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In This Edition

Norman Solomon explains why, "Why Progressives Must Not Give Joe Biden A Political Honeymoon."

Ralph Nader examines, "Recidivist Criminal And Constitutional Outlaw Trump Rushes To Pardon Criminal Lawbreakers."

Jesse Jackson says, "Americans, Looking For Bold Leadership, Need An Aspirational Agenda From Joe Biden."

Jim Hightower gives, "Special Gifts For Special People."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Trump Is Humiliated And More Dangerous Than Ever."

John Nichols examines, "Kelly Loeffler's Sacrilegious Campaign."

James Donahue wonders, "Dare We Welcome In This New Year?"

David Swanson returns with, "Drone Murder Has Been Normalized."

Janelle Lapointe joins us with, "Address Environmental Racism Today For A Better Tomorrow."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "If Anthony Warner Were A Muslim Cleric, We Wouldn't See This Intricate Discussion About Who's A Terrorist."

Juan Cole reports, "Biden To Invoke Defense Production Act For Vaccine Manufacture. Trump? Playing Golf At Mar-a-Lago."

Georgia Republican Senate candidate Kelly Loeffler wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explores, "Trump's Vilest Legacy: Impunity And Unaccountability."

Michael Winship returns with, "Donald John Trump's 'Seditious Abuse.'"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Russian Hackers Disappointed To Find U.S. Government Already Disabled," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Lying Donald Strikes Again."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Lalo Alcaraz, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Brian McFadden, Tom Tomorrow, Kevin Lamarque, Win McNamee, Al Drago, Thaddaeus McAdams, Salwan Georges, Tasos Katopodis, Shaelene Lapointe, Ira L. Black, Corbis, Alamy, The Washington Post, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Roots Action, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Lying Donald Strikes Again
By Ernest Stewart

"The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name, liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names, liberty and tyranny. The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty." ~~~ Abraham Lincoln

"There is a clear correlation between the great earthquakes in the Aleutian Arc and the phases of climate warming. A mechanism exists for physically transmitting the stresses in the lithosphere at the appropriate velocities. And these added stresses are capable of destroying metastable gas hydrates and permafrost, releasing methane. Each of the three components in this scheme is logical and lends itself to mathematical and physical explanation. Importantly, it explains a known fact - the abrupt rise in temperature anomalies in the Arctic - which remained unaccounted for by the previous models." ~~~ Leopold Lobkovsky ~ Russian Academy of Sciences

"The President has fought for our country from day one. President Trump continues to fight for every single American. I've stood by the president 100 % of the time, I'm proud to do that and I've said absolutely, we need to get relief to Americans now, and I will support that." ~~~ Kelly Loeffler

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

For going on 5 years I've been warning you about that "Evil Monkey" Lying Donald apparently to no avail as in November Lying Donald had picked up another 5 million votes over what he had garnered in 2016. After all that this monster had put us through he's more popular than ever. Fortunately for us, 60% of America got up off their fat asses and voted, instead of the usual 50%. This negated Lying Donalds upswing and made Biden get the most votes ever in an American presidential election.

Lying Donald did his best to steal the election from Joe but barring that in was time for a little payback to all those American's that didn't vote for him. Ergo the deal he had set up for covid relief suddenly wasn't good enough for him and he insisted on $2,000 relief checks, knowing full well that Moscow Mitch wouldn't go for it, it was just his way of punishing the weak, the poor, and destitute. In the week he played golf another 20,000 or so died from covid. What a guy, huh?

He also waited one day beyond helping those about to lose their their unemployment so even though they'll get it, they would all lose one weeks money! Making desperate people even more desperate. He did have time to whip out his pardon pen and pardoned dozens of convicted fellons, traitors and other no-good-niks including many of his pals and family. I wonder if he'll step down a day or two before his term expires so "white haired guy" i.e., Pence as president can pardon him? What do you bet?

He says he's going to retire to mar-a-lago which legally he can't do. Nor will he likely do so as there are far to many law suits awaiting his departure of the White House. From New York state to Scotland and Germany, just to name few, even Mar-a-lago may soon be departing his empire to pay for $100's of millions of debt, not to mention all the criminal law suits. I wonder what the range of his 737 is, don't you?

In Other News

2020 will go down in history as the year of major uncertainties and upheavals. While the coronavirus pandemic upended 'business as usual' and saddled global economies with massive setbacks, global warming impacts were also equally glaring and can be seen in some extreme weather events happening across the globe that continue to affect millions of lives and livelihoods. Due to the pandemic, assuring health security took precedence while climate plans and ambitions were put on the back burner.

As you may recall there's a yawning gap between what countries have pledged to do as per their nationally determined contributions and what scientists say is required to avert a climate disaster!

In the middle of the year, when most countries imposed Covid-induced global lockdowns and either slowed or stopped industrial activity, there was a brief glimmer of hope for the environment as greenhouse gas emissions plummeted. But confining people to their homes and shutting down industries wasn't a practical solution anyway in the long-term to bring down overall carbon dioxide emissions or to halt global warming.

In fact, a World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) report in November this year said, "The lockdown has cut emissions of many pollutants and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. But any impact on CO2 concentrations - the result of cumulative past and current emissions - is in fact no bigger than the normal year to year fluctuations in the carbon cycle."

To make things a little more precarious, this year is also second hottest on record after 2016, as per WMO's provisional report on the State of the Climate 2020 published on December 2, which collected data from January till October 2020. To top that, 2020 has witnessed extreme temperatures in the Arctic, record-breaking wildfires in Australia, hurricanes in the Atlantic, for instance, the relentless back-to-back Category 4 hurricanes that pounded Central America in November this year, and flooding in several parts of Southeast Asia and Africa leading to the displacement of millions of people.

While covid-19 will kill a few million, global warming will kill billions and we are to the point where there is no cure, or vaccine, for global warming.

I see where a researcher from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) has proposed a new explanation for the Arctic's rapid warming. In his recent paper in Geosciences, he suggests that the warming could have been triggered by a series of great earthquakes.

Global warming is one of the pressing issues faced by civilisation. It is widely believed to be caused by human activity, which increases the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, this view does not explain why temperatures sometimes rise fairly abruptly.

In the Arctic, one of the factors driving global warming is the release of methane from permafrost and metastable gas hydrates in the shelf zone. Since researchers began to monitor temperatures in the Arctic, the region has seen two periods of abrupt warming: first in the 1920s and 1930s, and then beginning in 1980 and continuing to this day.

Leopold Lobkovsky, who authored the study is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the head of the MIPT Laboratory for Geophysical Research of the Arctic and Continental Margins of the World Ocean. In his paper, the scientist hypothesized that the unexplained abrupt temperature changes could have been triggered by geodynamic factors. Specifically, he pointed to a series of great earthquakes in the Aleutian Arc, which is the closest seismically active area to the Arctic.

Like Meatloaf sang, "It's always something," in this case earthquakes causing the release of methane gas going back to the age of the dinosaurs that has been trapped by the permafrost that due to global warming is being released in greater and greater numbers and since the permafrost has thawed earthquakes are causing more to be released warming the arctic at twice the rate of everywhere else.

And Finally

You may recall that Kelly Loeffler was appointed Senator by a governor who as secretary of state stole an election to become governor i.e., Brian Kemp by one of the greatest acts of sedition in Georgia's history, and believe me, that's really saying something!

If things go according to plan she could someday be president and she has proven her ability to out lie, Lying Donald, imagine that! She is also the richest person in the Senate. With qualifications like that there maybe no way of stopping her, if she gets elected to her appointed seat in the US Senate. Her opposing candidate, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, maybe the only thing that stands in her way of her living at 1600 Pennsylvania ave and having to put up with Moscow Mitch as Senate majority leader, again!

