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In This Edition

Norman Solomon explores, "When Progressives In Congress Let Us Down, We Should Push Back."

Ralph Nader concludes, "Trump's Climate Recklessness Is Grounds For Impeachment."

Glen Ford considers, "'Booming' Economy Means More Bad Jobs and Faster Race to the Bottom."

Jim Hightower asks, "Why Would We Trust Plutocrats To Save Us From Plutocracy?"

Juan Cole reports, "Back To Jim Crow Under Trump: 'Lynch Her' Is Republicans' Big Idea To Deal With Rep. Ilhan Omar."

John Nichols says, "Unlike Trump, FDR Gave Us Something To Be Thankful About."

James Donahue is, "Lamenting The Restricted World Of Contemporary Childhood."

Jake Johnson shows, "'What Cruelty Looks Like': Trump Finalizes Plan To Strip Food Aid From 750,000 Low-Income People By 2020."

David Suzuki finds, "Failure To Address Climate Crisis Puts Children At Risk."

Charles P. Pierce warns, "The Principles Of Trump University Now Apply To Our Immigration."

David Swanson returns with, "It's Time For Virginia To End The Death Penalty."

Ohio state representative Candice Keller 53rd District/R wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich wonders, "Who Is Worse: Donald Trump Or Mitch McConnell?"

Lee Camp returns with, "The Left Is Finally Winning The War Of Ideas."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department George Carlin joins us with, "The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Lying Donald Was Off To London To Turn More Of Our Friends, Into Our Enemies!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Scott Stantis, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Erik McGregor, Aulia Erlangga, Smith Collections, Mandel Ngan, Scott Gries, Roots Action, Jim Hightower, AFP, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Lying Donald Was Off To London To Turn More Of Our Friends, Into Our Enemies!
By Ernest Stewart

"President Trump, who views norms like a teenager does curfews, shattered another tradition Wednesday when he became the first U.S. president to be laughed at by some of America's closest allies at a NATO summit, a sign of his increasing isolation on the world stage." ~~~ Noah Bierman

"This is not a partisan debate; it is a human one. Clean air and water, and a livable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics. It is our moral obligation." ~~~ Leonardo DiCaprio

"There is no procedure to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy. It is not possible to move an ectopic pregnancy from a fallopian tube, or anywhere else it might have implanted, to the uterus." ~~~ Dr. Chris Zahn, vice-president of practice activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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

Our national embarrassment Lying Donald was off to London for the NATO conference this week, where he attacked various NATO members. For example, on Wednesday he called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada "two-faced," after a video surfaced that showed him venting to other world leaders about Mr. Trump's behavior at a NATO anniversary celebration designed specifically to avoid unwanted disruptions. There is no such thing as "unwanted disruptions" when Lying Donald makes the scene.

"Well, he's two-faced," Lying Donald said when asked about the video. After a long pause, he added, "He's a nice guy. I find him to be a very nice guy."

"He should be paying more than he's paying, I called him out on that, and I'm sure he wasn't happy about it, but that's the way it is."

The brief video showed grinning world leaders at a Buckingham Palace reception on Tuesday night, apparently commiserating about the president.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada seemed to be discussing Lying Donald's lengthy press conferences with other NATO leaders on Tuesday.

It was also not the first time that Lying Donald and Mr. Trudeau have publicly clashed, or that Lying Donald has accused Mr. Trudeau of misrepresenting himself.

You may recall that last year, Lying Donald derided the Canadian leader as "very dishonest and weak" after Mr. Trudeau pledged at a Group of 7 summit in Quebec City that he would retaliate against United States tariffs on steel and aluminum products. Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter at the time that Mr. Trudeau had acted "so meek and mild" when they met face to face.

That was just a drop in the bucket of Lying Donalds actions. You may remember the day before? French President Emmanuel Macron made clear he was in no mood to back down following an extraordinary attack from Lying Donald on Tuesday.

Sitting alongside Lying Donald in London, Macron said he stood by his comments about NATO -- he recently described the long-time coalition as suffering from "brain death" in part due to a lack of US leadership under Lying Donald -- and described the alliance as a "burden we share." I think brain death perfectly describes Lying Donald, don't you?

Lying Donald earlier on Tuesday described Macron's "brain death" comments as "nasty" and "insulting."

"I know that my statements created some reaction," Macron said in English. "I do stand by [them]."

Of course, Lying Donald had nothing but praise for Turkish president Erdogan whom he praised for the genocide of our former ally the Kurds, who still helped us get Abu Bakr alBaghdadi. It seems it's as simple as, if your a nazi Lying Donald loves you, if your not, then you better watch out!

In Other News

I see where the Earth is heading toward a "global tipping point" if the climate crisis continues on its current path, scientists have warned, as they called for urgent action to avoid "an existential threat to civilization." And Lying Donalds sits and twiddles his thumbs! The group of researchers, who published a commentary in the journal Nature, say there is growing evidence to suggest that irreversible changes to the Earth's environmental systems are already taking place, and that we are now in a "state of planetary emergency."

A global tipping point is a threshold when the planet's systems go beyond the point of no return -- such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest, accelerated melting of ice sheets, and thawing of permafrost -- the authors of the commentary say.

Such a collapse could lead to "hothouse" conditions that would make some areas on Earth uninhabitable.

"We argue that the intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best," the authors said.

Led by Timothy Lenton, professor of climate change and Earth system science at the University of Exeter, in southwest England, the team identified nine areas where they say tipping points are already underway.

For example, Greenland's ice sheet just lost 11 billion tons of ice -- in just one day! Those include widespread destruction of the Amazon, reduction of Arctic sea ice, large-scale coral reef die-offs, melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, thawing of permafrost, destabilizing of boreal forests -- which contain vast numbers of trees that grow in freezing northern climes -- and a slowdown of ocean circulation.

The team claims that these events are interconnected and change in one will impact another, causing a worsening "cascade" of crises.

For example, the Arctic is warming at least twice as quickly as the global average. Melting Arctic sea ice is driving warming further because less heat is reflected off the planet.

That regional warming is leading to an increased thawing of Arctic permafrost, soil that stays frozen throughout the year, which is releasing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. The warming has triggered large-scale insect disturbances and fires in North American boreal forests "potentially turning some regions from a carbon sink to a carbon source," the team said.

Following Greta Thunberg's lead thousands of people have stopped flying because of climate change. Millions of people have become aware of the crisis But getting their well bribed politicians to do something about it remains the biggest problem as Ralph Nader points out, "Trump's Climate Recklessness Is Grounds For Impeachment."

And Finally

I don't know if you're hip to it but an Ohio anti-abortion law would force doctors to perform a procedure that is medically impossible - or be charged with murder. I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on drugs:

The Ohio legislature wants doctors to preform a proceder that's impossible to preform or go to jail or be executed!

The bill would require doctors to "reimplant" embryos that have attached to the woman's fallopian tube rather than inside her uterus - a complication known as an ectopic pregnancy. Doctors who don't somehow "attempt" to move the embryo from the fallopian tube to the uterus would face charges of "abortion murder" if the bill passes, the Guardian reports.

There's no way to make an ectopic pregnancy viable, and without medical intervention, a woman experiencing the complication could die. But, because the bill stipulates that an embryo is an unborn child, failing to "preserve" it could face criminal prosecution under the proposed law, House Bill 413, introduced in the lower house of Ohio's legislature and sponsored by State Reps. Candice Keller and Ron Hood.

But doctors have swiftly responded to the lawmakers that there's no way to "reimplant" an embryo from outside the uterus to inside the uterus.

"I don't believe I'm typing this again but, that's impossible," Dr. David N. Hackney, an OB-GYN based in Ohio, writes on Twitter of the imaginary procedure. "We'll all be going to jail."

And, in many cases, the fertilized egg is not intact after an ectopic pregnancy, making it impossible to preserve an embryo even if the technology existed to move it.

