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In This Edition


Juan Cole counts, "Top 5 Trump Officials Who Resigned Because Of Shocking Scandals."

Eric Alterman returns with, "If Jeffrey Epstein Faces Justice, It'll Be Thanks To A Local Newspaper."

Margaret Kimberley watches, "The Trump and Pelosi Lovefest."

Michael Winship recalls, "What I Saw at the (American) Revolution."

Jim Hightower concludes, "We Have A President Who's Clearly Out Of His Mind."

John Nichols finds, "Gerrymandering Empowers Obstructionists Like Robin Vos And Scott Fitzgerald."

James Donahue sees, "An Abandoned Nation Falling Apart."

William Rivers Pitt concludes, "Voters Don't Want Democrats To Be Moderates. Pelosi Should Take The Hint."

David Suzuki reminds us that, "Climate Protection Is Not A Partisan Issue."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Trump Made The Bad Blood Between Democrats Look Like Lemonade."

David Swanson remembers, "The Obama Wars."

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich finds, "America's Real Divide Isn't Left vs. Right. It's Democracy vs. Oligarchy."

Thom Hartmann returns with a must read, "How A Trojan Horse Project To Rewrite Our Constitution Could Actually Happen If Trump Wins In 2020."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "U.K. Unable To Find Replacement Ambassador Who Does Not Think Trump Is An Idiot," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Lying Donald Calls His Government, 'a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.'"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mike Keefe, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Brian McFadden, Tom Tomorrow, Chip Somodevilla, Ken Stark, Win McNamee, Timothy A. Clary, Michael Nigro, Mandel Ngan, Luke Dray, C. Ryan, Markus Spiske, NurPhoto, The Miami Herald, 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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Lying Donald Calls His Government, 'a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.'
By Ernest Stewart

"It's kinda funny. They're from the U.S., so you're actually describing your own government. And for once, I agree with you. 'A complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept.'" ~~~ Riley Mich

"Now that we have essentially found high rates of sliding everywhere we have looked on the ice sheet, even in the least-likely locations, like ours, we know that ice can be moved around very efficiently. Thus, the rates of thickening and thinning are likely to occur more rapidly than previously thought." ~~~ Nathan Maier

"I look forward to continuing to hear what Donald Trump has to say about his vision for this country." ~~~ Cory Gardner

"Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more." ~~~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.



You got to hand it to Lying Donald he'll stick his foot in his mouth at a drop of a hat and think by doing so he is clever, he's not clever, he's just a racist. You may recall of the ladies mentioned, i.e., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts only Ms. Omar, who is from Somalia, was born outside the United States. The other three we born in America. Ergo he must have been talking about his own administration! Here's Lying Donalds own words:


And without a doubt, three of the ladies came from a country, whose government is "a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world." Yes, that succinctly describes America under Lying Donald, does it not, America?

In Other News

According to a new study, Greenland's ice sheet is sliding way more than previously thought.

This means that the ice sheet can change faster in a warming climate, a group of researchers reported July 10 in the journal Science Advances. "Understanding ice flow is quite important to predicting future melt from Greenland," said Nathan Maier the study lead author, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wyoming. Ice flows bring ice from the cold interior regions of the Greenland ice sheet to its warmer edges, where the ice melts.

Ice flow happens through two different processes: the sliding of ice across the bed and deformation, which turns the ice into a kind of "flowing molasses," Maier said. Understanding the relative scale of these two different types of movement helps scientists determine how much ice will move to high-melt areas along edges of the ice sheet.

Maier and his team drilled boreholes into the ice using a large drill. They also installed 212 tilt sensors, which measure the amount of deformation and sliding. The researchers took measurements of ice movement from 2014 to 2016, finding that the Greenland Ice Sheet is sliding really, really fast over the underlying bedrock.

"This is quite surprising as these regions are thought to have much slower sliding velocities than regions that are resting on slippery mud," Maier told Live Science. "Even more surprising is that we recorded this behavior during winter, when there is no surface melt, which can further lubricate the bed and increase the rate of sliding."

What this means is that "even over these relatively boring, slow-moving regions of the ice sheet resting on rock, ice can be rapidly brought down to the high-melt zones," he added. The researchers even found that Greenland's main continental ice sheet slides more than parts of the incredibly fast-moving glaciers on the periphery, such as Jakobshavn in west Greenland.

Past work showed that global warming has changed ice motion along the ice sheet's edges, resulting in more thickening or thinning, which in turn causes changes in surface melt.

What this means is when Greenland loses it's ice sheet, costal cities like New York City and Miami will be under water. Now might be a real goods time to get rid of your ocean properties and move to the mountains!

And Finally

This week's "Vidkun Quisling Award" winner is US senator Cory Gardner (R/CO). Gary really hates leftist but what he can't stand at all are American Muslims! Gary said:

"I'm talking about the belief system called Islam. It's true we all know Muslims who are likable neighbors or capable coworkers, deeply decent patriotic Americans who humbly love Allah. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about this absolutist totalitarian world view and political doctrine that demands everyone - you and me included - ultimately submit or die."

Then Gardner made it clear that he did not believe devout Muslims could coexist or be good Americans. "I just know this: the simplistic approach of simply granting unconditional 'freedom of religion' to a religion that doesn't believe in freedom - and never doubt me, Islam does not - that approach is civilizational suicide, friends."

While he said that he was not advocating for "a witch hunt or persecution or some kind of ban," he then said that America's current acceptance of faithful Muslims amounted to a "suicide pact."

"Now some of you may disagree with me. That's your prerogative in a free society," he continued. "Some speakers this weekend will disagree with me. They may tell you that a good and faithful Muslim can also be a good and faithful American. I'm sorry but I just don't see how. Not when one holds Sharia law supreme - the Quran, the command they think they've received from above to dominate the globe - and the other holds the Constitution supreme. Something has to give. America is in a war to the death, and I don't think it's going very well."

He then proclaimed that America "can only win that battle if we summon the courage to name our enemies: two of them. The name of one is Marx and the name of the other is Mohammed." I wonder what he has against Groucho Marx, don't you?

Oh and did I mention Gary said this at the "Defending Religious Freedom and America's First Amendment," conference. Imagine that!

Keepin' On

As you may have noticed that a couple of regulars are missing from this week's magazine, i.e., Heather Digby Parton and Chris Hedges are gone. They are first of many that will be leaving as time goes by.

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

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

*****


05-07-1944 ~ 07-12-2019
Thanks for the good fight!



12-11-1953 ~ 07-13-2019
Thanks for the film!




*****

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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.

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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.




Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta listens to President DonaldTrump at the White House May 2, 2018 in Washington, D.C.



Top 5 Trump Officials Who Resigned Because Of Shocking Scandals
By Juan Cole

The resignation of Trump's Labor secretary, Alex Acosta, is only the most recent in a string of such scandals for Trump. In fact, what with all the things Trump himself has done plus those around him, his is surely the most scandal-ridden presidency in history. Let us just review the record, because it gets hard to remember them all after a while.

1. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta resigned because when he was a South Florida federal prosecutor, he gave accused pedophile and Trump party-buddy Jeffrey Epstein an incredibly soft plea deal in 2008. Also a scandal: he was no friend of labor.

2. Scott Pruitt is former secretary of the EPA (which in the age of Trump does not stand for Environmental Protection Agency but for Environmental Protection Abolition). He accepted a $50 a night sweet condo deal from an oil and gas lobbyist for his pied-a-terre when he was occasionally in DC, and charged taxpayers $4.8 million for his security detail and made it a point always to fly first class on the taxpayer dime, amid other financial irregularities too numerous to mention. Oh, and the real scandal was that he destroyed the environment, including allowing the pesticide chlorpyrifos, even small amounts of which can damage babies' brains.

3. Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is under scrutiny for a Montana land deal and fully 17 other possibly illegal activities while in office. Oh, and he also helped destroy the environment.

4. Nominee to be secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan, withdrew over a 2010 domestic abuse investigation launched by the FBI. But the real scandal was that Shanahan had been a career high executive of Boeing and so would have been running the US government agency that buys all those shiny weapons Boeing produces.

5. Not a cabinet secretary, but former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had to resign over repeated calls before Trump was sworn in to the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, which he lied about. But Flynn's security company also developed a harebrained scheme to kidnap Turkish religious figure Fethullah Gulen, who was granted asylum in the US in 1998, and render him back to Turkey. Flynn may also have been an agent of Turkish influence in Ankara's attempt to help elect Trump and defeat Hillary Clinton.

There is so much more, I just have to go to bed sometime and this subject of Trump administration scandals is fit for a multi-volume book set, not a little blog entry.

And we haven't even gotten into Trump himself.

