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In This Edition


Juan Cole says, "No, WSJ, Palestinians Have Not Given Up On National Rights."

Ralph Nader demands, "FAA's Boeing-Biased Officials: Recuse Yourselves Or Resign."

Glen Ford says, "Black Lives Matter Founder Launches Huge Project to Shrink Black Lives."

Norman Solomon returns with, "Why An "Apology Tour" Is Needed: An Open Letter To Joe Biden."

Jim Hightower asks, "Should Our Natural Resources Have Legal Rights?"

John Nichols reminds us that, "Women Voters Have The Power To Upend Trump."

James Donahue explores, "Locked In Competition For Space."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Trump's Meetup With The Royals Reminds Us He Wants To Be A King."

Heather Digby Parton says it's, "All About The Base."

David Suzuki finds, "Canada Has Many Reasons To Celebrate World Oceans Day."

Charles P. Pierce wonders, "Trump Hates The Job. Does He Even Like Running For It Anymore?"

David Swanson with a review, "Anyone Who'd Rather Not Be Shot Should Read This Book."

Jane Stillwater visits, "Morgan Library & Hudson Yards."

Rep. Nancy Pelosi D-CA wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich finds, "The Same Old Scare Tactic About Socialism."

Pepe Escobar returns with, "The Unipolar Moment Is Over."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst has "Some Final Thoughts About Mueller," but first Uncle Ernie asks, "I'm Having A Deja Vu All Over Again, Are You?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Joe Heller, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Andreina Schoeberlein, Dustin Chambers, Chip Somodevilla, Drew Angerer, Bob Englehart, Chris Jackson, AFP, Twitter, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Jane Stillwater, 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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I'm Having A Deja Vu All Over Again, Are You?
By Ernest Stewart

"It's like deja vu all over again." ~~~ Yogi Berra

"I think we should all be more concerned about the environment and the effects of global warming. It will be pointless to talk about all the issues that divide us when it's 300 degrees outside." ~~~ Don Cheadle

"Contrary to Barr's portrayal, Mueller's report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment." ~~~ Justin Amash ~ R-Mi

You know, the landlord rang my front door bell.
I let it ring for a long, long spell.
I went to the window,
I peeped through the blind,
And asked him to tell me what's on his mind.
He said,

Money, honey.
Money, honey.
Money, honey, if you want to get along with me.
Money Honey ~~~ Elvis Presley



I'm having a deja vu all over again, are you? The baby cagers of Lying Donalds administration hit upon a new idea on where to store the kidnapped children of migrants and it's in an old "Happy Camp" at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Fort Sill was one of many concentrations camps where innocent American citizens of German and Japanese ancestry were interned during and after WWII. Some not being freed till 1948. Did I mention that these Americans were innocent and were never charged with any crime, and not only were imprisoned, but most lost their homes and business too. Some died in the camps!

Lying Donald plans on sending some 1400 children to Fort Sill.. California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted: "This is sick. We will look back at this moment in time and ask ourselves what we did to put a stop to these horrific, inhumane policies. Speak up. Speak out. Be on the right side of history."

As Time reported, "The Trump administration has detained more than 40,000 children this year alone.

That's a 57 percent increase from last year, which is a rate on-pace to surpass the record figures in 2016, when 59,171 minors were taken into custody."


Is it just me, or can someone explain how this is making "America Great Again" by putting children in concentration camps, because I don't see it? At least, FDR left entire families together in his camps.

In Other News

Did you know that human behavior influences a wide range of complex systems, including ecosystems, social networks, and the climate, imagine that. Moreover, these systems impact human behavior, creating a feedback loop. Human behavior is a driver of climate change, but climate models often neglect how climate change in turn affects human behavior.

In an effort to improve climate change predictions, Thomas Bury of the Universities of Waterloo and Guelph, Canada, and colleagues developed a mathematical model that captures key features of social and climate systems, while also incorporating how climate change and mitigation efforts impact human behavior. The researchers then used the model to investigate how human behavior might influence climate change dynamics.

Their analysis suggests that the rate at which people learn about climate mitigation strategies via social interactions, such as hearing that a friend bought a hybrid car, strongly influences climate outcomes. Social learning takes time, so plausible values of this rate alone could raise warming predictions by over 1 degree Celsius.

On the contrary, the model suggests that social norms do not protect against rising temperatures. They initially act against adoption of mitigation behaviors, even when such efforts are strongly justified by rising temperatures, and they do not significantly speed the transition to an emission-free world once mitigation becomes the norm.

The researchers also ran the model with different parameters to explore how mitigation efforts could be optimized. "Our socio-climate model indicates that an increase in social media and other campaigns to raise awareness, such as climate marches and international reports, should ideally be followed by governmental and other incentives to reduce carbon emissions," Bury says.

Senior author, Madhur Anand states that "There are pathways for humans to mitigate climate change, but processes driving behavior and norms at the individual and societal level will be essential to all of them, and our longstanding work on coupled human-environment systems applied here to climate change is providing direction in this regard."

In other words, the more we're hip to global warming the better off we're going to be in the long run, and the quicker we're going to be able to fix the problem. We've got to make it clear to the world that global warming is the toughtest problem that we've ever faced, because if we don't solve it, it will be to us as that comet was to the dinosaurs, except worse. There are a few billions dinosaurs left, we call them birds, when the temps rise another 4 or 5 degrees, we'll be gone like the wind, all of us!

And Finally

The question is, has Lying Donald committed high crimes and misdemeanors, the answer is, of course, Hell Yes! So why hasn't he been impeached? Impeachment is a power of the House and it's fearless leader Nancy Pelosi. You may recall that Nancy like every member of the House and Senate swore an oath of allegiance to the US Constitution. The oath states:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."
Ergo, the questions arises as why isn't Nancy doing this? It is her duty to do so, whether or not the Senate confirms it. To not do so looks to me like she's protecting Lying Donald from the law, and giving the impression that Lying Donald can commit any act of treason that he cares to do, and nothing will be done, i.e., Lying Donald is above the law! Thanks Nancy.

Nancy says she doing this for political reasons, his impeachment might not play well with the voters. I've got news for you Nancy, if you don't move to impeach you will lose a vast majority of the voters and give Lying Donald the election again. I wonder if that's the real reason Nancy won't allow the house to vote for impeachment? I don't know if Nancy should be impeached, but I do know that she wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

It looks like our June 21st edition will be our last full magazine. With half a magazine we will continue on until the 2020 election, providing Lying Donald hasn't killed all of us by then. Not only haven't we been able to pay the last of last years bill, but a new bill comes due on June 24th.

You will notice some of your favorite authors will be missing as we have to pay 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!

*****


09-09-1924 ~ 06-12-2019
Thanks for the film!




*****

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****** 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.




Palestinians march in the ongoing Great March of Return in Gaza.



No, WSJ, Palestinians Have Not Given Up On National Rights
Most Palestinians support a just and lasting settlement of the issue of Palestinian statelessness
By Juan Cole

The Wall Street Journal yesterday trolled the Palestinians with a breathless headline that "some" Palestinians are giving up on having their own state.

Anyone who has been following the Palestine issue knows that for some time a plurality of Palestinians has swung behind a one-state solution and now want Isaeli citizenship.

This result does not come from the dimming of nationalist aspirations but from the weary realism of a colonized people facing the best-armed army in the Middle East, which is backed by the world's sole superpower.

Being stateless was defined by Hannah Arendt as forfeiting the right to have rights. Faced with the possibility of achieving the rights of citizenship in any state and remaining stateless, the Palestinians prefer the former, as anyone would.

But that is not the same as accepting the stateless Bantustans proffered by Kushner.

Here is some Palestinian polling on these issues.

Here is what Palestinians actually think about the Trump/Kushner plan:

"An overwhelming majority (83%) believes that the Trump Administration is not serious about launching a new peace plan and 12% believe it is serious.

A large majority of 79% believes that if the US does indeed offer a peace plan, it will not call for the establishment of a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel; 15% believe it will.

A similar percentage (81%) believes that the plan will not call for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem; 14% believe it will.

78% believe the Trump plan will not call for the borders of the Palestinian state to be based on the lines of June 1967 with minor mutual land swaps; 17% believe it will.<> An overwhelming majority of 84% believes the plan will not call for a just solution to the refugee problem; 10% believe it will.

Similarly, 84% believe the plan will not call for the ending of the Israeli occupation and the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the areas occupied in 1967; 11% believe it will.

79% believe that the Palestinian leadership should reject the US plan, if offered, and 14% believe it should accept it.

But if the Trump plan does indeed include all such items, such as a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, with borders based on the 1967 lines, a just solution to the refugees' problem, and an Israeli army withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967, a majority of 52% calls for rejecting it and 43% call for accepting it. Call for accepting the plan is higher in the Gaza Strip, standing at 55% while the call for rejecting it is higher in the West Bank, standing at 59%.