What kind of evil Rethuglican morons do they have in Ohio? How stupid do you have to be to vote for there idiots? Ergo, representative Candice Keller wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

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


03-25-1939 ~ 12-02-2019
Thanks for the film!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

When Progressives In Congress Let Us Down, We Should Push Back
By Norman Solomon

Last week, the Democratic leadership put an extension of the Patriot Act into a "continuing resolution" that averted a government shutdown. More than 95 percent of the Democrats in the House went along with it by voting for the resolution. Both co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan, voted yes. So did all 11 of the CPC's vice chairs.

It didn't have to be that way. House progressives could have thrown a monkey wrench into the Orwellian machinery. Instead, the cave-in was another bow to normalizing the U.S. government's mass surveillance powers.

"There's no other way to spin this," a progressive staffer on Capitol Hill told The New Republic. "This was a major capitulation. The Progressive Caucus has touted itself as an organization that can wield power and leverage the votes of its 90 members. And they didn't lift a finger. Democratic leadership rammed this down their throats."

A gag reflex was needed from progressive lawmakers, who should have put up a fight rather than swallow rationales for going along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi's maneuver. With the Fourth Amendment on life support, basic civil liberties were at stake.

There were opportunities to push back -- if CPC leaders had moved to throw down a gauntlet.

"You could go through and name any strategy for me, and I would tell you why it would fail," Jayapal said. But if you don't put up a fight, you're sure to fail. And showing some strength on a matter of principle can build momentum while marshalling grassroots support in the process.

With a show of resolve, just a few dozen Democrats could have blocked the resolution. Instead, it passed the House on Nov. 19 by a 231-192 margin, thus extending the Patriot Act for three months instead of letting it expire.

"No" votes came from all four members of The Squad -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

The list of "yes" votes from House members with progressive reputations was stunningly long. Here are just a dozen: Karen Bass, Raul Grijalva, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Jim McGovern, Jerrold Nadler, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky, Maxine Waters and Peter Welch.

One factor: Even the best progressives in the House spend a lot more time with congressional colleagues and leaders than they do with constituents. Call it an occupational hazard. Peer pressure and conformity tend to be cumulative. The power of the Democratic leadership is quite tangible and often stern, whereas the power of constituents is routinely diffuse and unrealized.

To the extent that progressives at the grassroots don't effectively pressure members of Congress, party authorities like Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer maintain a tremendous advantage. To the extent that avoiding conflict with the Democratic leadership is more important than standing up for principles, even the best progressive incumbents succumb to the Capitol bubble. Given the strength of that bubble, it can only be burst with methodical intervention from the grassroots.

Congressman Pocan was on target when he commented a year ago: "People in D.C. think we're the center of the universe, but we're not -- the people who elect us are the center of the universe. It's when you have that kind of activism in the districts, you're really going to be impactful."

In the case of the Patriot Act-laden continuing resolution, which President Trump signed into law shortly after passage, the contrasts between avowed commitments and conformist acquiescence were striking among many progressive luminaries in the House. A few examples:

*** In his first House race, when he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Tom Lantos in 2004, now-Congressman Khanna was emphatic in his opposition to the Patriot Act. He declared: "We have a chance to do something absolutely extraordinary in this election: to hold a congressman responsible based on his voting record. Mr. Lantos has had a distinguished career in public service, but his votes for the war and the Patriot Act don't represent the will of this district."

*** Congresswoman Lee has been denouncing the Patriot Act for the better part of two decades, as when in 2005 she issued a news release headlined "Barbara Lee Opposes Extension of the Patriot Act, Blasts 'Big Brother Attack.'"

*** In 2015, Rep. Lofgren minced no words in opposing even a brief Patriot Act extension. She signed a letter with five colleagues that stated: "We will not vote to reauthorize this program, even for a short period of time."

*** In autumn 2016, just before she won election to Congress for the first time, Jayapal told an interviewer "why I stepped up to fight back against the Bush administration, against the Patriot Act, against civil-liberties violations. It was very, very personal, in a way, but it was also very political. It was not just about me. It was, 'Wait a second. We as a country cannot undermine the deepest values that make us who we are.'"

It's telling that Khanna, Lee, Lofgren and Jayapal -- and so many other self-identified progressives in the House -- chose to take the path of least resistance last week when faced with a choice of whether to buck their party's leadership or facilitate the extension of the Patriot Act that they have long opposed. Heightening the sad irony is the fact that the newly reauthorized provisions have enabled far more aggressive surveillance than was envisioned when the Patriot Act first passed -- at which time Lee, McGovern, Nadler, Schakowsky, Waters and others who just voted for the reauthorization felt compelled to oppose it.

Last week, they followed leadership that was determined to merge the odious Act with the continuing resolution. An amendment, offered by independent Rep. Justin Amash, would have separated the Patriot Act extension from the resolution -- but the House Rules Committee (chaired by McGovern), in step with Pelosi's marching orders, killed that amendment.

If even 20 more House progressives had signaled a willingness to vote against the continuing resolution unless it was separated from Patriot Act reauthorization, they would have been in a strong position to demand standalone votes on each measure. That would have underscored serious opposition to the Act's surveillance programs -- enhancing progressive leverage in the House and increasing the chances of reform when the issue of further Patriot Act extension comes back to Congress in a few months.

Instead, leading progressive lawmakers chose to sidestep a historic opportunity to do the right thing by registering clear opposition to the Patriot Act. Such retreats end up eroding rather than building the power of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Rolling back key aspects of the military-industrial-surveillance complex cannot be accomplished without putting up a huge fight. Postponing confrontations with party leaders might seem prudent, but such caution has negative consequences. Sooner or later, grassroots activists become exasperated when Democrats in Congress don't match progressive statements with actions. Just being a member of the Progressive Caucus is not enough.

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

Members of the activist group Remove Trump unfurled a 600 sq ft banner with the impeachment
clause from the U.S. Constitution as they marched on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower reciting
Article II Section IV of the U.S. Constitution: "High Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Trump's Climate Recklessness Is Grounds For Impeachment
Despite the clear warning signs the worse is yet to come, Trump is shredding regulatory standards designed by law to curb the emission. His monarchical tyranny is of the kind that the nation's founders feared most.
By Ralph Nader

It is time to take Donald Trump's disregard for climate crisis seriously. As Commander in Chief, Trump is abdicating his duties to protect his people, instead actively aiding and abetting the corporate polluters who are causing the climate chaos. Trump is wasting irreplaceable time that we need to prevent a worsening climate crisis. Trump's actions, expanding the fossil fuel industry's emissions, make the perils even worse. This is another reason for impeachment-climate crisis jeopardizes the American people in major ways.

Trump denies the overwhelming scientific warnings about the devastating destruction of the global climate crisis. He calls climate disruption a "Chinese hoax," taking his delusionary persona to loony, dangerous levels.

The world is experiencing unheard of environmental upheaval: unprecedented heat waves, rapidly melting glaciers and permafrost, record floods, intensifying hurricanes, more frequent and severe droughts, and massive habitat convulsions. Despite the clear warning signs the worse is yet to come, Trump is shredding regulatory standards designed by law to curb the emission of greenhouse gases by fossil fuels, such as coal. He is opening large areas to oil and gas production, including those on our federal lands, the Arctic wildlife refuge, and offshore.

Trump has also decided to weaken Obama-era emission standards, a move that even upset some auto companies. Ford, Volkswagen, Honda and BMW all supported the stricter regulations set by California over those proposed by the Trump administration. Cutting back on energy efficient technologies releases more greenhouse gases, reduces gas mileage efficiency, and accelerates climate chaos.

It is as if Trump reacts to massive spreading wildfires by denying their causes, then doing nothing to diminish them. To make matters worse, it is as if he actively lowers environmental regulatory standards that would have played a role in preventing these fires.