(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.




Jeffrey Epstein is facing sex trafficking charges, largely because of the investigative work of Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown.



If Jeffrey Epstein Faces Justice, It'll Be Thanks To A Local Newspaper
The decline of regional news will lead to a golden age of corruption.
By Eric Alterman

What are the journalistic lessons of the Jeffrey Epstein saga so far?

The first is undoubtedly the importance of local and regional newspapers; and conversely, how foolish we are to watch helplessly as they shrivel and die.

The hero of this unhappy saga, aside from the brave women who came forward with their stories of abuse and intimidation, is the Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown, who stuck with this story for two years, winning the confidence of the women and exposing the shocking sweetheart deal that Epstein's lawyers cut with then-federal prosecutor Alex Acosta as well as the attempt by the office of Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., to reduce Epstein's sex-offender status.

Brown's doggedness is even more impressive for its relative rarity. I've written here recently about the dangers our democracy faces from the hollowing out of almost every local newspaper in America. Not even Miami, a big, cosmopolitan, coastal city, is immune to this trend. Its parent company, McClatchy, laid off 425 people in 2008-09 alone. Everybody else took pay cuts. Since then, according to a 2018 Columbia Journalism Review profile, the paper has lost many senior reporters and editors not only to The New York Times and The Washington Post as has always been the case, but also to small startups, nonprofits, and the ever-lurking PR firms. Massive increases in web traffic will never make up for lost print advertising and paper subscriptions, and the result is the disappearance of the thing that makes the paper valuable in the first place: news.

Since the layoffs, the Herald has moved toward what it terms an "audience engagement" model, meaning it is trying to figure out what people want to read and then allow that agenda to drive its articles. That might explain why the (remaining) newsroom erupted in cheers when Brown's Epstein expose displaced a story about farts on its "most read" standings. Human-interest stories have always been part of the menu of any news publication, but the danger today is that clickbait strangles the news people need to know. CJR reports that a journalist named Lance Dixon left that paper last year after having been assigned to cover local government in North Miami and Coral Gables, which have little in common and are nowhere near one each other. Following his departure, his beat was dropped, and a single Herald reporter was assigned responsibility for 30 towns and cities. Imagine how much local news those residents are getting. And perhaps more significantly, imagine how much fun it must be to be a corrupt official in one of those places without a watchdog keeping an eye on the people's tax money.

According to the Pew Research Center, America's newspapers lost 47 percent of newsroom employees between 2008 and 2018 and now Bloomberg's Gerry Smith tells us that the level of attrition in the news business regardless of platform had its worst quarter since 2009 (with a booming economy and stock market, it must be added). While the loss of Mad magazine has inspired most of the tears among baby boomers recently, the loss of The Vindicator-Youngstown, Ohio's 150-year-old newspaper-ought to be the real wake-up call. It served a metro area of more than half a million people, making it the largest in the country to lose its only daily paper. And it's not like it's the owner's fault. They've lost money for 20 of the past 22 years and received no interest from potential buyers. The economics are just not there for most newspapers, and we are about to enter a golden age of corporate, personal, and political corruption as a result.

Ironically, on a day when the Times was playing catch-up on the Epstein story, it ran another inside the paper on the way the Chinese Communist Party has succeeded in expanding its own opportunities for corruption by getting rid of nettlesome news as well. The Chinese press is now said to be "almost entirely devoid of critical reporting" today, owing to the fact that "under President Xi Jinping, such journalists have all but disappeared, as the authorities have harassed and imprisoned dozens of reporters and as news outlets have cut back on in-depth reporting." What the Chinese accomplish through Communist repression, America achieves through capitalist indifference.

A second significant lesson of the Epstein story are its revelations about how wealthy and well-connected people use the power of their money and mutual associations to control their media coverage. Why did Graydon Carter, then editor of Vanity Fair, take the accusations of molestation out of a profile in 2002? Was it really, as he says, because it hadn't been nailed down? Why did Michael Wolff make an "agreement that all fact questions would go through Epstein and only Epstein," for a New York magazine piece? And why is the lawyer Alan Dershowitz still fighting for his "brilliant" and "irreverent" friend and client, going so far as to write a public letter to the Pulitzer Committee calling the Miami Herald series "fake news and shoddy journalism?" It does make one wonder if Epstein's true power lays in his ability to implicate or reward other rich or influential people.

But it also lays bare a common problem in reporting on wealthy, well-connected, and heavily lawyered people. They can threaten expensive lawsuits, engender damaging personal and political attacks, and undermine relationships with funders or advertisers. All this can make publishing unflattering stories simply not worth the trouble. After all, it didn't cost Vanity Fair or New York anything to not publish stories that Epstein was an alleged child rapist. But it could have cost them plenty if they had. (Just ask all the reporters who tried to chase down the Harvey Weinstein story for years before it finally surfaced.)

The fact that Brown had to break through so much bullshit and that we are only now learning just how many important people and institutions kowtowed to this monster is perhaps the most glaring (and revolting) evidence we've seen so far that, as Senator Elizabeth Warren puts it, "the system is rigged." And by allowing local newspapers to die of a combination of starvation and inattention, we invite even more egregious corruption in the future.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly implied that Epstein's lawyers struck a deal with the office of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. The district attorney's office attempted to reduce Epstein's sex-offender status in court but did not strike an agreement with his lawyers. A previous version of this article also incorrectly stated that Alexander Acosta was a judge when he agreed to a deal with Epstein's lawyers. He was the US attorney prosecuting the case.

(c) 2019 Eric Alterman is Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism, Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He is also the "Liberal Media" columnist for The Nation, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, and the Nation Institute and the World Policy Institute in New York, as well as former columnist for The Daily Beast, The Forward, Moment, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, the Sunday Express (London), etc. Alterman is the author of 10 books, including the national bestseller What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News. He has been called "the most honest and incisive media critic writing today" in the National Catholic Reporter and author of "the smartest and funniest political journal out there" in The San Francisco Chronicle. A winner of the George Orwell Prize, the Stephen Crane Literary Award, and the Mirror Award for media criticism, he has previously taught at Columbia and NYU and has been a Hoover Institution Media Fellow at Stanford University. Alterman received his PhD in American history from Stanford, his MA in international relations at Yale, and his BA from Cornell. He lives with his family in Manhattan, where he is currently at work on a book about the history of the Israel/Palestine debate in the United States for Basic Books. More information is available at ericalterman.com.







The Trump and Pelosi Lovefest
By Margaret Kimberley

Trump and Pelosi are birds of a feather when it comes to beating up on dissident women of color.

In 2007 this columnist declared that Nancy Pelosi is our enemy. She was the new Speaker of the House after Democrats emerged victorious in the 2006 elections. But they didn't oppose George W. Bush and the Republicans the way their voters wanted them to. Little has changed since that time. Democrats mobilize in order to defeat the Republicans but still end up with snake in the grass leadership like Pelosi.

Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar dissented and voted against the latest compromise with Republicans to fund Trump's immigration enforcement. Immigration is supposed to be a litmus test issue which sharply differentiates Democrats from Republicans. But that is not how the game is really played.

Pelosi trashed her members in an interview with the New York Times. "All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn't have any following. They're four people and that's how many votes they got." Like a true gangster Pelosi conducted the beatdown in public.

When Ocasio-Cortez truthfully stated that the remarks were disrespectful and showed a pattern of attacking women of color, Pelosi, the corporate media, Democratic party propagandists, and lap dog Congressional Black Congress (CBC) members all sprang into action. Gregory Meeks joined in ganging up on his colleagues and threatened Ocasio-Cortez with a primary challenge. Kamala Harris weighed in with a seal of approval for Miss Nancy.

The bottom feeders' attack was supported by none other than Donald Trump. "Cortez should treat Nancy Pelosi with respect. She should not be doing what she's doing. She is not a racist," said the man with very questionable credibility on the subject.

Trump knows that Pelosi is his friend. She is in no way part of an opposition to his administration. She is the rainmaker for the Democratic Party and the wielder of discipline against progressives. The two tasks are linked, of course. The very wealthy speaker brings in the cash from her equally wealthy friends. They give with the expectation that nothing even vaguely resembling progressive policy will ever see the light of day.

That is why she took the time to disparage the four members. If she doesn't, others might get the idea that they too can show a little bravery and the entire rotten enterprise would be at risk. Independent minded members are not what Pelosi wants to see.

Trump then helped Pelosi with a racist rant against the progressives. He used everything from love it or leave it, to go back to your shithole country, when only Omar is foreign born, and exhibited the full gamut of race baiting. Pelosi only issued a mild rebuke about xenophobia. Trump's remarks let Nancy Pelosi off the hook and protected the Democratic Party enforcer. The Democrats have their theatrics and Trump has his. Pelosi probably rose in his estimation when she dismissed her brown skinned caucus members.

