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In This Edition

Norman Solomon examines, "The Crass Warfare Of Billionaires Against Sanders And Warren."

Ralph Nader wonders, "America's Streets And Squares Are Waiting, But When Will The People Rise Up To Fill Them?"

Glen Ford finds, "Race Is Central To Both Revolution And Reaction In Latin American."

Jim Hightower explains, "How To Destroy A Giant Corporation From Within."

Juan Cole returns with, "'Catastrophic' Wildfires Threaten Sydney, Australia As Government Backs Coal."

John Nichols concludes, "Like Seattle, Madison Should Worry About Money In Local Politics."

James Donahue covers, "The Bloomberg Candidacy."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Lord, Let Your Arm Strengthen Trump": A Televangelist Is On White House Payroll."

David Suzuki says, "Doing More With Less Energy Goes A Long Way."

Charles P. Pierce finds, "Nikki Haley Is A Trump Loyalist Until the Moment It Becomes Inconvenient."

David Swanson considers, "What The New Virginia Legislature Could Do."

Lying Donald's senior policy adviser Stephen Miller wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "Why Billionaires Don't Really Like Capitalism."

Jane Stllwater explores, "My Trip To Dallas."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Republicans Demand That Everyone In Witness-Protection Program Appear On National TV," but first Uncle Ernie wonders, "Perhaps We Owe Lying Donald Our Thanks?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Kevin Siers, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Claudio Santana, Jabin Botsford, Mark Wilson, Peter Parks, Darren McCollester, Ted S. Warren, J.S. Photography, Tom Williams, 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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Perhaps We Owe Lying Donald Our Thanks?
By Ernest Stewart

"Will Hurd Could Be the Canary in the Coal Mine" ~~~ Russell Berman

"For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight." ~~~ Greta Thunberg

"I will say and I will do things that no one else in their right mind would do." ~~~ Stephen Miller

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

Perhaps we owe Lying Donald our thanks because of all the veteran Rethuglican House and Senate members that have chosen to retire instead of running again. I can dig it how it might be a little too much to run and have to defend Lying Donald and their motives for supporting him. Better to take the money and run, methinks!

Over in the Senate, Rethuglicans are losing four Sinators, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, and Mike Enzi of Wyoming. Isakson's decision to resign at the end of 2019 for health reasons sets up a second Senate election in Georgia, where David Perdue is already up for reelection next year. The Democrat Stacey Abrams nearly won Georgia's governorship in 2018, making the race for Isakson's Senate seat potentially competitive next year-and one that could have big implications for control of the chamber and with Kentucky going blue last Tuesday and Moscow Mitch looking like he could be beaten, who knows what might happen there?

Over in the House Peter King Nazi/NY became the latest veteran House Rethuglican to call it quits when the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee announced he would not run for a 15th term in 2020. You may recall that when first elected King became known for his support of the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland. His Long Island district might just flip blue! Along with King there are 17 other Rethuglican House members that are calling it quits!

Those 17 include the only black Rethuglican member of the House, Will Hurd of Texas who decided to leave in the weeks after a "series of racist tweets by the president appeared to crystallize a 2020 electoral strategy of mobilizing the GOP's white base." I don't know what Will was thinking in the first place but it seems that he's come to his senses!

Then there are Con-gress women Susan Brooks of Indiana and Martha Roby of Alabama, two of just 13 Rethuglican women in the House. Could they be fed up with Lying Donalds stand on women, which begs the question why are the other 11 ladies staying? Still, with another year to go, many more may see the light too! We can but hope, America!

In Other News

You may recall that one year ago, the international scientific community could hardly have expected that Greta Thunberg, a teenager from Sweden, would become one of its greatest allies. Since beginning her weekly "School Strike for the Climate," the petite 16-year-old has skillfully used her public appearances and powerful social media presence to push for bolder global action to reduce carbon emissions.

Again and again, the same message. "Listen to the scientists, listen to the scientists. Listen to the scientists!" But because the morons that elected Lying Donald that message is falling on deaf ears!

You'll remember that the scientists have been warning about severe global impacts from global warming since at least the 1960s pretty much since The Silent Spring onwards. But over the past 12 months those warnings have intensified. Reports detailing the massive environmental, economic, and human consequences of unfettered global warming have come at a fast and furious pace. And, collectively, they are far scarier than the sum of their parts. It really hit the fan last October, with the release of a special report from the United Nations' global climate science authority, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on the potential impacts of a rise in global temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius or more. Three international IPCC working groups with 91 authors and editors from 40 countries examined 6,000-plus scientific studies and called for "global carbon dioxide emissions (to) start to decline well before 2030" to avoid the most severe consequences of global warming. It said "global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate."

The release of the report provided a "breakthrough" moment in public consciousness and press coverage, with countless soundbites, headlines, and images warning of a "12-year" deadline to head off "climate change catastrophe." The "12-year" catchphrase was even more alarming than the IPCC's already strong admonitions. The planet won't implode in 2030, but further delays in major global actions will make it increasingly difficult to move to a low-carbon world.

In November, the United States' Fourth National Climate Assessment, produced by government and outside experts, reinforced the gloom-and-doom message of the October IPCC report. "Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth," it warned. The Trump administration's attempt to minimize media coverage of America's climate report card by releasing it on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, backfired: The congressionally mandated report got double coverage as both an environmental and a political story.

The dire news didn't abate as 2018 drew to a close. A December report from the World Health Organization (WHO) said that emissions from fossil fuel-powered electricity, transportation, and other sources are "a major contributor to health-damaging air pollution, which every year kills over seven million people." I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on drugs!

7,000,000 people every year bite the big one because they can't breath the air without dying!

Just as the disastrous future impacts of climate change were coming into clearer focus, we also received sobering news about the present. Last December, the Global Carbon Project projected that carbon dioxide emissions worldwide reached an all-time high in 2018, up more than two percent after three years of almost no growth. A January 2019 US Energy Information Administration (EIA) report estimated an increase of nearly 3% in 2018 energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, the largest jump since 2010-reversing a trend that had seen three consecutive years of decline. The EIA estimated that total US emissions would fall in 2019, and that prediction appears to be bearing out, due to a drop in coal consumption. However, total global carbon dioxide emissions will see a rise again for 2019, says Stanford University's Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project's Scientific Steering Committee.

The arctic led the way in global warming as in April, a NASA-funded study of the Greenland ice sheet, published online on Earth Day, found the mass loss of ice discharged into the ocean from glaciers on the world's largest island had increased six-fold since the 1980s. Meanwhile, sea level had risen nearly 14 millimeters since 1972, with half of that in the last eight years. (Later, a severe mid-summer Arctic heat wave contributed to historic melting of the Greenland ice sheet, with 12.5 billion tons of ice melting into the ocean on a single day-the "biggest single-day volume loss on record."

I keep waiting for another political brain dead climate denier to point out that it's cold and snowing outside. Well snowing because global warming puts more water in the sky not only in summer but year around and the temps have only risen less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's still going to be cold in the winter. My generation will all be dead by the time it gets really serious and the the Baby Boomers are the ones that have caused all the problems, i.e. we knew better and did nothing, while Greta Thunberg's generation and their children will be the ones that have to pay the piper!

And Finally

As you probably know by now in the run-up to the 2016 election, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage, according to leaked emails reviewed by Hatewatch.