A majority of 64% is opposed and 23% is not opposed to a resumption of dialogue between the Palestinian leadership and the Trump Administration. Official contacts between the PA and the US government were suspended by the PA after the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

That citizenship and basic civil rights are more important than nationhood per se for a lot of people is demonstrated by this opinion poll of Palestinian-Israelis, which shows high levels of satisfaction.

So no, WSJ, these poll findings do not support the Kushner plan, which again tries to substitute mere money for the rights of citizenhip. They support a just and lasting settlement of the issue of Palestinian statelessness.

(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.




"The FAA has a clearly established pro-Boeing bias and will likely allow Boeing to unground the 737 MAX," writes Ralph Nader.



FAA's Boeing-Biased Officials: Recuse Yourselves Or Resign
Boeing is used to getting its way. Its grip on Congress-where 300 members take campaign cash from Boeing-is legendary.
Ralph Nader

The Boeing-driven FAA is rushing to unground the notorious prone-to-stall Boeing 737 MAX (that killed 346 innocents in two crashes) before several official investigations are completed. Troubling revelations might keep these planes grounded worldwide.

The FAA has a clearly established pro-Boeing bias and will likely allow Boeing to unground the 737 MAX. We must demand that the two top FAA officials resign or recuse themselves from taking any more steps that might endanger the flying public. The two Boeing-indentured men are Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell and Associate FAA Administrator for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami.

Immediately after the crashes, Elwell resisted grounding and echoed Boeing claims that the Boeing 737 MAX was a safe plane despite the deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Ali Bahrami is known for aggressively pushing the FAA through 2018 to further abdicate its regulatory duties by delegating more safety inspections to Boeing. Bahrami's actions benefit Boeing and are supported by the company's toadies in the Congress. Elwell and Bahrami have both acquired much experience by going through the well-known revolving door between the industry and the FAA. They are likely to leave the FAA once again for lucrative positions in the aerospace lobbying or business world. With such prospects, they do not have much 'skin in the game' for their pending decision.

The FAA has long been known for its non-regulatory, waiver-driven, de-regulatory traditions. It has a hard time saying NO to the aircraft manufacturers and the airlines. After the aircraft hijackings directing flights to Cuba in the 1960s and 1970s, the FAA let the airlines say NO to installing hardened cockpit doors and stronger latches in their planes. These security measures would have prevented the hijackers from invading the cockpits of the aircrafts on September 11, 2001. The airlines did not want to spend the $3000 per plane. Absent the 9/11 hijackings, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney might not have gone to war in Afghanistan.

The FAA's historic "tombstone" mentality (slowly reacting after the crashes) is well known. For example, in the 1990s the FAA had a delayed reaction to numerous fatal crashes caused by antiquated de-icing rules. The FAA was also slow to act on ground-proximity warning requirements for commuter airlines and flammability reduction rules for aircraft cabin materials.

That's the tradition that Elwell and Bahrami inherited and have worsened. They did not even wait for Boeing to deliver its reworked software before announcing in April that simulator training would not be necessary for the pilots. This judgment was contrary to the experience of seasoned pilots such as Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. Simulator training would delay ungrounding and cost the profitable airlines money.

Boeing has about 5,000 orders for the 737 MAX. It has delivered less than 400 to the world's airlines. From its CEO, Dennis Muilenburg to its swarms of Washington lobbyists, law firms, and public relations outfits, Boeing is used to getting its way. Its grip on Congress - where 300 members take campaign cash from Boeing - is legendary. Boeing pays little in federal and Washington state taxes. It fumbles contracts with NASA and the Department of Defense but remains the federal government's big vendor for lack of competitive alternatives in a highly concentrated industry.

Right now, the Boeing/FAA strategy is to make sure Elwell and his FAA quickly decide that the MAX is safe for takeoff by delaying or stonewalling Congressional and other investigations.

The compliant Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, under Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), strangely has not scheduled anymore hearings. The Senate confirmation of Stephen Dickson to replace acting chief Elwell is also on a slow track. A new boss at the FAA might wish to take some time to review the whole process.

Time is not on the side of the 737 MAX 8. A comprehensive review of the 737 MAX's problems is a non-starter for Boeing. Boeing's flawed software and instructions that have kept pilots and airlines in the dark have already been exposed. New whistleblowers and more revelations will emerge. More time may also result in the Justice Department's operating grand jury issuing some indictments. More time would let the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, led by Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) dig into the failure of accountability and serial criminal negligence of Boeing and its FAA accomplices. Chairman DeFazio knows the history of the FAA's regulatory capture.

Not surprising on June 4, 2019, DeFazio sent a stinging letter to FAA's Elwell and his corporatist superior, Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, about the FAA's intolerable delays in sending requested documents to the Committee. DeFazio's letter says: "To say we are disappointed and a bit bewildered at the ongoing delays to appropriately respond to our records requests would be an understatement."

The FAA and its Boeing pals are using the "trade secret" claims to censor records sought by the House Committee. When it comes to investigating life or death airline hazards and crashes, Congress is capable of handling so-called trade secrets. This is all the more reason why the terminally prejudiced Elwell and Bahrami should step aside and let their successors take a fresh look at the Boeing investigations. That effort would include opening up the certification process for the entire Boeing MAX as a "new plane."

The Boeing-biased Elwell and Bahrami have refused to even raise in public proceedings the question: "After eight or more Boeing 737 iterations, at what point does the Boeing MAX 8 become a new plane?" Many, including Cong. David Price (D-NC), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the FAA's budget, have already questioned the limited certification process.

Heavier engines on the old 737 fuselage changed the MAX's aerodynamics and made it prone-to-stall. It is time for the FAA's leadership to change before the 737 MAX flies with vulnerable, glitch-prone software "fixes".

Notwithstanding the previous Boeing 737 series' record of safety in the U.S. during the past decade - (one fatality), Boeing's bosses, have now disregarded warnings by its own engineers. Boeing executives do not get one, two, three or anymore crashes attributed to their ignoring long-known aerodynamic engineering practices.

The Boeing 737 MAX must never be allowed to fly again, given the structural design defects built deeply into its system.

(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).







Black Lives Matter Founder Launches Huge Project to Shrink Black Lives
By Glen Ford

Alicia Garza and her crew conducted what they claim is the biggest survey of Black political opinion ever -- but failed to ask a single question about foreign policy.

Alicia Garza, of Black Lives Matter fame, last week introduced her latest project in the pages of the New York Times: a survey of "more than 31,000 black people from all 50 states" to determine, as the headline announced, "What Black People Want."The Black Census Project"is the largest independent survey of black people ever conducted in the United States," wrote Garza. A collaboration of Garza's Black Futures Lab, Color of Change, Demos, and Socioanalitica Research, the project "trained more than 100 black organizers and worked with some 30 grass-roots organizations" to elicit Black people's views on a range of domestic subjects - but asked not a single question related to war and peace.

Garza & Co. have thus performed a kind of lobotomy on the Black polity in the United States, excising from public policy discussion Black Americans' views on the nation's endless military and economic wars against people of color around the world. Garza's team appears to have operated on the premise that Black people have no opinion on the death of millions and the destruction of whole societies, crimes that are committed in their name by the U.S. government. As if Black Americans don't see the connection between ever-expanding war budgets and constantly shrinking domestic social spending. The project is structured as if African Americans are provincial boobs who don't give a damn about foreign affairs or the intersection of U.S. foreign and domestic policy.

What is perfectly clear, is that the survey is designed to influence the election strategies of the Democratic Party, whose candidates, she writes, fail to "address the issues that affect black communities or meaningfully court them." Instead, "time, money and effort are expended to identify and cater to moderate white voters who are already fickle about politicians and political parties. This has long been the Democratic establishment's strategy, but they doubled down on it after the 2016 election when analysts proclaimed that the left's undue focus on 'identity politics' sent moderate white voters to the Republican side."

Most corporate Democratic candidates also avoid foreign policy issues whenever possible. Garza and her corporate-philanthropy-funded crew impose the same strictures on Black discussion, in hopes of creating a saleable electoral campaign product for Democrats.

The survey's web page is keen to advertise that the 31,000 "Black Census respondents are highly engaged in elections: Not only did more than 73 percent report voting in 2016, but 40 percent also report some other form of electoral activity, such as engaging as donors, volunteers, or canvassers." The message is: these are folks that need to be put to work on some worthy Democrat's campaign. "As the unwavering base of the Democratic Party, if the politically engaged Black population ceased to vote and gave up on the system, it would upend the Democratic Party and have devastating effects on our democracy as a whole," says Garza's Black Census Project, in a transparent pitch for its availability to save the Party and "the system."

The survey is quite methodical in providing questions to guide candidates in navigating Black domestic political views. It confirms that the Black political consensus on economic justice at home remains intact, with large majorities of respondents favoring high taxes on the rich, increased minimum wages, and affordable health, higher education and housing. (The survey does not ask if any of these things should be a right.) Predictably, three-quarters of those surveyed want cops made accountable for their misconduct, and just over half want community boards created to supervised police departments. But the surveyors were not interested in Black people's views on U.S. military violence abroad, or the impact of U.S. policies on poverty in the world, or anything at all about Africa, a continent the United States has militarily occupied since 2008. We do learn that President Obama, who effectuated the occupation, enjoys an 85 percent approval rating among respondents, as does Black Lives Matter.

