions immediately and protect and restore forests, wetlands and other natural systems, including oceans, that sequester carbon.

As adults, we've helped create this mess through rampant consumerism and lack of attention to the problems our pollution is causing. We owe it to the children to help clean it up, to push for the kinds of changes the scientific evidence calls for. We can't leave it to the youth, because by the time they grow up, Earth could well have reached the tipping point for climate catastrophe.

Children shouldn't have to march in the streets or take their own governments to court. But in times of crisis - which this surely is - people have to do what they can to get the many available and emerging solutions implemented.

Let's listen to the kids and leave them a brighter future!

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

President Trump Holds MAGA Rally In Las Vegas

Mike Pompeo's State Department Answers To Sean Hannity, Apparently
Marie Yovanovitch's testimony before Congress suggests Ukraine policy was funneled through Fox News.
By Charles P. Pierce

Once upon a time, there was a king of France who believed he was made of glass. Apparently, this was A Thing at the time. People thought they were made of glass. Literally. It was a sort of advanced, funky hypochondria, I guess. Some cases were more advanced than others, too. From JSTOR Daily:

One unfortunate man was convinced his buttocks was made of glass, and that sitting down would smash it into flying shards. He was afraid to leave the house, in case a glazier tried to melt him down into a windowpane.
Reading the transcript-an actual transcript, mind you-of former Ambassador Marie Yovanovich's deposition to the House committees engaged in the impeachment inquiry, which describes exactly how Yovanovich became a former ambassador to Ukraine. and which is one of the goddamnedest official government documents I've ever read, makes me wonder if El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago may not be similarly afflicted with the belief that his ass is glass.

Certainly, it is one more damning bit of evidence of the president*'s having rung the bell on impeachable offenses with his extortionate scheme. Certainly, Yovanovich got cheated out of a position she'd earned, and in which, by all accounts, she'd served admirably. Certainly, Rudy Giuliani probably deserves to bask in striped sunlight for the rest of his born days. Certainly, Mike Pompeo is a thoroughgoing tool.

Yovanovitch's testimony illustrates just what kind of a mess we're in.

But I think we all knew that stuff anyway, even before Yovanovitch sat down before the committees. What I, at least, didn't know was the depth of the madness that has entered American policymaking with this president* and his pack of bumbling buccaneers. All through the extended fandango through which she lost her job, Yovanovich is advised that, if she wanted to keep it, she'd do well to kiss the delicate presidential hindquarters lest they shatter from her neglect. The messenger was Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador To Bullshit Alibis.
You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the president. He said: "You know the president. Well, maybe you don't know him personally, but you know, you know, the sorts of things that he likes."
Dance, monkey, dance! Yovanovitch declined, and lost her job.

This all came as the entire diplomatic apparatus in that part of the world was tasked with getting rid of Ambassador Yovanovitch, and was put in service of a lunatic conspiracy theory and at the disposal of Sean Hannity.

To repeat:

This all came as the entire diplomatic apparatus in that part of the world was tasked with getting rid of Ambassador Yovanovich, and was put in service of a lunatic conspiracy theory and at the disposal of Sean Hannity.

This was so egregious that, according to Yovanovich, the State Department put in a call to Hannity to tell him to put up or shut up regarding the smears of Yovanovich that seemed to be coming from the shady precincts within which Giuliani was doing business in Ukraine. But, still, Hannity?

Schiff: And did you ever find out when, you know, the allegations were being made or the attacks were being made by Donald Trump, Jr., or Rudy Giuliani, did you ever find out what the Secretary of State's position, whether the Secretary of State was going to defend you or not, apart from the refusal by the Secretary to issue a statement in your defense?

Yovanovitch: What I was told by Phil Reeker was that the Secretary or perhaps somebody around him was going to place a call to Mr. Hannity on Fox News to say, you know, what is going on? I mean, do you have proof of these kinds of allegations or not? And if you have proof, you know, telI me, and if not, stop.

And I understand that that call was made. I don't know whether it was the Secretary or somebody else in his inner circle. And for a time, you know, things kind of simmered down.

Schiff: I mean, does that seem extraordinary to you that the Secretary of State or some other high-ranking official would call a talk show host to figure out whether you should be retained as ambassador?

Yovanovitch: Well...I'm not sure that's exactly what was being asked.

Schiff: Well, they were asking if what basis they...was Hannity one of the people criticizing you?

Yovanovitch: Yes.

Schiff: So some top administration official was going to him to find out what the basis of this Fox host was attacking you for?

Yovanovitch: Uh-huh.

