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In This Edition

Chris Walker reports, "District That Banned LGBTQ Books Relents After Pressure From Students, ACLU."

Ralph Nader is giving, "Thanksgiving Thanks For The Early 'Nader Raiders.'"

Margaret Kimberley examines, "Rittenhouse And Verdict Mania."

Jim Hightower ask, "Which Food Future Will You Choose?"

William Rivers Pitt says, "Capitalism Must Not Dictate Our Response To Omicron Variant."

John Nichols exposes, "Ron Johnson's War On Free And Fair Elections."

James Donahue finds, "Something Strange And Scary Observed - Antimatter Occurring."

David Swanson is, "Reflecting On The Dawn Of Everything."

David Suzuki wonders, "Where Do We Go From COP26?"

Charles P. Pierce says, "Congratulations, Barbados. Pro-Tip: Don't Adopt An Electoral College."

Juan Cole shows, "Lauren Boebert Is The One With Terrorist Ties, Not Ilhan Omar."

Robert Reich concludes, "Trump Stoked Covid In Red states - But There Are Blue Anti-Vaxxers Too."

Andrea Germanos joins us with, "New Research Finds Climate Emergency The 'Overwhelming Factor' Behind Australian Bushfires."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Biden Authorizes Emergency Release Of Oil From Matt Gaetz," but first, Uncle Ernie asks, "How Long Can You Tread Water? Part 7."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Nease, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Brian McFadden, Merve Sahin, Nathan Howard, Zhang Cheng,, Francis McKee, Greg Nash,, Sarah Silbiger, Jonathan Brady, Justin Sullivan, Saeed Khan, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments -

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To End On A Happy Note -
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How Long Can You Tread Water? Part 7
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"We now understand that the threat from sea-level rise and coastal flooding is far greater than we previously thought, it's also true that the benefits from cutting climate pollution are far greater than we previously thought - this changes the whole benefit-cost equation." ~~~ Benjamin Strauss ~ President and CEO of Climate Central

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

As you know the planet is warming rapidly, resulting in historic drought, deadly floods and unusual melting events in the Arctic. It is also causing steady sea level rise, which scientists say will continue for decades.

A new study from Climate Central, a nonprofit research group, shows that roughly 50 major coastal cities will need to implement "unprecedented" adaptation measures to prevent rising seas from swallowing their most populated areas.

The analysis, in collaboration with researchers at Princeton University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, resulted in striking visual contrasts between the world as we know it today and our underwater future, if the planet warms to 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Climate scientists reported in August the world is already around 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels. Temperatures should stay below 1.5 degrees, they say - a critical threshold to avoid the most severe impacts of the climate crisis.

But even in the most optimistic scenario, where global greenhouse gas emissions begin to decline today and are slashed to net zero by 2050, global temperature will still peak above the 1.5-degree threshold before falling. And you know that the odds of that happening, are a snow balls chance in Hell!

In less-optimistic scenarios, where emissions continue to climb beyond 2050, the planet could reach 3 degrees as early as the 2060s or 2070s, and the oceans will continue to rise for decades beyond that before they reach peak levels.

"Today's choices will set our path," said Benjamin Strauss, the chief scientist at Climate Central and lead author on the report.

Climate Central researchers used global elevation and population data to analyze parts of the world that will be most vulnerable to sea level rise, which tend to be concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region.

Small island nations at risk of "near-total loss" of land, the report says, and eight of the top 10 areas exposed to sea level rise are in Asia, with approximately 600 million people exposed to inundation under a 3-degree warming scenario.

According to Climate Central's analysis, China, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia are in the top five countries most vulnerable to long-term sea level rise. The researchers note that these are also countries that have added additional coal-burning capacity in recent years.

In September, a study published in the journal Nature found nearly 60% of the planet's remaining oil and natural gas and 90% of its coal reserves should remain in the ground by 2050 to have a higher chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Most regions around the world, it said, must reach peak fossil fuel production now or within the next decade to avoid the critical climate threshold.

At the UN General Assembly in September, China made a major climate pledge as one of the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases: the country will no longer build any new coal-fired power projects abroad, marking a shift in policy around its sprawling Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, which had already begun to dwindle its coal initiatives.

If the planet hits 3 degrees, Climate Central reports that roughly 43 million people in China will live on land projected to be below high-tide levels by 2100, with 200 million people living in areas at risk of sea level rise over the longer term.

With every fraction of a degree of warming, the consequences of climate change worsen. Even limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, scientists say the kinds of extreme weather the world experienced this summer will become more severe and more frequent.

Beyond 1.5 degrees, the climate system could begin to look unrecognisable, and have no doubt, that is exactly where we are heading!


03-22-1930 ~ 11-26-2021
Thanks for the music!

08-11-1925 ~ 11-29-2021
Thanks for the film!

04-16-1942 ~ 11-30-2021
Thanks for the film!

06-14-1949 ~ 12-02-2021
Thanks for the film!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2021 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, 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.

District That Banned LGBTQ Books Relents After Pressure From Students, ACLU
By Chris Walker

A school district in Kansas City, Missouri, has retreated from a policy of banning LGBTQ-themed books after a group of students and other organizations - including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - demanded an end to the practice.

The North Kansas City School District, responding to complaints from parents, removed two books earlier this year: All Boys Aren't Blue, a book by George M. Johnson that recollects his experience as a queer, Black teenager, and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, a book about her experiences with her father who she later learns is gay.

In a letter sent directly to the district, the ACLU said that students had the right to access these books.

"Students must be free to access library books - without discrimination or censorship - that are LGBTQ+ affirming as well as books that provide an inclusive and accurate history of racism," the letter from the organization read.

The matter was discussed at a school board meeting on Monday evening, where over a dozen students from the district spoke out against the district's actions.

Parents who take issue with these or other books shouldn't be able to dictate what students who are not their children can have access to, these students said.

"I see no wrong in telling your child not to read a book," one of those students said, according to a report from local television station KMBC. "However, to tell every child that is a violation to the rights of students."

The district relented as a result, and agreed at the meeting to return the books to the shelves of the high school library.

The victory in the North Kansas City School District is emblematic of right-wing challenges many districts, school administrators and teachers are facing across the country, as conservative parents wage complaints over books in school libraries that teach or discuss experiences from Black and/or LGBTQ persons. Many LGBTQ advocates are trying to counter attempts to suppress these books and narratives, including students, teachers and librarians themselves.

Writing for Truthout earlier this month, author Henry A. Giroux, who is also the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department, explained that such book bans, which are being pushed by Republican politicians, are "vehicle[s] for white supremacy, pedagogical repression, excision and support for curricula defined by an allegiance to unbridled anti-intellectualism and a brutal policy of racial exclusion."