The survey is a hustle to make Garza, Color of Change and their (already deeply-connected) financial backers bigger players in the Democratic Party - without challenging lawless U.S. empire, "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, today," as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated more than half a century ago, and as Malcolm X hammered home till his dying breath.

Garza knows what she's doing. The Movement for Black Lives platform, titled "A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice," is quite radical in its demands to end the (domestic) war on Black people, and on reparations, disinvestment of oppressive government and economic institutions, economic justice, community control, and decriminalizing Black political activity. It puts forward no demands on U.S. foreign policy, but instead offers an apology: "While the movement's platform largely focuses on the implementation of domestic policies that will advance black communities in America, the movement also recognizes that patriarchy, exploitative capitalism, militarism, and white supremacy know no borders."

But Garza knows the borders of what is acceptable to the corporate Democratic Party, and adheres to the limits imposed by the fat cats - who are also among her donors. This is sometimes called political "capture" of dissidents by the ruling class. However, the term "capture" hardly fits when the prey is begging to be caught.

As Black academic Jennifer Nash writes in this week's edition of the BAR Book Forum, Black feminists tend to hold "proprietary attachments to intersectionality...to keep it close, to guard it." Yet Alicia Garza pretends, for Black Census Project purposes, to be blind to the intersection between U.S. slaughter of millions of non-white people abroad and the mass Black incarceration regime at home. She doesn't respect Black folks enough to even ask if they approve or disapprove of their government's conduct abroad. The absence of foreign policy questions is a deliberate ploy to make the project and its players palatable to imperialists. Garza not only pretends that she doesn't see the connection between the trillion dollar U.S. military budget versus endless austerity for human needs programs, she has overseen a survey that pretends the rest of Black America is also blind and dumb. Her survey is an insult to the Black Radical Tradition, which is rooted in solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the world and has resulted in Black America winning allies and emulators around the globe.

Fortunately, an organization exists that will never forget the six million Congolese that have been slaughtered to date as a result of U.S. foreign policy - the worst genocide since World War Two - and which fights daily to bring Washington's "endless wars" to a halt: the Black Alliance for Peace. But that's not the kind of project that corporate billionaires fund.

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




Former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks to a crowd at a
Democratic National Committee event at Flourish in Atlanta on June 6, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.



Why An "Apology Tour" Is Needed: An Open Letter To Joe Biden
Pretending that you don't have much to apologize for is not viable.
By Norman Solomon

Dear Mr. Biden: News outlets are reporting that you're determined to prevent your campaign from turning into an "apology tour" this summer. But your only other option is a campaign of denial-sinking deeper into a quagmire of unsustainable pretense.

After your flip-flop late last week that finally renounced your 40 years of support for the Hyde Amendment's discriminatory limits on reproductive rights for low-income women, the New York Times reported that your campaign's "larger concern" has been "the implications of Mr. Biden spending too much time reversing or expressing remorse for his past policy stances."

Those implications are easy to understand. Your "past policy stances" have done so much harm-to so many people for so long-that if you start "expressing remorse," there might be no end in sight.

"Before entering the race," the Times reported, "Mr. Biden and his inner circle resolved that while he would have to take steps to assuage liberal reservations about his record, he could not afford to make the first few months of the campaign an extended apology tour."

But an extended apology tour would be entirely appropriate. Pretending that you don't have much to apologize for is not viable.

That's because the Democratic Party of your political glory days is gone. At the grassroots, millions of attentive voters-the ones most likely to volunteer, to repeatedly donate money (albeit not in the large bundles you're relying on), and to vote in all kinds of weather-are more informed and better networked than during the last decades of the 20th century.

The days are past when vast numbers of Democrats won't notice that you're uttering platitudes about the middle class and being touted as "Lunch Bucket Joe" after serving the interests of corporate giants as Wall Street Joe. And a whole lot of people will really care as they learn about your political backstory of not-so-subtle appeals to racism on such matters as busing for school desegregation and the draconian 1994 crime bill that fueled mass incarceration.

In the current campaign, your above-the-fray strategy probably won't work. As the Iowa Poll released over the weekend reflects, support for you has started to recede: "About six weeks after he announced he would run, Biden's support has fallen by a third," The Hill reports. "Biden's declining support came even before this week's controversy over his flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment."

While I'm an active Bernie Sanders supporter, I have to say that I don't believe any of your Democratic opponents have nearly as much to apologize for as you do.

The more you deny the need to apologize, the more your denials seem off-kilter. Even while you were executing that Hyde flip-flop with a speech in Atlanta days ago, the Times pointed out "Mr. Biden took pains to state explicitly that he was not repudiating his previous stance on abortion funding and would make 'no apologies' for it."

For decades, you helped block federal funding for low-income women to have access to abortions. Then you affirmed the same position on Wednesday last week, only to do a 180 the next day after putting your finger to the political wind-and you make "no apologies"? What might an apology tour look like? Here are five recommendations for acknowledging key realities and expressing remorse: Teaming up with segregationist senators to oppose busing for school desegregation: "I'm sorry I joined forces with bigots."

Treatment of Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings: "I deeply regret that I ended up showing more concern for the sensibilities of Republican colleagues than respecting Ms. Hill's rights."

Leading role-while pandering to racism on the Senate floor-in passage of the 1994 crime bill: "I was wrong, and I wince while watching video of my Senate floor speech."

Career-long services to corporate elites with avid mutual support that continued during the launch of this campaign: "I apologize for catering to credit card companies and other huge corporations."

Powerfully supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq: "I hate to think of how many people have suffered and died because of the Iraq war that I helped bring about as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee." For such aspects of your political record, apologies are long overdue. They won't bring back the dead, undo suffering, retroactively nourish those who've gone hungry or repay the debts that millions of Americans continue to face. But unless you clear the air hovering over your campaign, its messages will be enveloped in an unforgettable stench of evasion.

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







Should Our Natural Resources Have Legal Rights?

By Jim Hightower

From the very start of our nation, the most popular forum for debating and shaping our democratic rights was not stately legislative halls, but rowdy beer halls.

Indeed, "pub democracy" remains strong across our country, as is now being shown by a hardy group of democracy rebels in Toledo, Ohio. The people of this city on the edge of Lake Erie were literally sickened in 2014 when a toxic algae bloom poisoned the lake, which is the source of their drinking water. People were outraged that state officials, who were in the pocket of the polluters, then did nothing to protect the lake from more poisoning.

Mulling this over while quaffing beers in a local pub, the rebels hit upon a novel thought: What if Lake Erie could protect itself by asserting its legal right to "exist, flourish, and naturally evolve?" Thus was born the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, which the group proposed as a city charter ballot initiative. They got double the number of signatures required to put the proposition on February's ballot, mounted a door-to-door people's campaign to counter a media blitz partially funded by such giants as Coca-Cola and FedEx -and they won! A whopping 61 percent of Toledo's voters said YES to recognizing legally-enforceable rights for the natural world.

Supercilious corporate elites, however, refuse to let such a trifling matter as the will of the people interfere with their sense of entitlement to poison for profit. So they've now gotten top Ohio officials to assert in a court filing that the state is the "proprietor in trust" of Lake Erie. Therefore, claim the officials, local voters have no power to deny so-called corporate "persons" the permission to pollute real people's water.

Of course, the democracy rebels are not about to back down, so keep up with them at www.LakeErieAction.org.

(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 HightowerLowdown.org.




Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin celebrates her 2018 win with an election night party Nov. 6, 2018, at
Monona Terrace. Baldwin is right to remind us that "votes for women" represented "a major step forward as a nation"




Women Voters Have The Power To Upend Trump
The Trumps need a distraction. So, at our expense, they are trading toasts with the current occupant of King George III's throne.
By John Nichols

Women elected the branch of Congress that is checking and balancing President Donald Trump. In the 2018 midterm election, women formed 52 percent of the electorate that elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and women cast 59 percent of their votes for Democratic candidates.

If it had been left to the men who cast the majority of their votes for Republican candidates, nothing would have changed.

The same goes for the states where Republicans lost governorships. In Wisconsin, for instance, male voters favored reelecting reactionary Republican Gov. Scott Walker by a 52-45 margin. But women favored progressive Democratic challenger Tony Evers. Without the votes of women, Evers would not have displaced Walker and restored a measure of balance to state politics.

The same was true in other states, such as Michigan and Nevada, where Democrats grabbed governorships that had been held by Republicans.

In 2020, if Trump is swept out of office, women voters - especially women of color - will eject him. The new Hill-HarrisX poll finds that 62 percent of female registered voters are unlikely to back the president's bid for a second term. (Fifty-one percent of men were either on board for Trump or leaning his way.)

