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In This Edition

Norman Solomon warns, "Some Liberals And Arms-Control Experts Are Cheering For War Profiteers To Be In Biden's Cabinet."

Ralph Nader demands, "Biden Needs To Report Trump's Wreckage In Executive Branch As Markers."

Glen Ford reports, "BLM Chapters Demand "Accountability" From Trio That Cashed In On The Movement."

Jim Hightower explores, "Trump's Bassackwards Government."

William Rivers Pitt says, "As COVID Spikes, It's Normal To Feel Helpless. Let's Turn Fear To Activism."

John Nichols warns, "Trump's Trying To Take The Internet Down With Him."

James Donahue explores, "America's Student Loan Debt Trap."

David Swanson wants you to, "Have A Blessed Pearl Harbor Day."

David Suzuki concludes, "Friendships Make Life And Climate Better."

Charles P. Pierce says, "The Trump Train Has Reached Its Terminus In Crazytown."

Juan Cole reports, "Hyper-Patriarchal Saudi Arabia Equates Mild Feminism With Terrorism, As Sen. Murphy Calls On Biden To Review Ties With Kingdom."

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich asks, "Trump's Final Days: Who Stood Up To Him?"

Greg Palast returns with a must read, "No Car, No Vote."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Waterford Whispers News reports, "Washington DC Brought To Standstill As Trump's Inner Circle Queue Outside White House For Pardons," but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "Lying Donald Pardons Everybody!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Signe Wilkinson, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Chris Kleponis, Thirdman, Luis Sinco, Tasos Katopodis, Loujain al-Hathloul, Robert Reich, 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-

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

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














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Lying Donald Pardons Everybody!
I'm having a deja vu again!
By Ernest Stewart

"Pardon investigation is Fake News!" ~~~ Lying Donald

"We now have enough observations of current drought and tree-ring records of past drought to say that we're on the same trajectory as the worst prehistoric droughts," ~~~ Park Williams, a research professor in the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

"A number of laws that are said to protect citizens harkens back to "Jim Crow" era." ~~~ J.C. Phillips

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


The word is out that Lying Donald is getting ready to pardon his family members and their close associates. Not because that they have done anything illegal, of course!

The New York Times first reported the discussions and said Trump had spoken about whether to grant pre-emptive pardons for his three eldest children, Eric and Donald Jr., and White House advisor Ivanka Trump. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and attorney Rudy Giuliani were also mentioned.

The Times reported that Trump had talked with Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week.

Lying Rudy has denied that, calling it "a lie," adding that the reports were "totally false." Yeah, and if you buy that, I have this bridge in Brooklyn that's for sale, that you might want to consider buying! It's a big money maker!

Lying Donald has tweeted: "Pardon investigation is Fake News!" Ergo, it must be the truth!

Lying Donald has not acknowledged he lost the November presidential election to President-elect Joe Biden, and he and Giuliani have continued to make false and baseless claims that the election was rigged (It was, in Lying Donalds favor). The claims have lacked any evidence, and legal efforts have suffered repeated setbacks. Even so, Rudy's coming to Michigan today to address the Rethuglican controlled legislature in a lost cause!

You may recall that Lying Donald last week granted a full pardon to his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

On Tuesday, court documents unsealed by a judge suggested federal investigators were looking into what was described as a potential "bribery-for-pardon" scheme involving presidential pardons. Imagine that!

Trouble with presidential parcdons is that they only cover federal crimes, which leaves all of those pardoned still culpable to state crimes as Lying Donald is about to find out in New York! My guess is that when he leaves the White House Lying Donald will make a bee-line to his parked 737 and then it's wheels up to Moscow!

In Other News

I see where a Utah cave may hold clues to climate change and a warning about our water future. Here's that history repeating itself thingie! In a place called Danger Cave ancient people of western Utah lived well. They ate freshwater fish, ducks and other small game, according to detritus they left behind. They had a lush lakeside view, with cattails, bulrushes and water-loving willows adorning the marshlands.

But, over time, the good life became history. As heat and drought set in, the freshwater dried up and forced the ancients to survive by plucking tiny seeds from desert shrubs called pickleweed. Archaeologists know this from a thick layer of dusty chaff buried in the cave's floor. Yes, even without man-kinds pollution the climate has changed before. You may recall that vast herds of dinosaurs used to roam Alaska!

This might be ancient history to you, but the past could also become the future, science tells us. In fact, thanks to global warming, regional climate patterns linked to extended periods of heat and drought that upended prehistoric life across the Southwest thousands of years ago are setting up again now.

"The benefit of any kind of paleoclimate data is that it tells us what nature is capable of," said Matthew Lachniet, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

The climate risk across the Southwest is actually growing, based on Lachniet's recent study of a different cave, about 200 miles across the Great Basin in Nevada.

His geochemical data from Leviathan Cave shows that drought can last 4,000 years - findings that Lachniet's team cross-checked against paleoclimate data from the Arctic and tropical Pacific. In short, the story in the cave data suggests a "worst-case scenario" that could - and probably should - guide planning throughout a region that provides water to 56 million people.

"In this case, we know that nature is capable of extended dry conditions that are even longer than they are today," Lachniet said. "And the concern is, if we go into the future of a warm Arctic and a warm Western tropical Pacific, that it will have the same effect on the climate of the Southwest" that it did during those arid times back at Danger Cave.

Lachniet's scientific paper, released last summer in the journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, sprouted from his work analyzing part of a rock pillar from Leviathan Cave, located in central Nevada's Basin and Range National Monument.

In some western states the drought is going on some 20 years, infact this "Megadrought" emerging could be the worst in 1,200 years.

Catastrophic wildfires, decreasing snowpack and dwindling water resources have become a normal part of life for residents in the western U.S. And, as a result of global warming, this may be just the beginning. A new study from Columbia University says the region has now entered into a climate-driven megadrought - possibly the worst in modern history.

Since 2000, the West has experienced one of its driest 20-year periods in history due to a combination of a dry natural cycle and the changing climate. While there have been some wet years like in 2019, overall water resources have been under unprecedented stress in the modern era.

Going back over a thousand years, there's evidence that naturally driven megadroughts have devastated the region several times in history. These droughts led to upheavals among indigenous civilizations in the Southwest.

Scientists have long suspected that the current situation has been evolving into one of these megadroughts. This new research, published in the journal Science, not only confirms that suspicion, but also concludes this megadrought is as bad or worse than anything known before. Add to this the fact that over 40 million people count on this dwindling water supply for their water.

As I've said on many occasions if you live in this area you might consider moving back east to where I live among the greatest fresh water supply on Earth. Never had water rationing, never will. I live just down stream from the largest fresh water lake in the world Lake Michihuron, a lake so nice that they named it twice. If that doesn't suit you there are Lake Superior, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario as well. Either this or learn to live without water, your choice America!

And Finally

Jim Crow is alive and well in Georgia. Have you heard the latest from the Rethuglican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger? Brad had a bright idea to keep Blacks, the poor, college students and the elderly from registering to vote in the January run off elections for the two open US Senate seats. Brad said no one can register if they don't have a licensed automobile with Georgia plates. Which is, of course, illegal! Brad is so crooked that even Rethuglicans want him to step down!

The "law" states:

When reviewing an application for voter registration, the board of registrars shall determine an applicant's residency in Georgia, using the criteria set forth in O.C.G.A. 21-2-217. In determining an applicant's residency, the registrar shall review all available evidence, including whether the applicant registered through the Department of Driver Services, whether the applicant included a Georgia driver's license or state identification number on his or her application, whether that number matched with records on file at the Department of Driver Services, the applicant's listed address, and any identifying documents submitted with the application. If the registrar determines that additional evidence is needed to determine residency, the registrar may utilize his or her statutory authority in O.C.G.A. 21-2-228 to further evaluate the applicant's residency status using the criteria set forth in O.C.G.A. 21-2-217, as well as other related statutes. If the registrar cannot determine to his or her satisfaction that the applicant properly resides in Georgia, the registrar shall process the application, mark the applicant as "Challenged" in the voter registration system, and initiate a hearing as set forth in O.C.G.A. 21-2-228.

Of course, this isn't a law as it would be illegal, it's just a "guidance" that the registers can use to stop those folks without a car, or with an out of state liecense, or for being poor, or for being black, to keep them from voting, as all of the above usually vote Democratic. This works because, an appeal will take longer than the January 5th election date!

Ergo, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wins this week's Vidkun Quisling award!

Keepin' On

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07-01-1935 ~ 11-28-2020
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08-31-1937 ~ 12-02-2020
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08-13-1934 ~ 12-02-2020
Thanks for the film!



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

Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2020 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.




Michele Flournoy, President, Center for a New American Security speaks during a conference
on the transition of the US Presidency from Obama to Trump at the US Institute Of Peace
at the US Institute Of Peace in Washington DC, January 10, 2017.



Some Liberals And Arms-Control Experts Are Cheering For War Profiteers To Be In Biden's Cabinet
What does all this praising and access-drooling amount to?
By Norman Solomon

No matter who ends up winning Senate confirmation for top positions on President Biden's "national security" team, an ominous dynamic is already underway. Some foreign-policy specialists with progressive reputations are voicing support and evasive praise for prospective Cabinet members-as though spinning through revolving doors to broker lucrative Pentagon contracts is not a conflict of interest, and as though advocating for an aggressive U.S. military posture is fine.

Rationalizations are plentiful, but the results are dangerous. It's an insidious process-helping to set low standards for the incoming administration. Enablers now extol potential Cabinet picks who've combined pushing for continuous war and hugely expensive new weapons systems with getting rich as dealmakers for the military-industrial complex.

As journalists have brought to light, Antony Blinken and Michele Flournoy shamelessly teamed up to cash in while rotating through high positions at the State Department and Pentagon. At the same time, Blinken (the Biden nominee to be Secretary of State) and Flournoy (in the running for Secretary of Defense) have backed nonstop U.S. warfare.

"Many progressive activists and organizations have mobilized since the election to offer well-documented opposition to highly dubious potential members of the Biden Cabinet, and that includes contenders for 'national security' posts."

Meanwhile, Flournoy is grimly notable for urging potentially catastrophic military brinkmanship with China. Like her unabashed pursuit of wealth from the weapons industry, her dangerously aggressive approach toward China is anything but a secret. Yet, in her current quest to run the Pentagon, she has received unequivocal support from numerous individuals who are respected in progressive circles, including those with avowed dedication to beating swords into plowshares.

From the top of the influential and well-heeled Ploughshares Fund, Joe Cirincione and Tom Collina have jumped onto the Flournoy bandwagon. Days ago, Cirincione proudly tweeted news coverage of the "Open Letter on Our Support for Michele Flournoy to Be the Next Secretary of Defense," which he had signed along with Collina and 27 other "nuclear experts."

Other signatories of the open letter included Rachel Bronson, the president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, as well as the Arms Control Association's board chair Tom Countryman and executive director Daryl Kimball. Former Defense Secretary William Perry also signed.

Cirincione's tweet, touting the pro-Flournoy open letter, ran into pushback from longtime peace activist Marcy Winograd, who tweeted back: "Joe, pls read her essay, 'How to Prevent a War in Asia,' which should be retitled 'How to Start a War in Asia.' Did you know she wants to continue to send 'defensive' weapons to Saudi Arabia while we 'pivot' to SCS [South China Sea] & more war games next to 2 nuclear powers?"

The reply from Cirincione offered little more than wishful thinking about Flournoy. "I disagree with many of the positions she has taken in the past," he wrote. "She is, however, the best qualified candidate for the position; the one most likely to implement serious changes should President Biden order them. Dems have also moved away from the Clinton policies she favored."

While Flournoy has awaited word on whether she'll get the nod from Biden for the Pentagon job, Tony Blinken-the man with whom she co-founded the influence-peddling outfit WestExec Advisors-is already the nominee for Secretary of State. Oddly, two of Blinken's most high-profile progressive boosters for the job have worked in key roles for Bernie Sanders, a leader second to none in challenging corporate greed.

Faiz Shakir, the campaign manager for Sanders' latest presidential campaign, tweeted that the selection of Blinken was a "solid choice." And the top Sanders foreign-policy adviser in the Senate, Matt Duss, declared: "This is a good choice. Tony has the strong confidence of the president-elect and the knowledge and experience for the important work of rebuilding U.S. diplomacy. It will also be a new and great thing to have a top diplomat who has regularly engaged with progressive grassroots."

That's a common rationale for supporting potential Cabinet members, despite the fact that their records and policy prescriptions are contrary to progressive principles. In effect, we're supposed to be grateful-and mollified-that at least they talk with us.

