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In This Edition

Chris Walker returns with, "Trump Billed Secret Service $1.4 Million At His Properties During Presidency."

Ralph Nader wonders, "With No One Answering Phones, How Can We Actually Reach People?"

Leonard Pitts Jr. remembers, "Once Upon A Time, America Was Brave."

Jim Hightower says, "We're Stuck On A Monopoly Merry-Go-Round."

Jake Johnson says, "House Dem Says 'Every Republican Should Be Asked' About GOP Ploy To Cut Social Security."

John Nichols says, "Evers Is Right, And Michels Is Wrong, About Marijuana Legalization."

James Donahue says there's, "No Such Thing As Coincidence."

David Swanson finds, "2022: Nobel Committee Gets Peace Prize Wrong Yet Again."

David Suzuki says, "It's Time To Extinguish Oil And Gas Industry 'Gaslighting.'"

Chris Hedges hears, "The Crush Of Our Song."

Juan Cole reports, "More Principled Than Biden, Australia's Labor Gov't Revokes Recognition Of Jerusalem As Israeli Capital."

Robert Reich wonders, "The Criminal Case Against Donald J. Trump Has Been Established, But Will The Garland Act?"

Thom Hartmann says, "We Must Choose: Democracy Or War."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots'department Andy Borowitz reports, "Trump Sends January 6th Committee A Note From His Podiatrist," but first, Uncle Ernie asks, "How Long Can You Tread Water Part IV?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jeff Stahler, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Mandel Ngan, Ekaterina Goncharova, J. Scott Applewhite, Drew Angerer, Justin Sullivan, Braeson Holland, Emily Hamer, Alex Wong, Gerd Altmann, Jim Hightower, Twitter, Pixabay, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments -

The Quotable Quote -
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How Long Can You Tread Water Part IV
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"My research program aims to determine how ice sheets flow and fall apart. Understanding ice sheet dynamics on Earth is critical for the prediction of past and future global ice volumes, which have direct implications for global sea level. At present, the question that drives our research is: How does ice-sheet melting modulate ice-sheet flow? To approach this question, we pair geophysical observations with time-dependent inverse methods and computational modeling. We investigate Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet, ice shelf, and outlet glacier flow dynamics to better understand the physical mechanisms that destabilize ice sheets with increased surface meltwater production in our warming climate." ~~~ Professor Laura Stevens

I see where global warming is resulting in sea level rise as ice on land melts and oceans expand. How much and how fast sea levels will rise in the near future will depend, in part, on the frequency of glacier calving events. These occur when large chunks of ice detach from glaciers that terminate in the ocean (known as tidewater glaciers), and fall into coastal fjords as icebergs. The faster these glaciers flow over the ground towards the ocean, the more ice enters the ocean, increasing the rate of sea level rise.

During the warmer summer months, the surface of Greenland's glaciers can melt and form large lakes that may then drain through to the base of the glacier. Studies on the inland Greenland ice sheet have shown that this reduces friction between the ice and ground, causing the ice to slide faster for a few days. Up to now, however, it has been unclear whether such drainage events affect the flow speed of tidewater glaciers, and hence the rate of calving events.

To investigate this, a research team from Oxford University's Earth Sciences department, the Oxford University Mathematical Institute, and Columbia University used Global Positioning System (GPS) observations of the flow speed of Helheim Glacier -- the largest single-glacier contributor to sea level rise in Greenland. The GPS captured a near perfect natural experiment: high-temporal-resolution observations of the glacier's flow response to lake drainage.

The results found that Helheim Glacier behaved very differently to the inland ice sheet, which shows a fast, downhill movement during lake drainage events. In contrast, Helheim Glacier exhibited a relatively small 'pulse' of movement where the glacier sped up for a short amount of time and then moved slower, resulting in no net increase in movement.

Using a numerical model of the subglacial drainage system, the researchers discovered that this observation was likely caused by Helheim glacier having an efficient system of channels and cavities along its bed. This allows the draining waters to be quickly evacuated from the glacier bed without causing an increase in the total net movement.

Although this appears positive news in terms of sea level rise implications, the researchers suspected that a different effect may occur for glaciers without an efficient drainage system where surface melt is currently low but will increase in future due to climate change (such as in Antarctica).

They ran a mathematical model based on the conditions of colder, Antarctic tidewater glaciers. The results indicated that lake drainages under these conditions would produce a net increase in glacier movement. This was largely due to the less efficient winter-time subglacial drainage system not being able to evacuate flood waters quickly. As of yet, however, there are no observations of Antarctic tidewater glacier responses to lake drainage.

The study calls into question some common approaches for inferring glacial drainage systems based on glacier velocities recorded using satellite observations (which are currently used in sea level rise models).

Lead author Associate Professor Laura Stevens (Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University) said: "What we've observed here at Helheim is that you can have a big input of meltwater into the drainage system during a lake drainage event, but that melt input doesn't result in an appreciable change in glacier speed when you average over the week of the drainage event."

With the highest temporal resolution of satellite-derived glacier speeds currently available being roughly one week, lake drainage events like the one captured in the Helheim GPS data usually go unnoticed.

"These tidewater glaciers are tricky," Associate Professor Stevens added. "We have a lot more to learn about how meltwater drainage operates and modulates tidewater-glacier speeds before we can confidently model their future response to atmospheric and oceanic warming."


03-30-1950 ~ 10-14-2022
Thanks for the film!

10-14-1977 ~ 10-15-2022
Thanks for the music!

03-24-1932 ~ 10-16-2022
Thanks for the adventure!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2022 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.

A U.S. secret service agent stands guard as then-President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Prescott Regional Airport in Prescott, Arizona, on October 19, 2020.

Trump Billed Secret Service $1.4 Million At His Properties During Presidency
By Chris Walker

Properties owned by former President Donald Trump overcharged the Secret Service for their lodging expenses, sometimes by as much as five times higher than the government-accepted rate, according to figures shared by the chair of the House Oversight Committee.

Taxpayers paid at least $1.4 million to the Trump Organization in known expenses for the federal agency, in order to protect Trump, his family members, and other dignitaries staying at Trump's properties.

Much of what was spent could have cost less for the same amount of protection - in at least 40 instances, the Trump Organization billed the government well past the government rate. In one example, Secret Service agents were charged $1,185 per night for a stay at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., a cost that was five times higher than what the government rate (usually between $195 to $240 per night) is supposed to be for such protection services.

Details of the costs the agency incurred were laid out in a letter from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), who chairs the Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives.

"The exorbitant rates charged to the Secret Service and agents' frequent stays at Trump-owned properties raise significant concerns about the former president's self-dealing and may have resulted in a taxpayer-funded windfall for former President Trump's struggling businesses," she said in a correspondence with Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle.

Trump famously campaigned on being able to provide frugality to the White House, including in personal travel expenses. He claimed that he wouldn't even have much time to spend at his properties - yet once he became president, he spent a good portion of his time at them, traveling to places he owned 547 times while president, according to an analysis from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

CREW had also reported that the Trump family's documented vacation time was 12 times greater than his predecessor's, former President Barack Obama, whom Trump frequently harangued for traveling too often while he was in the White House from 2009 to 2017.

Trump's travels to his own properties accounted for many of the 3,700 instances of conflicts of interest Trump engaged in while he was president, according to CREW.

Trump also promised to return any income he earned while president back to the American people. Yet his earnings documented by Maloney in Secret Service stays at Trump properties alone showcase that any returns of the former president's salary to taxpayers were almost completely wiped out.

Maloney's figures, however, are incomplete estimations of how much the agency was billed by the former president. It's much more likely a higher figure, with other estimates suggesting that at least $2 million was spent by the Secret Service to pay for stays and services while protecting Trump - and it all went directly to the Trump Organization.

