Please visit our sponsor!

Bookmark and Share
In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "Biden And Bloomberg Want Uncle Sam To Defer To Uncle Scrooge."

Ralph Nader considers, "The Most Impeachable President In US History Vs. The Most Hesitant Congress."

Glen Ford examines, "Public Housing As The Front Line Of Green New Deal."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Where Can Trump Find A Good Farm Policy?"

Juan Cole explains, "Iran: Economic Blockade And Crowd Protests Were Also How the US Made The 1953 Coup."

John Nichols declares, "Attempted Bribery Is Bribery."

James Donahue studies, "The Exoneration Of U. S. Prisoners."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Ambassador Yovanovitch, Once A Trump Target, Is Now His Nightmare."

David Suzuki is, "Forming Bonds In Times Of Crisis."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "If There's A Gun Left That Isn't Smoking, I Can't Find."

David Swanson exclaims, "Courage, People! Show Some Misneach!"

Rethuglican Sinator Cindy Hyde-Smith R/MS wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "The Real Deal With Medicare For All."

Jane Stllwater says, "To Paraphrase Joe Biden, 'Gaza Has A Right To Defend Itself.'"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports "Paralyzed Mike Pence Lies Against Bathroom Wall For Hours After Encountering Doorknob That Looks Like Female Breast," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "If Reelected Lying Donald Wants To Balance The Budget On The Backs Of The Poorest Of The Poor."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jen Sorenson, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Brendan Smialowski, Melinda Mera, David Suzuki Chip Somodevilla, Joe Sohm, Visions of America, 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."

Bookmark and Share

Visit me on Face Book

If Reelected Lying Donald Wants To Balance The Budget On The Backs Of The Poorest Of The Poor
Squid Pro Quo
By Ernest Stewart

"This budget says a lot about the President's priorities: cut $845 billion from Medicare, while spending billions on his vanity project, the wall. This would hurt our seniors and is yet another piece of evidence for why we need a new president." ~~~ Kamala Harris

"Indications are that with any degree of additional warming, events that occurred once per century in the past, will occur every year by mid-century in many regions, increasing risks for many low-lying coastal cities and small islands." ~~~ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

"Our thoughts and prayers are with you." ~~~ NRA puppet Rethuglicans after another gun massacre

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

I see where Lying Donald is coming after the seniors if he is reelected. In a no holds barred attack on the elderly Lying Donald wants to cut $1.5 trillion from Medicaid, $845 billion from Medicare and at least $25 billion from Social Security. He figures why not balance the budget on the backs of the poorest of the poor to pay for the tax cut that he gave to the richest of the rich! What a swell guy, huh?

Perhaps now the dumbest of the dumb, Lying Donalds redneck supporters can see the light or at least this bit of financial reality from their savior? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Better get ready to turn the shed into a bedroom for Mater and Pater!

Here's a tweet from the one person who can destroy Lying Donald come next November 3rd at the polls, Bernie Sanders...

Fortunately Democrats called President Donald Trump's budget "dead on arrival" and they are almost surely correct. After all, Congress, not Lying Donald, controls actual spending levels. So seniors it's crystal clear who has your best interests at heart and it's obviously not Lying Donald. Bernie will balance the budget on the backs of the 1% where it belongs!

In Other News

Ask the people of Venice, Italy if they believe in global warming, go ahead and ask them, I dare ya!

You may recall that on November 17, 2019, the Italian city of Venice got flooded for the third time in a week because of an 'exceptional' storm tide. When does a three times a week storm tide stop being 'exceptional,' and become par for the course? The frequency of such events in the city has increased alarmingly in the past several decades, indicating an impact of human-caused global warming.

Italian experts identify an exceptional storm tide when the height of the water during a sea surge caused by a storm crosses 4 & 1/2 feet. This rise in sea-level can flood around 50 per cent of Venice.

Such events have happened in the city only 22 times in the past 147 years since records began, according to data from the Institution for Forecasting and Reporting Tides. They occurred only once from 1872 to 1950, nine times between 1951 and 2000, seven times from 2001 to 2017 and five times in the last two years. The last three have come within the past week.

The Global Forecasting System data shows that there have been regular storms close to the Italian coast and strong winds in general since November 10 which are being fed by larger cyclonic circulations over continental Europe.

Apart from Venice, these storms and winds have caused heavy rainfall in many regions of Italy causing floods. The country had been affected by historic flooding last year as well which had killed 36 people.

All the contributing factors for the occurrence of exceptional storm tide events and associated flooding, except for high tides, are human-caused and are related to either development or global warming.

The flooding is primarily caused when sea water is vertically pushed from the Adriatic Sea into the Venetian lagoon due to strong winds during a storm. Such a high water event is known as an Aqua Alta.

The flooding is more severe if the storm is intense and coincides with a high tide event. This is what caused the second-highest storm tide of a little over 6 feet, ever recorded in Venice on November 12, or perhaps many of the 21 other exceptional storm tides.

So I have got to ask, Venice, "How long can you tread water?"

And Finally

I'm sure that you heard that Rethuglicans in the Sinate once again blocked consideration of gun safety legislation at the same moment that at least 5 high school students were gunned down at a school shooting in Santa Clarita, California.

On Thursday morning, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) asked that the Senate immediately consider H.R. 8, a universal background check bill passed by a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives in February.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) objected, saying that "legislation that would affect the rights of American citizens under the Second Amendment should not be fast-tracked by the Sinate." If the Rethuglicans have nothing else, and they don't, they have timing! While children were having their bodies shot to pieces the Rethuglicans did their NRA masters bidding and shot down a plan for a universal background check bill at the behest of Moscow Mitch.

The Rethuglican spokes-weasel was Mississippi Sinator Cindy Hyde-Smith, who by-the-by, wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award.

Keepin' On

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


11-02-1953 ~ 11-19-2019
Thanks for the comics!


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.

Biden And Bloomberg Want Uncle Sam To Defer To Uncle Scrooge
By Norman Solomon

The extremely rich Americans who are now frantically trying to figure out how to intervene in the Democratic presidential campaign make me wonder how different they are from the animated character who loved frolicking in money and kissing dollar bills while counting them. If Uncle Scrooge existed as a billionaire in human form today, it's easy to picture him aligned with fellow plutocrats against the "threat" of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The exceedingly wealthy are usually content to stay in the shadows while their combined financial leverage and media power keep top government officials more or less in line. But the grassroots strengths of the Warren and Sanders campaigns have jolted some key oligarchs into overt action.

"At least 16 billionaires have in recent months spoken out against what they regard as the danger posed by the populist Democrats, particularly over their proposals to enact a 'wealth tax' on vast fortunes," the Washington Post reported over the weekend. Many of those billionaires are "expressing concern" that the populist Democrats "will blow the election to Trump by veering too far left."

But are those billionaires more worried about a wealth tax that will curtail vast fortunes, or about Trump winning re-election? Are we supposed to believe the far-fetched notion that voters will opt for Trump over the Democratic nominee because they don't want billionaires to pay higher taxes?

The biggest fear among the billionaire class is not that a progressive Democratic nominee will lose against Trump. The biggest fear is that such a nominee will win -- thus gaining presidential muscle to implement measures like a wealth tax that would adversely affect the outsized fortunes of the 0.1 percent.

