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In This Edition

Phil Rockstroh returns with, "Bodies On The Ground And The Rise And Rise Of The Economic Elite."

Cynthia McKinney returns with, "India's Annexation of Kashmir Is No Surprise."

Glen Ford explains, "Why The Rich Want To Bury Bernie, The Not-Really-Socialist."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Will Democrats Be Democrats, Or Fraidy Cats?"

Norman Solomon examines, "The Danger of Nancy Pelosi's Bad Attitude Toward Progressives."

John Nichols asks, "Does Paul Ryan Think White Supremacist Hate Is A 'Hoax'?"

James Donahue considers, "The Hanford Nuclear Disaster Threat."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "The NRA Is A Symptom Of The Racism That Drives Violence In The US."

Melissa Mollen Dupuis watches, "Innushkueu And The Whale."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Nobody Will Ever Believe The Official Story On This."

Ralph Nader says, "It Is Time To Haul Boeing Executives Before Congress To Testify Under Oath."

United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Juan Cole gives a, "World-Wide Welcome."

Jane Stillwater compares, "Wars & Walls & Interest Rates."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst sees, "Tyrannical Twitter Tirades," but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "It's About To Hit The Fan!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jimmy Margulies, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Mario Tama, Tom Williams, Stephen Brashear, Scott Olson, Jim Young, Rick Friedman, Steve Sack, Brian Angell, Jane Stillwater, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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It's About To Hit The Fan!
By Ernest Stewart

"This crash is not going to have much effect on business." ~~~ Chairman Arthur Reynolds ~ Continental Illinois Bank of Chicago ~ October 24th 1929.

"Unfortunately, some countries don't seem to understand the dire need of stopping deforestation in the tropics. We cannot force any government to interfere. But we hope that our report will sufficiently influence public opinion to that effect." ~~~ Hans-Otto Portner

"What do you call two farmers in a basement? A whine cellar." ~~~ Sonny Perdue ~ U.S. Agriculture Secretary

"For it is in giving that we receive." ~~~ Francis of Assisi

I've been waiting for the hammer to fall since Slick Willie loosen the restraints on the banksters and it hit the fan in 2008 when Obama gave trillions to the banksters to keep that depression from turning into another great depression. Instead of breaking up the too big to fail banks they put a patch on it and forgot about it.

You can't have trillion dollar tax cut for the uber wealthy and then start trade wars all around the world, especially in China our largest trading partner in food stuffs without it hitting the fan again! China just cut off all food imports from America. Lying Donalds hashtag #TrumpRecession was sent to the top of Twitter's trending list on Wednesday and pinned the diving stock market on the president's economic agenda.

"Why did the Dow drop over 900 points this morning and why is #TrumpRecession trending? Because the yield on the 10-year Treasury note broke below the 2-year rate. This inverted yield curve has historically signaled an approaching recession," said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).

"This inverted yield curve which has predicted every major recession over the past five decades, since the recession of 1958 sparked warnings from economists that a major economic downturn could be just around the corner."

"Trump promised to eliminate the debt in four years; he increased it, He promised to win the easy trade war with China; he didn't. He promised Mexico would pay for the wall; it won't. His tax cuts were going to trickle down and spur the economy; it didnt. #TrumpRecession,"
said Wajahat Ali an op-ed writer for the New York Times.

May mighty Zeus protect you if you have money in the stock market, America, it's about to hit the fan, 1929 style!

In Other News

I see where efforts to curb greenhouse gas-emissions and the impacts of global warming will fall significantly short without drastic changes in global land use, agriculture and human diets, leading researchers warn in a high-level report commissioned by the United Nations.

The special report on climate and land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes plant-based diets as a major opportunity for mitigating and adapting to climate change - and includes a policy recommendation to reduce meat consumption.

On 8 August, the IPCC released a summary of the report, which is designed to inform upcoming climate negotiations amidst the worsening global climate crisis. More than 100 experts compiled the report in recent months, around half of whom hail from developing countries.

"We don't want to tell people what to eat," says Hans-Otto Portner, an ecologist who co-chairs the IPCC's working group on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. "But it would indeed be beneficial, for both climate and human health, if people in many rich countries consumed less meat, and if politics would create appropriate incentives to that effect." "Fat chance of Fong" that McBurger Trump would do that! Lying Donald loves his burgers everyday!

Researchers also note the relevance of the report to tropical rainforests, where concerns are mounting about accelerating rates of deforestation. The Amazon rainforests is a huge carbon sink that acts to cool global temperature, but rates of deforestation are rising, in part due to the policies and actions of the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. You may recall that Jair is just a little to the right of Lying Donald and also you know who!

"Unstopped, deforestation could turn much of the remaining Amazon forests into a degraded type of desert, possibly releasing over 50 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere in 30 to 50 years. That's very worrying." ~~~ Carlos Nobre ~ climate scientist at the University of Sao Paol.

"Unfortunately, some countries don't seem to understand the dire need of stopping deforestation in the tropics. We cannot force any government to interfere. But we hope that our report will sufficiently influence public opinion to that effect," says Portner.

They're cutting down the biggest carbon sink in the world so that Lying Donald can have his burgers. We are soooo screwed, America!

And Finally

You may hate his guts but you have to admit that United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has got balls. The other day Sonny thought it was funny to tell a joke about how American farmers have a "whine cellar" to a group of farmers in a barn in Morgan, Minnesota. Farmers who were all near going bankrupt because of Lying Donalds trade war with China.

Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, told the Huffington Post on Monday, "It was definitely not an appropriate thing to say. It was very insensitive. It took everyone by surprise. He doesn't understand what farmers are dealing with, and he's the head of the Department of Agriculture. He's supposed to be working for farmers."

Thanks to Lying Donalds latest brainstorm China just canceled all purchases of U.S. agricultural products. So as bad as things were, they just got a whole lot worse. American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall called this "a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by."

Since Lying Donald came to power American farmers income had dropped by 2/3 of what it used to be under President Obama. So guess who wins this week's "Vidkun Quisling Award"? No, let's not see all the same hands... that's right, this weeks winner is Sonny Perdue! All of you who said Sonny Perdue may stay after class and clean the erasers, there'll be graham crackers, and almond milk to follow!

Keepin' On

As you may have noticed that six of our regulars are missing from this week's magazine, plus Robert Reich and David Suzuki who are on vacation. They are the first of many that will be leaving as time goes by.

The internet isn't free, some of your favorite authors will be missing as we have to pay for their publishing rights in order to publish them. You'll have to look them up yourselves and may have to pay to read them on their sites. The same goes for some cartoonists.

We'll still keep fighting the good fight like we always have, as we're in it to the end. If you think that what we do is important and would like to see us keep on, keeping on, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep telling you the truth!


01-20-1953 ~ 08-10-2019
Burn Baby Burn!


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

****** We've Moved The Forum Back *******

For late breaking news and views visit The Forum. Find all the news you'll otherwise miss. We publish three times the amount of material there than what is in the magazine. Look for the latest Activist Alerts. Updated constantly, please feel free to post an article we may have missed.


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

People attend a candlelight vigil at a makeshift memorial honoring victims of a mass shooting
which left at least 22 people dead, on August 7, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. President Donald Trump visited
the city earlier today. A 21-year-old white male suspect remains in custody in El Paso which sits along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bodies On The Ground And The Rise And Rise Of The Economic Elite
Trump is not an anomaly of a morally bankrupt nation, but rather an emblem
By Phil Rockstroh

The United States of America is less of a nation than a collective, psychotic episode.

Within day to day life in the nation, a cultural aura exists that shifts, mingles, and merges between a sense of nervous agitation and displaced rage, in combination with a sense of weightlessness. The fragmented quality of daily life imparts an insubstantial, unreal quality wherein the citizenry of the capitalist/consumer empire of hungry ghosts drift through a nadascape comprised of ad hoc, fast-buck-driven, suburban/exburban architecture and the ersatz eros of constant, consumer come-ons.

Yet beneath the nebulous dread and nettling angst of it all, there exists the primal human imperative for connection and social communion i.e., authentic eros. The most lost among the lost in the ghostsphere of the collective mind attempt to animate the realm of shades with libations of blood. The gods of the capitalist death cult demand no less.