Maloney's figures also do not account for the charges Trump is still billing the agency for his continued Secret Service protection. One estimate shows that Trump is making close to $400 per night in charges to the agency since leaving office.

Trump's family members who managed his company during his presidency lied about the degree to which they profited from it. Eric Trump, for example, when confronted with criticisms for costs being spent at Trump properties, played down the matter, and said that the costs were much lower than what they ended up being.

"If my father travels, [Secret Service agents] stay at our properties for free," Eric Trump said in 2019. "So everywhere that he goes, if he stays at one of his places, the government…saves a fortune because if they were to go to a hotel across the street, they'd be charging them $500 a night, whereas, you know we charge them, like $50."

In reaction to the latest revelations disclosed by Maloney, CREW noted that Eric Trump's past comments were knowingly false.

"We knew that" Eric Trump's claim "was a lie," the watchdog organization wrote in a tweet, "but we didn't know just how wild of a lie it was until now."

(c) 2022 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.

Banks, insurance companies, hospitals, clinics, and electric, gas, and water utilities... don't like to use the telephone anymore

With No One Answering Phones, How Can We Actually Reach People?
Getting through to your callee is so difficult these days that it represents a formidable obstacle both to a functioning democratic society and a functioning consumer-driven economy.
By Ralph Nader

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column on the imbalance of communications success between callers and callees. The latter have all kinds of ways not to return calls, emails, and other portals of the so-called communications technological revolution.

Many people can't even get through on the telephone to their own neighbors because the latter no longer answer the phone due to the robocalls they receive.

I noted that getting through to your callee is so difficult these days that it represents a formidable obstacle both to a functioning democratic society and a functioning consumer-driven economy.

So now I'm asking you, the readers, to suggest ways you have either tried successfully or think could be successful in getting through to people or institutions.

Here are some categories:

1. Legislators at the local, state, and federal levels. In my experience, it has never been more difficult to reach your senator, representative, or their staff, unless you're a campaign donor, a social friend, or are requesting a flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol. Congressional offices are barricaded by voicemail or nameless interns who take messages without having a clue as to who is calling or how serious the message may be. Emails are sent into a vortex. Serious letters are viewed as quaint relics to be dismissed without even the courtesy of an acknowledgment.

Readers-your suggestions about how to get through are welcomed.

2. Executive branch agencies at the local, state, and federal level. We've tried, with other citizens, to get through to agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They don't even bother to acknowledge, much less respond to, serious issues raised by citizen groups or taxpayers. I was reliably told that the bureaucratic staff of the FTC intercepts letters sent personally to FTC commissioners and decides what, if anything, to deliver to the commissioner addressed. No wonder FTC Chair Lina Khan doesn't respond to my letters.

Reflecting their sense of hopelessness, people from all quarters say that they no longer even try to complain or get answers to their questions from local, state, and federal agencies. I've seen some local post offices take their phone off the hook or make callers endlessly wait on hold. That's why we hear some agency leaders claim they have gotten no complaints, other than from the rare caller who reaches them with a complaint.

Readers-your suggestions! Please don't say write to your member of Congress. Unless you have a very personal, easy-to-remedy problem, like not getting a government check, it really doesn't work.

3. Getting through to corporations who have the nerve to name their outreach office-"customer service"-is a drain on the most deeply patient, determined consumer. I've found it difficult to even get through by telephone to my telephone company, and when I did, I was inundated with gobs of gobbledygook.

You've had similar experiences, to be sure, with your banks, insurance companies, hospitals, clinics, and electric, gas, and water utilities. They don't like to use the telephone anymore. Even if you can leave a message, many just don't return calls or respond to repeated telephone inquiries. "Email," they say on their voicemail, good luck. One sometimes reaches a person at a call center in some foreign land. Unfortunately, call center operators rarely have the ability to resolve a caller's problem. (Note most companies refuse to put their response to you in writing.)

I've found modest success in asking for the local bank branch's direct telephone number to get around the tiers of "press one, press two, press three." Also, small local businesses are usually more responsive.

Readers-here is where your varied experiences and frustrations may produce suggestions to get through the force fields and at least getting to the "no people"-which is another barrier beyond the scope of this column. "No people" in companies are trained to deny, thwart, confuse, and wear you down, especially when you're asking about inscrutable overbilling or overdue repairs.

There are still other categories. Many people can't even get through on the telephone to their own neighbors because the latter no longer answer the phone due to the robocalls they receive. Imagine an emergency. Decades ago, telephone calls got through, but that was before all these sophisticated techniques, which interfere between caller and callee. When one tries to email, they find more and more people aren't keeping up with their overloaded email inboxes. And so, it goes.

Well, sagacious readers, give us your best practices and ideas about getting through. None of us is smarter than all of us. And as Norman Cousins once wrote: "No one really knows enough to be a pessimist."

Thank you.

(c) 2022 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).

Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing Oct. 13 on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Once Upon A Time, America Was Brave
It's just that simple
By Leonard Pitts Jr.

She shapes the question in a voice of rainy-day melancholy, frames it with piano meditation.

"All we've been given by those who came before

The dream of a nation where freedom would endure

The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day

What shall be our legacy? What will our children say?"

Thus begins "American Anthem," Norah Jones' theme to "The War," Ken Burns' magisterial 2007 history of the conflagration that nearly burned down the world in the 1940s. But if the song spoke to the crisis of that generation, its central question also feels relevant to our crisis, 80 years later.

"What shall be our legacy? What will our children say?"

Of many of us, they will say nothing good.

That's assuming any memory of America survives to give them a basis for comparison. History is written by the winners, after all, so there is always the chance, if intolerance wins, if ignorance wins, if election denial wins and they shape the future in their image, our children will inherit an America that is transactional, small-minded and mean, and never know that once upon a time, America stood - or at least, sometimes tried to stand - for something loftier. That once upon a time, America was brave.

If the hearings of the Jan. 6 committee, which ended Thursday, have demonstrated nothing else, they've demonstrated how rare that virtue has become. Instead, we find ourselves largely a nation defined by fears.

Because he lacked the guts to accept his election defeat, Donald Trump assembled an armed mob to attack the Capitol.

Because they were terrified the nation is changing without their approval, that mob did his bidding.

Because they were scared of Trump, most of his party swallowed their tongues rather than protest.

Because they have not the basic moral courage one usually learns on the playground - lose with dignity and fight again another day - they are trashing democracy itself. To wit: The majority of Republican candidates for this year's midterms reject or doubt the result of the 2020 election, according to The Washington Post. And just 42% of us have confidence in the fairness of U.S. elections, according to a July poll from CNN.

America is a nation of sore losers ascendant.

Such pusillanimity throws into sharp relief the acts of courage these hearings have shown us. Such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, captured on video coolly directing efforts to save the Capitol and continue government function even as she fled a mob howling for her blood. And Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger giving up their political careers rather than acceding to their party's pact of lies.

"Our duty today is to our country and our children and our Constitution," said Cheney. She said this by way of introducing a resolution to subpoena Trump to testify. The committee approved it on a dramatic and unanimous role-call vote.

Trump will likely refuse to appear, though one hopes against hope he does. This moment cries out for accountability. That loser's weakness has brought America to a crisis as critical in its way to our continued viability as the one another generation faced eight decades ago. They had to find the courage to send their sons across the seas, to scrimp and save and bear unimaginable loss. We are asked only to find the courage to accept the truth.

"What shall be our legacy? What will our children say?"

Once upon a time, America was brave. Let's hope, for their sake, it still is.