Makes you wonder if the people in Georgia are as incredibly dumb as the people in Kentucky? We shall know the answer to that in a week or so. Meanwhile Kelly Loeffler wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

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!


10-18-1938 ~ 12-30-2020
Thanks for the film!

05-16-1948 ~ 12-30-2020
Thanks for the music!


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


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) 2020 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden (R) looks on as former Democratic presidential candidate
Pete Buttigieg speaks after he was nominated to be Secretary of Transportation during a
news conference at Biden's transition headquarters on December 16, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Why Progressives Must Not Give Joe Biden A Political Honeymoon
By Norman Solomon

The third time would not be a charm.

People on the left did very little to challenge Bill Clinton after he won the presidency in 1992. Two years later, a big Republican wave took control of Congress.

People on the left did very little to challenge Barack Obama after he won the presidency in 2008. Two years later, a big Republican wave took control of Congress.

Now, we're being told that people on the left should pipe down and do little to challenge Joe Biden. But silence or merely faint dissent would enable the third Democratic president in four decades to again sacrifice progressive possibilities on the altar of corporate power.

Clinton and Obama -- no less than Biden in recent months -- could sound like a semi-populist at times on the campaign trail. But during 16 years combined in the White House, they shared a governing allegiance to neoliberalism: aiding and abetting privatization, austerity budgets for the public sector, bloated budgets for the Pentagon, deregulation of corporate behavior, and so-called "free trade" agreements boosting big-business profit margins at the expense of workers, consumers and the environment.

The idea that corporate centrism is the best way for Democrats to defeat Republicans is belied by actual history. Yes, Clinton and Obama won re-election -- but their political narcissism and fidelity to big corporations proved devastating to the Democratic Party and very helpful to the GOP.

During Obama's eight years as president, Democrats lost not only both houses of Congress but also more than 1,000 seats in state legislatures. As the New York Times noted, "In 2009, Democrats controlled both the state senate and house in 27 states, the Republicans 14. After the 2016 elections, Republicans controlled both branches of the legislatures in 32 states to 14 for the Democrats." Republicans also gained more governors.

It's worth pondering Obama's blunt assessment of his administration's first term: "My policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican."

Yet the Obama era is now being fondly and routinely hailed as a kind of aspirational benchmark. We're now being told to yearn to go back to the future under the leadership of the soon-to-be president who boasted last year: "I'm an Obama-Biden Democrat, man, and I'm proud of it."

On the verge of 2021, populist anger and despair are unabated. And, as economic disasters worsen at macro and individual levels, more widespread populist rage is predictable. Only progressive populism offers an appealing alternative to the toxic pseudo-populism of the Trumpist Republican Party.

Pushing the Biden presidency in the direction of progressive populism is not only the morally correct thing to do, given the scale of human suffering and the existential threats posed by economic unraveling, the climate emergency and militarism. Progressive populism can also be the political antidote to the poisonous right-wing manipulation of genuine economic and social distress. In sharp contrast, "moderate" programs have little to offer.

My colleague Jeff Cohen describes the "No Honeymoon" campaign we're immersed in at as "an effort to help save Biden from himself and from following in the footsteps -- missteps, really -- of his predecessors Obama and Clinton. Too much hesitation, vacillation, corporatism in the first two years will likely bring on a Republican landslide for Congress in 2022, as Clinton's vacillation and corporatism, like NAFTA, did in 1994, and Obama's in 2010, for example his bailing out Wall Street but not homeowners through a foreclosure freeze."

To avert a big Republican win in two years, Cohen says, "Biden has to deliver for poor, working-class and middle-class people. Policies that make a big difference in people's lives -- including cancellation of federal student debt and pushing for a $15 federal minimum wage. That will mean listening more to progressive allies, progressive economists and legal experts -- and less to the Democratic corporate donor class. If he doesn't deliver, Biden plays into the hands of the GOP faux-populists, setting us all up for defeat in 2022."

In the #NoHoneymoon launch video, released last week, former Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign national co-chair Nina Turner -- now running for Congress in a special election -- explained the concept of No Honeymoon. "We mean that we the people hold the power," she said. "That we must continue to fight for what is just, right and good, and fight against what is not just, right and good. We mean that we must have solidarity and commitment, one to another." She added: "As long as there are injustices, we will continue to fight. What do we mean by that? We know that when everyday people put a little extra on the ordinary, extraordinary things happen. . . . We mean that we will not be seduced by smiles -- we need action, and we need it right now. We will not relent. And that's what we mean when we say 'No Honeymoon.'"

Over the weekend, under the headline "Biden Cabinet Leans Centrist, Leaving Some Liberals Frustrated," the New York Times declared with typical media framing that "the president-elect's personnel choices are more pragmatic and familiar than ideological" -- as though centrism itself is not "ideological." The newspaper reported that "there is no one yet in Mr. Biden's cabinet carrying the torch for the policies that he campaigned against during the primaries: free college for everyone, a costly Green New Deal, an anti-Wall Street agenda, universal health care and steep increases in the minimum wage."

Silence or grumbling acquiescence as the Biden presidency takes shape would amount to a political repetition disorder of the sort that ushered in disastrous political results under the Clinton and Obama administrations. Progressives must now take responsibility and take action. As Nina Turner says, "everything we love is on the line."

(c) 2020 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Trump rolled out an additional list of pardons that includes longtime adviser Roger Stone.

Recidivist Criminal And Constitutional Outlaw Trump Rushes To Pardon Criminal Lawbreakers
Trump and future presidents cannot be allowed to brazenly dishonor justice and undermine the rule of law.
By Ralph Nader

Serial lawbreaker Donald J. Trump is embarking on the most sordid presidential pardon spree in American history. He has already pardoned convicted crooks, thieves, and violent outlaws. Trump's pardon lawyers are frantically assembling more MAGA besotted individuals and groups to be pardoned wholesale. The number may climb into the hundreds. The queue is long. Trump corruptly doles out pardons to spite his list of archenemies and to reward his sycophants as many people are pleading with Trump for pardons. (For a partial list of Trump pardons see here.)

Trump thrills at what he considers his absolute power to pardon, including family members and himself. He is wrong. No constitutional right or power is pursued at all costs. All have limits. The power to pardon is limited at least by prohibitions on bribery, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and the 400-year honored maxim that "no man can be a judge in his own case." Further, the Constitution's framers specifically described corruptly motivated pardons as impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors and specifically authorized criminal prosecution of the President after impeachment and removal from office. The latter would become an overthrow of lawful orders with presidential self-pardons.

No president has displayed the audacity or depravity to self-pardon. In 1974, the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department concluded that the president cannot self-pardon.

Legal scholars differ on whether pardons must specifically describe the crimes and persons to be pardoned and whether the beneficiary must confess guilt. Trump's cynical pardons could provoke Congress and the courts to set procedural and substantive limits.

President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon in the aftermath of his resignation to avoid impeachment and conviction for defying a congressional subpoena, obstruction of justice, and misuse of government agencies. On September 8, 1974, in broad and sweeping language, Ford declared that pursuant to Article II Section 2 of the Constitution "I ... do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969, through August 9, 1974." Nixon's pardon was never challenged for non-specific descriptions of the pardoned offenses.

President Jimmy Carter, on January 21, 1977, pardoned violators of the draft laws, known as draft resisters, many of whom fled to Canada. He granted "a full, complete and unconditional pardon" to "all persons who may have committed any offense between August 4, 1964, and March 28, 1973, in violation of the Military Selective Service Act or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder." He included in this pardon "all persons heretofore convicted," of any such offense, "restoring to them full political, civil and other rights." Excluded, however, were all persons "convicted of or who may have committed any offense involving force or violence."