At the Council for a Livable World-which says that it "promotes policies to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons and to minimize the risk of war"-the executive director, former Congressman John Tierney, told the group's members that Blinken is a real good guy: "I, and our organization, have worked with him over the years, and I trust that he can restore and rebuild a State Department badly damaged by the Trump administration."

What does all this praising and access-drooling amount to?

Here's a cogent assessment from Winograd, a tireless antiwar activist: "Progressives may be tempted to trade truth for access to the powerful and privileged, thinking they can influence the course of events if they bite their tongue when Flournoy talks of fighting and prevailing in a war with China. But this sort of thinking is misguided. The power progressives hold must be wielded now before it's too late, before Flournoy is crowned and the U.S. slips further into decline, mired in a high-stakes high-tech arms race-or worse, another endless war, this one with a nuclear-armed nation of over 1.3 billion people."

Disturbing information about Flournoy and Blinken has long been available. And just this weekend, the New York Times published a devastating in-depth news article that shed more light on their direct financial involvements that amount to classic conflicts of interest.

Many progressive activists and organizations have mobilized since the election to offer well-documented opposition to highly dubious potential members of the Biden Cabinet, and that includes contenders for "national security" posts. Outside the Beltway bubble, grassroots groups are organizing to put up a fight against nominees who have repeatedly pledged and shown their allegiance to the warfare state.

Joe Biden's historic value was to defeat Donald Trump, and progressives played a vital role in that defeat-while often being candid about the many awful parts of the Biden record. Now, progressives should emphatically challenge every odious aspect of the Biden administration, every step of the way.

(c) 2020 Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org 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."




Biden's team will discover destruction or theft of public records,
spectacles of looting and plunder of public trust and public property.



Biden Needs To Report Trump's Wreckage In Executive Branch As Markers
They must not let the Trumpster outlaws escape and become immune fugitives from justice
By Ralph Nader

The Biden Transition team is about to connect with the Trumpsters running federal departments and agencies into the ground. The Biden staff should prepare for serial shocks. Biden's people will be observing the first glimpses of staggering wreckage and corruption. They need to tell the American people what they find.

The Trump regime gave itself lawless license to do whatever it wanted. Trump operatives dismantled or disabled humane program after humane program, health and safety regulations, and economic protections designed to protect working people, children, the elderly, and people living in poverty.

After all, the Trumpsters got the green light from their boss Donald, who when not playing golf, tweeting tantrums, and watching Fox News, believed that "I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president."

When the Bidenites take over on January 21, they will find hollowed-out government law enforcement and shelved research projects. They'll see offices empty after government scientists and other civil servants were forced out. Other public servants will be sitting in what the Japanese call "window jobs," ordered to stop working on vital matters ranging from limiting climate disruption to stopping Wall Street rip-offs. The Trump administration turned important government jobs into do-nothing positions.

Heavily censored federal CDC workers, benumbed from prohibitions on what they can say, and who were ordered not to speak the words "climate change" will receive their rescuers with deep relief. EPA workers who were ordered to repeal or weaken over 100 environmental safeguards - unleashing deadly toxins into people's air and water - will feel the breaking of the restraints imposed on sound science.

Specialists who were told to weaken or eliminate about 50 occupational health and safety standards and literally shut down enforcement at OSHA will also start to see the early dawn.

Biden's team will discover destruction or theft of public records, spectacles of looting and plunder of public trust and public property.

They will hear stories of corporate lobbyists coming in and out of the agencies as if they owned the government because they did. Trump turned over the federal government to Big Business, as has never before happened, brazenly, openly, and endlessly. His nominee to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) into nothingness, marauding Mick Mulvaney, openly said the agency's mission was to protect Wall Street Big Banks and unscrupulous payday lenders!! Mulvaney abandoned tens of millions of defrauded Americans. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said Mulvaney proved "he would rather cozy up with payday lenders and industry insiders than listen to consumer advocates who want to make sure hard-working Americans are not cheated by financial scams." Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Mick Mulvaney had "no intention of putting consumers above financial firms that cheat them."

Much of the Trump Administration corruption started at the despoiled White House, which Trump turned into a family business incubator to enhance his Brand. Trump's crime spree was aided and abetted by his "personal lawyer," Attorney General, William Barr who twisted government lawyers into ignoring or overturning the rule of law under orders from the political bosses.

Shoveling out corrupt, crony contracts, grants, subsidies, giveaways, and bailouts in a frenzy of taxpayer torture will occupy many officials in the new Administration as they attempt to unravel, expose, and if possible, claw back ill-gotten gains.

Unlike the entering Obama Administration back in 2009, the Biden Administration must come in with a determined mindset as they begin restoring the rule of law and reversing Trump's cruel and crazy policies. Biden's team will also need to start restoring past services and initiating new services for the citizenry.

They must not let the Trumpster outlaws escape and become immune fugitives from justice. If Trump's wrecking crew escapes the arm of the law, for sure they and their base will return with a vengeance in two and four years.

For Joe Biden, healing America is not incompatible with bringing these self-dealing, law-breaking, constitution-violating, anti-American crooks to justice. In truth, both tasks are complementary with the basic belief that "nobody is above the law," which escapee Trump has long treated as a laughable cliche.

The way to start this redeeming process is to draw a clear line between what Biden's appointees find and what they intend to change. They must give cogent reports to the people about Trump's crumbled and wasted agencies so that Trump's record of destruction and pillage will not be forgotten because of short public memories. Otherwise, Trump's mass media will let him leave the public with the truth-denying Orwellian impression that he left the Democrats "a great" federal legacy.

(See our new book, "Wrecking America: How Trump's Lawbreaking and Lies Betray All")

(c) 2020 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).




Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi



BLM Chapters Demand "Accountability" From Trio That Cashed In On The Movement
By Glen Ford

Ten chapters of the national Black Lives Matter organization are in open revolt against the individuals that have treated the mass movement as their personal vehicle for upward political, professional and financial advancement.

In 2013 three Black women social activist friends working in non-profit organizations in California invented the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter which, along with #Ferguson, became most identified with the mass movement that converged on Ferguson, Missouri, following the police killing of Mike Brown, in August of 2014. Soon the friends created a non-profit pocket to gather funds for favored projects, dubbed the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. The BLMGNF became the principal beneficiary of millions of dollars in individual and corporate philanthropy, as the social movement broadly described as "Black Lives Matter" mounted the greatest challenge to the racist criminal justice system in the United States since the 1960s. Yet, the disposition of these funds has remained solely at the discretion of the three hashtag and foundation founders -- Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi - and their designated operatives.

Ten chapters of the national Black Lives Matter organization are now in open revolt against the hashtag founders and their tightly controlled formations, demanding that the BLMGNF and the recently created Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee and BLM Grassroots be made financially and political "accountable."

Over the past six years Black Agenda Report has often been critical of the "troika" that treats the mass movement as their personal vehicle for upward political, professional and financial advancement. We hope that the revolt of Black Lives Matter chapters will spark a deep and wide examination of the direction of the U.S.-based Black liberation movement and its relationship to the global struggle against racial capitalism and Euro-American imperialism. This crucial debate now begins in earnest with the "Statement from the Frontlines of the BLM," issued earlier this week by chapters in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Hudson Valley, New York; Oklahoma City; Indianapolis; Denver; Vancouver, Washington; San Diego, California; and New Jersey. The statement appears below in its entirety:

It is Time for Accountability It was recently declared that Patrisse Cullors was appointed the Executive Director to the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN) Foundation. Since then, two new Black Lives Matter formations have been announced to the public: a Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee, and BLM Grassroots. BLM Grassroots was allegedly created to support the organizational needs of chapters, separate from the financial functions of BLMGN. We, the undersigned chapters, believe that all of these events occurred without democracy, and assert that it was without the knowledge of the majority of Black Lives Matters chapters across the country and world.

We became chapters of Black Lives Matter as radical Black organizers embracing a collective vision for Black people engaging in the protracted struggle for our lives against police terrorism. With a willingness to do hard work that would put us at risk, we expected that the central organizational entity, most recently referred to as the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN) Foundation, would support us chapters in our efforts to build communally. Since the establishment of BLMGN, our chapters have consistently raised concerns about financial transparency, decision making, and accountability. Despite years of effort, no acceptable internal process of accountability has ever been produced by BLMGN and these recent events have undermined the efforts of chapters seeking to democratize its processes and resources.

In the spirit of transparency, accountability, and responsibility to our community, we believe public accountability has become necessary. As a contribution to our collective liberation, we must make clear: Patrisse Cullors, as the sole board member of BLMGN, became Executive Director against the will of most chapters and without their knowledge.
The newly announced formation, BLM Grassroots, does not have the support of and was created without consultation with the vast majority of chapters.
The formation of BLM Grassroots effectively separated the majority of chapters from BLMGN without their consent and interrupted the active process of accountability that was being established by those chapters.
In our experience, chapter organizers have been consistently prevented from establishing financial transparency, collective decision making, or collaboration on political analysis and vision within BLMGN
For years there has been inquiry regarding the financial operations of BLMGN and no acceptable process of either public or internal transparency about the unknown millions of dollars donated to BLMGN, which has certainly increased during this time of pandemic and rebellion.
To the best of our knowledge, most chapters have received little to no financial support from BLMGN since the launch in 2013. It was only in the last few months that selected chapters appear to have been invited to apply for a $500,000 grant created with resources generated because of the organizing labor of chapters. This is not the equity and financial accountability we deserve.
We remain committed to collectively building an organization of BLM chapters that is democratic, accountable, and functions in a way that is aligned with our ideological values and commitment to liberation. We will move forward with transparency and expound on our collective efforts to seek transparency and organizational unity in a fuller statement in the near future. As we collectively determine next steps, we encourage our supporters to donate directly to chapters, who represent the frontline of Black Lives Matter.
A Fork in the Road for the Movement

Movements are comprised of many components - including timely hash tag purveyors like Garza, Cullors and Tomati. It is to be expected that the various elements that emerge from social upheaval will pursue their own class and professional interests, engendering vigorous debate over the direction and nature of struggle. Black Agenda Report views the chapters' challenge to the troika's self-serving monetization of the first mass resistance to the racist rule of rich white men since mass Black incarceration was imposed at the tail end of the Sixties, as both welcome and overdue. As BAR editor and columnist and Black Alliance for Peace national organizer Ajamu Baraka writes in this issue, the chapters that are "raising questions about BLM from the frontlines are doing so not out of a desire to destroy but to strengthen the movement by generating this discussion." If the Cullors-Garza-Tomati trio treats the movement as their legal property, it is because the corporate state only recognizes property relations, not human and social rights and claims. The trio have parlayed their notoriety and the trust invested in them by grassroots activists to pull the movement into the matrix of big business philanthropy and corporate Democratic politics - the cemetery of people's struggles. But the movement refuses to be bought or buried.

(c) 2020 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com







Trump's Bassackwards Government
By Jim Hightower

Gosh, our Trasher-in-chief has really been busy lately, calling Kamala Harris "nasty" and calling our post offices "a joke."

But, instead of trash-talking, shouldn't a president be, you know, running the government? Nah... that bores him. Besides, that's why he packed his cabinet with all those corporate lobbyists who are skilled at trying to rig our government to serve moneyed elites. Now, empowered by Trump, these special interests are our government, literally setting and running America's economic, environmental, health, and other public policies. And what a job they're doing - on us!

Check out Andrew Wheeler, head of Trump's EPA. He had been the top lobbyist for a coal mining giant, constantly fighting environmental rules to make this notoriously foul industry clean up its act. Now, the befouler's lobbyist is making the rules, allowing Big Coal and other fossil fuel giants pour more toxic contaminants into our air and water.

Wheeler wails that his poor, multibillion-dollar former clients must be freed from "burdensome" requirements to limit the damage they do to the health of America's people and our planet. Burdensome? His latest edict frees oil & gas corporations from having to fix methane leaks in their wells, pipelines, etc. Fixing leaks is burdensome? Hello, if you had a gas leak at your house, would you not want to "burden" the company to come fix it?

Not only is methane a potent greenhouse gas causing climate change, but Wheeler's don't-worry-about-it favor to his industry buddies comes just as scientists have discovered that methane leaks are two to three times worse than his EPA has been reporting. This means the industry is driving us toward a climate crisis faster than anyone realized.

Talk about nasty, the Trumpeteers have turned government totally bassackwards, protecting polluters from the people, rather than vice versa.