(c) 2022 Leonard Pitts Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004. He is the author of the novel, Before I Forget. His column runs every Sunday and Wednesday in the Miami Herald. Forward From This Moment, a collection of his columns, was published in 2009.

We're Stuck On A Monopoly Merry-Go-Round

By Jim Hightower

The problem with our so-called "free market" is that it's not free for you and me. It's largely controlled by monopolies, which are free to inflate prices just because they can, letting gougers gleefully extract unwarranted monopoly profits from us.

This milking of consumers by tightly consolidated industries is propelling today's surging price hikes. Brand name corporations claim they're being forced to mark-up price tags just to cover rising costs for raw materials, labor, transportation, etc. But in a competitive marketplace, they'd have to eat much of those increases by taking a bit less in profits. Instead, monopolies are now raising prices simply to squeeze even greater profits from hard-hit consumers - a game of corporate greed that socks America with more inflation.

Consider diapers. A year ago, Procter & Gamble announced that the pandemic was driving up its production costs, forcing it to raise prices for its Pampers brand. At the time, it had just posted a quarterly profit of $3.8 billion, so P&G could easily have absorbed a temporary rise in its costs. But instead of holding the price to ease their customers' economic pain, the conglomerate used a global health crisis to justify upping diaper prices. Six months later, P&G's quarterly profit topped $5 billion. And - in that same quarter - P&G spent $3 billion to buy back shares of its own stock, a Wall Street manipulation that artificially bloats the wealth of top execs and other big shareholders. In short, P&G used the excuse of inflation to inflate the price of diapers, then used the extra money it extracted to inflate the value of its stock to benefit rich shareholders.

Well, couldn't consumers just switch to Huggies, the brand sold by P&G's main "competitor"? No, for it's a co-monopolist, having also goosed up its prices. Welcome to the monopoly merry-go-round.

(c) 2022 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

U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
talk to colleagues in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

House Dem Says 'Every Republican Should Be Asked' About GOP Ploy To Cut Social Security
"This is Republicans' own words and Americans need to hear them loud and clear," said Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell.
By Jake Johnson

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell said Tuesday that every congressional Republican and GOP candidate should be pressed on whether they support their party leaders' stated plan to hold the U.S. economy hostage to force cuts to Social Security and Medicare, popular programs that have emerged as key midterm issues.

"The Republican Party is openly promising to topple the entire American economy unless they are allowed to demolish Social Security and Medicare," Pascrell said in a statement after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) confirmed that the GOP will use a fast-approaching debt ceiling fight as leverage to enact spending reductions if Republicans retake control of the chamber in the November elections.

While McCarthy declined to explicitly say the GOP will target Social Security and Medicare, other top Republicans haven't been so reserved.

In an appearance on Fox News over the weekend, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) defended his party's plans for the two programs, claiming that the GOP supports "shoring up Medicare and Social Security" and deploying the usual-and false-talking point that they are in crisis.

Earlier this year, the Republican Study Committee-of which Scalise is a member-released a proposal that called for raising the retirement age to 70, mean-testing Social Security benefits, and partially privatizing the New Deal-era program.

Speaking to Bloomberg Government last week, several Republicans hoping to serve as chair of the House Budget Committee next year explicitly said they plan to take aim at Social Security and Medicare if the GOP wins a majority.

In his statement Tuesday, Pascrell said it "isn't hyperbole" to warn that Republicans are willing to risk an economic disaster to impose long-sought changes to Social Security and Medicare.

"This is Republicans' own words and Americans need to hear them loud and clear," said the New Jersey Democrat. "Every Republican should be asked if they agree with their leaders' stated plans to tank the economy to demolish Social Security and Medicare. Breaching the ceiling and blowing up the entire American economy can never happen. We must use every tool at our disposal to prevent Republicans from destroying America."

Democratic lawmakers who want to raise taxes on the rich to fund an increase in Social Security benefits haven't hesitated to spotlight GOP leaders' recent comments, even as they receive relatively little attention in the corporate media.

"Seniors are about to see the largest increase in their Social Security checks in 40+ years," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted Tuesday, referring to the newly announced cost-of-living adjustment.

"But if Republicans take control of Congress," Jayapal added, "they'll cut benefits and raise the eligibility age-forcing seniors to risk their health by delaying retirement."

A number of Republican candidates-including incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)-have said on the campaign trail that they would like to cut or privatize Social Security and Medicare. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has proposed sunsetting all federal laws-including those authorizing Social Security and Medicare-every five years.

In recent weeks, Democrats have begun more frequently highlighting Republicans' comments on Social Security and Medicare in campaign ads as the pivotal midterms draw closer.

"All you have to do is Google Blake Masters to see how extreme he is," says a recently launched Senate Majority PAC ad in Arizona.

The Democratic ad plays footage of GOP Senate nominee Blake Masters putting his support for gutting Social Security in plain terms.

"Maybe we should privatize Social Security, right?" Masters said during a candidate forum in June. "Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it."

(c) 2022 Jake Johnson is an author and staff writer for Common Dreams

Cannabis growing in Leafline Labs headquarters, in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. The 42,000-square-foot indoor cultivation
and production facility is used to grow marijuana for medical uses and create various pharmaceutical cannabis products.

Evers Is Right, And Michels Is Wrong, About Marijuana Legalization
By John Nichols

Wisconsin's most ardent advocate for marijuana legalization, state Sen. Melissa Agard, gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to President Biden's announcement last week that he would pardon all people convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law.

"The most dangerous thing about marijuana is that it is illegal," declared the Madison Democrat, who for years has battled the steady resistance of Republican legislators and the caution of Democrats on behalf of marijuana legalization. "I applaud the president's recent action on marijuana reform. By pardoning all prior federal convictions of simple marijuana possession, we can begin to right the wrongs of our nation's outdated and inequitable marijuana policy. Too many lives have been wrongfully upended by these convictions and our antiquated laws, from impacting an individual's ability to obtain gainful employment to their ability to secure housing."

Agard had every reason to be excited by Biden's pardons, and by the fact that the president's executive order included a request for the secretary of Health and Human Services and the attorney general to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. "This," she explained, "is an important step towards nationwide legalization of marijuana. There is clearly more work that needs to be done but these significant steps deserve to be celebrated."

Agard understands that what Biden did last week was smart policy - and smart politics.

According to national polling data compiled by in 2020, more than 70% of Americans favor expungement of the records of those with marijuana convictions. At a time when Republicans candidates are attacking Democrats for supporting criminal justice reform in this midterm election season, this is a reform that has the support of 81% of Democrats, 69% of independents and 57% of Republicans.

Those numbers are roughly parallel to the levels of support for legalization of marijuana. And they provide a reminder that ending prohibition can and should be an issue in midterm election races this fall for state and federal posts.

Biden framed the pardon order as a practical response to a particular consequence for thousands of Americans - 6,500 convicted under federal offenses, and thousands more in the District of Columbia - who are the victims of this country's failed war on drugs.

"No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana," said Biden, who explained, "Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates."

With that in mind, the president urged governors to follow his lead and issue pardons in their states - a move that could impact tens of thousands of Americans who have marijuana convictions on their records. "Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana," said Biden, "no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either."

Gov. Tony Evers is clearly on board with the position Biden has taken. His Republican challenger, however, has taken a hardline prohibitionist stance that is out of synch with the overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites - and most Republicans.

Millionaire candidate Tim Michels, who bought the GOP nomination in August, doesn't just oppose ending the failed drug war. He falls back on tired arguments against liberalizing laws against marijuana possession and use that were disproven decades ago. "I do not support the legalization of marijuana," Michels said in a May radio interview. "I think it's all a slippery slope. I really do."