The numbers remind us that the most radical shift in the history of American politics occurred a century ago, when women secured the right to vote. As we celebrate the leadership role that Wisconsin played in the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, is right to remind us that "votes for women" represented "a major step forward as a nation" - a step forward that was made in 1919 and 1920 and is still being made in 2019 and 2020.

"A century ago, after decades of struggle by brave women and men, our nation finally extended to women the most fundamental right in our democracy - the right to vote," Baldwin said in a recent statement. "We still have more work to do, and more glass ceilings to break, but it is important to celebrate this monumental anniversary and all the progress that women have made in the last 100 years."

Baldwin knows something about the breaking of glass ceilings. In 1998, she was the first woman elected to represent a Wisconsin district in the U.S. House, and she serves now as the only woman ever to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate. And I am in the camp that says she ought to be the first woman to serve as vice president of the United States. No matter who Democrats nominate in 2020 for presidency, Baldwin would strengthen the ticket.

It is difficult to over-emphasize the importance of electing women. Representation is enormously consequential. Yet, it is important to remember that women who never seek elected office are also enormously consequential in our politics. At the local, state and national levels, the votes cast by women to make the difference remain the deciding factor between right-wing reaction and the prospect of a progressive future.

(c) 2019 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. 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.








Locked In Competition For Space
By James Donahue

The collective subconscious awareness by humans living on a dying planet seems to be prompting a growing interest in the possibility of colonizing other planets in our solar system.

Our current robotic exploration of Mars, and a search for water, is only a prelude to a Trump Administration call for a beefed-up space program that will send men back to the moon and beyond to the red planet.

But faced with a multi-trillion dollar federal deficit from America's foolishly declared wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and our aerial military presence at numerous other points in the world, Congress should balk at the proposed expenditures linked to such an ambitious space program.

Mr. Trump has proposed the creation of a Space Force which he apparently envisions as an extension of the U.S. Military. And with other nations and private enterprise now in competition for a piece of the ongoing space exploration, the money for a beefed-up campaign to claim command of the sky, a renewed effort to send men to establish colonies on the Moon and then Mars seems to be pouring into the NASA budget.

A few voices of reason have been asking if the cost of sending humans that far into space is worth the cost of resources and human lives, however. Even Trump in a recent tweet questioned the expenditure of money to revisit the Moon. He wrote that NASA should be looking at reaching Mars instead.

In an article that appeared in the Summer 2004 volume of Issues in Science and Technology, noted space pioneer James van Allen questioned the worth of human spaceflight altogether. He warned that sending astronauts back to the moon and beyond will to too costly and that he believes the science to be gained will be "trivial."

Van Allen argued that "the only surviving motivation for continuing human spaceflight is the ideology of adventure . . . I ask myself whether the huge national commitment of technical talent to human spaceflight and the ever-present potential for the loss of precious human life are really justifiable."

Obviously Van Allen is overlooking the possibility that the United States, China, Japan and the European Union might be locked in a silent and undeclared race for establishing a military colony on the moon, or just claiming military advantage in satellite technology.

Under the circumstances, the cost of seeking world dominance through military strength in space is a wasted effort. Instead of military conquest, the United States would be wise to try to mend the fences burned by the Trump Administration in the last two years, and openly seek to join the European Union in establishing a one world government.

Only through the cooperative effort of all of the nations of the world can humans achieve the things sought by all; world peace, stability in world commerce, and ecological controls designed to prolong the life of Planet Earth.

Rather than look to space as a possible escape from our bungling on Earth, we would do much better turning our attention within, and doing all we can to heal the Mother and correct our mistakes as quickly as possible.

Our failure to do so will only lead to catastrophic disaster.

(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.




Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) sits alongside President Donald Trump during an event to commemorate
the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in Portsmouth, southern England, on June 5, 2019.



Trump's Meetup With The Royals Reminds Us He Wants To Be A King
By William Rivers Pitt

Donald Trump's Europe trip has come and gone. While we can all be grateful he did not announce the creation of a new Fourth Reich right there on Normandy Beach -admit it, you thought it was possible, didn"t you -he reminded us that even in this rapidly declining age, the president of the United States can always be counted on to go lower.

"Trump navigated two reasonably focused and restrained days in London," reported CNN after the British leg of the journey concluded and Trump was wheels-up for France. "The President, who usually indulges his disruptive and norm-shattering personality, has been a picture of decorum."

"Picture of decorum" is what makes that art, as does "reasonably." Possibly even as those words were being typed, Trump was calling beloved actress and all-around badass Bette Midler a "washed-up psycho" on Twitter. This was after he called the mayor of London a "stone-cold loser." Memo to Trump: Anyone who wears a tux like that on any night other than Halloween probably shouldn't be throwing stones.

Midler, to her eternal credit, invited Trump to go slam his "dick in a door." If you don't love Bette Midler, please love Bette Midler. That being said, wow, CNN. Trump did not comprehensively decompensate in public like he does most other days of the year, and you've got him "focused and restrained." Way to take the bait.

The man is not "disruptive" or "norm-shattering." He is an oaf who has never listened to the word "No," and believes rules are little more than a stick to beat others with. David Bowie was disruptive and norm-shattering, and an actual genius. Donald Trump is just another rich white American man for whom cultural and procedural restraints, not to mention laws, are an inconvenience. He doesn't ignore them; he literally doesn't understand why they should exist for a man of his race and station.

"The decorative colonnades and gratuitous reflecting pools and endless gaudy sconces," writes David Roth for Splinter News, "the all-upholstered-everything interiors that somehow still offer no comfortable place to sit, all those overstuffed corridors connecting gilded banquet chambers to other grand and uninhabitable spaces, the sheer stuffy tackiness of his various pretenses -if there's any sort of precedent for the grandiose style that Trump prefers, it's royalty."

There, as Hamlet said, lies the rub. Trump's two-day grip-and-grin with the royal family, swaddled in all the pomp and circumstance that involves any state visit with the Queen and her offspring in her sprawling palace, held a mirror up to uncomfortable truths some in the US are struggling to digest. Specifically, the concepts of race, financial standing and the power wielded in white, male hands are under deep discussion in ways the powerful are audibly disturbed by.

Much as some would like to think otherwise here in the 21st century, the racism and worship of aristocracy that was baked into the founding of the U.S. remain alive and well. Donald Trump is merely the most vivid, perhaps inevitable iteration of the phenomenon. Like a blister on the skin when an infection comes to a head, he stands in full view even as the disease runs rampant through the body politic.

I have written in this space about the awesome power mythology holds over the American mind, and Trump's fawning obeisance to British royalty is another chapter in that long tale. He is not alone in this, of course; "royal watching" is big business in the U.S. "It has been alive pretty much since 1776," Boston University associate professor Arianne Chernock told CNN last year. "Pretty much as soon as we severed ties, we were back to being fascinated -captivated really -by the royal family."

"Captivated" is an interesting word choice. "Captive" would be more accurate. A huge swath of the problems the U.S. suffers on matters of race, wealth and power were injected into this country by British colonizers and their aristocratic system. The royals were the 1% ten dozen generations before Occupy sat down in Zuccotti Park, and their social and economic mores came over the Atlantic right along with the tea, the soldiers and the enslaved people.

The Revolution did not immediately change this, of course. Any student who ever had an honest U.S. History teacher knows the U.S. Constitution contains language that sets the value of a Black man's life at 3/5ths that of a white man in order to serve the interests of slaveowners. The Declaration of Independence likewise endorses the slaughter of Native North Americans as a patriotic necessity for obtaining freedom. Abigail Adams had to remind her Founding Father husband John to "remember the ladies" as they crafted the new nation, but of course that didn't happen. In no way whatsoever did "All men are created equal" pertain to people of color, women or the poor.

The poison runs deep. "When Americans think of the renowned English Enlightenment thinker John Locke, what comes to mind is how Thomas Jefferson tacitly borrowed his words and ideas for the Declaration of Independence," writes Nancy Isenberg in White Trash, her exhaustively researched exploration of early colonial history. "Locke was a founding member and third-largest stockholder of the Royal African Company, which secured a monopoly over the British slave trade."

And so much for the Enlightenment. Freedom and the pursuit of happiness were available if your skin was the right hue and you owned land or title. Everyone else was expected to spend their lives prostrate to a gruesome Calvinist division of labor and power that demanded the masses work themselves to death for the enrichment of the aristocracy.

Certainly, many of the worst elements of British colonialism have been reformed since then, as the genius of the Constitution is its allowance for national self-improvement. Those improvements, however, have come only after a protracted struggle and a price paid in blood, and have not nearly cleaned out the Augean stable that was and remains the British colonial mindset.

We prepare to celebrate the centennial of women's suffrage amid the astonishment that more than half the country has only been allowed to vote for 100 years. In a growing number of states, women are losing legal control over their own bodies. For people of color, the movement toward freedom has taken far longer, and even now the freedoms gained from the Civil Rights Act are being ruthlessly rolled back at the highest levels of government. Demagoguing the "other" to win elections is as old as the country itself.