(c) 2020 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 HightowerLowdown.org.




Nurses hold a candle light vigil, one holding a sign reading "SOME CUTS DON'T HEAL"
Registered nurses at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, hold a nighttime
vigil on November 23, 2020, to alert the public about patient safety concerns as COVID-19
hospitalizations spike across the county.




As COVID Spikes, It's Normal To Feel Helpless. Let's Turn Fear To Activism
By William Rivers Pitt

I sat by my office window this morning and looked without seeing at the robin's-egg blue house across the street, framed by a distant pine-green hill and the last gray sky of November 2020. Beside me at a tandem desk sat my daughter, headphones on for the Monday morning Zoom meeting with her class. They talked about what their favorite Thanksgiving food was, and she said "cranberry sauce!" with entirely appropriate gusto; she ate half a bog's worth on Thursday and sighed heavily when we ran out.

My daughter couldn't see how afraid I was, because I didn't let her. I looked without seeing at that blue house, and across the screen of my eyes ran scenario after scenario that could lead to someone in my family on a ventilator in the COVID wing of an overflowing hospital. If we could even get a bed. How might it happen? In a country where the virus has spread from coast to coast like butter on warm bread, let me count the ways.

I also fear I may be beginning to lose my faith in people's ability to stem this spread, which was already a desperate faith in the face of a health system that values profits over people, an economy that routinely forces the most vulnerable into harm's way in the name of rapacious almighty capitalism, and let's not forget the reams of bad advice from the highest echelons of state and federal government.

The numbers: 13.3 million infections to date, 200,000 new daily infections, almost 270,000 deaths, and roughly 2,000 new deaths per day. Millions of Thanksgiving travelers have motivated medical experts to tell any who will listen: If you traveled and gathered with others for the holiday, assume you are infected and get tested.

"There's no way that the hospitals can be fully prepared for what we're currently facing," emergency medicine physician Dr. Megan Ranney told CNN. "This is like a natural disaster occurring in all 50 states at the same time. There are not adequate beds. There are not adequate staff. And because of the lack of national preparation, there are still not adequate supplies."

According to NBC News, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend alone - Thursday through Sunday - saw more than 600,000 new infections and nearly 5,000 COVID deaths. All of that in four days, and before the impact of mass travel rolls across the land like a line of thunderstorms.

Yet here is Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, who has regularly scorned and rejected levying a mask mandate in her state, tweeting a plea for residents to go shopping. On that same day, South Dakota endured its largest daily death toll since the pandemic began nearly a year ago.

And meanwhile, this news report comes in from New York City: "Sheriff's deputies arrived at a building in Midtown Manhattan just before 3 a.m. on Saturday and found almost 400 people drinking and partying inside," reported The New York Times on Sunday morning. "Few were wearing face masks. Deputies shut the party down and arrested four people. The episode reflected the way that, despite the onset of a second wave of the coronavirus, people are continuing to gather at large events in New York City in violation of public health safeguards."

Hence my fraying faith. I can halfway understand people in rural portions of the country, which until recently were largely unaffected by the pandemic, being slow to embrace the suck. Compound that with President Donald Trump's influence in those regions, and the surprise factor plummets even further. But New York City? Epicenter for springtime COVID horrors so bleak as to be nearly unspeakable? Do these people think COVID won't catch them if the cops don't? Magical thinking is clearly not a regional affliction.

I feel utterly helpless before this bilge tide of astonishing official malfeasance and self-destructive ground-level stubbornness, and this sense of helplessness is the fuel that feeds my fear. I wake each day awaiting some guiding voice with enough authority to slap this runaway train back on the tracks. Instead, I get Trump's new ultra-conservative Supreme Court. On Friday, a majority of that court ruled that religious services can be performed at the expense of life and without consideration of public health, a muscle-flex aimed at the religious right who labored long to see a court like this come together.

Despair is not an option, not with that little student diligently working one desk over from me, and I know there are many who feel the same for their own myriad reasons. We can't fix COVID, we can't drag masses of people back from the abyss of their own poor decisions, so we must do what we can within reach of our arm and with all necessary precautions intact.

"It's in the face of this systemic failure that communities all across the country are rising up and stepping in to fill in some of the gaps," wrote Robert R. Raymond for Truthout all the way back in April. "Many of these responses take the form of mutual aid - community-led, horizontal efforts that have arisen spontaneously with the aim of aiding those impacted by the pandemic."

Like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we can devote time and creativity to ameliorating the exploding crisis of hunger. "Food insecurity" is the numb euphemism of the day that neatly obscures the growling in a child's stomach or the image of cars parked for miles and waiting for hours at food banks all across the country. Assisting established food banks and supporting or creating neighborhood-based grassroots efforts to deliver food is just the start of what the situation calls for.

We can lend the reach of our arm to yet another deeply damaging crisis - housing - as the expiring eviction moratorium threatens as many as 40 million people with the loss of their homes in winter and amid the raging pandemic. For this, we must be a strident emergency siren in the ear of an utterly failed Republican Senate until they deliver the stimulus - including eviction protections - this country desperately needs. This may feel futile, given the grim reality that is Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, but a loud enough siren amid this deepening calamity may just turn all sorts of heads. Meanwhile, we can also lend our labor and resources to the grassroots housing justice activism occurring across the country.

Finally, we can devote ourselves to keeping soon-to-be President Joe Biden from wobbling off into the mire of center-right "moderate" capitulation to the Republican right. Biden's dowser-like instinct is to take 10 steps toward the GOP in the hope that they might take one step toward him. They won't, not ever, not under McConnell and with the long shadow of Trump still hanging low over the Capitol dome.

The fable of the scorpion and the frog is instructive here, and progressives are tasked to remind our presidential frog not to forget, or deliberately ignore, the nature of the creature he's inviting onto his back. This, again, promises to be a frustrating slog, but it is one that must begin on day one, lest this incoming Democratic administration get itself lost in the same fog as the previous one.

"In this context of social isolation and forced dependency on hostile systems," writes author and activist Dean Spade, "mutual aid - where we choose to help each other out, share things, and put time and resources into caring for the most vulnerable - is a radical act."

We are afraid, and we are isolated, but we are not alone, and we are hardly powerless. This will be a long, hard winter. Let's also make it a busy one. Stay safe, and stout hearts.

(c) 2020 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.




President Donald Trump on his phone while at the Trump National Golf Club on November 26, 2020.




Trump's Trying To Take The Internet Down With Him
A sore-loser president is promoting a last-minute assault on the underpinnings of discourse on the web.
By John Nichols

Donald Trump has lost the popular vote by more than 6.25 million ballots. Court decisions, recounts, and state certifications have confirmed that the Republican secured just 232 electoral votes to 306 for Democrat Joe Biden. Despite Trump's false claim that "the 2020 Election was a total scam," he's on his way out of office.

Unfortunately, a slow process of transition allows lame-duck presidents to do great damage during the two and a half months between Election Day in November and Inauguration Day in January, and Trump is already at it. But the greatest danger the soon-to-be-former president poses may be to the honest discourse that remains the lifeblood of American democracy: a free press.

Trump's presidency can be understood as a four-year assault on journalism, in which he has attacked individual reporters, newspapers, and television news networks with a fury that was evident on Thanksgiving Day, when he held a deranged press conference-while seated at a "kid's table"desk-and started ranting in response to Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason's question about when Trump might finally concede his loss. "Don't talk to me that way," raged Trump. "You're just a lightweight. Don't talk to me [like] that-I'm the president of the United States. Don't ever talk to the president that way."

Trump's tantrum produced a mocking Twitter hashtag-#DiaperDon-that trended to the top of social media and embarrassed the egomaniacal president to such an extent that he snapped and raged-falsely: "Twitter is sending out totally false 'Trends;' that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world. They make it up, and only negative 'stuff.'" Then he tweeted something that should unsettle everyone who understands the role of social media in modern political communications: "For purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!"

Crafted by Congress in 1996, Section 230 declares, "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." As the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains, "It shields websites from legal liability for the material users post on their platforms. Section 230 also gives these sites the leeway they need to moderate content that violates their community standards."

Trump doesn't like that moderation, as it identifies his lies. In July, the Trump administration petitioned the Federal Communications Commission-where a 3-2 Republican majority has frequently done the president's bidding-with a demand that commissioners craft a rule that could gut Section 230 protections. That's incredibly dangerous.

"If the FCC grants the administration's proposal, no websites or platforms would be able to set their own standards for their online communities," explains Gaurav Laroia, the senior counsel for the grassroots media and democracy group Free Press. "It would seriously threaten the ability of marginalized groups to organize and express their views without the government forcing them to allow racist and sexist interlopers into every conversation. It would leave sites little choice but to drown in posts from bigots, propagandists, conspiracy theorists and trolls."

Vigilance is going to be required on every front to reduce the harm that Trump can do before January 20. But defenders of the honest discourse that underpins democracy should be especially alert to the threat posed by the prospect that Trump's FCC minions might respond to a presidential fit of pique by scheming to undermine the ability of social media to call out presidential lies. (c) 2020 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.








America's Student Loan Debt Trap
By James Donahue

When I attended college in the late 1950s the sociologists jokingly called it a "four-year-extension of infancy." That was because any high school graduate with a high enough grade average or the capability of passing a college entrance exam could get a crack at a bachelor's degree or more.

Tuition and the price of used text books at the campus store made the price of attending college within grasp. That was because we could earn enough money on available summer jobs to pay that part of the bill. I was able to earn enough while in college, working at one of the dormitory cafeterias, to pay my off-campus room rent of seven dollars a week. A weekly $10 check from my parents covered my food bill.

Sure, we ate a lot of pasta and oatmeal, and the cooks at the food commons sometimes slipped us a free hamburger when the boss wasn't around. It took a lot of resourcefulness, but we got by, and we got an education.

An education in those days was more than training for a specific vocation. I signed up for classes in a variety of fields, mainly because I had no idea at first just what I wanted to do with my life. I think the real education involved the deep philosophical conversations we had in the evening, often sitting around a campfire along a local river and sipping a can of beer. That's where I met the real thinkers among the student body; the guys who challenged the rest of us to go where no student had gone before.

Because I bounced around from one subject to another, earning credit hours in biology, mathematics, English, history, sociology and journalism, and slipping in classes in art and printing, it took me five years to get that four-year degree. But when I graduated I had an education. I believe I was among the last students to graduate from my college with a liberal arts degree. They were already specializing in those days, but they slipped me into that category because I lacked the required hours in certain fields to receive a specialized degree.

Students today can't get a college education the way I did it. The problem has been a decline in state funding to colleges and universities, thus forcing schools to increase tuition costs to cover an ever-rising cost of just operating the schools. And the minimum hourly wage, received in summer employment, has remained unchanged while the cost of everything around us has gone through the roof. Thus the summer jobs don't pay enough to cover the cost of tuition and books.

Also, the cost of on or off-campus living is so high that students can't earn enough at any part-time job in a college community to cover it. The price of everything associated with going to college is so high that students from moderate income families are forced to secure heavy student loans, backed by the government, to cover all of those costs. And many college graduates are unable to secure good paying jobs once they leave campus.

With debts ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 and higher, with accumulating interest, and the cost of just having a family and earning a basic living eating up every cent they can earn, those student loan debts become an albatross around their necks.

That is because there is a catch linked to the student loans. Those graduates can't go bankrupt and write off those debts. The bankruptcy laws prohibit it. While the debt remains unpaid, or if the student gets behind in making regular monthly payments, it puts a black mark on the student's credit rating. This affects the graduate's ability to rent or buy a home, buy a car, or even possess and use a credit card. And even worse, there is accumulating interest on the balance owed on those loans, which makes the debt grow sometimes faster than the borrower can pay down on the principle.

The horror in this story is that some students struggle for the rest of their lives attempting to get out from under the student loan debt they acquired just to go to college.

Recent statistics revealed that 71 percent of living college graduates in the United States are carrying student loan debt, with an average amount owed at $33,000 each. The total amount due in outstanding student loans is calculated at $1.2 trillion.

Consequently, our best and brightest people, our college graduates, are so burdened with debt that they are delaying buying homes, cars, and even holding back on starting families. Potential doctors, lawyers and other professional people are so saddled with debt from their first four years they are not willing to borrow more money to finish their training. And those that do finish are forced to charge their clients high fees just to help pay off those bank loans.

To make the situation even worse, legislators in the states of Iowa and Montana have cold heartedly passed laws allowing the state Department of Motor Vehicles to revoke the driver's licenses of anyone failing to pay their student loan debt. This involves anyone just getting behind on a payment. The laws contain a self-perpetuating problem for the debtor, since people must have cars in order to get a job to earn money to make payments.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that there is something very wrong with America's education system.