Where does an impulse to possess an unlimited number of firearms fit into the scheme of things? A firearm's heft, for one. The weapon feels substantial when held and hoisted thus serves, provisionally, to mitigate a psychical sense of weightlessness. The act of engagement eases nervous agitation. Guns reality is antithetically to the weightless content of media reality. Focus is achieved when one aligns the weapon's site to a target. Nebulous dread transforms into adamantine purpose. The presence of an Angel Of Death will focus the mind. The ground, for the moment, feels solid beneath one's feet. Hence, there arrives a craving, in the sense of addiction, to hoard the object that provides relief; in addition, massive quantities of ammunition must be stored as emotional ballast. The mystifying, rankling, uncontrollable criteria of this weightless Age and the white noise of uncertainty seem to yield to the clear and decisive crack of a rifle shot. Relief is imagined in the concomitant carnage. Rebecca West captures the phenomenon in prose:

Only part of us is sane: only part of us loves pleasure and the longer day of happiness, wants to live to our nineties and die in peace, in a house that we built, that shall shelter those who come after us. The other half of us is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set back life to its beginnings and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations.
Because we, on a personal level, in most cases, choose the primary option, our hidden, shadow half will live out the latter on a collective basis. During the blood lust on display at Trump rallies, the mob finds a collective comfort zone in catastrophic longings. The domestic landscape of paranoia works in behalf of the profiteers of perpetual war, perpetrators of the U.S.-created deathscapes overseas, and vice versa, in a self-resonating feedback loop of carnage.

In our era, in which, the U.S. empire is in decline, as a consequence, the White supremacist order no longer seems inevitable, Trump's frightened legions have personalised the decline. In their gut, they feel as if their identity is under siege. Seal off the nation's borders. Construct an unscalable wall. Create a cordon sanitaire to protect and preserve racial purity. A strong authority figure is craved in order to set the world back in order. The phenomenon could be termed, Authoritarian Simpatico Syndrome (ASS)-a pathology manifested in personality types who have been traumatized by the authoritarianism of the U.S. socio-political milieu but who seek to assuage their hurt and humiliation by identification with the very forces responsible for their torment. The stuff of a cultural nervous breakdown.

To that end, according to its own laws, the nation's citizenry, sufferers of mental distress, should be restricted from purchasing a gun. Yet without a doubt, the most disturbed of all are the nation's political class, those responsible for gun legislation. There is compelling evidence that they present a clear and present danger to themselves and others. The political class is a menace to society; they make decisions, more often than not, based on delusional thinking, that are responsible for harm on a massive scale. Thus they should be subject to institutional-style restraint, within the confines of the most heavily secure, lockdown ward in an asylum for the criminally insane.

Although the so-called mentally ill, as a rule, are not any more inclined to commit violent crimes than are the general population of capitalist dystopias. The U.S. was founded in genocidal violence and the fortunes of its ruling class' are protected by the state sanctioned violence of the police and are bloated by the violence inherent to imperialist shakedown operations.

It comes down to this: In our emotionally brutal era, those deemed mentally ill are suffering from capitalism. The pummelling stress and boot-in-the-face, hierarchy-inflicted humiliations inherent to the system inflict trauma on large swathes of the citizenry.

Epidemic levels of middle age, U.S. citizen's are dying with needles in their arms. The inherent and internalised White supremacy of the societal order has been exacerbated by Trump's self-serving, reckless agitprop and acts in a drug-like manner causing dopamine levels to rise in those experiencing emotional torment due to humiliation-caused despair. Demagogues such as Trump are aware and exploit the manner despair can be palliatively mitigated by the emotional displacement of rage.

Fascist insignias rise when the hopes and aspirations of the working class lay shattered across a capitalist economic wasteland. Hoisted torches provide the illusion that dark despair has been banished. The fascist mob becomes possessed by a belief that they, en masse, can ascend into the precincts of heaven by scaling a mountain of corpses comprised of outsider groups.

Fascism not only acts as anaesthetic to the wounds delivered by capitalism, it is a psychoactive drug because incantatory rhetoric and imagist psychical material get those susceptible to its crude allure high.

Capitalism is borne on manic wings. The economic elite move from corporate skyscrapers and high rise rooftops in order to travel by helicopter, where upon landing, they board private, luxury jets, then, whereupon landing again, they are transported by helicopter to corporate skyscrapers and high rise rooftops. Touching the earth is a fleeting experience. The ruling class have lost touch with ground level verities. In a classical sense, such displays of hubris were understood as the progenitor of madness. The gods first elevate those they drive mad.

And, yes, race-based fears and animus are in play. Racism engendered mass murder has been coming to pass since armed Europeans trudged ashore in the Americas, with their blood-sodden religion and their murderous craving for gold and land. Of course, the racist demagoguery of the Bloated Orange Tub Of Nazi Goo oozing into and agitating the limbic systems of violent cretins during homegrown Nuremberg Rallies and his compulsion to blitzkrieg the pixel-sphere with Der Sturmer tweets is fomenting racist mayhem that includes bacchanals of blood. U.S. mythos is rancid with the reek of the corpses of the innocent slaughtered by White men brandishing firearms. Mass murderers have been and continue to be enshrined as heroes, from Wounded Knee to Afghanistan.

The nation was established by gun-enabled genocide and the intimidation of African slaves held at gunpoint on capitalist plantations. The truth has never been faced, e.g. the suppression of the Nixon tape in which Ronald Reagan displayed his racist mindset.

The U.S. citizenry thanks the soldiers of its racist wars of aggression for their "service." Perpetual shooting sprees origins can be traced to the heart of darkness of the nation and its concomitant White supremacist creed. The killings happened long before the rise and election of the Tangerine Tweet Fuhrer. Of course, the racist shit-heel Trump has exacerbated the situation. He deserves all scorn cast his way. It is obvious his capacity for malice does not possess a governor's switch.

Trump is a two-legged emblem of the hypertrophy at play in late U.S. imperium. Gun-inflicted violence is steeped into the blood-stained fabric of the U.S. (sham) republic. Withal, Trump is not an anomaly; he is an emblem. Gun-strokers are no more going to shed their mythos than liberals and progressives are going to shed theirs that the U.S. is a democratic republic, governed by the rule of law, and progressive reforms will be implemented by its High Dollar owned and controlled political class that will serve to turn around the trajectory of the blood-built and maintained U.S. empire.

(c) 2019 Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living, now, in Munich, Germany. Visit him at FaceBook.

Jammu-Kashmir flag

India's Annexation of Kashmir Is No Surprise
Is Modi Setting Up South Asia for Chaos?
By Cynthia McKinney

Ill winds are blowing in South Asia and by the time they settle down, an entirely new political landscape could be in full view. India's annexation of Jammu and Kashmir is only the latest in a series of Modi moves that demonstrate that change is in the air.

India's annexation of Jammu and Kashmir comes as no surprise and, quite frankly, is in keeping with India's behavior after the British Colonial period ended in 1947, when the so-called "Princely States," semi-autonomous regions within "British India," were given the choice of acceding to the newly-created state of Pakistan or the newly-independent state of India. "British India" consisted of today's countries of Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Afghanistan, Nepal, and Bhutan remained untouched by the British or any other Western European colonial powers. Jammu and Kashmir was only one of many "Princely States" whose future was not decided at that time of the British exit as colonial master: the fates of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, and Sikkim-all eventually incorporated into the Republic of India-were presages of what was to come for Jammu and Kashmir. The state of India took these actions without regard to the feelings of the local people and as a result, had to fend off secessionist movements that have only just now begun to subside. The difference between these areas and Jammu and Kashmir is that the Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir had the support of Pakistan at the United Nations and other international forums. Thus, Modi's India has struck a match to the kindling that was always Jammu and Kashmir. The problem for India is that it has smoldering fires already lit on several other fronts. The problem for the region is that this is not the only fire now burning. First, Modi's India's smoldering fires.