The emails, which Miller sent to the fascist website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that underlines the policies he has created as an architect of Lying Donald's junta. These policies include reportedly setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee facilities, and lets not forget about his bright idea of putting babies in cages. What a swell guy, huh?

Yes, Miller is behind all immigrant evil of the last few years. As I've said many times before Miller is a racist, a fascist, a bigot and a white nationalist who is Lying Donald's senior advisor for policy and before that he worked for Jeff Sessions. Oh and did I mention that Stephen is a little to the right of Darth Vader!

Ergo, Stephen wins this weeks 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!


11-21-1929 ~ 11-13-2019
Thanks for the film and the laughs!

06-10-1932 ~ 11-14-2019
Thanks for the film!


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


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.

The Crass Warfare Of Billionaires Against Sanders And Warren
By Norman Solomon

For many decades, any politician daring to fight for economic justice was liable to be denounced for engaging in "class warfare." It was always a grimly laughable accusation, coming from wealthy elites as well as their functionaries in corporate media and elective office. In the real world, class warfare -- or whatever you want to call it -- has always been an economic and political reality.

In recent decades, class war in the USA has become increasingly lopsided. The steady decline in union membership, the worsening of income inequality and the hollowing out of the public sector have been some results of ongoing assaults on social decency and countess human lives. Corporate power has run amuck.

Now, the billionaire class is worried. For the first time in memory, there's a real chance that the next president could threaten the very existence of billionaires -- or at least significantly reduce their unconscionable rate of wealth accumulation -- in a country and on a planet with so much human misery due to extreme economic disparities.

In early fall, when Bernie Sanders said "I don't think that billionaires should exist," many billionaires heard an existential threat. It was hardly a one-off comment; the Bernie 2020 campaign followed up with national distribution of a bumper sticker saying "Billionaires should not exist."

When Elizabeth Warren stands on a debate stage and argues for a targeted marginal tax on the astronomically rich, such advocacy is anathema to those who believe that the only legitimate class war is the kind waged from the top down. In early autumn, CNBC reported that "Democratic donors on Wall Street and in big business are preparing to sit out the presidential campaign fundraising cycle -- or even back President Donald Trump -- if Sen. Elizabeth Warren wins the party's nomination."

As for Bernie Sanders -- less than four years after he carried every county in West Virginia against Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary -- the state's Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin flatly declared last week that if Sanders wins the nomination, he would not vote for his party's nominee against Trump in November 2020.

Some billionaires support Trump and some don't. But few billionaires have a good word to say about Sanders or Warren. And the pattern of billionaires backing their Democratic rivals is illuminating.

"Dozens of American billionaires have pulled out their checkbooks to support candidates engaged in a wide-open battle for the Democratic presidential nomination," Forbes reported this summer. The dollar total of those donations given directly to a campaign (which federal law limits to $2,800 each) is less significant than the sentiment they reflect. And people with huge wealth are able to dump hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars at once into a Super PAC, which grassroots-parched AstroTurf candidate Joe Biden greenlighted last month.

The donations from billionaires to the current Democratic candidates could be viewed as a kind of Oligarchy Confidence Index, based on data from the Federal Election Commission. As reported by Forbes, Pete Buttigieg leads all the candidates with 23 billionaire donors, followed by 18 for Cory Booker, and 17 for Kamala Harris. Among the other candidates who have qualified for the debate coming up later this month, Biden has 13 billionaire donors and Amy Klobuchar has 8, followed by 3 for Elizabeth Warren, 1 for Tulsi Gabbard, and 1 for Andrew Yang. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has zero billionaire donors.

(The tenth person who has qualified for the next debate, self-funding billionaire candidate Tom Steyer, is in a class by himself.)

Meanwhile, relying on contributions from small donors, Sanders and Warren "eagerly bait, troll and bash billionaires at every opportunity," in the words of a recent Los Angeles Times news story. "They send out missives to donors boasting how much damage their plans would inflict on the wallets of specific wealthy families and corporations."

The newspaper added: "Sanders boasts that his wealth tax would cost Amazon owner Jeff Bezos $8.9 billion per year. He even championed a bill with the acronym BEZOS: The Stop Bad Employers By Zeroing Out Subsidies Act would have forced Amazon and other large firms to pay the full cost of food stamps and other benefits received by their lowest-wage employees."

For extremely rich people who confuse net worth with human worth, the prospect of losing out on billions is an outrageous possibility. And so, a few months ago, Facebook mega-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg expressed his antipathy toward Warren while meeting with employees. As a transcript of leaked audio makes clear, Warren's vision of using anti-trust laws to break up Big Tech virtual monopolies was more than Facebook's head could stand to contemplate.

"But look," Zuckerberg said, "at the end of the day, if someone's going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight."

The fight happening now for the Democratic presidential nomination largely amounts to class warfare. And the forces that have triumphed in the past are outraged that they currently have to deal with so much progressive opposition. As Carl von Clausewitz observed, "A conqueror is always a lover of peace."

(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."

General view as people gather in a massive protest at Plaza Baquedano during the eighth day
of protests against President Sebastian Pinera's government on October 25, 2019 in Santiago, Chile.
President Sebastian Pinera announced measures to improve social inequality, however unions called for a
nationwide strike and massive demonstrations continue as death toll reached 18. Demands behind the protests
include issues as health care, pension system, privatization of water, public transport, education, social mobility and corruption.

America's Streets And Squares Are Waiting, But When Will The People Rise Up To Fill Them?
While there are some street protests in the U.S., they are sadly too few and far between.
By Ralph Nader

Around the world people are marching, rallying, and demonstrating in huge numbers. Some of these countries are ruled by dictators or plutocratic regimes, others are considered democracies. Despite the peril of protest, people are seeking justice, freedom, and decent livelihoods.

Many boast about the United States being the oldest democracy in the world. While there are some street protests in the US, they are sadly too few and far between. Rallies calling attention to climate disruption have received less public support and media attention than they deserve. Likewise, the Parkland rally in Washington, D.C. against gun violence could have received more follow up publicity. And we all remember the massive women's march the day after Trump was inaugurated in Washington, D.C. The subsequent women's marches have attracted smaller crowds and therefore less media coverage.

It is not as if our country doesn't have a historic tradition of sustained demonstrations. Mass protests have carried the labor movement, the farmer movement, the civil rights movement, and the anti-war movement to breakthroughs. These mass protests alone were not the sole drivers of political action-books, articles, editorials, pamphlets, posters, and litigation were essential. But visible displays of aggregated people power had a profound effect on those politicians' actions. When politicians put their fingers to the wind, the repeated rumble from the masses is what fills the sails of change.

It is not as if mass injustices are absent in the "land of the free, home of the brave." Sadly, the informed populace is just not showing up in an organized, big crowd fashion-the way they did to challenge the nuclear arms race and nuclear power in the nineteen seventies and eighties. In the era of the iPhone and Internet, activists have greater access to organizing tools than ever-no postage stamps or costly long-distance telephone calls are needed.

Consider these candidates for mass demonstrations proximate to where the decision makers are located. Millions of young people are being gouged by student loan creditors and for-profit colleges. Whether it is the U.S. Department of Education's high interest rates or the exploitation by for-profit universities, the abuses are outrageous, cruel, and in the latter case, often criminal.