Some legislators have introduced bills designed to somewhat ease this terrible burden on student graduates but to date we haven't seen any of them win congressional approval or reach the President's desk. The crisis is so severe, we are not sure just "easing" the burden is going to be enough. Something needs to be done to erase the accumulating interest rates, or perhaps to excuse the student debts altogether.

The United States is one of the few countries where students suffer from this problem. Other nations literally finance the cost of educating their brightest and best students. The results of this emphasis on higher education are being felt. Research labs, medical professionals and physicists in Europe, Japan and even China are excelling, pushing far ahead of many things going on in the United States in their fields.

(c) 2020 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.







.



Have A Blessed Pearl Harbor Day
By David Swanson

One of the holiest days of the year is fast approaching. Are you ready? Remember the true meaning of Pearl Harbor Day!

The U.S. government planned, prepared for, and provoked a war with Japan for years, and was in many ways at war already, waiting for Japan to fire the first shot, when Japan attacked the Philippines and Pearl Harbor. What gets lost in the questions of exactly who knew what when in the days before those attacks, and what combination of incompetence and cynicism allowed them to happen, is the fact that major steps had indisputably been taken toward war but none had been taken toward peace.

The Asia pivot of the Obama-Trump era had a precedent in the years leading up to WWII, as the United States and Japan built up their military presence in the Pacific. The United States was aiding China in the war against Japan and blockading Japan to deprive it of critical resources prior to Japan's attack on U.S. troops and imperial territories. The militarism of the United States does not free Japan of responsibility for its own militarism, or vice versa, but the myth of the innocent bystander shockingly assaulted out of the blue is no more real than the myth of the war to save the Jews.

When I ask people to justify WWII, they always say "Hitler," but if the European war was so easily justifiable, why shouldn't the United States have joined it earlier? Why was the U.S. public so overwhelmingly against U.S. entry into the war until after December 7, 1941? Why does a war with Germany that supposedly should have been entered have to be depicted as a defensive battle through the convoluted logic that Japan fired the first shot, thereby (somehow) making the crusade to end the Holocaust in Europe a question of self-defense? Germany declared war on the United States, hoping that Japan would assist Germany in the struggle against the Soviet Union. But Germany did not attack the United States.

Winston Churchill wanted the United States to enter WWII, just as he had wanted the United States to enter WWI. The Lusitania was attacked by Germany without warning, during WWI, we're told in U.S. text books, despite Germany literally having published warnings in New York newspapers and newspapers around the United States. These warnings were printed right next to ads for sailing on the Lusitania and were signed by the German embassy. Newspapers wrote articles about the warnings. The Cunard company was asked about the warnings. The former captain of the Lusitania had already quit - reportedly due to the stress of sailing through what Germany had publicly declared a war zone. Meanwhile Winston Churchill wrote to the President of Britain's Board of Trade, "It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany." It was under his command that the usual British military protection was not provided to the Lusitania, despite Cunard having stated that it was counting on that protection. That the Lusitania was carrying weapons and troops to aid the British in the war against Germany was asserted by Germany and by other observers, and was true. Sinking the Lusitania was a horrible act of mass-murder, but it wasn't a surprise assault by evil against pure goodness.

THE 1930s

In September of 1932, Colonel Jack Jouett, a veteran U.S. pilot, began teaching 80 cadets at a new military flying school in China. Already, war was in the air. On January 17, 1934, Eleanor Roosevelt made a speech: "Any one who thinks, must think of the next war as suicide. How deadly stupid we are that we can study history and live through what we live through, and complacently allow the same causes to put us through the same thing again." When President Franklin Roosevelt visited Pearl Harbor on July 28, 1934, General Kunishiga Tanaka wrote in the Japan Advertiser, objecting to the build-up of the American fleet and the creation of additional bases in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands: "Such insolent behavior makes us most suspicious. It makes us think a major disturbance is purposely being encouraged in the Pacific. This is greatly regretted."

In October 1934, George Seldes wrote in Harper's Magazine: "It is an axiom that nations do not arm for war but for a war." Seldes asked an official at the Navy League: "Do you accept the naval axiom that you prepare to fight a specific navy?"
The man replied "Yes."
"Do you contemplate a fight with the British navy?"
"Absolutely, no."
"Do you contemplate war with Japan?"
"Yes."

In 1935 Smedley Butler, two years after foiling a coup against Roosevelt, and four years after being court martialed for recounting an incident in which Benito Mussolini ran over a girl with his car, published to enormous success a short book called War Is a Racket. He wrote:

"At each session of Congress the question of further naval appropriations comes up. The swivel-chair admirals don't shout that 'We need lots of battleships to war on this nation or that nation.' Oh, no. First of all, they let it be known that America is menaced by a great naval power. Almost any day, these admirals will tell you, the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and annihilate our 125,000,000 people. Just like that. Then they begin to cry for a larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For defense purposes only. Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For defense. Uh, huh.

"The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline in the Pacific. Will the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be two thousand, yes, perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast. The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the United States fleet so close to Nippon's shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern, through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles."

In March 1935, Roosevelt bestowed Wake Island on the U.S. Navy and gave Pan Am Airways a permit to build runways on Wake Island, Midway Island, and Guam. Japanese military commanders announced that they were disturbed and viewed these runways as a threat. So did peace activists in the United States. By the next month, Roosevelt had planned war games and maneuvers near the Aleutian Islands and Midway Island. By the following month, peace activists were marching in New York advocating friendship with Japan. Norman Thomas wrote in 1935: "The Man from Mars who saw how men suffered in the last war and how frantically they are preparing for the next war, which they know will be worse, would come to the conclusion that he was looking at the denizens of a lunatic asylum."

On May 18, 1935, ten thousand marched up Fifth Avenue in New York with posters and signs opposing the build-up to war with Japan. Similar scenes were repeated numerous times in this period. People made the case for peace, while the government armed for war, built bases for war, rehearsed for war in the Pacific, and practiced blackouts and sheltering from air raids to prepare people for war. The U.S. Navy developed its plans for a war on Japan. The March 8, 1939, version of these plans described "an offensive war of long duration" that would destroy the military and disrupt the economic life of Japan.

The U.S. military even planned for a Japanese attack on Hawaii, which it thought might begin with conquering the island of Ni'ihau, from which flights would take off to assault the other islands. U.S. Army Air Corp. Lt. Col. Gerald Brant approached the Robinson family, which owned Ni'ihau and still does. He asked them to plow furrows across the island in a grid, to render it useless for airplanes. Between 1933 and 1937, three Ni'ihau men cut the furrows with plows pulled by mules or draft horses. As it turned out, the Japanese had no plans to use Ni'ihau, but when a Japanese plane that had just been part of the attack on Pearl Harbor had to make an emergency landing, it landed on Ni'ihau despite all the efforts of the mules and horses.

On July 21, 1936, all the newspapers in Tokyo had the same headline: the U.S. government was loaning China 100 million yuan with which to buy U.S. weapons.[x] On August 5, 1937, the Japanese government announced that it was disturbed that 182 U.S. airmen, each accompanied by two mechanics, would be flying airplanes in China.

1940

In November 1940, Roosevelt loaned China one hundred million dollars for war with Japan, and after consulting with the British, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau made plans to send the Chinese bombers with U.S. crews to use in bombing Tokyo and other Japanese cities. On December 21, 1940, China's Minister of Finance T.V. Soong and Colonel Claire Chennault, a retired U.S. Army flier who was working for the Chinese and had been urging them to use American pilots to bomb Tokyo since at least 1937, met in Morgenthau's dining room to plan the firebombing of Japan. Morgenthau said he could get men released from duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps if the Chinese could pay them $1,000 per month. Soong agreed.

In 1939-1940, the U.S. Navy built new Pacific bases in Midway, Johnston, Palmyra, Wake, Guam, Samoa, and Hawaii.

In September, 1940, Japan, Germany, and Italy signed an agreement to assist each other in war. This meant that were the United States at war with one of them, it would likely be at war with all three.

On October 7, 1940, the director of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence Far East Asia Section Arthur McCollum wrote a memo. He worried about possible future Axis threats to the British fleet, to the British Empire, and to the Allies' ability to blockade Europe. He speculated about a theoretical future Axis attack on the United States. He believed decisive action could lead to the "early collapse of Japan." He recommended war with Japan:

"While . . . there is little that the United States can do to immediately retrieve the situation in Europe, the United States is able to effectively nullify Japanese aggressive action, and do it without lessening U.S. material assistance to Great Britain.

". . . In the Pacific the United States possesses a very strong defensive position and a navy and naval air force at present in that ocean capable of long distance offensive operation. There are certain other factors which at the present time are strongly in our favor, viz:

Philippine Islands still held by the United States.
Friendly and possibly allied government in control of the Dutch East Indies.
British still hold Hong Kong and Singapore and are favorable to us.
Important Chinese armies are still in the field in China against Japan.
A small U.S. Naval Force capable of seriously threatening Japan's southern supply routes already in the theatre of operations.
A considerable Dutch naval force is in the Orient that would be of value if allied to U.S.
"A consideration of the foregoing leads to the conclusion that prompt aggressive naval action against Japan by the United States would render Japan incapable of affording any help to Germany and Italy in their attack on England and that Japan itself would be faced with a situation in which her navy could be forced to fight on most unfavorable terms or accept fairly early collapse of the country through the force of blockade. A prompt and early declaration of war after entering into suitable arrangements with England and Holland, would be most effective in bringing about the early collapse of Japan and thus eliminating our enemy in the pacific before Germany and Italy could strike at us effectively. Furthermore, elimination of Japan must surely strengthen Britain's position against Germany and Italy and, in addition, such action would increase the confidence and support of all nations who tend to be friendly towards us.

"It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the Japanese to modify their attitude. Therefore, the following course of action is suggested:

Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.
Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies.
Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-Shek.
Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.
Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.
Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.
"If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better. At all events we must be fully prepared to accept the threat of war."
According to U.S. Army military historian Conrad Crane, "A close reading [of the above memo] shows that its recommendations were supposed to deter and contain Japan, while better preparing the United States for a future conflict in the Pacific. There is an offhand remark that an overt Japanese act of war would make it easier to garner public support for actions against Japan, but the document's intent was not to ensure that event happened."

The dispute between interpretations of this memo and similar documents is a subtle one. Nobody believes the memo quoted above was aimed at negotiating peace or disarmament or establishing the rule of law over violence. Some think the intention was to get a war started but be able to blame it on Japan. Others think the intention was to get ready for a war to start, and take steps that might very well provoke Japan to start one, but might instead - it was just barely possible - frighten Japan out of its militaristic ways. This range of debate turns an Overton window into a keyhole. It's a debate that has also been sidetracked into a focus on whether one of the eight recommendations above - the one about keeping the fleet in Hawaii - was part of a nefarious plot to get more ships destroyed in a dramatic attack (not a particularly successful plot, as only two ships were permanently destroyed).

Not just that one point - which is significant with or without such a plot - but all eight recommendations made in the memo or at least steps similar to them were pursued. These steps were aimed at intentionally or accidentally (the distinction is a fine one) starting a war, and they seem to have worked. Work on the recommendations, coincidentally or not, began on October 8, 1940, the very next day after the memo was written. On that date, the U.S. State Department told Americans to evacuate Eastern Asia. Also on that date, President Roosevelt ordered the fleet kept in Hawaii. Admiral James O. Richardson wrote later that he had strongly objected to the proposal and to its purpose. "Sooner or later," he quoted Roosevelt as having said, "the Japanese would commit an overt act against the United States and the nation would be willing to enter the war."

EARLY 1941

Richardson was relieved of his duties on February 1, 1941, so perhaps he lied about Roosevelt as a disgruntled former employee. Or perhaps getting out of such duties in the Pacific in those days was a popular move by those who could see what was coming. Admiral Chester Nimitz declined to command the Pacific Fleet. His son, Chester Nimitz Jr. later told the History Channel that his father's thinking had been as follows: "It is my guess that the Japanese are going to attack us in a surprise attack. There will be a revulsion in the country against all those in command at sea, and they will be replaced by people in positions of prominence ashore, and I want to be ashore, and not at sea, when that happens."

In early 1941, U.S. and British military officers met to plan their strategy for defeating Germany and then Japan, once the United States was in the war. In April, President Roosevelt started having U.S. ships inform the British military of the locations of German U-boats and planes. Then he started allowing the shipment of supplies to British soldiers in North Africa. Germany accused Roosevelt of "endeavoring with all the means at his disposal to provoke incidents for the purpose of baiting the American people into the war."

