Please visit our sponsor!

In This Edition

Norman Solomon explains, "Cuomo and Newsom Symbolize The Rot Of Corporate Democrats -- And The Dire Need for Progressive Populism."

Ralph Nader wonders, "Why Didn't Speaker Pelosi Call The Witnesses?"

Jesse Jackson returns with, "43 Republican Senators Chose To Stand With The Seditionists Rather Than Defend The Republic."

Jim Hightower wonders, "How Do You Spell BOSS.'"

William Rivers Pitt says, "Democrats Threw Away the Chance To Call Witnesses. I'm Still Not Over It."

John Nichols recalls, "Karen Lewis Built A Proudly Militant Movement For Public Education."

James Donahue asks, "Did The COVID-19 Pandemic Originate From Space?"

David Swanson returns with, "10 Key Points On Ending Wars."

Bill McKibben returns with, "Can Green Energy Power The Cannabis Boom?"

Charles P. Pierce examines, "This Was Gerrymandering Cloaked In The Moral Camouflage Of The Civil Rights Movement."

Juan Cole finds, "Federal Court Strikes Down Arkansas Attempt To Punish Proponents Of Boycotting Israel Over Its Treatment Of Palestinians."

Robert Reich says, "Trump Is History. It's Joe Biden Who's Changing America."

Jake Johnson warns, "Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Plans To Roll Out Slower Mail, Higher Prices."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Ted Cruz Deeply Disturbed By Part Of Capitol Riot Video Where Chuck Schumer Not Beaten To Death," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "We Could Learn A Lot From Bhutan."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Ken Catalino, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from,Tom Tomorrow, Erik McGregor, John Gress, Brandon Bell, Alex Wong, Pacific Press, George Rose, Win McNamee, Tom Brenner, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

Visit me on Face Book

We Could Learn A Lot From Bhutan
By Ernest Stewart

"Arctic warming is particularly strong in winter, as many studies show, this weakens the jet stream. The wind stream begins to fray, which could lead to more dips that affect temperatures in Europe." ~~~ Dorthe Handorf ~ the Alfred Wegener Institute of the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research.

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

The small Himalayan country of Bhutan, mainly known for measuring national happiness instead of GDP, is the only carbon-negative country on the planet. Believe it or not, it has only had one single death from COVID-19. I wonder is that a coincidence?

Madeline Drexler's new article in the Atlantic, "The Unlikeliest Pandemic Success Story," dives into the reasons that Bhutan has managed to fare so well against coronavirus while rich countries and middle-income have struggled to keep it in check. The tiny developing country, landlocked between India and Tibet, wasn't exactly set up for success. It began 2020 with exactly one PCR machine to test for the virus, according to Drexler's reporting, and one doctor with advanced training in critical care.

For anyone who's thought a lot about the collective action problem posed by climate change, Bhutan's recipe for success may sound familiar. Responding to a crisis isn't just about the great technology you have, but how fast you act, how you support your neighbors, and how willing you are to sacrifice for the common good.

It helps explain why Bhutan is the world's only "carbon-negative" country. That means it takes more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than it emits, which, if more countries joined in, could actually reverse global warming. Bhutan's rich natural features make that possible. Its constitution mandates that 60 percent of its total land is covered in forests. An extensive system of rivers provides abundant hydroelectricity, much of which Bhutan exports to India. At the international Paris climate summit in 2015, Bhutan was said to have the most ambitious pledge in the world - it was already absorbing three times more carbon dioxide than it emitted. Granted, with a population of 760,000 and an average income of $3,400 per person, Bhutan's example can only go so far. Still, its response to the dual crises of coronavirus and climate change is inspiring.

At the first hint of alarm, Bhutan acted quickly and firmly. Bhutan confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in March - an American tourist. Within 6 hours and 18 minutes, some 300 people had been contract-traced and quarantined, Drexler writes. Communication was clear: Face masks were called for from the start. The country went into full lockdown to suppress the virus whenever it found risk of community transmission, first in August, then in December. It's reminiscent of how proactive Bhutan has been on global warming.

Its leadership was competent - and trusted. Bhutan's king didn't spend months denying the dangers of the virus or years denying the reality of global warming. Instead, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck said that even one death from COVID-19 was one too many. He was engaged in detailed pandemic plans and visited frontline workers to encourage them. Other leaders stood up, too: The members of Bhutan's Parliament donated a month's salary to the response effort. "I don't think any other country can say that leaders and ordinary people enjoy such mutual trust," one journalist in Bhutan told the Atlantic.

The government provided resources so people could do the right thing. Personal sacrifice, whether it's quarantining or cutting your carbon footprint, doesn't work well if you're set up to fail. When Bhutan issued a mandatory quarantine in March for anyone who might've been exposed to the virus, it provided free room and board in hotels. It also delivered food and care packages and offered counseling for those in quarantine. An ongoing relief fund launched by the king has given $19 million to some 34,000 Bhutanese struggling to make ends meet. Now compare and contrast with Lying Donald and America!

Meanwhile back home a lot of global warming deniers are saying with all the snow and below zeros temperature there can be no global warming, when in fact just the opposite is true. Not only here, but much of Europe is in the same boat.