Total outstanding student loans amount to over $1.5 trillion. These burdened young Americans know how to contact each other for free; they also can raise money instantly using new crowdfunding technology. They know how to use the visual arts and the verbal arts. Congress can reverse the predatory practices in higher education. Where is the advocacy from millions of student loan debtors? They could have a huge impact if they surrounded the Capitol or held smaller rallies around Congressional offices back home, especially in the coming election year.

Millions of workers are making, inflation adjusted, less than workers made in 1968. The federal minimum wage, frozen at $7.25, is the culprit. The House of Representatives finally bestirred itself to pass a $15 minimum wage stretched over a number of years. But when the Walmart-indentured members of the Senate look out their windows, it would be nice to see masses of workers surrounding their Senate offices, prior to some insistent personal lobbying?

There are no labor mass rallies in front of Trump's anti-labor White House either, even though, the headquarters of the AFL-CIO are just yards away on 16th Street NW. The face-off of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka v. Donald Trump is overdue.

Millions of minorities are suffering voter suppression. Civil rights leaders are angry. They anticipate Republicans at the state and federal level to again erect all kinds of insidious roadblocks that disproportionately affect people of color the most. Abuses in the Florida and Georgia races were rampant in 2018. Presidential races in swing states are also plagued by voter suppression tactics. All signs point to a more intrusive stripping of eligible voters in the 2020 election.

Where are the marches before the offices of the state secretary of state and culpable legislators and Governors headquarters?

A quarter of our country's families are poor. A Poor People's Campaign, led by the Reverend William Barber and local pastors, has been protesting in the streets in North Carolina and other states. Their protests deserve far greater attendance. The media has given them too little coverage. But if there were massive demonstrations in major cities and before state legislatures and the Congress, with coordinated demands and large photographs of key politicians fronting for the rich and powerful, will get mass media coverage.

Tens of millions of Americans have no health insurance or are severely underinsured. Thousands of lives are lost annually as a result. This is a problem in America but not other developed nations that have systems in place that prioritize their citizens' health. Getting sick or injured without medical care is far too frequent in the U.S. Those who suffer from this deprivation can be motivated to take to the streets. The health care industry's soaring profits and their mega-rich bosses should move additional Americans to rally for Medicare-for-All!

These rallies can be led by physicians and nurses, tired of the paperwork, the bureaucracy, and the health insurance companies denying access to health care for their patients and arbitrarily rejecting doctor-recommended treatments.

In the nineteen forties, President Harry Truman proposed to Congress universal health insurance. Americans still do not have Medicare-for-All and are paying the highest prices, premiums, and out of pocket bills in the world-not to mention the human suffering caused by an inadequate healthcare system.

What a great street story for television, radio, and print newspapers! Think of the tragic human interest stories, straight from the heart by mothers and fathers with children having limited or no access to health care.

Other marches can come from the homeless and the desperate tenants spending over half their income on rent in the many communities where there is a shortage of affordable housing.

All these mass turnouts can pass contribution buckets or tout websites and raise money from the crowds for the next round of even larger protests. At each event, a list of demands can be presented to decision-makers. At each event, protestors can go to the offices where the decision-makers are or insist that these lawmakers speak to the assembled protestors.

There are many innovations to make these action rallies more impactful, more motivating, and more mass-media-centric. There also have to be some enlightened billionaires, worried about their country and their descendants, who want to provide the modest amount of money necessary for event organizers and focused political action. Show up America!

(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).

Race Is Central To Both Revolution And Reaction In Latin American
By Glen Ford

The world birthed in the near extinction of one-fifth of humanity still exists, in the social relations bequeathed to the Americas by conquistadors and enslavers.

The events in Bolivia lay bare the central role that racial subjugation has always played in the "New World," a hemisphere whose "discovery" by Europeans resulted -- within the span of only 50 years -- in the death by genocide and pandemic of fully a fifth of the Earth's human population. The Conquistadors frenzied "primitive accumulation" of precious metals, mined by enslaved Natives who died quicker than they could be replenished, created a demand for the capture and importation of millions of Africans with immunities to both European and tropical disease. For centuries, until deep into the 1700s, the vast majority of the Western Hemisphere's population was Indigenous and Black, with African slaves comprising the great bulk of newcomers to the New World. Thus was laid the material basis for the rise of Europe, the beginnings of capitalism and the global supremacy of whiteness.

"My crime is to be a union leader, to be indigenous...and anti-imperialist," said Evo Morales, the three-time elected president of South America's most indigenous nation as he entered exile in Mexico. Bolivia is roughly two-thirds native. Morales' election victory, October 20 - his fourth since 2005 -- was aborted in the ensuing weeks by rampaging gangs of thugs employed by oligarchs based in the whitest - and most fossil fuel-rich - regions of the country who terrorized, beat and kidnapped government and Movement for Socialism party officials and their families and eventually laid siege to the capital in La Paz, with no resistance from the police and army. Unable to protect his comrades or kinfolk, Morales resigned, and was quickly replaced as president by the leader of the white-dominated minority legislative party. Morales' party had won absolute majorities in both houses of the legislature, but was left leaderless and terror-struck by the coup. The white rump prevailed.

The United States did not immediately recognize the new government of Senator Jeanine Anez Chavez, but will doubtless soon do so, having schemed incessantly for regime change ever since Morales joined Venezuela's Hugo Chavez (1998) and Brazil's Lula da Silva (2003) to set in motion Latin America's "pink tide." When Argentina (Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner), Nicaragua (Daniel Ortega) and Ecuador (Daniel Ortega) elected leftish presidents in 2007, US imperial power sank to its nadir in the hemisphere. But the CIA never sleeps, and neither do the white oligarchs who remained at the commanding heights of the economy and media in the "pink"-led nations of the hemisphere. One by one, the anti-imperialist presidents were removed, with U.S. assistance, in Brazil (2016), Ecuador (2017) and Argentina (2015), for a time leaving only Venezuela and Nicaragua in the anti-imperialist camp - along with, of course, Cuba, which has not had a U.S.-allied oligarchic class to contend with since the revolution of 1959.

Luckily for Morales, in 2018 Mexico elected leftish president Lopez Obrador, who quickly facilitated asylum for Morales - as Mexico had done for countless political exiles throughout its history. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was also returned to power in Argentina, this year. And Brazil's "Lula" was released from prison earlier this month pending appeal of his conviction on corruption charges, reinvigorating a demoralized left in the hemisphere's biggest country.

Of the U.S. presidential candidates, only Bernie Sanders expressed alarm over the forced ouster of the democratically elected president in Bolivia. "I am very concerned," Sanders tweeted, "about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales. The U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia's democratic institutions."

Given that Sanders once called Venezuela's Hugo Chavez a "dead dictator" and slandered current president Nicholas Maduro as a "vicious tyrant" as recently as last September's presidential debate, that's a great improvement. But a president Sanders might find himself seeking asylum in Mexico if he tried to radically reform U.S. policy in Latin America, which is intimately allied with the maintenance of white elite rule in the region in collaboration with multinational capital. In Latin America, U.S. influence means White Power.

When white secessionists began a drive to form their own nation in the natural gas fields of eastern Bolivia, they were befriended by the U.S. ambassador, who had previously been a key player in prying the province of Kosovo from Serbia.