Narendra Modi came to power as a "genocidaire:" someone who has in the past incited genocide. In February 2002, a train caught fire carrying Hindu pilgrims in India's state of Gujarat. Modi, Chief Minister of the state at the time, blamed the Pakistanis; a pogrom ensued with hundreds of Muslims dying and over 200,000 Muslims losing their homes. Culprits committing horrendous acts against Muslim Gujaratis claimed that Modi told the police to stand down for three days while the rampage continued. Babu Gajrangi, one of the conspirators, admits that Modi toured the Hindu areas and told him, "Well done." Gajrangi further states that Modi arranged to get him out of jail. The New York Times "Timeline" of the incident states that "a top state official" who was later murdered stated that Modi ordered officials to take no actions against the perpetrators, resulting in thousands of cases being dropped despite eyewitnesses. Paving his way to the Prime Minister's office, in 2012, Modi's chief assistant was charged and convicted and is currently serving a 28-year sentence in prison. In all, 31 were convicted of murder. Despite encouraging his subordinates to genocide, Modi escaped all charges. Unfortunately, Modi has done nothing to stop the religious violence since he became Prime Minister.

In addition to the direct violence taking place between Hindus and Muslims in India-which is supposed to be a secular state according to its Constitution-Muslims are being subjected to new laws that affect their right to practice their religion and to live, according to the 2019 Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The Report specifically mentions forced conversions, cow slaughter laws, and vigilante groups. Moreover, Muslims in Modi's India, just like the Muslims in Myanmar, are being asked to prove their citizenship for India's new National Register of Citizens (NRC). President of Modi's Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Member of Parliament Amit Shah stated that India is now ready to accept Hindu refugees from any country and give them Indian citizenship even if they are not included on the Citizenship Registry. Further, the Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2019 which was introduced into parliament in January 2019, stated that Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh would be accepted into Indian citizenship. If this sounds eerily familiar, it should. It is the existing policy of Israel to accept any Jew from anywhere as a citizen of Israel and the U.S. taxpayers, through a line item in the annual State Department authorization bill, pay for Jewish resettlement to Israel.

It should not come as a surprise, then, that Modi's India has partnered with Israel and the U.S.A. in an unprecedented scale compared to its past. India, a co-founder of the Non-Aligned Movement and trusted Russian ally, has reversed its positions under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even refusing to support Palestine at the United Nations and cementing its relationship with Israel with arms deals, agricultural programs, and cultural exchanges. India has also signed three important agreements with the Pentagon, upgrading its military relationship with the U.S. Narendra Modi could prove to be as destabilizing for South Asia as U.S. President Donald Trump has been in the global arena. Additionally, the Trump Administration has named India its "Major Strategic Partner" in the "Indo-Pacific," defined by the Trump Administration as the area starting in Western India extending to the West Coast of the U.S. No wonder ISIS-just another one of the many U.S.-manufactured terrorist outfits-is turning its attention away from West Asia and toward India.

By providing a major grievance for the Muslim majority population of Jammu and Kashmir, and all of the Constitution-minded Indians of every faith, Modi's India, with its more than 184 million Muslims, and new partnerships with the U.S. and Israel could be in for more than it bargained for. After all, Pakistanis have little to show for their generations of loyalty to the U.S. This explains why Pakistan, under its new Prime Minister, Imran Khan, is now looking to all of its neighbors in the region for peaceful solutions to the region's problems. Without a steady hand for peace in India, and with even deeper penetration of the region by the U.S. and Israel, "The Great Game" of U.S. geostrategy shifts to South Asia. Thus, we believe that the U.S. "Pivot to Asia" is a pivot to South Asia-and that could have dire consequences for the entire Continent.

It is perceived in most Muslim majority countries that the new covert strategy of this India-U.S.-Israel nexus is aimed at neutralizing the only Muslim-majority nuclear state-Pakistan-through various diplomatic and non- diplomatic scenarios, with the possibility of full-blown military action. After all, in 1971, India and Israel joined to Balkanize Pakistan and create the Muslim-majority state of Bangladesh. Overt attempts to Balkanize Pakistan once again, by dismembering Baluchistan, seem to be at the top of India's agenda, although Pakistan appears to have taken strong counter measures to prevent such an outcome.

By annulling Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, India has annexed Jammu and Kashmir and now non-Kashmiris are allowed to move into Kashmir, buy property, obtain state employment, and live there. Modi's India has set the stage for large-scale ethnic cleansing or worse. Moreover, to arrive at these conditions, India has quite possibly disregarded international law, including the United Nations Charter and Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, pertaining to protections of civilian populations.

Depriving Kashmiris of their inherent special status rights granted during pre- and post-partition of India will, undoubtedly, encourage an even more massive military deployment by India-which has already begun. Kashmiris, who have fought for their independence for generations, are not about to forego their right to self-determination. Kashmiri leaders have already started giving distress calls to the world community, especially to Muslim states, to protect them from the human rights violations that are sure to come. We believe that Modi, who has already presided over one genocide, is fully prepared to preside over another. In such an atmosphere, it is clear that Modi's India, with its ascendant Hindu Nationalist ideology-HINDUTVA-will spur underground movements, not only in Kashmir, but also in the entirety of the country. Unless Modi's India immediately returns to a semblance of secularism, India could very well spin out of control.

As for the region, Bangladesh, on the other side of India, is playing host to one million Muslim Rohingya who fled persecution in majority-Buddhist Myanmar. And Myanmar is engulfed in internal, low-intensity warfare from its own 135 ethnic groups trying to build self-determination in a post-colonial setting and within the idea of a single nation.

We encourage responsible actors in the international community to stop this deadly spin before it's too late.

(c) 2019 Cynthia McKinney Cynthia McKinney, Ph.D. served in the United States Congress for more than a decade, ran for President under the Green Party banner in 2008.

Why The Rich Want To Bury Bernie, The Not-Really-Socialist
With permission from White Democrats
By Glen Ford

Sanders is fighting capitalist austerity, not capitalist rule, but austerity is ruling class policy, so the Democratic Party must stop him.

With the corporate media united in determination to bury Bernie Sanders' second run at the presidency - even to the point of boosting Elizabeth Warren's candidacy, apparently in the belief that her multitudinous "plans" to regulate and tax the rich are less dangerous to the ruling class - it is critical to get a handle on just how much wealth the One Percent have amassed for themselves under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

San Francisco City College political scientist Rick Baum's analysis of Federal Reserve Board data shows that the top one percent of the population has increased its share of the national wealth from 23.3% in 1989 to 31.1% in the first quarter of 2019 - a boost of over 33 percent in just a generation and a half. Meanwhile, beginning in 2014 under President Obama, the share of wealth held by the bottom 90 percent dwindled to less than that amassed by the One Percent for the first time since 1989.

The neoliberal policies imposed by both halves of the corporate electoral duopoly over the last 30 years have been highly profitable to the top 1%, and especially to the billionaire class, whose ranks have increased from 55 in 1989 to 412 in 2012, the mid-point of Barack Obama's presidency, to 609 in 2018 . Baum's stats show "average person in the top 1% holds net wealth that is worth 1,200 times the net wealth of an average person among the poorest 50% of the U.S. population."

Possibly even more disturbing, is that the top one-tenth of one percent (.01%) of the population -- households making $2.757 million a year -- now number almost 200,000 families, a cohort big enough to create and inhabit a large and coherent social world of its own. From their rich enclaves in every state of the country, this formidable "base" of truly wealthy folks effectively dictate the politics of their regions for the benefit of themselves and the oligarchs at the top of the pyramid.

In the face of such metastasizing wealth, Baum concludes that the impact on the degree of inequality of Elizabeth Warren's proposed 2 percent tax on the holdings of the rich over $50 million "would presumably be minimal." He's right. And that's why Warren can truthfully claim that she remains a "capitalist to my bones." Warren shares other campaign pledges with Bernie Sanders, who claims to be a socialist in the Scandinavian (non)sense of the word. Sanders and Warren would both tax the rich to create free or cheaply affordable "social goods" in the form of health care, education, housing and income supports, so that even those without wealth -- which effectively means at least half of Black America - can lead dignified lives.