Of course Trump's rant was vigorously attacked as it should have been. But the offended progressives didn't question Pelosi, the person responsible for the ugly episode. Anyone paying attention could see the fake outrage in action. Unnamed Democratic Party sources suddenly claimed to have evidence that the woman popularly known as AOC is a drag on the party and will doom Democrats to defeat.

Obama hatchet man David Axelrod took to twitter, a la Trump, to complain about the Democrats who have gotten out of line. "With his deliberate, racist outburst, @realDonaldTrump wants to raise the profile of his targets, drive Dems to defend them and make them emblematic of the entire party. It's a cold, hard strategy."

Why shouldn't Democrats defend their members? What's wrong with people who are slightly progressive being emblematic of the party? The questions are rhetorical. All of the Democratic Party leadership are committed to shutting down anyone who strays from the fold. Their attacks are worse than Trump's. He is a known race baiting provocateur but the Democrats pretend to be the party of inclusion yet they always end up firmly in the right wing.

Anyone who is outraged by Trump's appeal to the racist hordes ought to extend their anger to Nancy Pelosi as well. She and Trump are birds of a feather. She hides her animous a bit better but not well enough that perceptive people can't see how the duopoly works.

(c) 2019 Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com.




President George Washington as a pilot.



What I Saw at the (American) Revolution
The founders would say Trump mangles the Constitution even worse than he does the English language
By Michael Winship

In September 1993, Bill Clinton came to Congress to deliver an address on health care reform. But the wrong speech was in the teleprompter. This would have been an epic calamity for the current occupant of the executive mansion but President Clinton adroitly ad-libbed and remained on topic for some ten minutes while the problem was fixed.

I knew the operator who was running the prompter that night. I worked with him at the White House on several occasions during Clinton's first term-a good guy and a consummate professional. Nevertheless, he never lived down that momentary gaffe.

Still, I'm sure he would rather have that as the blot in his copybook than be the person with the responsibility of trying to harness mulish Donald Trump and make him read the copy that rolls before his eyes whenever the president makes a prepared speech.

For one, Trump's not very good at it-his delivery has all the flair of a company rep reading aloud Google's Terms of Service.

What's more, he suddenly tries to ad-lib or frequently mangles copy as he reads and tries to recover by coming up with a word or words that sound vaguely similar. He then plummets into a linguistic abyss of non-sequiturs that he sometimes blames on the machine malfunctioning.

That was the excuse after his Fourth of July extravaganza of self-love, during which he proclaimed, according to The Washington Post transcript, "Our army manned the [unclear], it [unclear] the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do." Trump's dog-ate-my-homework explanation: "I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter, so it's not that, but I knew the speech very well, so I was able to do it without a teleprompter. But the teleprompter did go out. And it was actually hard to look at anyway because there was rain all over it." Uh-huh.

Those supposed 18th century airports set off a wave of social media hilarity, including a #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories metadata tag that inspired such brilliance as "Dearest Martha, please find enclosed a tracking number for my lost luggage at Philadelphia. It shall arrive to Mount Vernon via carriage in 21-25 days. Also enclosed is a receipt for the cost of parking my horse at Dulles for the weekend."

You know and I know there were no airports in 1776-the carriage lobby actively fought against them and made large campaign contributions to John Adams -but just in case, this week I paid a visit to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. I could not find a shred of evidence corroborating Trump's airport claims.

In truth, I was there because I'm a confessed history wonk and have wanted to visit the new museum since it opened two years ago. With exhibits spread across two floors and 16,000 square feet, they've done an excellent job explaining the causes and events of the revolution, from the traditional familiar stories to current scholarship. There are enough period rifles and muskets in the joint, along with their requisite accessories, that it could be called the National Museum of the Powder Horn, but turn a corner and there's a pair of baby shoes made from a British soldier's redcoat or a replica of the deck of an American privateer's sloop.

And throughout, reminders that this is a nation founded in protest, that it was created in a crucible of Enlightenment fervor and a knowledge of civilizations past, that it was built on a bedrock of ideals that then, as now, has not always been lived up to in real life.

The museum has done a fair job of inclusion; there are mentions of women's role in the fight and the hypocrisy of those founders who decried their own enslavement by the crown but themselves kept others bound in servitude. Slaves pledged their loyalty to the side they hoped would set them free and for many that meant the British.

The same goes for the Native American population; much is made of the divide within six nations of the Iroquois confederacy; the Oneida and Tuscarora people splitting with their brethren and siding with the revolutionaries, while the others aligned with the British. The Oneida contributed millions to the museum's construction, so I was curious that there was no mention of General John Sullivan, who on George Washington's orders in 1779, brought death and destruction to the native villages of those who opposed the independent colonies. History needs to be as discomfiting as it is illuminating.

As the fighting ended, physician and patriot Benjamin Rush wrote, "The American war is over: but this is far from being the case with the American Revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed." Wandering the museum, ever aware of our current "leadership" and its actions, his words were a reminder that not only is the revolution unending, it remains highly uncertain these days whether our noble experiment won't collapse in tragedy and downfall.

A short walk away in Philadelphia, near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, there's a sort of companion to the Museum of the American Revolution -the National Constitution Center. Opened in 2003, this, too, is a stirring tribute to the founders, in this case honoring the endurance of the United States Constitution. It's filled with documents and artifacts illustrating the constitutional crises that have wracked the republic since its beginning, some redounding to our credit, others to our dishonor and shame.

Currently, there's an exhibit called "Civil War and Reconstruction." Its displays, including a copy of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, a pike bought by abolitionist John Brown for the raid on Harpers Ferry and a Klansman's hood, also are reminders that at least when it comes to where we are today, we've sort of been here before. We know how extreme, how low we can go in our abuse of others and until recently had hoped it would never happen again.

So much for hope. For anyone who cares about the country, its past, present and future, the way that Donald Trump bulldozes our constitution, except when it suits his purposes, his refusal to accept the balance of powers-interpreting Article II to mean he can do whatever he wants -is a despicable abuse of democracy and basic human decency.

The week has seen planned ICE raids, more evidence of horrific inhumane conditions in immigrant detention centers and the playing out of Trump's unconstitutional ploy to jam a citizenship question into the 2020 census, an attempt that didn't succeed but not for lack of trying-and accompanied, of course, by a Trumpian refusal to admit failure.

He launches a racist tweet attack on members of Congress who come from immigrant families and tells them to go back where they came from. The hosts of Fox & Friends make jokes about them. These immigrants, the people Abraham Lincoln described as "the electric cord" of the Declaration of Independence, who no matter their nation of origin, link "the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world."

And Trump continues to block all attempts to get the bottom of his skullduggery while favoring the wealthy, including himself and his family, at the expense of country.

"There never was a democracy yet that did not end in suicide," John Adams warned. Watching this president and his enablers mangle the Constitution far worse than he mangles the English language is an exhausting and soul-wrenching experience.

Walking through the Museum of the American Revolution and the National Constitution Center should be a celebration of liberty, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was more like a eulogy. November 2020 can't come soon enough.

(c) 2019 Michael Winship is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow for Common Dreams. Previously, he was the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com, a past senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos and former president of the Writers Guild of America East. Follow him on twitter:@MichaelWinship




It's one thing to have a president who thinks "Out of sight; out of mind" should
be an actual public policy. It's another thing to have a president who's clearly out of his mind.




We Have A President Who's Clearly Out Of His Mind
By Jim Hightower

Where's Shakespeare when we need him? Only the Bard of Avon could do literary justice to the tortured madness of Donald Trump, who fluctuates between petulant self-pity and weird self-praise.

His brags are especially weird because they usually involve achievements he hasn't made. It's as though his saying something makes it true - even though everyone except his most naive devotees can clearly see that he's either hallucinating or lying. In June, for example, at a rally launching his reelection campaign, he retrumpeted an old campaign promise to "drain the swamp," assuring the adoring crowd that "that's exactly what we're doing right now." Trump gilded the lie with this beauty: "We stared down the unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests."

In fact, he brought that entire unholy alliance directly into the White House, the cabinet and every agency to create a corrupt government of, by and for corporate plunderers. At least 230 corporate lobbyists have come inside the Trump Inc. administration. He also opened a luxury hotel right in the center of the swamp, just four blocks from the White House, so he and his family can extract high-dollar hotel payments from special-interest lobbyists wanting favors from the Trump regime of swamp critters.