In January 1941, the Japan Advertiser expressed its outrage over the U.S. military build-up at Pearl Harbor in an editorial, and the U.S. ambassador to Japan wrote in his diary: "There is a lot of talk around town to the effect that the Japanese, in case of a break with the United States, are planning to go all out in a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbor. Of course I informed my government." On February 5, 1941, Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner wrote to Secretary of War Henry Stimson to warn of the possibility of a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.

On April 28, 1941, Churchill wrote a secret directive to his war cabinet: "It may be taken as almost certain that the entry of Japan into the war would be followed by the immediate entry of the United States on our side." On May 24, 1941, the New York Times reported on U.S. training of the Chinese air force, and the provision of "numerous fighting and bombing planes" to China by the United States and Britain. "Bombing of Japanese Cities is Expected" read the subheadline. On May 31, 1941, at the Keep America Out of War Congress, William Henry Chamberlin gave a dire warning: "A total economic boycott of Japan, the stoppage of oil shipments for instance, would push Japan into the arms of the Axis. Economic war would be a prelude to naval and military war."

By July, 1941, the Joint Army-Navy Board had approved a plan called JB 355 to firebomb Japan. A front corporation would buy American planes to be flown by American volunteers. Roosevelt approved, and his China expert Lauchlin Currie, in the words of Nicholson Baker, "wired Madame Chiang Kai-Shek and Claire Chennault a letter that fairly begged for interception by Japanese spies." The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force, also known as the Flying Tigers, moved ahead with recruitment and training immediately, were provided to China prior to Pearl Harbor, and first saw combat on December 20, 1941.

On July 24, 1941, President Roosevelt remarked, "If we cut the oil off , [the Japanese] probably would have gone down to the Dutch East Indies a year ago, and you would have had a war. It was very essential from our own selfish point of view of defense to prevent a war from starting in the South Pacific. So our foreign policy was trying to stop a war from breaking out there." Reporters noticed that Roosevelt said "was" rather than "is." The next day, Roosevelt issued an executive order freezing Japanese assets. The United States and Britain cut off oil and scrap metal to Japan. Radhabinod Pal, an Indian jurist who served on the war crimes tribunal after the war, found the embargoes a predictably provocative threat to Japan.

On August 7, 1941, the Japan Times Advertiser wrote: "First there was the creation of a superbase at Singapore, heavily reinforced by British and Empire troops. From this hub a great wheel was built up and linked with American bases to form a great ring sweeping in a great area southwards and westwards from the Philippines through Malaya and Burma, with the link broken only in the Thailand peninsula. Now it is proposed to include the narrows in the encirclement, which proceeds to Rangoon."

On August 12, 1941, Roosevelt met secretly with Churchill in Newfoundland and drew up the Atlantic Charter, which set out the war aims for a war that the United States was not yet officially in. Churchill asked Roosevelt to join the war immediately, but he declined. Following this secret meeting, on August 18th, Churchill met with his cabinet back at 10 Downing Street in London. Churchill told his cabinet, according to the minutes: "The [U.S.] President had said he would wage war but not declare it, and that he would become more and more provocative. If the Germans did not like it, they could attack American forces. Everything was to be done to force an 'incident' that could lead to war."

British propagandists had also argued since at least 1938 for using Japan to bring the United States into the war. At the Atlantic Conference on August 12, 1941, Roosevelt assured Churchill that the United States would bring economic pressure to bear on Japan. Within a week, in fact, the Economic Defense Board began economic sanctions. On September 3, 1941, the U.S. State Department sent Japan a demand that it accept the principle of "nondisturbance of the status quo in the Pacific," meaning cease turning European colonies into Japanese colonies. By September 1941 the Japanese press was outraged that the United States had begun shipping oil right past Japan to reach Russia. Japan, its newspapers said, was dying a slow death from "economic war." In September, 1941, Roosevelt announced a "shoot on sight" policy toward any German or Italian ships in U.S. waters.

A WAR SALES PITCH

On October 27, 1941, Roosevelt made a speech:

"Five months ago tonight I proclaimed to the American people the existence of a state of unlimited emergency. Since then much has happened. Our Army and Navy are temporarily in Iceland in the defense of the Western Hemisphere. Hitler has attacked shipping in areas close to the Americas in the North and South Atlantic. Many American-owned merchant ships have been sunk on the high seas. One American destroyer was attacked on September fourth. Another destroyer was attacked and hit on October seventeenth. Eleven brave and loyal men of our Navy were killed by the Nazis. We have wished to avoid shooting. But the shooting has started. And history has recorded who fired the first shot. In the long run, however, all that will matter is who fired the last shot. America has been attacked. The U.S.S. Kearny is not just a navy ship. She belongs to every man, woman and child in this nation. Illinois, Alabama, California, North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arkansas, New York, Virginia - those are the home states of the honored dead and wounded of the Kearny. Hitler's torpedo was directed at every American whether he lives on our sea coasts or in the innermost part of the nation, far from the seas and far from the guns and tanks of the marching hordes of would-be conquerors of the world. The purpose of Hitler's attack was to frighten the American people off the high seas - to force us to make a trembling retreat. This is not the first time he has misjudged the American spirit. That spirit is now aroused."
The ship sunk on September 4th was the Greer. The Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Harold Stark testified before the Senate Naval Affairs Committee that the Greer had been tracking a German submarine and relaying its location to a British airplane, which had dropped depth charges on the submarine without success. After hours of being tracked by the Greer, the submarine turned and fired.

The ship sunk on October 17th, the Kearny, was a replay of the Greer. It may have mystically belonged to the spirit of every American and so forth, but it was not innocent. It was taking part in a war that the United States had not officially entered, that the U.S. public was adamantly opposed to entering, but that the U.S. president was eager to get on with. That president continued:

"If our national policy were to be dominated by the fear of shooting, then all of our ships and those of our sister Republics would have to be tied up in home harbors. Our Navy would have to remain respectfully-abjectly-behind any line which Hitler might decree on any ocean as his own dictated version of his own war zone. Naturally we reject that absurd and insulting suggestion. We reject it because of our own self-interest, because of our own self-respect, because, most of all, of our own good faith. Freedom of the seas is now, as it has always been, a fundamental policy of your government and mine."
This strawman argument depends on the pretense that innocent ships not participating in the war were attacked, and that one's dignity depends on sending war ships around the world's oceans. It's a ridiculously transparent effort to manipulate the public, for which Roosevelt really ought to have paid royalties to the propagandists of WWI. Now we come to the claim that the President seems to have thought would clinch his case for war. It's a case based almost certainly on a British forgery, which makes it theoretically possible that Roosevelt actually believed what he was saying:
"Hitler has often protested that his plans for conquest do not extend across the Atlantic Ocean. But his submarines and raiders prove otherwise. So does the entire design of his new world order. For example, I have in my possession a secret map made in Germany by Hitler's government - by the planners of the new world order. It is a map of South America and a part of Central America, as Hitler proposes to reorganize it. Today in this area there are fourteen separate countries. The geographical experts of Berlin, however, have ruthlessly obliterated all existing boundary lines; and have divided South America into five vassal states, bringing the whole continent under their domination. And they have also so arranged it that the territory of one of these new puppet states includes the Republic of Panama and our great life line - the Panama Canal. That is his plan. It will never go into effect. This map makes clear the Nazi design not only against South America but against the United States itself."
Roosevelt had edited this speech to remove an assertion as to the map's authenticity. He refused to show the map to the media or the public. He did not say where the map came from, how he connected it to Hitler, or how it depicted a design against the United States, or - for that matter - how one might have sliced up Latin America and not included Panama.

When he had become Prime Minister in 1940, Churchill had set up an agency called British Security Coordination (BSC) with the mission to use any necessary dirty tricks to get the United States into the war. The BSC was run out of three floors of Rockefeller Center in New York by a Canadian named William Stephenson - the model for James Bond, according to Ian Fleming. It ran its own radio station, WRUL, and press agency, the Overseas News Agency (ONA). The hundreds or thousands of BSC staffers, later including Roald Dahl, kept busy sending forgeries to the U.S. media, creating astrologers to predict Hitler's demise, and generating false rumors of powerful new British weapons. Roosevelt was well aware of the BSC's work, as was the FBI.

According to William Boyd, a novelist who has investigated the agency, the "BSC evolved a prankish game called 'Vik' - a 'fascinating new pastime for lovers of democracy'. Teams of Vik players across the USA scored points depending on the level of embarrassment and irritation they caused Nazi sympathisers. Players were urged to indulge in a series of petty persecutions - persistent 'wrong number' calls in the night; dead rats dropped in water tanks; ordering cumbersome gifts to be delivered, cash on delivery, to target addresses; deflating the tyres of cars; hiring street musicians to play 'God Save the King' outside Nazi sympathisers' houses, and so on."

Ivar Bryce, who was Walter Lippman's brother-in-law and Ian Fleming's buddy, worked for the BSC, and in 1975 published a memoir claiming to have produced there the first draft of Roosevelt's phony Nazi map, which had then been approved by Stephenson and arranged to be obtained by the U.S. government with a false story as to its origins. Whether the FBI and/or Roosevelt was in on the trick is not clear. Of all the pranks pulled by "intelligence" agents over the years, this was one of the more successful, and yet least trumpeted, as the British are supposed to be a U.S. ally. U.S. book readers and moviegoers would later dump fortunes into admiring James Bond, even if his real-life model had tried to deceive them into the worst war the world had ever seen.

Of course, Germany was struggling in a drawn-out war with the Soviet Union, and had not dared to invade England. Taking over South America was not going to happen. No record of the phony map has ever turned up in Germany, and speculation that somehow there might have been some shadow of truth to it seems especially strained in the context of the next section of Roosevelt's speech, in which he claimed to possess another document that he also never showed anyone and which may never have existed, and the content of which wasn't even plausible:

"Your government has in its possession another document made in Germany by Hitler's government. It is a detailed plan, which, for obvious reasons, the Nazis did not wish and do not wish to publicize just yet, but which they are ready to impose - a little later - on a dominated world - if Hitler wins. It is a plan to abolish all existing religions - Protestant, Catholic, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish alike. The property of all churches will be seized by the Reich and its puppets. The cross and all other symbols of religion are to be forbidden. The clergy are to be forever silenced under penalty of the concentration camps, where even now so many fearless men are being tortured because they have placed God above Hitler. In the place of the churches of our civilization, there is to be set up an International Nazi Church - a church which will be served by orators sent out by the Nazi Government. In the place of the Bible, the words of Mein Kampf will be imposed and enforced as Holy Writ. And in place of the cross of Christ will be put two symbols - the swastika and the naked sword. A God of Blood and Iron will take the place of the God of Love and Mercy. Let us well ponder that statement which I have made tonight."
Needless to say, this was not based in reality; religion was openly practiced in Nazi-controlled nations, in some cases newly restored after Soviet-imposed atheism, and medals that the Nazis bestowed on their biggest supporters were, as we have seen above, shaped like crosses. But the pitch to enter a war for love and mercy was a nice touch. The next day, a reporter asked to see Roosevelt's map and was turned down. As far as I know, nobody even asked to see this other document. It's possible that people understood this not to be a literal claim to have an actual document in possession, but rather a defense of holy religion against evil - not something to be questioned with skepticism or seriousness. Roosevelt continued:
"These grim truths which I have told you of the present and future plans of Hitlerism will of course be hotly denied tonight and tomorrow in the controlled press and radio of the Axis Powers. And some Americans - not many - will continue to insist that Hitler's plans need not worry us - and that we should not concern ourselves with anything that goes on beyond rifle shot of our own shores. The protestations of these American citizens - few in number - will, as usual, be paraded with applause through the Axis press and radio during the next few days, in an effort to convince the world that the majority of Americans are opposed to their duly chosen Government, and in reality are only waiting to jump on Hitler's band wagon when it comes this way. The motive of such Americans is not the point at issue."
No, the point seems to have been to limit people to two options and get them into a war.
"The fact is that Nazi propaganda continues in desperation to seize upon such isolated statements as proof of American disunity. The Nazis have made up their own list of modern American heroes. It is, fortunately, a short list. I am glad that it does not contain my name. All of us Americans, of all opinions, are faced with the choice between the kind of world we want to live in and the kind of world which Hitler and his hordes would impose upon us. None of us wants to burrow under the ground and live in total darkness like a comfortable mole. The forward march of Hitler and of Hitlerism can be stopped - and it will be stopped. Very simply and very bluntly - we are pledged to pull our own oar in the destruction of Hitlerism. And when we have helped to end the curse of Hitlerism we shall help to establish a new peace which will give to decent people everywhere a better chance to live and prosper in security and in freedom and in faith. Each day that passes we are producing and providing more and more arms for the men who are fighting on actual battle-fronts. That is our primary task. And it is the nation's will that these vital arms and supplies of all kinds shall neither be locked up in American harbors nor sent to the bottom of the sea. It is the nation's will that America shall deliver the goods. In open defiance of that will, our ships have been sunk and our sailors have been killed."
Here Roosevelt admits that the U.S. ships sunk by Germany were engaged in supporting war against Germany. He just seems to believe it more important to convince the U.S. public that it is already at war than to continue further with the claim that the ships attacked were wholly innocent.