"The banning of books in the United States, which bears a dangerous resemblance to the Nazi book burning, represents a startling vision of the Republican Party's disdain for democracy and its willingness to resurrect totalitarian practices linked to earlier periods of censorship, repression, terror and state violence," Giroux said.

(c) 2021 Chris Walker is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analysing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people.

Thanksgiving Thanks For The Early "Nader Raiders"
By Ralph Nader

They didn't pontificate or boast. They just improved the health, safety, and economic conditions for the American people. The Washington Post called them Nader's Raiders - law, medical, graduate, undergraduate, and even high school students came to Washington between 1969 and 1973 to join with me in important drives for justice.

The first group came in 1969 to expose and reform the moribund Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that had turned its back on consumers. The Nader Report on the Federal Trade Commission, by Edward F. Cox, Robert C. Fellmeth, and John E. Schulz (Grove Press), prodded the Nixon Administration to invite the American Bar Association (ABA) to examine its findings. The ABA report agreed with them. The FTC was awakened from its slumber with new leadership.

Then came about a dozen law students for what turned out to be an orientation meeting in the summer of 1970 in a spare suite of offices across from the bustling Washington Post headquarters. They sat around me as I offered one subject of injustice after another for their choosing. Some who selected their work that summer and the following summer, stayed at it for 40 to 50 years!

Robert Vaughn picked federal civil service reform. He became a national authority on the rights of governmental employees, including pressing for their protected freedom to whistleblow on fraudulent or coercive conditions at federal agencies flowing from inside corruption or maltreatment and from the outside grip of corporate lobbyists and contractors. Early in his career he wrote "The Spoiled System: A Call for Civil Service Reform" (1975) and continued to advance the cause of public servants and whistleblowers as a law professor at American University in Washington, D.C.

There was David Zwick who chose reducing water pollution as his mission. His book "Water Wasteland" (1972) and the meticulous work on the Clean Water Act legislation of 1972 started his 45-year career as a national leader on water pollution all over the country. His group, Clean Water Action, canvassed tens of millions of homes and worked at all levels - local, state, and national.

There were thoughtful and compassionate high school seniors at the Miss Porter's School in Connecticut, interested in doing something about nursing home abuses. Led by their intrepid classmate Claire Townsend, and a guiding teacher, they came to Washington, poured through government inspection records, interviewed scores of knowledgeable people, and wrote the book "Old Age: The Last Segregation" (1971). They also testified before the Senate and House, amidst widespread media coverage. Long overdue changes in nursing homes came out of the forces they put into motion.

Clarence Ditlow - the low-key lawyer and engineer, was drawn to auto safety. Chances are you've had your defective motor vehicles recalled because of this tenacious auto industry watchdog, who headed the Center for Auto Safety from 1976 to 2016. At his passing, the leading trade journal, Automotive News editorialized about his inimitable contributions to auto safety in their encomium.

Whether it was Sam Simon on the broadcasting TV and radio industry, Tom Stanton on tax and housing policy, Karen Sheldon on the environment, Joseph Page and Gary Sellers on workplace health/safety, Chris White on the FTC, Karen Ferguson on pension rights, Joan Claybrook on Congress and auto safety, Robert Fellmeth on public land policy and corporate law enforcement, Dr. Sid Wolfe on the FDA, Mark Green on Congress and corporate monopolies, Harrison Wellford on pesticides and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, two undergraduate engineering students - James Bruce, and John Draper, (authors of "Crash Safety in General Aviation Aircraft" dealing with improving general aviation aircraft safety, James Fallows (author of "The Water Lords" a book on the Savannah River pollution, John Esposito on air pollution and the Clean Air Act of (1972), changes occurred, public awareness enlarged, reporters drawn to new or enlarged beats and lawmakers placed on alert.

Institutions were also established by these young people around the country. The superb organizer Donald K. Ross helped organize student PIRGs nationwide and then went on to head The New York PIRG. The Children's Advocacy Center was launched in San Diego with state and national impact by law Professor, litigator, and author Robert Fellmeth. Jonathan Rowe worked on tax policy and then worked on redefining the yardsticks for economic progress as if all people matter, and helped start initiatives in that spreading school of thought.

There were others who also had higher estimates of their own significance and turned down lucrative job offers in order to "do justice." The sheer stamina over the decades of many of these advocates for a just society should have provoked civic biographies, movies, and documentaries and opened up a motivating practice of civic heroism for younger Americans to wish to emulate.

On further contemplation, one might have asked the question "why in that moment of history were such elevations of civic advocacy so relatively successful?" The fundamental legislation, for example, framing our country's response to environmental violence and cost, has never been repeated since.

A forthcoming book of recollections by the first two years of some "Nader's Raiders" - many of them still actively furthering their chosen causes of 1970-1971 - will shed some light on this intriguing and significant history. Large corporations renew themselves for their myopic, avaricious drives. Why can't the civic community more auspiciously bring the qualities of civic commitment and resourcefulness from today's youngsters, who seek a better world, but keep saying they do not know what to do?

There are plenty of opportunities to break new ground, to turn Congress around and free it from its corporate paymasters, to define your future work as full-time citizens building a deep democracy resilient against the cruel winds of approaching autocratic storms. If you are interested in this kind of work send your resumes and chosen areas of interest to But first read Citizen Action and Other Big Ideas by David Bollier, Public Citizen Sentinel for Democracy, or Civics for Democracy: A Journey for Teachers and Students, by Katherine Isaac about how, together with the valiant civil rights and anti-war movements and corporate justice advocates operated, persevered and, to some lasting degree, prevailed so that you can stand on their shoulders.

(c) 2021 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).

Rittenhouse And Verdict Mania
By Margaret Kimberley

Black people give great attention to certain court cases in hopes of receiving justice when the system is designed to be unjust. That recognition and the commitment to fighting back will be of greater use than divining conclusions about a racist nation when juries reach verdicts.

Every high-profile trial which demonstrates the connections between systemic racism and law enforcement rivets 40 million Black men, women, and children to television, newspapers, and social media. One would think that jury verdicts change the living conditions of Black people in this country. The recent trial and not guilty verdict in the case of Wisconsin shooter Kyle Rittenhouse is but one example of this phenomenon.

Rittenhouse killed two white people in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. Demonstrations after the police shooting of Jacob Blake brought hundreds of protesters and self-appointed vigilantes like Rittenhouse to that city. The race of the victims was less important than the identity of the killer and the circumstances which brought them all together.

Yet the names Rittenhouse or Derek Chauvin or Amber Guyger or George Zimmerman resonate more than perhaps they should. These people became stand-ins for the system which is unrepentantly racist and where the demonization of Black people's existence is a feature of law, commerce, education, and even health care. There is no escape from the oppression, and desperation can transform court cases into symbolic referendums on Black existence.