Sanders' "socialism" is no threat to the rule of capital, or to the 200,000 multimillionaire families - except for grossly overpaid doctors and pharmaceutical and insurance executives that might be wiped out by Medicare for All. But even enactment of the full Sanders wish list would leave the oligarchs owning the commanding heights of the economy, and free to gobble up as much more of the national assets as they wish. The reason the ruler's have decreed "anybody but Bernie" is that Sanders' (and to a lesser perceived degree, Warren's) campaign proposals challenge the austerity regime that has been relentlessly erected since the 1970s precisely to set American workers and the whole capitalist world on a Race to the Bottom, in which each year brings lower living standards and more insecurity to the population at large. The obscene increases in wealth inequality are the desired result and true essence of austerity, which is designed to force working people to be happy to take any job, at any wage, under any conditions because, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan's mentor, "There is no alternative."

Barack Obama was a champion of austerity who succeeded in imposing its harshest discipline on Black America by virtue of his race and the false hopes of his strongest supporters. Obama not only oversaw the most dramatic evisceration of Black wealth in history during the Great Recession, but his economic "recovery" was purely a consolidation of wealth and power for the oligarchs and a drastic degradation of the life prospects for almost everyone else. Fully 94 percent of the 10 million new jobs created under Obama were temporary, contract positions, or part-time "gig" jobs, according to a study by by economists Lawrence Katz, of Harvard University, and Alan Krueger at Princeton. This "son of Africa" did his corporate duty to reduce U.S. workers to the insecurity and desperation that the global capitalist ruling class is imposing on every acre of the world under their control. As Katz and Krueger reported, Obama's austerity hammer fell hardest on minorities and female workers - the ostensible Democratic Party base. But Sanders and Warren cannot allow a word of criticism of Obama to pass their lips, lest it be seen as a Trump-like attack on a Black icon. Sanders' political party (the one he's running under, not the leftish Vermont configuration of his "independent" persona) is a corporate instrument that has been commanded to kill his anti-austerity campaign - an order the corporate media has dutifully obeyed, with a discipline and ruthlessness fine-tuned through three years of Russiagate non-journalism.

Yet, Sanders is the only Democrat besides Joe Biden who polls well enough to decisively beat Trump - and even Biden's handlers know that he will soon disintegrate into a puddle of befuddlement.The corporate media and the rigged pollsters put their thumbs on the scale for Warren in order to split the anti-austerity vote. But, whatever happens in the primaries, the corporate rulers will not allow opponents of their billionaire-creating austerity machine to seize control of what has become the most important half of the electoral duopoly. (Trump's Republican Party now lacks sufficient legitimacy for stable corporate governance, due both to Trump himself, and the Democrat-corporate-spooks semi-coup called Russiagate.) They would rather the Democrats lose to Trump than win with Bernie. Should Sanders secure the nomination, the moneyed classes will immediately set about creating a "centrist" party to preserve the austerity regime, "grandfathering" in current "moderate" Democrats, en mass.

In other words, leftish anti-austerity forces can get their own party, either by inheriting the Democratic shell after a Sanders victory, or by abandoning the Party after witnessing the full menu of dirty tricks the rulers and their minions will inflict on Sanders this season.

Or, they can support the Greens - an option most U.S. lefties have not taken in the past two decades, fearing life outside the white corporate bosom.

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

Will Democrats Be Democrats, Or Fraidy Cats?
By Jim Hightower

As an old saying puts it, "Where there's a will -there are a thousand won'ts."

Sure enough, here come the won'ts, opposing the public's demand for bold action to stop inequality. The corporate powers are frantically trying to scare the public away from big ideas like Medicare for All, free college tuition, and a wealth tax by branding them with the hoary old, right-wing bugaboo: "Socialism!"

However, they're facing one huge problem in selling this scare tactic: such progressive ideas are quite popular. A July poll shows that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's idea of a new tax on fortunes greater than $50 million is favored by two-thirds of Americans, including 55 percent of Republicans. Nearly six out of 10 people favor Medicare for All, including a majority of high-income Americans. And nearly 60 percent of us -including 72 percent of independent voters -favor free tuition.

Ironically, the major barrier to passing such changes is not the one thrown up by big money lobbyists and Republican congress critters. Rather, it's the meekness of establishment Democrats who don't have the courage of their party's democratic convictions. They whimper that it will be hard to pass the sweeping changes Americans need and want, plus those ideas might offend some of the party's big donors. So rather than respond to the grassroots will for real change, those weak-kneed forces are opposing strong advocates like Warren and Bernie Sanders. They say the party should back off from its core values and fighting spirit, urging it instead to offer small, incremental adjustments in the status quo that might win support from Republicans and corporate chieftains.

If the meek ever inherit the earth, these timid do-nothings will be land barons! If Democrats don't stand for the people, why should people stand for them?

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

From left, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Speaker
Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gather in the Capitol before a rally with House Democrats on
their first 200 days of the 116th Congress on Thursday, July 25, 2019.

The Danger of Nancy Pelosi's Bad Attitude Toward Progressives
At a time when the virulent racism of the Trump regime is becoming more flagrant, it might seem a divergence to challenge Democratic Party leadership. On the contrary, the imperative of preventing Trump's re-election will require massive engagement and huge turnout of the progressive grassroots base. You don't get that by ignoring or disparaging it.
By Norman Solomon

Here's a thought experiment: Imagine that a letter from the billionaire real-estate broker George M. Marcus was hand-delivered to the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asking to meet with her. What are the chances that Pelosi would find time on her calendar?

Hint: Marcus gave $4.5 million to Pelosi's House Majority PAC during the 2018 election cycle.

Or, if the letter had come from the hedge-fund billionaire James H. Simons-who gave $10 million to that PAC during the last election cycle-would his request for a meeting with Speaker Pelosi be granted?

In contrast, we don't need to speculate about what would happen if Pelosi received a letter from seven progressive organizations "urgently" requesting a meeting to discuss her recent dismissive comments about four progressive congresswomen-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

That's what happened on July 17, when a letter was hand-delivered to Pelosi's office in Washington. It was signed by progressive groups with millions of active supporters-Demand Progress, Democracy for America, Just Foreign Policy, Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of America, and RootsAction (where I'm national coordinator). It was also signed by the largest caucus of the biggest state party, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party.

After a delay of more than two weeks, Pelosi's office replied on August 2: "Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi is unable to meet at this time. We will be sure to let you know if anything changes in her schedule."

Pelosi has earned a reputation as a highly skilled legislative manager and a prodigious fundraiser. But her solicitous skills at cultivating wealthy patrons (the top 15 donors gave a total of $37 million to her House Majority PAC during the 2018 cycle) are matched with her rather contemptuous attitude toward progressives who don't fit into the equations that compute for her on Capitol Hill.

Our letter pointed out that "the ultimate fate of legislative and electoral efforts will depend on active support from millions of people at the grassroots." But inside the Capitol bubble, Democratic leadership seems to see progressive grassroots energy as more of a threat than an asset.

A month ago, Pelosi went out of her way to disparage Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib for voting against a bill that lacked adequate refugee protections at the U.S.-Mexico border. Pelosi told the New York Times: "All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn't have any following. They're four people and that's how many votes they got."

Pelosi later met with Ocasio-Cortez, but that did little to repair the damage. Lost in the media hubbub was the reality that Pelosi didn't only express thinly veiled contempt toward four deeply progressive congresswomen; she was also conveying a similar attitude toward millions of Americans who share their political outlooks, while many have been drawn into political engagement due to their achievements. As our letter put it, "Dismissive comments about new progressive members of Congress have given the impression of a disdainful attitude toward like-minded progressives and Democratic activists across the country."

Nor have Trump's racist tweets about the four congresswomen changed the realities of how destructive it is for Speaker Pelosi to disparage those emerging leaders and their truly national grassroots constituencies. If Pelosi is supposed to strive for evenly piloting the Democratic aircraft as House speaker, why is she periodically throwing smoke bombs at its left wing?

The party should be called to account when its leaders let their ostensible principles slide. Pelosi's ire at the four dissenting Democratic congresswomen was triggered by their strong opposition to inadequate protection for refugees. As our letter to Pelosi said: "At a time when flagrant institutionalized cruelty, racism, xenophobia, misogyny and other forms of bigotry have reached new depths from Republican leaders, we can ill afford the slightest wavering from unequivocal opposition to such extremism. Efforts to strengthen our resolve should be welcomed."