The Pentagon keeps warning Trump and his cohorts that the climate crisis is a national security danger. Draft-dodger Trump can be charged with weakening our national defenses up against the destructive power of a perturbed nature.

Sea levels are rising. City planners at Miami Beach have an evacuation plan for tidal flooding, not just for exposed homeowners, but for the city itself.

Almost every week, the press, even Fox News, reports record-breaking natural disasters around the world. Just this last week, the Washington Post graphically reported changes in climate that have "set off a devastating chain reaction in the Sea of Okhotsk." The giant eye-witness article is called "Weakening 'the heart of the North Pacific.'" The melting ice and the warming sea have resulted in far fewer salmon (salmon catch is down by 70 percent since 2004). The New York Times recently published a page one feature on accelerating heavy rains and destructive droughts that wreak havoc on India's agriculture and destabilize both urban and rural life. Another issue facing both India and Pakistan is the fast melting glaciers in the high mountains that feed the life-critical down-stream rivers below that sustain a billion people.

Leading scientists, led by climatologists, are putting out regular reports, rooted in evidence on the ground, which keep shortening the time before certain irreversible benchmarks, as with warming temperatures, are experienced.

None of this enters the cranium of the oblivious Donald J. Trump. He is too busy tweeting, scheming and slandering to further his own interests. Our nation's interests are, to put it mildly, not his primary concern. He remains bent on pulling out of the voluntary Paris Climate Accord by the deadline next year. He is making America last again, behind over 196 nations who have signed the agreement to cut their carbon dioxide and other climate-disrupting gasses to keep the temperatures from rising to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Trumpland is where desired ignorance replaces presidential intellect, where reckless disregard of mounting property losses and human casualties become photo opportunities for alighting from Air Force One. Trump makes vague promises of aid only to then provide far less than what the devastated communities desperately need.

Translated into constitutional terms, Mr. Trump is deliberately refusing to enforce the laws mandated by Congress for environmental and workplace protection. He has given our government over to corporations, putting in charge corrupt corporatists qualified only to dismantle and disable these health and safety agencies. His crony capitalists are pushing out the scientists and crushing the civil servants who have sworn to uphold the law.

In making our country more defenseless against a mankind-driven upending of nature's equilibrium, he gravely violates his oath to promote the general welfare and provide for the common defense. In a deepening emergency, he is stealing crucial years away from critical preparedness, as his own generals would tell him. Instead, he continues to mouth his insane phrase "beautiful clean, coal," a mineral that once burned becomes one of the most deadly contributors to climate catastrophes.

Children are marching in the millions all over the world demanding that national leaders and big corporations in the fossil fuel industry move toward renewable, efficient energy with the utmost speed. These youngsters, who are doing their homework, are frightened over what will batter them in the coming decades. Trump should feel ashamed by their desperate pleas.

Our founding fathers often spoke of thinking ahead and respecting "posterity." The desire to foresee and forestall was especially paramount for Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, not to mention the prescient Thomas Paine. For them and their colleagues, Trump would have been seen as a monarchical nightmare or and an impeachable offender on the climate crisis alone.

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

"Booming" Economy Means More Bad Jobs and Faster Race to the Bottom
By Glen Ford

For the past 30 years, no matter which party has been in power, the US economy has produced more and more "bad" jobs - because the Race to the Bottom is ruling class policy.

A Brookings Institution study shows 44 percent of all American workers toil in "low-wage" jobs, with median earnings of $18,000 a year. Most of them are adults in their prime working years, whose paychecks provide the main sustenance for their families, 20 percent of which live at below 150 percent of the poverty line. Blacks and Latinos are overrepresented in low-paid employment, but more than half of these bad jobs are held by whites.

The corporate consensus, shared by its monopolized media, is that the economy is booming - which only confirms that the Race to the Bottom is ruling class policy, no matter how much the "liberals" at places like Brookings bemoan the hardships inflicted on the working poor.

Working class precarity is built into the system, by design. Another study, measuring the Job Quality Index, shows that the proliferation of low-paid work isn't a hangover from the 2008 meltdown, but a characteristic of late stage capitalism. "In 1990, the jobs were pretty much evenly divided" said one of the creators of the index. "We discovered that 63% of all jobs that were created since 1990 were low-wage, low-hour jobs." The data show the Race to the Bottom has accelerated for U.S. workers under both Republican and Democratic administrations: the elder and younger Bushes, Clinton, Obama, and now Trump, who is running for re-election on the strength of the economy.

The duopoly system is a magnificent mechanism of corporate rule and working class ruin. When only corporate parties are permitted to govern, and corporate mouthpieces monopolize the media, capitalist-inflicted misery is made to seem natural and inevitable. The highly-educated researchers at Brookings can imagine only one way out of the downward spiral for those localities where bad jobs are the norm: "attract and grow more high-wage jobs by drawing new companies in and helping existing companies grow and increase their productivity." In other words, more capitalism, of the more socially-conscious kind. But clearly, the stock market favors precarity capitalism, which it rewards with high returns, and punishes capitalists that don't immiserate their employees or farm them out to low-wage contractors.

Low-wage labor mixes uneasily with higher-paid employment in the so-called success-story cities, as well. According to Brookings, bad jobs number "nearly one million in the Washington, D.C. region, 700,000 each in Boston and San Francisco, and 560,000 in Seattle. Addressing the challenge of low wages combined with high housing prices is a key issue in these places."

Brookings concedes that education isn't the answer. "There simply are not enough jobs paying decent wages for people without college degrees (who make up the majority of the labor force) to escape low-wage work," say the researchers. Lots of low-paid workers already have degrees. "Fourteen percent have a bachelor's degree and an additional 8% have an associate degree," according to the study.

Whole sectors have become precarity zones, where 75 percent or more of the workers earn low wages: "These include retail sales workers, cooks and food preparation workers, building cleaning workers, food and beverage serving workers, and personal care and service workers (such as child care workers and patient care assistants)," the latter being mostly female and heavily Black and brown.

The Brookings think-tankers are not permitted to think outside the tank. But they are required to make broad statements of good societal intentions. "The goal of economic development should be to support growth that is shared and enduring, increase the productivity of firms and workers, and raise standards of living for all," said the Brookings Institute's Amy Liu. But of course, that would mean forcing capitalists to restructure their practices for the common good, or - the truly unthinkable! - putting the economy in the hands of the workers that create the wealth, while ensuring that everyone that wants work, has it.

The proposition is quite simple, but unmentionable in the thought-free bubble imposed by monopoly media and rigged search engine algorithms. Therefore, the capitalist narrative always ends with a question mark for the hobbled intelligentsia employed to rationalize the social hell created by their think-tank funders. "'Where will the good jobs come from?' is perhaps the defining question of our contemporary political economy," the Brookings researchers write - and then leave it at that, having no answer that the Lords of Capital would approve.

The Race to the Bottom fuels consolidation of wealth and power at the Top. Socialism is the only answer, a socialism rooted in the self-determination of all the peoples subjugated by capitalism since its emergence in colonialism and slavery - half a millennium of unrelenting, merciless, genocidal theft of land, labor and peoplehood. The "democratic" nature of this socialism lies not in ballots supervised by capitalist ruling class servants, but in the mass movement to dethrone the thieves that claim to "own" the world's resources - a class so numerically tiny that we know the top guys' names, starting with Bezos. Any thoroughgoing redistribution, no matter how chaotic, would be more "democratic" than the current oligarchy, and nothing could be more irrational.

The rules and definition of democracy will be decided by people in motion in the process of building a new world.

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

Why Would We Trust Plutocrats To Save Us From Plutocracy?
By Jim Hightower

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote of being leery of a fast-talking huckster who visited his home: "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons," Emerson exclaimed.