LATE 1941

In late October, 1941, U.S. spy Edgar Mowrer spoke with a man in Manila named Ernest Johnson, a member of the Maritime Commission, who said he expected "The Japs will take Manila before I can get out." When Mowrer expressed surprise, Johnson replied "Didn't you know the Jap fleet has moved eastward, presumably to attack our fleet at Pearl Harbor?"

On November 3, 1941, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Joseph Grew, tried - not for the first time - to communicate something to his government, a government that was either too incompetent to understand, or too cynically engaged in plotting war, or both, but which certainly was not even considering working for peace. Grew sent a lengthy telegram to the State Department warning that the economic sanctions imposed by the United States might force Japan to commit "national hara-kiri." He wrote: "An armed conflict with the United States may come with dangerous and dramatic suddenness."

On November 6, 1941, Japan proposed an agreement with the United States that included partial Japanese withdrawal from China. The United States rejected the proposal on November 14th.

On November 15, 1941, U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall briefed the media on something we do not remember as "the Marshall Plan." In fact we don't remember it at all. "We are preparing an offensive war against Japan," Marshall said, asking the journalists to keep it a secret, which as far as I know they dutifully did. Marshall told Congress in 1945 that the United States had initiated Anglo-Dutch-American agreements for unified action against Japan and put them into effect before December 7th.

On November 20, 1941, Japan proposed a new agreement with the United States for peace and cooperation between the two nations.

On November 25, 1941, Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote in his diary that he'd met in the Oval Office with Marshall, President Roosevelt, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Admiral Harold Stark, and Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Roosevelt had told them the Japanese were likely to attack soon, possibly the next Monday, December 1, 1941. "The question," Stimson wrote, "was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. It was a difficult proposition."

On November 26, 1941, the United States made a counter-proposal to Japan's proposal of six days earlier. In this proposal, sometimes called the Hull Note, sometimes the Hull Ultimatum, the United States required complete Japanese withdrawal from China, but no U.S. withdrawal from the Philippines or anywhere else in the Pacific. The Japanese rejected the proposal. Neither nation, it seems, invested remotely the resources into these negotiations that they did into preparing for war. Henry Luce referred in Life magazine on July 20, 1942, to "the Chinese for whom the U.S. had delivered the ultimatum that brought on Pearl Harbor."

"In late November," according to Gallup polling, 52% of Americans told Gallup pollsters that "the United States would be at war with Japan "sometime in the near future." The war was not going to be a surprise to over half the country, or to the U.S. government.

On November 27, 1941, Rear Admiral Royal Ingersoll sent a warning of war with Japan to four naval commands. On November 28, Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark re-sent it with the added instruction: "IF HOSTILITIES CANNOT REPEAT CANNOT BE AVOIDED THE UNITED STATES DESIRES THAT JAPAN COMMIT THE FIRST OVERT ACT." On November 28, 1941, Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., gave instructions to "shoot down anything we saw in the sky and to bomb anything we saw on the sea." On November 30, 1941, the Honolulu Advertiser carried the headline "Japanese May Strike Over Weekend."[xlvi] On December 2, 1941, the New York Times reported that Japan had been "cut off from about 75 percent of her normal trade by the Allied blockade." In a 20-page memo on December 4, 1941, the Office of Naval Intelligence warned, "In anticipation of open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal, and the Territory of Hawaii."

As of December 6, 1941, no poll had found majority U.S. public support for entering the war. But Roosevelt had already instituted the draft, activated the National Guard, created a huge Navy in two oceans, traded old destroyers to England in exchange for the lease of its bases in the Caribbean and Bermuda, supplied planes and trainers and pilots to China, imposed harsh sanctions on Japan, advised the U.S. military that a war with Japan was beginning, and - just 11 days before the Japanese attack - secretly ordered the creation of a list of every Japanese and Japanese-American person in the United States. (Hurray for IBM technology!)

On December 7, 1941, following the Japanese attack, President Roosevelt drew up a declaration of war against both Japan and Germany, but decided it wouldn't work and went with Japan alone. On December 8th, Congress voted for war against Japan, with Jeanette Rankin casting the only no vote.

CONTROVERSY AND LACK THEREOF

Robert Stinnett's Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor is controversial among historians, including in its claims about U.S. knowledge of Japanese codes and coded Japanese communications. I don't think, however, that either of the following points should be controversial:

The information I've already presented above is already more than sufficient to recognize that the United States was neither an innocent bystander attacked out of the blue nor an engaged party making an all-out effort for peace and stability.

Stinnett is right to have put in the efforts he has to declassify and make public government documents, and right that there can be no good excuse for the National Security Agency continuing to keep huge numbers of Japanese naval intercepts secret in the 1941 U.S. Navy files.

While Stinnett believes his most important findings only made it into the 2000 paperback of his book, the New York Times review by Richard Bernstein of the 1999 hardcover is notable for how narrowly it defines the questions that remain in doubt:
"Historians of World War II generally agree that Roosevelt believed war with Japan was inevitable and that he wanted Japan to fire the first shot. What Stinnett has done, taking off from that idea, is compile documentary evidence to the effect that Roosevelt, to ensure that the first shot would have a traumatic effect, intentionally left Americans defenseless. . . .

"Stinnett's strongest and most disturbing argument relates to one of the standard explanations for Japan's success in keeping the impending Pearl Harbor attack a secret: namely that the aircraft carrier task force that unleashed it maintained strict radio silence for the entire three weeks leading up to Dec. 7 and thus avoided detection. In truth, Stinnett writes, the Japanese continuously broke radio silence even as the Americans, using radio direction finding techniques, were able to follow the Japanese fleet as it made its way toward Hawaii. . . .

"It is possible that Stinnett might be right about this; certainly the material he has unearthed ought to be reviewed by other historians. Yet the mere existence of intelligence does not prove that that intelligence made its way into the proper hands or that it would have been speedily and correctly interpreted.

"Gaddis Smith, the Yale University historian, remarks in this connection on the failure to protect the Philippines against Japanese attack, even though there was a great deal of information indicating that such an attack was coming. Nobody, not even Stinnett, believes that there was any intentional withholding of information from the American commander in the Philippines, Douglas MacArthur. The information available was for some reason just not put to use.

"In her 1962 book, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, the historian Roberta Wohlstetter used the word static to identify the confusion, the inconsistencies, the overall uncertainty that affected intelligence gathering before the war. While Stinnett assumes that most information that now seems important would have gotten speedy attention at the time, the Wohlstetter view is that there was a great avalanche of such evidence, thousands of documents every day, and that the understaffed and overworked intelligence bureaus may simply not have interpreted it correctly at the time."

Incompetence or malevolence? The usual debate. Did the U.S. government fail to know the exact details of the coming attack because it was incapable or because it didn't want to know them, or didn't want certain parts of the government to know them? It's an interesting question, and it's all too easy to underestimate incompetence, and all too reassuring to underestimate malevolence. But there is no question that the U.S. government knew the general outlines of the coming attack and had been knowingly acting for years in ways that made it more likely.

THE PHILIPPINES

As the book review above mentions, the same question about the details of foreknowledge and the same lack of any question about the general outlines of it apply to the Philippines as to Pearl Harbor.

In fact, the case for an intentional act of treason would be easier for historians to speculate about in regard to the Philippines than in regard to Hawaii, if they were so inclined. "Pearl Harbor" is a strange shorthand. Hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor - on the same day but technically December 8th due to the International Date Line, and delayed six hours by the weather - the Japanese attacked the U.S. military in the U.S. colony of the Philippines, fully expecting to have a harder go of it, given that surprise would not be a factor. In fact, Douglas MacArthur received a phone call at 3:40 a.m. Philippines time alerting him to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the need to be prepared. In the nine hours that elapsed between that phone call and the attack on the Philippines, MacArthur did nothing. He left U.S. airplanes lined up and waiting, like the ships had been in Pearl Harbor. The result of the attack on the Philippines was, according to the U.S. military, as devastating as that on Hawaii. The United States lost 18 of 35 B-17s plus 90 other airplanes, and many more damaged. In contrast, in Pearl Harbor, despite the myth that eight battleships were sunk, the reality is that none could be sunk in such a shallow harbor, two were rendered inoperable, and six were repaired and went on to fight in WWII.

On the same day of December 7th / 8th - depending on the position of the International Date Line - Japan attacked the U.S. colonies of the Philippines and Guam, plus the U.S. territories of Hawaii, Midway, and Wake, as well as the British colonies of Malaya, Singapore, Honk Kong, and the independent nation of Thailand. While the attack on Hawaii was a one-off attack and retreat, in other locations, Japan attacked repeatedly, and in some cases invaded and conquered. Falling under Japanese control in the coming weeks would be the Philippines, Guam, Wake, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the western tip of Alaska. In the Philippines, 16 million U.S. citizens fell under a brutal Japanese occupation. Before they did, the U.S. occupation interned people of Japanese origin, just as was done in the United States.

Immediately after the attacks, the U.S. media didn't know it was supposed to refer to them all with the shorthand of "Pearl Harbor," and instead used a variety of names and descriptions. In a draft of his "day of infamy" speech, Roosevelt referred to both Hawaii and the Philippines. In his 2019 How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr argues that Roosevelt made every effort to depict the attacks as attacks on the United States. While the people of the Philippines and Guam actually were citizens of the U.S. empire, they were the wrong sort of people. The Philippines was generally viewed as insufficiently white for statehood and on a track to possible independence. Hawaii was whiter, and also closer, and a possible candidate for future statehood. Roosevelt ultimately chose to omit the Philippines from that part of his speech, relegating it to one item in a later list that included the British colonies, and to describe the attacks as having happened on "The American Island of Oahu" - an island whose Americanness is, of course, disputed to this day by many native Hawaiians. The focus has been kept on Pearl Harbor ever since, even by those intrigued by the blundering or plotting behind the attacks.

FURTHER INTO THE PAST

It's not hard to think of things that could have been done differently in the years and months leading up to U.S. entry into WWII, or even leading up to the first sparks of war in Asia or Europe. It's even easier to describe things that could have been done differently if one goes back a little further into the past. Things could have been done differently by every government and military involved, and each is responsible for its atrocities. But I want to mention some things that the U.S. government could have done differently, because I'm trying to counter the idea that the U.S. government was forced reluctantly into a war that was exclusively of others' choosing.

The United States could have elected William Jennings Bryan president over William McKinley who was succeeded by his vice president, Teddy Roosevelt. Bryan campaigned against empire, McKinley in favor of it. To many, other issues seemed more important at the time; it's not clear that they should have.

Teddy Roosevelt didn't do anything halfway. That went for war, imperialism, and his previously noted belief in theories about the Aryan "race." TR supported the abuse and even killing of Native Americans, Chinese immigrants, Cubans, Filipinos, and Asians and Central Americans of nearly every variety. He believed only whites capable of self-rule (which was bad news for the Cubans when their U.S. liberators discovered some of them to be black). He created a display of Filipinos for the St. Louis World's Fair depicting them as savages who could be tamed by white men. He worked to keep Chinese immigrants out of the United States.

James Bradley's 2009 book, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War, tells the following story. I'm leaving out portions of the book that have had doubts raised about them.

In 1614 Japan had cut itself off from the West, resulting in centuries of peace and prosperity and the blossoming of Japanese art and culture. In 1853 the U.S. Navy had forced Japan open to U.S. merchants, missionaries, and militarism. U.S. histories call Commodore Matthew Perry's trips to Japan "diplomatic" although they used armed war ships to compel Japan to agree to relations it adamantly opposed. In the years that followed, the Japanese studied the Americans' racism and adopted a strategy to deal with it. They sought to westernize themselves and present themselves as a separate race superior to the rest of the Asians. They became honorary Aryans. Lacking a single god or a god of conquest, they invented a divine emperor, borrowing heavily from Christian tradition. They dressed and dined like Americans and sent their students to study in the United States. The Japanese were often referred to in the United States as the "Yankees of the Far East." In 1872 the U.S. military began training the Japanese in how to conquer other nations, with an eye on Taiwan.