At the same time, a key underlying reality is Pelosi's alignment with corporate Democrats who worry about being primaried in 2020. Two of the four congresswomen in "The Squad"-Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley-won their seats by defeating incumbents in Democratic primaries last year. They've set a good example for progressives while making many House Democrats nervous.

This week, several thousand constituents have used a RootsAction webpage to send individual emails to House Democrats, telling their representative: "I realize that the Speaker is powerful on Capitol Hill, but I ask you to summon the courage to speak up and push her to permanently stop taking sides against progressive lawmakers."

As I wrote nine months ago, "progressives should recognize the longstanding House Democratic leader as a symptom of a calcified party hierarchy that has worn out its grassroots welcome and is beginning to lose its grip. Increasingly at odds with the Democratic Party's mobilized base, that grip has held on with gobs of money from centralized, deep-pocket sources-endlessly reinforcing continual deference to corporate power and an ongoing embrace of massively profitable militarism."

At a time when the virulent racism of the Trump regime is becoming more flagrant, it might seem a divergence to challenge the Democratic Party's leadership. On the contrary. The imperative of preventing Trump's re-election will require massive engagement and huge turnout of the Democratic base-exactly what doesn't happen when party leaders are aloof, elitist, enthralled with Wall Street and dismissive of genuinely progressive principles.

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

Paul Ryan speaks after a meeting with Donald Trump at the White House in December, 2018.

Does Paul Ryan Think White Supremacist Hate Is A 'Hoax'?
The former speaker of the House is on the Fox Corporation board-does he share the view, as stated on Fox News, that white supremacy is "actually not a real problem in America"?
By John Nichols

Paul Ryan made a lot of money as speaker of the House: $223,500 annually. Pretty good compensation for serving as Donald Trump's rubber stamp. But he's making even easier money now, as a member of the Fox Corporation board of directors. In that position, the former Republican representative from Wisconsin and 2012 vice presidential nominee gets at least $335,000 annually to keep an eye on the Fox News Channel.

Working with Trump gave Ryan some preparation for working with the Fox folks. Trump said outrageous things, and Ryan covered for him. But the Fox folks are even more extreme than Trump. So where does Ryan draw the line? Is there anything that's too extreme, too bigoted, too vile for Paul Ryan? Is the claim that white supremacist hate is a "hoax" too much?

After a Texas man shot and killed 22 people in El Paso on August 3, a "manifesto" surfaced that appeared to mimic Trump's visceral hate speech regarding immigrants. Trump knew he had a problem. So he tried to distance himself from the worst of it.

"The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy," he announced. "These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul. We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism-whatever they need."

Trump took no personal responsibility. And he didn't get anywhere near an adequate response to the issue of gun violence. But he at least tried to take the issue of white supremacist hatred seriously.

Not so Fox host Tucker Carlson, who dismissed concerns about white supremacist violence by declaring on his show: "It's actually not a real problem in America."

"This is a hoax, just like the Russia hoax,"Carlson told his millions of viewers. "It's a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power."

Actually, white supremacy is a real problem in America. The Southern Poverty Law Center this year identified 148 hate groups that espouse white supremacist bigotry, and said the numbers were up 50 percent from five years earlier. And where is the white supremacy soapbox? On Fox.

"It's undeniably one of the core tenets of the opinion-mongers at Fox News-and of some portion of its supposedly straight news coverage, too." writes The Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan. "Carlson's nightly show does a great deal to portray nonwhites as the dangerous 'other,' a force to be beaten back to save America. His denials and rhetoric must be called out for the lies that they are."

Some major sponsors have done so by announcing that they will no longer advertise on Carlson's show, and Fox host Shepard Smith has fact-checked Carlson's false premises. But what of the Fox Corporation board? So far, it's been silent.

This raises some vital questions for the board's most prominent member: Will Paul Ryan call Tucker Carlson out? Will Ryan reject all of Fox's nods to white supremacist extremism? No one is better positioned to do so. With his name recognition, his conservative credentials, and his Fox title, he would be heard. An objection from the former speaker would have to be taken seriously.

So will Paul Ryan speak up? All that's required is that he put moral duty and common decency ahead of that $335,000 paycheck.

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

The Hanford Nuclear Disaster Threat
By James Donahue

Back in the 1940's when allied and Axis forces were in a race to develop the atomic bomb, the United States went to great lengths to win that competition. We eventually heard about the Manhattan Project that went on secretly in the desert southwest but nothing was revealed for the next 20 years about the Hanford Project, a massive nuclear production complex operated along the Columbia River in Washington State.

While uranium is known as the principle ingredient used in achieving nuclear power, it must be used to develop plutonium before nuclear energy is obtained. Apparently it took the big industrial complex at Hanford to manufacture the plutonium used in producing some 60,000 weapons for the U.S. nuclear arsenal during the Cold War years. And that plant produced tons and tons of highly toxic radioactive waste.

While this was going on the entire Hanford project was so top secret that even the workers at the site were never told what they were working on. Before the project was over the plant had expanded to include nine nuclear reactors and five large plutonium processing complexes. Because early knowledge of radioactive waste was yet to be learned government documents now confirm that the operations released large amounts of radioactive waste into the Columbia River, the ground and into the air.

After the reactors were decommissioned at the end of the Cold War, massive amounts of "high-level radioactive waste" were left for disposal. But lacking acceptable disposal sites tons of solid radioactive waste were put on railroad cars and left parked in underground tunnels and gallons of heavy Technetium-99 and uranium contaminated water were left stored in giant tanks on the site.

The Washington Department of Ecology, the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Energy entered into a joint agreement in 1989 to attempt to properly dispose of the contaminants. The removal has been a long, slow and controversial process since nobody wants this material stored in their neighborhood. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years.

On May 9, 2017 a 30-foot section of one of the storage tunnels collapsed leaving a large sinkhole at the heart of the Hanford Site where toxic fumes were escaping. All non-essential personal were ordered to take cover while workers wearing protective suits trucked an estimated 550 cubic yards of soil to cap the hole. The worry has been that a massive release of radioactive isotopes occurred and that additional toxins may still be spewed from the area in the event of future damage. Government agencies have not made the seriousness of this latest contamination public.

An in-depth report in Wikipedia noted that "the plutonium separation process resulted in the release of radioactive isotopes into the air, which were carried by the wind throughout southeastern Washington and into parts of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and British Columbia." People living in these areas were exposed to iodine-131 and other isotopes between 1945 and 1951. The toxins entered the food chain through dairy cattle grazing on contaminated fields; contaminated fish from the Columbia River and other locally produced and radiated foods.

Radioactive materials have been found to be leaking into the ground water and affecting the drinking water. In 2013 Governor Jay Inslee revealed that as many as six of the tanks storing liquid radioactive waste at the site had been leaking from 150 to 300 gallons per year.

After reports of the Hanford radioactivity began to be made public the Department of Energy chose to declassify 19,000 pages of historical information about the Hanford operation. This brought on extensive law suits by citizens suffering from various forms of cancers including forms of thyroid disease. The Department of Energy paid over $60 million in legal fees and another $7 million in damages.

The Hanford disaster is not going away. As the slow process of "cleaning up" the site, estimated to be half the size of the State of Rhode Island, the problem of finding an acceptable and safe place to store the volumes of radioactive material has made the task extremely costly.

The Trump Administration has proposed a solution. The president wants to reclassify the waste to lower its threat level thus saving the government billions of dollars and decades of work. But just saying the material is no longer toxic does not make it so. The plan now appears be to just leave this deadly material where it now is stored in the ground. That Washington State is subject to earthquakes and volcanic activity makes the Trump plan a very bad idea.

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

Wayne LaPierre, NRA vice president and CEO, speaks to guests at the NRA-ILA Leadership
Forum at the 148th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits on April 26, 2019, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The NRA Is A Symptom Of The Racism That Drives Violence In The US
By William Rivers Pitt

In the immediate aftermath of the massacres in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton, Donald Trump actually began to contemplate doing a tiny sliver of the right thing. In doing so, he ran straight into the teeth of the Second Amendment, without doubt the most lethally misunderstood corner of the U.S. Constitution.