In Brazil, where the African-descended majority won affirmative action in public higher education and unprecedented recognition under presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rouusseff, the U.S. contributed the espionage underlying the prosecution and impeachment, respectively, of both Workers Party leaders. The grand scheme between the Obama and, later, Trump administrations and the white Brazilian elite culminated in the election of ultra-racist Jair Bolsonaro, who dismantled protections for Amerindians and their lands, threatened to reduce racial "quotas," and declared that the police did not "kill enough" -- in a nation where one out of every 12 encounters with police ends in death, and where hundreds of young Black men are killed by cops in a month in the megacities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero. Under the "Trump" of Latin America, indigenous rights workers in Amazonia are now fair game for assassination by land grabbers. Brazilian politics is all about race, and is a perfect match with U.S. imperialism.

In Ecuador, indigenous protesters forced the neoliberal successor to leftish president Correa to withdraw an International Monetary Fund-imposed economic austerity program, after shutting down the capital city and forcing president Lenin Moreno to flee to the coast. That's the second time in this century that Ecuadorian natives, who number about a quarter of the nation's mostly mestizo population, have forced the government to retreat. Back in 2005, indigenous protests led to the ouster of president Lucio Gutierrez when he tried to impose an IMF austerity regime. Indigenous leaders vow that they'll return to the streets if Moreno reneges on the agreement.

Colombian politics also revolves around race - although neither the left nor the right will acknowledge it. Colombia has the highest number of displaced persons in the world: 7.7 million, according to the United Nations - even more than Syria, with 6.2 million. The majority of Colombia's displaced people are Afro-descendants and indigenous, displaced by war and corporate land grabbers that operate in league with paramilitaries. The government refuses to enforce agreements recognizing the traditional land rights of both Blacks and indigenous people, and Afro-Colombians say FARC anti-government guerillas have never respected native and Black land rights, either. If the war in Colombia is a fight over land, then it is a war against Blacks and natives.

One glimpse at photos showing the racial composition of pro- and anti-government legislators in Venezuela, is enough to tell the tale. The violent opposition that has been trying to bring down the government for 20 years, with U.S. help, is overwhelmingly white, while the socialist government legislators look like the nation as a whole: largely Black, brown and native -- like the late president Hugo Chavez, himself. Oligarch-owned newspapers brazenly published cartoons depicting Chavez as a monkey, and got away with it. U.S.-subsidized, mostly white rioters burned a young Black man alive in the streets of Caracas, assuming he was a Chavista. Racists in Venezuela don't bite their tongues - nor do expatriate white Venezuelans in the U.S., a mob of whom, reinforced by racists from elsewhere in Latin America, surrounded the Venezuelan embassy in DC, last spring. American friends of Venezuela had occupied the building, with the blessing of the government in Caracas, to safeguard it against takeover by Donald Trump's choice as pretend-president, Juan Guaido. The mob screamed racist and sexist threats and taunts, day and night, for weeks, while the (largely Black) DC police stood by or abetted them. The U.S. American occupiers were eventually arrested, and face possible imprisonment.

There were Cubans, or the sons and daughters of exiled Cubans, in the mob, too, a reminder that Cuba is believed to have lost half her white population after the revolution - which is the best evidence that pre-revolutionary Cuba was a profoundly racist society.

The rest of Latin America has not undergone anything so sweeping - including Mexico, whose 1910-1920 revolution failed to achieve transformative results. The world birthed in the near extinction of one-fifth of humanity still exists, in the social relations bequeathed to the Americas by conquistadors and enslavers - and which U.S. imperialism is determined to preserve and defend.

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

How To Destroy A Giant Corporation From Within
By Jim Hightower

Corporate mega-mergers keep being announced with great hoopla, but - as we've learned from promises made by merging airlines, banks, drugmakers, etc. - most are likely to deliver less than nothing. Take 2015's ballyhooed combine of two food giants, Kraft and Heinz. Today, the merged colossus has become a shamble, far less than either had been separately. What happened? Greed.

3G, a Brazilian investment outfit, was the primary driver of the merger, and it promptly installed its financial hotshots as top execs. Unfortunately, they imposed a rigid bit of managerial humbuggery that amounted to the practice of corporate thuggery - cut employees, divert revenues to the new owners, buy up other corporations... and repeat the plunder.

Suddenly, instead of focusing on improving products, Kraft Heinz was riveted on the minutia of cost-cutting, firing thousands of employees and even removing the company's snacks that had been offered to employees at meetings.

Also, 3G's money manipulators had no clue about sweeping changes that were remaking the packaged food industry, especially the rise of smaller, more innovative companies that were delivering the healthier, less-processed, better-tasting products consumers wanted. So, Kraft Heinz's "iconic" brands soon became perceived as simply old, losing consumer appeal, market share, and profits. Adding insult to injury, 3G has started bailing out of the wreckage it created, selling 25 million of its Kraft-Heinz shares at a loss.

In June, 3G installed a new CEO, promising to right the ship, but he seems to be offering more of the same old corporate BS. "To truly change the direction of a business like ours," he recently babbled, "we need to understand the future."

Hey chief, first look to your past, and try to learn that you don't build by mindlessly destroying.

(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

Residents defend a property from a bushfire at Hillsville near Taree, 350km north of
Sydney on November 12, 2019. - A state of emergency was declared on November 11 and
residents in the Sydney area were warned of "catastrophic" fire danger as Australia
prepared for a fresh wave of deadly bushfires that have ravaged the drought-stricken east of the country.

'Catastrophic' Wildfires Threaten Sydney, Australia As Government Backs Coal
A new report on the G20 and climate finds that Australia's emissions are increasing and there is no plan to rein them in.
By Juan Cole

Australians in New South Wales and part of Queensland face "catastrophic" wildfires today according to government authorities.

A state of emergency has been declared and authorities are closing 500 schools today. Already 140 homes have been lost, and their proprietors are not impressed with the Australian denialist prime minister's offer of thoughts and prayers. Scott Morrison ranted about urban leftists and the fact that there have always been bushfires in Australia. Yes, but they haven't been this intense or frequent.

That the country's wildfire risk has been vastly exacerbated by human beings driving cars and heating their buildings with coal and natural gas is not in question. Global temperature has increased by 1.8 degrees F. in the past century, which has contributed to greater dryness in Australia. In 2011-2016 bushfire frequency increased 40%. Graham Readfearn at the Guardian points out that controversy has erupted in Australia because the government there is the worst in the G20 on climate policies.

The Australian government is even more committed to Big Coal than Trump is, and is full of whiny climate change denialists.

A new report on the G20 and climate finds that Australia's emissions are increasing and there is no plan to rein them in. The Australian government is even more committed to Big Coal than Trump is, and is full of whiny climate change denialists. Readfearn says that the report finds that Australia is a "deforestation hot spot."

Australia's carbon emissions per person are among the largest in the world, between 22 and 25 tons a year. An automobile weighs two tons.

While Australia's population of about 25 million is small and therefore its proportional contribution to global heating is also small, the country is especially vulnerable to the effects of burning fossil fuels. Drought, wildfires and sea level rise powerfully threaten its population. As a simple matter of ethics and accountability, then, Australians have a responsibility to step up.

Although their government is horrible, Australians as a people have been enthusiastic for solar energy. Last Wednesday for a brief moment renewables supplied some 50% of the electricity to the Australian grid. Graham Readfearn at the Guardian explains that most of the solar was rooftop, i.e. the government hasn't invested or given incentives for investment in industrial-scale solar. The bad news is that the other 50% came mostly from coal, the most carbon-intensive pollutant among the fossil fuels. And ordinarily coal forms an even greater proportion of the energy making electricity.