A nation where the principle of inequality was the bedrock of its very foundation, even with all the improvements obtained at great mortal cost, was bound to cough up someone like Donald Trump sooner or later. Thankfully, those improvements also brought forth generation after generation of people ready to demand and fight for rights they were never meant to have under the nation's origin idea. This is as true today as it has ever been.

The British colonial founders, suffused with their British colonial preconceptions on the value of each and every human life, didn't mean it when they wrote "created equal." But they signed their names to it, public servants swear an oath to it, and when someone like Donald Trump comes into power and seeks to tear up that progress because he believes he is American royalty, we the actual people must rise in defense of the freedoms we have gained.

Call it the New American Dream. It's as real as royalty and twice as strong. The Revolution never ended.

(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.







All About The Base
By Heather Digby Parton

Jamelle Bouie has some smart observations about the Democrats and their base:

If the triumph of Trumpism is the most important recent development in American political history, then the second most important is the mobilization of liberal and left-wing voters to challenge the president's authoritarian politics.

This mobilization drove the Women's March, where a day after Trump's inauguration, hundreds of thousands came to Washington to protest against his nascent administration. Millions of others joined them in cities across the country - a remarkable demonstration of opposition to a new president. It stiffened Democratic resolve to oppose the president at a time when some of the party's leaders were looking for bipartisan cooperation. It helped halt the Republican drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act - peeling critical support away from Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader - and last year powered an electoral wave that gave the Democratic Party its first majority in the House of Representatives since 2010.

If Democrats can be confident ahead of 2020, it's because of grass-roots activists who have strengthened the party's political position time and time again. And yet key Democratic leaders are still reluctant to follow their lead.

I think there's a deeper divide, between a politics that sees the grass roots as an asset to use and cultivate versus one that treats it as a complication to manage. It's a "leader knows best" approach that may squander the Democratic Party's advantage of enthusiasm and drive against a corrupt and unpopular president. It even seems as though for Democrats like Pelosi, the only political actions that truly matter are either in the legislature or at the ballot box. It's an understandable view for a leadership class whose political memories stretch back to the devastating Democratic losses of 1968 and 1972 (to say nothing of 1980 and 1984). But it's also bred of a deep aversion to risk-taking, even when circumstances warrant bold action.

If the Trump era has revealed anything about the state of American politics, it's that the realm of possibility is far greater than previously recognized. There are still limits and obstacles, but there are also opportunities to fundamentally shift the terms of political conflict and debate. There are Democrats outside of the grass roots who understand this and have adopted a tactical and strategic boldness that suits the moment.

Backed by the base of the party, liberal candidates like Doug Jones in Alabama and Stacey Abrams in Georgia have run aggressive campaigns in ostensibly hostile territory, making unheard-of gains in the process. Presidential contenders like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have aimed their campaigns at that grass-roots sense of possibility with expansive policy programs and a transformative vision. Exemplified by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, younger lawmakers are speaking to and amplifying the grass roots, building powerful public platforms in the process. But Democratic leaders in Congress remain skeptical, seemingly stuck in an era when Democrats were on the defensive and backlash politics ruled the day.

Then again, Pelosi and Schumer are shrewd politicians with decades of experience. Perhaps their resistance to grass-roots Democrats, and to impeachment in particular, will pay dividends. But we should consider the reverse as well: that a Democratic Party that plays with excessive caution - and keeps its base at a distance - is one that might demobilize its voters and produce the same conditions that helped Trump win in the first place.

This has been true for a very long time. Indeed, one of the main differences in political strategy between the two parties is that the Republicans fetishize their base to the point of worship while the Democrats do everything in their power to keep theirs at a far distance, while they chase the elusive swing voters under the assumption their most loyal voters have nowhere else to go. We should at least take some heart in the fact that the Democrats aren't currently engaged in actively insulting their base voters as they did for years but it's only a slight improvement.

I've been watching this dynamic for years, and it does feel as if the Dem leadership believes Democrats will never vote for Trump so there's no reason to take any chances on their behalf if they can slide through without taking any risk. Maybe they're right. But in this environment having an enthusiastic, fired-up base seems like a cheap insurance policy.

BY the way:

Democrats are increasingly in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump, with 76 percent saying they support the move to oust the president from office, according to a new CNN poll. That marks a seven-percentage-point increase from April when support for impeachment stood at 69 percent among Democrats, according to the poll conducted by SSRS.
(c) 2019 Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.




If we care about human prosperity, we must protect oceans.




Canada Has Many Reasons To Celebrate World Oceans Day
By David Suzuki

Buried under a late-May news barrage, Canada's government made small but important changes to the Oceans Act and Petroleum Resources Act that will strengthen protection of at-risk marine ecosystems. The most significant is that government will no longer have to wait for marine protected area designation to prevent harmful activities, but will have the power to implement "interim protections." Changes to the Petroleum Act "allow Natural Resources Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to negotiate the voluntary surrender of a company's oil and gas interests" and compensate companies if marine protected area designation means cancelling projects.

Freezing harmful activities for up to five years will give government time to consult with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the public before it formally protects a marine area. The changes are in line with the government's goal of protecting 10 per cent of Canada's ocean territory by next year. It has made progress, with 8.27 per cent now protected, up from less than one per cent in 2015.

It's progress worth celebrating on World Oceans Day, June 8. Many Canadians may not know the UN declared this special day at Canada's urging. With three oceans surrounding the world's longest coastline and more than 350,000 ocean-dependent jobs, it makes sense for Canada to honour and protect these ecosystems and the tremendous resources they provide. But is it too early to pat ourselves on the back?

A Greenpeace study by York and Oxford university researchers argues we must protect at least 30 per cent of oceans by 2030, including areas outside territorial jurisdiction, "to address the crisis facing our oceans and enable their recovery." (I believe that falls short of what's needed.) The report, 30×30: A Blueprint for Ocean Protection, shows that a network of "fully protected marine protected areas" is feasible and something the world should consider as governments negotiate a global ocean treaty through the UN, expected in 2020.

The push for greater ocean protection marks a growing shift in our perception of the seas, from a resource storehouse and dumping ground for wastes to a source of life. Oceans are vital to our survival and contribute to our prosperity and quality of life. They produce more than half the world's oxygen and are the largest carbon sink. And they offer yet unknown potential for medical discoveries.

But we know more about Mars than the immense scope of ocean life. We've only explored about five per cent of the underwater world. Less then a half century ago, no one contemplated that a multitude of species could live around deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Further altering our value system to put the environment first and look out for all species' needs will allow us to base development decisions on recognizing that we benefit from maintaining natural ecosystems.

Beyond Oceans Act amendments, Canada is also examining Fisheries Act updates to address increasing pollution, ecosystem destruction and declining biodiversity. This would include measures to rebuild fish stocks, many of which are severely depleted. Similar action has proven successful in the United States. However, fishing quotas aren't enough, as fish face numerous threats that only healthy, abundant stocks may be able to withstand. Marine protected areas help safeguard the diversity and abundance of plants and animals in and around them, improving their resilience to human activity, climate change and other, often unexpected, events.

We often take the oceans' gifts for granted, underestimating their value, resulting in devastation to local economies and cultural values. Attempting to balance priorities between the environment and the economy requires constant, exhausting renegotiation and compromise. The false assumption is that conservation activities cost more than the environmental impacts of growing industrial activity.

We must continue shifting our perspective. We can't continue to prioritize short-term economic objectives over the very ecosystems that sustain us. Acting for our immediate benefit can destroy the intricate balance and put a species or even the whole ecosystem in peril. A single oil spill could threaten the existence of southern resident orcas.

If we care about human prosperity, we must protect oceans. Supporting their natural resilience by restoring their biological diversity would deliver long-term benefits for food security and social and economic well-being. Let's stay the course on leadership and progressive action on this important issue.

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




Donald Trump Holds "MAGA" Rally In Central Pennsylvania




Trump Hates The Job. Does He Even Like Running For It Anymore?
More than anything, the president doesn't want to hear any bad news.
By Charles P. Pierce

The headline I most wish I'd written ran in an Irish newspaper when a certain beloved publican changed a Dublin establishment, and one of the local journals declared, "The Ship Is Deserting The Sinking Rats." If I'd have written it, it would be perfect for the story in The New York Times on Tuesday in which what appears to be a general revulsion toward El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago reached maximum volume in perfect harmony. The queue at the ratlines apparently looks like the one at the top of Mount Everest.

