Please visit our sponsor!

In This Edition

Chris Walker reports, "Trump Dismisses Jan. 6 Inquiry, Says His Words That Day Were 'Extremely Calming.'"

Ralph Nader says, "Trump's Next Coup Has Already Begun: January 6 Was Practice."

Margaret Kimberley explores the, "Democratic Party Betrayal, Abortion, And The Supreme Court."

Jim Hightower examines, "The Scam Of Marketing Sports Stadiums As Corporate Billboards."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Despite His Promises, Biden Is Still Serving Fossil Fuel Interests."

John Nichols concludes, "Striking Kellogg's Workers Need The PRO Act."

James Donahue explores, "The Dumbing Down."

David Swanson explains, "What Would Have Been Better Than A Democracy Summit And Why There Should Not Be Any More Pearl Harbor Days."

David Suzuki says, "We Have To Stop Squandering Our Brief Time On Earth."

Charles P. Pierce asks, "Actually Fight The Pandemic? That's Bad Politics For A Republican."

Juan Cole reports, "Spike In Violence In 2021 By Israeli Forces, Squatters, Toward Palestinian Children: Defense For Children, UN's Bachelet."

Robert Reich predicts, "This Victory Of Starbucks Employees In Buffalo Will Reverberate Across America."

Amy Goodman exclaims, "Build Back Better Or Build More Bombs? The Choice Is Clear!"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Waterford Whispers News reports, "Country That Decries Mistreatment Of Journalists & Whistleblowers Can't Wait To Get Its Hands On Assange," but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "34 December Tornadoes Strike The South And Midwest!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Marian Kamensky, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Scott Olson, Vickie D. King, Mississippi Today, Rey Del Rio, David Dees, Washington Post, Gieniag, Marcus Lange, Global Times, Joshua Bessex, 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 Cartoon Corner -
To End On A Happy Note -
Have You Seen This -
Parting Shots -

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

Visit me on Face Book

34 December Tornadoes Strike The South And Midwest!
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"Search and rescue teams were continuing to look for residents door to door, but the destruction made it difficult to reach everyone. We call it door to door, but in many of those homes, there's no door any more." ~~~ Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me
Help ~~~ The Beatles

I see where a single tornado has killed well over 100 people and cut a swath of 250 miles through three states and it wasn't the only active tornado! If early reports are confirmed, the twister "will likely go down perhaps as one of the longest track violent tornadoes in United States history," said Victor Genzini, a researcher on extreme weather at Northern Illinois University.

The longest tornado on record, in March 1925, tracked for about 220 miles through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. But Genzini said "this twister may have had touched down for nearly 250 miles. The storm was all the more remarkable because it came in December, when normally colder weather limits tornadoes," he said. Yet some will tell you that man made global warming isn't real. Of course, most people who say that, are being paid, to say that!

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said at a news conference Saturday that the death toll may exceed 100 by the end of the day.

"This event is the worst, most devastating tornado event in Kentucky's history," Beshear said. "I believe that by the end of today or tomorrow, we will be north of at least 70 lives lost here in Kentucky, I think we will have lost more than 100 people and I think it could rise significantly in those numbers."

This monstrous tornado, carving a track that could rival the longest on record, ripped through the middle of the U.S. in a stormfront that killed dozens and tore apart a candle factory, crushed a nursing home, derailed a train and smashed an Amazon warehouse.

Beshear said about 110 people were in the Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory when the tornado hit. Around 40 people have been rescued so far from the rubble.

"It'll be a miracle if anyone else is found alive," Beshear said Saturday.

The tornado, an Enhanced Fujita 4 or f-4, apparently started in Arkansas, swept through Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky This tornado was just one of at least 34 tornadoes which were reported across eight states: Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. And to make it worse, these tornados came in the middle of the night, when most folks were asleep!

Sleepy Joe said, "Earlier today I called the governors of the states that have been experiencing severe impacts of the storms including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, as well as Tennessee and also spoke with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell."

"I want to emphasize what I told all the governors, the federal government will do everything, everything you can possibly do to help."

"I also approved the emergency declaration that was requested a couple of hours ago by Governor Beshear of Kentucky. That's going to accelerate federal emergency assistance for Kentucky right now, when it's urgently needed. And I stand ready to do the same for the governors of the other states -- and I've made it clear to them -- if they request emergency declaration," continued Biden.

"I've also requested that FEMA offer additional federal resources, including help with temporary housing, where homes have been wiped out or too badly damaged to live in," he added.

At least he didn't show up in Kentucky, and throw rolls of paper towels at the victims!

Six days later another 17 tornados stuck the upper midwest including the first December tornado in the history of Minnesota. As the oceans continue to warm we can expect these winter tornados to increase in frequency!


10-04-1941 ~ 12-11-2021
Thanks for the read!

11-24-1936 ~ 12-14-2021
Thanks for the benefits, and music!

08-09-1943 ~ 12-16-2021
Thanks for the music!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2021 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand -up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on October 9, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Trump Dismisses Jan. 6 Inquiry, Says His Words That Day Were 'Extremely Calming'
By Chris Walker

In an interview that aired on Fox News last Friday, former President Donald Trump alleged that the speech he gave directly before the January 6 Capitol attack had a "calming" effect on his loyalists - despite the fact that they forced their way past barricades and into the building a little more than an hour after the speech.

While speaking to host Laura Ingraham, Trump said he has "nothing to hide" from the House select committee investigating the attack. But for months, the former president has been using litigation as a strategy to prevent the committee from accessing documents that reveal his communications during the attack and on the days leading up to it. In fact, Trump is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court soon, in yet another attempt to prevent those materials from being released to the committee.

"I have nothing to hide. I wasn't involved in that [the Capitol attack] and if you look at my words and what I said in the speech, they were extremely calming, actually," Trump said.

Throughout the interview, Trump downplayed the actions of his loyalists on January 6, describing their attack as a "protest." He also rebuffed the idea that actions taken by his followers to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election were unjust, erroneously describing the election - which he lost to President Joe Biden - as illegitimate.

"The insurrection took place on November 3, which was election day," Trump said.

Trump expressed concern for people who have been charged with crimes relating to the attack, saying that "a lot of innocent people are being hurt" by those charges.

The Department of Justice has charged more than 600 individuals for taking part in the violent breach of the Capitol building. Five people died as a result of what happened that day.

Trump's fictionalized account of the day's events- including his claim that his speech before the attack was not incendiary - is not new. In fact, less than one week after the Capitol breach, Trump defended his words in an interview, claiming that they were "totally appropriate."

During his speech, Trump told his supporters that the presidential election was "stolen ... by emboldened radical left Democrats" and by "the fake news media." He also encouraged his followers to march to the Capitol to voice their discontent in person, telling them they would "never take back our country with weakness."

Many of Trump's loyalists, who attended the rally in person, interpreted the speech as a direct call to action.

"We fight like hell," Trump said briefly before the attack. "And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

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

Trump's Next Coup Has Already Begun: January 6 Was Practice.
By Ralph Nader

"Trump's Next Coup Has Already Begun..." is the title of an article in the Atlantic, just out, by Barton Gellman, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of many groundbreaking exposes. He describes the various maneuvers that Trump-driven Republican operatives and state legislators are developing to overturn elections whose voters elected Democrats from states with Republican governors and state legislatures. Georgia fit that profile in 2020 - electing two Democratic senators in a state with a Republican legislature and governor.