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

In this 2018 photo, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, a fierce critic of Amazon,
speaks at City Hall. Amazon donated $1.5 million to a political action committee that
supported a slate of candidates perceived to be friendly to business is this year's election.
Sawant was among the company's top targets, but she won her race.

Like Seattle, Madison Should Worry About Money In Local Politics
By John Nichols

Standing in front of a massive "Tax Amazon" banner, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant declared victory in a re-election race that pitted her against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the billionaire class.

"It looks like our movement has won, and defended our socialist City Council seat for working people against the richest man in the world," Sawant said Saturday. The two-term council member, one of the most high-profile socialists and municipal leaders in the country, quoted abolitionist Frederick Douglass in front of a crowd of supporters who recognized the truth of the words, "If there is no struggle there is no progress. ... Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

What happened this fall in Seattle was a great struggle - one of several in cities where proudly radical contenders confronted massive spending aimed at defeating them. But it wasn't easy.

Sawant was one of several Seattle council contenders who were demanding that Amazon and other big-tech firms headquartered in Seattle pay their fair share of taxes. Their proposals unsettled Bezos and his fellow CEOs. Amazon steered $1.5 million into races for the city's district council seats - all seven of which were up for election this year. The money helped fund a multimillion-dollar drive by business interests to elect a corporate-friendly council that would shy away from imposing taxes on corporations, seeking to implement rent control, and otherwise tipping the balance in favor of working families that are struggling to get by in an increasingly expensive city.

A huge portion of the spending by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's "Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy" political action committee - roughly $450,000 - was aimed at defeating Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative movement who ran a "not-for-sale" campaign that bluntly declared, "What's at stake this year is who runs Seattle - Amazon and big business or working people."

After a long, slow count that saw her come from behind, Sawant won. So, too, did several other candidates who were opposed by the business PAC. "It turns out you don't need Amazon's money to win an election," announced the city's iconoclastic weekly paper, The Stranger. "The tech company's massive PAC spending turned out to bite them in the ass."

This time.

Sawant's win was a sweet victory for foes of big money in politics, especially big corporate money. But it really was a struggle. And another democratic socialist who was targeted by Amazon and its allies, Shaun Scott, was narrowly defeated. So, while there is much for municipal activists to celebrate in the news from Seattle, the story of this year's council competition remains a cautionary tale.

"We're talking about the richest man in the world, and the billionaire class that he's part of, going to war against the City Council of a city," Sawant told me recently. "I mean, of course, we are familiar with this kind of corporate influence on congressional races, obviously on the presidential campaign, but you can see that local elections are not immune either."' That's a vital point to consider because, as Sawant said, "many grassroots movements have learned that actually it is possible to make change starting from the local level."

That's something Madison activists well understand. This city has led the country over the years on a host of progressive issues. But, like Seattle, Madison is becoming a more expensive city to live in - indeed, it is paralleling Seattle to such an extent that a Cap Times Ideas Fest panel this year asked: "How does Madison not become Seattle?"

One way is by keeping big money, especially big corporate money, out of local politics.

Keeping local elections inexpensive matters precisely because - while avenues for radical reform are often closed off at the national and state levels of politics - local elections can still be won with hard work and big ideas.

"We have successfully defeated attempts at economic evictions. We are now building a powerful movement for rent control," explained Sawant as this year's election approached. "And so the billionaire class, while it initially might have arrogantly misjudged the power of local movements, is now understanding that there is a real danger that if this socialist on the Seattle City Council gets re-elected once more, that will send a message of confidence. Not only throughout Seattle, but throughout the region, throughout the state, and indeed, nationwide. It is that contagion of working-class confidence that the billionaire class fears the most, and that is why they are so determined to attempt this kind of corporate takeover."

This is one of the reasons campaign finance reformers need to turn more attention to addressing excessive corporate and special-interest group spending in local races. It is also why political organizers must be prepared to expose and challenge the money power at the local level - as Sawant did so aggressively in Seattle.

She won. But the big-money threat remains.

Sawant said her race should serve as "a wake-up call for social movements and progressives." She is absolutely right.

(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.

The Bloomberg Candidacy
By James Donahue

It has been impossible to avoid the media excitement over the announcement that American billionaire Michael Bloomberg is jumping into the 2020 presidential race as a Democratic candidate.

Bloomberg, a long-time popular mayor of New York, co-founder, CEO and owner of Bloomberg L.P., and strong advocate for environmental issues to battle global warming, is thus establishing a strong candidacy designed to defeat the Democratic Party candidates that have been battling for a chance to represent their party in a race against Donald Trump one year from now.

Elizabeth Warren, who has been considered among the stronger party candidates, warns that she considers Bloomberg to be a serious threat. That is a given. But Warren worries that the man is in a position to represent the pack of bankers, industrialists and high rollers that have had free reign of Washington for years and especially under the Trump Administration.

Warren, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, has been building a popular platform advocating a national health plan for everyone and is seeking to trim the federal deficit by restoring the Clinton tax rates on those in the top income bracket. She also wants to eliminate the student loan debt. In a public statement this week she said she worries that Bloomberg's interests is to head off her tax plan on top wage earners like himself. Bloomberg's net worth is currently estimated at $57.1 billion, making him the ninth richest person in the United States and fourteenth richest person in the world.

The 17 Democratic candidates still in the race and the ten others that have dropped out have established a massive chaotic mix that has generally failed to produce a strong personality that clearly has gained clear public support. Warren has gained a somewhat leading position but this has never proved to be a sure thing. Bloomberg's decision to jump into the mix may quickly bring that problem to an end. His strong record during the three terms he served as New York Mayor has the potential of putting him ahead of the others even as he comes out of the stall.

The 77-year-old Bloomberg holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He is a prominent member of the Emanu-El Temple of the Jewish faith in Manhattan. He is a well-known philanthropist who has donated over $6.4 billion to a variety of causes including public health, arts and culture, the environment, education and government innovation. He has committed another $1.8 billion to allow Johns Hopkins to permanently accept and enroll students without regard to their ability to pay.

While serving as New York mayor Bloomberg launched PlaNYC, an environmental plan designed to protect the environment and prepare for a future population growth. During his time in office New York reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent and saw the planting of one million trees. He also has played a strong role as the UN Secretary-General's special envoy for Climate Action.

Bloomberg's economic policies helped New York experience record-levels of job growth in the private sector during a period of deep national recession.

His innovations in government and philanthropy have made Bloomberg a global leader on climate change, public health, education and other serious issues facing America and the world.

No wonder the national press corps is making headlines out of Bloomberg's presidential announcement at this late date. And we can clearly understand the concerns expressed by Elizabeth Warren and the other party candidates left in the rubble.

If the Democratic Party surely seeks to upset Mr. Trump's efforts to win a second term next November, a candidate like Bloomberg may be just what is needed.

(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.

Donald Trump listens as Pastor Paula White leads a prayer at a dinner celebrating Evangelical
leadership in the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday, August 27, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

"Lord, Let Your Arm Strengthen Trump"": A Televangelist Is On White House Payroll
By William Rivers Pitt

Then the Lord said to me, 'The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries, and the delusions of their own minds.' - Jeremiah 14:14 The latest bright idea from Donald Trump's increasingly desperate congressional Republican defenders? Blame the entire Ukraine fiasco on Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. It was them, your Honor, in the drawing room with the candlestick! "The GOP," reports The Washington Post, "is effectively offering up the three to be fall guys."