While Michels looks backward, Evers looks forward.

"It's time for Wisconsin to join more than a dozen states across the country by legalizing and taxing marijuana, much like we already do with alcohol, so we can continue to compete for talented workers to come to our state, expand access to medical treatment for thousands, and have more resources to invest in critical state priorities like K-12 education," said the governor.

That's the way most Wisconsinites see it. According to an August survey by the Marquette University Law School polling group, 69% of Wisconsin voters support legalizing marijuana, while just 23% share the position taken by the Republican gubernatorial nominee and Republican legislators who have blocked reform.

Michels and his allies are attacking Evers for issuing pardons. Instead of being defensive, the governor should point out that a substantial portion of the pardons he issued were for marijuana offenses. This is definitely a case where Democrats running for statewide posts and for legislative seats can - and should - reframe the debate about criminal justice reform in a way that assures that voters have the full picture.

When they do this, Evers and the other Democrats who support reform can confidently promise to follow Joe Biden's lead and echo the president's message that, "Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It's time that we right these wrongs."

(c) 2022 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.

No Such Thing As Coincidence
By James Donahue

From the esoteric perspective, we who delve into the world of the occult have reached the conclusion that our universe is the creation of our own minds, that all we believe is reality is but an illusion, and that truth is always just one step ahead of us as we constantly reach for it.

Because of these conclusions, we often hear the declaration that there can be no such thing as coincidence. Thus when we hear stories of strange events like the ones we list below, we must suggest that something more is involved here. Are we victims of a parallel universe from which we slide in and back out? Is some puppet-master playing tricks on our minds? Or have we created our own illusions out of sheer boredom because of our mundane existence?

Whatever the reason, we offer a list of strange events, some of them drawn from the old series titled Ripley's Believe It Or Not. Some of the stories may be fabrications, yet from our own experience, and because we knew Ripley was a careful researcher when he wrote his books and articles, we think the reports are quite accurate. Thus we let the reader come to their own conclusions.

There seems to be a strange psychic and spiritual link between twins. This odd synchronicity that occurs between twins sometimes has an affect that continues right up to their moment of death. One of the stories involves 71-year-old Finnish twin brothers killed in identical bicycle accidents on the same road only two hours apart in March, 2002. The story was so sensational at the time it made headlines.

An article in the January, 1980 edition of Reader's Digest reported the strange lives of identical twin boys, separated at birth in Ohio, and adopted by different families. Forty years later the boys were reunited and discovered that their lives had been amazingly parallel. Both boys were named James. Both trained in law enforcement. Both had abilities in mechanical drawing and carpentry. They both married women named Linda, had sons named James Alan and James Allan, respectively. Both brothers later divorced and both remarried women named Betty. They both owned dogs named Toy.

From a website named Chronogenetics we found yet another twin story to include in this collection. It seems and John and Arthur Mowforth were twins living about 80 miles apart in Great Britain. On May 22, 1975, both men developed severe chest pains, were rushed to local hospitals and both were pronounced dead of heart attacks shortly after their arrival in the emergency rooms.

The following story from Phenomena: A Book of Wonders doesn't involve twins, but brothers who died under strangely similar circumstances just one year apart. The first brother was struck and killed by a taxi while riding a moped in Bermuda in 1975. One year later, the brother was riding the same moped when he, too, was struck and killed by a taxi. To make the story even more odd, they were hit by the same taxi driven by the same driver.

From Mysteries of the Unexplained, we find this: It seems that in the 1920s three Englishmen boarded a train in Peru and found themselves to be the only passengers in the train car. Naturally they struck up a conversation, discovered they were all from England. When they introduced themselves, they made an even more amazing discovery. One man's last name was Bingham. The second man's last name was Powell. And the third man's last name was Bingham-Powell. They were not related.

And finally, from Incredible Coincidence, we found a story about George D. Bryson who registered at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, in the late 1950s. After signing the register and being assigned to Room 307, Bryson was handed mail addressed to him in Room 307. Thinking that was somewhat odd, Bryson made an inquiry. It seems that the letter was for the man who previously occupied the same room. And yes, you guessed it, his name was George D. Bryson.

(c) 2022 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.

2022: Nobel Committee Gets Peace Prize Wrong Yet Again
By David Swanson

The Nobel Committee has yet again awarded a peace prize that violates the will of Alfred Nobel and the purpose for which the prize was created, selecting recipients who blatantly are not "the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses."

With its eyes on the news of the day, there was no question that the Committee would find some way to focus on Ukraine. But it steered clear of anyone seeking to reduce the risk of that thus-far relatively minor war creating a nuclear apocalypse. It avoided anyone opposing both sides of the war, or anyone advocating for a ceasefire or negotiations or disarmament. It did not even make the choice one might have expected of picking an opponent of Russian warmaking in Russia and an opponent of Ukrainian warmaking in Ukraine.

Instead, the Nobel Committee has chosen advocates for human rights and democracy in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. But the group in Ukraine is recognized for having "engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population," with no mention of war as a crime or of the possibility that the Ukrainian side of the war was committing atrocities. The Nobel Committee may have learned from Amnesty International's experience of being widely denounced for documenting war crimes by the Ukrainian side.

The fact that all sides of all wars have always failed and always will fail to engage in humane operations is possibly why Alfred Nobel set up a prize to advance the abolition of war. It's too bad that prize is so misused. Because of its misuse, World BEYOND War has created instead the War Abolisher Awards.


Adding here some thoughts from Yurii Sheliazhenko: NGO Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) recently was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Russian and Belarussian human rights defenders.

What is the Ukrainian secret of success? Here are some tips.

- don't rely on support of local citizens, embrace international donors with their agendas, like the U.S. Department of State and NED;

- support NATO membership of Ukraine, shame those who seek compromise with Russia and ask the West to engage in war against Russia on Ukrainian side by imposing no-fly zone and delivery of armaments;

- insist that war is necessary for survival and no negotiations are possible>;

- insist that international institutions are worthless and therefore human rights activists must ask for weapons for the Ukrainian Armed Forces;

- insist that only Putin violates human rights in Ukraine, and only the Ukrainian army are real human rights defenders;

- never criticize Ukrainian government for suppression of pro-Russian media, parties, and public figures;

- never criticize Ukrainian army for war crimes, for violations of human rights related to war effort and military mobilization, like beating of students by the border guard for their attempt to study abroad instead of becoming cannon fodder, and nobody should hear from you even a word about human right to conscientious objection to military service.

(c) 2022 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.

It's Time To Extinguish Oil And Gas Industry "Gaslighting"
Many solutions are available. We can't continue to let the fossil fuel industry "gaslight" us into thinking the reality is otherwise.
By David Suzuki

This summer, a Fortis BC booth at a Vancouver farmers market displayed the slogan, "Natural gas is good for your home."

Fortis and other fossil gas companies call their product an "affordable luxury" - "a safe, reliable source of energy that's easy to use in your home or business." Fortis even claims to be helping meet climate goals because its product "is the cleanest fossil fuel, and it's an abundant, local energy source."

Safe, abundant, natural, local and good for the environment! What's not to like? Sure, exploiting the mostly fracked gas devastates huge swathes of landscape, consumes enormous volumes of water, emits copious amounts of the powerful greenhouse gas methane (which it largely is) and causes health problems in households where it's used, but at least the company is increasing its mix of "renewable natural gas" (which doesn't live up to its hype) "and exploring the possibilities of adding hydrogen gas to our system."