Getting ready for 2024, the Georgia GOP legislature has stripped the election-certifying Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, of his authority to oversee future election certifications. The legislature has also given itself the unbridled authority to fire county election officials. With Trump howling his lies and backing his minion candidates, they created a climate that is intimidating scores of terrified election-precinct volunteers to quit.

Added to this are GOP-passed voter suppression laws and selectively drawn election districts that discriminate against minorities - both before the vote (purges, arbitrary disqualifications), during the vote (diminishing absentee voting, and narrowing dates for their delivery), and after the election in miscounting and falsely declaring fraud.

The ultimate lethal blow to democratic elections, should the GOP lose, is simply to have the partisan GOP majority legislators benefiting from demonically-drawn gerrymandered electoral districts, declare by fiat the elections a fraud, and replace the Democratic Party's voter chosen electors with GOP chosen electors in the legislature.

Now take this as a pattern demolishing majority voters' choice to 14 other GOP-controlled states, greased by Trumpian lies and routing money to his chosen candidate's intent on overturning majority rule, add Fox News bullhorns and talk radio Trumpsters and you have the apparatus for fascistic takeovers. Tragically, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices - three selected by Trump - has no problem with his usurpation of the American Republic. All this and more micro-repression is broadcast by zillions of ugly, vicious, and anonymous rants over the Internet enabled by the profiteering social media corporations like Facebook.

Anonymous, vicious, violent email and Twitter traffic is the most underreported cause of anxiety, fear, and dread undermining honest Americans working, mostly as volunteers, the machinery of local, state, and national elections, with dedicated public servants. These people are not allowed to know the names behind the anonymous cowardly, vitriol slamming against them, their families, and children.

What are the institutions - public and civic - that could roll back this fast-approaching U.S.-style fascism with the snarling visage of serial criminal and constitutional violator, Donald J. Trump?

1. First is the Congress. Democrats impeached Trump over the Ukraine extortion but left on the table eleven other impeachable counts, including those with kitchen-table impacts (See Congressional Record, December 18, 2019).

All that is going on to deal with Trump's abuses in any focused way on Capitol Hill, controlled by Democrats, is the House's January 6th investigation. So far as is known, this Select Committee is NOT going to subpoena the star witnesses - Donald Trump and Mike Pence. So far, the Congress is feeble, not a Rock of Gibraltar thwarting the Trumpian dictators.

2. The federal courts? Apart from their terminal delays, it's Trump's Supreme Court and his nominees fill many chairs in the federal circuit courts of appeals. The federal judiciary - historically the last resort for constitutional justice - is now lost to such causes.

3. The Democratic Party? We're still waiting for a grand strategy, with sufficient staff, to counter, at every intersection, the GOP. The Dems do moan and groan well. But where is their big-time ground game for getting out the non-voters in the swing states? Are they provoking recall campaigns of despotic GOP state legislators in GOP states having such citizen-voter power? Why aren't they adopting the litigation arguments of Harvard Law School's constitutional expert, Professor Larry Tribe? Where are their messages to appeal to the majority of eligible American voters who believe that the majority rules in elections? Why aren't they urgently reminding voters of the crimes and other criminogenic behavior by the well-funded Trump and his political terrorists?

Bear in mind, the Democrats are well-funded too.

4. The Legal Profession and their Bar Associations. Aren't they supposed to represent the rule of law, protect the integrity of elections, and insist on peaceful transitions of power? They are after all, not just private citizens; they are "officers of the court." Forget it. There are few exceptions, but don't expect the American Bar Association and its state bar counterparts to be the sentinels and watchdogs against sinister coup d'etats under cover of delusional strongarming ideologies.

5. Well, how about the Universities, the faculties, and the students? Weren't they the hotbeds of action against past illegal wars and violations of civil rights in the Sixties and Seventies? Sure. But that was before the Draft was eliminated, before the non-stop gazing at screens, and before the focus on identity politics absorbed the energy that fueled mobilizations about fundamental pursuits of peace, justice, and equality.

6. How about some enlightened corporate executives of influential companies? Having been given large tax reductions, sleepy law enforcement regulators, and a corporatist-minded federal judiciary, while the war contracts and taxpayer bailouts proliferate, why should they make waves to save the Republic? The union of plutocratic big business with the autocratic government is one classical definition of fascism.

7. The Mass Media. Taken together, they've done a much better job exposing Trumpism than has the Congress or litigation and the judiciary. However, their digging up the dirt does not come with the obvious follow-ups from their reporting and editorializing.

Covering the Ukraine impeachment, but not covering at least eleven other documented impeachable offenses, handed to them by credible voices, left them with digging hard but never hitting pay dirt. Trump has escaped all their muckraking as he has escaped all attempts by law enforcers who have their own unexplained hesitancies. If reporters do not dig intensely into just how Trump and his chief cohorts have escaped jail time and other penalties, their usual revelations of wrongdoings appear banal, eliciting "what else is new?" yawns by their public.

What's left to trust and rely upon? Unorganized people organizing. What else! That's what the farmers did peacefully in western Massachusetts in 1774 (See: The Revolution Came Early - 1774 - to the Berkshires) against the tyrant King George III and his Boston-based Redcoats? By foot or by horse, they showed up together in huge numbers at key places. These farmers collectively stopped the takeover of local governments and courts by King George's wealthier Tories. Their actions can teach us the awesome lessons of moral, democratic, and tactical grit - all the while having to deal with nature and their endangered crops.

What are our excuses?

(c) 2021 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super -Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Jackson, Mississippi abortion protest

Democratic Party Betrayal, Abortion, And The Supreme Court
By Margaret Kimberley

Democrats have been fooled into thinking that only the courts can protect abortion rights. In fact, legislation could protect abortion permanently, but their party has refused to do that. Now that SCOTUS control is lost because of their corruption and betrayals, they continue to spin lies that bamboozle the party faithful.

"What about the Supreme Court?" Those words are used to thwart any discussion which questions support for the Democratic Party. The democrats maintain their hold on voters who would otherwise be rid of them by dredging up the fear of the federal judiciary falling under Republican Party control. The legal right to abortion is one of the issues used to keep millions of people from leaving the democrats once and for all.

After decades of democrats' corruption, inaction, and lies, the right to abortion is indeed at risk. The majority of Supreme Court justices are republican appointees. They may uphold a Mississippi law which severely restricts abortion access or even overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which declared a constitutional right to abortion. The boogeyman of right wing judicial control is now real and the democrats have only themselves to blame. Unfortunately, most of their voters still go along with their faux outrage when they should be questioning the whole rotten apparatus.

The democratic party is called a "big tent" which includes corporate interests, wealthy funders, well funded think tanks, elite academia, and left leaning voters. Black people are the constituency they depend upon the most, although one would never know that by looking at the policies the democrats hold near and dear.