In any event, Trump cannot be held responsible for his administration's Ukraine dealings that have inspired ongoing impeachment proceedings, because as Sen. Lindsey Graham has been arguing all week, the president is too "incoherent" to pull off a stunt like this.

I don't imagine that is going to sit well at the White House, any more than blaming the aforementioned Three Musketeers will. Trump - a man who would take credit for the moon's gravitational pull if he could - does not like to share the spotlight with anyone, even if the spotlight is shining shame and disgrace down from the rafters.

These are grim and unsettled days at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Many powerful people before this president have sought refuge and solace from their own self-inflicted storms in the lifeboat of swiftly embraced religion. Now, Trump has joined them in this ancient tradition - but, of course, had to do it in full Trump style: Gaudily and shamelessly.

At the beginning of the month, it was announced that Trump was putting Florida "prosperity gospel" televangelist Paula White on the White House payroll as a religious adviser in the Office of Public Liaison. Her job will be to help corral the support of other evangelicals, who already support Trump to the tune of 71 percent and would probably still vote for him even if God personally denounced him on an episode of The 700 Club.

The choice of White is a strange one if courting evangelicals is actually the game plan. White's "prosperity gospel," which places God and personal wealth on the same spiritual platform, is anathema to many evangelical Christians. "Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe," argued Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore in 2016.

Trump and White have known each other for years, and the two even had plans as far back as 2006 to build a giant crystal megachurch together. In the realm of brazen hucksterism, they are a matched set: In 2016, White spent Easter Sunday peddling "resurrection seeds" to her flock at the New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida. Supplicants could obtain eternal life by purchasing one of these seeds for a fee of $1,144.

Speaking of seeds, in 2018 White encouraged her followers to give her ministry a month's pay, and warned of dire penalties should they fail to cough up the holy dough. "That is a big sacrifice," she said, "but it is a seed for the harvest I am believing for in the coming year.... When you don't honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience, there are consequences."

White, new gig in hand, did not let the grass grow under her feet. Last Tuesday, she launched an initiative called the One Voice Prayer Movement alongside right-wing evangelical activists like Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets and Dave Kubal. The purpose of the exercise, put simply, was to pray away the demon of impeachment.

White incanted a prayer to this effect via conference call which, really, is just too perfect:

Lord, we ask you to deliver our president from any snare, any set up of the enemy according to Ephesians 6:12, any persons [or] entities that are aligned against the president will be exposed and dealt with and overturned by the superior blood of Jesus. Whether it's the spirit of Leviathan, a spirit of Jezebel, Abaddon, whether it's the spirit of Belial, we come against the strongmen, especially Jezebel, that which would operate in sorcery and witchcraft, that which would operate in hidden things, veiled thing, that which would operate in deception. We come against it according to your word.

Any persons or entities that are aligned against President Trump, the will of God, against the mantle that he would carry, against him as president, that it would be exposed and dealt with and overturned in Jesus' name. We know that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this age, hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. Stretch out your arm and deliver President Trump and rid him of any bondage the enemy would try to bring against him. Thank you, Lord, for your hand establishing him, and let your arm strengthen President Trump.

Leaving aside the fact that Biblical scholars around the world will be astonished to learn that Jezebel was a strong man, the language deployed here - "sorcery and witchcraft," "rulers of darkness," "hosts of wickedness" - is straight out of Revelation. White is not talking about political opponents in the arena of democratic government, but about the very minions of Satan.

Trump's base has long been trained to respond to this form of apocalypse flamethrower rhetoric. It rings especially hollow coming from White, however, given the low esteem most of the "mainstream" evangelical community holds her in; she is the "wolf in sheep's clothing" many of them have been warned about since Sunday school ... but then again, you would think Trump would fall into that category, too.

No, the "tell" in that prayer is found in the verbiage about "the mantle that he would carry." Trump, in this moment, is desperate and cornered. What better balm for a man afflicted with rampant egotism than to hear from a "holy person" that he has been chosen to wear the mantle of Heaven, and that all who oppose him are not merely wrong, but an offense to God?

I believe this "prosperity gospel" minister understands Trump's needs completely. A good grifter knows their mark before making a move, and White's sudden appearance within Trump's inner circle has the distinct feeling of being something not in any way accidental. Sharks can sense blood in the water from miles away. So can, I suspect, Paula White.

(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.

International Energy Agency says energy efficiency alone could provide more than 40
per cent of the emissions reductions needed by 2040 to meet Paris Agreement targets.

Doing More With Less Energy Goes A Long Way
By David Suzuki

In September, a water main near the Vancouver Art Gallery blew, jetting water and rocks into the sky. The water waste was impossible to ignore, but easy to fix. What about waste that isn't visible, like energy seeping from homes and buildings? Most people aren't aware of the enormous amount of energy - and money - lost through inefficient systems.

Providing the same or better services with less energy is critical to curbing climate breakdown. The International Energy Agency says energy efficiency alone could provide more than 40 per cent of the emissions reductions needed by 2040 to meet Paris Agreement targets.

The world is getting better at saving energy, but not fast enough to counterbalance growth or meet climate targets. Globally, we're improving at about 1.8 per cent a year, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's special report on 1.5 C says annual investments in low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency need to increase by a factor of six relative to 2015 levels.

Technologies that allow us to do more with less energy have been improving dramatically. In Canada, innovators are designing buildings that collect solar heat in the winter, and use more and better insulation, heat pumps and smart thermostats. The Passivhaus standard, developed in Germany based on pioneering research in Saskatchewan in the 1970s, can reduce energy demand by as much as 90 per cent compared to conventional construction. These homes are less drafty, quieter and have better air quality. Structures using technologies such as solar PV panels can generate more energy than they use.

Dawson Creek, B.C.'s energy plan supports building audits and retrofits, LED traffic lights and a solar-ready bylaw and proposes local improvement charges to fund it. The sports centre in Colonsay, Saskatchewan, heats its waiting and observation areas with captured heat from ice-making at its rinks. Cities like Oslo, where renewable energy from waste powers 80 per cent of its heating system, are incentivizing energy efficiency with a fund to pay for initiatives.

Energy innovators like Rocky Mountain Institute co-founder Amory Lovins point to integrative design with fewer, simpler technologies to optimize energy use.

Take air conditioning. As temperatures increase under climate change, people crank up the AC, especially in already hot climates. Emissions from these energy-intensive units, which use potent greenhouse gases as refrigerants, cause further warming. The magnitude of this challenge led to creation of a Global Cooling Prize to revolutionize the AC industry. The solution lies in a radically efficient cooling technology with five times less climate impact, which is within technological but not economic reach - yet. Such a system, if developed, could help moderate up to 0.5 C in global warming by the century's end.

Saving energy saves money, especially for low-income households that pay proportionally more for it. While energy-efficient buildings may cost more up front, energy savings can recover those costs within five years. Some jurisdictions are exploring ways to make upgrades more accessible to low-income households. Manitoba Hydro offers a home energy-efficiency loan paid back over time on monthly electricity bills, with no down payment.

That said, lower costs prompt some consumers to use more energy, creating a rebound effect and eroding climate benefits. Marrying efficiency to good climate policy can help avoid backsliding.

In addition to saving money, energy efficiency creates jobs. According to Energy Efficiency Canada, more than 436,000 people work in the energy-efficiency sector. That's about 2.3 per cent of all jobs in Canada - more than in the oil and gas sector. Businesses predicted a growth of more than eight per cent this year.