Such fears are causing a step-up of attacks on Sanders and Warren, and even some early indications of trauma. "Piling on against the wealth tax have been corporate celebrities from Silicon Valley and Wall Street," the Post reported on Saturday. Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg "suggested Sanders's call to abolish billionaires could hurt philanthropies and scientific research by giving the government too much decision-making power. . . . Appearing on CNBC, billionaire investor Leon Cooperman choked up while discussing the impact a wealth tax could have on his family."

Sanders often points to the fact that just three individuals -- Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett -- own as much wealth as the entire bottom half of the U.S. population. Gates has publicly denounced Warren's proposal for a wealth tax. It shouldn't surprise us now to learn that earlier this year Bezos urged Bloomberg to run for president. We might call it ruling-class unity -- which is a point that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quickly made while campaigning alongside Sanders in Iowa when the news broke.

"Of course!" AOC told a Des Moines Register reporter. "They've got class solidarity. The billionaires are looking out for each other. They're willing to transcend difference and background and even politics. The fact that Bill Gates seems more willing to vote for Donald Trump than anyone else tells you everything you need to know about how far they're willing to go to protect their excess, at the cost to everyday Americans."

Moments later, Sanders joked: "Jeff Bezos, worth $150 billion, supporting Mike Bloomberg, who's worth only $50 billion -- that's real class solidarity." And Sanders tied in the climate emergency: "When you talk about class warfare within the context of climate change, like Alexandria was just saying, the fossil fuels industry makes billions [and] billions of dollars in profits every single year, and the people who suffer the most are often lowest-income people. But it's not just low-income people. Family farmers in Iowa and agriculture in Iowa is going to be suffering."

News of Bloomberg's looming entry into the Democratic presidential race elicited mass-media awe because of his wealth. A Republican until 2007, Bloomberg didn't become a registered Democrat until October 2018. His record as New York City's mayor included hostility toward labor unions in the public sector, support for police use of stop-and-frisk targeting racial minorities, and vocal antipathy toward the Obama administration's minimal Dodd-Frank regulation of the financial industry. Bloomberg is a mismatch with most Democrats.

For most of this year, Biden seemed the best bet for moguls like Bloomberg. But confidence receded as the Biden for President campaign lost ground -- not only because of his continuing "gaffs" and stumbling syntax but also because more information kept surfacing about his actual record while in the Senate from 1973 through 2008.

Further erosion of support for Biden can be expected due to a pair of powerful articles in the current issue of The Nation magazine. An "anti-endorsement" editorial summarizes his career as a servant of establishment power, concluding: "On issue after issue, Biden's candidacy offers Trump a unique opportunity to muddy what should be a devastatingly clear choice. The Nation therefore calls on Biden to put service to country above personal ambition and withdraw from the race." And an investigative piece breaks new ground in documenting how Biden and his immediate family have been enmeshed in scarcely legal conflicts of interest and pay-to-play corruption for several decades.

These days, for billionaires trying to line up a new Democratic president, good help is hard to find. Biden is willing as ever but perhaps not able. In effect, seeing Biden falter, Bloomberg is on the verge of cutting out the middleman. At this point, why hope that activation of pro-Biden Super PACs will be sufficient, when Bloomberg can step in and hugely outspend everyone out of his own pocket?

But even if it turns out that Biden has outlived his usefulness to the billionaire class, no one should doubt his unwavering loyalty. Biden offered reassurance during a speech at the Brookings Institution last year. "I love Bernie, but I'm not Bernie Sanders," he said. "I don't think 500 billionaires are the reason why we're in trouble. . . The folks at the top aren't bad guys."

The first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court would have agreed. John Jay liked to say: "Those who own the country ought to govern it." Now, the rhetoric is quite different. But the reality is up for grabs in the realm we call politics.

(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."

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the White House in Washington, DC on November 15, 2019.

The Most Impeachable President In US History Vs. The Most Hesitant Congress.
What are the Democrats waiting for? Trump is the most impeachable tyrant in the country's history-hands down.
By Ralph Nader

Amid the worst Republican President and Republican Party in modern times, the Democrats are playing the politics of low expectations. This is not the time for Democrats to be in disarray. On Capitol Hill, the prevailing view of most Democrats is that they will cling to their House majority and they shouldn't expect to regain the Senate in the 2020 elections. The Democrats should be using massive rebuttal evidence, relayed with invincible vibrant rhetoric, toward a "wave election win" as occurred in 1936, when President Roosevelt won 61 percent of the popular vote and the Democrats won large majorities in both the House and Senate.

Tyrant Trump is the most impeachable president in the country's history-hands down. Before he resigned, Richard Nixon was sure to be impeached and convicted in 1974 due to his obstructions of the Watergate scandal investigation. Selected president Donald Trump has committed many more serious offenses than Nixon. Trump's abuses amount to repealing the gains of the American Revolution against monarchical rule, and they eviscerate the U.S. Constitution's "separation of powers" system of presidential accountability. Moreover, major protections for the American people against big corporate crime, power and greed are all on Trump's unlawful chopping block. His offenses and violations are more than enough to require his removal from office!

The Democrat's narrow impeachment move on Trump focuses on his attempted extortion of Ukraine for personal political gain. The current House inquiry does not yet include the far more serious systematic "high crimes and misdemeanors" he is brazenly committing. These affect the daily livelihoods, freedoms and just treatment of all the people where they live, work and raise their children.

A president who lies and fabricates by the hour is destructive to life-preserving science, reason, truth, and public trust. Trump separates those who believe his delusionary tweets and rantings from the realities they need to confront. No family, neighborhood, community, or workplace can operate under such thunderous falsifications. Trump even lies about his promises when challenged-such as his claim that Mexico will pay to build the wall.

Alexander Hamilton described "high crimes and misdemeanors" as "violations of the public trust." Trump is the poster boy for this yardstick. He tells Americans they have cleaner air, water, food, forthcoming wonderful health insurance, tons more manufacturing jobs and "clean, beautiful coal." He continues to maintain these fictions when just the opposite is occurring due to his deliberate destruction of existing health, safety and economic protections. He is subordinating people to increased corporate control. Trump caves to corporate demands for more tax escapes, taxpayer subsidies, stalled or frozen minimum wages and other mechanisms to stop the people from getting what they have earned.

Trump's income taxes on corporations and his own businesses are the lowest in modern U.S. history. Some companies-like the big banks and General Electric are nearing tax-exemption, so little do they pay into the U.S. Treasury. And Trump's use of the presidency to enrich himself and his businesses is shameless.

Remember all the factories that he said were coming back to America and the trade deficit he was going to diminish and the federal deficit he was going to reduce? Well, his actions have made a mess of all these matters. Manufacturing output and manufacturing jobs are down, the trade and federal deficits are up. Irregular Gig economy jobs with low pay and no-benefits are replacing good jobs. Consumer debts, including student debt, are at an all-time high.

Overall, average inflation is low, but this is not helping low-income people paying higher rent, rising uncovered health care bills and public transit hikes. Home ownership is sliding, especially for African-Americans. Average life expectancy in America is declining for the first time.

Hand it to Donald Trump. Sometimes he really means what he says. His cruel attacks on immigrants who take tough jobs, such as being home health care aides that nobody else wants, and his brutish treatment of women and minorities matches his rhetoric. He really has illusions of megalomania. "I am the chosen one," he said recently.