Likewise, today's workaday families should do a mass inventory of their silverware, for the fast-talking CEOs of 181 union-busting, tax-cheating, environment-contaminating, consumer-gouging corporations are asking us to believe that they stand with us in the fight against... well, against them. From Wall Street banksters to Big Oil polluters, these profiteers are suddenly trumpeting their future intentions to serve not just their own greed, but every "stakeholder" (which is what they call employees, customers, supplies, et al).

But vague proclamations are cheap, and it's worth noting that these new champions of the common good propose no specifics - no actual sacrifices by them or benefits for us. A few media observers have mildly objected, saying it's "an open question" whether any of the corporate proclaimers will change how they do business. But it's not an open question at all. They won't. They won't support full collective bargaining power for workers, won't join the public's push to get Medicare for All, won't stop using monopoly power to squeeze out small competitors and gouge consumers, won't support measures to stop climate change, won't back reforms to get their corrupt corporate money out of our politics... won't embrace any of the big structural changes necessary to reverse the raw economic and political inequality that has enthroned their plutocratic rule.

? In fact, their empty proclamation is what West Texas cowboys might call "bovine excrement," meant to fend off the actual changes that real reformers are advancing. Corporate elites won't fix inequality for us - they're the ones doing it to us.

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

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks during a rally to express solidarity with immigrants and refugees hosted by MoveOn,
United We Dream, Families Belong Together, and Popular Democracy near Union Station on May 16, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Back To Jim Crow Under Trump: 'Lynch Her' Is Republicans' Big Idea To Deal With Rep. Ilhan Omar
The Twitter account of Danielle Stella, the Republican challenger to Omar, has been shut down.
By Juan Cole

Liz Sawyer at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twitter account of Danielle Stella, the Republican challenger to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), has been shut down after she called for her opponent to be lynched.

Stella managed to combine the worst excesses of Jim Crow punitive policies toward the African-American congresswoman with the most egregious Islamophobic lies. She alleged, with no evidence, that Omar had passed sensitive U.S. government information to Iran, and that if so she should be hanged as a traitor.

Stella responded to the ban by accusing Twitter of being a supporter of terrorism and pedophilia.

Her case shows how problematic is the decision of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to allow political campaigns to lie at will in their paid advertising on that platform. Presumably Stella could still put her putrid and entirely false allegations into a Facebook ad with no repercussions.

Stella seems to have a morally corrupt soul and so I'm not sure it will do any good, but maybe we could begin by explaining that Somalis are Sunni Muslims have have no affinity for the Shiite government of Iran. Most Somalis are moderate Sufi Muslims, and while I don't know for sure. that is likely Omar's own background. Iran persecutes Sufis and discriminates against Sunnis. The fundamentalist extremists in Somalia, the al-Shabaab, are linked to Saudi Arabia, a major foe of Iran. Omar's family fled the instability created by groups like al-Shabaab, and she is perhaps the only refugee presently sitting in Congress-Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) lied about having that status.

The insane conspiracy theory into which Stella bought was spread by the so-called Foundation for Defense of Democracies:

The FDD is dedicated to getting up a war by the U.S. on Iran and was bankrolled by the U.S. Israel lobbies, spearheaded by wealthy families such as the Abramsons and the Bronfmans. Omar has been critical of the way the Israel lobbies have skewed U.S. foreign policy. They are of course welcome to campaign against Omar, but spreading these kinds of lies is unacceptable and she should sue FDD.

Whereas Omar has been unjustly condemned as an 'anti-Semite' merely for bringing up the effectiveness of the Israel lobbies' spending on shaping U.S. government policy (an effectiveness that AIPAC boasts about), editorial boards and congressional caucuses somehow haven't attacked Stella for her Islamophobia.

The allegation Stella made is profoundly bigoted, since it just sweeps all Muslims up into an undifferentiated mass and tries to tag them with Iran, one of the few Muslim states with which the U.S. has bad relations, as Omar herself implied in her rebuttal:

I'd like to point out that Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tunisia have all been named by U.S. presidents as "Major Non-NATO Allies," with whom we do joint military exercises and to whom we offer sensitive military technology. In addition, Turkey is a NATO ally and the U.S. has close military and security cooperation with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar. The U.S. strongly supports the Federal Government of Somalia and has given it $3 billion in aid. The Republicans are just trying to substitute Muslims for the old bogeyman of international Communism, but it won't work because most Muslim countries are strongly allied to the U.S., not something you could have said in the old days of the Soviet Union and its allies. Hence their focus on Iran, which is an outlier among the 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world.

As for hanging Omar, Stella put her foot in some very unpleasant excrement by talking in those terms. In the era of Jim Crow to which the Roberts Court seems to want U.S. to return, African Americans like Omar were denied access to public schools and other facilities and were often de facto denied the right to vote. In that era 1882-1968, 3,446 African Americans were strung up and lynched. Often their crime was not to shuffle and put their heads down in front of the caste of dominant whites, the same charge leveled against the uppity Omar. Some white people were also lynched, often for standing up for African Americans.

Bonus Video:

Newsy: "Danielle Stella banned from Twitter"

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

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here working on a speech in 1938, put considerable< effort into his annual
Thanksgiving proclamations. Also shown here are, from left, secretaries Marguerite Lehand, Marvin McIntyre and Grace Tully.

Unlike Trump, FDR Gave Us Something To Be Thankful About
By John Nichols

President Donald Trump marked Thanksgiving last year with an announcement that he is thankful for himself. Asked by a reporter what filled him with gratitude, he announced that he was thankful "for having made a tremendous difference in this country." Unfortunately, he did not stop there.

"I've made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn't believe it," said Trump. "I mean, you see, but so much stronger people can't even believe it. When I see foreign leaders they say we cannot believe the difference in strength between the United States now and the United States two years ago. Made a lot of progress."

Statements like that go a long way toward explaining why so many Americans are thankful this year for the impeachment clauses in the U.S. Constitution.

Now, in fairness to Trump, he has offered up rather more traditional Thanksgiving proclamations since assuming the presidency. But he doesn't go much beyond the predictable recitation of the story of the first Thanksgiving and a rumination on "the virtue of gratitude."

Contrast that with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who mastered the art of giving thanks.

FDR recognized the annual production of the Thanksgiving proclamation as much more than a perfunctory task. Each of the 32nd president's dozen proclamations was unique, and as his tenure progressed, Roosevelt used them to express the values of the New Deal and the internationalist struggle against fascism.

Roosevelt broke what for his time was new ground with his statements, using them to teach about religious diversity and to decry racial and ethnic divisions. As an example, Roosevelt's proclamation for Thanksgiving Day 1941 appealed for "the establishment on earth of freedom, brotherhood, and justice ..."

But the 32nd president's most persistent theme in his Thanksgiving proclamations was the need to develop a new economic order.

Roosevelt's first Thanksgiving proclamation, penned in the depths of the Great Depression, declared:

"May we ask guidance in more surely learning the ancient truth that greed and selfishness and striving for undue riches can never bring lasting happiness or good to the individual or to his neighbors.

"May we be grateful for the passing of dark days; for the new spirit of dependence one on another; for the closer unity of all parts of our wide land; for the greater friendship between employers and those who toil; for a clearer knowledge by all nations that we seek no conquests and ask only honorable engagements by all peoples to respect the lands and rights of their neighbors; for the brighter day to which we can win through by seeking the help of God in a more unselfish striving for the common bettering of mankind."

Here was a president seeking not to deny economic turbulence but to offer a vision for responding to that turbulence as united citizenry rather than as isolated individuals.

This message was a constant for Roosevelt as he implemented the New Deal.