Jesus, these really are the mole people.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"I'm a 'bleeding heart liberal,' one of those card carrying Democrats that Rush Limbaugh thinks is a communist. And I'm proud of it."
~~~ James Garner

An example from Georgia of something Charlottesville, Va., does not have.

Charlottesville The Place Missed Charlottesville The Event
By David Swanson

James W. Loewen's wonderful book Lies Across America has been published in a revised 20th anniversary edition, containing a chapter called "Public History After Charlottesville." In this usage, "Charlottesville" is an event, not a place. Specifically, it's a fascist rally that happened here in 2017.

Loewen chronicles the dramatic surge immediately after and ever since that event in the reworking of the public landscape by governments around the United States. Statues have been toppling like bowling pins. New monuments have been going up. Markers have been sprouting all over the place to explain existing monuments and what's wrong with them.

Loewen documents a major shift in public attitudes about the U.S. Civil War, which he credits not only to "Charlottesville," but also to a mass shooting in Charleston, S.C., in 2015, and to Black Lives Matter. I would add also some credit to the work of people like James Loewen.

Loewen favors removing monuments that glorify horrible things, but putting up historical markers to indicate what had been there, when it had been erected and why, and when it had been removed and why. This is not the same as removing monuments to all people who ever did horrible things, if the clear purpose of the monument is to glorify other non-horrible things. After all, every actual person has done horrible things.

Loewen also favors putting up new monuments to people who have been excluded from public memorialization. But he worries about parallel sets of monuments being maintained or erected based on identity: monuments to white racists and black anti-racists, but very few monuments to white anti-racists or memorials to racist atrocities or memorials to widespread wrongs or to the movements against them.

Loewen applauds the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, which of course has nothing to do with ending war (this is the United States, after all), but which has created a monument to be provided to each of 800 U.S. counties where a lynching took place - on condition that each county has taken appropriate steps to confront the truth. (Hey, Albemarle, Va., here's a free monument for you to earn!)

The major public attitude shift regarding the U.S. Civil War is of course not a shift to believing that any major public policy change shouldn't be preceded by slaughtering large numbers of people. That would be crazy. Rather, it is a shift to admitting that the motivations of one side of that particular war were reprehensible.

Thus we have the push for removing or contextualizing racist war monuments, without anyone having yet anywhere identified a non-racist war monument or explained what such a thing could be.

Loewen says that the riot in Charlottesville on August 11-12, 2017, was "ostensibly to protest the city's decision to take down statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson." Unfortunately, the city had made no such decision. The Charlottesville City Council had never even voted on taking down the Jackson statue, and had finally voted 3-to-2, after repeated failure, to move the Lee statue to a less-central park. The mayor, one of the 2 nay votes, didn't come around to supporting the moving of the Lee statue until immediately after the Nazi rally.

Today, the Lee and Jackson statues still stand in their original locations, along with the generic Confederate, along with Lewis-Clark-Sacajawea, and a monument glorifying the war on Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia, and at the University of Virginia monuments to World War I, plaques celebrating numerous wars, and a monument celebrating and depicting genocide. UVa is putting up a memorial to enslaved people who built the university, very close to its monument to genocide. In Charlottesville (at Albemarle County's Court House) there is now an historical marker about a lynching. There is also a new historical marker honoring those who desegregated a school.

But no war monuments (of the offensive or the supposedly inoffensive kind) in Charlottesville have been toppled or moved or contextualized or hidden or replaced. No comparably large and prominent monuments have been erected to anything at all other than war or genocide.

It's terrific to see the word "Charlottesville" being associated with a positive trend. It would be nice for that trend to reach Charlottesville too.

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Con-gressmen Van Drew & Peterson

Heil Trump,

Dear Unterfuhrer's Van Drew and Peterson,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your decision to vote against der Fuhrers impeachment, 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 "Demoncratic Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Would The Founding Fathers Impeach Trump?
By Robert Reich

Trump has asked a foreign power to dig up dirt on a major political rival. This is an impeachable offense.

Come back in time with me. In late May 1787, when 55 delegates gathered in Philadelphia to begin debate over a new Constitution, everyone knew the first person to be president would be the man who presided over that gathering: George Washington. As Benjamin Franklin put it, "The first man put at the helm will be a good one," but "Nobody knows what sort may come afterwards."

Initially, some of the delegates didn't want to include impeachment in the Constitution, arguing that if a president was bad he'd be voted out at the next election. But what if the president was so bad that the country couldn't wait until the next election? Which is why Franklin half-joked that anyone who wished to be president should support an impeachment clause because the alternative was assassination.

So they agreed that Congress should have the power to impeach a president - but on what grounds? The initial impeachment clause borrowed from established concepts in English law and state constitutions, allowing impeachment for "maladministration" - basically incompetence, akin to a vote of no confidence.

James Madison and others argued this was too vague a standard. They changed it to "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

But what did this mean?

One of the biggest fears of the founding fathers was that the new nation might fall under the sway of foreign powers. That's what had happened in Europe over the years, where one nation or another had fallen prey to bribes, treaties and ill-advised royal marriages from other nations.