Of course an armed Black man would not have been warmly greeted by law enforcement as Rittenhouse was in Kenosha. Nor would a Black person be able to fatally shoot two people and then leave the scene without being arrested. A claim of self-defense in a situation brought about by the perpetrator placing himself in a situation where his presence created a danger would not be permitted. Black people rarely find friendly judges as Rittenhouse did. All of these observations are valid, but they are no more true for Rittenhouse than in hundreds of other cases across the country.

The wish for some justice and the hope that there will be public vindication of what Black people live with is easy to understand .Yet these feelings are not very useful in navigating an understanding of how to bring about change.

The fact that millions of people simultaneously predicted an acquittal in this case, yet still experienced anger and dismay upon hearing the verdict is an indication of the precarious condition of Black life. The defeat of Black politics weighs heavily. It has been a very long time since Black people acted in concert to secure their human rights.

The liberation movement was crushed by COINTELPRO, the deaths and imprisonment of leadership, and cooptation of a Black political class. The reactionary response to the movement included the development of a prison industrial complex and the mass incarceration of one million Black people. These dynamics play a part in creating defeatism, confusion, and wishful thinking.

The solution is a return to Black politics. Black politics are not synonymous with the presence of Black politicians, who more often than not are captives of the same interests which create so much suffering. Politics must be independent of the democrats who continue to be seen as protection against white racism when they are nothing of the sort.

Kyle Rittenhouse is obviously a white supremacist, but so is Joe Biden, who received 90% of the Black vote. White supremacy is a job requirement for the presidency and Barack Obama signed on to that agreement just as much as his predecessors did. Biden was seen as a savior who would rescue the nation from Donald Trump, who is portrayed as the only racist who ever served as president when he was one of just 46 who fit the description. Biden wasn't particularly concerned about the verdict and his initial bland comment is proof. "Well look, I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works and we have to abide by it."

Biden's nonchalant response is in keeping with his political history. After all he is the man who shepherded the 1994 Crime Bill through congress and bragged, "We do everything but hang people for jaywalking in this bill." Biden is consistent, angrily blurting out in a meeting last year, "If it doesn't count for y'all to hell with y'all!," when he was asked for the bare minimum of using executive orders to thwart republicans, the people we are otherwise told to view as mortal enemies.

The gun toter flashing the white supremacy hand signal is but one part of the problem. Protesters are correct when they say, "The whole damn system is guilty as hell!" There is no way to carve out little bits of justice here and there. We either have it everywhere or we don't have it at all.

An affirmation of our right to self-determination and the will to affirm that right is the only proper response. Allegiance to political parties is a dead end for Black people, and so is hoping that judges and juries will behave differently than they always do if millions of people are suddenly paying attention to one courtroom.

There can't be justice without a recognition of the seriousness of our condition and a commitment to fight. Celebrating when Jim Crow Joe enters the white house is not the answer. We must act as past generations did, who did not concern themselves with the machinations of their enemies. They named them as such and proceeded to move on their own accord. That strategy makes more sense than hoping for different verdicts when the entire system declares us as guilty for daring to exist.

(c) 2021 Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e -mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com.

Which Food Future Will You Choose?

By Jim Hightower

America certainly has an abundance of food (even though many Americans do not), yet we face a momentous choice of whether to pursue a food future rooted in the ethic of sustainable agriCULTURE - or one based on the exploitative ethic of agriINDUSTRY.

What better symbol of agri-industry's vision of "food" than that ubiquitous Thanksgiving bird, the "Butterball" turkey. The Butterball has been hoisted onto our tables by huge advertising budgets and regular promotion payments to supermarkets. The birds themselves have been grotesquely deformed by industrial geneticists, who created breasts so ponderous that the turkeys can't walk, stand up, or even reproduce on their own (thus earning the nickname "dead-end birds"). Adding torture to this intentional deformity, the industry sentences these once-majestic fowl to dismal lives in tiny confinement cages inside the sprawling, steel-and-concrete animal factories that scar America's rural landscape - monuments to greed-based corporate "husbandry."

As the eminent farmer-poet-activist Wendell Berry tells us, eating is a profound political act. It lets you and me vote for the Butterball industrial model or choose to go back to the future of agriculture, which is the art and science of cooperating with, rather than trying to overwhelm, nature. That cooperative ethic is the choice of the remarkable "Good Food Uprising" that has spread across the country in the past 30 years. Now the fastest-growing segment of the food economy, it is creating the alternative model of a local, sustainable, small scale, community-based, organic, humane, healthy, democratic - and tasty! - food system for all.

To take part in the good food movement and find small-scale farmers, artisans, farmers markets, and other resources in your area, visit

(c) 2021 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates,"is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

A woman wearing a face mask walks past Black Friday advertisements in Brussels, Belgium, on November 26, 2021.

Capitalism Must Not Dictate Our Response To Omicron Variant
By William Rivers Pitt

Despair and Disparity: The Uneven Burdens of COVID-19

If you did yourself a weary solid and set the news aside for the long holiday weekend, like as not you've spent a portion of today doomscrolling through reports on the newest COVID-19 variant to rear its ugly head.

Omicron. The World Health Organization (WHO) just had to pick the scariest sounding name, didn't they. It seems like they tried to name this thing after one of the Decepticons. It is also the name of the planet where Dr. Noonian Soong created the androids Data and Lore, in case any of you Star Trek TNG fans were wondering where you'd heard it before.

But enough frivolity. This is deadly serious: Top COVID expert Anthony Fauci warns that the Omicron variant could fuel an impending fifth wave of the virus. We're all veterans of this virus now, and we're all exhausted, but unless our luck and our policies change, we are potentially facing an even gloomier winter than some of us predicted before Omicron reared its head.

What we know, which isn't much at this point: Omicron, first discovered by South African scientists, carries what some researchers called a "horrific" number of variations from the original COVID, was labeled a "variant of concern" by the WHO on Friday. It has been found in South Africa, Botswana, Australia, Hong Kong, Israel, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Britain, Scotland and Canada.

What we don't know: The large number of mutations in Omicron could make it more easily transmissible than previous iterations, and because of those mutations, "there could be future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences," according to a Friday WHO report. Some reports suggest the symptoms of Omicron are milder than some other variants' symptoms, but the sample data for this hypothesis came from a younger-than-usual group of infected people and could be skewed."

Scientists are racing to determine if Omicron's mutations can enable it to evade immunity protections present in those who have previously been infected. They are also laboring to determine if the current slate of vaccines and boosters will still be effective against the new variant. These answers should be coming in the next week or two, but Pfizer and Moderna have undertaken a crash program to reformulate their vaccines in order to specifically target Omicron just in case.

Is Omicron already present in the U.S.? No cases have been detected yet, but the fact that it has appeared in Canada strongly suggests the variant is already among us. "We have not detected it yet," Fauci told Weekend TODAY, "but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you're already having travel-related cases that they've noted in Israel and Belgium and other places, when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over."