But wait ... didn't The Donald make his political hires sign an ethics pledge agreeing not to lobby the agencies where they work until five years after they leave? Yes, but remember, Trump is a master at the Art of the Loophole, and his "pledge" provides ample room for an invasion of weasels, including an exception allowing former officials to lobby on agency rule-making. Do they think we have sucker wrappers around our heads? Rule-making is what agencies do! So, this gaping loophole frees Trump officials to sell their insider influence to corporate interests wanting to rig the rules against you and me.

At Trump's vainglorious campaign rally, he also declared that "nobody has done what we have done in 2 1/2 years." Sadly, that's the truest thing he's said.

News Alert! News Alert! This just in: Donald Trump has discovered homelessness in America.

News Update! News Update! Donald Trump says he has the solution to homelessness in America, points out that he's already ended homelessness in Washington, D.C.

Once again, we can thank Fox News for its in-depth reporting, going deep into the furrows of Trump's mind to dig out this startling presidential insight and achievement.

In a June interview by Fox TV sparklie Tucker Carlson, the president of the United States articulated his concern about so many Americans' now living on the streets. Homelessness is "a phenomenon that started two years ago," Trump explained to the clueless Carlson, calling the problem "sad." Our billionaire president showed his usual grasp of history and social awareness by adding, "We never had this in our lives before in this country."

Oddly, the Fox Man let this go without questioning it. Maybe he was dazzled by Trump's next observation, analyzing why people live in the street: "Perhaps they like living that way," posited our presidential son of privilege.

Whatever. The Donald proceeded to declare that it's intolerable to have such homelessness in our rich country - not because so many poor people are suffering, but because businesspeople and shoppers face the indignity of having to walk past the homeless to get to their offices, banks, cafes, etc. As Tucker beamed credulously, Trump proceeded to offer his solution: simply outlaw those people from cluttering our sidewalks and streets. Then, The Donald royally declared that he "may intercede ... to get that whole thing cleaned up."

Indeed, he claims he's tidied up homelessness before: "I had a situation when I first became president. We had certain areas of Washington, D.C, where (homelessness) was starting to happen. I ended it very quickly. I said, 'You can't do that.'" After all, Trump explained to the obtuse Fox interviewer, "When you have leaders of the world coming to see the president ... they can't be looking at that."

It's one thing to have a president who thinks "Out of sight; out of mind" should be an actual public policy. It's another thing to have a president who's clearly out of his mind.

(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.








Gerrymandering Empowers Obstructionists Like Robin Vos And Scott Fitzgerald
By John Nichols

There is no question that the budget process in Wisconsin needs to be reformed. It doesn't work, and it has not worked for a long time. The question of how to reform it is a more complicated one.

This year, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers faced unprecedented obstruction from legislative Republicans. Only because he is a skilled administrator, and a genuinely reasonable man, was Evers able to make the process work. He did this through a combination of smart framing, personal flexibility and savvy use of his powerful veto pin.

Evers came out of the gate with a budget that reflected the values he highlighted during the 2018 campaign, at the conclusion of which he defeated Republican Gov. Scott Walker. That was a savvy move, as Evers invited Wisconsinites to see his "People's Budget" as what it was: the codification of the agenda that voters chose last November. That caused Republican legislative leaders to blink on a few issues. So the budget they sent Evers, while generally unsatisfactory, was better than the budget that would have been produced under Walker.

The Republicans were obnoxious in their approach, however, and they seemed at every turn to want to provoke a fight with Evers. The governor refused to take the bait, however. While he could have vetoed the entire budget, thus provoking a standoff, Evers instead decided to work off the template he had been given. While he was appropriately miffed by what he referred to as "the unfortunate lack of interest by some Republicans in the Legislature to work together and engage in constructive, bipartisan dialogue," the governor recognized that he was elected to "put politics aside to get things done."

That was a mature response that distinguished Evers from his partisan rivals. But it was not a surrender. Because Wisconsin has what is frequently described as the most powerful gubernatorial veto pen in the nation, Evers was able to make dramatic improvements in the budget.

While Evers did not get his full "People's Budget," he correctly observed, "Wisconsin made an important down payment on that promise by signing a new budget that includes the most substantial general school aid increase in a decade, investments in special education, increased revenue to fix our roads, and critical investments in broadband expansion, Wisconsin Shares, child welfare, rural hospitals, and transit, among other pressing priorities."

Now that the 2019-21 biennial budget has been signed into law, we can reflect on how the budget process might be improved. The problem is that this reflection will, necessarily, be seen through a partisan lens.

Republicans like Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who defended executive authority when Walker was governor, now complain that Evers is not respecting legislative intent. Democrats, who once argued that limits should be placed on the veto power, are now thrilled that Evers is wielding it.

There are sound arguments to be made for rethinking how the veto power is constructed and allotted. There are equally sound arguments to be made for reforming the way in which the legislative Joint Finance Committee operates. But these process issues are not the most serious concerns.

The biggest problem is the gerrymandering of the Legislature, which is now so severe that legislators are less interested in respecting the will of the people than at any time in Wisconsin history. Consider, for example, that even though 70 percent of Wisconsinites approve of Medicaid expansion and it would provide better health care for thousands, Republicans removed it from Evers' budget.

Last November, Wisconsinites elected Democrats to every statewide post and gave 53 percent of their votes to Democrats seeking Assembly seats. Because the Assembly is gerrymandered, however, Republicans occupy 63 of 99 seats in the chamber. And now, unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has supported such unfairness by ruling that federal courts must butt out when it comes to partisan gerrymandering.

Because they are so radically delinked from the reality of our politics, Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald denied that reality. Rather than recognize the 2018 results as a call for change, they set out to disempower Evers and then tried to hijack the budget process.

Evers outwitted them, thanks in no small measure to his own popularity and his veto pen. But the governor bemoaned the fact that "this budget that I have now signed is, in many ways, insufficient."

"This is, in large part, due to the unfortunate lack of interest by some Republicans in the Legislature to work together and engage in constructive, bipartisan dialogue, and instead devoting far too much time to huffing and puffing," added the governor.

Evers suggested that "the people of our state would have been better off in this budget if we could have found more common ground, even if it meant each of us not getting everything we wanted." And he was, of course, correct.

But the desire for common ground is not going to mean much if Vos and Fitzgerald lead caucuses that are unconcerned with November election results. As it now stands, the pressure on these legislative leaders comes from out-of-state special interests and right-wing billionaires, who have the capacity to stir up primary challenges to Republicans who might seek common ground.

Evers is not naive when he argues that Wisconsinites want a more cooperative and conscientious budget process. He's absolutely right. But that cooperation and conscientiousness can only be achieved if Wisconsinites give Evers and the opponents of gerrymandering the power to address the corruption of our elections - and our governance - by politicians who are more interested in preserving their sordid little careers than in doing right by Wisconsin.

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








An Abandoned Nation Falling Apart
By James Donahue

When we left Michigan in 2004 many of the highways were filled with patched pot-holes and obviously falling into disrepair. Since then the condition of the roads apparently deteriorated even farther. The newly elected Democrat Governor Gretchen E. Whitmer campaigned on a promise that she would fix the roads if elected.

Voters elected Whitmer but rejected her request for a 45 cent gas tax increase to provide $2 billion in annual tax dollars to get the job done. The Michigan Senate later approved a 15 cent increase which will provide a less ambitious road improvement project.

The Michigan issue appears to explain what has been happening to the nation's infrastructure in recent years. Not only the roads but bridges, dams, power lines, water and sewer pipes and even the Internet are substandard throughout the country. This is an issue among many of the Democratic candidates hoping to unseat Republican Donald Trump in 2020 elections. More taxes are being levied but little is being spent maintaining the local infrastructure.

The latest "infrastructure report card" released by The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), in 2017, gave the nation a D+. The report assessed 16 major infrastructure categories which marked no change from an earlier report issued in 2013. The society estimated the cost of getting everything up to snuff by 2025 at $4.59 trillion.

When we speak of infrastructure we are referring to more than just roads. The nation's economy is maintained by a vast network of roads, bridges, railroads, sea ports, electric grids and the internet. We are also talking about dams, levees, bus systems, airports, water and sewer systems, schools, parks and even garbage disposal. And according to the experts who study such things, the nation's entire infrastructure, mostly constructed years ago when the population was not so demanding, is outdated, worn out and badly in need of repair.

Historian Henry Petroski in his book: The Road Taken: The History and Future of America's Infrastructure, wrote that the delays caused by traffic congestion alone costs the economy over $120 billion per year. Airports are choked and some studies note that delays and avoided trips caused by the poor state of the nation's airports costs the economy over $35 billion a year.