President Carter specified the offense but did not name the thousands of Americans pardoned. He simply established a Justice Department procedure for the beneficiaries to obtain a certificate of pardon.

With four weeks of Trump's tenure remaining, rumors of what he could or should do are multiplying. Will he pardon all inmates in federal prisons convicted of nonviolent marijuana or other drug offenses? Will he pardon a wide network of people who could otherwise be compelled to testify against him? Will he pardon former business associates or future business partners of all federal offenses? (He cannot pardon for state offenses.)

Trump can issue anticipatory pardons before an individual is formally charged with a crime.

Thus far, of the over 60 pardons or commutations issued by Trump, the vast majority of recipients have featured a personal connection or political affinity. Speculation has centered on pardons for Edward Snowden or Julian Assange to leaven Trump's overt favoritism.

Trump's corruptly motivated pardons will continue until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. He will probably refrain from resigning in favor of Vice President Pence in exchange for a pardon for himself and family members. The stench of bribery would be too great.

In the final days of his four-year chronicle of statutory criminal and constitutional violations (See: December 18, 2019, Congressional Record, H-12197 and many past articles by writers on Trump's lawbreaking), Trump will give both the Congress and the courts great incentive to set specific limits on the pardon power.

Trump and future presidents cannot be allowed to brazenly dishonor justice and undermine the rule of law.

Congressional abdication and public indifference will pave the way for the kind of monarchical power so resolutely dreaded by our Constitution's framers who fought to defeat King George III and repudiate tyranny. Unless resisted by a resolute, aroused citizenry.

(c) 2020 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

President-elect Joe Biden delivers a remarks on the economic
recovery in Wilmington, Delaware on Monday, November 16, 2020. (

Americans, Looking For Bold Leadership, Need An Aspirational Agenda From Joe Biden
It is time for the president-elect to put his cards on the table.
By Jesse Jackson

As we turn to a new year, the spotlight shines on the new president and the new administration. Even as he assumes center stage in Washington, profound questions remain about Joe Biden's plans.

His initial appointments have been solid, diverse, experienced and capable, drawn overwhelmingly from the established center of the party.

He has recognized that the nation faces crises of a scope similar to the Great Depression, calling for bold action. He has repeated his commitment to work across the aisle and seek bipartisan support, despite Republican legislators refusing even to recognize his victory. While recognizing the need for executive action, he has lectured civil rights leaders on the limits of his powers. As he prepares for what is likely to be a virtual inaugural, it is time for the president-elect to put his cards on the table.

What's needed now is an aspirational agenda - an agenda that reveals the scope of action needed to meet the challenges we face, and that provides hope and galvanizes support. There are many sources to draw on. As Bernie Sanders said, Biden ran on the most progressive platform of any Democratic nominee in memory. The Poor People's Campaign and the Congressional Progressive Caucus have put forth The People's Agenda, providing a roadmap for the administration. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have detailed 100-day plans for the administration.

Biden ran largely by offering a return to sanity in contrast to the orange menace in the White House. Now it is time to speak to Americans about the scope of the crises he inherits and the first steps he will take to fulfill the promise that "help is on the way."

COVID-19 and the pandemic-induced economic collapse pose the first test. The rescue package just passed by Congress is too small to provide much more than a temporary life raft that is already leaking air. Biden should announce clearly that the vaccines will be provided free to all, and that distribution will be based on need - the most vulnerable first - not on privilege, connections or wealth.

The economic rescue package will need to be bolstered and extended, but more importantly, Biden should lay out his plan to make this economy work for working people once more. That should begin with a bold plan for rebuilding our decrepit infrastructure. This imperative, which should have bipartisan support, was Trump's greatest broken promise. A bold plan will create millions of jobs while addressing the climate crisis with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Biden should describe the program in bold strokes and summon the Congress to meet the challenge.

The promise of jobs in rebuilding America should be accompanied by a broad workers bill of rights to ensure workers share in the profits and productivity that they help to produce.

Begin with a call for a $15 minimum wage, a measure already passed by a supermajority of Florida voters, even as they voted to re-elect Donald Trump. Champion the Essential Workers Bill of Rights that guarantees a living wage, paid health care and sick leave, safety protections and more to essential workers. Call for a new era of worker organizing, providing both labor law reform legislation and executive orders to require federal contractors to respect the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively, while giving priority to those without an extreme gulf between CEO and worker pay.

This should be combined with a call for bold reforms to make health care a right, not a privilege. Call on Congress to lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 50, and to cover children up to 25. Empower bulk negotiation on drug prices across the board. Use executive authority to set reasonable prices for essential drugs.

To fulfill his promise to address structural racism in our society, Biden could begin by reviving and strengthening the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to report on areas in dire need of reform. He could add to that a major initiative from the Department of Justice to negotiate reforms with police departments across the country. He could use his pardon power early to free those held on nonviolent drug offenses, particularly as marijuana becomes legal in more and more states. He can not only revive the protections for the DACA generation, but also launch immediately a review and reform of our immigration practices, even as he puts forth legislation for comprehensive immigration reform.

The election once more dramatized the need for democratic renewal. Biden should push Congress to strengthen the Voting Rights Act, end all secret money in politics, make registration automatic and roll back the various voter suppression tactics that so scar our politics. He should push to limit the role of big money in our politics, and to bolster the power of small donations. Biden should crack down on the real swamp - the bog of lobbyists and fixers, of compromised revolving door regulators and political appointees that corrupt our government for their own profit.

This list can go on, of course, but clarity of intent is more important than comprehensiveness.

Biden must make it clear that he has a mandate and plans to use it. That the crises we face demand bold action. And that he will drive the change. Americans are looking for bold leadership. Biden must provide that from day one.

(c) 2020 Jesse Jackson is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH.

Special Gifts For Special People
By Jim Hightower

Ho-Ho-Ho, wait till you hear about the gifts I gave to some of America's power elites for Christmas.

To each of our Congress critters, I sent my fondest wish that from now on they receive the exact same income, health care, and pensions that we average citizens get. If they receive only the American average, it might make them a bit more humble - and less cavalier about ignoring the needs of regular folks.

To the stockings of GOP leaders who've so eagerly debased themselves to serve the madness of Donald Trump, I added individual spritzer bottles of fragrances like "Essence of Integrity" and "Eau de Self-respect" to help cover up their stench. And in the stockings of Democratic congressional leaders, I put "Spice of Viagra" and "Bouquet du Grassroots" to stiffen their spines and remind them of who they represent.

For America's CEO's, my gift is a beautifully boxed, brand new set of corporate ethics. It's called the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Going to pollute someone's neighborhood? Then you have to live there, too. Going to slash wages and benefits? Then slash yours as well. Going to move your manufacturing to sweatshops in China? Then put your office right inside the worst sweatshop. Executive life won't be as luxurious, but CEO's would glow with a new purity of spirit.

To the Wall Street hedge-fund hucksters who've conglomerated, plundered, and degraded hundreds of America's newspapers, I've sent copies of "Journalism for Dummies" and offered jobs for each of them in their stripped-down, Dickensian newsrooms. Good luck.

And what better gift to the Trump family - Donald, Ivanka and Jared, Eric, Donnie Jr., and the whole nest of them - than to wish that they live with each other constantly and permanently. No, really, each of you deserve it.