The speed with which governments have reacted to the appearance of Omicron speaks to the potential peril of this variant, and to the degree to which the world is weary of getting outmaneuvered by the virus. Much of this immediacy is spurred by the fact that many places around the world, including the U.S., are already dealing with a new surge in COVID cases. A sudden onslaught of Omicron infections would be immediately devastating.

Travel restrictions have been hastily put in place for whatever good they will do - "By the time we have enough information to institute a travel ban, the cat's already out of the bag, so to speak," warns University of Washington professor and researcher Nicole A. Errett - and the Biden administration has been at top voice saying now is an excellent time to get the shots if you haven't already.

However, not everyone is on board with the idea that unity and haste must be the watchwords of the moment. Republicans in several states are seeking to financially reward people who quit or lose their jobs because they refuse to get vaccinated, and they wouldn't be Republicans without yet another preposterous conspiracy theory: Ronny Jackson, current Texas GOP Representative and former Trump White House physician, is calling Omicron the "Midterm Election variant," alleging the mutation is actually a Democratic plot to upend the 2022 elections, "but we're not going to let them!" They are nothing if not consistent, and are persistent to a double fault.

As we gaze once again into a maw of fear and uncertainty, I have one humble request for the powers-that-be: Let's not listen to capitalism so much this time, yeah?

We've tried it their way for going on two years now, and all we have is close to a million people dead to show for it. The very corporations clamoring to rush people back into infected work spaces are the ones funding Republicans who rally their people to resist the vaccines. They have no interest in public health. Their goal is private wealth, and as far as they are concerned, wealth must be extracted at all costs.

From the beginning, there have been a number of scientifically sound tactics to thwart this damnable thing. They were ignored during the last year of Trump's tenure, and remain well behind where they should be under Biden.

Those tactics are right in front of us, here and now: testing regimens involving several tests over time, more intensive and widespread testing and tracing, and a re-re-emphasis on masking and vaccinations. These measures must be accompanied by restrictions and/or lockdowns when they are needed, not when they are financially convenient for the powerful.

Science needs to drive the bus this time - science, and a genuinely effective push to vaccinate the entire world, cost be damned - and let the engine of greed idle for a while. There will still be billionaires once we get past Omicron. The question before us is whether we care enough about everyone else. We should know better by now. Let's find out if we do.

(c) 2021 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.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) asks questions during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
& Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing to discuss the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Ron Johnson's War On Free And Fair Elections
As Senator Ron Johnson prepares for an expected 2022 reelection run, he wants to restructure how elections are conducted.
By John Nichols

Joe Biden won Wisconsin in 2020 as part of a remarkable finish that saw the presidential contender flip five states that had gone for Republican Donald Trump in 2016 into the Democratic column four years later. The margin in Wisconsin was narrow, just 20,682 votes out of almost 3.3 million cast. But that was typical for Wisconsin, where four of the last six presidential elections have been decided by under 25,000 votes.

In a state where close elections are the norm, fair and impartial oversight of elections is vital. Wisconsin has maintained that standard with a State Elections Commission staffed by nonpartisan professionals. Their handling of the 2020 election was vetted by the courts, and the recount process, which Trump demanded, actually increased Biden's winning margin.

Now, however, the state's senior US senator, Republican Ron Johnson, is pushing to disempower the elections commission and have the Republican-controlled state legislature take charge. A conspiracy theorist whose claims regarding the 2020 election are often more outlandish than those advanced by Trump, Johnson recently told Wisconsin Public Radio that he's "completely lost confidence" in the elections commission. He claimed that oversight of upcoming elections by partisan Republican leaders of the state Assembly and Senate would "restore confidence in our election system for everybody."

That's an absurd assertion. So absurd that key Republicans admit they are struggling with questions about how the takeover would work. But Johnson has amped up his agitation as the 2022 election approaches. The scandal-plagued senator has yet to announce that he will seek a third term, but Trump has already endorsed him, and Johnson's latest moves suggest he's preparing to make another run.

If Johnson runs, his race will be a hard one. A number of prominent Democrats-including Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson-are running, and the race could determine whether Democrats retain control of the Senate.

So perhaps it is not surprising that the embattled incumbent is angling to restructure oversight of elections. But it is surely unsettling, especially as Johnson's proposal arrives at a point when top Republicans in Wisconsin have been aggressively attacking the elections commission-going so far as to demand that administrator Meagan Wolfe resign, and to suggest that members of the commission should be charged with felonies for issuing guidance that made it easier to vote during the pandemic. Wolfe has refused to do so, telling Wisconsin Public Radio, "I do think that this is partisan politics at its worst. But at the same time, I have an obligation as the state's nonpartisan chief election official to rise above it."

Not that many years ago, talk of a legislative takeover of Wisconsin elections would have been unthinkable. The state's progressive tradition rejected partisan meddling in elections. But Johnson and his allies have in recent years been taking their cues not from Wisconsin but from the former president, whose loss of the state in 2020 came after a terrible 2018 election cycle for the GOP, when the party lost contests for US senator, governor, attorney general, state treasurer, and secretary of state.

Republicans have reason to fear they might have trouble winning free and fair elections. So Johnson has begun arguing that Republican legislative leaders could tell local officials to ignore standards established by the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. So far, they've been slow to take up his proposal. But there are fears that, if Trump latches on to it, the senator's scheme could gain traction.

If legislators were to begin meddling in the way that Johnson proposes, they would undermine the authority of the elections commission and create a chaotic mess where local election officials get mixed signals. Asked about that prospect, Johnson replied, "I would imagine some counties would follow the state Legislature's guidance, which is what I believe they should do, and some might follow what [the elections commission] says."

That chaos might suit Johnson's reelection prospects. But it is in conflict with how the courts have determined that elections should be administered.

Johnson is pinning his argument for legislative meddling on the Elections Clauses contained in Article I and Article II of the US Constitution, which say, "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof." Johnson's theory is that because "there's no mention of the governor" in the language of the Elections Clauses, his partisan allies in the Wisconsin legislature are free to assert themselves.

The problem with that approach is, as CATO Institute analyst Andy Craig put it:

[State] power over elections has always been exercised through the normal process of lawmaking. In Smiley v. Holm, the Supreme Court ruled in 1932 that congressional redistricting is this sort of "lawmaking function" in which the state constitution's normal processes apply. That case explicitly settled a challenge to the governor's ability to veto such bills.

The line the Court has drawn is one of structural implication: sometimes the Constitution's reference to a "legislature" means the state's elected legislators acting as in effect a distinct body to play a particular role in a federal process, while other times the nature of the relevant function is inextricably tied up with state lawmaking. Administering elections, by both practical necessity and longstanding practice, clearly falls into the latter category. And as Johnson's proposal reveals, it would be untenable to read the Elections Clause and the Electors Clause the way he wants.