Fixing all of this is going to be a multi-trillion dollar enterprise that should be taking precedent over military and other high cost expenditures imposed by the Trump Administration. The ASCE estimates that the nation must spend some $4.5 trillion by 2025 just to improve the country's roads, bridges, dams and airports. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sets the price-tag at more than $800 billion just to shore up the roads and bridges.

The following is a breakdown of the problem as outlined in the ASCE and DOT reports: --Out of the 614,387 bridges in the United States more than 200,000 are over 50 years old. Many have begun to collapse at the cost of lives and property while others have been declared unsafe and are closed to traffic. The highways also are in deteriorating condition. There is a $836 billion backlog of unmet capital needed to fix the highways and bridges the DOT report states.

--Because of crowded highways and rising fuel costs public transit is being used more and more. This mode of transportation is severely underfunded, however. The DOT report estimated a cost of about $90 billion to fix this backlog.

--Congestion in airports has become a big problem. The DOT report notes that 24 of the 30 busiest airports in the US are hitting peak traffic volume at least one day each week. An estimated two million people come through the nation's airports every day.

--There are over 15,000 dams in need of repair and reinforcement.

--While the freight rail system is in good condition, but passenger rail service is hurting. The report states that nearly a fifth of all passenger rail lines are in "poor condition." The average age of Amtrak's rail service, including bridges and tunnels, are 111 years old.

--Century old water and sewer pipes are breaking. It is estimated that there are about two trillion gallons of treated water lost every year.

--Most of the electric transmission and distribution lines were built in the mid-20th Century and they have a life expectancy of about 50 years. Thus they are outdated. There is a current need to replace and update electric lines and power plants and improve the existing grid system that exists throughout the United States.

--We don't think about it much but there are an estimated 25,000 miles of inland waterways like the Mississippi River are also used for transporting goods. The infrastructure that supports these waterways (dams and locks) also are aging and causing delays.

--The levees along the banks of the great rivers and protecting cities like New Orleans on the Gulf of Mexico also are crumbling. Many are not adequate to handle the heavy flow of water from the current bank of storms and rising sea levels sweeping the nation.

--The nation's ports are desperately in need of improvements to accommodate a fleet of giant new 1.000-foot ships and larger receiving and delivering goods from overseas. These ports also need to be adapted to accommodate a greater number of ships, and dredged to deal with the draft of heavy laden vessels entering and leaving the harbor.

--The Internet, development of wireless service and cell phones have introduced new technologies that must be addressed.

--Local, state and national parks need repairs. They also contain roads, bridges, parking areas, trails and campsites that must be maintained and improved to accommodate more and more visitors.

--Schools and colleges also are demanding improvement. A study of these institutions reveals that at least a quarter of the buildings are in need of improvement or replacement.

--And lastly, the report states that there is a growing need for new wastewater treatment plants to accommodate the growing number of people crowding our cities. There are currently an estimated 15,000 such facilities operating in the United States, and there will be a need for over 500 more of them at a cost of $271 billion by 2032.

(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.




Nancy gives the corporate salute



Voters Don't Want Democrats To Be Moderates. Pelosi Should Take The Hint
By William Rivers Pitt

Imagine if the Allies had managed to establish only one beachhead during the Normandy invasion, instead of five. Now imagine Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower ordering the deliberate bombing and strafing of a segment of his own soldiers on that lone beachhead.

This is basically what is happening between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and the progressive members of the Democratic caucus. In the middle of a fight against entrenched, mechanized fascism, Speaker Pelosi has chosen to train fire on her own people as they cling to the one lonely governmental beachhead Democrats have managed to seize.

Pelosi appears to believe the voters elected a Democratic majority to the House in order to be moderate and safe. She is entirely protective of the conservative Democrats within the caucus who tried to thwart her speakership before it even began, and who vote with the Republicans much of the time.

A vast slew of other people believe voters gave Democrats the House majority in order to thwart the wrecking-ball intentions of the disaster factory that is the Trump White House. Among those who believe this are Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts).

Collectively known as "The Squad" by admirers and detractors alike, these four newly elected women of color came to work, not to appease. They pull no punches, are outspoken and effective, and have mastered the art of social media communication in ways that Pelosi and her Reagan-era leadership team find confusing and threatening. In Pelosi's House, all that is new is bad until it sits on the backbench for 30 years and learns how things are.

Pelosi often speaks of President Trump's lies and impeachable offenses, but steadfastly refuses to consider impeachment as a viable tool despite a large vat of obstruction evidence at her feet, because of those conservative members. When a chance came to fight for legislation to address the execrable concentration camps at the border, Pelosi instead supported the far crueler Senate Republican version of the bill, again in deference to those conservative House Democrats.

The stress fracture between Pelosi and The Squad audibly popped in the aftermath of the vote to do nothing of actual substance for the kids in the camps. Representative Ocasio-Cortez and her allies were vocally opposed to the Senate Republican version of the bill, and Pelosi responded to the pushback by slagging The Squad while sharing a box of high-end chocolates with gadfly New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

"Pelosi feels that the four made themselves irrelevant to the process by voting against 'our bill,' as she put it, which she felt was the strongest one she could get," wrote Dowd."'All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,' she said. 'But they didn't have any following. They're four people and that's how many votes they got.'" Yeah, those kids with their rock & roll and their Twitter world and their public whatever. The only thing needed to make this picture perfect would be Ocasio-Cortez and The Squad hitting a baseball into Pelosi's yard so Pelosi could confiscate it while shaking her fist at them. There are lots of baseballs in the world, Nancy, and your yard is getting smaller by the day.

Ocasio-Cortez used the public whatever of the Twitter world to clap back at the House speaker in her usual incisive style:

Pelosi, during this time, used a closed-door meeting as an opportunity to basically warn members not to cross her. She did not single out The Squad by name, but even the ornamental brass spittoon in the corner of the room knew who she was talking about. Pressed to defend her comments on Wednesday, Pelosi replied, "I have no regrets about anything. Regrets is not what I do."

"I don't regret anything," said Trump about a run of caustic tweets in 2017, "because there is nothing you can do about it." When the Democratic speaker of the House starts cribbing lines from that guy, the time for some serious soul-searching has arrived.

"It's singling out four individuals," Ocasio-Cortez told CNN, "and knowing the media environment that we're operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get, knowing the amount of concentration of attention, I think it's just worth asking why."

The waters of the Democratic caucus became even frothier on Thursday when Ocasio-Cortez's top staffer went after Pelosi and the "moderates" on Twitter. "Her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, has come under fire for a flurry of tweets criticizing Pelosi, endorsing primary challengers to Democratic incumbents and comparing moderate Democrats to pro-segregationist lawmakers from decades ago," reported Politico.

Even though Chakrabarti quickly deleted the tweet comparing the "moderates" to segregationists, and despite the searing truths found in the tweets he let stand, it is difficult not to call this a tactical blunder. Pelosi saw an opening and pounced. "They took offense," Pelosi said, "because I addressed, at the request of my members, an offensive tweet that came out of one of the member's offices that referenced our Blue Dogs and our New Dems essentially as segregationists."

And just like that, the Blue Dogs are the victims. The most stinging pushback came from some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), who took issue with Ocasio-Cortez's characterization of Pelosi as attacking four women of color. "What a weak argument," said Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Missouri). "Because you can't get your way, and because you are you getting pushed back, you resort to using the race card. Unbelievable."

Tensions between Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and some in the CBC increased further on Friday afternoon. "She's only a woman of color when it's convenient," a top Democratic aide anonymously told The Hill. That same anonymous staffer went on to say, "All these CBC members feel like they are under siege." It is worth noting that Representative Clay is facing a primary challenge backed by Justice Democrats, a group that is closely allied with Ocasio-Cortez. Wheels within wheels within wheels is the nature of politics, and so it goes.

I think it is fair to say Chakrabarti could have made good use of the ReThink app before hitting "send" on that segregationist tweet. That being said, despite his position as Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Chakrabarti is a newcomer to the knife-fighting reality of big-time politics just like his boss. In this instance, his passion became a liability, but it is hard to deny the fact that his tweets came after prolonged provocation by Speaker Pelosi and the conservative Democrats she is defending.

Those "moderates" have been calling for Chakrabarti's head since his tweets hit the wires. Would Ocasio-Cortez be better served by a top aide with more D.C. experience? Maybe, if she wants her office to become the problem she is trying to solve. Entrenched "experience" in the Democratic House has become cholesterol in the arteries of progress, and all the rookie mistakes in the world cannot obscure the fact that Pelosi and her crew are still fighting demons from 40 years ago.