Charles LeGendre, an American general training the Japanese in the ways of war, proposed that they adopt a Monroe Doctrine for Asia, that is a policy of dominating Asia in the way that the United States dominated its hemisphere. Japan established a Bureau of Savage Affairs and invented new words like koronii (colony). Talk in Japan began to focus on the responsibility of the Japanese to civilize the savages. In 1873, Japan invaded Taiwan with U.S. military advisors. Korea was next. Korea and Japan had known peace for centuries. When the Japanese arrived with U.S. ships, wearing U.S. clothing, talking about their divine emperor, and proposing a treaty of "friendship," the Koreans thought the Japanese had lost their minds, and told them to get lost, knowing that China was there at Korea's back. But the Japanese talked China into allowing Korea to sign the treaty, without explaining to either the Chinese or Koreans what the treaty meant in its English translation.

In 1894 Japan declared war on China, a war in which U.S. weapons, on the Japanese side, carried the day. China gave up Taiwan and the Liaodong Peninsula, paid a large indemnity, declared Korea independent, and gave Japan the same commercial rights in China that the U.S. and European nations had. Japan was triumphant, until China persuaded Russia, France, and Germany to oppose Japanese ownership of Liaodong. Japan gave it up and Russia grabbed it. Japan felt betrayed by white Christians, and not for the last time.

In 1904, Teddy Roosevelt was very pleased with a Japanese surprise attack on Russian ships. As the Japanese again waged war on Asia as honorary Aryans, Roosevelt secretly and unconstitutionally cut deals with them, approving of a Monroe Doctrine for Japan in Asia. In the 1930s, Japan offered to open up trade to the United States in its imperial sphere if the United States would do the same for Japan in Latin America. The U.S. government said no.

CHINA

Britain was not the only foreign government with a propaganda office in New York City leading up to WWII. China was there too.

How did the U.S. government shift from its alliance and identification with Japan to one with China and against Japan (and then back again the other way after WWII)? The first part of the answer has to do with Chinese propaganda and its use of religion rather than race, and with putting a different Roosevelt into the White House. James Bradley's 2016 book, The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in China tells this story.

For years leading up to World War II, the China Lobby in the United States persuaded the U.S. public, and many top U.S. officials, that the Chinese people wanted to become Christian, that Chiang Kai-shek was their beloved democratic leader rather than a faltering fascist, that Mao Zedong was an insignificant nobody headed nowhere, and that the United States could fund Chiang Kai-shek and he would use it all to fight the Japanese, as opposed to using it to fight Mao.

The image of the noble and Christian Chinese peasant was driven by people like the Trinity (later Duke) and Vanderbilt educated Charlie Soong, his daughters Ailing, Chingling, and Mayling, and son Tse-ven (T.V.), as well as Mayling's husband Chiang Kai-shek, Henry Luce who started Time magazine after being born in a missionary colony in China, and Pearl Buck who wrote The Good Earth after the same type of childhood. TV Soong hired retired U.S. Army Air Corps colonel Jack Jouett and by 1932 had access to all the expertise of the U.S. Army Air Corps and had nine instructors, a flight surgeon, four mechanics, and a secretary, all U.S. Air Corps trained but now working for Soong in China. It was just the start of U.S. military assistance to China that made less news in the United States than it did in Japan.

In 1938, with Japan attacking Chinese cities, and Chiang barely fighting back, Chiang instructed his chief propagandist Hollington Tong, a former Columbia University journalism student, to send agents to the United States to recruit U.S. missionaries and give them evidence of Japanese atrocities, to hire Frank Price (Mayling's favorite missionary), and to recruit U.S. reporters and authors to write favorable articles and books. Frank Price and his brother Harry Price had been born in China, without ever encountering the China of the Chinese. The Price brothers set up shop in New York City, where few had any idea they were working for the Soong-Chiang gang. Mayling and Tong assigned them to persuade Americans that the key to peace in China was an embargo on Japan. They created the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression. "The public never knew," writes Bradley, "that the Manhattan missionaries diligently working on East Fortieth Street to save the Noble Peasants were paid China Lobby agents engaged in what were possibly illegal and treasonous acts."

I take Bradley's point to be not that Chinese peasants are not necessarily noble, and not that Japan wasn't guilty of aggression, but that the propaganda campaign convinced most Americans that Japan would not attack the United States if the United States cut off oil and metal to Japan - which was false in the view of informed observers and would be proved false in the course of events.

Former Secretary of State and future Secretary of War Henry Stimson became chair of the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression, which quickly added former heads of Harvard, Union Theological Seminary, the Church Peace Union, the World Alliance for International Friendship, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, the Associate Boards of Christian Colleges in China, etc. Stimson and gang were paid by China to claim Japan would never attack the United States if embargoed, would in fact transform into a democracy in response - a claim dismissed by those in the know in the State Department and White House. By February 1940, Bradley writes, 75% of Americans supported embargoing Japan. And most Americans, of course, did not want war. They had bought the China Lobby's propaganda.

Franklin Roosevelt's maternal grandfather had gotten rich selling opium in China, and Franklin's mother had lived in China as a child. She became honorary chairwoman of both the China Aid Council and the American Committee for Chinese War Orphans. Franklin's wife Eleanor was honorary chairwoman of Pearl Buck's China Emergency Relief Committee. Two thousand U.S. labor unions backed an embargo on Japan. The first economic advisor to a U.S. president, Lauchlin Currie, worked for both the U.S. government and the Bank of China simultaneously. Syndicated columnist and Roosevelt relative Joe Alsop cashed checks from TV Soong as an "advisor" even while performing his service as a journalist. "No British, Russian, French, or Japanese diplomat," writes Bradley, "would have believed that Chiang could become a New Deal liberal." But Franklin Roosevelt may have believed it. He communicated with Chiang and Mayling secretly, going around his own State Department.

Yet Franklin Roosevelt believed that if embargoed, Japan would attack the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) with the possible result of a wider world war. Morgenthau, in Bradley's telling, repeatedly tried to slip through a total embargo on petroleum to Japan, while Roosevelt resisted for a time. Roosevelt did impose a partial embargo on aviation-fuel and scrap. He did loan money to Chiang. He did supply airplanes, trainers, and pilots. When Roosevelt asked his advisor Tommy Corcoran to check out the leader of this new air force, former U.S. Air Corps captain Claire Chennault, he may have been unaware that he was asking someone in the pay of TV Soong to advise him on someone else in the pay of TV Soong.

Whether the British or Chinese propagandists working in New York moved the U.S. government anywhere it didn't already want to go is an open question.

(c) 2020 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.




If we spent more time building relationships, we would also enrich our inner lives, and that could reduce the consumption that drives carbon output and pollution.




Friendships Make Life And Climate Better
By David Suzuki

Recently I've been thinking about what a low-carbon life might actually look like. We would drive and fly less and mostly cycle, walk and ride transit. We'd eat less meat and more plant-based foods. We'd heat our energy-efficient homes with electricity or geothermal and get power from the wind and sun.

It might also be a life that puts greater emphasis on friendship.

In the report, "Zeroing in on Emissions," David Suzuki Foundation policy analyst Tom Green writes, "many of the things that support well-being, such as time with friends and family ... do not require much by way of material and energy use." We can have fun playing ball hockey, hiking or enjoying music with others.

If we spent more time building relationships, we would also enrich our inner lives, and that could reduce the consumption that drives carbon output and pollution. We might feel less need for things like overseas holidays, big cars, the latest devices and toys and more clothing than we actually wear. Why? Because the satisfaction offered by friendship is deeper than that offered by stuff.

Philosophers such as Aristotle knew that friendship is a major contributor to happiness. Friendship, said the great thinker, is "most indispensable for life. No one would choose to live without friends, even if he had all other goods." Our pals provide us with companionship, guidance and comfort.

Aristotle didn't view humans as consumers and believed acquiring possessions is not the core of our being. Rather, he emphasized developing virtues like courage and wisdom, in concert with beloved comrades. "No one would choose to have all good things all by himself, for man is a social and political being and his natural condition is to live with others," he explains in his book on ethics.

But if a life revolving around friends is more rewarding than one devoted to material acquisition, how can we cultivate it?

One thing we might do is set aside more time for it. We could create "friendship sabbaticals." This would require employers and schools to give us a few days each year for friendship development, for creating new ones or rebuilding those we've let slide. Some organizations - including credit unions and the David Suzuki Foundation - offer employees time to volunteer at local agencies and strengthen the community. Why not also provide an opportunity to strengthen personal connections? Aren't they equally significant?

We seldom give this topic sufficient attention. When I attended school, I was taught how to calculate the area of a circle but never given a course in making a circle of friends. Teachers assumed we'd learn this on our own. But not everyone did. Surely if we need to understand circles, we need to understand and learn how to foster some of the most gratifying relationships in our lives.

This would be especially helpful for people less attuned to friends' importance, particularly in mid-career, when professional life is often central. Once a year, we could change our phone message to, "Thanks for reaching out. I'm on my friendship sabbatical now. If you're calling to start or deepen a friendship, I'm happy to talk this week. Otherwise, I'll get back to you when I return."

The sabbatical would, however briefly, make companionship our focus. In practice, this could mean many things: tracking down buddies we haven't spoken to in years and restarting the conversations; going to a high school reunion and making a point of staying in touch with former classmates; deepening bonds with co-workers by seeing them outside of business hours.

Years ago, I saw a subway ad showing a father with his children and the caption, "Play with them now." It suggested men should make more effort to connect with their kids. I'd argue something similar for all adults. We need ads showing a group of pals, with the caption, "Friendship: make time for it now."

Friendship isn't just a climate solution because it provides more satisfaction than consumerism; our companions also offer solidarity and help us develop the courage to undertake activism and speak out boldly.

Few of us could march in the streets year after year or continue to organize, petition and protest if we didn't stand beside people whose company we love.

(c) 2020 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.









The Trump Train Has Reached Its Terminus In Crazytown
A new report from the Washington Post documents the carnage
By Charles P. Pierce

The Washington Post went long on the fact that the West Wing of the presidential mansion pretty much has turned into the locked wards of bedlam these days. The piece is superbly reported and completely unnerving.

However cleareyed Trump's aides may have been about his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, many of them nonetheless indulged their boss and encouraged him to keep fighting with legal appeals. They were "happy to scratch his itch," this adviser said. "If he thinks he won, it's like, 'Shh . . . we won't tell him.'"
Holy god.
Trump also was given several presentations by his campaign advisers about the likely surge in mail-in ballots - in part because many Americans felt safer during the pandemic voting by mail than in person - and was told they would go overwhelmingly against him, according to a former campaign official. Advisers and allies, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), encouraged Trump to try to close the gap in mail-in voting, arguing that he would need some of his voters, primarily seniors, to vote early by mail. But Trump instead exhorted his supporters not to vote by mail, claiming they could not trust that their ballots would be counted. "It was sort of insane," the former campaign official said.
Holy god in heaven.
Then Fox News called Arizona for Biden. "He was yelling at everyone," a senior administration official recalled of Trump's reaction. "He was like, 'What the hell? We were supposed to be winning Arizona. What's going on?' He told Jared to call [News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert] Murdoch." Efforts by Kushner and others on the Trump team to persuade Fox to take back its Arizona call failed. Trump and his advisers were furious, in part because calling Arizona for Biden undermined Trump's scattershot plan to declare victory on election night if it looked as though he had sizable leads in enough states.
Holy god in heaven and Jesus, Mary, and all the saints, defend us.

The trolley has reached its terminus in Crazytown.

(c) 2020 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.