"The outrageous statements and ideas Wisconsin Republicans have embraced aren't about making our elections stronger," Democratic Governor Tony Evers said last week. "They're about making it more difficult for people to participate in the democratic process." Evers, who is seeking a second term in 2022, says he'll fight Johnson and the Republicans at every turn. "When I ran for this office, I promised that I'd protect the right of every eligible person to vote," Evers once reminded his Facebook followers, promising, "As long as I am governor of this great state, anti-democracy efforts will never see the light of day."

(c) 2021 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.

Something Strange And Scary Observed - Antimatter Occurring
By James Donahue

The concept of antimatter is almost mythological in its nature. Scientists who think about such things as particle physics have referred to it as "the mirror of the universe."

All that is seen and touched is described as normal matter composed of particles. There is speculation that the observable universe is "almost entirely matter" but some believe the dark parts of space may contain antimatter which is something apparently unseen. Thus there is some who think that the universe may not be as barren and empty as it appears, but is filled with antimatter.

It also is believed that mixing matter and antimatter in the same place would lead to the annihilation of both particles. If all of this is true, the explosion from such an event might be more powerful than anything yet created by man.

While scientists have never seen or proven that antimatter exists, they have developed theories in the relatively new field of quantum physics that suggests it has to be part of the overall weirdness connected with parallel universes and cats that are both alive and dead when left unseen within a box. If matter exists, then so must antimatter. Everything must be balanced.

Now, astronomers using the new Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope say they have detected gamma-ray flashes containing the signature of antimatter in lightning strikes occurring on Earth.

The telescope was designed to scan thousands to billions of light years behind the solar system for gamma rays, but it also looks back on our own planet.

Michael Briggs of the University of Alabama recently reported the findings at the Fermi Symposium. Of 17 gamma-ray flashes detected in terrestrial storms on earth, two of them included emissions of "a particular energy that could have been produced only by the decay of energetic positrons, the antimatter equivalent of electrons."

Briggs said to have produced this effect, the normal orientation for the electrical field associated with an electrical storm somehow got reversed. The mystery now is how this could have happened.

The study of gamma ray flashes has been going on since about 1990, especially since lightning strikes have an effect on aircraft. This is the first time the presence of antimatter has been detected on or over the Earth.

Is there something significant about this discovery, or is it something scientists have simply overlooked or failed to see until they had a telescope sensitive enough to have picked up on this kind of energy field?

When we look beyond the field of science and enter the field of spiritual matters, we must deal with the predictions by the masters that our planet is preparing to go through a major dimensional shift.

(c) 2021 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.

Reflecting On The Dawn Of Everything
By David Swanson

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow is, I think, a terrific contribution to human knowledge and guide to pursuing more of the same - as well as a notable accomplishment for the Davids of the world, who have perhaps been falling a bit short lately. A few of the points it documents and persuades of are:

Neither Hobbes nor Rousseau was right, nor ever claimed to be, not in the sense of describing actual people and events.

There exists no pattern of human societies progressing by stages from nomadic small groups of hunter-gatherers too dumb to have a system of government, to settled urban farmers inevitably under the boots of tyrants, to practically white industrialists, to full-blown democrats and NATO members eager to devastate ecosystems and stockpile nuclear weapons.

On the contrary, humanity has created democratic participatory government for millennia in a great variety of forms on every continent, as well as monarchy without cities or large numbers, cities without monarchy, large societies and public works and cities without agriculture, agriculture without cities or private property, private property without agriculture, democracy in large urban populations, agriculture and bureaucracy without rulers, etc.

Humans have also intentionally chosen shifts from rural to urban life, from urban to rural life, from popular governance to kingdoms of various sorts, from kingdoms and slave states to popular democratic councils, from agriculture to foraging, from foraging or farming to some combination of the two, and every other direction and permutation possible.

And not just every variation, but every mixture. Homo Sapiens has created symbolic kings without power, seasonal shifts from dictatorship to anarchism and back, societies free of rank or punishment or law or conflict, societies free of those things but using murder and torture and cannibalism against outsiders, societies fully adopting outsiders, and clan memberships that carry rights and responsibilities across numerous disparate societies and languages.

Just as no one can plausibly make sense of governmental policies on Earth in 2021 as rationally sensible and purely economically driven, applying such assumptions to past societies, even while imagining their residents as subhuman, doesn't get you very far. Societies have made tradeoffs of wealth for freedom, agriculture for ease, more nutritious crops for easier (or more difficult) favorites, and domestication of animals for keeping them available to hunt. People have shaped their cultures explicitly to differentiate themselves from other cultures, to please gods, and to honor the dead - all of which throws anthropologists' notions of maximizing calories or moving toward the modern militarized bureaucratic state with corporate-approved elections all out of whack.

People used to travel a lot more and a lot farther in millennia gone by. Immigrants used to be incorporated into societies (pleasantly or violently) a lot more in millennia gone by. The trend has been toward a larger, more isolated world, the arrival of Columbus and invention of the airplane and internet notwithstanding.

The times and places that have not left us giant stone monuments are the first places to look for greater freedom and human rights. But even many of the places that have left behind giant structures lacked the notion that anyone needed to obey any order from anyone else.

There may have been more democratic participation in governance in some cities of Mesopotamia 6,000 years ago than just about anywhere on Earth in the 21st century when the spreading of democracy became a justification for bombing the place.

There's no actual evidence for the claims of people like Hobbes, Ian Morris, or Steven Pinker that the world is inevitably full of violence and misery unless leviathan state violence is used to pacify everyone.

When Europeans learned about Native Americans, they also learned directly from them, through debates and discussions, written works and exchanges, public and private seminars, both in the Americas and in Europe. The indigenous critique of European society included its lack of freedom, equality, or fraternity, its shocking willingness to leave people poor and suffering, and its obsession with wealth at the expense of time and leisure. This critique was the origin of a great strain of thought in the European "Enlightenment," to which a major response was the Rousseauhobbesian infantilization of the people who had just made a wise, coherent, and articulate critique, as well as the invention of false claims of the necessity to sacrifice freedom for safety, of the supposed decrease rather than increase in hours worked in shifting to a European way of life, etc.

Prior to the critique made by the residents of Turtle Island, European intellectuals didn't bother to make excuses for inequality as an inevitable sign of progress, because the notion that there was anything wrong with inequality hadn't much occurred to them. Many of the societies that were in great part wiped out for the creation of the United States were mutually recognized by both themselves and Europeans as free in comparison with Europe and its colonies; the only dispute was whether freedom was a good thing or not. Today, the Native Americans have basically won the rhetorical debate, while the Europeans have won the lived reality. Everybody loves freedom; few have it. Although if you utter the phrase "defund the police" you may discover vibrant remnants of those Jesuits who admitted that Wendat people had much less conflict than existed in France despite having to obey no laws, yet denounced that success as a matter of principle.