(c) 2020 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

Donald Trump walks back to a golf cart

Trump Is Humiliated And More Dangerous Than Ever
By William Rivers Pitt

More than 10,000 people in the U.S. died from COVID-19 in the time between when Donald Trump blew up the stimulus bill and when he finally signed it. No, he doesn't care about that.

The millions of people desperate for unemployment assistance, along with millions more in peril of eviction are nowhere on his mind, either.

The economic crash that would have come after a simultaneous stimulus bill collapse, an eviction eruption and a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic? Not of concern.

The terrible disruption in vaccine distribution if the lights went out in the federal government? Whatever. As the tension over Trump's refusal to act reached peak intensity, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania finally found his voice amid the muted GOP amen chorus. If Trump fails to sign the dual relief/shutdown bill, said Toomey, "he'll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire."

Senator Toomey, I do believe that ship has sailed.

Trump wanted his name in the papers, and that's why this long week of fear and uncertainty was dropped on a nation already coiled in fear and uncertainty. It was an act of sadism, the deliberate infliction of pain on a population already on its knees. Folks need help badly, and instead they got the back of Trump's orange little hand, again.

For the record, the man had no interest in seeing those direct payments increased to $2,000. This was a demand for another witless act of loyalty by congressional Republicans; further, it draws a bright red circle around the GOP's refusal to disburse more funds directly to the people. This was, of course, deliberate. Speaker Pelosi dreams of being able to box in the GOP the way Trump has over the last week.

The "pork" in the bill Trump denounced was in fact a laundry list of items from his 2018 budget proposal which his administration requested be included in this legislation. Congress did as he requested and added the items to the stimulus, I suspect, to guarantee Trump's signature. Ha. They forgot who they were dealing with.

The cruelty is the point, The Atlantic's Adam Serwer astutely observed in October 2018, back when we innocently thought it couldn't get any worse. "The Trump era is such a whirlwind of cruelty that it can be hard to keep track," he wrote. Indeed, the latest chapter in this long book of deliberate pain now involves the 14 million people in need of unemployment assistance who were left to dangle, and dangle still, because of the delayed signing.

"Because Trump did not sign the bill on Saturday," reports CNN, "those in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will likely not receive a payment for the final week of the year. And the $300 federal enhancement may only last 10 weeks instead of 11 weeks for most folks. That's because states can't provide benefits for weeks that start before programs are authorized, but the legislation calls for the extra payments to end on March 14."

The worst part? Trump stands humiliated. A nonsense signing statement claiming all sorts of considerations he wrung from Congress before signing is just that: Nonsense. He wants them to investigate election fraud, repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and demands that they strongly consider making those direct payments $2,000. Mitch McConnell, in his own statement thanking Trump for his signature, made no mention of these concessions. That means, for all practical purposes, they do not exist.

"Trump got taken to the cleaners," reports Politico. "What a bizarre, embarrassing episode for the president. He opposed a bill his administration negotiated. He had no discernible strategy and no hand to play - and it showed. He folded, and got nothing besides a few days of attention and chaos. People waiting for aid got a few days of frightening uncertainty.... This is probably the most fitting coda to Trump's presidency, and a neat encapsulation of his relationship with Congress. He never cared to understand the place and was disengaged from its work. They'll be laughing - er, scratching their heads - at your genius about this one for a while, Mr. President."

Why is Trump's humiliation the worst part of all this? Surely, if any human being ever deserved a dollop of comeuppance on their menu, it is this small fraction of a man.

It is the worst part because of who and what we are dealing with. Trump will continue to be among the most powerful people on Earth for three weeks and a day. He has been publicly shamed and routed off the field, and all for absolutely nothing except a few days of bad attention. People of his bilious temperament are not known for going quietly under the best of circumstances, and for Trump, these circumstances are intolerable.

Compounding this defeat, the House and Senate have returned to Washington, D.C., and their first order of business is an override of Trump's veto of the defense authorization bill. They have the votes, and most congressional Republicans are not willing to mess with military money, even if it means defying Trump.

If the veto override succeeds on the heels of his disgraceful behavior with the stimulus bill, Trump will not sit still and take his medicine. He will see betrayal on every Republican face and react like Vesuvius. There are still many ways for him to pull the building down before he's gone, and if I know the man like I think I do, he will try every one of them before he leaves or is removed. That cramp in your stomach (and mine) is going to be there for a little while longer.

(c) 2020 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.

Georgia Republican Senate candidate Kelly Loeffler at a rally on December 20, 2020, in Cumming, Ga.

Kelly Loeffler's Sacrilegious Campaign
"She's lied, not only on me, but on Jesus," says the Rev. Raphael Warnock, as religious leaders decry the Republican's vile attacks on the Black pastor.
By John Nichols

Kelly Loeffler's relentless assault on the religious faith of the Rev. Raphael Warnock, her challenger in the January 5 Georgia runoff that could decide control of the US Senate, has been characterized by deliberate mischaracterizations of the pastor's sermons and the Christian Scriptures on which they are based. At rallies, in media appearances and in their only runoff campaign debate, the appointed Republican incumbent has attacked her Democratic rival for preaching a social gospel rooted in New Testament teaching. Framing her campaign around wildly out-of-context claims about Warnock's sermons, Loeffler rips into her ordained opponent for referencing Christian teachings-along with those of the world's other major religions-when he addresses issues of war and peace, policing and economics. Loeffler bitterly rejects questioning of her approach, declaring, "I'm not going to be lectured by someone that uses the Bible to justify abortion and to attack our men and women in the military."

It is a bizarre political strategy that, like so much of Loeffler's candidacy, demands that Georgians deny reality-in this case, the reality that her rival is an internationally respected religious leader with a PhD in theology from Union Theological Seminary. As only the fifth senior pastor in the storied history of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church-the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s spiritual home-Warnock has earned acclaim for his biblical knowledge and his nuanced application of it to contemporary debates.

Yet Loeffler continues to claim that the Democrat disrespected people serving in the military when he delivered a 2011 sermon based on the Gospel of Matthew, in which he said, "America, nobody can serve God and the military. You can't serve God and money. You cannot serve God and mammon at the same time. America, choose ye this day whom you will serve."

If that is a radical statement, it is the radicalism of Christian teaching over the past two millennia. As Greg Garrett, a seminary-trained lay preacher in the Episcopal Church who teaches theology at Baylor University, has noted, Warnock's message in that sermon was:

a fairly traditional reading of the Scripture: Jesus taught that anything we put in front of God, anything we revere more than God, becomes God to us, whether that's money or country or work or security. The Scripture says this; the 2,000-year discourse of the church says this; our own honest understanding of the call of Christ says this. Fox News itself reported that Warnock's message was "call(ing) on churchgoers, and America as a whole, to turn away from the pursuit of power and wealth in favor of a life of service."
"Warnock's theological conclusion is being willfully misconstrued as an attack on military service," explains Garrett. Warnock explained as much in the December 6 Senate debate, after Loeffler peddled the line of attack once more. "Listen," he said, "this is why I think folks have turned off from politics very often-because people will turn anything into a kind of cynical political argument. I was preaching that day from a very familiar Matthew text that says you can't serve God and mammon. It was a sermon about a moral foundation for everything that we do and that when you have everything in order, that actually makes you a better soldier. It also makes you a better senator, and had Kelly Loeffler listened to the sermon rather than trying to make a cheap political point, she wouldn't have used her advantage as US senator to make millions on a pandemic while playing it down to the people she was supposed to be representing."