After being briefed on a devastating 17-state poll conducted by his campaign pollster, Tony Fabrizio, Mr. Trump told aides to deny that his internal polling showed him trailing Mr. Biden in many of the states he needs to win, even though he is also trailing in public polls from key states like Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And when top-line details of the polling leaked, including numbers showing the president lagging in a cluster of critical Rust Belt states, Mr. Trump instructed aides to say publicly that other data showed him doing well. Mr. Biden seems to have gotten into the president's head - at least for now. And on Tuesday, the president will engage with him, if indirectly, for the first time during the 2020 campaign when they both make appearances in Iowa.
Now this could be a please-don't-toss-me-in-the-briar-patch riff to prop up Biden because somebody at Camp Runamuck wants to run against him. But the level of detail in the story makes me tend to believe that whoever the People Familiar With are, they're as remarkably unattached to the president*'s re-election effort as they say the president* himself is.
In a recent overarching state-of-the-race briefing in Florida with Brad Parscale, his campaign manager, Mr. Trump was consistently distracted and wanted to discuss other things, according to people familiar with the meeting. When it came to the campaign, his main focus was on his own approval numbers. Unlike nearly every recent modern president who sought re-election, Mr. Trump rarely if ever speaks to aides about what he hopes to accomplish with what would be a hard-won second term; his interest is entirely in the present, and mostly on the crisis of the moment.


Joe Biden seems to have burrowed into Trump's head.
He has shown no interest in formulating a new message for his campaign, instead continuing with the winning "Make America Great Again" slogan from his last race and adding that he also wants to "keep America great." Mr. Trump has griped about traveling too much, but then lashed out at aides, demanding to know, "Why am I not doing more rallies?" He insists on having final approval over the songs on his campaign playlist, as well as the campaign merchandise, but he has never asked to see a budget for 2019.
He hates the job, but he loves running for it. That's been obvious since the threadbare inaugural crowd wandered off the mall. But the People Familiar With who talked to the Times indicated that this particular presidential crochet has become more intense as the election cycle begins to ramp up, and it also has turned against itself. He's not that interested in how to run for president* anymore, either.
Mr. Trump may be indifferent to the mechanics of running a presidential campaign, in part because he continues to view his 2016 victory as driven almost entirely by his own force of personality and messaging. "His counterintuitive gut instinct that drove much of the 2016 race was spot on through the primary and the general elections," said Jason Miller, who served as a communications aide on Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign. "I wouldn't expect that to change going into 2020. He's always going to be the one who drives the message and makes the important political decisions."

Trump is not interested in bad news.
Mr. Trump is also aware that his signature campaign promise - to build a wall along the border with Mexico - has not come to fruition. He has been looking for opportunities to demonstrate to his core voters that he is fighting to get it done, according to aides, and that he is being stopped by intractable political forces. The story is the story. This is somebody, or a whole bunch of somebodies, who either want the president* to get his act together, or they want him to lose and, in either case, they want to work in or around government again and are already undertaking ethical prophylaxis on their resumes.
But just a week before the rally, Mr. Trump continues to function without a chief political strategist, people involved in his campaigns said. The president's lead pollster, Mr. Fabrizio, is someone Mr. Trump resisted hiring in 2016, and his blunt approach is not always welcome by a candidate who prefers good news and can take a shoot-the-messenger approach to receiving information he does not like.
Loyalty in a political context is a fungible commodity. This is especially true of a political context in which the candidate doesn't have the faintest notion of what loyalty is.

(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-



"The preachers and lecturers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves. Why, a free-spoken man, of sound lungs, cannot draw a long breath without causing your rotten institutions to come toppling down by the vacuum he makes. Your church is a baby-house made of blocks, and so of the state.

...The church, the state, the school, the magazine, think they are liberal and free! It is the freedom of a prison-yard." ~~~ Henry David Thoreau









Anyone Who'd Rather Not Be Shot Should Read This Book
By David Swanson

Thom Hartmann has long written and spoken on the topic of guns in the United States, along with many other topics. Of those topics he's dealt with that I know anything about, I have not always agreed with him on every detail, but on most I've found him highly informative and persuasive. His new book, The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment, is possibly the best book I've ever seen on its topic, both to read, and to pass along to anyone in the United States, whatever their current opinion on guns and gun laws may be, as well as to share with anyone else on earth who may be trying to understand why the United States seems to be allowing its own ongoing slaughter, with guns the second-leading cause of death among children in the United States.

This book is not ideal for any reader because it pulls punches or obscures difficult truths or goes out of its way to be respectful of sociopathic cultural traits, but rather because it is honest, straightforward, incredibly concise (covering in few pages vastly more than the title suggests), and because what it proposes ought to strike any open-minded person as ridiculously reasonable and easily accepted. This also makes the book nearly as difficult to review as a poem. Rather than just a summary, let me try to convey what strikes me as most significant to add to current public conversation in light of this book and of the responses I've been receiving to recent articles I've written. If I note below any fact not documented in Hartmann's book, I'll cite or link to a source. Otherwise, my source is that book, which cites important studies throughout.

First of all, there's the scope and uniqueness of the problem. Over 1,000 people have been killed in the United States in mass-shootings over the years. But this pales in comparison with non-mass shootings, which kill about 34,000 per year, two-thirds of those being suicides, a small percentage being accidents, and a smaller percentage being police killings. Roughly twice the number killed are non-fatally (but often horrifically) injured. The direct financial cost of just the deaths, plus the lost productivity, is some $300 billion per year, but there's no way to put a number on the cultural poison, the fear, the anxiety, the hatred, the bitterness, the distrust, or the shame. None of this exists in a significant way in any other wealthy (I refuse to say "fully developed") nation, every one of which has long modeled cultural and legislative solutions that would almost certainly save many thousands of lives and radically benefit the United States if only the U.S. Congress were as open to plagiarism as Joe Biden.

Second of all, there's the question of factors that correlate with and possibly cause mass shootings and non-mass shootings. A primary factor is the number of guns distributed among society, a measure by which the United States dramatically leads the world. (It's more dramatic even than imprisonment. The United States has 4% of the world's people and 25% of its prisoners, but 50% of its civilian-owned guns.) Debating which other factors contribute the most to mass shootings is a fine topic, and taboos on which factors can be mentioned should be shattered. But we should remember how the problem of non-mass-shootings dwarfs that of mass shootings, as well as that the factor of availability of guns dwarfs other possibly contributing factors. We should also, I think, call off the search for the one, single contributing factor so important that it makes all other factors cease to exist. Not even the availability of guns does that.

Another primary factor, in a different sense, may be a U.S. cultural understanding of masculinity. While the United States makes guns far more available than other countries do, and more gun deaths result, and while some U.S. states make guns far more available than other U.S. states do, and more gun deaths result in those states, it is not the case that the United States' population, or that of particular states, is significantly more made up of males. It is, however, the case that virtually all mass-shooters are male, and 85% of suicides are male. It is also demonstrably the case that U.S. popular culture promotes a model of masculinity that glorifies violence. While people often think of legislative solutions as easier than cultural ones, this is not always the case, and one can follow the other. The legislation of rights for gay people has followed the cultural acceptance of those rights more than the reverse. Other countries may, of course, have equally violent or more violent notions of masculinity, but lack the same availability of guns and/or other contributing factors. That does not mean that improving the U.S. cultural model of a male wouldn't reduce gun deaths.

The reasons I've written about mass shooters being disproportionately military veterans (even accounting for gender and age) include the following. Nobody else mentions it, while an endless stream of articles touch on numerous other factors. Even the Parkland young people refuse to acknowledge that their murderous classmate was trained in their cafeteria at the expense of their parents' taxes. Making people familiar with guns, training them to effectively use guns, and praising them for learning to commit mass shootings and even for committing mass shootings (of the "right people") is more self-evidently a causal factor in mass shootings than other correlations are. Generating mass shooters at public expense is both more outrageous and more obviously amenable to correction than other possible factors.

As soon as we begin to discuss any two factors in gun deaths, it should become clear that they are not entirely separable from each other. Mass awareness of mass-shootings undoubtedly contributes to non-mass-shootings (which even include shootings of three or fewer random victims). Military veterans have found guns more accessible. The military has made guns more accessible to all, including non-veterans. Military veterans have been exposed to a particularly pro-violence conception of masculinity.

Other factors worth considering, despite their interlocking and possibly relatively minor role, or the relative difficulty of defining their presence (some of which are far more present among mass shooters than is military veteran status) include mental illness, drug use, misogyny, sexual assault, assault, racism, financial insecurity, unhappiness, and of course contributing factors to a culture of violence such as video games, movies, songs, etc. Some of these (such as violent movies) are hard to measure in influence on shooters versus non-shooters. Other factors correlate with each other, leading advocates of attention for one to dismiss another. Many are easily misunderstood or exaggerated. While the most likely description of the next mass shooter would include his being white, whites are not disproportionately mass shooters. While racism has been an explicit motivation of mass shootings, many countries have racism without having mass shootings. Racism may contribute to the acceptance of weak gun laws which in turn contribute to shootings that don't involve racism directly. Et cetera.

None of these factors works as grounds for bigotry or profiling. The vast, vast majority of people who fit any of the factors are not going to shoot anybody, not even themselves. But some of the factors, or their combination, could help to explain the difference between the United States and other nations. The availability of guns all on its own almost certainly explains much of the difference in gun deaths between the United States and other nations, in the sense that reducing the gun presence in the United States would reduce the gun deaths. But reducing various other factors could also reduce gun deaths with or without reducing gun presence, which is significant in some other countries, even if nowhere near what it is in the United States. The United States is economically the most unequal wealthy country on earth. It fights the most wars. It prescribes and illegally uses the most drugs. Et cetera.