"The freedom to abandon one's community, knowing one will be welcomed in faraway lands; the freedom to shift back and forth between social structures, depending on the time of year; the freedom to disobey authorities without consequence - all appear to have been simply assumed among our distant ancestors, even if most people find them barely conceivable today."

But I bet most people find them desirable to exactly the extent that they can conceive of them. In case anyone needs reminding, individuals in documented cases of having the option to choose between life with Native Americans and life with European colonists overwhelmingly opted for the former, the opposite of what imaginary people in tales by Rousseau or Pinker simply must do.

In case anyone isn't clear, humans have not changed significantly through any biological evolution in a mere matter of centuries, and biological differences among groups of humans around the world are extremely trivial. For much of human and pre-human existence, people lived on this planet with other species of people and of people-ish primates. But those differences were long, long gone before anybody invented modern racism. Non-Europeans have the same brains as Europeans. So, not only is there a problem with claiming that cultural differences amount to stages on some path of cultural evolution (that's rarely taken and not clearly a path toward a more desirable state), but there's a truly ridiculous problem in imagining that cultural evolution to somehow amount to a biological evolution. One of the results of that bit of stupidity is imagining that Europeans choose their systems of government, while others just stumble off a cliff and land in theirs. In reality, many non-agricultural societies have actually been anti-agricultural societies, many societies without kings have been societies that heartily renounced the idea of kings, etc. Prehistoric "egalitarian" cultures haven't been too dumb to create hierarchies; quite the contrary. The success that anthropologists have had in labeling prehistoric societies with greater freedoms "simple" and those with fewer "complex" would make any war propagandist mad with envy.

Cultures that created a sort of hierarchy in one season and destroyed it in another, every year, cannot help but have been as conscious of possibilities and choices in public policy as some of the Native Americans who were documented to be so after European arrival. Seasonal festivals in much of the world may be vestiges of more substantive seasonal changes in political power, but in that case the ability to conceive of what they once meant has faded.

One element of contemporary Western society self-interestedly promoted as permanent and inevitable is war. But the Earth had never seen anything resembling today's sorts of wars until very recently, and has seen societies of all varieties live for long periods with war and without war. There is no such thing as The Primitive Human or "human nature" from which to derive the True answer of whether humans Really wage war or not. People are not chimpanzees and are also not bonobos; they're not even people, where that is taken to specify some particular mode of behavior. All we have is the fact that most people who engage in war suffer horribly, while the cases documented in all of history of suffering from total war deprivation are nonexistent. Societies have banned war, required that victors in war pay compensation for every victim thereby discouraging war, created peace alliances, created peace-keeping officials, made war a subject of mockery rather than glory, treated war as a pastime acceptable only in a certain season of the year, treated war more as a game or spectacle with few if any deaths - and, of course, have also done just the reverse of all of these things. The choice is ours.

The Spanish conquistadores, like others around the world, found that the societies that were difficult to conquer were the ones that had no ruler, the ones that had people lacking the habit of obedience, people who would have laughed or been revolted at the idea of pledging allegiance to a flag. The best defense against tyranny and occupation is actually not technological or murderous, but rebellious.

David Graeber and David Wengrow believe the evidence shows war to have been rare or nonexistent through most of humanity's existence, though it certainly has existed with and without large urban agricultural societies.

Much of the above may seem obvious, perhaps especially to the degree that one has not benefitted from formal education. If parts of it seem the opposite of obvious, then the extremely well-documented book, The Dawn of Everything, may help with that. But is it really needed? Do we really have to know that something has been done before in order to do it? The lengths we go to, to prove that even if there's nothing new under the sun we can still have a better society than we do now, end up, as in this book, endlessly chronicling new things appearing under the sun.

(c) 2021 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.

Was COP26 just more "blah, blah, blah," or will it help us avert catastrophe?

It Will Take More Than Electric Cars To Drive Down Emissions
By David Suzuki

As the world moves on from the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the signs of our predicament are everywhere. Where I live, torrential rains have flooded towns and valleys, stranding and killing people and animals, wiped out roads, bridges and railways and cut land access to Vancouver. A state of emergency was declared. Horrific memories of summer heat domes and wildfires are still fresh. This is a small corner of the world. But the signs are everywhere.

We should never consider this as some kind of "new normal," and we must do everything we can to prevent it from getting worse. In light of that, was COP26 just more "blah, blah, blah," or will it help us avert catastrophe?

International gatherings and agreements are important but they alone aren't enough. COP26 was intended to finalize the Paris Agreement and get countries to accelerate climate action this decade. It's all proceeding as intended, but things get watered down during negotiations, and many of the agreed-upon measures are voluntary.

Most world leaders are sincere in recognizing climate disruption for the crisis it is, and in wanting to address it. But until they recognize the urgent need to radically shift course and halt all new coal, oil and gas development, we'll continue to face ever-accelerating risks from flooding, heat, drought, wildfires, human displacement and more.

Although many countries made some progress, including reducing or eliminating methane pollution, cutting fossil fuel subsidies abroad and reducing coal, oil and gas production, they came up short in many areas. Funding to help countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts - most of which contribute least to the crisis - is inadequate. Along with lack of recognition for Indigenous rights, COP26 was an epic fail for climate justice.

In many ways, the agreements increase divisions among rich and poor countries and civil society and corporate interests, worsening the situation for those losing their lives, homes and livelihoods to climate change impacts.

Despite limited measures to curb fossil fuel subsidies, governments around the world, including Canada's, will continue to bolster the industry with tax and royalty breaks and things like infrastructure purchases - not to mention public relations support from some provincial and state governments.

Despite its failings, the climate summit did get politicians, bureaucrats, corporate executives and others to agree on important goals. But it's not enough to leave it all up to people, countries and companies with widely varying agendas and priorities. We must all get involved.

We can thank those who have engaged for much of the progress at COP26. Millions of young people and elders taking to streets around the world, massive marches in Glasgow during the summit, and people speaking out, writing, petitioning and creating art have made the world pay attention to humanity's role in the crises we now confront.

When we demand action, politicians must listen. Here in Canada, our government has made strong commitments. We need to make sure those words are backed with effective action, and we need to push for better.

Canada must work quickly to update its climate plan, cap and ratchet down oil and gas emissions and develop a blueprint for a managed production decline. To confirm a true change in direction, our country must sign on to the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and deliver on the commitment to end public finance for oil and gas subsidies abroad by 2022. Canada must also bring in just transition legislation without delay to ensure workers affected by the necessary energy shift are given support and opportunities.

Canada may only contribute around two per cent to global greenhouse gas emissions (not counting those from others burning the products we sell or producing abroad the products we buy), but we have the third-highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita, the third-largest known oil reserves and we're the world's fourth-largest oil exporter. What we do matters.