Changing industry practices may prove the biggest challenge. About eight per cent of global energy use comes from metals and building material production. If we use less cement, steel and aluminum, we can reduce the energy required to extract, refine and transport them.

Credible climate plans must include strategies such as accelerating clean power, shifting to electrification, pricing pollution and using energy wisely. Moving from our throwaway economy to a less wasteful circular model will reduce the energy needed to power it and meet the rapid carbon emission reductions the IPCC prescribes.

We need to consume less, share more, design for efficiency and long life and make refusing, repairing, reusing and recycling our go-to options.

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

President Trump Meets With UN Ambassador Nikki Haley At The White House

Nikki Haley Is A Trump Loyalist Until the Moment It Becomes Inconvenient
She's got nearly as much room under her bus as the president* does under his.
By Charles P. Pierce

Let us sing the tale of two Republicans, both of whom have had their political lives and futures capsized in the wake of the elevation of a vulgar talking yam to the most powerful elected office on Earth. First, Congressman Peter Wolfe Tone Owen Roe Cathleen ni Houlihan King, Republican of New York, has decided to spend more time with his family, perhaps because, when he was reelected in 2018, a surprisingly large number of his constituents decided that he should spend more time with his family, too. King is now the 20th Republican House incumbent to announce that they'd rather not face the voters again. (Three GOP incumbents have already blown town entirely.)

King is 75 and has served 14 terms, so it's plausible that his explanation for his departure is true, but it does seem that an awful lot of congressional Republicans either don't like being in the minority very much and/or don't feel like running with the current president* at the top of the ticket. Most of the valedictories for King call him a moderate, but his career made a late turn into raw Islamophobia, which made more than a few people wonder why someone who'd been such an open supporter of the IRA during the Troubles suddenly was getting fussy about political violence when it landed on his own doorstep. I guess he is a "moderate" if measured on the modern Gohmert-Gaetz Scale, but in a era of sensible Republicanism, he'd be on the right or, at least, on the eccentric wing of the party.

Peter King is not a moderate just because Louie Gohmert exists.

And then there's former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, truly one of the most stunningly ambitious political creatures of my long experience. Haley is shilling a book now, and one of its most prominent anecdotes has Haley heroically turning down an appeal from Rex Tillerson and John Kelly, then the Secretary of State and the White House chief of staff, respectively, to help "save the country" by undermining El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago's administration*. From CBS News:
Haley recounts a closed-door encounter with then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: "Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren't being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country ... Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president's decisions was because, if he didn't, people would die. This was how high the stakes were, he and Kelly told me. We are doing the best we can do to save the country, they said. We need you to work with us and help us do it. This went on for over an hour."...

"It absolutely happened," said Haley. "And instead of saying that to me, they should've been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan. It should've been, 'Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don't like what he's doing.' But to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing. And it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want. And it was offensive."

This is quite a tale and Haley tells it well. She gets it out there that some of the alleged "grown-ups in the room" were scared bloodless by the current president*, and, at the same time, she gets to be the heroine of her own account by hearing Tillerson and Kelly out and then turning them down. She also brags about being part of the president*'s decision to take her advice on cutting all aid to Palestinians on the West Bank, a decision that has had calamitous human-rights consequences there. Nikki Haley, then, is a Trump loyalist until it becomes inconvenient to be, and she has almost enough room under her bus as the president* has under his. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the 2024 Republican primary campaign.