Part of the culture of violent masculinity is the culture of the proliferation of guns, and vice versa. Ending the financial corruption of the U.S. government would probably be enough to significantly restrict the proliferation of guns, but so might ending the cultural acceptance of owning guns (and all types of guns) as a fundamental human right. Ending the corporate monopolization of communications systems might be enough to end the cultural acceptance of the human right to a semi-automatic weapon. Ending the legal acceptance of human rights for corporations might be enough to end both the financial corruption of the U.S. government and the corporate monopolization of the media. There are many ways to tackle what we're up against. A lot of them could benefit from an historically accurate understanding of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or what I've previously called the Wait-Just-A-Goddam-Second Amendment.

This is one of many areas in which Thom Hartmann's book shines. Hartmann documents overwhelmingly that the thinking behind the Second Amendment, and the original understanding of it, and the general understanding of it until very recently, have had nothing to do with a personal right to own guns. Among the rights that Jefferson, Madison, and others hoped to see in a Bill of Rights was a prohibition on a standing army (as well as a prohibition on corporate monopolies, but that's another story). The reason that the Constitution limits funding of an army to two years (and limits nothing else in that way) is an intention to avoid a permanent military. The same idea was found explicitly in early drafts of the Second Amendment, as was the right to conscientious objection to military service. The reason that a ban (or virtually a ban) on a standing military and a right to refuse to participate in a military, as well as the subordination of the military to civilian control, were all included in early drafts of the Second Amendment was that the Second Amendment was about exactly what it says it is about, namely a right to form well-regulated militias. The re-writing of the Second Amendment into its final form was driven by the fears of slave owners. The valuing of militias in the first place was driven by the desire to steal land from Native Americans and to maintain slavery.

Last year, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz published a book called Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. In it, she claims that the Bill of Rights was a bill of individual rights, and that it provided the individual right to own guns in plain English, and that doing so (owning guns) was very common at the time. In fact, some colonies had required white men to own guns and to never travel without them. Dunbar-Ortiz associates this position on the Second Amendment and the individual right to own guns with acknowledgement of ugly truths about U.S. history, namely the Second Amendment's basis in genocide and slavery. But Hartmann and I agree with her on that, as I think anyone who looks honestly at history must. The question is what was meant by the Second Amendment.

We can all, of course, agree that by "arms" this ancient law did not mean semi-automatic weapons. Many of us can probably agree that, no matter what it meant, we ought to be able to create better laws now and cease caring so much what it meant. But did it mean to create a personal right to own an ancient relatively harmless weapon?

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court claimed as much in a 5-4 decision. No U.S. court had claimed that in the previous 230 years. Four justices published a dissent rejecting the claim as nonsense and self-contradictory. The majority argued that "people" in the Second Amendment must mean the same thing as "people" in the First and Fourth Amendments. The minority pointed out that, in fact, the majority intended "people" in the Second Amendment to mean only "law-abiding, responsible citizens," whereas even felons and irresponsible citizens (and, I would note, non-citizens) can appeal to the First and Fourth Amendments. I would add that "people" shows up in the First Amendment only for the right to assemble, which is done only by multiple people, and in the Fourth Amendment only in discussion of the violation of the rights of "persons" (plural), whereas other amendments refer to individual rights without using the term "people" (the Third Amendment on the "Owner" of a house, the Fifth Amendment on the rights of a "person," the Sixth Amendment on the rights of "the accused") but the use of "people" in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments clearly has nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights.

The 2008 Supreme Court majority also invented the idea that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to bear arms "to defend hearth and home," a phrase and concept not documented to have ever entered into any discussion of the Amendment's creation or ratification.

Equally nonexistent in the creation and ratification of the Bill of Rights is any notion of the need for guns in order to rebel against the government, likewise a modern creation.

So, what, beyond proper understanding of the facts, does Hartmann propose? Well, undoing corporate personhood and money as speech, through a new Supreme Court, new legislation, or Constitutional Amendment. And these two steps: treating semi-automatic weapons like automatics, and regulating gun ownership like car ownership, meaning registration and title, a license one must qualify for, and mandatory liability insurance. How a fact-based analysis can find such proposals unreasonable is beyond me.

And by "fact-based" I mean to include, as Hartmann does, consideration of what other nations on earth have done, rather than engagement in the pretense that all is hypothetical speculation. Australia decided to require a license for a gun, to regulate semi-automatics as tightly as automatics, and to provide amnesty and funds to buy up guns. A hunter in Australia who passes a background test and regularly shows that he or she is using the gun for hunting can still get a gun. That supposedly important need is still completely fulfilled. Yet, in the years just after these laws were created in Australia in 1996, gun deaths dropped by over 40% and suicides by 77%. Who can possibly be against that who hasn't been paid to be?

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








Morgan Library & Hudson Yards
Two NYC landmarks built off the misery of others
By Jane Stillwater

I clearly love everything about books -- so imagine my delight when someone told me about the historic Morgan Library in midtown Manhattan. I was there in a flash. And it was awesomely beautiful too. Just imagine a vaulted sanctuary such as Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel -- only also lined with tiers and tiers of bookcases stuffed with rare and beautiful leather-bound books containing all the wisdom of the ages. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." I was in hog heaven!

"But...." And, yes, there's always gotta be a but....

At the very back of my consciousness, I kept hearing a niggling small voice that kept telling me, "You know, of course, that all this fabulous splendor was built upon the backs of the misery, starvation and death of thousands of 19th-century American workers who were impoverished and practically enslaved by J.P. Morgan, the Robber Baron himself, right?"

"Oh shut up Jiminy Cricket and just let me enjoy the moment." But my conscience just wouldn't shut up.

Another one of the many other fabulous things to do in New York City is to walk the High Line, an amazing park-in-the-sky lovingly created by local volunteers who have turned some old elevated train tracks into a tree-lined pathway from 14th Street up to 34th Street. I went there next. Trees are beautiful too, right?

"But...." And, yes, there's always gotta be a but.

At the end of the High Line I also discovered the luxurious Hudson Yards office-complex-and-mall. Another thing of great beauty. And the "Stores at the Yard" were all selling beautiful high-end stuff like Chanel, Cartier, Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Gucci, Coach and Dior. Who the freak can even afford to buy stuff like that? Certainly not me. I shop at free boxes, flea markets and the Goodwill. But somebody must be doing their shopping there. I couldn't even imagine who.

And another thing about the Hudson Yards that just screamed out "Conspicuous Consumption" was the huge amounts of wasted space there. Atriums and terraces and vaulted corridors were everywhere, right there on prime-time mid-Manhattan real estate -- real estate worth hundreds of dollars a foot. Real estate that could have housed hundreds if not thousands of tents for the myriad homeless families of New York.

Jiminy Cricket then went on to underscore his point. "Back in the 19th century, robber barons like Morgan and Rockefeller and Carnegie created their castles of dreams on the backs of starving and dying American workers like our great-grandfathers. And now it is clear that, here in the 21st century, there is a whole new set of robber barons who are creating all this insane wealth as well -- only this time these castles of dreams like the Hudson Yards are being created over the dead bodies of murdered babies in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East."

Yep, my conscience is right. What good is awesome and extreme beauty if its very roots lie in the extreme swamps of inhuman heartlessness and greed? The one cancels out the other. How can anyone with any good conscience at all shop at the Hudson Yards, knowing that their extreme wealth mostly derives from manufacturing and selling deadly weapons of mass destruction -- to be used to massacre babies in far-away places like Yemen and Gaza and Syria and Iraq? How can these people even sleep at night?

And how can we Americans continue to let them?

To quote Dwight D. Eisenhower, "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." Let's do whatever we can to stop our leaders from continuing to trudge down their current sad, immoral and decadent path to a beautiful future for them -- at the price of a living Hell for the rest of us.

(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 Dead Letter Office-





Nancy gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Unterfuhrer Pelosi,

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 plans to keep der Fuhrer from being impeached, 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 "Political 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 07-13-2019. We salute you Frau Pelosi, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump





The Same Old Scare Tactic About Socialism
When the Republican candidate inscribes the slogan 'Down With Socialism'...what he really means is, 'Down with Progress.' By Robert Reich

I keep hearing a lot about "socialism" these days, mainly from Donald Trump and Fox News, trying to scare Americans about initiatives like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, universal child care, free public higher education, and higher taxes on the super-wealthy to pay for these.

Well, I'm here to ask you to ignore the scaremongering.

First, these initiatives are overwhelmingly supported by most Americans.

Second, for the last 85 years, conservative Republicans have been yelling "socialism" at every initiative designed to help most Americans.

It was the scare word used by the Liberty League, in 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed Social Security.

In 1952, President Harry Truman noted that "Socialism is the epithet they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years...."