Trump trumpeted dictatorially: "Under Article 2, I can do whatever I want as President." Which is what he is doing in violation of many sections of our Constitution, starting with sweeping contempt of exclusive Congressional authorities under our Constitution. These violations involve the appropriations, war and confirmation powers. He has violated surveillance rules, campaign finance laws and encouraged voter suppression of citizens likely to vote against Republicans. He is engaged in an attempted coup, not the Democrats.

No other president has regularly violated more provisions of our Constitution, some of which also involve statutory crimes. No other president has engaged in more personal violence against women, openly incited violence against critics and reporters at his mass rallies. No other president has been more ineffective regarding fulfilling his boastful promises to his betrayed supporters.

There is never a "last straw" fulmination by Donald Trump. The winner thus far is his latest incitement that "If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,'" Trump quoted from a Baptist pastor's statement. Such a crazy, dangerous incitation would have been decisively actionable to our founding fathers, not to mention Mr. Republican himself - Abraham Lincoln, whose presidency was engulfed by Civil War.

What are the Democrats waiting for? Present to the American people the many demonstrable impeachable offenses, which entail very harmful "kitchen table" impacts. A comprehensive impeachment inquiry will engage more of the public and will produce the critical broader public support for impeachment.

Send 'Trump and company' back to Mar-a-Lago so they can contemplate the rising sea levels which he calls a "Chinese Hoax." Set the stage for the crucial election of 2020 to end the supremacy of grasping corporations placing their "Tories" in what Thomas Jefferson called "the People's House."

(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).

Public Housing As The Front Line Of Green New Deal
By Glen Ford

The AOC-Sanders initiative seeks to flip the racist script by revaluing public housing and its remaining occupants.

When Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced House and Senate bills to include what's left of public housing in their sweeping Green New Deal environmental and economic salvation scenario, last week, the corporate media paid little attention. The Lords of Capital that own the press in the United States long ago consigned public housing to the dustbin of history, and have no intention of allowing the remaining 1.2 million units to escape privatization or demolition. Many cities now host only small remnants of public housing, having knocked the bulk of the buildings down and scattered their occupants - most of them to dwellings or sidewalks unknown - under the horrific Hope VI program and its successors.

In most localities, Black elected officials have worked hand in glove with developers and Black-phobic federal administrations to expunge public housing from the landscape - notably, in Atlanta, where a Black-dominated city hall used the 1996 Summer Olympics as an excuse to push the local public housing stock to extinction, finally demolishing the last building in 2011. Nationwide, as the New York Times reported last year, a quarter million public housing units have been demolished since the 1990s. Huge numbers of tenants - overwhelming Black and brown poor people - have been displaced in Chicago, Baltimore, Columbus, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Tucson. Nearly every other city has sharply shrunk its public housing footprint. Only in New York City are public housing tenants a significant part of the population, with as many as 600,000 people residing in 178,895 units at 334 sites - some of whom went for ten years without heat. Gentrification and the war on public housing are inextricably entwined, as profit-seeking manifestations of anti-Blackness and hostility to the poor. Both are collaborative projects of the Black misleadership class, big capital and a white supremacist society - including sections of the Black population that are in desperate flight from racial stereotyping and actual crime.

Everywhere in the United States it is axiomatic that concentrations of poor Black people are bad, while high-rises full of affluent white people (Trump Towers et al) are good. White supremacy defines and shapes the housing "market," in which both buyer and seller value whiteness and abhor Blackness. In the current era, this racist dynamic scatters Black people to the amenity-poor inner suburbs and lures whites to the amenity-rich urban core. The remaining pockets of poor Black and brown habitation - especially public housing projects -- are anathema to Amerikaner notions of "renaissance."

The AOC-Sanders initiative seeks to flip the racist script by revaluing public housing and its remaining occupants. From an ecological standpoint, concentration of populations and refitting of the nation's housing stock is an energy-saving necessity that would also generate millions of jobs and reinvigorate the larger economy. As public property in dire need of repair after decades of neglect, the nation's housing projects are the logical first step in the general overhaul. Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders have earmarked $180 billion over ten years to upgrade all 1.2 million units of public housing, creating a quarter million well-paying union jobs in each year.

The bill calls for "community workforce development," so that pubic housing residents would get a share of those jobs, and for profits from public housing "community energy generation" to be controlled by public housing authorities, for reinvestment in the projects. This is in sync with the larger AOC Green New Deal resolution, submitted to the House last spring, which promises to direct economic development investments in ways that "build wealth and community ownership, while prioritizing high-quality job creation and economic, social, and environmental benefits in frontline and vulnerable communities, and deindustrialized communities."

White people used to live in their own Jim-crow public housing complexes. Ever since whites vacated all but a very few of the remaining projects, the public housing population has not been treated as "communities," but as blights and dens of pathology - and all the other euphemisms that are meant to denote Blackness. By fostering "community resiliency and sustainability," the AOC Green New Deal and public housing bills would confer both respect for the people of the projects and a sense permanence of place. In short, it would call off the Dogs of Capital that have been looking forward to devouring the last morsels of public housing. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are attempting to protect - and even expand -- public housing by including it in the new climate-change mix.

Will the Black misleadership class rethink its hostility to public housing? Yes, many will - but only in hopes of cashing in and corrupting the Green initiative in concert with their usual collaborators in finance capital. The only green they see is currency. That's why it is so imperative that public housing tenants demand and wield decisive power over the radical recasting of the "projects" as the first line of defense against climate disaster.

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

Where Can Trump Find A Good Farm Policy?
By Jim Hightower

Donald Trump's idea of a good farm program seems to be "Hee Haw." On a recent trip to Wisconsin, he drew guffaws from the state's hard-hit dairy farmers by proclaiming that - thanks to his policies - the farm economy was looking good. "We're over the hump," he gloated.

Perhaps The Donald thought that farmers are rubes, unable to do simple math. But those dairy farmers were painfully aware that it costs them $1.90 to produce a gallon of milk, but the processing giants that control the milk market are paying them only $1.35 a gallon. That 55-cent-a-gallon loss quickly adds up to a huge loss of income, and a devastating loss of farm families - Wisconsin lost 638 dairy farms last year and another 551 so far this year.

Far from "over the hump," farm prices have been further depressed by Trump's tariff clash with China - US dairy sales to China fell by 54 percent in just the first half of this year. Meanwhile, monopoly power is crushing prices - an $8 billion behemoth named Dean Foods now controls 90 percent of Wisconsin's milk market, empowering it to commit daylight robbery, blatantly stealing farmers' product... and farms.

Yet, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue - the one national official who's supposed to stand up for farmers - nonchalantly kissed them off, smugly declaring it natural that the big devour the small. So, he professes, there's nothing he can do for family operators except tell them to "go out" of agriculture.

Perdue and Trump are simply inept stewards of America's farm economy. Time for a change. One who is offering a path to a revitalized, family-farm-based food system that'll break the corporate stranglehold over US agriculture is Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Download a summary of her comprehensive proposal for "A New Farm Economy" at

(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

The situation in Iran eerily resembles that in summer, 1953.