On the Sunday after the attacks, Trump reached out to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, whose co-sponsored 2013 bill to augment background checks after Sandy Hook was defeated by Republicans in the Senate despite overwhelming public support for the measure. Trump wanted to know if it could be revived, if there was enough congressional support to see it through this time.

As Trump is still Trump, he started planning a Rose Garden signing ceremony before anyone had taken the cap off a drafting pen. Still, it was a move in a positive direction. The Manchin-Toomey bill, while not nearly perfect or sufficient to meet the amalgamated crises we call "gun violence," would close the yawning loophole that allows weapon sales at gun shows and over the internet to take place without background checks.

To the shock and surprise of absolutely none, National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre is comprehensively opposed to the Manchin-Toomey bill, just as he was opposed to it after Sandy Hook, just as he was opposed to Trump's ban on bump stocks after the 2017 massacre in Las Vegas. On Tuesday, after Trump spoke briefly about strengthening background checks, LaPierre reached out and warned him that such a move "would not be popular" among his supporters, according to The Washington Post.

This is a recurring phenomenon for the puppet-in-chief: On the rare occasion that he leans toward doing something marginally positive, right-wing reactionaries rise up in high dudgeon to thwart it. When Trump dabbled with a plan to lower prescription drug prices, a good and not-unpopular idea, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist along with the American Conservative Union and other ultra-conservative groups went after him like he'd offered to sell the Marine Corps to Iran.

LaPierre's warning does not appear to be grounded in fact. A Politico/Morning Consult poll taken in the immediate aftermath of last weekend's attacks states, "55 percent of GOP voters were comfortable with banning assault weapons, and 54 percent said they would support stricter gun laws more generally. Ninety percent said they would back universal background checks for gun sales." (Emphasis added.)

LaPierre and the NRA's latest Second Amendment pushback is more than simply another example of a right-wing group seeking to defy popular will. The racism behind the El Paso shooting exposes the truth of their specific motivation. Combined with the NRA's own gruesomely racist history, the group's resistance represents the actions of an organization for which El Paso was the fulfillment of ultimate purpose: Arming white men against people of color.

"The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says 'State' instead of 'Country' (the framers knew the difference - see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason and James Madison were totally clear on that," wrote Thom Hartmann for Truthout in 2013, "and we all should be too."

There had been a large number of slave uprisings in the years before the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Meanwhile, Black people outnumbered whites in vast areas of the South. Henry, Mason and James Monroe - Southerners all - were vigorous in their demand that the states be allowed to maintain armed militias in order to control their "property": enslaved people. Without the support of these three men, Virginia would not endorse the Constitution, and without the Constitution, there would be no country.

Simply put, the Second Amendment was included in the Constitution to provide slaveowners with the means to defend themselves against the people they enslaved. "Henry, Mason and others wanted southern states to preserve their slave-patrol militias independent of the federal government," concluded Hartmann. "So Madison changed the word 'country' to the word 'state,' and redrafted the Second Amendment into today's form."

Seen through the prism of the El Paso shooter - who wrote a blatantly racist manifesto denouncing an "invasion" by Latinos and then drove nearly 10 hours to kill as many of them as he could get in his gunsight - LaPierre and the NRA's absolutist stance in defense of that racist, archaic amendment is exposed for what it is: white supremacy in its most raw and weaponized form.

The Second Amendment is about arming white men against communities of color, about white power brooking no challenge to its place in the hierarchy of society. That power has jealously and violently defended its ascendancy since the first uprising of enslaved people, before this nation had a name. The Second Amendment has been its tool, and men like LaPierre have always been there to carry the banner and stoke fear.

"Gun violence" is more than headline-grabbing mass shootings by armed and armored spree killers. It is part of a larger continuum of physical, social and economic violence that overwhelmingly affects poor communities and communities of color. "Gun control" is a practically meaningless term in the face of the vast systemic changes required to confront and reform this crisis of injustice.

"This Anglo man came here to kill Hispanics," wrote El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles after the attack. "In this day and age, with all the serious issues we face, we are still confronted with people who will kill another for the sole reason of the color of their skin."

Wayne LaPierre is a symptom of the larger racist malady that has afflicted this nation since its inception, and men like Trump and McConnell are gatekeepers of the white-power status quo.

Until the deep racist roots of this crisis are acknowledged, confronted and ultimately defeated, no place will be safe, and blood will continue to run in the streets, schools, homes and churches. And until it is trashed or fundamentally reconceptualized, the slavery-inspired Second Amendment will make sure of that.

(c) 2019 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.

Zelya and the whale

Innushkueu And The Whale
By Melissa Mollen Dupuis

The first time Rita called the whale for me, I was in the village collecting stories and testimonials about the caribou and the Innu relationship to the forest. While she generously offered me a song for the video that the Wapikoni Mobile team helped me record, I joked to her: "If you could ever make the whales appear for my movie!" She gave me a small smile and then called the Kukum from the sea.

"Nukum! Nukum! NUKUUUUUMMMMM!"

It was a cry of the heart from Rita, Uapukun and Zelya Mestokosho, three generations of women from kukum to ussima. They are my cousins, my big and little sisters, because the bonds that are made when a village raises a child blur the boundaries of blood and strengthen the ties of family.

Nukum: my grandmother, the cry echoes even on the stone walls of the island in front of my community and comes back to us. An echo of the heart and the kukum that responded by showing his back slicing the dark waters in two. The heart fills each time the grandmother whale answers the call: "Mishtamek", the big fish.

While the film crew was recording, totally focused and captivated by Rita and her drum, I stood behind the team. Silently, Nukum showed its back, curious about the vibrations calling her. As a witness to this moment that no camera could fully capture, I remained under the spell that takes hold every time I am here. The women of my community seem to be able to muster up some kind of magic and help connect those who are not from this territory. Not that men do not have magic, but in a society of transmission of knowledge and roles, I more often have the chance to see the healing power of women. This first call was a year ago. This summer, the calling of the grandmother was sent out from a little girl.

My recent visit allowed me to see how active the women are in transmitting knowledge and sharing culture with those who are ready to learn. The cultural centre is vibrant with activities. Tourists from Germany have descended from their giant liner and make the route from Havre Saint-Pierre to live a unique experience where culture, nature and spirituality intertwine. Even the once-tense relationship between Parks Canada's caretakers and the community seems to have taken a new direction, when on my last day we were onboard their boats to come to Quarry Island to share salmon, bannock and knowledge with the park's visitors. They will learn the real name of the island: "Massishk napaut minishtikᵘ, island of the standing cedar.

The boat is full of women: Yvette, Gaelle and Aurelia, also three generations who come to share our language; Shaushet and Priscilla who share their knowledge of medicinal plants; finally Rita, Uapukun and Zelya, women of the sea and rivers. The team that accompanies us is itself open and interested in this knowledge, this respectful use of the territory, radically transforming the exchanges that used to make protected areas inaccessible to the Innu. Today, a global consensus is being established that recognizes the use and occupation of protected areas by its original occupants promotes its health and survival. These women of my family are not witches; they only continue to transmit and protect this knowledge and the territories that contain them.

It is this immemorial relationship to the territory that is magical and continues to be transmitted between grandmothers and little girls. The millennial relationship is created between each woman and the women she will create in her turn by the river that is transmitted at each birth over millennia. This relation is connected also by the spirits of those that have added, through the spectrum that is motherhood, strength and knowledge. It is this relationship that makes the whale answer again and again. Between women lies this understanding.

(c) 2019 Melissa Mollen Dupuis is a writer for the David Suzuki Foundation.

Nobody Will Ever Believe The Official Story On This
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell Saturday morning.
By Charles P. Pierce

Absolutely nobody is going to believe any official story that comes out about this. From The New York Times:

Mr. Epstein hung himself and his body was found this morning at roughly 7:30. Manhattan federal prosecutors last month charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, and details of his behavior have been emerging for years.
How in the hell do they let this happen? The guy was incarcerated in the Manhattan Correctional Center. He already had made one try. He had to be on suicide watch. And the suicide happens the day after a massive document dump in which a woman who said she was one of Epstein's victims implicates an entire brigade of celebrity "clients," up to an including some European royalty? There almost can't be a dog more reluctant to hunt than this one.