Black voters in particular are caught in a trap, seeing themselves as powerless to do anything except keep republicans out of office. The openly white supremacist nature of the republicans is not met with any opposition by the party that fails to fight for them. Instead fear mongering and betrayal of their most loyal voters are their favorite means of getting support. The political duopoly are like fake heroes and fake villains in professional wrestling. The differences are all for show.

The bloom was off the rose in 2016 after the hope and change promised by Barack Obama was revealed to be nothing more than neo-liberal business as usual. Many democrats were disgusted when the primaries were rigged against Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton's "pied piper strategy" amplified Donald Trump, and the combination of miscalculation and hubris gave him the electoral college votes needed to win and to make lifetime judicial appointments.

Hillary Clinton was so sure she would defeat Trump that she chose senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Kaine is one who straddles the fence claiming he is personally opposed to abortion because he is a Catholic while claiming he would defend Roe v. Wade. Clinton herself foolishly sought to portray herself as being ambivalent about abortion, thinking she would get support from some conservative voters. Of course real conservatives were in love with Donald Trump. So-called moderate republicans voted for him too. Hillary's efforts to be as slick as Bill Clinton were laughable and her sad attempt at Clintonian triangulation led to Trump's victory.

Democrats don't like to mention that Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have stepped down when Barack Obama asked her. He also didn't fight for his nominee Merrick Garland because he assumed that a president Hillary Clinton would have her choices. The miscalculations are guarded like a shameful family secret lest left leaning democrats question the cult leadership and head for the exits.

Of course the constant demand that leftists stick with the democrats over the issue of abortion falls apart upon even cursory examination. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was taken to task in 2017 for saying that abortion was "fading" as an issue of concern to her party's members. In 2018 when democratic voters were urged to give control of the House to democrats and diminish Donald Trump's power she said abortion was not a litmus test issue. While voters are harangued to stay with the democrats as if they are a political lifeboat, the leadership make clear that they don't care what their constituents want and only raise issues at opportune moments to raise money and keep the rank and file in line.

Democrats are only serious about neo-liberal austerity, protection of corporate interests, and carrying out imperialism abroad. Everything else is propaganda meant to convince the gullible to stay in their camp. Liberals think themselves superior and sneer at white republicans for voting against their interests. They are no better, allowing themselves to be fooled again and again by SCOTUS fear mongering when their party could protect abortion rights with legislation if they really wanted to do so.

The joke is on liberals who want to relitigate the 2016 debacle by blaming everyone but the people who should have won the election they said was so important. The barbarians are not just at the gate, they have breached the walls and the democrats are responsible. But even as they fail in the electoral arena, their propaganda knows no bounds. They never discuss legislating abortion rights and their constituents never take them to task.

MAGA hat wearing Trump supporters are no more indoctrinated than the average democrat voter. The discredited leadership exemplified by the likes of Nancy Pelosi have a strong hold on their members despite failing them time and again. The only sure prediction of the 2024 presidential campaign is that the need to control the federal judiciary will again be trotted out to end any questions or hesitation to support the party that fails its people so often.

Democrats have been fooled into thinking that only the courts can protect abortion rights. In fact, legislation could protect abortion permanently, but their party has refused to do that. Now that SCOTUS control is lost because of their corruption and betrayals, they continue to spin lies that bamboozle the party faithful.

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

The Scam Of Marketing Sports Stadiums As Corporate Billboards

By Jim Hightower

Advertising has been characterized as rattling a stick in a bucket - a noisy cry for public attention.

One example of this crass hucksterism is the rush by top executives of multibillion-dollar corporations to splatter their corporate names on sports venues. Responding to a blatant scam by team owners, executives are spending absurd sums of their shareholders' money to "win" temporary naming rights to local stadiums, arenas, etc. The come-on is that this billboarding will buy brand recognition, customer loyalty, and even public gratitude for the purchaser.

Seriously? Do you fly Delta, bank at Wachovia, or drive a Toyota because their names are on a big sports structure somewhere? And what do outfits like Ameriquest, Qualcomm, and FTX even sell - and where are they located? As for public gratitude, ask Houstonians how thankful they are that global energy giant Enron slapped its name on the Astro's baseball park in 1999, just three years before the corporation was forced into bankruptcy for being guilty of massive fraud and squalid executive greed.

But the bucket-rattling name game keeps drawing new players. The latest entrants are purveyors of cryptocurrencies, the phantasmagoric, here-today-gone-tomorrow form of digital money. One of these,, has just laid out a ridiculous $700 million (presumably in real money, not "cryptos") to put its occult brand name on the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers. Why? The parties to the deal put it in grandiose terms - "a match made in heaven" exulted the arena's giddy owner, even proclaiming that will "help us chart a course for the future of sports."

Huh? I doubt that this cryptic, Singapore-based money dealer can even dribble a basketball, much less direct the sport's future! Like Enron and the rest, all it's doing is rattling the money bucket, turning sports into just another corporate money hustle.

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

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks about climate change and the wildfires on the West Coast
at the Delaware Museum of Natural History on September 14, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Despite His Promises, Biden Is Still Serving Fossil Fuel Interests
By William Rivers Pitt

Millions of years of evolution have graced birds with a wealth of healthy instincts. They have mastered the art of flight, and many species fly thousands of miles when the seasons change, unerringly returning time and again to a distant refuge where the weather is calm. More than anything, though, birds know better than to shit in their own nest. This is an instinct the president of the United States has yet to develop, and the whole wide world may come to pay a brutal price for it.

November's COP 26 international environmental summit in Glasgow was an unsurprising disappointment on pretty much every level: A bunch of world leaders beholden to the global energy industry came together in the rain to pretend they were making progress on the existential threat hovering over us all, but the act wore thin in a hurry. An environmental summit whose participants cannot summon the will to admit that burning coal is bad for the air and water is an environmental summit that should have stayed in bed.

Adding insult to injury, the Biden administration held a massive lease sale for oil and gas drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico scant days after the conclusion of the summit. Some 80 million acres of sea floor - which could contain more than a billion barrels of oil and more than 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas - were up for grabs. According to an analysis by The Center for American Progress, "[T]he offshore lease sale alone has the potential to emit 723 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over its lifetime, equivalent to operating more than 70 percent of the United States' coal-fired power plants for a year."

As if this were not bad enough, there is the timeline. The companies that bought leases to drill in the Gulf - Exxon and BP stand tall in the crowd - will need years to install the infrastructure required to get to the oil and gas. This means the actual extraction and burning of these fossil fuels will not even begin until around 2030, a year many climate scientists have set as a hard deadline for reversing course on our ecological dissolution.

The whole thing felt like a deliberate finger in the eye of the environmental movement by the Biden administration, but the president and his people begged for understanding: The courts are making us do this, they claimed. We paused all new leasing a year ago but got slapped by an injunction that required us to do the auction. It is out of our hands.

"We're required to comply with the injunction," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in November as all this was unfolding. "It's a legal case and legal process, but it's important for advocates and other people out there who are following this to understand that it's not aligned with our view, the president's policies, or the executive order that he signed."

And if my cat had wheels, she'd be a wagon. The Guardian reports:

The Biden administration admitted that a court decision did not compel it to lease vast tracts of the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling, shortly before claiming it was legally obliged to do so when announcing the sell-off, the Guardian can reveal.