Iran: Economic Blockade And Crowd Protests Were Also How the US Made The 1953 Coup
The 1950s boycott of Iranian oil exports plunged the country's economy into crisis and stirred popular resentments.
By Juan Cole

The crowd protests that grew to affect 100 cities over the weekend in Iran were sparked by the government increasing the price of gasoline by as much as 3 times overnight.

But the underlying discontents with the government have been caused by a sinking economy, expected to shrink by 9% this year.

In turn, Iran's economic woes derive from Donald Trump's economic blockade of the country, whereby he has virtually halted Iranian oil sales to countries like Japan and South Korea and Europe, by threatening consumer nations with U.S. Treasury Department sanctions. Before Trump, Iran had been exporting 2.5 million barrels a day of petroleum and was beginning to integrate into the world economy.

Now, after Trump breached the 2015 JCPOA Treaty, Iran has been barred from much international commerce, the value of its currency has plummeted, and last May it exported about 300,000 barrels of oil, a little over a tenth of its pre-Trump production.

Make no mistake. The maximum pressure campaign was plotted out by Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and other warmongerers closely tied to the US arms industries, to Saudi Arabia and to the Israel lobbies, all of which would like to see the Iranian regime overthrown and the exercise of US military power in that country.

The campaign aims at regime change, and the social unrest it has succeeded in provoking is testimony to the deadly efficiency of the blockade. A physical blockade is an act of war in international law, but this economic blockade comes to the same thing.

The situation eerily resembles that in summer, 1953. In 1951, Iran had nationalized its oil facilities, after the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (BP) declined to pay what Iran thought was a fair price for its petroleum. In the wake of the oil nationalization, elderly conservative nationalist Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected prime minister by parliament because of popular support for Iran asserting ownership of its own oil resources. The British were completely expelled from Iran.

In response, U.S. President Eisenhower and U.K. Prime Minister Anthony Eden coordinated a worldwide boycott of Iranian oil. The US put severe pressure on Japan and Italy not to wildcat and buy it on the world market.

As Nikki Keddie wrote in Roots of Revolution, oilman Max Thorberg wrote in 1953 to Claire Booth Luce, the US ambassador to Italy that if Rome took more Iranian petroleum the US oil majors would take revenge on Italy. The severe boycott of Iranian oil exports plunged the country's economy into crisis and stirred popular resentments, so that Mosaddegh's popularity sank to ever new lows within two years. By summer of 1953, his position was so weakened that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was able to network with conservative Iranian officiers, clergy and others to connive at a bloody military coup against Mosaddegh.

The U.S. Embassy in Iran reported popular discontent with Mosaddegh at the beginning of July, 1953, because of the deteriorating economy, but managed rather dishonestly to avoid mentioning that the U.S.-led economic boycott of Iranian petroleum was the cause of that deterioration in Iranians' standard of living:

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951-1954
[Page 612]

233. Despatch From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1

No. 337

Tehran, July 1, 1953.


Popularity and Prestige of Prime Minister Mohammed Mosadeq


The Embassy has lately been receiving reports tending to indicate that Prime Minister Mosadeq has lost much of the popular support which he previously enjoyed. Without the means or possibility of employing scientific public opinion polling techniques, it is of course impossible to draw definite conclusions, but the comments received may reveal a broad trend.

Original Support and Its Decline

There seems to be no question of the broad base of popular support for Dr. Mosadeq at the time he first took office as Prime Minister. As leader of the struggle against the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in a country where resentment and even hatred of the British is deep-rooted, Mosadeq could count upon the support of people from all levels of society with but few exceptions. For many months after oil nationalization, the Prime Minister's popularity continually mounted. To the common people, Mosadeq was looked upon almost as a demigod.

The phenomenon of Mosadeq was almost unique in Iran. The figure of a frail, old man, in an Oriental country where age of itself commands respect, who appeared to be successfully winning a battle against tremendous odds, aroused the sympathy of almost all Iranians. In a country where political corruption had been the accepted norm, there now appeared a man whose patriotism and financial honesty were unassailable.

The economic and financial situation of the country, however, continued to worsen and as opposition to him increased, the Prime Minister found it ever more necessary to adopt arbitrary means to silence it. The contradictions in his public statements and promises continued to become more glaringly apparent. While speaking of an "oilless economy" on the one hand the Prime Minister excused his failure to initiate promised reforms on the ground that he could not "fight on two fronts." The much promised "oil solution," which was constantly dangled before the people, failed to materialize. More and more demands for dictatorial powers were made, and more and more the Prime Minister was compelled to employ arbitrary and high-handed methods to keep himself in power.

For months Mosadeq failed to leave his residence for fear of his life. He admitted fear of crowds. No longer was he able to address "the people" in parliament square. His speeches were delivered from his bed into a recording machine and played back over Radio Tehran. He did not dare make a public appearance. Mosadeq was no longer the popular hero.

The Prime Minister finally made it clear that he intended to remain in office regardless of popular support. With the backing of a minority of deputies, it was now he who could use the threat of obstructionist tactics. He warned that he would remain in office as long as he had a simple majority in parliament of one-half plus one. He no longer demanded overwhelming votes of confidence. It was clear as well that, if he were not sure of obtaining one-half plus one, his faithful group of deputies could simply hold up proceedings by merely walking out of the parliamentary assembly. He has now gone a step further and threatened the dissolution of the Majlis . . .

As to the Prime Minister's popularity the following comments are revealing. April 7 the Consul at Tabriz sent a message to the Embassy which stated that it was apparent the Prime Minister's hold over Azerbaijan had "weakened visibly" during the previous two months. The Consul noted an increasing amount of publicly expressed opposition to Mosadeq indicating a decline in his personal prestige, and that the attempt of the Prime Minister to undermine the Throne had resulted in increasing the Shah's prestige "to the detriment of Mosadeq."

In a letter dated April 1, 1953, the Consul at Isfahan made the following comment:

"I think I should report that for many weeks now people with whom I have talked have spoken with growing dissatisfaction about Dr. Mosadeq and the 'government' in general. Articulate persons are dissatisfied with lack of accomplishment, non-progress toward settlement of the oil controversy, new taxes and regulations governing foreign commerce. They talk mysteriously of a coming change in Tehran, that matters cannot go on as at present. This comment is not meant to be a public opinion poll, but just a report of comments and the thinking of some of the 'better class' people with whom I have talked."

By August 19, 1953, there were nation-wide crowd protests, with leftists pitted against American rent-a-crowds chanting their demand that Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlevi, who had fled to Italy, return to the country.

The New York Times News Service reported that day,

"Police and soldiers swung into action tonight against Tudeh (Communist) parrisans and Nationalist extremists . . . The troops appeared to be in a kind of frenzy as they smashed into the rioters with clubbed rifles, tear gas bombs and nightsticks . . . The rioting surged through the downtown area [of Tehran] tonight as the extreme Nationalist Pan-Iranists, armed with metal-tipped wooden spears, sought to avenge the torching of their headquarters by Tudeh gangs in the morning."
Actually, the pro-Mosaddegh forces were not Communists, and by then the Tudeh Party had largely broken with Mosaddegh. And the so-called "extreme Nationalists" were just paid for by US secret agent Kermit Roosevelt (a cousin of FDR).