A whole bunch of Somebodies need to get fired behind this. Beyond it, of course, a thousand conspiracy theories will now bloom across all the Intertoobz. The other people involved have to be nervous. Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's alleged accomplice who has yet to be charged, has to be looking over her shoulder. Is she looking over her shoulder to see if the FBI is back there, or to see if something darker is closing in? This country is losing what's left of its mind.

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

The Quotable Quote-

"It is a well known fact that reality has liberal bias."
~~~ Stephen Colbert

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner lifts off for its first flight on January 29, 2016 in Renton, Washington.

It Is Time To Haul Boeing Executives Before Congress To Testify Under Oath
With the Boeing 737 MAX still grounded, there may not be a better opportunity to get answers to the most crucial questions
By Ralph Nader

Two Boeing 737 MAX crashes, one in Indonesia last October and one in Ethiopia this past March, took a combined 346 lives. Steady scrutiny by the media reported internal company leaks and gave voice to sidelined ex-Boeing engineers and aerospace safety specialists. These experts have revealed that Boeing's executives are responsible because they chose to use an unstable structural design and faulty software. These decisions left the flying public, the pilots, the airlines, and the FAA in the dark, to varying degrees.

Yet Congressional Committees, which announced investigations months ago, still have not called on Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of Boeing, or any member of Boeing's Board of Directors to testify.

Given the worldwide emergency grounding of all 400 or so MAX aircraft and the peril to crews and airline passengers, why are the Senate and House Committees holding back? House Committee Chairman, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) wants to carefully prepare for such action after the staff goes through the much delayed transmission of documents from Boeing. Meanwhile, Senate Committee Chair Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) deferred to Boeing's request to put off their testimony before Congress until the Indonesian government puts out its report on the Lion Air disaster, presumably sometime in October.

Meanwhile, just about everybody in the airline industry, the Department of Transportation, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Justice Department (with its criminal probe), the transport unions, the consumer groups such as Flyers Rights, and the flying public are anxious to see top Boeing officials in the witness chair under oath answering important questions.

It is not as if Boeing lobbyists are absent. The giant company has been everywhere in Washington, D.C. getting its way for years in Congress, with NASA, the Department of Defense, and of course, the hapless, understaffed FAA. Boeing gives campaign donations to about some 330 members of Congress.

Corporate CEOs hate to testify before Congress under oath when they are in hot water. CEOs from the tobacco, drug, auto, banking, insurance, and Silicon Valley industries have all dragged their feet to avoid testifying. Eventually they all had to show up in public on Capitol Hill.

The Boeing case involves a more imminent danger. The company and its "captured" FAA want to unground the MAX as fast as possible and to get more new MAXs, under order, to the airlines.

This haste is all the more reason why Congress has to pick up the pace, regardless of "MAX Mitch" McConnell, the Kentucky dictator of the Senate who is a ward of the Boeing complex and its campaign cash. If the 737 MAX is ever allowed to fly again, with its shaky software fixes, glitches, and stitches, the pressure will build on members of Congress to go soft on the company. They will be told not to alarm millions of passengers and unsettle the airline industry with persistent doubts about the plane's prone-to-stall and other serious safety hazards from overautomation and sloppy construction, already documented in The New York Times, the Seattle Times, and other solid media reporting.

With investigations underway at civil aviation agencies all over the world, and a grand jury operating in the U.S. looking into criminal negligence, this is no time for Congress to take its time in laying open the fullest truths and facts in public. Bear in mind, apart from the civil tort law suits, all other investigations are not being conducted in public.

There is a growing consensus by impartial specialists that after many iterations of the Boeing 737 series, beginning with the 737-100 in 1967, the much larger, more elaborate Boeing 737 MAX must be seen as a new aircraft requiring full certification. Certainly that is the view of some members of Chairman DeFazio's committee and Chairman David Price's House Subcommittee on Appropriations which holds the keys to funding a much larger FAA budget to do its job as a regulator, not as a deregulator that abdicates to Boeing.

Moreover, retired airline Captain Chesley Sullenberger, in his brilliant testimony before DeFazio on June 19th, called for full simulator training for pilots before they fly the MAX on scheduled routes (read Captain Sullenberger's full statement here).

In a precise letter to the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao and the acting and incoming heads of the FAA (Daniel Elwell and Stephen Dickson respectively), dozens of families and friends of the victims from many countries asked for full recertification and mandatory simulator training before any decision is made about the 737 MAX. Currently 737 MAX pilots are only given an hour of iPad training-a clearly insufficient measure and an affront to safety (see more here). The letter, which was sent on August 7, 2019, also called for the resignation of Ali Bahrami, the abdicator in charge of safety at the FAA.

Many decisions are coming up for the FAA and Boeing. The FAA would be very foolish to unground the 737 MAX just for U.S. airspace without the counterparts in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa concurring.

As for Boeing, the company cannot afford another one or two crashes attributed to continued indifference to longstanding aerodynamic standards of stability. The issue for Boeing's celebrity, minimally experienced Board of Directors is how long it will tolerate Boeing's management that, over the judgement of its best engineers, has brought the company to its present predicament.

How long before the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Department of Transportation or the Congress and the betrayed airlines themselves call for the resignation of both officers and the Board and, end the career conflict of interest these failed incumbents have with the future well-being of the Boeing Corporation itself?

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Sonny gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Landwirtschafts minister Perdue,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your attempted joke at the expense of starving farmers, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 09-28-2019. We salute you Herr Perdue, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Statue of Liberty through the morning fog from the Staten Island Ferry.

World-Wide Welcome
No, Cuccinelli, the Statue of Liberty and Lazarus Poem Are Not About European Whiteness
By Juan Cole

CNN quotes the interchange between Erin Burnett and Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, over a new policy that might prevent immigrants who accepted public assistance from ever getting a Green Card and beginning the process of becoming citizens.:

BURNETT: I just played it. The poem reads, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of the teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door." Wretched, poor, refuse, that's what the poem says America supposed to stand for, so what do you think America stands for?

CUCCINELLI: Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class, and it was written one year after the first federal public charge rule was written."

Cuccinelli said that in 1882 just before the penning of the "A New Colossus" poem, a law had been recently passed about immigrants being able to support themselves, as though it were a warrant for his new policy. That is a historical distortion, since public assistance as we now have it did not exist, and the law simply required that immigrants be sane and healthy and able to support themselves. In any case, that law, the statue and the poem had nothing to do with one another.

The Statue of Liberty was not intended initially to be about immigration, in any case. Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor, was French but from a German Protestant family in Alsace-Lorraine, who tried to Latinize his family name by adding an "i." Protestants were a small and often disliked minority in France, so Bartholdi was very much interested in individual liberty, being from a minority.

Bartholdi made a trip in his youth to Yemen and Egypt along with some other young artists. He was introduced to the engineer and entrepreneur Ferdinand de Lesseps, who was behind the project for a Suez Canal. This project was inspired in part by the Saint-Simonian movement in French political philosophy, which believed that the entire globe could be economically and politically united (and made peaceful) through big infrastructure. The Egyptian high official Rifa'ah al-Tahtawi was influenced by them, and wrote that the world was being brought together by the US transcontinental railroad and he urged a Suez and a Panama canal. This utopian socialist, Saint-Simonian impetus for the canal was of course only part of the equation. Egyptian rulers who favored it hoped it would be a cash cow via tolls.

In Egypt, Bartholdi became interested in monumental sculpture, under the influence of the gigantic statues he saw of Pharaohs and their queens. The queens especially impressed him.

Menkaure and Queen, 2490-2472 BCE. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In French revolutionary thought (and Bartholdi was a progressive), a female figure, Marianne, had become symbolic of liberty.