"During the past year we have been given courage and fortitude to meet the problems which have confronted us in our national life. Our sense of social justice has deepened. We have been given vision to make new provisions for human welfare and happiness, and in a spirit of mutual helpfulness we have cooperated to translate vision into reality," he wrote in his 1934 proclamation. "More greatly have we turned our hearts and minds to things spiritual. We can truly say, 'What profiteth it a nation if it gain the whole world and lose its own soul.' With gratitude in our hearts for what has already been achieved, may we, with the help of God, dedicate ourselves anew to work for the betterment of mankind."
A year later, concerned by the rise of European fascism, Roosevelt was at his most poetic, writing:
"In traversing a period of national stress our country has been knit together in a closer fellowship of mutual interest and common purpose. We can well be grateful that more and more of our people understand and seek the greater good of the greater number. We can be grateful that selfish purpose of personal gain, at our neighbor's loss, less strongly asserts itself. We can be grateful that peace at home is strengthened by our growing willingness to common counsel. We can be grateful that our peace with other nations continues through recognition of our peaceful purpose."

"But," he continued, "in our appreciation of the blessings that Divine Providence has bestowed upon us in America, we shall not rejoice as the Pharisee rejoiced. War and strife still live in the world. Rather must America by example and in practice help to bind the wounds of others, strive against disorder and aggression, encourage the lessening of distrust among peoples, and advance peaceful trade and friendship. The future of many generations of mankind will be greatly guided by our acts in these present years. We hew a new trail."

Having a president recognize and encourage the hewing of that new trail, especially one that heads toward economic and social justice, may be controversial. But this is the right kind of controversy - as opposed to the "thankful for myself" kind.

So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the example of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And for the prospect that a new New Deal - a green one - might be the result of an election that is now less than a year off.

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

Lamenting The Restricted World Of Contemporary Childhood
By James Donahue

There has been a movement among elementary school districts across the United States to ban children from playing all forms of contact games while left unsupervised on school grounds. School authorities cite the reason as fear of lawsuit from accidental injury.

Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," explained Gaylene Heppe, an elementary school principal at Attleboro, Massachusetts, where the board of education voted to ban games of tag, touch football and any other unsupervised "chase" game.

Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Spokane, Washington, also banned tag during recess. A school near Charleston, South Carolina, outlawed all unsupervised contact sports.

Not only are schools acting paranoid about potential litigation from playtime injuries on school grounds, but they are over-reacting to potential acts of terrorism by students against their schools. Children have been expelled from school for merely bringing a pair of scissors or a jackknife on school grounds.

Ironically, the more schools act to guard against potential terrorism, the more our schools are experiencing severe terrorist acts with guns blazing. But this is going beyond the pale in most of our schools. Some districts are considering hiring armed guards at school doors or even going so far as arming the teachers to combat this new contemporary threat.

We have seen stories about police being called to schools and elementary age youngsters apprehended and charged after getting into a fistfight . . . something that often happens when children congregate.

One parent in the Massachusetts district complained that the ban on tag and other contact games is unnecessary."I think it's unfortunate that kids' lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they'll never develop on their own," said Debbie Laferriere. "Playing tag is just part of being a kid."

How correct she is. My own experiences growing up about a half century ago were amazingly active, extremely enjoyable, highly memorable, almost totally unsupervised, and sometimes dangerous as hell. Not only did we play wild games of tag and touch football, we explored dark drainpipes that seemed to lead to nowhere, jumped across floating ice floes along the coast of Lake Huron, explored empty and dilapidated buildings and stood by the side of the road in the winter trying to get passing snowplows to bury us with bladed snow.

We got into big fist fights in the boy's restrooms and I remember one amazing snowball war in an open field separating the Parochial and Public Schools. It lasted every noon hour for at least three days before school administrators managed to put a stop to it. I think what really happened was that the weather changed and we couldn't pack good snowballs anymore.

We snuck into Saturday matinees at the local theater after figuring out a way to pry open the exit doors, played cowboys and Indians and pirates with sticks that we thought looked a little like guns and swords and built forts out of old junk lumber laced with rusty nails, and we climbed trees. I remember the pure joy of riding the upper boughs of a particular maple tree in our front yard as it was whipped around in a high wind.

Cap guns were popular. Every child had them, complete with holster and belt. We also had plastic pistols that shot water at each other. When we got old enough we graduated to bb-guns.

Somehow we all grew up healthy and with all of our members, eyes and body parts intact, even though a few of us sported black eyes, bloody noses and other aches and pains resulting from our misdeeds. It was common to be hauled off to the doctor's office for a tetanus shot after stepping on a rusty nail.

About the worst event I can remember was the day one of the small children was struck and killed by a passing car after getting off a school bus. It was a pretty serious event and we talked about it for days. But there was no special counseling offered by the school and as far as I know there were no children marred mentally for life because of what happened. We knew that death was a part of life and just accepted it.

I look back on my childhood with fond memories and am happy that I grew up at a time when school officials and "do-good" adults stayed the hell out of the way we played.

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

President Donald Trump holds up an executive order to streamline the approval process for GMO crops as Secretary of Agriculture
Sonny Perdue claps at the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy ethanol plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa on June 11, 2019.

'What Cruelty Looks Like': Trump Finalizes Plan To Strip Food Aid From 750,000 Low-Income People By 2020
"When it came to tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Trump felt the nation's finances were firm enough to give up more than $1,500,000,000,000. When it's time to spend a fraction of that to help poor people eat, that's when the well has supposedly run dry."
By Jake Johnson

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it has finalized a plan to tighten punitive work requirements for food stamp recipients, a move that would strip nutrition assistance from an estimated 750,000 low-income people by mid-2020.

"Pay attention. This is what cruelty looks like," tweeted the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in response to the completed rule, which would be the first of a series of proposed food stamp cuts to take effect.

The rule change, which was first unveiled earlier this year, would restrict states' ability to exempt people without dependents from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's work requirements. The rule is set to take effect April 1, 2020.

"For able-bodied adults without dependents, U.S. law limits SNAP benefits to three months, unless recipients are working or in training for 20 hours a week," the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. "States can waive those limits in areas where unemployment runs 20% above the national rate, which was 3.6% in October."

The Trump administration's proposal to curtail states' ability to waive work requirements sparked a flood of outrage from aid groups, Democratic lawmakers, and ordinary people. During the rule's 60-day public comment period, tens of thousands of people decried the measure as an immoral attack on the most vulnerable by an administration that has worked tirelessly to fatten the pockets of the rich.

"The comments make it clear that most Americans not only oppose but are utterly repulsed by this plan to punish the poorest among us by denying them help to feed themselves," Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), said in a statement in April.

According to an Urban Institute study (pdf) published last week, the Trump administration's three proposed SNAP changes combined would strip federal food aid from 3.7 million people.

"The basics of the situation are clear," Rolling Stone's Patrick Reis wrote Tuesday. "When it came to tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Trump and Republicans felt the nation's finances were firm enough to give up more than $1,500,000,000,000. When it's time to spend a fraction of that to help poor people eat, that's when the well has supposedly run dry."

(c) 2019 Jake Johnson is an author and staff writer for Common Dreams

You'd think we'd do everything in our power to protect our children, but we aren't.

Failure To Address Climate Crisis Puts Children At Risk
By David Suzuki

In November 12, Veneto, Italy's regional council was debating climate policy in its Venice offices. Minutes after a majority voted against budget amendments to address climate disruption, the chambers were inundated with water. Venice is known for flooding, but it's getting worse, and the timing in this instance felt like a message.

Our existence is a marvellous phenomenon. We live on a spinning ball of water and rock at just the right distance from the sun for natural cycles to have developed to create ideal conditions for life as we know it. But exploding human populations and hyperconsumption-driven societies have, in a relatively brief time, knocked these natural systems out of balance. We've upset the carbon cycle so rapidly by indiscriminately burning fossil fuels and destroying natural carbon sinks like forests and wetlands that consequences are hitting much faster than predicted.

Australia is on fire. Parts of Europe are flooding. Melting permafrost in Northern Canada is raising fears that naturally stored methane will escape, accelerating heating. Refugees are fleeing homelands as climate disruption makes farming and living in many areas difficult. Entire villages in India are being abandoned for lack of water and temperatures too high for crops to survive.