Fortis ads may not seem overly egregious in light of the fossil fuel industry's massive decades-long efforts to manipulate information and discourse around climate disruption - which Geoff Dembicki brilliantly illustrates in his essential new book The Petroleum Papers - but they show there's no end in sight to the all-out drive to keep the fossil fuel industry burning.

How much more proof do we need that burning coal, oil and gas is heating the planet before we take it seriously and quickly shift away from all fossil fuels? Unfortunately, industry and its supporters continue to respond to the ever-mounting evidence (some of it their own!) with greenwashing, gaslighting and coverups - stalling the necessary transition to renewable energy.

During a recent Washington, D.C., congressional hearing into the role of fossil fuels in the climate crisis, reams of unveiled documents showed "companies attempted to distance themselves from agreed climate goals, admitted 'gaslighting' the public over purported efforts to go green" and denigrated activists.

House committee on oversight and reform co-chair Ro Khanna said they reveal oil companies' "climate pledges rely on unproven technology, accounting gimmicks and misleading language to hide the reality."

Fossil fuel benefits mostly flow to industry executives and shareholders, with everyone else paying the price. Workers are being displaced by automation, market conditions and global realities. Economies and individuals are shuddering under volatile global fossil fuel markets. Indigenous and rural communities are being uprooted, or are seeing lands degraded by fossil fuel exploration and development. People are suffering and dying from pollution.

The global climate is reacting to our excessive fossil fuel burning in increasingly costly ways that put human health and lives - as well as other life on this small planet - at risk.

In the past, politicians and others absurdly argued addressing issues like climate change would be too expensive. That's ensured the costs of the crisis continue to mount as we forgo the benefits of a major, just transition. We'll all be better off - healthier, happier, with greater economic stability - when governments and industry treat the climate crisis with the gravity it demands.

Beyond curtailing emissions, we must also respond to impacts already set in motion. Canadian Climate Institute analysis found investing in adaptation could cut many climate change costs by 75 per cent if we also reduce emissions in line with international commitments, and that every dollar invested in proactive adaptation measures "can return $13-$15 in direct and indirect benefits."

The report, "Damage Control," noted severe weather caused $2.1 billion in insured damages in 2021, not including costs related to public infrastructure or uninsured private losses. It estimated disaster recovery will cost Canada $5 billion annually by 2025 and $17 billion by 2050. The climate crisis is real and accelerating. It's caused by burning coal, oil and gas and destroying "carbon sinks" like forests and wetlands. Many solutions are available. We can't continue to let the fossil fuel industry "gaslight" us into thinking the reality is otherwise.

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment is calling for a "comprehensive ban on advertising by fossil fuel industries, products, and services (such as gasoline and gas utilities) and internal combustion engine vehicles," a "robust regulatory response to address misleading environmental claims by fossil fuel companies" and regulations "mandating the disclosure of the health and environmental risks associated with fossil fuel production and use." It's a good start

(c) 2022 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

The backlash against critical race theory (CRT), explorations of LGBTQ+ identities and the banning of books by historians such as
Howard Zinn and writers such as Toni Morrison, are extensions of this attempt to deny the oppressed their song.

The Crush Of Our Song
The powerful keep those they exploit from knowing who they are, where they came from and the crimes of the ruling class. As social inequality mounts, so does the campaign to keep us in darkness.
By Chris Hedges

August Wilson wrote 10 plays chronicling Black life in the 20th century. His favorite, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, is set in 1911 in a boarding house in Pittsburgh's Hill District. The play's title comes from "Joe Turner's Blues," written in 1915 by W. C. Handy. That song refers to a man named Joe Turney, the brother of Peter Turney, who was the governor of Tennessee from 1893 to 1897. Joe Turney transported Black prisoners, chained in a coffle, along the roads from Memphis to the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville. While en route, he handed over some of the convicts, for a commission, to white farmers. The prisoners he leased to the farmers worked for years in a system of convict leasing-slavery by another name.

In Wilson's play, Herald Loomis, a convict who worked on Turner's farm, arrives in Pittsburgh after seven years of bondage with his 11-year-old daughter, Zonia, in search of his wife. He struggles to cope with his trauma. At a boarding house, he meets a conjurer named Bynum Walker, who tells him that, to face and overcome the demons that torment him, he must find his song.

It is your song, your voice, your history, Walker tells him, which gives you your identity and your freedom. And your song, Walker tells him, is what the white ruling class seeks to eradicate.

This denial of one's song is instrumental to bondage. Black illiteracy was essential to white domination of the South. It was a criminal offense to teach enslaved people to read and write.

The poor, especially poor people of color , remain rigidly segregated within educational systems. The backlash against critical race theory (CRT), explorations of LGBTQ+ identities and the banning of books by historians such as Howard Zinn and writers such as Toni Morrison, are extensions of this attempt to deny the oppressed their song.

PEN America reports that proposed educational gag orders have increased 250 percent compared with those issued in 2021. Teachers and professors who violate these gag orders can be subject to fines, loss of state funding for their institutions, termination and even criminal charges. Ellen Schrecker, the leading historian of the McCarthy era's widespread purging of the U.S. education system, calls these gag bills "worse than McCarthyism." Schrecker, who authored No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America and The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s, writes:

The current campaign to limit what can be taught in high school and college classrooms is clearly designed to divert angry voters from the deeper structural problems that cloud their own personal futures. Yet it is also a new chapter in the decades-long campaign to roll back the changes that have brought the real world into those classrooms. In one state after another, reactionary and opportunistic politicians are joining that broader campaign to overturn the 1960s' democratization of American life. By attacking the CRT bogeyman and demonizing contemporary academic culture and the critical perspectives that it can produce, the current limitations on what can be taught endanger teachers at every level, while the know-nothingism these measures encourage endangers us all.
The more social inequality grows, the more the ruling class seeks to keep the bulk of the population within the narrow confines of the American myth: the fantasy that we live in a democratic meritocracy and are a beacon of liberty and enlightenment to the rest of the world. Their goal is to keep the underclass illiterate, or barely literate, and feed them the junk food of mass culture and the virtues of white supremacy, including the deification of the white male slaveholders who founded this country.

When books that give a voice to oppressed groups are banned, it adds to the sense of shame and unworthiness the dominant culture seeks to impart, especially toward marginalized children. At the same time, bans mask the crimes carried out by the ruling class. The ruling class does not want us to know who we are. It does not want us to know of the struggles carried out by those who came before us, struggles that saw many people blacklisted, incarcerated, injured and killed to open democratic space and achieve basic civil liberties from the right to vote to union organizing. They know that the less we know about what has been done to us, the more malleable we become. If we are kept ignorant of what is happening beyond the narrow confines of our communities and trapped in an eternal present, if we lack access to our own history, let alone that of other societies and cultures, we are less able to critique and understand our own society and culture.

W.E.B. Du Bois argued that white society feared educated Blacks far more than they feared Black criminals.

"They can deal with crime by chain-gang and lynch law, or at least they think they can, but the South can conceive neither machinery nor place for the educated, self-reliant, self-assertive black man," he wrote.

Those, like Du Bois, who was blacklisted and driven into exile, who pull the veil from our eyes are especially targeted by the state. Rosa Luxemberg. Eugene V. Debs. Malcolm X. Martin Luther King. Noam Chomsky. Ralph Nader. Cornel West. Julian Assange. Alice Walker. They speak a truth the powerful and the rich do not want heard. They, like Bynum, help us find our song.

In the U.S., 21 percent of adults are illiterate and a staggering 54 percent have a literacy level below sixth grade. These numbers jump dramatically in the U.S. prison system, the largest in the world with an estimated 20 percent of the globe's prison population, although we are less than five percent of the global population. In prison, 70 percent percent of inmates cannot read above a fourth-grade level, leaving them able to work at only the lowest paying and most menial jobs upon their release.