That devastating takedown should have been the end of it. But Loeffler is shameless. She came right back with a self-righteous announcement that "I'm a Christian, I'm a person of deep faith. I don't need a lecture from someone who has used the Bible to not only justify attacking our military. That's not in Matthew 6:24. It doesn't say you can't serve the military and God. But he's also used the Bible to justify abortion. I cannot stand by and let Georgians not know who my opponent is, how radical his views are, and how he would fundamentally change our country."

The hypocrisy of Senate Republicans when it comes to matters of religion has been well documented. But Loeffler has taken things to such extremes that in their debate, Warnock finally said, "She's continued to misrepresent my record; she's lied, not only on me, but on Jesus. Everybody's clear about what that passage is about in Matthew: You can't serve two masters, and she should have listened to the lesson. Maybe she wouldn't be so focused on herself; she'd be thinking about the people she's supposed to represent."

Warnock was somewhat gentler than Garrett, who recognized the racism in Loeffler's attack:

I know we would not be having this same conversation about a white preacher calling America to account for its sins. I know that because thousands of white pastors offer similar messages every week. I know that because I heard that message over and over during the first 18 years of my life.

The only two differences are these: Warnock and many of these white preachers are condemning different kinds of American moral failings.

And Warnock, on the stump and from the pulpit, is calling on white Americans to repent of the sins of racism and inequality, and many white people do not want to hear these words from any Black man, even a Black man of God.

In a letter sent last week to Loeffler, more than 100 religious leaders from Georgia and across the country wrote, "We call upon you, Kelly Loeffler, to cease your false attacks on Reverend Warnock's social justice theological and faith traditions which visualize a just and ardent world where love, fairness and equal justice under the law for marginalized people of all races is not only accepted as an authentic prophetic message in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, but also a central message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

The letter explained, "We see your attacks against Warnock as a broader attack against the Black Church and faith traditions for which we stand."

Despite the rebuke, Loeffler shows no sign of abandoning a strategy that was best summed up by the Rev. William Barber III, who says of Warnock: "He's being attacked because he answered the call of God. He's being attacked because he believed that you shouldn't use power for anything but to help people up."

Barber wrote to Warnock as Loeffler's attacks grew more vile. "I didn't write him and say, 'Quit,' I didn't write him and say, 'Get out of the race,' I didn't write him and say, 'That's why a pastor shouldn't be running.' I didn't write him and say, 'Pray that they stop attacking you.' I wrote him and said, 'Don't quit. Stand on what you believe, because there comes a time when you've got to say, 'I'm not going to quit living in and living for God.'"

(c) 2020 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.

Dare We Welcome In This New Year?
By James Donahue

As world events continue to shock and astound us, people are wondering what we should expect to happen during the year 2021.

Hardest to accept has been the rapid division between the tiny number of people in control of the world's wealth, and the rising unrest among the billions of people suffering from rising debt, hunger, disease and homelessness. COVID-19 is still ravaging the world as medical people rush to circulate a newly produced vaccine. Everywhere there is warfare of some kind, mostly terrorism or cyber hacking. We in the United States are watching our own nation assume the role of a world bully and fear repercussions from our actions against other nations.

We find ourselves struggling to make ends meet, maintaining the style of living we once enjoyed, and hoping against hope that we won't get sick or be struck with some other disaster that will leave us destitute.

In our daily search of the Internet news pipeline we are seeing more and more stories that warn of rumors of something terrible that appears to be in planning for next year. This "terrible thing" seems to range from a planned collapse of the economy to a crushing new form of bacteria that spreads plague and death across the land.

The growing problem of climate change threatens to destroy crops, dry up fresh water supplies and bring killer storms down upon us all. And there is that frightening militarization of state and local law enforcement agencies with once friendly neighborhood cops changing to black-booted armed thugs that shoot first and ask questions later. Citizens are in rebellion. They are marching by the thousands on the streets of some of our largest cities.

Then there is a strange "feeling" that many of us are psychically sharing that something more terrible is about to come down upon us all, and that this "big event" is about to change our lives permanently.

In 2014, prior to the last presidential election, writer Susan Duclos wrote the following in an article published on All News PipeLine: "Whether readers are those that have been following the warnings and watching the signs, or those that just "feel" that something huge is coming, or even those that believe that prophecy is playing out before our very eyes . . . most know that chaos is coming and the world as we know it is about to change, not just earth . . . but a fundamental shift in the global power structure . . . all signs are pointing to an endgame scenario of some kind."

Did we find ourselves dealing with that endgame scenario in 2020? But is the disaster brought about by the COVID crisis to be classified as an end game? The medical people, politicians and economists are all saying that it isn't. There is a worldwide movement now to push back against the COVID virus which is already evolving into harsher strains.

Our thought is that a dramatic paradigm shift is sorely needed . . . but does it have to take a negative turn? Is it not possible for billions of people in this world to mentally perceive a loving attitude toward our fellow humans, no matter their skin color, their religious affiliation or their way of life?

Can we not all follow the example now being set by Pope Francis in Rome, and take the time to reach down and hug the little child that tugs at our pant leg, or feed the homeless man on the street just outside our house?

It is due time for everyone to start pulling together to save our planet from catastrophic self-destruction, and save ourselves from extinction. Some say the way to accomplish this would be to turn away from materialism, adopt a socialist form of government that recognizes all men as equal, and spread the remaining resources equally among every nation.

The call for a one-world government might be a move in the right direction. But this government must not be the nation that wins a world war and rises in dominion over all the others. It would be best if we gather collectively, in one mind, and accept a completely new way of doing business. Those "too big to fail" banks and corporations must be shut down. Those corrupt judges on the high courts and corrupt money exchangers in the temple must give up their power so that the government we create can again be fair and just for all mankind.

Let us all stop living in fear and trembling as we move into this new year. Instead, let us think loving and positive thoughts and make 2021 a year to remember. Make it the year that everything changed for the better. Make it a year when everybody laid down their arms and their bombs, and reached out to their neighbors with helping hands.

(c) 2020 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.

Drone Murder Has Been Normalized
By David Swanson

If I search on Google for the words "drones" and "morality" most of the results are from 2012 through 2016. If I search for "drones" and "ethics" I get a bunch of articles from 2017 to 2020. Reading the various websites confirms the obvious hypothesis that (as a rule, with plenty of exceptions) "morality" is what people mention when an evil practice is still shocking and objectionable, whereas "ethics" is what they use when talking about a normal, inevitable part of life that has to be tweaked into the very most proper shape.

I'm old enough to remember when drone murders were shocking. Heck, I even recall a few people calling them murders. Of course, there were always those who objected based on the political party of the U.S. president at the moment. There were always those who believed that blowing up human beings with missiles would be OK if the Air Force would just put a damn pilot in the plane. From pretty early on there were those ready to accept drone murders but draw the line at drones that would fire the missiles without some young recruit in a trailer in Nevada being ordered to push a button. And of course there were immediately millions of fans of drone wars "because with drone wars nobody gets hurt." But there was also shock and outrage.

Some were disturbed who learned that most of the targets of "precision drone strikes" were unknown human beings, and that even more just had the bad luck to be nearby those unknown human beings at the wrong time, while other victims had tried to help the wounded and gotten themselves blown up in the second tap of a "double-tap." Some of those who learned that drone murderers had referred to their victims as "bug splat" were disgusted. Those who discovered that among the known targets were children and people who could easily have been arrested, and those who noticed that all the talk of law enforcement was utter nonsense as not a single victim had been convicted or sentenced and virtually none had been indicted, raised concerns. Others were bothered by the trauma suffered by those participating in the drone murders.