Canada's North is heating at close to triple the global average rate, and the country overall at twice the average.

The recent Lancet Countdown, an international academic review of climate impacts on human health by 120 experts from 35 institutions, found people in Canada face a range of health risks, including the many effects of increasing wildfires and pollution, such as asthma and other respiratory illnesses. It found pollution from land-based transportation alone caused more than 1,000 deaths in 2015.

In Canada and worldwide, as well as committing our children, grandchildren and those yet to be born to an uncertain future, we've made conditions worse for young people today. The Lancet report found children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to climate disruption, as are the least well off.

Global heating is creating a range of health problems. Illness and death are increasing from climate-driven wildfires and smoke, insects carrying diseases such as Lyme and dengue are moving into new territory, malnutrition is on the rise as droughts and flooding cause crop failures and food scarcity, and deadly diarrhea from bacteria like cholera is spreading, with children bearing the brunt of the problems.

"Children's bodies and immune systems are still developing, leaving them more susceptible to disease and environmental pollutants," said Lancet Countdown executive director Nick Watts. "The damage done in early childhood lasts a lifetime. Without immediate action from all countries climate change will come to define the health of an entire generation."

You'd think we'd do everything in our power to protect our children, but we aren't. Governments here and elsewhere are still putting the fossil fuel industry's interests ahead of citizens', while downplaying the climate crisis. Climate science deniers are as vocal and uninformed as ever. Oil industry executives claim to take climate seriously while arguing that fossil fuel demand is rising so we might as well get some money.

With all the knowledge and solutions available, why are we stalling and putting humanity at risk?

As my friend, UBC professor emeritus of human ecology and ecological economics William Rees argued in a two-part Tyee article, we're still addicted to fossil fuels. Echoing my sentiments, Rees writes, "A rational world with a good grasp of reality would have begun articulating a long-term wind-down strategy 20 or 30 years ago."

But we didn't act rationally, and many still aren't. Rees offers 11 strategies to deal with the crisis, which he argues must go beyond the current "green new deal." Included are "Formal recognition of the end of material growth and the need to reduce the human ecological footprint," and reducing production and consumption.

We can't go back to former conditions. But with great effort and human ingenuity, we can learn to better live in balance with nature. We can get through the climate crisis. But it's too late for half measures. We need an all-out effort as great as or greater than mobilizations for the "great" wars. We need to kick our fossil fuel addiction now, for our sake and the children's.

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

The Principles Of Trump University Now Apply To Our Immigration Policy
A new low for the United States of America.
By Charles P. Pierce

Let's say you're a highly motivated immigrant kid from India who comes (legally) to Michigan. You want to study, say, computer science. So you run into another student from India who tells you about this place called the University of Farmington, where you can get your degree. The cost is relatively cheap as American colleges go: $12,000 a year, plus fees. This sounds great, you think.

Then, one day, after you've paid your money, the gang from ICE shows up, busts you for immigration violations, keeps all the money you paid for your classes, and ships you back to India. Or, they offer you a chance to pitch this university to other people in your same situation, people who get deported later. Then you get busted for fraud and sent to jail. But at least you're still in the United States for a while, so there's that.

Welcome to United States immigration policy in 2019. From the Detroit Free Press:

A total of about 250 students have now been arrested since January on immigration violations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as part of a sting operation by federal agents ... The students had arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the University of Farmington was later revealed to be a creation of federal agents, they lost their immigration status after it was shut down in January. The school was ... staffed with undercover agents posing as university officials. Out of the approximately 250 students arrested on administrative charges, "nearly 80% were granted voluntary departure and departed the United States," the Detroit office of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) told the Free Press in a statement Tuesday.
Plot twist No. 1 coming.
ICE said in March that 161 students had been arrested, which has now increased to about 250. Meanwhile, seven of the eight recruiters who were criminally charged for trying to recruit students have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced in Detroit, including Prem Rampeesa, 27, last week. The remaining one is to be sentenced in January. Rampeesa was sentenced Nov, 19 to one year in prison by Judge Gershwin Drain of U.S. District Court in Detroit. With time already served of 295 days, he should be out in about two to three months, and will then be deported to India, said his attorney Wanda Cal. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harbor aliens for profit. ...

"He was desperate to find a way to stay in the United States," Rampeesa's attorney, Cal, wrote in his sentencing memo. He wanted to get a Ph.D. in computer science, she said. Rampeesa then met Sama, who recruited him to attend the University of Farmington and told him he could get tuition credits if he recruited other students, Cal said. Sama and Rampeesa were working with people they thought were university officials, but were actually undercover agents for the Department of Homeland Security.

First, you convince some students that your university is real so you can bust them. Then you convince other students that they should help you recruit still other students for your university. Then you bust this second group of students and the people you entrapped to entrap them. Lovely.

Donald Trump Launches Education Initiative At Barnes & Noble

And, of course, there's the money, which ended up God knows where. Maybe in the university endowment.
Emails obtained by the Free Press earlier this year showed how the fake university attracted students to the university... The U.S. "trapped the vulnerable people who just wanted to maintain (legal immigration) status," Rahul Reddy, a Texas attorney who represented or advised some of the students arrested, told the Free Press this week. "They preyed upon on them." The fake university is believed to have collected millions of dollars from the unsuspecting students. ... "They made a lot of money," Reddy said of the U.S. government.

Of course, the prosecutors held the students at their fake university liable for stealing their own money.

Attorneys for ICE and the Department of Justice maintain that the students should have known it was not a legitimate university because it did not have classes in a physical location. Some CPT programs have classes combined with work programs at companies. "Their true intent could not be clearer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Helms wrote in a sentencing memo this month for Rampeesa, one of the eight recruiters, of the hundreds of students enrolled. "While 'enrolled' at the University, one hundred percent of the foreign citizen students never spent a single second in a classroom. If it were truly about obtaining an education, the University would not have been able to attract anyone, because it had no teachers, classes, or educational services."
Of course, the whole scam was set up as yet another vehicle to restrict immigration to this country, and to delegitimize programs already in place. In related news, you all are still paying Stephen Miller's salary.
Baker wrote that "immigration and visa programs have been hot-button topics in the United States for years and national scrutiny has only been increasing. Fairly or unfairly, Rampeesa's conduct casts a shadow on the foreign-student visa program in general, and it raises questions as to whether the potential for abuse threatens to outweigh the benefits." Reddy said, though, that in some cases, students who transferred out from the University of Farmington after realizing they didn't have classes on-site, were still arrested.
And thus were the basic principles behind Trump University enshrined in federal law enforcement.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? Why else would we all - by proxies we have given to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians - be participating in its destruction? Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us.

How do we submit? By not being radical enough. Or by not being thorough enough, which is the same thing." ~~~ Wendell Berry

It's Time For Virginia To End The Death Penalty
By David Swanson

The death penalty's slow death is accelerating. At least 140 nations no longer use it. No nation in Europe uses the death penalty. No nation in the Western Hemisphere uses it, except the United States.

Twenty-nine U.S. states have banned capital punishment or imposed a moratorium, and most of the rest have effectively stopped using it.

Virginia, the northernmost east-coast state with the death penalty, has not sentenced anyone to death in over 8 years. Virginia's death row holds only three men, all of whose sentences are facing challenges in court, meaning that the death row could soon be emptied out without anyone being killed.

The last time Virginia executed a man was in 2017. Now that man's victim's daughter is speaking out for abolition of the death penalty.

A lawsuit is currently seeking to compel Virginia to make more of the execution process visible to witnesses, meaning that the state may soon have to choose between ending this barbarism or displaying it publicly.

Virginia's voters have just given the Democratic Party the majority in both houses of the state legislature for the first time in decades - decades during which the excuse for every foot-dragging failure has been "But the Republicans . . . ."

Now might be a good time for Virginia to outgrow the idea that killing people teaches people not to kill people.

There is no evidence that the death penalty deters crime.