You can watch a two-part discussion of my book Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison, and the importance of prison education, here and here.

Like Loomis, those freed from bondage become pariahs, members of a criminal caste. They are unable to access public housing, barred from hundreds of jobs, especially any job that requires a license, and denied social services. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimates in a new report that 60 percent of the formerly incarcerated are jobless. Of more than 50,000 people released from federal prisons in 2010, the report found, 33 percent found no employment at all over four years, and at any given time, no more than 40 percent of the cohort was employed. This is by design. More than two-thirds are rearrested within three years of their release and at least half are reincarcerated.

You can see a two-part discussion on the numerous obstacles placed before those released from prison with five of my former students from the NJ-STEP college degree program here and here.

White members of the working class, although often used as shock troops against minorities and the left, are equally manipulated and for the same reasons. They, too, are denied their song, fed myths of white exceptionalism and white supremacy to keep their antagonisms directed at other oppressed groups, rather than the corporate forces and the billionaire class that have orchestrated their own misery.

Du Bois pointed out that poor whites, politically allied with rich southern plantation owners, were complicit in their disenfranchisement. They received few material or political benefits from the alliance, but they reveled in the "psychological" feelings of superiority that came with being white. Race, he wrote, "drove such a wedge between white and black workers that there probably are not today in the world two groups of workers with practically identical interests who hate and fear each other so deeply and persistently and who are kept so far apart that neither sees anything of common interest."

Little has changed.

The poor do not attend college, or, if they do, they incur massive student debt, which can take a lifetime to pay off. U.S. Student loan debt, totalling nearly $1.75 trillion, is the second-largest source of consumer debt behind mortgages. Some 50 million people are in debt peonage to student loan companies. This debt peonage forces graduates to major in subjects useful to corporations and is part of the reason why the humanities are withering away. It limits career options because graduates must seek jobs that allow them to meet their hefty monthly loan payments. The average law school student debt of $130,000 intentionally sends most law school graduates into the arms of corporate law firms.

Meanwhile, fees to attend colleges and universities have skyrocketed. The average tuition and fees at private national universities have jumped 134 percent since 2002. Out-of-state tuition and fees at public national universities have risen 141 percent while in-state tuition and fees at public national universities have risen 175 percent.

The forces of repression, backed by corporate money, are challenging in courts Biden's executive order to cancel some student debt. A federal judge in Missouri heard arguments from six states attempting to block the plan. To qualify for the debt relief, individuals must make less than $125,000 a year or $250,000 for married couples and families. Eligible borrowers can receive up to $20,000 if they are Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 if they haven't received a Pell Grant.

Education should be subversive. It should give us the intellectual tools and vocabulary to question the reigning ideas and structures that buttress the powerful. It should make us autonomous and independent beings, capable of making our own judgments, capable of understanding and defying the "cultural hegemony," to quote Antonio Gramsci, that keeps us in bondage. In Wilson's play, Bynum teaches Loomis how to discover his song, and once Loomis finds his song, he is free.

(c) 2022 Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. His most recent book is "America: The Farewell Tour" (2019).

The Quotable Quote -

"A job should lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

More Principled Than Biden, Australia's Labor Gov't Revokes Recognition Of Jerusalem As Israeli Capital
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - The Australian foreign minister, Penny Wong, announced on Monday that the Labor Party government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese would reverse the country's recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. She said in a statement that Australia's embassy would remain in Tel Aviv.

She said, "This reverses the Morrison Government's recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." She later added, "I regret that Mr Morrison's decision to play politics resulted in Australia's shifting position, and the distress these shifts have caused to many people in the Australian community who care deeply about this issue."

Former PM Scott Morrison, a right wing-leader of the "Liberal" Party (which in Australia means arch-conservative), had violated decades of Australian commitment to the rule of law and a two-state solution. The Australian "Liberals" are obsessed with a supposed immigration threat to Australia and clearly see themselves as settler colonialists who would lose out if the Aboriginals and immigrants gained full rights. Perhaps Morrison and his colleagues sympathized with Israel as another settler colonial state with an unresolved problem of indigenous people. Until the early 1970s Canberra had a policy of "White Australia," intended to keep out Asian immigrants.

Wong continued, "Today the Government has reaffirmed Australia's previous and longstanding position that Jerusalem is a final status issue that should be resolved as part of any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people."

What she means by "final status issue" is that Jerusalem is a contested city. It was never awarded to Israel by any international legal authority. Even the unfairly pro-Israel 1947 partition proposal of the UN General Assembly retained international control over Jerusalem. (I call it a "proposal" rather than a "plan" because it was never endorsed by the executive, the UN Security Council, and so lacked the force of law.)

Neither Israeli leaders nor Palestinian ones accepted the partition proposal, although Israel apologists constantly allege that Israel did. Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, noted in his diary that Israel had accepted no permanent borders, clearly envisaging that the state would expand beyond both what the UNGA proposed for it and beyond its initial 1947-48 conquests, including the Negev, which had not been included by the UNGA in Israeli territory. During that war, Israeli troops took West Jerusalem, but not the majority-Palestinian East Jerusalem. Then in 1967, after hatching many plots to do so for over a decade, the Israeli army used the chaos of the 1967 war that it launched on Egypt and Syria to seize East Jerusalem as well.

Israel formally annexed East Jerusalem and surrounding areas from the Palestinian West Bank - also not proposed for Israel by the UNGA - which is illegal by dint of the UN Charter, to which Israel is a signatory. As of 1945 you can't acquire territory from your neighbor by aggressive warfare. The rule was an attempt to forestall war crimes of WW II, such as Mussolini's annexation of the city of Nice from France. Israel then flooded the illegally annexed area of East Jerusalem and its surroundings with Israeli citizens. That is also illegal, by the 4th Geneva Convention of 1948. The rule was enacted in an attempt to prevent further episodes such as the German attempt to Germanize occupied Poland by flooding it with Germans while expelling Poles during WW II.

In international law, despite the right wing Israeli government's conviction that Jerusalem will forever be an undivided israeli city - ignoring the 380,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and environs - Jerusalem's disposition can only be decided by final status negotiations between Israel and the State of Palestine, to the establishment of which Israel committed itself in the 1993 Oslo peace accords.

Israel has a problem with its international legal commitments, ignoring the UN Charter and a raft of UN Security Council resolutions rebuking its attempt to annex a neighbor's territory, and ignoring the Oslo treaty, to all of which it gave free assent and the signatures of its lawful representatives.

The Labor government in Australia is renewing the country's commitment to international law in taking this step. Minister Wong said, "The Albanese Government recommits Australia to international efforts in the responsible pursuit of progress towards a just and enduring two-state solution."

The Albanese government has been more principled than the Biden administration, which has declined to reversed Donald Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Although the State Department maintains that this move does not change US policy in supporting a two-state solution, it is hard to see it in any other light than as an acquiescence in Israel's lawless behavior.

The Israelis summoned the Australian ambassador over the decision. But then claim jumpers in the Old West were also upset if the sheriff intervened on the side of the rightful owner of the land.

(c) 2022 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.

Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, and U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn attend a hearing by the
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on October 13, 2022 in Washington, DC.

The Criminal Case Against Donald J. Trump Has Been Established, But Will The Garland Act?
I believe he will.
By Robert Reich

Thursday's final hearing of the January 6 committee is a segue to the criminal case that federal prosecutors are piecing together, bolstered by the recent issuance of dozens of grand jury subpoenas and court-authorized searches of some of Donald Trump's top allies.