So those who gathered in Philadelphia to write the Constitution included a number of provisions to guard against foreign intrusion in American democracy. One was the emoluments clause, barring international payments or gifts to a president or other federal elected official. The framers of the Constitution worried that without this provision, a president might be bribed by a foreign power to betray America.

The delegates to the Convention were also concerned that a foreign power might influence the outcome of an election.

They wanted to protect the new United States from what Alexander Hamilton called the "desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils." Or as James Madison put it, protect the new country from a president who'd "betray his trust to foreign powers." Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, who initially had opposed including an impeachment clause, agreed to include it in order to avoid "the danger of seeing the first Magistrate in foreign pay."

During the Virginia ratifying convention, Edmund Randolph explicitly connected impeachment to foreign money, saying that a president "may be impeached" if discovered "receiving emoluments [help] from foreign powers." George Washington, in his farewell address, warned of "the insidious wiles of foreign influence."

You don't have to be a so-called "originalist," interpreting the Constitution according to what the founders were trying to do at the time, in order to see how dangerous it is to allow a president to seek help in an election from a foreign power.

If a president can invite a foreign power to influence the outcome of an election, there's no limit to how far foreign powers might go to curry favor with a president by helping to take down his rivals. That would be the end of democracy as we know it.

Now, fast forward 232 years from that Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to Donald Trump.

It's not just the official summary of Trump's phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky in which after telling Zelensky how good America has been to Ukraine, Trump asks for "a favor, though" and then explicitly asks Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, one of Trump's most likely opponents in the 2020 election.

Trump's entire presidency has been shadowed by questions of foreign interference favoring him. Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation documented extensive contacts between Trump's associates and Russian figures - concluding that the Kremlin sought specifically to help Trump get elected, and that Trump's campaign welcomed Russia's help.

Trump at one point in the 2016 election campaign even publicly called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails, and within hours Russian agents sought to do just that by trying to break into her computer servers.

More recently, he openly called on China's help, saying before cameras "China should start an investigation into the Bidens."

This is an impeachable offense, according to the framers of the Constitution. Trump did it.

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

America Claims Syria's Oil. Can Syria Now Claim America's Oil Too?
By Jane Stillwater

I'm off to Texas tomorrow. Going to stay with a friend in Dallas for a few days, and also try to pitch my latest murder mystery at a book conference as well. And I'm also going to find myself in the heart of the American oil industry, in that great state that gave us Texaco, James Dean in Giant, fourteen major Houston oil refineries and two of the most corrupt and mendacious presidents we've ever had -- George Bush and George Bush.

Ah, Texas.

And then there's the northeastern state of Deir Ezzor, located in Syria. It's got oil too. And President Trump has just announced that Deir Ezzor's oil is actually America's oil. Who knew?

But does this mean that all the oil in Texas now belongs to President Assad? Is there a quid pro quo at work here too? I'm about to go to Dallas and find out.

PS: Syria also owns a whole bunch of UNESCO world heritage sites as well as a whole bunch of oil. Isn't it time that the United Nations made a new rule about antiquities (as well as a new rule about oil too?) "If you invade a country that has an official UNESCO world heritage site, then you get thrown out of the UN." That makes perfect sense.

The Saudis would get thrown out of the UN for trying to destroy Saana, right? And America would get thrown out of the UN for engineering, planning, financing and/or staging invasions of Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, etc.

Hell, America should have been kicked out of the UN way back when Kissinger invaded Cambodia! Remember Angkor Watt?

But America doesn't ever have to worry about a quid pro quo with Syria with regard to antiquities. Why? Because America doesn't even have any UNESCO world heritage sites built in the post-colonial era -- unless you count Las Vegas of course. And the Statue of Liberty. But Americans mostly ignore the Statue of Liberty these days. Maybe the Syrians might be more entitled to it than us right now. At least they are willing to fight for their freedom.

Maybe "Remember the Alamo" should be Syria's motto too. Or at least "Remember Deir Ezzor!"

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Steve Sack ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Lindsey Graham

Sympathetic Representatives Let Lindsey Graham Into Impeachment Hearing After It Becomes Clear He Came To Disrupt It Alone
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In an expression of pity for the man who had been slowly pacing the hallway for over an hour, House committee members taking impeachment depositions reportedly let Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) into their meeting Friday after it became clear he had come to storm the room all by himself.

"We figured it wouldn't hurt to let just one more person in, and to be honest, we all felt pretty bad for the sad sack,"" said House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel, who added that aides had spotted the lone senator outside the Capitol's Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility struggling to set up a Facebook livestream and checking the batteries in a bullhorn he couldn't get to work.

"You could hear him out there rehearsing his little speech to himself over and over right before he ran up and knocked on the door. When we opened it, he started sputtering and sweating and couldn't get any words out, so after a while [Rep.] Ted [Deutch] just said, 'Hey, Lindsey, you can come in. It's fine.' He sat down and mumbled something about how three or four other Republicans had told him they might be showing up later to join his protest, but no one ever did."

According to sources, Graham later announced he had more important places to be and accidentally exited through the wrong door, finding himself in a broom closet where, to avoid further embarrassment, he stayed quiet and perfectly still through the remaining six hours of the hearing.

(c) 2019 The Onion

The Gross National Debt

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 43 (c) 11/08/2019

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