"Democratic leaders like Pelosi, Joe Biden, Steny Hoyer and Chuck Schumer were shaped by their traumatic political coming-of-age during the breakup of the New Deal coalition and the rise of Ronald Reagan," writes Ryan Grim for The Washington Post, "and the backlash that swept Democrats so thoroughly from power nearly 40 years ago. They've spent the rest of their lives flinching at the sight of voters. The Ocasio-Cortezes of the world have witnessed the opposite: The way they see it, Democratic attempts to moderate and compromise have led to nothing but ruin."

While Pelosi and her congressional allies finished the week attempting to give Rep. Ocasio-Cortez the under-the-bus treatment, she and her progressive allies spent Friday sharing deeply emotional testimony before the House Oversight Committee regarding what they saw at the border concentration camps. It was a stirring counterpoint to the pettiness they had been served by their fellow caucus members, and left all who watched with a question: Who is grandstanding in all this, and who is doing the real work of Congress?

Speaker Pelosi came into her position in 2018 on a buffeting wind of high hopes and great expectations. She won over wary progressives for a time by facing down Trump in the shutdown clash over border wall funding, and spawned a million Trump-trashing memes by ironically clapping at him during the State of the Union.

Yet the border wall fight grinds on, and a meme is just a meme. By stomping on the energetic progressive wing of her caucus while protecting the conservative Democrats who tried to block her speakership while consistently voting with Republicans, Pelosi has made it clear where her loyalties lie.

She insists she is defending the majority, which is all well and good if she intends to actually accomplish something with that majority. This does not appear to be in the cards. Instead, Pelosi seems to be stating her intent to cling to a tepid status quo in order to maintain power for power's sake.

Pelosi believes she is saving the House from a Republican takeover, but voters who see Democrats at a standstill when action is required - or worse, see Democrats acting and voting like Republicans - have historically gone and voted Republican in the next election, because why not have the real thing when all you've got is a cowardly imitation.

Pelosi would do well to note that the "moderates" she defends did not bring about the Democrats' 2018 midterm victory alone. The passion of the progressive base, vividly represented by The Squad, were a large part of that success. In point of fact, former Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), or perhaps even Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D-California), would probably be Speaker had it not been for the energy progressives brought to the polls.

If Pelosi doesn't remember that soon, she will wind up handing her gavel over to some right-wing ghoul again, and she will have herself to blame.

(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.




If we accept the goal of a 45 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, we have to
start on it immediately and on an enormous scale. This must be the highest priority for every party.




Climate Protection Is Not A Partisan Issue
By David Suzuki

Media and politicians often regard environmentalists as a special interest group with political priorities served by "green" parties. If a Green politician isn't present or allowed to participate in a public debate, journalists tend to eschew environmental questions, considering them the purview of the absent party. It's absurd to think an issue like climate change belongs to one party. It should be the highest priority for every politician and candidate and should receive daily media attention.

All parties should have policies to protect life-sustaining air, water, soil and biodiversity and to encourage renewable energy. Those of us who prioritize these factors are not like opera, rodeo or car-racing buffs, yet that's how we're often perceived.

In November 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report, a gauntlet thrown to challenge all humanity. If we don't reduce fossil fuel use by almost half by 2030 and 100 per cent by mid-century, climate chaos could destroy the underpinnings of civilization, including food and agriculture, coastal communities, ocean productivity and the global economy. This is not a Green issue; it's an urgent challenge confronting all people. We can't ignore it as we head toward a federal election on October 21.

Global warming affects everything and everyone. United Nations groups dealing with immigrants and refugees worldwide can't cope with the masses of people leaving their homelands. As ocean levels rise and flood heavily populated areas; heat waves, drought and weakening monsoons destroy agriculture; pest outbreaks ravage forests; and changing ocean currents and temperatures transform marine ecosystems, tens of millions of people will be forced to seek liveable asylum. Climate change and its solutions must be addressed by all those concerned about immigration and refugees. The repercussions for Oxfam, Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International and so many other organizations will amplify in coming years.

For years, medical professionals and health organizations have warned that climate change will exacerbate consequences such as cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems and spread of illnesses like Lyme disease, malaria, Zika and dengue. A recent report in The Lancet points to the urgent health consequences of climate change.

In Canada, where temperatures are rising at twice the global average rate, we're already experiencing impacts: shorter outdoor hockey and skiing seasons; forest infestations of pests like the mountain pine beetle; vanishing glaciers that feed watersheds; loss of Arctic sea ice on which animals like seals and polar bears depend; extinction of populations of temperature-sensitive salmon like sockeye; increasing ocean acidity that inhibits shellfish growth; destruction of park ecosystems; explosive growth in rat and poison ivy populations; extended prairie droughts; deaths from heat stroke; huge fires; massive floods...

Canada's recently revised food guide acknowledges climate impacts. In a radical departure from the meat- and dairy-dominated guides of the past, it indicates that a primarily plant-based diet is not only better for our health but reduces the risk of climate change.

Global warming affects almost everything in our lives and the biosphere. It's not a special interest touted by enviros or the Green Party. It's a crisis for all humanity. The bar set by the IPCC report is challenging, made worse in Canada by almost a decade under a government that didn't prioritize climate change. If we accept the goal of a 45 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, we have to start on it immediately and on an enormous scale. This is a challenge for us all and must be the highest priority for every party. We shouldn't let any candidate for office avoid discussing climate risks.

The U.S. response to the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was not weakened by partisan bickering or debate over how serious the consequences would be, how much could be afforded or how the response would affect the economy. The country was united in its resolve to win the war. That's how we have to respond to the greatest threat to survival humankind has faced.

Once the challenge is seized, opportunities will open up as we transform society's energy foundation. As U.S. author and business consultant James Womack said, "Commitment unlocks the doors of imagination, allows vision and gives us the right stuff to turn our dreams into reality." It's time to dream big.

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








Trump Made The Bad Blood Between Democrats Look Like Lemonade
The president* put Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's beef in perspective with some truly rancid tweets.
By Charles P. Pierce

PHILADELPHIA-All weekend here at Netroots Nation, the halls and lobbies were hot with disputations concerning the problems that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had stirred up with some of the more popular young members of her majority in the House of Representatives. This had resulted in some pushback, and some pushback on the pushback, and, on Saturday night, a low-level anxiety attack when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, committed a graceless drive-by against Congresswoman Sharice Davids, accusing her on the electric Twitter machine of "enabling a racist system."

Almost immediately, the official House Democrats account, run by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, fired off a tweet slamming Chakrabarti, and using the unfortunate Davids as a cudgel. (For the record, Sharice Davids is a star in the making and has proven to be a true dynamo.) All the resentment of the Speaker's dilatory approach to holding the administration to account, and all the resentment of the Speaker's loyalists against their noisy rookies, both simultaneously came to a boil. People chose up sides. Never Trumpers went into high-sterics. They bellowed their terror that AOC somehow was going to cripple their attempt to fashion a Democratic candidate who was close enough to Mitt Romney to support comfortably.


Speaker Pelosi did battle with her own caucus throughout last week.

And, on Sunday morning, Maureen Dowd, whose spiffy Pelosi profile had gotten the ball rolling in the first place, applied her unique gift for half-witted snark and moth-eaten cultural references to the controversy in The New York Times. She also sought the support of the unpleasant Democratic Undead. This was not particularly helpful.
Rahm Emanuel told me Chakrabarti is "a snot-nosed punk" who has no idea about the battle scars Pelosi bears from the liberal fights she has led. "What votes did you get?" Emanuel said, rhetorically challenging A.O.C.'s chief of staff. "You should only be so lucky to learn from somebody like Nancy who has shown incredible courage and who has twice returned the Democratic Party to power. We fought for years to create the majorities to get a Democratic president elected and re-elected, and they're going to dither it away. They have not decided what's more important: Do they want to beat Trump or do they want to clear the moderate and centrists out of the party? You really think weakening the speaker is the right strategy to try to get rid of Donald Trump and everything he stands for?"

Me? If I'm talking about an intramural controversy tinged with a distinct racial subtext, I don't go to a career pit viper whose career in public office ended with his trying to slow-walk the evidence in a particularly egregious episode of police murder. But, anyway, it looked like Dems in Disarray was going to be the trope of the week.

And then, of course, the president*'s account on the electric Twitter machine sprang into action on Sunday morning.

So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can't leave fast enough. I'm sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!
It seems almost ridiculous to point out that, with the exception of Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who became a citizen in her teens after her family had fled Somalia, the members of Congress at whom was aimed this banal drunk-in-a-barroom rhetoric all were born in this country. (Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts was born in Cincinnati, for god's sake. Far as I know, you don't need a passport to go see the Bengals play.)


Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and
Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) take part in a panel discussion at Netroots Nation this weekend.