The committee voted unanimously to subpoena Trump to answer questions before the committee under oath. Elizabeth Cheney, committee vice-chairman, said "he must be accountable. He is required to answer for his actions." But subpoenaing Trump seems largely a symbolic gesture - unless Trump decides he wants to present "his side" to the American people and is prepared to lie up the wazoo, regardless of legal consequences. Although the legal issues involved in subpoenaing a former president may pass legal muster, the length of time it would take to litigate the issue will all but certainly carry on beyond the select committee's tenure, which ends in January.

Thursday's hearing provided the final piece of the puzzle for making a criminal case against Trump: his state of his mind-what he knew and intended in committing at least two federal crimes: 18 U.S.C. 371, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and 18 U.S.C. 1512, obstruction of Congress. The issue of criminal intent will be central to any criminal trial.

Thursday's hearing comes 27 days before a critical midterm election in which most Republican candidates deny that Biden won the 2020 presidential election-not because of any credible evidence but solely because Trump has continued to make the baseless claim that he won, and has convinced almost two-thirds of Republican voters of that Big Lie.

Recap of the first seven hearings:

Thursday's hearing recapped much of the first seven hearings, including:

An Oval Office meeting on December 18, where Trump had to choose between what Trump's campaign manager Bill Stepien called "Team Normal" and what some Trump advisers called "Team Crazy." In that "unhinged" meeting, "Team Crazy," including Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, produced a draft executive order they had prepared where they proposed that the U.S. military seize state election machines. "Team Normal" opposed the plan.

On December 19, just hours after the draft Executive Order was rejected and the hours-long meeting ended, Trump sent his "will be wild" tweet. The evidence presented made clear that the far-right militia and other figures understood that tweet as a call to violence.

Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, both of whom Trump had pardoned during the time between the election and January 6, had direct relationships with violent right-wing groups. One rally organizer explained that Trump wanted to surround himself with such people because they were "very very vicious in publicly defending him."

Trump endangered the safety of Vice President Pence and his family on January 6 by tweeting criticism of Pence, which unleashed the mob to go after Pence, chanting "hang Mike Pence." Trump watched the riots unfold on television for hours without lifting a finger to protect the Vice President, his family, or Members of Congress, despite pleas from Trump family members, White House advisors, and Republican congressional leaders.

Trump sought to name a Justice Department minion as the new Attorney General who then planned to send letters to Trump-friendly state legislatures alleging widespread fraud in their states - without a shred of evidence. The proposed letters would urge these friendly state legislatures to exploit the "failed choice" loophole in antiquated 19th-century laws and substitute their own Trump presidential electors for the Biden electors that had been chosen by the voters on Election Day. Trump's own top Justice Department officials killed this scheme to steal the presidency.

Thursday's hearing:

Thursday's final hearing also presented damning new evidence about Trump's state of mind. As committee vice-chair Liz Cheney stated: "Today we will focus on his state of mind. Trump had a premeditated plan to claim the election was stolen before Election Day. Trump was better informed about the absence of widespread election fraud than almost any American."

The committee then showed evidence that:

1. Trump concocted his plan long before Election Day. Knowing that mail-in votes would be more likely cast for Biden and would not be counted until possibly days after Trump had taken the lead on Election Day, Trump planned to give a false election victory speech on the evening of Election Day. Even though the networks were starting to call the race for Biden, Trump declared victory and demanded that voting counts stop. "This is a fraud on the American public, an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election, we did win this election."

2. Trump knew he lost. He also knew that there was no evidence of fraud or irregularities sufficient to change the outcome. In none of 62 court cases was he able to establish election fraud. His Attorney General told him there had been no fraud. His advisors repeatedly told him there was no evidence of fraud sufficient to change the outcome. The Supreme Court rejected his case on December 11. Electors voted on December 14. His senior staff advised him to concede. Nonetheless, Trump's intended to ignore the rule of law to stay in power.

3. Trump was personally and directly involved in a plan to remain in power, regardless.

(1) He knew he was lying when he told the public that Dominion Voting machines were rigged against him, when he told the public there were more votes than voters, and when he told the public about a "vote dump" in Detroit. He purposely and maliciously repeated these lies to the public over and over again.

(2) He knew his allegations of fraud in Georgia were false. But he nonetheless sought to pressure the Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger into giving him the votes he needed, saying "I want to find 11,780 votes." When the secretary of state demurred, Trump threatened that he'd be prosecuted.

(3) He also tried to pressure election officials in Arizona and Michigan, knowing he lost those states.

(4) Knowing he lost the election, he also pressured the Justice Department to change the results of the election until Justice Department officials threatened mass resignation.

(5) He sought to replace real Biden electors with fake Trump electors on January 6. He knew this was illegal.

(6) He tried to get Vice President Pence to unilaterally disregard the electoral count. Trump knew this was illegal.

(7) He intentionally summoned his supporters to the Capitol, and then, knowing they were armed, intended that they march to the Capitol.

(8) Even before his Ellipse speech, he knew there would be violence. He knew people coming to Washington planned to attack the Capitol and that multiple users online were targeting members of Congress. The Secret Service had this information at least 10 days before the attack. On January 6, during his speech on the Ellipse, Trump knew the crowd was armed and dangerous.

4. Even when Trump knew about the violence unfolding at the Capitol on January 6, he refused to call off the mob.

Next steps?

This is probably the last of the committee's hearings. If Republicans succeed in their drive to win the House majority (which seems likely), they will almost certainly disband the committee in January and shut down any official accounting by Congress for the largest attack on the Capitol in centuries.

This means the panel has less than three months to finish up its investigation, write and release its final report (likely in December), make any legislative recommendations, and decide whether to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department.

The January 6 committee, led by Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), has done America a great service - giving the nation exactly what it has most needed: an accounting of what occurred January 6, why it occurred, and Trump's role in it.

Whether this will lead to Trump being held criminally accountable does not depend on the committee making a criminal referral. Regardless of whether it makes such a referral, that decision is solely up to the U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland (who would now be sitting on the Supreme Court had it not been for Mitch McConnell and a Republican Senate majority).

But the committee's work - its investigation and its public hearings - have played a part in persuading Garland to move forward with a criminal case against Trump. If you'd asked me six months ago, I'd have said Garland would not do so, for fear of dividing the nation even more deeply. Now, I believe he will.

(c) 2022 Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He 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

We Must Choose: Democracy Or War
History shows that letting dictators get away with land grabs & genocidal attacks on nearby nations leads not to peace but to even worse wars than stopping that activity early would have done
By Thom Hartmann

This morning the strongman dictator of Russia used 28 "Kamikaze" drones supplied by the theocratic dictators of Iran to attack the democracy of Ukraine's capitol, Kyiv.

Some of my tragically misguided former colleagues and guests on the left are joining with the most virulent Trump-humpers and Orban/Putin-lovers on the right in calling for Ukraine to simply surrender a fifth of their country to Russia in exchange for "peace." (As if giving other people's sovereign land to violent dictators has ever led to peace.)

What these people on both political sides are missing is the power of democracy itself to prevent wars, along with the certainty that oligarchy and autocracy, in their end-stages, so often lead to war.

"Nobody wants war," goes the old refrain, almost always followed with a "but..." And there's a deep truth buried in there: average citizens almost never want war, even in the face of serious atrocities being inflicted on nearby others.

Wars, in fact, are almost always initiated by autocrats grasping for more wealth and power or trying to neuter popular uprisings against them. Whether it was the British (1775/1812) or the Confederacy (1861) attacking the United States, Hitler attacking Poland, Japan against China in the 1940s, or Russia attacking Ukraine last year, it's rare to find a major war that wasn't started by oligarchs, dictators, or kings.