The Quotable Quote-



"If we are serious about moving toward energy independence in a cost-effective way, we should invest in solar energy. If we are serious about cutting air and water pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we should invest in solar energy."
~~~ Bernie Sanders





Ms. Hathloul was produced in court on Wednesday. She has been imprisoned for
two years, during which she was allegedly tortured and subjected to sexual abuse.




Hyper-Patriarchal Saudi Arabia Equates Mild Feminism With Terrorism, As Sen. Murphy Calls On Biden To Review Ties With Kingdom
There is nothing in Islam that forbids women to drive, and all the 900 million Muslim women have all along driven except in Saudi Arabia.
By Juan Cole

Al Jazeera points to the call by Senator Chris Murphy addressed to the incoming Biden administration urging a review of US ties with Saudi Arabia, given the kingdom's miserable human rights record, including its mistreatment of feminist dissident Lujjain Hathloul, 31.

Ms. Hathloul was produced in court on Wednesday. She has been imprisoned for two years, during which she was allegedly tortured and subjected to sexual abuse. She spent a year under those conditions before even being first brought to an ordinary criminal court in March, 2019. Her sister Lina says that this Wednesday, she was weak and shaking uncontrollably, as she learned she would be remanded to the court that deals with terrorism. She had read out in a subdued voice a four-page defense of herself, according to another sister, Alia. Ms. Hathloul has been on a hunger strike to protest her imprisonment.

Her crime? Something substantially less than Gloria Steinem-style second wave feminism. She wanted to be able to drive. She wanted to be able to travel without her father's, or husband's permission. Some of the goals she advocated have actually been achieved under the de facto rule of crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, though the ultra-patriarchal guardianship system has only been slightly loosened. Bin Salman is so worried about someone else getting credit for the reforms, however, that he seems determined to send Lujjain to the gallows for daring speak up in the first place.

She stands accused of "communicating with foreign parties." She was arrested in 2018 in the United Arab Emirates on returning from an international conference in Geneva on discrimination against women, which is apparently the "foreign parties" being referred to. The UAE then turned her over to the Saudi police. Imagine it being a form of terrorism to attend a women's rights conference in Switzerland. The Saudi press is calling her and her family "traitors."

The sinister role of the United Arab Emirates here should not be forgotten.

Her husband, Saudi stand-up comedian Fahad al-Butairi, was also arrested in 2018 and remains in prison.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world's last absolute monarchies, which practices beheadings and stonings (neither punishment is in the Qur'an, which is supposedly the constitution of the Saudi state). It really should be pointed out that there is nothing in Islam that forbids women to drive, and all the 900 million Muslim women have all along driven except in Saudi Arabia. The crimes Ms. Hathloul has committed are against a repressive, authoritarian state.

Murphy spoke out in a Tweet:

Advocating for women's rights in Saudi Arabia is now considered terrorism. The Biden Administration must reset our relationship with Saudi Arabia. America cannot be a credible human rights voice if we keep looking the other way. https://t.co/XqD90YgP94

- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 26, 2020

Ms. Hathloul has a B.A. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In October of 2013, on her return to Saudi Arabia, she drove her father's car home from the airport, defying the then ban on women driving. She posted the incident to social media, causing the Saudi police to haul her father in for questioning. She joined the women's driving protests on several other occasions.

In late 2014 she was arrested trying to drive over to the United Arab Emirates from Saudi Arabia with an Emirati driver's license, which she says was not illegal (UAE citizens with driver's licenses can drive in Saudi Arabia).

(c) 2020 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.







The Dead Letter Office-





Brad refuses to step down!

Heil Trump,

Dear Au├čenminister Raffensperger,

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 Samuel (Sammy the con) Alito.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Your continued attempts to introduce "Jim Crow" laws to keep, blacks, poor folks, and students from voting, 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 01-01-2021. We salute you herr Raffensperger, seig heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump





Trump's Final Days: Who Stood Up To Him?
By Robert Reich

We always knew Trump would contest the election results. He's spreading wilder and wilder conspiracy theories about non-existent voter fraud. Of course, these claims haven't held up in court because there's zero evidence. But the integrity of thousands of people responsible for maintaining American democracy is being tested as never before.

Tragically, most Senate and House Republicans are failing the test by refusing to stand up to Trump. Their cowardice is a devastating betrayal of public trust, and will have lasting consequences.

They worry that speaking out could invite a primary challenge. But democracy depends on moral courage. These Republicans are profiles in cowardice.

Fortunately for our democracy, many lower-level Republican office-holders are passing the test.

Take, for example, Brad Raffensperger - Georgia's Republican secretary of state who oversaw the election there and describes himself as "a Republican through and through and never voted for a Democrat."

Raffensperger is defending Georgia's vote for Biden, rejecting Trump's accusations of fraud. He spurned overtures from Senator Lindsey Graham, who asked if Raffensperger could toss out all mail-in votes from counties with high rates of questionable signatures. And Raffensperger dismissed demands from Georgia's two incumbent Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both facing tougher-than-anticipated runoffs) that he resign.

"This office runs on integrity," Raffensperger says, "and that's what voters want to know, that this person's going to do his job."

Raffensperger has also received death threats from Republican voters inflamed by Trump's allegations. Election officials in Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona are also reporting threats. But they're not giving in to them.

Let's not forget other public officials in the Trump administration who have stood up for democracy and against Trump - public health officials unwilling to lie about Covid-19, military leaders unwilling to back Trump's attacks on Black Lives Matter protesters, inspectors general unwilling to cover up Trump corruption, U.S. foreign service officers unwilling to lie about Trump's overtures to Ukraine, intelligence officials unwilling to bend their reports to suit Trump, and Justice Department attorneys refusing to participate in Trump's obstructions of justice.

Some of them lost their jobs. Some quit. Many were demoted. A few have been threatened with violence. That's the price they had to pay to do what's morally right under Trump, who has no idea what it means to do what's morally right.

The question after January 20, when Trump is gone from the White House, is how many Senate and House Republicans will find the integrity to stand up for America rather than bend to the conspiracy theories and hatefulness that will be the legacies of Trumpism.

(c) 2020 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 www.robertreich.org.







No Car, No Vote
"Emergency" Georgia Registration Roadblock
By Greg Palast

On Monday, Georgia's Board of Elections issued a directive that allows county election supervisors to block new registrations of voters who do not have a car registered in Georgia. I kid you not.

This is a new impediment to low-income, urban voters and students, groups that vote overwhelmingly Democratic, just prior to the January 5 run-off election for Georgia's two US Senate seats.

The Board acted after Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger quietly sent out a notice on Sunday afternoon calling for an "emergency" change of rules.

Raffensperger convened a State Board of Elections "emergency" meeting just hours later, at 8am on Monday, in Atlanta. The Palast Investigations Fund team joined the Zoom meet along with the president of the Georgia NAACP and Helen Butler, head of the Georgia Coalition for a Peoples Agenda.

CHAPTER 183-1 GEORGIA ELECTION CODE
SUBJECT 183-1-6 VOTER REGISTRATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS

183-1-6-__.07 Determination of Residency

RULE 183-1-6-__-07 Determination of Residency

When reviewing an application for voter registration, the board of registrars shall determine an applicant's residency in Georgia, using the criteria set forth in O.C.G.A. 21-2-217. In determining an applicant's residency, the registrar shall review all available evidence, including whether the applicant registered through the Department of Driver Services, whether the applicant included a Georgia driver's license or state identification number on his or her application, whether that number matched with records on file at the Department of Driver Services, the applicant's listed address, and any identifying documents submitted with the application. If the registrar determines that additional evidence is needed to determine residency, the registrar may utilize his or her statutory authority in O.C.G.A. 21-2-228 to further evaluate the applicant's residency status using the criteria set forth in O.C.G.A. 21-2-217, as well as other related statutes. If the registrar cannot determine to his or her satisfaction that the applicant properly resides in Georgia, the registrar shall process the application, mark the applicant as "Challenged" in the voter registration system, and initiate a hearing as set forth in O.C.G.A. 21-2-228.

In determining residency, the registrar shall consider the criteria set forth in O.C.G.A. 21-2-217 to determine whether the applicant has established a permanent place of abode in this state. The registrar may also consider whether the applicant has a valid Georgia driver's license or state identification card, whether the applicant has a motor vehicle registered in this state, whether the applicant has paid the required title ad valorem tax on such vehicle as required upon moving to Georgia, and any other relevant evidence in the discretion of the registrar.Authority: O.C.G.A. 21-2-31, 21-2-217, 21-228

The Board announced that they did not have to vote on the rule-but could simply adopt it as a "guidance" directive which would have the same power to block registrations.

Columbia University law professor Barbara Arnwine told us the no-car no-vote "emergency" regulation "is a clear violation of the NVRA," the National Voter Registration Act. Arnwine, dean of America's voting rights lawyers and founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition, said she suspected the state's change from a "rule" to a "guidance" is to try to get around the NVRA's prohibition on rule changes within 90 days of an election. However, she said, that's a trick which fails the smell test. "It's in substance a change of rules."

The "emergency" rule is supposed to stop voter fraud by those coming into Georgia just to vote in the run-off. So, Palast Investigative Fund Asst. Producer Terry Manpearl asked if the Sec. of State found even one single case of a non-Georgian voting, a serious crime, "And if so, have you arrested them?" They did not answer.

Technically, the state can't stop Georgia citizens from voting because they don't have a car. Rather, any registrar can "challenge" and thereby delay a voter's registration until they have a hearing where they will be required to prove residence. This creates a huge impediment to new voters.

As a practical matter, a challenged car-less voter will be unlikely to vote in the January 5 run-off. Combining the holidays with Covid, it is hard to imagine that voters can complete the hearing process and get a decision in time to vote. And few challenged voters would be expected to put themselves through a court-like hearing.

The grounds for the challenge is that a new voter, having no auto registered in Georgia, may be a non-resident attempting to commit the felony crime of illegal registration. While there is no restriction on applying this to any new voter registrant, it appears, as Rev. Woodall notes, "The residency determination is only for those who've recently registered to vote by mail for the first time and need to prove their identity."

This is Jim Crow all over again. The so-called 'guidance' directs registrars to check auto registrations and, at their discretion, challenge voters and force them to a hearing. It is effectively a poll tax - no car, no vote - combined with the old 'literacy' test game of Georgia's past when, at the "discretion" of the registrar, white people were asked to name the president while Black citizens were asked to recite the Constitution. I've been investigating Georgia vote suppression techniques for seven years, and this is simply a variant of a trick they used before to block or attempt to block voters - including my daughter.

Reverend James Woodall, President of the Georgia NAACP, told the Board of Elections that the rule would lead to, "disenfranchisement of students, seniors and retirees that often live in assisted home facilities. To suggest that newly registered voters could possibly be frauds is very dangerous."

Georgia State University professor Liz Throop stated, "Secretary [Brad] Raffensperger has recently and repeatedly assured the media that he is a Republican and he hopes Republican candidates succeed in current elections. We all know which party [this rule] favors: older, wealthier, better established Georgia. The car-less, the young and the poor, are most likely to be disadvantaged." Palast team attorneys are reviewing the legal options to protect voters. Palast and Butler successfully sued Georgia's Secretary of State earlier this year obtaining a federal court ruling requiring the state to open its secret correspondence on racially-biased vote roll purges.

Georgians, the run-off registration deadline is December 7. If you are challenged, blocked or impeded in any way, let us know at georgia@gregpalast.com

(c) 2020 Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures' Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.



The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Signe Wilkinson ~~~








To End On A Happy Note-





Have You Seen This-







Parting Shots-






Washington DC Brought To Standstill As Trump's Inner Circle Queue Outside White House For Pardons
By The Waterford Whispers News

AS WORD spread of outgoing president Donald Trump's pardoning of his former National Security Advisor Micheal Flynn who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, the streets surrounding the White House have come to a standstill amid an unprecedented traffic jam.

Bailing out of cars stuck in the traffic and running as fast as their legs can carry them, countless Trump associates aware of a dazzling array of crimes authorities may soon want to charge them for are racing towards the White House seeking their own pardons, resulting in miles and miles of impatient queues of panicked grifters.

"Ok folks, I appreciate you're all running out of time, and your shitting yourselves, but you've got to move along," said one overwhelmed traffic cop as he tried to put some order on a queue featuring Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, Rick Gates, the Hamburglar, Joe Exotic, the Zodiac killer, Paul Manfort, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump Jr, among others.

With just weeks remaining in his presidency president Trump is exploring a raft of potential pardons, including for himself and his family members but legal scholars say he wouldn't be able to stop state level investigations into him in New York.

"Okay, so, let's say someone is 1 billion in debt, and say they can give out pardons, is it illegal to sell these pardons to people as a way to make cash? Would I, I mean, they have to pardon themselves for selling pardons," Trump asked his legal advisor Rudy Giuliani, who was really only in the room to ask for a pardon for himself and tips on how to stop hair dye running.

(c) 2020 The Waterford Whispers News




Email:uncle-ernie@journalist.com


The Animal Rescue Site























Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 48 (c) 12/04/2020


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