Almost immediately, the story changed from "Dems In Disarray to "Yeah, the President* Is Still a Big Old Racist So Whatcha Gonna Do About It?" Among Republicans, of course, the answer was nothing. Except for Justin Amash-who called the presidential* tweets "racist and disgusting"-no Republican member of Congress had the sand to condemn the president*'s naked bigotry, but many of them did demonstrate their skills at licking both boots and spittle. Susan Collins had nothing to say, although I'm sure she was deeply concerned. Ben Sasse also went into seclusion, possibly considering how much better a human being the president* would be had he grown up milking chickens on the lone prairie. Joni Ernst tweeted out some nifty footwear. Jesus, these people are pathetic.

As for Pelosi, who has to be wondering at this point how much her ostracizing the targets of the president*'s tweets emboldened him, not that this guy needs very much emboldening to let his inner Verwoerd loose, she managed a couple of tweets in defense of her embattled colleagues, but they didn't mention them by name and they were sort of a muted support for "diversity." What needs to happen on Monday is to have Pelosi and these four women standing together conspicuously on the Capitol steps.


Trump's rancid tweets reset the stage.

In a remarkable bit of serendipity, three of the four women appeared on the same Netroots panel on Saturday, just as the Pelosi-AOC storm was breaking. (Only AOC was missing.) Omar won my heart almost immediately by referring to the "trail of blood" left behind the inexcusable Elliott Abrams during the latter's time in public service. Rep. Rashida Tialib repeated her call to impeach the motherfcker, which had garnered her a lot of attention on election night. And Pressley did not arrive to play at all, and she gave the assembled the quote that they would take away from the panel, and the assembled media the quote that would make their day.
"If you're not prepared to come to that table and represent that voice, don't come, because we don't need any more brown faces that don't want to be a brown voice...We don't need black faces that don't want to be a black voice. We don't need Muslims that don't want to be a Muslim voice. We don't need queers that don't want to be a queer voice. If you're worried about being marginalized and stereotyped, please don't even show up because we need you to represent that voice."
That sent folks to the fainting couches again for the balance of Saturday afternoon, the way they'd been fleeing to them ever since the dustup between Pelosi and "The Squad" had begun a week earlier. But everyone woke up on Sunday morning to discover that the president* had made whatever bad blood existed between them look like lemonade. The poison, as it ever has, is pooling elsewhere.