This is precisely why the last years of Putin's reign; the unrestrained life-or-death power in the hands of Saudi dictator Mohammed bin Salman; and the Chinese Communist Party handing another five years of unparalleled power to President Xi are all so dangerous.

Strong-man or oligarchic coalition rule usually leads to hubris and arrogance; such rulers, unaccountable to the people, in their constant demand for more and more wealth and power, are unrestrained when they choose to attack other nations to get it. Even a cursory review of world or European history finds that kings have been doing this for millennia.

In a truly transparent and accountable democracy, however, the people themselves act as a restraining force on autocrats and oligarchs when they want to go to war.

It takes an extraordinary level of deception to convince the citizens of a functioning democracy to enter an unnecessary war and, when it happens, history does not remember those lying leaders well.

Putin has already started a war that could lead to WWIII (after destroying Syria), MBS has been waging a genocidal war against Yemen, and Xi repeated his intention to take Taiwan by force just this past weekend.

It's almost as if the planet's strongmen are trying to prove the point that they are the world's greatest threats to peace.

America's Founders knew how seductive war is to those who want to hang onto power in the face of popular unrest or even open revolt.

It reliably produces a rally-around-the-flag effect, as "Father of the Constitution" and 4th President James Madison noted:

"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other."
It was a serious warning, written in his 1795 pamphlet Political Observations about the need to prepare for a military confrontation with Great Britain (which eventually happened in 1812) because the King was behaving in the belligerent manner despots with unrestrained power so often do when facing popular unrest.

While calling for 10,000 men to be added to the US military to take on Britain (which was still suffering politically and economically from having lost the Revolutionary War), Madison also warned that, if we were to go to war, when the expected attack against America came we must have our eyes wide open:

"In war, too, the discretionary power of the [President] is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people.

"The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes and the opportunities of fraud growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

If there was to be a 1795 war with the UK, Madison argued, it must be defensive, we must be prepared, and it must be won decisively to keep it short so it wouldn't become "continual warfare."

This power of war to elevate the popularity and power of political leaders was writ large during our generation in George W. Bush's 2004 re-election - after he had previously lost the 2000 election by more than a half-million votes - on the single issue of his wars against Afghanistan and Iraq.,P. That simple reality - that democracies will never vote to enter a war unless they believe themselves to be under attack - demonstrates why Defense Secretary Robert MacNamara lied to LBJ about the Gulf of Tonkin "attack," just as Bush and Cheney lied to America and the world about Iraq's supposed involvement in 9/11 and weapons of mass destruction.

A nation can either have a transparent democracy or eventually end up in war promoted by oligarchs or autocrats seeking greater wealth and power.

In 1998, George W. Bush told the ghost writer his family had hired to author his autobiography, A Charge To Keep, that he'd have a "successful" presidency if he won in 2000 because he'd use that position to declare war on Iraq.

Reporter Russ Baker interviewed Mickey Herskowitz for his book Family of Secrets, and wrote:

"'He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,' Herskowitz told me in our 2004 interview, leaning in a little to make sure I could hear him properly. 'It was on his mind. He [Bush] said to me: "One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander in chief."

"'And he said, "My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, and he wasted it." He said, "If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed, and I'm going to have a successful presidency."'"

If I have a chance to invade. Bush, like his father, knew that if the American people were fully informed about the situation in Iraq they'd never vote for somebody who tried to take them to war.

Once LBJ realized he'd been lied to it was too late to pull out, at least in his mind. Bush Sr., knowing he was lying, brought in PR specialists and Kuwaiti royal family members to lie to America on live television about babies being thrown out of incubators; Bush Jr. and Dick Cheney tweaked intelligence and lied to America about WMD and Saddam's supposed involvement in 9/11.

These well-known lies in our past make it even easier for Americans today to cynically dismiss support for Ukraine. Nobody wants to get lied into a war, which is why both Bushs' are treated so poorly by historians and so skeptically even by Republicans.

The most enthusiastic cheerleader for both wars was billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Fox "News," an open advocate for Orbán/Putin style oligarchy and skeptic of democracy. He was helped by other corporate media behemoths looking for eyeballs and the revenue they bring, and a defense industry fielding a PR blitz.

Reflecting on this dynamic, former President Jimmy Carter told me on the air in July 2015 that the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which turned our elections over to the wealthiest Americans:

"...violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. ... So now we've just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election's over."
Because that's ultimately the choice: you can have oligarchy or democracy, but you can't have both for very long. And when a militarily powerful nation chooses oligarchy, they're ultimately choosing war.

When five corrupt Republicans on the Supreme Court decided to officially and legally turn America into an oligarchy with Citizens United and its predecessors, they were choosing to end our democracy. While they were probably just trying to please the billionaire ideologues who'd put them on the Court, they were also setting up the death of our republic on the foundation of lied-into-wars.

Abraham Lincoln called out the oligarchs who attacked America in the Civil War. Franklin Roosevelt called out the oligarchs who fought against his efforts to establish an American middle class. Today both President Biden and Senator Sanders (among others, particularly members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus) regularly call out the oligarchs who fund the Republican Party's attacks on democracy.

Most troubling, though, the autocrats and oligarchs of the world - including many here in the US - know well that Americans want a functioning democracy and prefer peace to war. That's why Russia and China, along with rightwing billionaires in America, have launched an army of social media trolls and media shills to argue that we should just let Putin take Ukraine and give Taiwan to Xi.

The message behind all of that was - just like the message of the America First movement in the 1930s, as Rachel Maddow is so brilliantly documenting - simple:

"We shouldn't challenge aggressive military powers run by strongmen," these so-called pacifists say, "because they may drag us into a terrible war."
History, though, shows that letting dictators get away with land grabs and genocidal attacks on nearby nations leads not to peace but to even worse wars than stopping that activity early would have done.

If antiwar pundits across the political spectrum were truly interested in world peace rather than simply fearful of strongman governments, they would be promoting world democracy rather than trying to restrain Europe and the US from challenging Putin's genocidal attack on Ukraine or calling for appeasement of Xi on Taiwan.

As On Tyranny author Timothy Snyder writes at his Thinking About newsletter on Substack:

"[D]emocracy can succeed when those who support it are aware of history, are aware of their own historical predicaments, and choose to act.

"In this sense, Ukrainian resistance is a model. If we believe that democracy will be brought to us by structural factors, then we will get more fascism, more genocide, more imperialism.

"But we do not have to believe that. We can believe instead that democracy is always a struggle, but that the struggle is worth it."

Finally, promoting democracy starts at home.

If we are to truly act out the values we profess, we must "struggle" to overturn Citizens United and begin the process of ending the hold a toxic oligarchy currently has on the GOP and the US.

(c) 2022 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

The Cartoon Corner -

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jeff Stahler ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a campaign rally.

Trump Sends January 6th Committee A Note From His Podiatrist
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Minutes after the congressional committee investigating the January 6th insurrection voted unanimously to subpoena the former President, Donald J. Trump responded by submitting a note from his podiatrist.

The foot specialist, Dr. Harland Dorrinson, indicated in the note that Trump's chronic bone-spur issues, which had been asymptomatic in recent years, had suddenly "been acting up again."

"This afternoon, Mr. Trump began experiencing unbearable pain consistent with bone-spur inflammation," the podiatrist wrote. "For this reason, I cannot in good conscience give him permission to testify."

The podiatrist's note did not appear to discourage one committee member, Representative Liz Cheney, who volunteered to hoist Trump onto a luggage trolley and wheel him into the hearing room.

(c) 2022 Andy Borowitz


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 41 (c) 10/21/2022

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