Even lawyers eager to ignore the illegality of war were known, back in the day, to declare drone murders to be, in fact, murders whenever not part of war - war constituting the sacred cleansing agent that transforms even murder into something noble. Even hyper-militarists whistling the Star-Spangled Banner out of every orifice were heard, back in the day, worrying about what would happen when profiteers armed the world with similar drones, so that it wasn't just the United States (and Israel) droning people.

And there was real shock and outrage over the actual immorality of murdering people. The small scale of drone murders even seemed to open some eyes to the horror of the larger scale of the wars of which the drone murders were a part. That shock value seems to have dramatically diminished.

I mean in the United States. In the lands targeted, the outrage is only growing. Those living under the unremitting trauma of endlessly buzzing drones threatening instant annihilation at any moment have not come to accept it. When the United States murdered an Iranian general, Iranians screamed "murder!" But that brief re-entry of drone murders into the U.S. corporate information system gave many people the wrong impression, namely that missiles tend to target particular individuals who can be designated as enemies, who are adult and male, who wear uniforms. None of that is true.

The problem is murder, the reckless murder of thousands of men, women, and children, in particular murder by missile - whether or not from drone. And the problem is growing. It is growing in Somalia. It is growing in Yemen. It is growing in Afghanistan. Including non-drone missile murders, it is growing in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. It is still in Pakistan. And on a smaller scale it is in dozens of other places.

Bush did it. Obama did it on a larger scale. Trump did it on an even larger scale. The trend knows not partisanship, but the well-divided-and-conquered U.S. public knows little else. Both parties' suckers - er, members - have reason not to oppose what their past leaders have done. But there are still those among us who want to ban weaponized drones.

Obama moved Bush's wars from land to air. Trump continued that trend. Biden seems inclined to advance the same trend even further. But a few things might build public opposition.

First, police and border patrol members and prison guards and every uniformed sadist in the Fatherland wants armed drones and wants to use them, and will before long create a horrific tragedy in a Place That Matters in U.S. media. We must do everything we can to avoid this, but if it happens, it may wake people up to what is being inflicted on others in all the countries that aren't the indispensable country.

Second, the confirmation-or-rejection hearings for Avril Haines as Director of National "Intelligence" may be brought to focus on her role in justifying lawless drone murders. We must do everything we can to make that happen.

Third, Johnson tried this shift to air war. Nixon continued this shift to air war. And eventually a major cultural change woke up enough people to throw Nixon out on his asinine victory plan and create the law that is about to end the war on Yemen. If our parents and grandparents could do it, why the hell can't we?

(c) 2020 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Janelle over looking the Stellako River fish fence in her traditional territory

Address Environmental Racism Today For A Better Tomorrow
By Janelle Lapointe

Last year, the youth climate movement inspired by Greta Thunberg mobilized millions of people worldwide. Their message was clear: Young people are concerned about the world they are inheriting and want older generations to act. When TIME magazine named her Person of the Year for 2019, Thunberg said, "I'd like to tell my grandchildren that we did everything we could. And we did it for them - for the generations to come."

The reminder to think of future generations isn't new to Indigenous people. The Haudenosaunee seventh-generation principle states that decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future. An Olaga-Sioux quote affirms the same: "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children."

I am a young Afro-Indigenous person who grew up in Stellaquo, a Dakelh community in the Northern Interior of so-called British Columbia. My traditional teachings, language and history all demonstrate that, as Dakelh people, we do not see ourselves as separate from the environment. Pre-contact, we were semi-nomadic and held vast ecological knowledge critical to surviving the elements of the four distinct seasons.

I understand how hard my ancestors had to work to survive and thrive in our territory. If they had been shortsighted, it would have made sense to hoard resources to ensure individual survival. However, they understood they were part of a cycle and knew to only take what they needed to make sure future generations would have enough. Rather than focusing on thriving as individuals, they built their systems and customs on community care. Our leaders were not measured by their wealth and power but by how they settled community disputes and maintained resources for generations to come.

Indigenous people have been stewarding lands and waterways for millennia and hold ecological knowledge that is essential to mitigating the challenges we face from environmental destruction and the climate crisis. They are also disproportionately experiencing the consequences of these challenges today.

In Stellaquo, high levels of arsenic in our waterways are suspected to have come from mining pollution. Until last year, the community spent 20 years relying on bottled drinking water because arsenic cannot be boiled away. Pollution from mining operations and disruption of natural river flow by nearby dams have also affected the community's ability to fish the surrounding waterways. Despite being a small community, we have high rates of cancer and additional health problems likely due to pollutant bioaccumulation.

This is only one of many examples of environmental racism in Canada. Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities face greater consequences from industrial projects such as oil refineries, chemical plants and open net-pen fish farms.

The problem of environmental racism has been highlighted this year by the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for racial justice. Now, we must not only think about how we will look our grandchildren in the eye one day, but we must also think about how we look at ourselves and each other in the eye today.

For environmentalists, that means admitting that the lack of diversity and inclusivity in the movement has limited our success. The movement in Canada has historically ignored environmental racism and, in doing so, sacrificed the lives and well-being of the very people holding ecological knowledge necessary to our survival.

I think about what I will be able to tell my grandchildren one day. I do not need to look into the future to see the impacts of the climate crisis. It is here, and we need to be able to face each other, rise to present-day challenges and do everything we can to redress the systemic, racial inequities that we have ignored for too long.

By following the lead of the youth movement and centring Black and Indigenous voices, we will ensure we are doing all we can for future generations. Let us continue to look to the future, but no longer ignore the suffering of today.

(c) 2020 Janelle Lapointe is the Communications and Engagement Coordinator for the David Suzuki Foundation.

If Anthony Warner Were A Muslim Cleric, We Wouldn't See This Intricate Discussion About Who's A Terrorist
A terrorist act took place on Christmas Day in Nashville.
By Charles P. Pierce

I confess that, even given the grim excesses of this plague-ridden year, I didn't expect an American suicide bomber on Christmas Day. Officials are being very delicate about calling Anthony Quinn Warner, identified through bits of himself found at the scene on Sunday as the man who detonated a recreational vehicle on Second Avenue in downtown Nashville, a terrorist. Thanks to some alert-and very brave-police work, and for reasons that remain vague, and therefore extraordinarily pliable to a fevered public imagination, Warner killed only himself. From The Tennessean:

While acquaintances on Sunday described Tony Warner as a self-employed computer guru - and a homebody who tended to his pets and kept to himself - police officers on the scene before the bomb exploded recalled a strange recording emanating from the RV. In between a digitized female voice giving warnings to evacuate the area, there was music, the officers said. "Downtown," a wistful 1964 song by Petula Clark, echoed down Second Avenue just before the blast. "When you're alone and life is making you lonely you can always go downtown," blared Clark's voice through the speakers. "When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry seems to help, I know."
Lonely, troubled guys who end their lives by ending others are not unknown in American history. In 1927, in Bath, Michigan, a farmer named Andrew Kehoe blew up a local school, killing 44 people, including himself. Kehoe was angry about a tax increase and about his recent defeat in a local election. In 2010, Andrew Joseph Stack crashed an airplane into an office building in Austin that housed a local office of the Internal Revenue Service, killing himself and an IRS administrator. A suicide note Stack left behind was a list of grievances held by Stack against institutions from the IRS to General Motors to the Catholic Church. Significant to our current situation, Stack's murderous act found explanations from the likes of then-Congressman Steve King of Iowa. From the Iowa Independent:
As a founder of a small business who has endured I.R.S. audits, I understand the deep frustration with the I.R.S. In the early days, my company could not run without me on the job. I once had to shut it down just to be in the room with the I.R.S. I did not get a fair shake, but I channeled my frustration the American way and ran for office. Americans looking for an outlet for their frustration should join me in calling on Congress to pass a national sales tax and abolish the current federal tax code and the I.R.S.
Nobody would have doubted that Andrew Kehoe and "Joe" Stack were domestic terrorists in the commonly used sense of both words. They were indeed motivated by ideology; that it was inchoate and the result of the disordered thinking of disordered minds is irrelevant. Neither one of them killed because they were sadistic madmen. They had grievances against one institution or another-or against a lot of them generally-of the established order, and those grievances drove them to kill. Arguing statutory niceties in the face of those simple facts is to miss the forest for the trees. In that context, Steve King thought more clearly about Joe Stack's action than many of our law-enforcement officials and pundits are thinking at the moment about Anthony Quinn Warner.