The president's administration insisted it was obliged to hold the lease sale due to a court ruling in favor of a dozen states that sued to lift a blanket pause placed on new drilling permits by Biden. But a memo filed by the US Department of Justice before the lease sale acknowledges that this judgement does not force the government to auction off drilling rights to the gulf.

"The administration has been misleading on this, to put it mildly. It's very disappointing," said Thomas Meyer, national organizing manager of Food and Water Watch. "They didn't have to hold this sale and they didn't have to hold it on this timeline. We know this will exacerbate the climate crisis, it undermines US credibility abroad and it contradicts a campaign promise by Biden."

The urgent need to address anthropogenic climate disruption becomes more evident by the day. A massive Antarctic ice shelf called Thwaites is maybe five years away from shattering, according to newly released data. "Total collapse of Thwaites could result in several feet of sea level rise, reports The Washington Post, "endangering millions of people in coastal areas."

A historically hot summer in the Pacific Northwest is responsible for the heat-related deaths of as many as a billion sea creatures. Many other species have also been impacted, including humans. These so-called "heat domes" have been followed by long stretches of warm, dry weather that has virtually erased the snow pack high in the western mountains. Without enough snowfall, drought and fire are all but guaranteed to follow.

Only days ago, tornadoes tore through nine states, including Kentucky, in the middle of the night, causing unimaginable damage and sparking a debate as to the relationship of the climate crisis to the monster storm. A variety of factors are involved in the formation of tornadoes, making it difficult to pinpoint causality. Yet the sheer size of the storm, combined with the timing - tornadoes of any size in December are extremely rare - make it hard to claim that climate had nothing to do with it.

President Biden campaigned hard on salvaging the climate fight before it is too late. While he is no Donald Trump, Biden has been revealed in this oil lease fiasco as yet another lying politician willing to eat dirt for the fossil fuel industry. Trump would have done these things and then claimed he didn't, but would've said that even if he had done them, which he didn't, they were the right things to do. Biden just does them, and moves on down the line.

The president has broken the First Rule of Birds. The trouble is, this nest belongs to all of us, and we are well and truly screwed without it.

(c) 2021 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Workers at Kellogg's cereal plants are striking over the loss of premium health care, holiday and vacation pay, and reduced retirement benefits.

Striking Kellogg's Workers Need The PRO Act
The president issued a great statement in support of striking workers who are threatened with replacement. But corporations won't respect workers' rights until the Protecting the Right to Organize Act passes.
By John Nichols

President Biden issued a suitably blunt statement last week in support of striking Kellogg's workers, who faced the threat of being permanently replaced by the cereal company that has decided to ditch its cheerful Frosted Flakes image and play union-busting hardball. Unfortunately, corporations are going to need more than a push from the president to clear the way for workers to organize unions and negotiate for fair pay and workforce protections.

For that to happen, the Democratic-led Congress must enact the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a comprehensive set of labor-law reforms that, among other things, would prevent employers from firing and permanently replacing workers who are on strike. A bipartisan majority in the House already approved the measure in March. But, as with so many other vital pieces of legislation, filibustering Republicans in the US Senate are now blocking the act from advancing through the chambers. And Democrats have failed to muster the majority needed for a filibuster-busting rules change.

Every filibuster delay in this Congress is troublesome. But the failure of US lawmakers to take up the PRO Act is especially frustrating because, in addition to being widely popular with the base of voters that elected Biden and gave Democrats control of the Senate, it is necessary at a time when corporations like Amazon and Kellogg's are seeking to game the system in order to undermine the collective bargaining rights of working-class Americans. There's Always More Money for the Pentagon

Biden recognized the crisis in his message supporting Kellogg's workers.

"Collective bargaining is an essential tool to protect the rights of workers that should be free from threats and intimidation from employers," declared the president, who has been far more willing than his Democratic predecessors to align with organized labor. "That's why I am deeply troubled by reports of Kellogg's plans to permanently replace striking workers from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International during their ongoing collective bargaining negotiations."

The president's statement got to the heart of the matter in the dispute between the cereal company and workers who have been on strike at four plants since October 5. While the walkout has achieved some progress on pay and benefits issues, the workers voted this month to maintain their strike in an effort to end a two-tier wage system that pays younger employees less and undermines the bargaining position of all workers at the plants. It was then that Kellogg North American President Chris Hood announced, "The prolonged work stoppage has left us no choice but to continue executing the next phase of our contingency plan including hiring replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers."

That's a threat to the livelihoods of workers who during the course of the coronavirus pandemic have been recognized as "essential" but are now a target for displacement. "Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members' jobs and livelihoods," observed Biden in his statement on Friday, adding that "such action undermines the critical role collective bargaining plays in providing workers a voice and the opportunity to improve their lives while contributing fully to their employer's success."

The president also stated, "I have long opposed permanent striker replacements and I strongly support legislation that would ban that practice," and that his "unyielding support for unions includes support for collective bargaining, and I will aggressively defend both."

All good. And certainly encouraging for union members who are on the picket lines as the holiday season approaches. Biden's statement is "exactly what we needed at this time," said Dan Osborn, president of the BCTGM 50G local in Omaha, Neb.

However, good words must be matched with good deeds, especially at a point when an unstable and rapidly changing economy has made more Americans recognize that they are going to need strong unions in order to navigate the future of work. There is no question that support for organized labor is high-with 68 percent approval in the latest Gallup poll, better than at any time since the 1960s-and that unions are flexing their muscles. United Auto Workers members who work at John Deere plants struck this year and, after refusing initial offers from the company, secured what the union describes as "a groundbreaking contract" that "sets a new standard for workers not only within the UAW but throughout the country." And baristas at a Starbucks shop in Buffalo just voted to unionize, joining Service Employees International Union affiliate Workers United, a breakthrough victory in efforts to organize 8,947 country-owned stores.

But the Starbucks vote was exceptionally contentious, and Workers United members continue to raise the alarm about the tactics of managers who have sought for months to thwart organizing and collective bargaining efforts. One manager wrote after the vote that she was "saddened" by the result and warned about "the divisive 'us versus them' environment that has changed our work environment." That letter offered a reminder that the work of negotiating a fair first contract is likely to be rough. Even as he recognized the Buffalo vote as "historic," Senate Budget Committee chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) advised, "The company should stop pouring money into the fight against the union and negotiate a fair contract now."