Our climate is rapidly changing, and it will continue to do so for some time because of the emissions we've already pumped into the atmosphere. That means, as well as halting activities that contribute to climate disruption, we must also find ways to protect ourselves from costly and deadly floods, fires, slides, extreme weather events and more.

COP26 and the Paris Agreement are part of the solution, but we need so much more.

(c) 2021 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Congratulations, Barbados. Pro-Tip: Don't Adopt An Electoral College
The island nation will ditch the British monarchy as its head of state in favor of a president.
By Charles P. Pierce

One of my favorite places in Boston is the Mapparium, the huge, round glass room in the Mary Baker Eddy Library. The patron walks into the room and stands in the middle of a huge world globe made of 608 individual panes of stained glass. (Word of warning: don't say anything out loud in the Mapparium that you don't want anyone else to hear. The glass turns the place into the whispering gallery of all time.) The Mapparium was built in 1935, so charmingly, a lot of the countries represented on those 608 glass panels either no longer exist, or they exist under decidedly different names. (Italian Somaliland?) The various imperial possessions of the time are all color-coded; for example, the British Empire is all in red and, in truth, about six years away from not existing at all.

In my life, there have been two great evolutionary explosions of new countries. I caught the tail end of the collapse of the European empires, especially in Africa, when a number of former colonies won their independence. And then, of course, was the cartographer's nightmare that was the collapse of the Soviet bloc. All the -Stans suddenly came into play-Kazakh and Kyrgyz, Turkmeni and Tajiki, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. But it's been a long time since we had a genuine independence day celebration. So let's congratulate the people who now live in the independent republic of Barbados. From the Washington Post:

The move, debated for years, gained momentum amid the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and growing demands for reparations for slavery on the island. Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced last year that the nation of 300,000 would become a republic by Tuesday, the 55th anniversary of its independence. That means removing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, a break with nearly four centuries of history in the former British colony. The queen's standard is to be lowered for the final time in a ceremony late Monday in Bridgetown's National Heroes Square; a new president is to be sworn in at midnight.
And, dammit, everybody seems really happy about the whole thing.
Prince Charles, who has long used the island dubbed "Little England" as his polo playground, planned to join the celebrations. The heir to the British throne will be the next head of the Commonwealth, the association made up almost entirely of former territories of the British Empire. Its new government is to be led by Mottley, a London School of Economics-trained former chairwoman of the Caribbean Community, fresh from her turn lecturing world leaders on vaccine hoarding at the U.N. General Assembly and the need for climate finance measures at COP26. Governor General Sandra Mason, until now the queen's representative on the island, will be its first president. The move from constitutional monarchy to republic enjoys broad support on the island.
Nasty politics already has broken out in the new republic. There is a political opposition that distrusts why Mottley made this move at this time, and is dubious as to her plans for the future.
The republican debate in Barbados dates to the 1970s, a period when the global Black Power movement inspired Caribbean neighbors Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Dominica to abolish the monarchy. The most recent country to cast off the queen was the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius in 1992. All have remained in the Commonwealth as independent republics. For Barbados, the transition is expected to be smooth but symbolically powerful.
For now, happy birthday to Barbados, the world's newest independent republic. Pro-tip: don't adopt an electoral college, OK?

(c) 2021 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 -

"Does Sen. Manchin really believe that seniors are not entitled to digest their food and that they're not entitled to hear and see properly? Is that really too much to ask in the richest country on Earth - that elderly people have teeth in their mouth and can see and can hear?"
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Lauren Boebert Is The One With Terrorist Ties, Not Ilhan Omar
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) was caught on camera boasting of taunting Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that she is a terrorist.

The taunt was ironic given that Hunter Walker at Rolling Stone reported that Boebert was one of a handful of representatives on the Hill who repeatedly met with conspirators planning the January 6, 2021, Capitol Insurrection in which angry armed mobs invaded the halls of Congress chanting "hang Mike Pence" and seeking to harm legislators.

Walker said of his two two top sources within the insurrectionists, "Rolling Stone has separately obtained documentary evidence that both sources were in contact with [Arizona Rep. Paul] Gosar and Boebert on Jan. 6."

On Jan. 6! That is, while the insurrection was taking place!

That is, Boebert is the one with terrorist ties.

Rep. Omar is a refugee from the violence of warlords and terrorists in Somalia who came to the U.S. as a girl and rose to become a congresswoman because of her devotion to her new country and the trust she gained among her constituents that she would carefully steward their interests. Hers is a quintessential American story. Seven of the thirty-nine signers of the U.S. Constitution were foreign-born, one in the West Indies. For Rep. Omar to be tagged unjustly with the very violence that drove her from her homeland as a child must be deeply upsetting.

Boebert, addressing a small group of constituents in a living room, told a story (which Rep. Omar contests) that she was getting into an elevator in the Capitol when a policeman came running toward her with alarm on his face. Puzzled, she looked around and saw that Rep. Omar was in it with her. She alleged that she reassured the policeman that Omar did not have a backpack and so it was probably safe. She said that she then used the phrase "jihad squad."

Rep. Omar Tweeted:

"Fact, this buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol, this whole story is made up. Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout.

Anti-Muslim bigotry isn't funny & shouldn't be normalized. Congress can't be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation."

Boebert, having seen how Rep. Gosar was stripped of his committee assignments, must have feared something similar would happen to her, because she uncharacteristically backed down and apologized if any Muslims were offended by her remarks.

We should be clear that there is no difference between talking this way about prominent Muslim Americans and using the N word for African Americans or various negative epithets for Jewish Americans and Asian Americans. It is bigotry and hate speech. There are on the order of 3.7 million Muslim Americans, a little over 1% of the population, and they are the pillars of their communities. A proportional number are physicians and nurses, keeping us healthy and risking their lives at the front lines during the pandemic.

Moreover, as Omar herself noted in a tweet, tagging Muslim Americans as terrorists is an incitement to mobs to lynch them, and Rep. Omar is already the victim of large numbers of death threats. Anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked during the Trump administration when the president himself ladled out copious amounts of anti-Muslim bigotry in public comments.

In what has become a widely cited and classic essay, "Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others," I pointed out that "white terrorists are never called white." Boebert and her violent friends use this privilege to avoid the consequences of their deeds and plots, smugly sitting in Congress while conspiring to commit terrorism with Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and Boogaloo Bois.


Bonus Video:

Next 9News: "Video shows Boebert using anti-Muslim rhetoric against fellow congresswoman"

(c) 2021 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He 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.

Protesters hold signs during an anti-vaccination rally at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.

Trump Stoked Covid In Red states - But There Are Blue Anti-Vaxxers Too
Among my neighbors in the bluest region of the bluest county of the bluest state in America, many don't trust big pharma or the government - or simply choose to put themselves first
By Robert Reich

Is there a relationship between Covid and politics? Sure seems so.