Truman went on to say,"Socialism is what they called public power...social security... bank deposit insurance. ..free and independent labor organizations., anything that helps all the people." Truman concluded by noting "When the Republican candidate inscribes the slogan 'Down With Socialism' ... what he really means is, 'Down with Progress.'"

Third, if we don't want to live in a survival-of-the-fittest society in which only the richest and most powerful can endure, government has to do three basic things: regulate corporations, provide social insurance against unforeseen hardships, and support public investments such as schools and public transportation.

All of these require that we pool our resources for the common good.

Regardless of whether this is called democratic socialism or enlightened capitalism, all are necessary for a decent society.

Fourth and finally, America spends very little on social programs compared to other industrialized nations. As a result, almost 30 million Americans still lack health insurance,nearly 51 million households can't afford basic monthly expenses including housing, food, child care, and transportation. And we're the only industrialized nation without paid family leave.

Our infrastructure is literally crumbling, our classrooms are overcrowded and our teachers are paid far less than workers in the private sector with comparable education.

We can and must do more.

So don't let them scare you with words like "socialism." These policies are just common sense.

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




Xi and Putin cruising into a multipolar world: Aurora Cruiser Museum





The Unipolar Moment Is Over
The Russia-China strategic partnership, consolidated last week in Russia, has thrown U.S. elites into Supreme Paranoia mode, which is holding the whole world hostage.
By Pepe Escobar

Something extraordinary began with a short walk in St. Petersburg last Friday.

After a stroll, they took a boat on the Neva River, visited the legendary Aurora cruiser, and dropped in to examine the Renaissance masterpieces at the Hermitage. Cool, calm, collected, all the while it felt like they were mapping the ins and outs of a new, emerging, multipolar world.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the guest of honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was Xi's eighth trip to Russia since 2013, when he announced the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

First they met in Moscow, signing multiple deals. The most important is a bombshell: a commitment to develop bilateral trade and cross-border payments using the ruble and the yuan, bypassing the U.S. dollar.

Then Xi visited the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia's premier business gathering, absolutely essential for anyone to understand the hyper-complex mechanisms inherent in the construction of Eurasian integration. I addressed some of SPIEF's foremost discussions and round tables here.

In Moscow, Putin and Xi signed two joint statements - whose key concepts, crucially, are "comprehensive partnership", "strategic interaction" and "global strategic stability."

In his St. Petersburg speech, Xi outlined the "comprehensive strategic partnership". He stressed that China and Russia were both committed to green, low carbon sustainable development. He linked the expansion of BRI as "consistent with the UN agenda of sustainable development" and praised the interconnection of BRI projects with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). He emphasized how all that was consistent with Putin's idea of a Great Eurasian Partnership. He praised the "synergetic effect" of BRI linked to South-South cooperation. And crucially, Xi stressed that China "won't seek development to the expense of environment"; China "will implement the Paris climate agreement"; and China is "ready to share 5G technology with all partners" on the way towards a pivotal change in the model of economic growth.

So what about Cold War 2.0?

It was obvious this was slowly brewing for the past five to six years. Now the deal is in the open. The Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership is thriving; not as an allied treaty, but as a consistent road map towards Eurasia integration and the consolidation of the multipolar world.

Unipolarism - via its demonization matrix - had first accelerated Russia's pivot to Asia. Now, the U.S.-driven trade war has facilitated the consolidation of Russia as China's top strategic partner.

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs better get ready to dismiss virtually everyday statementscoming, for instance, from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, when he alleges that Moscow aims to use non-strategic nuclear weapons in the European theater. It's part of a non-stop process - now in high gear - of manufacturing hysteria by frightening NATO allies with the Russian "threat."

Moscow better get ready to dodge and counteract reams of reports such as the latest from the RAND corporation, which outlines - what else? - Cold War 2.0 against Russia.

In 2014, Russia did not react to sanctions imposed by Washington. Then, it would have sufficed to merely brandish the threat of default on $700 billion in external debt. That would have killed the sanctions.

Now, there's ample debate inside Russian intelligence circles on what to do in case Moscow faces the prospect of being cut off the CHIPS-SWIFT financial clearing system.


A 1936 map of Eurasia.

With few illusions about what may pass at the G20 in Osaka later this month, in terms of a breakthrough in U.S.-Russia relations, intel sources told me Rosneft's CEO Igor Sechin is prepared to send a more "realistic" message— if push eventually comes to shove.

His message to the EU, in this case, would be to cut them off, and link with China for good. That way, Russian oil would be completely redirected from the EU to China, making the EU completely dependent on the Strait of Hormuz.

Beijing for its part seems to have finally absorbed that the current Trump administration offensive is not a mere trade war, but a full fledged attack on its economic miracle, including a concerted drive to cut China off from large swathes of the world economy.

The war on Huawei - the Rosebud of China's 5G supremacy - has been identified as an attack on the dragon's head. The attack on Huawei means an attack not only on tech, mega-hub Shenzhen, but the whole Pearl River Delta: a $3 trillion yuan ecosystem, which supplies the nuts and bolts of the Chinese supply chain for high-tech manufacturers.

Enter the Golden Ring

Neither China's technological rise, nor Russia's unmatched hypersonic know-how have caused America's structural malaise. If there are answers they should come from the Exceptionalist elites.

The problem for the U.S. is the emergence of a formidable peer competitor in Eurasia - and worse still, a strategic partnership. It has thrown these elites into Supreme Paranoia mode, which is holding the whole world hostage.

By contrast, the concept of the Golden Ring of Multipolar Great Powers has been floated, by which Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China might provide a "stability belt" along the South Asia Rimland.

I have discussed variations of this idea with Russian, Iranian, Pakistani and Turkish analysts - but it sounds like wishful thinking. Admittedly all these nations would welcome establishing the Golden Ring; but no one knows which way Modi's India would lean - intoxicated as it is with dreams of Big Power status as the crux of America's "Indo-Pacific" concoction.

It might be more realistic to assume that if Washington does not go to war with Iran - because Pentagon gaming has established this would be a nightmare - all options are on the table ranging from the South China Sea to the larger Indo-Pacific.

The Deep State will not flinch to unleash concentric havoc on the periphery of both Russia and China and then try to advance to destabilize the heartland from the inside. The Russia-China strategic partnership has generated a sore wound: it hurts - so bad - to be a Eurasia outsider.

(c) 2019 Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan." He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com




The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Joe Heller ~~~








To End On A Happy Note-





Have You Seen This-






Parting Shots-





Some Final Thoughts About Mueller
By Will Durst

Breaking his two-year vow of silence, special counsel, professional Boy Scout and part time monk Robert S. Mueller III took time from his busy schedule of transitioning to the public sector and spoke to the country for almost ten whole minutes. And we were honored.

Part of the thrill was hear what the man sounds like, as this was the first time he's spoken to the press since his appointment. Too bad we can't say the same thing about the major subject of his investigation.

It's pretty obvious the hastily arranged press conference was designed to keep Democrats from calling Mueller to testify on Capital Hill about his investigation. And the fact that Attorney General William Barr was out of town probably didn't hurt.

Mueller knows most of America would rather dive into a piranha tank wearing a raw meat bathing suit than slog through the 448 pages of his investigative gobbledy-gook, so he grasped this opportunity to give the world the Reader's Digest Condensed Version, highlighting the sticky bits.

He maintains the report is his testimony and there is nothing else to add, at all, ever. In other words, he asks the questions pard'ner, he don't answer them. Which is fine, because Bob Mueller is not the most colorful speaker in the world. The man is so dry, when he talks, little puffs of dust fly out of his mouth.

It was never a fair fight. Robert Mueller is the ultimate 'by the book' guy who believes in playing by the rules. Whereas Donald Trump believes the rules are meant to be broken and has never read a book.

A particular phrase from the report was emphasized: "If we had confidence the president didn't commit a crime we would have said so." Boom. The essence of the whole thing condensed to a single line. Too complicated for you? He said if they thought the president was innocent, they would have said so. But they didn't say so. Ergo...

He also said Donald Trump's conduct warrants an investigation, which he wasn't able to do, because of a justice department policy that prohibits charging a sitting president with a crime. If he could have, he would have, but he couldn't, so he didn't. There you go Congress. No pressure.

They're still deciding whether to subpoena Mueller to testify in front of Congress, but the former FBI Director's desire to sit in front of a doubly hostile crowd of half angry Democrats and half angry Trumpsters appears to be between zero and you-got-to-be-freaking-kidding.

Mueller doesn't want to testify. The attorney general refuses to co-operate. Nobody from the administration is turning over requested documents. The White House is expanding executive privilege to pizza delivery orders. Congressional Democrats must be developing a complex.

Responding to the sideshow, the president tweeted

"I had nothing to do with the Russians helping me win the election." Oops. Then he said that wasn't what he meant and people are picking on his every word. Well, yeah. You're the guy in charge. Every word matters.

Perhaps this is just one more reason why, traditionally, the presidency has not been an entry-level position.

(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: willdurst.com




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The Gross National Debt


The Animal Rescue Site






















Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 24 (c) 06/14/2019


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