(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-

"Liberalism is a belief in radical change made through practical measures."
~~~ Adam Gopnik

What The New Virginia Legislature Could Do
By David Swanson

So the state of Virginia is going to be run (House, Senate, and Governorship) by members of the Democratic Party for the first time in decades.

This means either that the go-to excuse of elected Democrats is going to become something other than "It's the Republicans' fault," or that change is actually upon us.

Why not take this opportunity to consider what a changed government might look like?

The state of Virginia could, if it chose, take any number of progressive steps. It could create single-payer healthcare, tax wealth, make college free, make the minimum wage a living wage, end the death penalty, ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, pass the national popular vote bill, replace three-quarters of the mandatory testing in schools with actual teaching, abolish the pledge of allegiance, pay teachers better, enforce the right to unionize, and so on.

Critically, Virginia could cease propping up the fossil fuel and big-agriculture industries. It could invest in and create incentives for clean energy and sustainable land use. It could forbid pipeline construction. We could have a Green New Deal in Virginia, funded out of a new state bank, or at least an excuse for why we don't have it that's different from the excuse coming out of Washington.

The state of Virginia could take a lead in converting from military to peaceful industries, a transition necessary environmentally, economically, and culturally, as well as to reduce the massive damage of wars and the risk of nuclear apocalypse. The state of Virginia could even put reasonable regulations on the sale and ownership of war weapons, require registrations and titles for guns, require a license based on a written and a shooting-range test, and/or require gun owners to carry liability insurance.

Virginia could halt ROTC, JROTC, and military recruitment programs and aptitude testing in schools.

Virginia could make election day a holiday, end gerrymandering, publicly finance elections, ban private campaign spending and contributions, institute the public counting of paper ballots with all relevant observers at every polling place, make voter registration automatic, break up media monopolies, establish the means to create and vote on public initiatives to determine state policy, and establish a basic income guarantee.

Virginia could join the world, despite the United States, and adopt the rights established in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Our state could ban land mines, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and nuclear weapons, and establish the rights of migrant workers.

Legal defendants in Virginia could have a right to a videotape of all interrogations and to competent legal representation. There could be a ban on militarizing police and on the use of weaponized drones, as well as on the use in court of any evidence obtained by surveillance drones, as well as on the use of solitary confinement.

Virginia could move toward restorative justice, and away from mass incarceration. Virginia could legalize marijuana. Virginia could ban the testimony of jailhouse snitches.

Or, and this does seem likely, those of us who favor all of the above could consider ourselves lucky to get maybe some halfway version of one or two of those items.

So, why don't we start with this. Why don't we demand that at the very least the state of Virginia stop denying localities the right to govern themselves.

Only a select list of localities are permitted to ban guns from public events. Virginia could restore this right to every city and county. Is that too much to ask?

No laws regulate peace monuments, but localities are forbidden to move or remove any war monuments. Virginia could allow cities and counties to decide what monuments they want, or don't want, and where they want them. Is that too radical?

You may say I'm a dreamer, but then what is all the fuss about the change in party majority about if it doesn't change anything?

(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-

Stephen dresses up for his official White House photo

Heil Trump,

Dear Stellvertretende Vorsitzende Miller,

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 hatred of everyone who isn't white, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Jamie gives the corporate salute

Why Billionaires Don't Really Like Capitalism
By Robert Reich

Billionaires are wailing that Elizabeth Warren's and Bernie Sanders's wealth tax proposals are attacks on free market capitalism.

Warren "vilifies successful people," says Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

Rubbish. There are basically only five ways to accumulate a billion dollars, and none of them has to do with being successful in free market capitalism.

The first way is to exploit a monopoly.

Jamie Dimon is worth $1.6 billion. That's not because he succeeded in the free market. In 2008 the government bailed out JPMorgan and four other giant Wall Street banks because it considered them "too big to fail."

That bailout is a hidden insurance policy, still in effect, with an estimated value to the big banks of $83 billion a year. If JPMorgan weren't so big and was therefore allowed to fail, Dimon would be worth far less than $1.6 billion.

What about America's much-vaulted entrepreneurs, such as Jeff Bezos, now worth $110 billion? You might say Bezos deserves this because he founded and built Amazon.

: But Amazon is a monopolist with nearly 50 percent of all e-commerce retail sales in America, and e-commerce is one of the biggest sectors of retail sales. In addition, Amazon's business is protected by a slew of patents granted by the U.S. government.

If the government enforced anti-monopoly laws, and didn't give Amazon such broad patents,Bezos would be worth far less than $110 billion.

A second way to make a billion is to get insider information unavailable to other investors.

Hedge-fund maven Steven A. Cohen, worth $12.8 billion, headed up a hedge fund firm in which, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Justice Department, insider trading was "substantial, pervasive, and on a scale without known precedent in the hedge fund industry." Nine of Cohen's present or former employees pleaded guilty or were convicted. Cohen got off with a fine, changed the name of his firm, and apparently is back at the game.

Insider trading is endemic in C-suites, too. SEC researchers have found that corporate executives are twice as likely to sell their stock on the days following their own stock buyback announcements as they are in the days leading up to the announcements.

If government cracked down on insider-trading, hedge-fund mavens and top corporate executives wouldn't be raking in so much money.

A third way to make a billion is to buy off politicians.

The Trump tax cut is estimated to save Charles and the late David Koch and their Koch Industries an estimated $1 to $1.4 billion a year, not even counting their tax savings on profits stored offshore and a shrunken estate tax. The Kochs and their affiliated groups spent some $20 million lobbying for the Trump tax cut, including political donations. Not a bad return on investment.

If we had tough anti-corruption laws preventing political payoffs, the Kochs and other high-rollers wouldn't get the special tax breaks and other subsidies that have enlarged their fortunes.

The fourth way to make a billion is to extort big investors.

Adam Neumann conned JP Morgan, SoftBank, and other investors to sink hundreds of millions into WeWork, an office-sharing startup. Neumann used some of the money to buy buildings he leased back to WeWork and to enjoy a lifestyle that included a $60 million private jet. WeWork never made a nickel of profit.

A few months ago, after Neumann was forced to disclose his personal conflicts of interest, WeWork's initial public offering fell apart and the company's estimated value plummeted. To salvage what they could, investors paid him over $1 billion to exit the board and give up his voting rights. Most other WeWork employees were left holdingnear-worthless stock options. Thousands were set to be laid off.

If we had tougher anti-fraud laws, Neumann and others like him wouldn't be billionaires.

The fifth way to be a billionaire is to get the money from rich parents or relatives.

About 60 percent of all the wealth in America today is inherited, according to estimates by economist Thomas Piketty and his colleagues. That's because, under U.S. tax law - which is itself largely a product of lobbying by the wealthy - the capital gains of one generation are wiped out when those assets are transferred to the next, and the estate tax is so tiny that fewer than 0.2 percent of estates were subject to it last year.

If unearned income were treated the same as earned income under the tax code, America's non-working rich wouldn't be billionaires. And if capital gains weren't eliminated at death, many heirs wouldn't be, either.

Capitalism doesn't work well with monopolies, insider-trading, political payoffs, fraud, and large amounts of inherited wealth. Billionaires who don't like Sanders's and Warren's wealth tax should at least support reforms that end these anti-capitalist advantages.

(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

My Trip To Dallas
Lee Harvey Oswald's big mistake was crying "Patsy" in a crowded theater!
By Jane Stillwater

Dallas TX is actually a far more complex, diverse, interesting and rewarding city than just merely the location where President Kennedy got shot. But. Here in Dallas I seem to be constantly running into reminders of that tragic and fateful day back in November of 1963. Even my first introduction to Dallas involved driving past Parkland Hospital while taking public transit in from the airport.

"Have you gone to the top of the Reunion Tower yet," suggested one long-time Dallas native. Okay. I'll do that. But, sure enough, 40 stories above the Dallas skyline there was an exhibit about the brutal murder of JFK including photos of his motorcade right before he was shot -- showing the empty back bumper where his Secret Service agents were spozed to have stood but didn't. Shame on them.

"Did you go see the Old Red Museum?" It was nice. But right next to it was the Kennedy Memorial. I stood inside it and cried while a group of millennials next to me happily snapped photos for their Instagram pages, never really understanding the dark truth of the place -- that Camelot had been stolen from them as well as from me. Never realizing that since that time, our White House, the very symbol of America itself, has been mostly occupied by a sorry bunch of bottom-feeders such as a depressed egomaniac, a lying crook, a B-list actor with Alzheimers, two war-mongering Bush-league types, a couple of hypocrites and a reality-show host.

I cried for the millennials. I cried for America. I cried for my grandchildren. I cried for me.

Moving on. I'm currently staying in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, famous for its Jefferson District, home to all sorts of delicious-looking Mexican restaurants. I've been eating lots of tamales and street tacos and menudo and elotes. Heavenly. And four blocks away from me is the Texas Theater -- where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. And I have the souvenir T-shirt to prove it too.

"Have you been to the Bishop Arts District?" It turns out to be within walking distance of Oswald's former rooming house, now a museum. But the owner wanted $40 a pop for a tour so I only took photos from outside. And last night a Dallas TV channel showed "Jackie". Who wouldn't cry after watching Natalie Portman desperately trying to push JFK's brains back into his head.

"Have you visited the Bush Presidential Library?" Don't even remind me of how far we have fallen since Jack and Jackie made the White House stand for America's best self. America has never been that great again since -- and it's certainly far from great now.

So. Did Lee Harvey Oswald actually fire the actual bullet that murdered Camelot? Probably not. But he should have kept his mouth shut. He should never have shouted "Patsy" -- thus causing the CIA, the FBI and various presidential wannabes to panic and stampede toward the exits, dragging Jacob Rubenstein along with them.

PS: At the wonderful BoucherCon book conference I'm attending here in Dallas, I also met author Christopher Brown and he supplied me with the perfect Orwellian word for what is happening in America both at this time and in the near future. "Dystopia". To quote the Lone Star Literary's review of his latest book, Rule of Capture, "Brown has taken all the dissonant noise [that is America today] and distilled it, then extrapolated to a possible logical [but horrifying] endpoint."

And the roots of America's dystopian tree started to grow even more robustly on the day that Kennedy was murdered. And these roots have been growing stronger and stronger ever since as more and more oligarchs in Washington clearly realize that they can do almost anything and get away with it -- as long has they can generate "plausible deniability" like they did in Dallas.

Isn't it time that we Americans cut that dystopian tree off at its roots?

(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
~~~ Kevin Siers ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Republicans Demand That Everyone In Witness-Protection Program Appear On National TV
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Saying that "enough is enough," congressional Republicans demanded on Monday that the thousands of people in the nation's witness-protection program be required to appear on national television.

"What kind of a country protects someone's identity just because they were instrumental in bringing a criminal to justice?" Representative Jim Jordan, of Ohio, asked. "I don't want to live in a country like that."

Representative Devin Nunes, of California, concurred. "Anonymity is all well and good, but we should be able to look at these people and know their names," he said.

At the United States Senate, Lindsey Graham told reporters that "it's time for people in the witness-protection program to put up or shut up."

"I want these people to go on TV and say what they have to say, and then I fully intend not to listen to them," the senator said.

(c) 2019 Andy Borowitz

The Gross National Debt

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 44 (c) 11/15/2019

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