In the 1860s, with the prospect of the Suez Canal being completed, Bartholdi proposed to the Khedive Ismail (r. 1863-1879) of Egypt and to de Lesseps a monumental statue that would double as a lighthouse for the canal, "Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia." The mock-ups show that he very much modeled the statue on Egyptian peasant women he saw during his travels. Ismail and de Lesseps liked the idea of a lighthouse, but they thought combining it with a statue would be too expensive. Bartholdi's proposed title was very Saint-Simonian-the Suez Canal was not just an engineering feat useful to shipping but would allow the light of liberty sparked by the Rights of Man and the French Revolution to flow into the Indian Ocean from the Mediterranean.

Bartholdi fought in the Franco-Prussian War and was grief stricken that his birthplace, Alsace-Lorraine, was taken by Germany. He became a big partisan of the French Third Republic that emerged from the ashes of the defeated empire of Napoleon III. The Third Republic had both imperial and universalist aspects, part of what liberty meant to its proponents was certainly the transcendence of narrow ethnic forms of identity through universal rights. In the late 19th century not only were there about a million Italian guest workers, but Poles had started coming to work in the coal mines, and several thousand Algerians arrived (France had declared Algeria "French soil.") Again, without at all wanting to elide the Orientalism and Aryan racism of French thinkers like Ernest Renan, there was a stream of rights universalism on the French left.

When the centenary of the founding of the United States approached, Bartholdi repurposed his "Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia" as a Statue of Liberty. It was meant to commemorate all liberty-loving peoples, including France and the United States (and I think Bartholdi would have distinctly excluded Bismarck's Germany). The French government gifted it to the United States.

Initially, the statue was all about liberty-i.e. democracy and human rights and the rule of law. A fund-raising effort to pay for a pedestal for the statue was launched in 1883, and the prominent Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus was prevailed upon to write a poem for the pedestal as a way of whipping up enthusiasm. She produced "The New Colossus" (a reference to the Colossus of Rhodes):

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The Colossus of Rhodes had been a martial statue, erected in commemoration of the military defeat of Cyprus. Lazarus contrasted the male, warlike, triumphalist warning at Rhodes with the female figure in the harbor of New York-female, maternal, welcoming, "the Mother of Exiles." The exiles are not given any ethnic specificity, but, in keeping with the Declaration of Independence ("all men are created equal") and the French Rights of Man, are generic human beings.

Importantly-and contrary to what Cuccinelli said, the poem actually contains the phrase "world-wide welcome." It could not be more plain.

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

Wars & Walls & Interest Rates
How the global elite have been blindsided
By Jane Stillwater

"Eat your vegetables," our mothers used to tell us when we were kids -- but all we really wanted to eat was birthday cake! And mostly just the frosting. "That's no way to be healthy," said Mom.

Unfortunately it seems like the handful of wealthy movers and shakers who run our world also think like these little kids as well. "All we want is something that will produce high interest rates," they cry -- and then bang their spoons on their high chairs too.

But these wealthy .001% elite people have been clearly blindsided by greed. "Let them eat cake" is all they can think.

And to their narrow vision, the only things that produce high enough interest rates are only Wars and Walls. No one can live for long on that kind of a diet. Not the CitiBank-Chase-Wells-Fargo types. Not the military-industrial complex. Not even Wall Street. And certainly not Marie Antoinette. Eat your veggies, guys!

You can still get good interest rates by investing in solar power, infrastructure, a Green New Deal -- even in higher education and MediCare for all. It would be a win-win situation. "Where's the fun in that?" Just ask Marie Antoinette.

PS: If interest rates based on Walls and Wars are as unhealthy as cake, then perhaps the wealthy .001% should pursue happiness instead -- like the Declaration of Independence tells us. High interest rates will never make the elite happy -- and never build strong muscles, teeth and bones either.

PPS: Have you guessed by now that the main purpose of Trump's fake Wall isn't to keep asylum-seekers out? And that his cruel prison camps for babies aren't to keep America safe either? The .001% elite could care less about any of that. The main purpose of the Wall and the concentration camps are to make money -- but not money for people like us.

PPPS: To quote RuPaul, "Some people are so poor, all they have is money." No conscience, no humanity, no soul. Even young Honduran mothers trapped in cages at our southern border have more abundance than the elite .001%.

And here's what journalist Steve Fournier has to say about the recent NRA-sanctioned murders in Gilroy, Dayton and El Paso:

"It's not what we're about," said the mayor of El Paso, Texas, after a young white guy shot down a crowd of dark-skinned shoppers with a military-style rifle. Actually, this is what we're about.

Shooting, bombing, and otherwise terrorizing dark-skinned people is our stock in trade. We kill them in Iraq. We kill them in Libya. We kill them in Yemen. We're OK with that. Ask any newsman. Ask your candidates for office. Anybody out there want to end the killing? One presidential candidate had the gall to suggest that the USA might be blameworthy in some way for the wars it wages -- this was before the latest shootings -- and the newsmen came down on her like a ton of [poop].

You can comb published reports of the latest massacres, and you'll find no mention of the wars we've been waging without pause for the last 20 years. The latest two mass murderers never knew a time when their nation was not dropping bombs on people in faraway lands. Does the question not occur to the media: if it's OK that we, as a nation, employ soldiers to kill black and brown people as a matter of policy in distant countries, isn't it also OK for individuals to take up arms, on our behalf, and do the same here?

"Gun control" won't help us with this problem, and neither will improved mental hygiene. You want to prevent mass murder, quit killing people.

(c) 2019 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jimmy Margulies ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Tyrannical Twitter Tirades
By Will Durst

President Donald Trump's Chaos Strategy was working overtime last week with a series of typical topical tyrannical Twitter tirades. He tore into Robert Mueller then pivoted to energize his base by tossing out attacks against anybody with the temerity to criticize the administration's inhumane immigrant incarceration policies. It was a week where the vitriol spewed like a pinwheel of bile in a wind tunnel.

A Democratic aide claimed Mueller's testimony was integral because "If people haven't read the book, they'll watch the movie" but not even Stephen Spielberg could have saved this production. A motorcycle chase might have helped, but probably not. Some killer robot CGI... maybe.

It's easy to see why the former special prosecutor prefers the darkness. Although this was his 89th testimony in front of Congress, his performance was so uninspired, the reluctant witness seemed to nod out himself a couple of times along with many members of Congress and most of the viewing public.

A few Republicans couldn't even summon the energy to pepper him with antagonistic questions. But it was the performance of Mueller himself that set the tone. Dial tone. The man is stiffer than Mitch McConnell wearing buttless chaps on a gay pride parade float.

One problem is Mueller's about as vindictive as a throw rug. They sent a Boy Scout to take out a vampire. The Democrats needed Van Helsing and got Dudley Do-Right. The fired up the Bat Signal and Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred showed up.

Trump complained Mueller shouldn't be allowed another bite of the apple, ignoring the precedent established by Republicans when they took multiple bites out of every apple in the Benghazi barrel.

But the 74-year-old's testimony was exactly what anybody who had paid attention to his report or press conference could have predicted. He takes straight and narrow to levels previously unheard of in mathematics.

Every question posed resulted in his stating he either couldn't or wouldn't answer. Others he didn't answer. Hard to figure what Democrats expected: that he would suddenly remember a smoking gun under a couch cushion or be seized by the irresistible urge to do the right thing or be struck by a bolt of religious righteousness? They threw up a Hail Mary but the quarterback fumbled the snap.

The one thing Mr. Mueller did do was reiterate over and over that the Russian government was responsible for a sweeping and systemic effort to interfere in our election for the purpose of getting Donald Trump elected over Hillary Clinton. And not only will they do it again, but "they're doing it as we sit here." Sparking Congress to immediately spring into action to do nothing.

Senate Democrats proposed two pieces of legislation to provide election interference protection but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called them partisan and announced he would not allow either to receive a vote earning him the viral sobriquet, Moscow Mitch.

Then President Trump turned up the distraction meter, tweeting that Elijah Cummings' Maryland district is "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" after earlier encouraging four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from. Responding to accusations of racism, Trump said he doesn't have a racist bone in his body, meaning it must all be packed in his soft tissue.

And he's got a lot of soft tissue.

(c) 2019 Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed comedian, columnist, and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For past columns, commentaries and a calendar of personal appearances, please, please visit:

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Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 30 (c) 08/16/2019

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