These crowd protests and clashes were a prelude to the CIA-orchestrated coup the removed Mosaddegh from office, placed him under house arrest till his death a few years later, and brought back the Shah or king as a capitalist dictator who moderated Iran's oil prices in the service of Washington DC until he was overthrown in 1979.

So that's how it is done, folks. First, a complete economic blockade on a country's exports, then tut-tutting at how the government seems to have become unpopular in the face of economic deterioration, and then some furtive meetings with seedy far-right-wing militarists and the spreading around of money to create crows protests, and then the coup on behalf of imperial interests.

I'm not suggesting that the crowds in today's Iran are being paid to be out there; on the contrary, I'm quite sure that they are severely distressed. You could blame some of the unrest on unpopular economic and social policies of the regime that might have been enacted even with no US blockade. But I am suggesting that the primary cause of the distress is a Trump plot on the Iranian economy that looks an awful lot like what was done in 1951-1953 to put Iran back under the thumb of Washington and Big Oil.

(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.

Laura Ingraham, American radio host, at the Conservative Political Action
Conference (CPAC), sponsored by the American Conservative Union.

Attempted Bribery Is Bribery
The Constitution's authors had an understanding of bribery that legal scholars say "not only encompasses Trump's conduct-it practically defines it"
By John Nichols

Donald Trump and his defenders are trying to save his miserable presidency by confusing the American people with interpretations of the law and the Constitution that have no resemblance to reality as it is understood today. More significantly, they are proposing defenses that bear no resemblance to reality as it was understood by the founders of the American experiment.

Indeed, their defenses directly conflict with the intentions of the delegates who outlined an impeachment power to answer the questions George Mason posed at the Constitutional Convention of 1787: "Shall any man be above justice? Above all, shall that man be above it who can commit the most extensive injustice?"

Trump's team is going from weakness to weakness when it comes to mounting defenses. That was painfully obvious during the second of two public impeachment hearings, on Friday, when the president tweeted crudely personal and deeply dishonest attacks on former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she was testifying before the Intelligence Committee. Trump was literally insisting that the "Impeachment Witch Hunt should be Over..." on the day that Yovanovitch was testifying about a smear campaign that ultimately forced her from her post-and about how Trump's attacks on her "sounded like a threat" and had been "very intimidating" not just to her but to those who might seek to challenge corruption in Ukraine.

The president's words and deeds have been so over the top that a key member of the committee, Connecticut Democrat Jim Himes, suggested that the ambassador had been "attacked in language that would embarrass a mob boss." Himes also noted the increasingly desperate nature of the attempts to justify the president's conduct. "Now," the representative said, "it's the president's defense-and it's emerging from my Republican colleagues today-that this is all OK."

In fact, new attempts to cover for Trump emerge on a daily basis. The one constant is that they are going from bad to worse. President Trump, his aides, and his congressional allies have tried the "we do it all the time" defense, the "these guys are too incoherent to organize a quid pro quo" defense, the "this is all just hearsay" defense, and the "he got caught before he did anything really bad" defense, in an increasingly desperate search for a credible argument against impeaching and removing a serial abuser of his position. But nowhere has the desperation of the dead-enders on the Trump train been more evident-at the close of an extraordinary week of public hearings and revelations regarding the president's scheming to get the Ukrainian government to do his personal political bidding-than in their response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's suggestion that the impeachment inquiry might aim a bribery charge at Trump. "What the president has admitted to and says it's perfect, I've said it's perfectly wrong," the speaker announced on Thursday. "It's bribery."

Though the California Democrat did not say for certain that there would be an article of impeachment indicting the president for bribery, Pelosi did not shy away from specifics regarding the president's "do us a favor" conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections," she explained. "That's bribery."

That raised the alarm of Trump's praetorian guard, as a reference to bribery brings the discussion of impeachment into direct alignment with the language of the Constitution, which declares in Article II, Section 4: "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Close readers of the document will understand that bribery is mentioned as an example of the many high crimes and misdemeanors that would be considered impeachable. Close readers will also note the use of the term "shall be removed"-as opposed to "may be removed."

Even the most comically inept of the president's champions recognize what Pelosi, Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), and their allies are doing. They are abandoning arcane language and getting precise about impeachment as they move toward the process of writing formal articles of impeachment. But that has not made the pushback by Trump's amen corner any less absurd. Now, we've got opponents of impeachment, like Fox News host Laura Ingraham, arguing that "attempted bribery isn't in the Constitution."

Apart from the problem of a "defense" that suggests the president was trying to do wrong but didn't fully achieve his goal, this argument splits the wrong hair. Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute reminds us: "Attempts to bribe exist at common law and under the Model Penal Code, and often, the punishment for attempted bribery and completed bribery are identical." That's useful. But even more useful is an understanding of the fact that impeachment is not a legal intervention that requires evidence of a specific criminal act or statutory violation, as President Trump and so many of Republican allies on the House Intelligence Committee so desperately want the American people and their elected officials to imagine.

Impeachment is a constitutionally defined process for checking and balancing the executive, which is carried out by the Congress in order to address egregious abuses of an immensely powerful position. By any measure, both bribery and attempted bribery meet this standard for congressional action.

The most compelling argument with regard to the intentions of the founders regarding what Trump's allies refer to as "attempted bribery" comes from a trio of able and experienced lawyers who now work with the nonprofit, nonpartisan Protect Democracy organization: Ben Berwick, who previously served for six and a half years in the US Department of Justice as a trial attorney with the Civil Division and counsel to the assistant attorney general for the Civil Division; Justin Florence, who previously served in the Office of the White House Counsel as special assistant to the president and associate counsel to the president; and John Langford, who previously spent three years at Yale Law School as a clinical lecturer in law. In a compelling essay on the topic, they have explained:

[B]y and large, those who have examined Trump's efforts to put pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as potential bribery have done so through the narrow lens of modern federal statutory criminal law.

But that is the wrong place to look when considering impeachment. In fact, the Founders had a broader conception of bribery than what's in the criminal code. Their understanding was derived from English law, under which bribery was understood as an officeholder's abuse of the power of an office to obtain a private benefit rather than for the public interest. This definition not only encompasses Trump's conduct-it practically defines it.

There are reasons to be cautious about writing an article of impeachment that focuses on bribery. A simple corruption charge, stemming from the president's abuse of his position for clearly political purposes, still appeals to those of us who believe it goes to the heart of Trump's wrongdoing-as would articles outlining violations of the emoluments clause and obstruction of justice.

But the latest "defense" from the president's defenders is as fraudulent as their previous attempts. "At the time the Constitution was drafted, when people thought of bribery, they thought in broad terms of the corrupt use of an official's public power to achieve private ends," Berwick, Florence, and Langford explained in an early October Lawfare piece that merits a deep read. Indeed, when the founders highlighted "bribery" in the Constitution as one of two specific impeachable offenses, the lawyers tell us, "There is every reason to believe that the drafters of the Constitution had in mind a scope that easily encompasses Trump's conduct."

(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 Exoneration Of U. S. Prisoners
By James Donahue

As a retired news reporter who spent much of his time working with police and the courts I have been fascinated by recent advancements in criminology and forensic science. Because of special new techniques involving human facial recognition, fingerprints and massive parallel sequencing of DNA the nation's criminal justice system has some amazing new tools for tracking and convicting the bad guys.