It doesn't have to be this hard. If Biden and the Democrats would simply upend the filibuster and pass the PRO Act, fundamental barriers to organizing and collective bargaining would be struck down. Under the proposal:

1. Employers would no longer be allowed to intimidate and pressure workers who want to organize a union, as happened earlier this year when Amazon workers were seeking to organize in Alabama.
2. Newly organized unions could use mediation and arbitration to overcome management resistance to negotiating first contracts, a change that would be critical for the Starbucks workers in New York and millions like them.
3. Employers could not use the immigration status of employees in order to threaten workers who stand up for their rights.
Companies that violate the rights of workers would face financial penalties, as would executives and corporate officers.
Unions would be allowed to override so-called "right-to-work" laws, which were initially used to undermine multiracial unions in segregated Southern states but have now spread to states such as Wisconsin and Michigan.
Employers would be prevented from locking out, suspending or withholding work from employees to stop them from striking; from telling employees that they are independent contractors when they are actually employees; from forcing employees to attend anti-union messaging meetings; from changing work conditions, pay or benefits while negotiating a union contract; from forcing employees to waive their right to collective and class legal action. And, of course, it would prevent the permanent replacement of workers who are striking, thus averting the threat facing Kellogg's workers.
President Biden knows these changes are needed. He campaigned in 2020 as a supporter of the PRO Act. As president, he has said:
Nearly 60 million Americans would join a union if they get a chance, but too many employers and states prevent them from doing so through anti-union attacks. They know that without unions, they can run the table on workers-union and non-union alike.

We should all remember that the National Labor Relations Act didn't just say that we shouldn't hamstring unions or merely tolerate them. It said that we should encourage unions. The PRO Act would take critical steps to help restore this intent.

Biden's rhetoric is great. But this requires more than pronouncements from the bully pulpit. If the president wants to protect workers, he needs to turn up the heat on reluctant Democrats such as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, both of whom were elected with significant union support. Manchin is a cosponsor of the PRO Act, while Sinema is not, but both have refused to embrace meaningful filibuster reforms. Until they do, Democratic talk about supporting union members won't be backed up by the protections those workers need.

(c) 2021 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

The Dumbing Down
By James Donahue

Not long ago we spotted a strange and somewhat frightening report by an unidentified person who said this information was highly classified and goes by the name "Final Legion" project.

The person described the project as a "dynamic social experiment" that has been occurring in various governments in the Western World for many years. "It is most recognized via the medical and education industries, which are our source for Apologetics and denial control. We spend considerable time and effort altering societal statistics and correlating data for 'Disinformation' purposes."

The effects of the experiment have been seen for at least six years, and increasing in volume with each passing year. The writer noted that the desired effects include:

--Increased strength

--Better bone density than natural selection.

--Larger, more imposing bodies.

--Controlled aggressiveness.

--Loss of emotion.

If you think of it, all of the above qualities in a human body would produce a number of either very good soldiers and/or very good slaves capable of producing a lot of work for a slave master. When you examine the loss of emotion and aggressive behavior, we also may be considering a reduction in general intelligence.

The writer noted that there have been some side effects of the experiment. They include:

--Reduced intelligence (as we deducted).

--Short attention span.

--An earlier onset of puberty.

--Very high Libido.

--Very strong appetites

--Attention Deficit Disorder and other mental health issues.

Many of these results, including the loss of intellect, early onset of puberty and increased sexual activity might be the perfect answer to the creation of a large number of people with slave mentality. They would be easy to control, would work hard, and breed like rabbits. The only problem would be they would consume a lot of food and with a short attention span, would have to be guarded to keep them from wandering from the job.

Then there has been a third list of unexpected side effects that could be a problem to any master race of beings with intentions on controlling us. They include:

--A tendency for excessive violent behavior.

--Social hysteria when in large numbers.

--Brain tumors and general clotting.

--Suicidal tendency.

--Tunnel cognitive syndrome.

--Low communication skills.

--Low self-awareness.

--Problems in perception, determination of proximity and speed.

Indeed, we have been hearing about a startling increase in the number of children with A.D.D., we have been observing scenes of social hysteria after 9-11 in the United States, in Iran, China and other places in the world, and there appears to be a general dumbing down of people everywhere.

The youth of the world "twitters" on the Internet rather than read good literature or seek good grades in school. Children are entering puberty at younger and younger ages, and there is an almost frantic interest in sex and sexual perversion everywhere. Athletic prowess is of great interest, even to a point where athletes are using steroids to build strength and muscle.

Are we falling into an alien trap? Are we raising children to be slaves to an alien master race, or is something else happening to us?

Just what is the secret "Final Legion" project, and who was it that posted this information on the World Wide Web?

(c) 2021 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

What Would Have Been Better Than A Democracy Summit And Why There Should Not Be Any More Pearl Harbor Days
By David Swanson

Remarks on Free Press Webinar on December 11, 2021 The glory of Pearl Harbor Day still lingered yesterday on Human Rights Day with a Democracy Summit wrapping up and Nobel So-Called Peace Prize laureates talking about U.S. government-approved and -funded journalism. U.S. media is dominated by Donald Trump and how he's out of power at the moment. All is just going swimmingly in the steady march of freedom and goodness. If you pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain. Or maybe it's a small army of little men behind a thousand curtains. We can discuss the many causes and motivations of deception and self-deception. Suffice it to say that once you look, listen, or smell for an instant at the actual state of the world, you can't turn away, and you can't stomach the pretty picture.

The U.S. government is trying to imprison or kill Julian Assange for the crime of journalism, arm Saudi Arabia for the crime of genocide, and overthrow the government of Venezuela for the crime of representing Venezuelans. Residents of Pearl Harbor have jet fuel in their drinking water, which is downright healthy in comparison with the myths spread around about Pearl Harbor's history. Climate-collapse weather is ripping through U.S. towns and sweatshops on the mainland. And various powerful U.S. figures are being let off the hook as their supplier of underage sex is prosecuted.

The exclusion of certain countries from the "democracy summit" was not a side issue. It was the very purpose of the summit. And excluded countries were not excluded for failing to meet the standards of behavior of those that were invited or the one doing the inviting. Invitees didn't even have to be countries, as even a U.S. backed failed coup leader from Venezuela was invited. So were representatives of Israel, Iraq, Pakistan, DRC, Zambia, Angola, Malaysia, Kenya, and - critically - pawns in the game: Taiwan and Ukraine.

What game? The weapons sales game. Look at the U.S. State Department website on the Democracy Summit. Right at the top: "'Democracy doesn't happen by accident. We have to defend it, fight for it, strengthen it, renew it.' -President Joseph R. Biden, Jr."

Not only do you have to "defend" and "fight," but you have to do so against certain threats, and get a big gang in on the fighting to "tackle the greatest threats faced by democracies today through collective action." The representatives of democracy at this amazing summit are such experts at democracy that they can "defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad." It's the abroad part that may make you scratch your head if you're thinking of democracy as having anything to do with, you know, democracy. How do you do it for someone else's country? But keep reading, and the Russiagate themes become clear:

"[A]uthoritarian leaders are reaching across borders to undermine democracies - from targeting journalists and human rights defenders to meddling in elections."
You see, the problem is not that the United States has long been, in reality, an oligarchy. The problem is not the U.S. status as top holdout on basic human rights treaties, top opponent of international law, top abuser of the veto at the United Nations, top incarcerator, top environmental destroyer, top weapons dealer, top funder of dictatorships, top war launcher, and top coup sponsor. The problem is not that, rather than democratizing the United Nations, the U.S. government is attempting to create a new forum in which it is, uniquely and even more than before, more equal than everybody else. The problem is certainly not the rigged primary election that Russiagate was concocted to distract from. And in no way whatsoever is the problem the 85 foreign elections, counting just those we know of and can list, that the U.S. government has interfered in. The problem is Russia. And nothing sells weapons like Russia - though China is catching up.