The death penalty, even if never imposed, is used by prosecutors to bully people - some of them innocent of any crime - into plea agreements.

Since 1973, over 165 people have been exonerated and removed from death row in the United States. An unknown number of innocent people have been executed. Virginia came within days of executing a man named Earl Washington Jr., who was fully exonerated, but whose innocence had always been apparent to anyone who bothered to read the transcript of his original trial.

A commission set up by Virginia's own government found 19 years ago that a person was more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death in Virginia when the victim was white than when the victim was black - a basis for killing people that few are eager to publicly defend. In fact, the commission sought to explain this disparity away on the basis of other factors, such as the "character" of the victim. But is that any better a basis for killing people?

The financial cost of exhausting appeals and executing someone far outstrips the cost of prison, which far outstrips the cost of a top-quality education.

The death penalty not only teaches that killing is acceptable, but also teaches that senseless retribution is the framework for lesser punishments. This drives the entire justice system away from restitution, restorative justice, and rehabilitation.

Much of the world and the world's governments condemn the death penalty as a gross violation of human rights. For this reason, the U.S. government is sometimes unable to extradite people charged with crimes. For the same reason, the U.S. government struggles in efforts to recommend better human rights practices to others.

A majority of U.S. states have now set a good example for the nation as a whole. Virginia needs to get on the right side of history.

Democrats claimed for years and years that electing them would make a difference. Let's see it.

If you live in Virginia, email your Delegate, Senator, and Governor here.

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Heil Trump,

Dear Unterfuhrer Keller,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your introduction of a bill that would punish women who have an ectopic pregnancy and doctors who treat them with the death penalty, 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 12-31-2019. We salute you Frau Keller, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Who Is Worse: Donald Trump Or Mitch McConnell?
By Robert Reich

He's maybe the most dangerous politician of my lifetime. He's helped transform the Republican Party into a cult, worshiping at the altar of authoritarianism. He's damaged our country in ways that may take a generation to undo. The politician I'm talking about, of course, is Mitch McConnell.

Two goals for November 3, 2020: The first and most obvious is to get the worst president in history out of the White House. That's necessary but not sufficient. We also have to flip the Senate and remove the worst Senate Majority Leader in history.

Like Trump, Mitch McConnell is no garden-variety bad public official. McConnell puts party above America, and Trump above party. Even if Trump is gone, if the Senate remains in Republican hands and McConnell is reelected, America loses because McConnell will still have a chokehold on our democracy.

This is the man who refused for almost a year to allow the Senate to consider President Obama's moderate Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland.

And then, when Trump became president, this is the man who got rid of the age-old Senate rule requiring 60 Senators to agree on a Supreme Court nomination so he could ram through not one but two Supreme Court justices, including one with a likely history of sexual assault.

This is the man who rushed through the Senate, without a single hearing, a $2 trillion tax cut for big corporations and wealthy Americans - a tax cut that raised the government debt by almost the same amount, generated no new investment, failed to raise wages, but gave the stock market a temporary sugar high because most corporations used the tax savings to buy back their own shares of stock.

McConnell refuses to support what's needed for comprehensive election security - although both the U.S. intelligence community and Special Prosecutor Mueller say Moscow is continuing to hack into our voting machines and to weaponize disinformation through social media.

McConnell has earned the nickname "Moscow Mitch" because he's doing exactly what Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump want him to do - leave America vulnerable to another Putin-supported victory for Trump.

McConnell is also blocking bipartisan background-check legislation for gun sales, even after the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, El Paso and Odessa, Texas.

So even if Trump is out of the White House, if McConnell remains Senate Majority Leader he will not allow a Democratic president to govern.

He won't allow debate or votes on Medicare for All, universal pre-K, a wealth tax, student loan forgiveness, or the Green New Deal. He won't allow confirmation votes on judges nominated by a Democratic president.

The good news is McConnell is the least popular senator in the country with his own constituents. He's repeatedly sacrificed Kentucky to Trump's agenda - for example, agreeing to Trump's so-called emergency funding for a border wall, which would take $63 million away from projects like a new middle school on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee.

McConnell is even cut funding for black lung disease suffered by Kentucky coal miners. I know from my years as labor secretary that coal mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and the number of cases of incurable black lung disease has been on the rise. But when a group of miners took a 10-hour bus ride to Washington this past summer to ask McConnell to restore the funding, McConnell met with them for one minute and then refused to help them. No wonder Democrats are lining up in Kentucky to run against Moscow Mitch in 2020.

The not-so-good news is that McConnell is up for re-election the same day as Donald Trump, and Trump did well in Kentucky in 2016. Which means we have to help organize Kentucky, just as we have to organize other states that may not be swing states in the presidential election but could take back the Senate. Consider Georgia: Republican Senator Johnny Isakson is retiring, meaning both of Georgia's Senate seats are now up for grabs. And this one extra seat-in a state that is trending blue-could be the tipping point that allows Democrats to win enough seats to end GOP control of the Senate.

Trump has to go, but so does McConnell.

Here's what you can do: Wherever you are in the country, you can donate to McConnell's challengers. If you live in or near Kentucky, you can get out and knock doors or make calls. Or if you have friends or family in the state, encourage them to get involved.

As to the question of who is worse, Trump or McConnell - the answer is that it's too close to call. The two of them have degraded and corrupted American democracy. We need them both out.

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

Our media is owned and operated by the largest, most aggressive corporations in the world leaving little to no
room on the air for the anti-war activists offering free hugs and senseless acts of kindness. But that's why it's all
the more impressive that in so many areas, we are winning the seemingly endless battle for the mindscape of our country.

The Left Is Finally Winning The War Of Ideas
Simply take a look at the ideas that are dominating the Democratic presidential race, even though the corporate media has tried to ignore these solutions, attack them, dispute them, and then ignore them all over again.
By Lee Camp

Good ideas are like viruses. They grow and spread despite our best efforts to stop them. And yes, our bulbous, awkward species does indeed work very hard to catch and kill good ideas.

At the time I write this column, the first Democratic primaries are approaching with the zest and excitement of an unavoidable bowel movement. Even if you read this a year or two or 10 from now, primaries will still be advancing toward you. As sure as the universe expands, the primaries approach. The moment we finish one election season, another is on the horizon.

This serves two purposes. First, it continuously makes voters think that we matter, that we have a lot of sway over the course this country takes. We don't. (Well, not as much as we think we do.) And the second purpose is to fill the mainstream media airwaves with vacuous political play-by-play for two straight years. For example, by covering the three-point shift in Pete Buttigieg's likability amongst Iowans (which matters as much as a three-point shift in the average Iowan's concern about getting trichinosis from undercooked anchovies), the corporate media cogs can avoid talking about the exploitation of American workers or the massive debt crushing most people or the environmental collapse gripping the planet or the highly advanced, highly illegal surveillance state in which we live.

Our electoral politics is a beautiful smokescreen for the ruling elite.

But no matter what happens in these overtly rigged Democratic National Committee primaries, those of us who care about the world and care about our fellow human beings are winning the war of ideas. Simply take a look at the ideas that are dominating the Democratic presidential race, even though the corporate media has tried to ignore these solutions, attack them, dispute them, and then ignore them all over again.

1) Medicare for All

This is the idea that if you're 5 years old and you break your arm, no matter how little you get paid at your child labor job, you shouldn't have to fix your broken arm yourself with a papier-mache cast made from soiled Kleenex and bird poop. Although Medicare for All was initially put forward by the Green Party and left-wing activists, and now it's a mainstream discussion. The idea perseveres despite interminable attacks from the moneyed and the well-heeled as they sit neck-deep in mountains of top-shelf health care. (I hear many of them get young blood transfusions just for kicks on the weekend.) The rich continue to espouse one of the worst systems in the developed world, as if it's somehow justifiable that two-thirds of Americans who declare bankruptcy each year do so partially because of health care costs.