But in the course of this new criminal research a special team called the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) has been discovering more and more cases where innocent people have been locked behind bars for crimes they did not commit. This has been especially troublesome among death row prisoners.

A recent article by Patricio Munoz-Hernandez in in The Advocate, published by the Santa Clara University School of Law in California, notes that the exoneration of wrongly convicted prisoners increased from 24 when exonerations were first recorded in 1989 to 164 in 2018. This increase was largely due to the fact that the number of researchers on CIU teams increased from eight to 44 during that short stretch of time. Over 2,500 prisoners have been found to have been wrongly convicted of serious crimes since CIU research began.

Jeff Rosen

Munoz-Hernandez credited the promotion of additional CIU units to Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen in 2011. Rosen, who headed one of the larger legal teams in Northern California, became a nationally-recognized leader in criminal justice reform.

The article also offered this sobering statistic: "Out of 151 exonerations that occurred in 2018 at least 105 involved some degree of official misconduct, the majority of which pertained to homicide and drug-related offenses, according to a report by the National Registry of Exonerations."

He wrote that a common example of misconduct involved police or prosecutors concealing evidence that might have questioned guilt. "In such cases, misconduct may include police officers threatening witnesses, forensic analysts falsifying test results and child welfare workers pressuring children to claim sexual abuse where none occurred," Munoz-Hernandez added.

That the increased number of working CIU units is uncovering more and more cases of wrongful conviction scream for ever-intensified work in this field and a heightened awareness of the need for more careful research by investigating officers and workers in the forensic field before convicting possible felons.

One cannot imagine the horror we might experience if unexpected events lead to our arrest and conviction for a crime we had nothing to do with.

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

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch arrives on Capitol Hill to appear
before lawmakers in closed-door questioning for the House Intelligence Committee, relating
to the impeachment inquiry concerning President Donald Trump, in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 11, 2019.

Ambassador Yovanovitch, Once A Trump Target, Is Now His Nightmare
By William Rivers Pitt

Read the transcript! The phone call was perfect! No quid pro quo!

This has been the deeply misleading and self-serving refrain of Donald Trump and his defenders regarding the now-infamous July 25 telephone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. In deploying this line of nonsense, they seek to convince all who might listen that the July 25 call is the only element of the scandal engulfing the White House.

On Friday, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch used a golden opportunity to put that brazen misrepresentation to bed once and for all. For Yovanovitch, the story of Trump's Ukraine extortion scheme did not begin when the news first broke several weeks ago. It began for her at the end of last year, when she found out that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was taking an active interest in Ukraine, and in her.

"Basically, it was people in the Ukrainian government who said that [Yuriy] Lutsenko, the former prosecutor general, was in communication with Mayor Giuliani, and that they had plans," said Yovanovitch during deposition testimony given early this month, a year after she learned she was a target of her own government. "They were going to, you know, do things, including to me."

Lutsenko, who was a prosecutor under the previous deeply corrupt Ukraine regime, was in discussions with Giuliani about digging dirt on the Biden family to aid Trump's re-election campaign. Not only would Lutsenko get Ukraine to investigate Burisma, the natural gas company where Joe Biden's son Hunter served as a board member; he would also get Ukraine to chase serially debunked conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, a pet fever dream of Trump's.

Marie Yovanovitch's career-spanning professional integrity stood as an impediment to these intentions. If Giuliani was to effectively execute the plan to dragoon Ukraine into doing Trump's political bidding, it was apparently understood that an individual of Yovanovitch's reputation would not stand for it. She had to be removed from the equation... and so the whispers began.

She gave Lutsenko a "do not prosecute" list to help her cronies, the Rudy-driven rumors went. She's a Trump critic. Giuliani, along with Fox News Trumpevangelist Sean Hannity and even Donald Trump, Jr., began slagging her in public. Yovanovitch reached out to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for support, but none was forthcoming.

At that point, the genuinely creepy stuff began in earnest. A comment about Yovanovitch made by Trump himself - "She's going to go through some things" - filtered down to the ambassador. She was advised by European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland to tweet positive things about Trump in order to keep him from attacking her publicly. Finally, in February of this year, a senior Ukrainian official "told me I really needed to watch my back," Yovanovitch said in her deposition testimony.

In April of this year, three days after Zelensky won the Ukrainian presidential election, Marie Yovanovitch was summarily dismissed as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

The deal went down on the 21st of that month. "[State Department Director General Carol Perez] said that there was a lot of concern for me," recounted Yovanovitch during her deposition, "that I needed to be on the next plane home to Washington. And I was like, 'What? What happened?' And she said, 'I don't know, but this is about your security. You need to come home immediately. You need to come on the next plane.'"

Was Yovanovitch directly involved in the July 25 phone call, or in any aspect of Trump's extortion scheme against the government in Ukraine? The answer is a definitive "no." Yovanovitch, however, is living proof that Trump and his allies were up to some profoundly underhanded shenanigans many long months before that July 25 call, and those shenanigans not only cost Yovanovitch her post, but left her feeling that her own personal safety was in jeopardy.

On Friday, Yovanovitch told the House Intelligence Committee, the country and the world about her experiences as ambassador to Ukraine under the administration of Donald Trump. She was a threat to Trump's plans in Ukraine, and now she is part of the threat to Trump's presidency.

Before her three-year stint in Ukraine, Yovanovich served as senior advisor to the under secretary of state for political affairs, U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, U.S. ambassador to Armenia, and principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. She is a diplomat in residence at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

Yovanovitch is, in short, a testimonial nightmare for the likes of Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan and Trump: a smart, experienced, devoted career public servant in the vein of George Kent and William Taylor. In a room packed with Republican misogynists, she stood as a threat not only to Trump, but to their benighted understanding of the natural order of things. That, right there, was worth waiting in a long line to see.

Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and their co-conspirators in Ukraine tried to bully Marie Yovanovitch. On Friday, she got her broad-daylight opportunity to return the favor. There is nothing a bully hates more than getting punched back in return. If I were Nunes and Jordan, I would've call in sick on Friday. Ukraine Flu, y'know. It's been going around.

(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.

Reimagining and acting to create a better world can be a deeply positive experience. In the
act of coming together, we can rewire the status quo so that taking care of each other becomes the

Forming Bonds In Times Of Crisis
By David Suzuki

The climate and ecological crises touch each of us to varying degrees. Some carry the emotional weight of worrying about what kind of diminished, unstable world we're leaving for our children while others are directly, physically affected by climate-fuelled disasters like storms, wildfires, droughts and changing wildlife patterns.

Our responses to these crises also vary. Most people know the traditional reactions to crises: fight, flight or freeze. But as climate scientist and activist Susanne Moser says, "We keep talking about the three Fs but there is a fourth one, and that's the one that actually helped us survive. The forming of bonds, or the be-friending. That's the piece that got to us to cooperate as a species and recognize that we have greater advantage when we work together as opposed to everyone for themselves. This is biology. It is in the genetic history of our species. We are here because we cooperated. It's part of us." Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine examines how capitalism takes advantage of disasters, always ready to profit from the destabilization they create. On the flip side, a new phrase has emerged to recognize the human capacity to co-operate in the face of calamity - "disaster collectivism" - described by writer Rebecca Solnit as "the sense of immersion in the moment and solidarity with others caused by the rupture in everyday life, an emotion graver than happiness but deeply positive."