And yes, I firmly believe that, had Warner been a Black Lives Matter activist or a Muslim cleric, we would not be having these angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin discussions about who is or isn't a terrorist. If, as all the evidence indicates, Warner set off a huge incendiary device on a downtown street in a major American city, then he committed a terrorist act and is, therefore, a dead terrorist. The idea that one cannot be a terrorist unless the person leaves behind a 100-page manifesto is dangerous in this age of accelerated communication. Random bits of violence are swirling in the very air around us, and all throughout our politics and our national dialogue. Occasionally, they coalesce, as they did on Christmas Day on Second Street in Nashville, where a terrorist act took place.

(c) 2020 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-

"Sen. Ron Johnson objected to my bill to provide $1,200 to working families and $500 for kids because he's 'worried' about the deficit. Funny. He wasn't so worried about the deficit when he voted to give $1 trillion in tax breaks to the 1% and large corporations. What hypocrisy!"
~~~ Bernie Sanders

President Donald Trump makes a phone call as he golfs at
Trump National Golf Club on November 26, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia.

Biden To Invoke Defense Production Act For Vaccine Manufacture. Trump? Playing Golf At Mar-a-Lago
Trump really just doesn't care.
By Juan Cole

Will Feuer at CNBC reports that Joe Biden will invoke the Defense Production Act to ramp up the manufacture of more doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

You may ask yourself, why has this not already been done?

Trump said on December 9 that he "might" invoke the Korea War-era act, which allows the US government to direct companies to produce urgently needed goods necessary to national security. The US government pays the companies to do this, so it isn't socialism and doesn't involve a government take-over. It just delays receipt of other goods by other customers.

Trump has repeatedly said he is reluctant to invoke the act because it is socialist in character and would make us like Venezuela. He did use it to compel GM to produce ventilators last spring, paying $489 million for 30,000 ventilators. It was a relatively minor use of the act given the scale of the national emergency.

The Pentagon, by the way, uses the National Production Act all the time (hundreds of thousands of times under Trump) to muscle aside other customers and jump to the front of the queue in receiving orders it contracted for. Trump was all right with that militaristic use of the NPA. But God forfend he should go socialist for the sake of saving lives.

I think that by now, we may conclude that Trump really just doesn't care, as his wife Melania's notorious jacket once proclaimed. The Trump administration bought 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine last summer, which will cover 50 million Americans. We need to inoculate about 240 million to get herd immunity. Trump was offered the opportunity in August to buy another 100 million doses from Pfizer, and turned it down.

He really doesn't care. He is off golfing in Mar-a-Lago at taxpayer expense and didn't bother to sign the new Covid relief bill until Monday, which will cost unemployed workers $300 of lost support each. Andy Kiersz at Business Insider estimates that altogether, this will amount to billions stolen from them. Because Trump was in a snit that some Republican senators broke ranks with him and dared say out loud that he lost the election.

Trump's policies are the reason those people are still unemployed. His refusal to implement a national coronavirus response has let the virus run wild, causing multiple shut-downs that have kept the economy anemic. Countries with actual working governments like South Korea and Germany haven't had nearly the same problem, and China is actually growing 2% this year (under Trump, the gross domestic product will shrink 3.5%).

So first he put them out of work. And then he snatched $300 away from them by missing the Saturday-at-midnight deadline to sign the bill, which put off those benefits an extra week. Since the bill specifies a date in March when they will cease, losing a week could mean the money meant to cover that week is permanently unavailable.

The longer it takes the US to vaccinate the magic number of 240 million Americans, the longer those people are going to be unemployed, and in need ideally of much more than $300 a week.

But you know what? That's right. Trump really just doesn't care. He's playing golf every day in Mar-a-Lago.

(c) 2020 Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

The Dead Letter Office-

Kelly gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Loeffler

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 Samuel (Sammy the con) Alito.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your ability to tell lie, after lie, with a straight face almost equalling the Fuhrer's capability, 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 01-19-2021. We salute you frau Loeffler seig heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The likelihood of President Donald Trump ever being prosecuted and jailed for his crimes is about zero, if history is any guide.

Trump's Vilest Legacy: Impunity And Unaccountability
Nothing will correct this unless or until an overwhelming majority of Americans recognize and condemn what has occurred.
By Robert Reich

Most of the 74,222,957 Americans who voted to reelect Donald Trump-46.8% of the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election-don't hold Trump accountable for what he's done to America.

Their acceptance of Trump's behavior will be his vilest legacy.

Nearly forty years ago, political scientist James Q. Wilson and criminologist George Kelling observed that a broken window left unattended in a community signals that no one cares if windows are broken there. The broken window is thereby an invitation to throw more stones and break more windows. The message: Do whatever you want here because others have done it and got away with it.

The broken window theory has led to picayune and arbitrary law enforcement in poor communities. But America's most privileged and powerful have been breaking big windows with impunity.

In 2008, Wall Street nearly destroyed the economy. The Street got bailed out while millions of Americans lost their jobs, savings, and homes. Yet no major Wall Street executive ever went to jail.

In more recent years, top executives of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, along with the members of the Sackler family who own it, knew the dangers of OxyContin but did nothing. Executives at Wells Fargo Bank pushed bank employees to defraud customers. Executives at Boeing hid the results of tests showing its 737 Max Jetliner was unsafe. Police chiefs across America looked the other way as police under their command repeatedly killed innocent Black Americans.

Here, too, they've got away with it. These windows remain broken.

Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a wrecking ball to the most precious windowpane of all-American democracy.

The message? A president can obstruct special counsels' investigations of his wrongdoing, push foreign officials to dig up dirt on political rivals, fire inspectors general who find corruption, order the entire executive branch to refuse congressional subpoenas, flood the Internet with fake information about his opponents, refuse to release his tax returns, accuse the press of being "fake media" and "enemies of the people," and make money off his presidency.

And he can get away with it. Almost half of the electorate will even vote for his reelection.

A president can also lie about the results of an election without a shred of evidence-and yet, according to polls, be believed by the vast majority of those who voted for him.

Trump's recent pardons have broken double-paned windows.

Not only has he shattered the norm for presidential pardons-usually granted because of a petitioner's good conduct after conviction and service of sentence-but he's pardoned people who themselves shattered windows. By pardoning them, he has rendered them unaccountable for their acts.

They include aides convicted of lying to the FBI and threatening potential witnesses in order to protect him; his son-in-law's father, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion, witness tampering, illegal campaign contributions, and lying to the Federal Election Commission; Blackwater security guards convicted of murdering Iraqi civilians, including women and children; Border Patrol agents convicted of assaulting or shooting unarmed suspects; and Republican lawmakers and their aides found guilty of fraud, obstruction of justice and campaign finance violations.

It's not simply the size of the broken window that undermines standards, according to Wilson and Kelling. It's the willingness of society to look the other way. If no one is held accountable, norms collapse.

Trump may face a barrage of lawsuits when he leaves office, possibly including criminal charges. But it's unlikely he'll go to jail. Presidential immunity or a self-pardon will protect him. Prosecutorial discretion would almost certainly argue against indictment, in any event. No former president has ever been convicted of a crime. The mere possibility of a criminal trial for Trump would ignite a partisan brawl across the nation.

Congress may try to limit the power of future presidents-strengthening congressional oversight, fortifying the independence of inspectors general, demanding more financial disclosure, increasing penalties on presidential aides who break laws, restricting the pardon process, and so on.