By the end of October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents of counties Donald Trump won by wide margins had died from Covid. That was more than three times higher than the Covid death rate in heavily Biden counties, of 7.8 per 100,000. Counties where Trump received at least 70% of the vote had an even higher average Covid death toll than counties where Trump won at least 60%.

Presumably, this is because Trump counties also have the highest unvaccinated rates in the US. Almost every reliably blue state now has a higher vaccination rate than almost every reliably red state.

There are some obvious reasons why Trump voters have been hesitant to get vaccinated. Trump politicized the issue - making the jab a hallmark of his peculiar form of rightwing populism. He and Fox News spread false rumors and conspiracy theories about the vaccine. By the time Trump finally called on people to get vaccinated, the damage was already done.

In other words, it's the same trifecta of rightwing media, inadequate education and rejection of science that gave us Trump in the first place.

But this isn't the whole story, because the US as a whole trails every other advanced country in the rate of vaccinations. Why?

In recent weeks I've discovered that several anti-vaxxers live around me - in the bluest region of the bluest county of the bluest state in America. I've known several for years. They are well-informed and well-educated. But they're as opposed to getting a shot as any Trump anti-vaxxer.

Some are ex-hippies, now in their late 60s and early 70s, who regard their bodies as "sacred" and don't want anything or anyone to "invade" it.

One, who grows her own food and lives by herself in a cabin not far from here, told me she didn't want anything going into her body that she didn't control. When I asked whether she had been vaccinated against smallpox, measles, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough, she told me she assumed so but had been too small to have had knowledge or control.

Others - also in their late 60s and early 70s - don't trust big pharma. They see Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson as greedy global corporations in search of people to exploit and tax havens to park their exorbitant profits.

"Why in hell would I trust a fucking thing Pfizer says or does?" one of them asked me.

None of these people trusts the government. Their generation (which is also mine) came to political consciousness during the Vietnam war - a time when the American flag became an emblem of fascism, particularly in lefty coastal enclaves. They now believe the government has been so corrupted by big money that they don't trust agencies charged with protecting the public.

I'm sympathetic to their distrust of both big pharma and big government. But this doesn't mean the science is wrong.

One of them referred me to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that about a third of the drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration between 2001 and 2010 had safety problems after reaching the market.

I checked and he's correct. But he left out a critical fact: as soon as the FDA discovered the problems it forced manufacturers to pull the drugs or issue warnings.

Deep down, I think these blue anti-vaxxers are motivated by something different from mere distrust. When I pointed out that they could well be endangering others (including me), they remained unmoved.

When I suggested that their concerns, however valid, had to be weighed against the public's overall interest in conquering this epidemic, they said they didn't care.

My conclusion: They're infected not by Covid but by a narcissism that refuses even to consider the risks and costs they're imposing on others.

I can't say for sure that Trump anti-vaxxers share this narcissism, although the leader of their cult surely does. And, of course, my sample size was so small I can't even generalize to all blue anti-vaxxers.

If we blame Trump and the culture that produced him for the relatively low rate of vaccinations in the US, we're missing a character trait that may offer a fuller explanation.

This trait is found among Democrats and independents in blue America as well as Republicans in Trumpland. In fact, I think it's been near the core of the American personality since before the founding of the nation - a stubborn, selfish, me-first individualism.

(c) 2021 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

A firefighter conducts back-burning measures to secure residential areas from encroaching bushfires in the Central Coast, some 56-68 miles north of Sydney on December 10, 2019.

New Research Finds Climate Emergency The 'Overwhelming Factor' Behind Australian Bushfires
"It is now clear that human-induced climate change is creating ever more dangerous conditions for fires in Australia."
By Andrea Germanos

New research finds "a robust and multi-evidence link" between the climate crisis and Australia's trend of worsening wildfires.

Published Friday in Nature, the study was led by researchers at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, and was based on over 30 years of satellite data as well as nine decades of ground-based climate and weather data.

The trend of worsening fires is clear, the scientists said, noting that bushfires are creating a greater burn area. The study noted as an example that 10 out of 11 fire years that scorched at least 5,000 square kilometers (about 1,930 square miles) have occurred since 2001. The amount of time since the last fire, meanwhile, is decreasing.

Assessing a range of eight wildfire drivers factors including fuel accumulation and prescribed burns, researchers found the key culprit to be climate-related factors such as soil moisture, mean precipitation, and temperature increase.

"While all eight drivers of fire activity played varying roles in influencing forest fires," CSIRO scientist and co-author Pep Canadell said in a statement, "climate was the overwhelming factor driving fire activity."

Canadell said the findings "also suggest the frequency of forest megafires are likely to continue under future projected climate change."

The time period studied included the catastrophic 2019-20 fire season during which 10 million hectares, about 24.7 million acres, burned and over 1 billion animals likely died. In that fire year, according to the researchers, three times the area of any previous year in the 32-year record burned. But even without looking at the year, that trend is clear.

"Forests in Australia experienced an annual average increase of 350% in burned area between the first (1988-2001) and second (2002-2018) half of the record, and an increase of 800% when including 2019," the researchers wrote.

In addition, Canadell and his co-authors wrote at The Conversation:

We are seeing fires growing the most in areas once less likely to be affected by fire, such as cool wet Tasmanian forests unaccustomed to large fires as well as the warmest forests in Queensland previously kept safe from fire by rainfall and a humid microclimate. This includes ancient Gondwanan rainforests not adapted for fire...

Spring and summer used to be the time most forest fires would start. That's no longer guaranteed. Since 2001 winter fires have soared five-fold compared to 1988-2001 and autumn fires three-fold.

Overall, fires in the cooler months of March to August are growing exponentially at 14% a year.

The forest fires of 2019-20-the so-called Black Summer-the researchers added, should not be seen as an "aberration."

"It is now clear that human-induced climate change is creating ever more dangerous conditions for fires in Australia," they wrote. "We need to be ready for more Black Summers-and worse."

(c) 2021Andrea Germanos is a senior editor and staff writer at Common Dreams.

The Cartoon Corner -

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

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Matt Gaetz wearing a suit and yellow tie speaks to the House Judiciary Committee.

Biden Authorizes Emergency Release Of Oil From Matt Gaetz
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-In an urgent measure to combat surging gas prices, President Biden has authorized the emergency release of oil from Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida.

According to oil-industry experts, Gaetz has the third-largest supply of petroleum reserves in the world, less than Saudi Arabia but more than Canada.

After tapping the oleaginous Gaetz, Biden said that crude from the Florida congressman could start flowing throughout the United States by the end of the week.

Speaking at the White House, the President said that he regretted not authorizing the release of oil from Gaetz earlier. "This could solve our energy needs for decades," he said.

(c) 2021 Andy Borowitz


Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 48 (c) 12/03/2021

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