The oddest thing about the democracy summit is that there was not a democracy in sight. I mean not even in pretense or formality. The U.S. public votes on nothing, not even on whether to hold democracy summits. Back in the 1930s the Ludlow Amendment almost gave us the right to vote on whether any war could be started, but the State Department shut that effort down decisively, and it's never returned.

The U.S. government is not just a system of elected representation rather than a democracy, and a highly corrupted one that fundamentally fails to represent, but it's also driven by an anti-democratic culture in which politicians routinely brag to the public about ignoring public opinion polls and are applauded for it. When sheriffs or judges misbehave, the main criticism is usually that they were elected. A more popular reform than clean money or fair media is the anti-democratic imposition of term limits. Politics is such a dirty word in the United States that I received an email last week from an activist group accusing one of the two U.S. political parties of "politicizing elections." (It turned out that they had in mind various voter-suppression behavior, all too common in the world's beacon of democracy, where the winner of every election is "none of the above" and the most popular party is "neither.")

Not only was there no national democracy in sight. There was also nothing democratic happening at the summit. The handpicked gang of officials did not vote or achieve consensus on anything. The participation in governance that you could find even at an Occupy Movement event was nowhere to be seen. And neither were there any corporate journalists shrieking at them: "WHAT IS YOUR ONE SINGLE DEMAND? WHAT IS YOUR ONE SINGLE DEMAND?" They had several completely vague and hypocritical goals on the website - produced, of course, without a shred of democracy being employed or a single tyrant being harmed in the process.

Better than a democracy summit would have been establishing the right to vote, publicly funding election campaigns, ending gerrymandering, ending the filibuster, ending the Senate, publicly counting paper ballots at polling places, creating the means for citizen initiatives to set public policy, criminalizing bribery, forbidding the profiting by public officials from their public actions, ending the sale or gift of weapons to foreign governments, shutting foreign military bases, quintupling actual foreign aid and prioritizing support for law-abiding governments, ceasing to be the leading holdout on human rights and disarmament treaties, joining the International Criminal Court, abolishing the veto at the UN Security Council, abolishing the UN Security Council in favor of the General Assembly, complying with the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, joining the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, ending lawless immoral and deadly sanctions on a few dozen countries, investing in a program of conversion to peaceful and green energies, prohibiting the consumption of fossil fuel, prohibiting deforestation, prohibiting the keeping of or slaughter of livestock, prohibiting the killing of human prisoners, prohibiting mass incarceration, and - well - one could go on all night, when the simple answer is that anything, even a warm bucket of spit, would have been better than a democracy summit.

Let's hope it's the last, and let's dare to hope that this past Pearl Harbor Day is the last as well. 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-Biden 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. The U.S. war plans and warnings of the Japanese attack were published in U.S. and Hawaiian newspapers prior to the attack.

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 secretly ordered the creation of a list of every Japanese and Japanese-American person in the United States.

It matter that people make the leap from "all wars but one in history have been horrible evil catastrophes" to "all wars in history have been horrible evil catastrophes," and rejecting outrageous Pearl Harbor propaganda is needed for that to happen.

(c) 2021 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

The fossil record indicates five mass extinction episodes have occurred, defined by disappearance
of more than 75 per cent of all species within 2.8 million years, a mere blink in evolutionary time.

We Have To Stop Squandering Our Brief Time On Earth
By David Suzuki

The planet and its miraculous nature will go on with or without us. After all, extinction is an essential part of life's history on the planet, and we humans seem determined to fuel our own demise through unsustainable exploitation and destruction of the natural world that makes human life and flourishing possible.

In the 3.9 billion years we think life has existed on Earth, immense changes have occurred. The sun is 30 per cent warmer today, great continental plates have pulled apart and smashed together, mountains have risen up, oceans filled then emptied. Magnetic poles have reversed then switched back. Ice ages have punctuated warm periods.

After life invented photosynthesis, the atmosphere was transformed by removal of carbon dioxide and addition of oxygen. Those life forms were fixed by their heredity to specific habitats and needs, so when environmental conditions changed, they were displaced by others better suited to the new state. More than 99.99 per cent of all species that have ever existed are extinct, and that is how life has persisted.

The fossil record indicates five mass extinction episodes have occurred, defined by disappearance of more than 75 per cent of all species within 2.8 million years, a mere blink in evolutionary time. In the five great extinctions, 75 to 90 per cent of terrestrial and marine plants and animals vanished.

Despite these enormous disruptions, life recovered in diversity and abundance, although radically different in makeup. In the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction 66 million years ago, when dinosaurs disappeared after ruling the planet for 180 million years, mammals took advantage and thrived.

On average, an invertebrate species' lifespan is about 11 million years, and a mammalian species lasts between one and two million years. After a mass extinction, ecosystems recover after two million years, while the biosphere takes about 10 million years to fully flourish again. These numbers and time frames are inferred from the fossil record and geology, and can provide a framework within which to assess the current epoch, often called the Anthropocene.

The explosive growth of human numbers, technological innovation and demands of the global economy have amplified our species' ecological footprint so greatly that we have triggered another mass extinction episode. Unlike the previous five, this sixth extinction is the direct consequence of one species, us - an infant species that has only been around for 300,000 years.

Although I have faith that nature will continue on despite all we've done, whether or not we're around for it, it will take millions of years for the biosphere to equilibrate again with another array of unimaginable and wondrous biodiversity. It's as if we've sped up time. Many plant and animal species we care about were destined to be here for a few million years at most, but now they're disappearing at unimaginable rates, often within our lifetimes. We're the first species to have caused rapid extinction and to be aware of what we're doing. We have spread across the planet and become a geological force, reshaping the land and water according to our demands.

But as the top planetary predator, we're one of the species most vulnerable to extinction - of other species and our own. If the plants and animals we rely on for food and more become extinct, we're in trouble.

We have the intelligence to recognize the crisis and resolve it by pulling back, ceasing activities that contribute to extinctions, and encouraging nature. Nature always bats last, and wins. That's because it sets the rules. And nature has an ace up its sleeve: time, all the time in the world until the sun burns out and is no more.

We have become the impatient species, too busy to let nature replenish itself and too puffed up with our own sense of importance to acknowledge our utter dependence on its generosity. Instead, we steal from our children and future generations by extinguishing so many species that could have been here for them too.

We have many reasons to change our destructive ways, to show greater respect to nature. Above all, we have to think of the world we're leaving to our children and grandchildren and those yet to be born. We must do it for love.