But Congress-a co-equal branch of government under the Constitution-cannot rein in rogue presidents. And the courts don't want to weigh in on political questions.

The appalling reality is that Trump may get away with it. And in getting away with it he will have changed and degraded the norms governing American presidents. The giant windows he's broken are invitations to a future president to break even more.

Nothing will correct this unless or until an overwhelming majority of Americans recognize and condemn what has occurred.

(c) 2020 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

U.S. President Donald Trump climbs into golf cart number 45 as he golfs at Trump National Golf Club on December 13, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia.

Donald John Trump's 'Seditious Abuse'
As we come to the end of four rotten years, the child king spends his final days throwing an extra ton of trauma-inducing tantrums.
by Michael Winship

And it came upon a midnight clear during this holiday season that after weeks and months alternating between negotiation and inertia, Congress finally reached agreement with the White House and passed a new $908 billion relief bill that provided a stimulus payment of $600 to each qualified citizen.

Or so they thought. For lo, there rose a star in the East, albeit something more akin to a black hole sucking all the energy from the universe around it. Ah, good evening, Mr. President. I see you've brought your monkey wrench.

It was last Tuesday night when all of a sudden, Donald Trump declared that he might not sign the bill. This after he was nowhere to be seen during the actual negotiations, leaving them in the hands of his obeisant treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, while he, Trump, concentrated on his crazed pursuit of election vindication-vainly hoping time and again to overturn the legitimate, certified results.

In a videotaped message, a four-minute rant, Trump announced that he was opposed to the $600 payment and wanted Americans to receive more-$2000. He's right about that, $600 is puny recompense indeed for the tragedy of COVID and the economic devastation it has caused. But of course, he's the one who caused so much of our misery in the first place.

One in every thousand Americans now has succumbed to the virus. In Los Angeles County, the current epicenter of our plague, the disease takes the life of someone every ten minutes. And the Associated Press recently reported that 2020 will go down as the deadliest year in United States history-not only because of the coronavirus but also increased deaths (many COVID-related) from heart and circulatory disease, diabetes, dementia, vehicle accidents and drug overdoses.

Last week, "the CDC reported more than 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the 12 months ending in May," making it the highest number ever recorded in a one-year period.

Experts think the pandemic's disruption to in-person treatment and recovery services may have been a factor. People also are more likely to be taking drugs alone - without the benefit of a friend or family member who can call 911 or administer overdose-reversing medication.

But perhaps a bigger factor are the drugs themselves: COVID-19 caused supply problems for dealers, so they are increasingly mixing cheap and deadly fentanyl into heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, experts said.

We have spent the last ten months dealing with the fatal consequences of this pandemic, both direct and indirect, biological and financial. And while the arrival of at least two effective vaccines is the second best news of this entire year, "that triumph of scientific ingenuity and bureaucratic efficiency does not conceal the difficult truth," a crack team of Washington Post reporters write, "that the virus has caused proportionately more infections and deaths in the United States than in most other developed nations - a result, experts say, of a dysfunctional federal response led by a president perpetually in denial."

In a major investigative report, they note:

The catastrophe began with Trump's initial refusal to take seriously the threat of a once-in-a-century pandemic. But, as officials detailed, it has been compounded over time by a host of damaging presidential traits-his skepticism of science, impatience with health restrictions, prioritization of personal politics over public safety, undisciplined communications, chaotic management style, indulgence of conspiracies, proclivity toward magical thinking, allowance of turf wars and flagrant disregard for the well-being of those around him.
So yes, a $2000 payment to Americans would, at the very least, be a little over three times better than $600. But that isn't why Trump demanded it. He was trying to burnish his populist image and keep the base happy while simultaneously creating some more of the dreadful chaos in which he flourishes. The result of Trump's latest impulse? A delay in a bit of relief for hundreds of millions of Americans, more pain, more sacrifice, more loss. And eventually, he wound up signing the bill anyway. (As I write, the House has voted in a separate resolution to make the increase to $2000, but word is out on whether the GOP Senate will go along -- on Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked one attempt, there will be others.)

As we've come to learn and loathe this last four years, during any given week, something like Trump's truculence on the stimulus bill sadly seems business as usual. But as his days in office dwindle down to a precious few, he spends even more time off his rocker than on it.

In addition to his endless tweeting and plotting about overthrowing the election, add his veto of the defense authorization bill (which Congress is in the process of overriding), the ongoing pardons of cronies and villains while stepping up executions at Federal prisons, interfering with the presidential transition and his encouragement of right-wing protests in Washington next week (on the day Vice President Pence is to officially announce Biden as the next president)-while so far ignoring the Christmas Day suicide bombing in Nashville that tore apart large portions of a city block.

And all the while, he enjoys the holidays on his Florida golf course as his vice president skis in Colorado and Steve Mnuchin whiles away the hours at his Mexican vacation home. A pretty picture as poverty, sickness and death continue to ravage the nation to which they swore an oath.

Thank heaven, this soon will be at an end. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as my mother used to say. Donald Trump has betrayed the United States and the rule of law. He is a thug, a crumb and a louse, aided and abetted by a party and a significant segment of the populace who for whatever twisted reason find his hate and penchant for mayhem appealing. Pray for peace and reconciliation but do not forget.

At The Irish Times, the great Fintan O'Toole warns, "Stripped of direct power, [Trump] will face enormous legal and financial jeopardy. He will have every reason to keep drawing on his greatest asset: his ability to unleash the demons that have always haunted the American experiment-racism, nativism, fear of ‘the government.'

"Trump has unfinished business. A republic he wants to destroy still stands."

Donald John Trump is guilty of what Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro described a couple of weeks ago as "seditious abuse." Shapiro was talking about that bizarre Texas lawsuit that attempted to overthrow election results in four other states so that Trump could declare victory in the 2020 election, but the charge could be applied to virtually every action on every day he has held office.

What do you call Biden's inauguration? A good start but just a start, the beginning of a long hard road back to restore and make stronger what may be what Abraham Lincoln called "the last best hope" we have. Happy New Year.

(c) 2020 Michael Winship is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow for Common Dreams. Previously, he was the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and, 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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Lalo Alcaraz ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Russian Hackers Disappointed To Find U.S. Government Already Disabled
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Russian hackers attempting to disrupt the U.S. government were disappointed to discover that it had already been thoroughly disabled, the hackers have confirmed.

Expecting to find a well-oiled machine that they could impair, the hackers instead came upon a barely operational mess that had already suffered what appeared to be four years of degradation.

Dmitri X (not his real name), was assigned to hack the Environmental Protection Agency's computer systems and was "shocked" by the agency's weakened condition.

"My job was to access the E.P.A.'s database and delete all of the environmental regulations," he said. "There was nothing there left to delete."

The hacker found similar evidence of sabotage at the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, and myriad other federal agencies.

"To be honest, it was pretty disheartening," he said. "I was hired to cripple the U.S. government, but it's clear that someone else got there first."

The hacker could not identify who was behind the widespread vandalism, but speculated that the culprit had vast experience in driving large organizations into bankruptcy.

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

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Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 01 (c) 01/01/2021

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