2) The Green New Deal

This is an economic proposal that would give a majority of Americans a job and switch to renewable energy, among other things. Basically it would solve both our fossil fuel death spiral and unemployment problems in one fell swoop. It was put forward initially by the Green Party and left-wing activists, but then it quickly rose to the level of mainstream discussion, resulting in a bill by Congress. This is an impressive feat even though there are criticisms of the Democratic rewriting of the Green New Deal (such as its failure to address the military-industrial complex, which happens to be the largest polluter in the known world, but maybe we'll find a lost tribe in the Amazon that runs a few hundred thousand warships on diesel and then our Pentagon will drop down to the second biggest polluter).

3) Legalizing Marijuana

If I have to explain what this is to you, then you clearly haven't turned on a television in the past 50 years nor caught a glimpse of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (the show, the movie, the action figure, the comic book, the video game, the candy or the song). The legalization of cannabis in all its nifty forms has rapidly spread across the country-which is not just crucial to people who have gained tremendous medical benefits from cannabis but also crucial for anybody who needs to get viciously baked in order to watch the impeachment hearings (which is the only legitimate way to watch the impeachment hearings).

Marijuana has become so widely accepted that Joe Biden recently became a laughingstock when he called weed a "gateway drug." Yes grandpa, the evil weed is a gateway drug, and rock music is the devil's work, and dancing with a girl before marriage can cause one's phallus to fall off. ... Not to mention, who is Joe Biden to tell us not to get a little loopy at the end of a long day? How many prescription meds must it take that guy to simply put on his pants each morning?

4) $15 Minimum Wage

I don't have to tell you why this matters. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. You know what you can buy with $7 these days? A Ding-Dong out of the vending machine. So maybe, after a worker has labored for 39 straight hours, he can tether all the Ding-Dong packages together into a rudimentary raft that will allow him to float downriver to somewhere that treats him better. At $7.25 an hour, no one can possibly get by. I did the math: You'd have to work for 3700 years just to afford a ticket to the Motley Crue reunion tour. (And they're not even good. Imagine if you wanted tickets to see someone good.)

5) Distrust of Mainstream Corporate Media

Even if you're one of these certifiable nut-bags who still turns on CNN or Fox News every day all day, you still understand that you're not getting the full truth. You might think you're getting a piece of it, but not all of it. ... Also, you should be euthanized.

(Okay, maybe not euthanized, but anyone who leaves cable news on in the background just to feel warm and cozy should at the very least be left on a faraway island to live out their days. If you're one of them, please stop it. Corporate media crap is not the audio version of your childhood blankey. It's pathetic PROPAGANDA. ... Sorry to yell.)

6) Distrust of U.S.-Backed Coups and War Games

Most Americans are opposed to endless war now. We're opposed to harming and killing so many millions in the name of propping up our bloated, belligerent empire that eats entire nations and then vomits up new KFC franchise locations. Obviously the growing disgust among most of the country has not managed to stop the bombs from falling, but it's a start.

I'm sure you don't have the time to read the entire list of ideas that were once considered far left and are now mainstream vibrant discussions-abolishing ICE, holding police accountable, distrusting the intelligence community AKA the surveillance state, questioning capitalism, ending factory farming, confronting the extreme climate crisis, etc. etc. Sure, our elections are rigged in favor of the two corporate Wall Street-funded parties. And yes, our media is owned and operated by the largest, most aggressive corporations in the world leaving little to no room on the air for the anti-war activists offering free hugs and senseless acts of kindness. But that's why it's all the more impressive that in so many areas, we are winning the seemingly endless battle for the mindscape of our country.

(c) 2019 Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of the weekly comedy news TV show "Redacted Tonight With Lee Camp" on RT America. He is a former comedy writer for the Onion and the Huffington Post and has been a touring stand-up comic for 20 years.

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The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television
By George Carlin

I love words. I thank you for hearing my words.

I want to tell you something about words that I think is important.

They're my work, they're my play, they're my passion.

Words are all we have, really. We have thoughts but thoughts are fluid, y'know like, woo woo woo woo, POP! Then we assign a word to a thought and we're stuck with that word for that thought, so be careful with words.

I like to think that yeah, the same words that hurt can heal, it's a matter of how you pick them.

There are some people that aren't into all the words.

There are some that would have you not use certain words.

Yeah, there are 400,000 words in the English language and there are 7 of them that you can't say on television. What a ratio that is!

399,993 to 7. They must really be bad. They'd have to be outrageous to be separated from a group that large.

All of you over here, you 7, baaad words!

That's what they told us they were, remember? "That's a bad word!" No bad words, bad thoughts, bad intentions, and words!

You know the 7, don't you, that you can't say on television?

"Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits."

Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that'll infect your soul, curve your spine, and keep the country from winning the war.

"Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits," wow!

And "tits" doesn't even belong on the list, y'know? Man!

That's such a friendly sounding word.

It sounds like a nickname, right? "Hey, Tits, come here, man. Hey! Hey Tits, meet Toots. Toots, Tits. Tits, Toots."

It sounds like a snack, doesn't it? Yes, I know, it is a snack. But I don't mean your sexist snack! I mean New Nabisco Tits!, and new Cheese Tits, Corn Tits, Pizza Tits, Sesame Tits, Onion Tits, Tater Tits. "Betcha Can't Eat Just One!"

That's true. I usually switch off.

But I mean, that word does not belong on the list. Actually none of the words belong on the list, but you can understand why some of them are there.

I'm not completely insensitive to people's feelings. I can understand why some of those words got on the list, like cocksucker and motherfucker. Those are heavyweight words. There's a lot going on there. Besides the literal translation and the emotional feeling. I mean, they're just busy words. There's a lot of syllables to contend with.

And those Ks, those are aggressive sounds. They just jump out at you like "coCKsuCKer, motherfuCKer. coCKsuCKer, motherfuCKer."

It's like an assaualt on you. So I can dig that. We mentioned shit earlier, and 2 of the other 4-letter Anglo-Saxon words are piss and cunt, which go together of course. A little accidental humor there. The reason that piss and cunt are on the list is because a long time ago, there were certain ladies that said "Those are the two I am not going to say. I don't mind fuck and shit but 'P' and 'C' are out." Which led to such stupid sentences as "Okay you fuckers, I'm going to tinkle now."

And, of course, the word fuck. I don't really, well that's more accidental humor, I don't wanna get into that now because I think it takes too long. But I do mean that. I think the word fuck is a very important word. It's the beginning of life, yet it is a word we use to hurt one another quite often. People much wiser than I am have said, "I'd rather have my son watch a film with two people making love than two people trying to kill one another." I, of course, can agree. It is a great sentence. I wish I knew who said it first. I agree with that but I like to take it a step further. I'd like to substitute the word Fuck for the word Kill in all of those movie cliches we grew up with.

"Okay, Sheriff, we're gonna fuck you now, but we're gonna fuck you slow."

So maybe next year I'll have a whole fuckin' rap on the N word.

I hope so. Those are the 7 you can never say on television, under any circumstances. You just cannot say them ever ever ever. Not even clinically. You cannot weave them in on the panel with Doc, and Ed, and Johnny. I mean, it is just impossible. Forget those 7. They're out.

But there are some 2-way words, those double-meaning words. Remember the ones you giggled at in sixth grade? "...And the cock crowed three times." "Hey, the cock crowed 3 times. Ha ha ha ha. Hey, it's in the Bible. Ha ha ha ha." There are some 2-way words, like it's okay for Curt Gowdy to say "Roberto Clemente has 2 balls on him," but he can't say, "I think he hurt his balls on that play, Tony. Don't you? He's holding them. He must've hurt them, by God." And the other 2-way word that goes with that one is prick. It's okay if it happens to your finger. You can prick your finger but don't finger your prick. No, no.

(c) 1972 George Carlin

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 49 (c) 12/06/2019

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