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

Actually Fight The Pandemic? That's Bad Politics For A Republican
Missouri's local health departments just found that out.
By Charles P. Pierce

The next time someone accuses any Democratic politician, or any completely apolitical epidemiologist, of "politicizing the pandemic," point them towards the state of Missouri, whose politics were toxic enough before the virus got here. Eric Schmitt, the state's attorney general, is running for the Senate and, as an essential part of his platform, he is coming out in support of contagion. From the Kansas City Star:

Since Thursday, more than half a dozen departments have announced they are suspending coronavirus-related work after Schmitt, a Republican campaigning for U.S. Senate, sent letters earlier in the week. The announcements come from health departments in mostly rural counties - none have been issued from the Kansas City or St. Louis metropolitan areas. Rural Missouri counties have struggled throughout the pandemic to contain cases amid low vaccination rates, pushback from the public and limited funds.
Schmitt, of course, is free to pursue this irresponsible, lunatic policy because of an irresponsible, lunatic decision by a local judge.
In his letters, Schmitt outlined a Nov. 22 decision by Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green, who ruled the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) didn't have the authority, under the Missouri Constitution, to "permit naked lawmaking by bureaucrats across Missouri." He struck down regulations giving local health departments the power to issue quarantine and other public health orders, such as closing businesses.
There is a reason why we publish our regular reports from Dr. Ken Starnes, the doctor working down there in Winter's Bone country where Missouri bleeds into Arkansas, and vice versa. It's because these are the places that are already limited in their public-health options as far as keeping track of the spread of the pandemic. They can't investigate outbreaks, or do extensive contact tracing. And now the health departments of these battered little places can't even act with any autonomy at all, because the AG wants to be a senator, and it is impossible to win a Republican primary in Missouri if you believe in actually fighting a killer pandemic. This is simply crazy, and the crazy is not limited to COVID.
McDonald County Health Department officials in southwest Missouri also issued a statement and told residents in Facebook comments that they will continue only to report case numbers and call people who test positive to inform them of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We have talked to other health (departments) and several lawyers," the department wrote. "The way it is written we are unable to enforce any public health orders therefore we can not isolate positive cases." Asked if it could order isolation for other illnesses, McDonald health officials wrote, "We are unable to do that now as well."
I swear, we're not far from bleeding people with leeches and offering up sacrifices to Ba'al. Keep electing Republicans of our current design, and we inch ever closer.

(c) 2021 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote -

""Is protecting working families and cutting childhood poverty an 'entitlement?'"
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Spike In Violence In 2021 By Israeli Forces, Squatters, Toward Palestinian Children: Defense For Children, UN's Bachelet
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Defense for Children International-Palestine reports that 2021 was the deadliest year for Palestinian children in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories in seven years, with 78 killed by Israeli troops or militant Zionist squatter-settlers. The bulk of these deaths came from last May's indiscriminate Israeli bombardment of densely-populated Gaza. Israeli forces also killed 15 children in the Occupied West Bank, and squatter-settlers killed two there. Seven Palestinian children were killed by misfiring rockets shot off by Hamas or other radicals in Gaza, and one died from the blast of ordinance, the origin of which could not be determined.

Seventeen of the children were killed by Israeli troops' live fire. DCI-P adds, "At least nine Palestinian children were shot and killed in the context of demonstrations or confrontations with Israeli forces and did not present a direct threat to life or of serious injury when they were shot."

International law does not permit indiscriminate fire or a disproportionate response, and at least some of these killings by Israeli forces may be war crimes.

DCI-P writes,

"Israeli warplanes and weaponized drones bombarded densely populated civilian areas killing Palestinian children sleeping in their beds, playing in their neighborhoods, shopping at stores near their homes, and celebrating Eid Al-Fitr with their families," said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. "The international community's lack of political will to hold Israeli officials accountable guarantees that Israeli soldiers will continue to unlawfully kill Palestinian children with impunity."

This week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also addressed the issue of killed children:

"On 5 November, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was shot with live ammunition in the abdomen, and killed, by Israeli forces stationed about 50 meters away, during demonstrations in Deir Al-Hatab near the illegal Israeli settlement Elon Moreh. This year, Israeli forces have killed 16 children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. These and all other killings, as well as all incidents of excessive and unwarranted use of lethal force by Israeli forces, must be thoroughly and effectively investigated, and those responsible held to account."
Bachelet further noted that Israeli squatters were responsible for 480 deaths, injuries, or significant property damage this year in attacks on Palestinians, "the highest incidence of settler violence ever recorded by the United Nations." Not a day goes by, she observed, but that squatters attack Palestinians. She worries about the spiraling increase in violence, with "four Palestinians killed and 167 injured by settlers, including seven with live ammunition."

Bonus Video:

TRT World: "Israel uses settler violence to grab Palestinian land"

(c) 2021 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

Starbucks employees and supporters react as votes are read during a viewing of their union
election on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. Starbucks workers at a Buffalo store voted to
unionize on Thursday, a first for the 50-year-old coffee retailer in the U.S. and the latest sign that
the labor movement is stirring after decades of decline.

This Victory Of Starbucks Employees In Buffalo Will Reverberate Across America
What occurred at one Starbucks store is part of a much larger pattern - a surge in strikes and labor actions across America
By Robert Reich

Workers in one Starbucks store, in Buffalo, New York, made history on Thursday by becoming Starbuck's first unionized workplace in the US. It's a watershed for the biggest coffee seller in the world, which operates 8,953 stores in the United States - and which has done everything in its power to keep its workers from forming a union.

The vote itself was tiny. There were 19 baristas and shift supervisors who voted in favor of unionizing, 8 voted against. But it marked a huge victory, nonetheless. Starbucks had waged a massive anti-union campaign in Buffalo - sending out-of-town managers and even executives into stores to discourage unionizing, closing down some stores, and packing remaining stores with new employees in order to dilute pro-union employees' voting power.

For years, Starbucks workers have complained about the company's labor practices, claiming that chronic understaffing has created a chaotic work environment, unpredictable hours, and difficulty in taking sick days. Despite episodic commitments by Starbucks management to change, the complaints have continued. They intensified during the pandemic when overstretched Starbucks employees had to deal with new health risks and safety protocols.

The union election marks one of the highest-profile union wins in memory for US restaurant workers, who are among the least unionized in the country and whose pay and benefits are among the lowest in all of corporate America. It's certain to encourage more unionizing efforts among workers in restaurant chains.

What occurred on Thursday at one Starbucks store is part of a much larger pattern - a surge in strikes and labor actions across America.

Kellogg's striking workers are still holding the line and refusing to allow the company to separate employees into tiers (with newer workers getting lower pay and benefits). Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama will get another chance to unionize (the National Labor Relations Board found that Amazon used unfair labor practices in the recent election there). And 3,000 student workers at Columbia University have been on strike for six weeks to demand better pay and health care (on Monday, at least 100 members of the Columbia faculty joined them on the picket line).

What's going on? Partly, low-wage workers have more bargaining leverage now than they've had in years. As the pandemic recedes (let's hope it continues to), consumers are spending at a higher rate than they have in over twenty months. To respond to this surge in pent-up demand, employers are seeking workers.

At the same time, workers across America are taking a fresh look at their jobs. Record-high "quit" rates and near record low rates of labor-participation suggest that a significant number are asking themselves if they want to go back to their old jobs - and are answering "no."

Part of the "no" is an unwillingness to settle for their former wages and working conditions - especially in big companies (like Starbucks, Amazon, and Kelloggs) whose profits have been sky-high. (Or even in richly-endowed universities like Columbia.) That "no" is also reverberating across America in the form of strikes.

Many of these workers were on the front lines in the pandemic, and now feel it's time for their efforts to be rewarded. At a deeper level, I suspect the pandemic itself has caused many people to reevaluate what they're doing with their lives and to set different priorities for themselves.