(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-



"For at least a decade, Millennials have been stereotyped as lazy, entitled, and stuck on social media. While that may not be entirely fair, they are notoriously liberal, overwhelmingly supporting left-leaning candidates and favoring policies like nationalized healthcare and same-sex 'marriage.'"
~~~ Eric Metaxas









The Obama Wars
By David Swanson

By "the Obama wars" I don't mean some overgrown infants on television screaming racist insults or pretending that opposing racism requires cheering for Obama.

I mean: the widespread indiscriminate murder of human beings with missiles - many of them from robot airplanes - let loose to threaten any non-white country on earth by Obama and expanded by Trump. I mean the catastrophic destruction of Libya - still continued by Trump. I mean the war on Afghanistan, the vast bulk of which was overseen by Obama, though Bush and Trump have had minor roles. I mean the assault on Yemen, begun by Obama and escalated by Trump. I mean the war on Iraq and Syria escalated first by Obama and then by Trump (following the de-escalation locked in place by Bush though Obama fought it tooth-and-nail).

I mean the conflict with Iran, heightened by Obama and then dramatically again by Trump. I mean the expansion of conflict-producing troops and bases across Africa and Asia. I mean the creation of the new cold war with Russia. I mean the build up in nuclear weapons and the delusional rhetoric about "usable" nuclear weapons. I mean the support for Israel's wars on Palestinians. I mean the coups in Ukraine and Honduras. I mean the threats to Venezuela. I mean the normalization of fantastical excuses for the gravest crimes. I mean the practice of campaigning on ending wars, never ending any of them, and never having anyone really care. I mean the constant shattering of past records in military spending.

Obama's legacy, despite all sorts of variations, many of them superficial, and despite its role in defeating Hillary Clinton at the ballot box, has largely been maintained, advanced, and imitated by bipartisan consensus and by Donald Trump.

If you want to review what Obama did in that quirky little area of his job to which some 60% of federal discretionary spending is devoted, and which puts us all at risk of nuclear disaster, pick up a copy of Jeremy Kuzmarov's book Obama's Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State. Kuzmarov places Obama in historical context and outlines his parallels with Woodrow Wilson, another extreme militarist generally understood as a peace visionary. Kuzmarov reviews - and adds information that many of us probably never knew to - the story of Obama's rise to power and the story of all of his many wars.

We tend to forget that right up through the presidency of George W. Bush wars were thought of as temporary things that had endings. Now they're hardly thought of at all, but they're understood to be permanent. And they're thought of in partisan terms. We sometimes forget that candidate Obama, like candidate Trump, promised a larger military. Candidate Obama promised a larger war on Afghanistan. And when it came time for Obama's re-election to a second term, he reached out to the New York Times and asked that paper to write an article about how good he was at killing people, about how he carefully studied a list of men, women, and children and picked out the ones in whose name he would send missiles into clusters of unidentified victims. Obama's claim, in his own words, was "I'm really good at killing people." Nobody who liked Obama and didn't like murder allowed themselves to become aware of this aspect of Obama's re-election campaign; and they never will become aware of it.

The reason it matters is that over 20 Democrats are now campaigning for president, some of whom are promoting the same sort of militarism, some of whom are opposing it to some degree, and some of whom have revealed little or nothing about their positions on such matters. One of them, Joe Biden, was part of Obama's wars. Biden is the guy who claimed of the mass-slaughter of people in Libya "We didn't lose a single life." Kamala Harris is the woman who will never ever question whether by "life" he meant "non-African life." She's too busy worrying that peace might break out in Korea. The stupidity of tokenism will plague us until we at least have the decency to regret having fallen for it before. The stupidity of militarism will plague us until we stop glorifying and excusing it and start supporting efforts to create peace.

(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.







The Dead Letter Office-





Cory give the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Gardner,

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 blatant hatred of Muslim American, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump






America's Real Divide Isn't Left vs. Right. It's Democracy vs. Oligarchy
By Robert Reich

I keep hearing that the Democratic party has moved "left" and that some Democratic candidates may be "too far left."

But in this era of unprecedented concentration of wealth and political power at the top, I can't help wondering what it means to be "left."

A half-century ago, when America had a large and growing middle class, those on the "left" sought stronger social safety nets and more public investment in schools, roads and research. Those on the "right" sought greater reliance on the free market.

But as wealth and power have concentrated at the top, everyone else- whether on the old right or the old left- has become disempowered and less secure.

Safety nets have unraveled, public investments have waned and the free market has been taken over by crony capitalism and corporate welfare cheats. Washington and state capitals are overwhelmed by money coming from the super-rich, Wall Street and big corporations.

So why do we continue to hear and use the same old "right" and "left" labels?

I suspect it's because the emerging oligarchy feels safer if Americans are split along the old political battle lines. That way, Americans won't notice they're being shafted.

In reality, the biggest divide in America today runs between oligarchy and democracy. When oligarchs fill the coffers of political candidates, they neuter democracy.

The oligarchs know politicians won't bite the hands that feed them. So as long as they control the money, they can be confident there will be no meaningful response to stagnant pay, climate change, military bloat or the soaring costs of health insurance, pharmaceuticals, college and housing.

There will be no substantial tax increases on the wealthy. There will be no antitrust enforcement to puncture the power of giant corporations. No meaningful regulation of Wall Street's addiction to gambling with other peoples' money. No end to corporate subsides. CEO pay will continue to skyrocket. Wall Street hedge fund and private equity managers will continue to make off like bandits.

So long as the oligarchy divides Americans- split off people of color from working-class whites, stoke racial resentments, describe human beings as illegal aliens, launch wars on crime and immigrants, stoke fears of communists and socialists- it doesn't have to worry that a majority will stop them from looting the nation.

Divide-and-conquer allows the oligarchy free rein. It makes the rest of us puppets, fighting each other on a made-up stage.

Trump is the puppet master.

He has been at it for years, long before he ran for president. He knows how to pit native-born Americans against immigrants, the working class against the poor, whites against blacks and Latinos.

He is well-versed in getting evangelicals and secularists steamed up about abortion, equal marriage rights, out-of-wedlock births, access to contraception, transgender bathrooms.

He knows how to stir up fears of brown-skinned people from "shitholes" streaming across the border to murder and rape, and stoke anger about black athletes who don't stand for the national anthem.

He's a master at fueling anxieties about so-called communists, socialists and the left taking over America.

He can make the white working class believe they've been losing good jobs and wages because of a cabal of Democrats, "deep state" bureaucrats and Hillary Clinton.

From the start, Trump's deal with the oligarchy has been simple: he'll stoke tribalism so most Americans won't see CEOs getting exorbitant pay while they're slicing the pay of average workers, won't pay attention to Wall Street demanding short-term results over long-term jobs, and won't notice a boardroom culture that tolerates financial conflicts of interest, insider trading and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign "donations".

The only way to overcome the oligarchy and Trump's divide-and-conquer strategy is for the rest of us to join together and win America back.

That means creating a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition of working-class, poor and middle-class Americans who will fight for democracy and oppose oligarchy.

White, black and Latino; union and non-union; evangelical and secular; immigrant and native-born- all focused on ending big money in politics, stopping corporate welfare and crony capitalism, busting up monopolies and stopping voter suppression.

This agenda is neither "right" nor "left." It is the bedrock for everything else America must do.

(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.




How could Trump get reelected, and how could democracy get wiped out in the USA?




How A Trojan Horse Project To Rewrite Our Constitution Could Actually Happen If Trump Wins In 2020
It's looking more and more like the endgame here for Trump-and the right-wing billionaires who support him and the GOP-is not just to get reelected, but to actually rewrite our Constitution and end the American experiment
By Thom Hartmann

It's often said that if Trump is reelected, it'll be the end of democracy in America. But how could Trump get reelected, and how could democracy get wiped out in the USA?

Turns out, there's an actual project to rewrite our Constitution, turning America into a corporate-run oligarchy.

They'd end the income tax, eliminate federal regulatory agencies like the EPA, end all labor protections (including laws against child labor), let states ignore anti-discrimination and other federal regulations, and impose term limits so the only "institutional memory" for legislatures will be the corporate lobbyists.

All it needs to succeed-within just a few short years-is for Trump and the GOP to win big in 2020. And the prospects of that happening are going up every day. With a big Trump win will come a rewrite of our Constitution itself, if the billionaires funding it have their way.

But how could he win? With another $2 billion worth of free publicity, just like in 2016.

One example is how Trump's reelection campaign got a great boost recently when the media, just like in 2016, went all-Trump-all-the-time around his ICE raids, and when he told four congresswomen of color to "go home" to the countries of their ancestors-a racist trope for centuries.

The ICE raids were merely arrests of undocumented people who actually have committed crimes (beyond crossing the border) and currently have legal deportation orders already in place; they're arrests like the ones Presidents Bush and Obama did daily.

There was nothing unique about them, and year over year, Trump has actually deported fewer people than Obama did.

But Trump tweeted the media into a frenzy, and like obedient hounds, they frantically ran after the bits of hamburger he threw their way.

As Ayanna Pressley noted Monday, the media shouldn't "take the bait." Nonetheless, literally every week-virtually every day-since Trump was elected, he's gotten the media to put his name on the front page of the nation's newspapers and at the top of the TV news shows.

And in America, as P.T. Barnum (whom Trump has cited as a role model) said, it doesn't matter if publicity is positive or negative, "As long as they spell my name right." And they always spell Trump's name right.

As we saw with the 2015–2016 Republican primary, that Barnum-like daily publicity was all he needed to take down an entire field of competent, professional, and well-financed Republicans. Taking down Democrats may be even easier if he can paint the Democrats with his "open borders" and "Soviet-style socialism" lies (among others).

NBC trained Trump well; they spent millions teaching him how to do a reality show, from cliff-hangers to pitting "heroes" against "goats." It's one of the few things he's actually good at. And instead of his old "Apprentice" weekly show, he's now producing a daily show from the White House.

But to what end?

It's looking more and more like the endgame here for Trump-and the right-wing billionaires who support him and the GOP-is not just to get reelected, but to actually rewrite our Constitution and end the American experiment.

The group leading this charge for the billionaires is called Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG), which SourceWatch.org says, "is a right-wing political organization ... that is campaigning for an Article V convention to amend the U.S. Constitution."

SourceWatch notes that, "Through its 'Convention of States' project, CSG promotes an effort to amend the U.S. Constitution pursuant to Article V, which provides that thirty-four states (two-thirds) can trigger a convention to propose an amendment, which must then be ratified by 38 states (three-fourths)."

They add, CSG director Eric O'Keefe "has deep ties to Charles and David Koch and has been a founder and funder of numerous right-wing groups including Wisconsin Club for Growth," and the CSG, "Through its Convention of States project, is pushing for a constitutional convention in order to severely restrict federal power, for example by redefining the Commerce Clause to prohibit Congress from enacting child labor or anti-discrimination laws, or by adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution."

And they're actually doing it, complete with annual dress rehearsals in the Washington, D.C., area. As Wikipedia notes:

"In December 2013, nearly 100 legislators from 32 states met at Mount Vernon to talk about how to call a convention of states. ... In February 2014, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn announced that after his retirement from Congress, he would focus on promoting the Convention of States to state legislatures.

"In December 2015, Marco Rubio endorsed CSG's efforts to a call [for] an Article V Convention. In January 2016, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for a Convention of States to restrict the power of the federal government."

And their rehearsals now include delegates from every state in the union.

Wikipedia notes:

"In September 2016, CSG held a simulated convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution in Williamsburg, Virginia. An assembly of 137 delegates representing every state gathered to conduct a simulated convention. The simulated convention passed amendments relating to six topics, including requiring the states to approve any increase in the national debt, imposing term limits, restricting the scope of the Commerce Clause [to its original meaning], limiting the power of federal regulations, requiring a supermajority to impose federal taxes and repealing the 16th Amendment [end the income tax], and giving the states the power to abrogate any federal law, regulation, or executive order."
The Convention of States website notes that as of 2019, 15 states have signed on, and enough to hit the critical 38 are lined up, just waiting for right-wing billionaire takeovers of their state legislatures.

And taking over state legislatures in 2020 just became a huge priority for those billionaires because of the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing radical gerrymandering. Expect hundreds of millions of dollars to pour into state legislative and gubernatorial races (thanks to Citizens United), with virtually no opposing funding from the handful of left-wing billionaires.

Progress to rewrite our Constitution was slow but steady when Georgia's legislature was the first state to join, in March of 2014. States that signed on before Trump's election included Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

Since Trump took over the White House, however, they've added Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, and, just in the first three months of 2019, Arkansas, Utah, and Mississippi.

As of now, the call for a Convention to rewrite the Constitution has also passed at least one chamber of the legislatures in New Mexico, Mississippi, Iowa, South Dakota, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and New Hampshire. And with Trump in power, the Convention of States website notes that just this year (2019) they are working to bring in Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, Illinois and Hawaii.

If Trump is as successful in manipulating the media as he was in 2016, and the GOP can ride his coattails (along with hundreds of millions from right-wing billionaires) to sweep the Democratic-controlled states they're targeting, they could hit the 38 states needed to replace the Constitution in the first year or two after his reelection (there are 40 states in the lists above).

A probably apocryphal quote often attributed to Arnold Toynbee says, "When the last man who remembers the horrors of the last great war dies, the next great war becomes inevitable."

Similarly, when the last American who remembers how quickly democratic constitutions were replaced in Europe in the 1930s dies, the replacement of democracy in America becomes inevitable.

(c) 2019 Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show.




The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Steve Kelly ~~~








To End On A Happy Note-





Have You Seen This-






Parting Shots-





U.K. Unable To Find Replacement Ambassador Who Does Not Think Trump Is An Idiot
By Andy Borowitz

LONDON (The Borowitz Report)-Following the resignation of its Ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, the government of the United Kingdom has disclosed that it has been unable to find a replacement for Darroch who does not also think that Donald J. Trump is a blithering idiot.

At a press conference at 10 Downing Street, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, revealed that the search for a new ambassador who does not believe that Trump is an imbecile has thus far come up empty.

"We did not want a repeat of the unfortunate Kim Darroch incident, so we made the first question on the job application, 'Do you think Donald Trump is a moron?'" May said. "So far, none of the applicants has checked the 'no' box."

May acknowledged that the government might have to expand its search for applicants beyond those with diplomatic experience in order to find a replacement for Darroch who does not consider Trump a dolt.

"We will search high and low until we find someone in this country who doesn't think Donald Trump is a nitwit," she said. "We're starting by interviewing people who don't think Boris Johnson is a nitwit."

While affirming her government's determination to find someone in the U.K. who does not think Trump is an unmitigated bonehead, May warned that the difficulty of the task must not be underestimated. "This is turning out to be harder than Brexit," she said.

(c) 2019 Andy Borowitz




Email:uncle_ernie@issuesandalibis.org


The Gross National Debt


The Animal Rescue Site






















Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 29 (c) 07/19/2019


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