This term has emerged from the displays of compassion, altruism and creative solution-seeking that blossom when climate disaster strikes communities. News reports are full of stories about neighbours and strangers going out of their way to share food, rescue pets, locate loved ones and help rebuild what has been lost.

Although disaster collectivism was coined in 2018 in conjunction with the dizzying increase in climate-caused calamities, the phenomenon of the potential of positive reaction to stress has been documented by scientists. A 2012 article in Scientific American, "How the Stress of Disaster Brings People Together," points to studies that found, "acute stress may actually lead to greater cooperative, social, and friendly behavior."

Margaret Klein Salamon, founder and executive director of U.S.-based The Climate Mobilization, argues that society actually needs to enter "emergency mode" in which "individuals and groups function optimally during an existential or moral crisis - often achieving great feats through intensely focused motivation."

The climate and ecological crises are manifest in destroyed homes and livelihoods during floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, drastic declines in wildlife populations and the disappearances of vast tracts of forests consumed by increased wildfires, but they are ultimately symptoms of the underlying crisis of our societal failure to take responsibility for our impacts on the planet so that it can continue to provide us with stable, life-supporting ecosystems. It is a crisis facing us all, that we created and to which we must respond.

The systems we've been using to structure the way we extract resources need to be rethought. Although we sometimes see our economy as an absolute, as something apart from us, it is our creation, and it can be recreated if we recognize the planetary harms it sets in motion.

Ideally, the fissures in the wall that has upheld business-as-usual operations provide an opportunity for us to come together, equipped with tools to redress, repair and rebuild. Some of the fixes will be technological, like better ways to make renewable energy sources accessible and affordable everywhere, but what is mainly needed is a new vision that sets limits to better manage the pace and reach of our historically unrestrained plundering of the planet's offerings.

Reimagining and acting to create a better world can be a deeply positive experience, as Solnit highlights. In the act of coming together, we can also rewire the status quo so that taking care of each other becomes the norm.

As Barry Lopez observes in his book, Horizon, "Our question is no longer how to exploit the natural world for human comfort and gain, but how we can cooperate with one another to ensure we will someday have a fitting, not a dominating, place in it." Change isn't easy, but when people come together for the good of humanity and Earth, we can accomplish great things.

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

David Holmes, Aide To Ukraine Ambassador Taylor, Testifies In impeachment Hearing

If There's A Gun Left That Isn't Smoking, I Can't Find It
The dominoes are stacked up and lead straight to the Oval Office now.
By Charles P. Pierce

Stop the news, I want to get off.

Earlier Friday evening, CNN's congressional reporter Manu Raju scooped a copy of the statement that David Holmes delivered to the House Intelligence Committee in a closed session on Friday. Holmes is the aide to whom Ambassador Bill Taylor referred on Wednesday as the guy who overheard the cellphone conversation between the president* and his go-between, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, in a Ukrainian restaurant. Holmes's statement is detailed and damning. It's also faintly hilarious that the whole case may be broken because two old men talked too loudly on their cellphones. From CNN:

"Sondland told Trump that Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes said, according to a copy of his opening statement. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"..."Even though I did not take notes of those statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made," he added.

Holmes also confirmed Taylor's testimony about the President's thoughts on Ukraine, saying he had asked Sondland "if it was true that the President did not 'give a s--- about Ukraine." Holmes said Sondland had responded that Trump cares only about "big stuff." When Holmes said that the Ukraine war was big, Sondland responded, " 'Big stuff' that benefits the President, like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing," Holmes said.

Holmes's statement does several things. First, it puts Sondland squarely back on the hook for having once told Congress that he'd had no contact with anyone at the White House on these matters. Sondland's already had to reupholster that one once, and now, it's plain that he remains legally vulnerable. Sondland is supposed to testify publicly next week. He must be quivering with anticipation.

Second, it's another nail in Rudy Giuliani's coffin. If Sondland folds, which now seems likely, Rudy is the next sucker standing, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Chief-of-Staff Mick Mulvaney lined up behind him like a row of dominoes leading into the Oval Office.

Third, it makes even stronger the testimony of the three witnesses who testified in public this week.

And fourth, and last, it leaves the president*and his enablers with no defense left except to say that, yes, the president* did it, but it's not impeachable. Not sure how that squares with all the effort the White House put into burying this whole episode, but that's all they've got left. If there's a gun left here that isn't smoking, I can't find it.