For years, many big corporations like Starbucks have sold themselves as "socially-responsible" - offering consumers the soothing reassurance that in buying their products they're somehow advancing the common good. That was always bullshit. Corporations exist only to make money. Corporate social responsibility is a jejune form of public relations. Starbucks's aggressively marketed "socially responsible" business model turns out to be no different.

When corporations like Starbucks fight their workers' legal right to form a union, the PR veil is lifted for all to see what's really going on. Starbucks calls its workers "partners," but they're not in fact partners. They don't share in the firm's profits.

Between January and September of this year, Starbucks's revenue soared to $20.9bn - compared to $17.3bn in the same period last year. Its president and chief executive officer, Kevin Johnson, made $14,665,575 in total compensation last year and is on the way to getting a far larger package this year. Yet current average hourly pay at Starbucks is $14, or $28,000 a year.

It's all about power - the power of workers to join together to gain the bargaining clout they need for better pay and working conditions, up against corporate power to keep wages so low that shareholders and executives can make even more. The victory at one Starbucks store in Buffalo, New York, is a small step on the long road toward rebalancing such power.

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

US Army soldiers in the 1/501st of the 25th Infantry Division shield their eyes from the powerful rotor wash
of a Chinook cargo helicopter as they are picked up from a mission October 15, 2009 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.

Build Back Better Or Build More Bombs? The Choice Is Clear!
Perennial claims about precision "smart bombs" by the Pentagon and its boosters have been proven false again and again around the world, by the corpses of civilians-dehumanized as "collateral damage"-killed by U.S. weaponry.
By Amy Goodman

"We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." ~~~ Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, 1961

As special interests in Washington, DC pared President Joe Biden's Build Back Better package from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion over ten years, the $768 billion annual Pentagon budget sailed through the House of Representatives. That's equivalent to about $8 trillion over ten years, significantly larger than Build Back Better, passed with bipartisan harmony. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is now in the Senate, where additional spending amendments are being pushed for this "must pass" legislation. If budgets indicate a society's values, then it's clear what's important to the United States: weapons and war.

"It is astounding how quickly Congress moves weapons but we can't ensure housing, care, and justice for our veterans, nor invest in robust jobs programs for districts like mine."

The NDAA as passed in the House was actually $24 billion more than the Biden administration asked for, and, according to Politico, is "a key step in shedding aging weapons and helping the Pentagon pivot toward emerging technologies." That news will bring joy to the military industrial complex.

News accounts abound of high-tech weaponry being tested and deployed by Russia, China and other perceived adversaries. Russia just launched a satellite-killing missile, scoring a direct hit on one of its defunct satellites. China reportedly launched a "hypersonic" missile capable of delivering a surprise nuclear first-strike against the United States.

"The U.S. spends 10 times what Russia spends, about 3 times what China spends," Bill Hartung said on the Democracy Now! news hour. Hartung is the author of a new report, "Arming Repression: U.S. Military Support for Saudi Arabia, from Trump to Biden," and of the book "Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex." He added, "It has 13 times as many active nuclear warheads in its stockpile as China does. We've got 11 aircraft carriers of a type that China doesn't have. We've got 800 US military bases around the globe while China has three. So this whole idea that China and Russia are military threats to the United States has primarily been manufactured to jump up the military budget. So far, unfortunately, at least in the halls of Congress and the Biden administration, that's been successful."

The military budget includes the largest amount ever requested for research into novel weapons systems, cyberwarfare, artificial intelligence and the development of killer robots.

"Killer robots are a thing of the future but not the distant future," Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch's arms division and co-founder of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, said on the Democracy Now! "It is not the human who decides what to target and when to pull the trigger but instead the weapon system itself does this through artificial intelligence and sensors and algorithms. This is not just a new weapon, it is a new form of warfare and not one that's going to be nice to humankind."

The United Nations is hosting a Convention on Conventional Weapons conference in Geneva next week, where rules governing these killer robots will be discussed. The United States is "rejecting...prohibitions or restrictions on the development and acquisition of fully autonomous weapons," Steve Goose said.

At a conference this week, Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Mark Milley said, "The nation state that masters artificial intelligence and integrates it into military operations, combines it with going to have an extraordinary advantage." He added, "Our ability to hit with long range precision fires is unprecedented. We can strike anywhere on the globe, at very, very refined levels of accuracy."

Sadly, perennial claims about precision "smart bombs" by the Pentagon and its boosters have been proven false again and again around the world, by the corpses of civilians-dehumanized as "collateral damage"-killed by U.S. weaponry.

The New York Times recently reported on a March, 2019 airstrike in Baghuz, Syria, originally said to be targeting ISIS combatants. One 500-pound bomb was dropped on a gathering of women and children. Minutes later, survivors were targeted with two 2,000-pound bombs. The attack, ordered by a secretive U.S. Special Operations unit known as Task Force 9, killed an estimated 80 people. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a full review of the incident.

Airwars, a non-profit organization that tracks military actions and civilian harm in conflict zones like Syria, Iraq and Yemen, has recorded almost 60,000 civilian deaths over the past 15 years, reflecting only officially reported airstrikes.

"$770 Billion to the Pentagon just easily passed the house 363-70," newly elected progressive New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman tweeted after the House passed the NDAA. "It is astounding how quickly Congress moves weapons but we can't ensure housing, care, and justice for our veterans, nor invest in robust jobs programs for districts like mine." Build back better or build more bombs? The choice is clear.

(c) 2021 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now,!" a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 750 stations in North America. She is the co"author of "Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times," recently released in paperback and "Breaking The Sound Barrier."

The Cartoon Corner -

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Marian Kamensky ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Country That Decries Mistreatment Of Journalists & Whistleblowers Can't Wait To Get Its Hands On Assange
By The Waterford Whispers News

PENDING several more rounds of appeals, the US has taken a step closer to teaching the world a lesson about what happens when someone publishes information which utterly shames them, embarrasses them on the world stage and proves them liars.

After a court ruling in the UK Julian Assange faces extradition over the publication of thousands of classified documents about 'torture, murder and other bullshit' as outlined by US officials.

"When another country hounds someone like this it's brazen attack on journalism but when we do it it's like, very cool, and we're honestly shocked you still get surprised by this," confirmed a spokesperson for the US administration.

"Is it too on the nose to see if we can keep him in Guantanamo Bay? And no, it's wrong to say we get 'perverse pleasure' out of this," added the spokesperson.

The US dismissed Amnesty International's claims the extradition is a 'travesty of justice', but said it would resume agreeing with and respecting Amnesty International's work once it focuses back on non-US matters.

"You've got to laugh sometimes, we'd call this a sad day for democracy and freedoms if this was any geopolitical rival pulling this, but because it's us we've popped the champagne and called it a victory for the world," added the spokesperson.

Elsewhere, as part of its case the US authorities assured judges they promises to 'reduce the risk of suicide' and have already hired the crew that were on the night shifts when Jeffrey Epstein was jailed and pledge to get the CCTV back working.

(c) 2021 The Waterford Whispers News


Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 48 (c) 12/17/2021

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

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

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

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

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