(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 believe in all the qualities of being a liberal. I keep going back to all the great social events in our country's history, starting with the Salem witch trials, where the conservative view was that they're witches and should be burned at the stake, and the liberal view was there's no such thing as witches."
~~~ George Clooney

Courage, People! Show Some Misneach!
By David Swanson

Misneach (mish-nyuhkh) is an Irish word meaning something like bravery, courage, spirit.

The Irish could use more misneach, as we all could. Ireland is failing to stand up to the U.S. military and its use of Ireland. And when a couple of people from the U.S. stand up in Ireland, they're forbidden to leave the country - as if their misneach can't be spared, as the stuff is in such low supply. For a recent conference in Limerick, I noted in limericks:

Green Ireland has a peaceful blue sky.
Yet Shannon's got war planes, and why?
When Emperor Trump
Tells Ireland to jump
Ireland bows down and asks him "How high?"

Neutral Ireland takes no part in war
Except that troops carry weapons galore
Through the airport at Shannon
While mass slaughters they're planning
For far off from their two-dollar . . .

Do you want to hear more?

If you ask me the Irish know better.
They've seen dead that could not have been deader.
A true friend to the Yanks
Would say thanks but no thanks.
Here comes peace strolling by. Have you met her?

What they have done in Dublin that offers a model of misneach for my hometown of Charlottesville is they've put up a statue called Misneach. It depicts a girl in sweatshirt and sweatpants riding a horse.

Now, there used to be a statue in Phoenix Park in Dublin of a British imperialist war hero named Lord Gough (rhymes with Torrid Cough). He sat proudly with his chest puffed out, hand on hip, sword on display, a typical war monument. He repeatedly ran into trouble. In 1944 he was beheaded and desworded, but the head was found in the River Liffey and stuck back on. In 1956, the horse lost his right hind leg, and the next year the whole statue was destroyed and removed. Of one of the efforts to remove Lord Gough, a poet by the name of Vincent Caprani wrote (with what accuracy I know not):

There are strange things done from twelve to one
In the Hollow at Phaynix Park,
There's maidens mobbed and gentlemen robbed
In the bushes after dark;
But the strangest of all within human recall
Concerns the statue of Gough,
'Twas a terrible fact, and a most wicked act,
For his bollix they tried to blow off!

'Neath the horse's big prick a dynamite stick
Some gallant 'hayro' did place,
For the cause of our land, with a match in his hand
Bravely the foe he did face;
Then without showing fear - and standing well clear -
He expected to blow up the pair
But he nearly went crackers, all he got was the knackers
And he made the poor stallion a mare!

For his tactics were wrong, and the prick was too long
(the horse being more than a foal)
It would answer him better, this dynamite setter,
The stick to shove up his own hole!
For this is the way our 'haroes' today
Are challenging England's might,
With a stab in the back and a midnight attack
On a statue that can't even shite!

Indeed, might a daylight mass-protest and removal have shown a bit more misneach?

Now, Gough and his horse were restored in England, and the sculptor of Misneach created a replica of Gough's horse, but put a girl with no uniform or weapons on it.

Here in Virginia we've got giant horse statues galore, each carrying a sword wielding glorification of war. We've proposed moving them out of the centers of towns and displaying them with explanations of when they went up and why. We've given the political party that's been out of power for a quarter century majorities in Richmond. If that doesn't work, I suppose there's always the option of knocking each general off his steed and replacing him with an athlete or artist or musician or teacher or parent or activist or scholar or poet.

Misneach is a word recommended to us for common use by a new book called An Ecotopian Lexicon, edited by Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and Brent Ryan Bellamy. It lists new words devised by the authors, or recommended for borrowing from other languages, or created by science-fiction or other sources. Misneach is only one of many good ones.

A disturbing number of the words are tied to religions, mysticism, or equally fantastic beliefs about colonizing foreign planets. Even more are devoted to hope or hopieness, despair, and other self-centered reactions. But some are dedicated to action, including:

Blockadia, noun, that ever-changing area of land where people are living in order to block pipelines, mines, and other forms of destruction.

Terragouge, verb, what is done to the earth be extractive and destructive activities.

Ildsjel, Norwegian noun, meaning activist but perhaps not yet beaten down into a pejorative term.

Gyebale, salutation from Luganda, meaning thank you for your work, thank you for the good things you are doing. This is used for everyone, not just those who kill, unlike "thank you for your service."

Fotminne, noun, foot memory, connection to land.

Apocalypso, noun, a vision or text that suggests carrying on in the face of the apocalyptic.

(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-

Cindy proudly wears her Confederate hat

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Hyde-Smith,

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 blocking of a gun safety bill as another school shooting unfolds, 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 Frau Hyde-Smith, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Real Deal With Medicare For All
By Robert Reich

Republicans and even some Democrats are out to scare you about Medicare for All. They say it's going to dismantle health care as we know it and it will cost way too much.


The typical American family now spends $6,000 on health insurance premiums each year. Add in the co-payments and deductibles that doctors, hospitals, and drug companies also charge you - plus typical out-of-pocket expenses for pharmaceuticals - and that typical family's health bill is $6,800.

But that's not all, because some of the taxes you now pay are for health insurance, too - for Medicare and Medicaid and for the Affordable Care Act. So let's add them in, again for the typical American household. That comes to a whopping $8,975 a year. Oh, and this number is expected to rise in the coming years.

Not a pretty picture. If you're a typical American, you're already paying far more for health insurance than people in any other advanced country.

And you're not getting your money's worth. The United States ranks near the bottom for life span and infant mortality. Or maybe you're one of the 30 million Americans who don't have any health insurance coverage at all.

You see, a big reason we pay so much for health insurance is the administrative costs involved in private for-profit insurance. About a third of what you pay goes to the people who oversee billing and collections. And then of course there are the marketing and advertising expenses, and the profits that go to shareholders or private-equity managers.

What happens if we have Medicare for All?

Let's first consider a limited version that keeps private insurance - as proposed by candidates including Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris. The insurance costs remain the same because it's the same private insurers and the same co-payments and deductibles. The only difference is more of this would be paid through your taxes, rather than by you directly, because the government would reimburse the insurance companies.

This could help bring down costs by giving the government more bargaining leverage to get better prices. But we don't know yet how much.

Now, let's talk about a different version of Medicare for All that replaces private for-profit health insurance, as proposed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In this version, total costs - including a possible combination of premiums, co-payments, deductibles, or taxes - are even lower. This option is far cheaper because it doesn't have all those administrative expenses. It's public insurance that reimburses hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies directly and eliminates the bloat of private insurance companies.

Economists at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst say Medicare for All that replaces private for-profit insurance would reduce costs by about 10 percent, mostly from lower administrative and drug costs. The Urban Institute estimates that households and businesses would save about $21.9 trillion over ten years, and state and local governments would save $4.1 trillion.

You'd pay for it through a combination of premiums, fees, and taxes, but your overall costs would go way down. So you'd come out ahead. And everyone would be covered.

You'd keep your same doctor or other health-care provider. And you could still buy private insurance to supplement Medicare for All, just like some people currently buy private insurance to supplement Medicare and Social Security. The only thing that's changed is you no longer pay the private for-profit corporate insurers.

Any Medicare for All is better than our present system, but this second version is far better because - like Medicare and Social Security - it's based on the simple and proven idea that we shouldn't be paying private for-profit corporate insurers boatloads of money to get the insurance we need.

It's time for true Medicare for All.

(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

To Paraphrase Joe Biden, 'Gaza Has A Right To Defend Itself'
By Jane Stillwater

When you were a little kid, did the schoolyard bully try to steal your lunch money?

When Hitler invaded Poland, did the Poles have a right to fight back?

When terrorists bombed the Twin Towers on 9-11, Americans felt violated, naked, afraid -- and pissed off.

When I was attacked by a wannabe rapist with a knife to my throat and he told me, "Don't scream," guess what I did?

This week, impeachment proceedings in Congress have taken up much of our news cycle. But somewhere in the deep recesses of FaceBook there are sad photos of babies in Gaza being blown up, by Zionists wielding huge missiles and bombs.

Doesn't Gaza have a right to defend itself too?

Don't the West Bank, Palestine and even Syria and Yemen also have a right to defend themselves?

Let's stop paying these vicious Zionist schoolyard bullies the blood money that they use to attack and metaphorically rape the defenseless people of Gaza again and again.

(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
~~~ Jen Sorenson ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Paralyzed Mike Pence Lies Against Bathroom Wall For Hours After Encountering Doorknob That Looks Like Female Breast
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON-Rocking back and forth on the tile floor as he averted his eyes from the disgustingly suggestive entryway hardware, Vice President Mike Pence was reportedly against a bathroom wall for hours Thursday following an encounter with a doorknob resembling the female breast.

"Come on, Mikey, snap out of it...stand up, walk over there, just pull the door open, and you'll be free," said the vice president, attempting to avoid making physical contact with the enticingly curvaceous door pull by wrapping his fingers in a paper towel, only to have it tear and bring his palm into contact with the offensive contours, which sent him back to the sink to repeatedly wash his hands.

"Remember, it's not a real woman. It's just a piece of metal like any other doorknob. Just take a deep breath and don't throw up."

At press time, Pence had collapsed when a Secret Service agent opened the door, causing the knob to jiggle suggestively.

(c) 2019 The Onion

The Gross National Debt

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 45 (c) 11/22/2019

Issues & Alibis is published in America every Friday. We are not affiliated with, nor do we accept funds from any political party. We are a non_profit group that is dedicated to the restoration of the American Republic. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of Issues & Alibis.Org.

In regards to copying anything from this site remember that everything here is copyrighted. Issues & Alibis has been given permission to publish everything on this site. When this isn't possible we rely on the "Fair Use" copyright law provisions. If you copy anything from this site to reprint make sure that you do too. We ask that you get our permission to reprint anything from this site and that you provide a link back to us. Here is the "Fair Use" provision.

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."