Over in Europe Germans shiver through double-digit negative temperatures and more than three feet of snow in parts of the country, corporate climate science deniers have taken to social media to argue that global warming is a hoax. Are you having a deja vu yet?

Their claim - which has been repeatedly debunked by climate scientists - is that extremely cold weather shows that carbon dioxide emissions are not warming the Earth.

In fact, the effects of global warming have favored the extremely cold temperatures.

As early as December, experts had an inkling about winter weather conditions this year. The polar vortex low-pressure area in the far north became unstable, allowing Arctic air masses to move south. The result: snow, freezing rain and above all, plummeting temperatures in Germany.

You may recall a few years ago when the same thing happened? Then the polar vortex was caused by a pair of hurricanes in the Pacific that headed north and drove all the cold air south. This time it's being caused by the warming north. They're heating up at twice our rate. Did I mention the warmer it gets the more water in the atmosphere i.e., more rain in the summer, more snow in the winter!

The polar vortex is closely connected to the jet stream, a band of strong winds about 6 miles above the ground. At the polar front, this flows between warm air from the tropics and subtropics, and cold polar air. The pressure extremes that form in this transitional area at lower layers are sometimes referred to in weather reports as the Icelandic low or the Azores high. If you've been watching the weather forecasts as of late you've seen this in action! And it looks like we got a couple more days of this until we get a break!



02-27-1947 ~ 02-13-2021
Thanks for the music!

01-12-1951 ~ 02-17-2021
Burn Baby Burn!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2021 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.

Cuomo and Newsom Symbolize The Rot Of Corporate Democrats -- And The Dire Need for Progressive Populism
By Norman Solomon

The governors of New York and California -- the most populous states led by Democrats -- now symbolize how slick liberal images are no substitute for genuinely progressive priorities.

After 10 years as New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo is facing an uproar over revelations that his administration intentionally and drastically undercounted the deaths from COVID in nursing homes. Meanwhile, in California, the once-bright political glow of Gavin Newsom has dimmed, in large part because of personally hypocritical elitism and a zig-zag "middle ground" approach to public-health safeguards during the pandemic, unduly deferring to business interests.

The political circumstances differ: Cuomo has been in conflict with New York progressives for many years over key policy matters, whereas Newsom was somewhat of a golden boy for Golden State progressives -- if they didn't look too closely at his corporate-friendly policies. But some underlying patterns are similar.

Both Cuomo and Newsom know how to talk progressive, but they're corporate Democrats to the core. On many issues in the state legislature, Cuomo has ended up aligning himself with Republican lawmakers to thwart progressive initiatives. In California, where a right-wing petition drive is likely to force Newsom into a recall election, the governor's moderate record is hardly cause for the state's huge number of left-leaning voters to be enthusiastic about him.

Anyone who thinks that the current Cuomo scandal about nursing-home deaths is a recent one-off problem, rather than reflecting a deep-seated corporate orientation, should take a look at investigative reporting by David Sirota that appeared nine months ago under the headline "Cuomo Gave Immunity to Nursing Home Execs After Big Donations -- Now People Are Dying." Sirota wrote:

"As Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a spirited challenge in his bid to win New York's 2018 Democratic primary, his political apparatus got a last-minute boost: a powerful health care industry group suddenly poured more than $1 million into a Democratic committee backing his campaign. Less than two years after that flood of cash from the Greater New York Hospital Association, Cuomo signed legislation last month quietly shielding hospital and nursing-home executives from the threat of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. The provision, inserted into an annual budget bill by Cuomo's aides, created one of the nation's most explicit immunity protections for health care industry officials, according to legal experts."
On the other side of the continent, Newsom is second to none in sounding the alarm about climate change and the need to move away from fossil fuels. But Newsweek reports that during his first two years as governor, Newsom's administration "approved more than 8,000 oil and gas permits on state lands." He continues to issue many fracking permits. (As the Wall Street Journal noted days ago, fracking is now "the source of most oil and gas produced in the U.S.")

Gov. Newsom's immediate predecessor, Jerry Brown, became fond of crowing that he governed the way a person would steer a canoe, paddling sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right. The metaphor did not answer the question of where the boat was headed.

It may be relevant that Cuomo and Newsom grew up in the nurturing shadow of extraordinary privilege, making them ill-positioned to see much beyond the comfortable bubbles surrounding them.

Andrew Cuomo's father Mario was New York's governor for three terms. At age 35, the younger Cuomo was appointed to be assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Clinton, who promoted him to HUD secretary four years later. Such powerful backers propelled him toward the governor's mansion in Albany.

From the outset, Newsom has been enmeshed with power. As longtime California journalist Dan Walters recently pointed out, "Gov. Gavin Newsom wasn't born to wealth and privilege but as a youngster he was enveloped in it as the surrogate son of billionaire Gordon Getty. Later, Getty's personal trust fund -- managed by Newsom's father -- provided initial financing for business ventures that made Newsom wealthy enough to segue into a political career as a protege of San Francisco's fabled political mastermind, Willie Brown."

It's possible to transcend such pampered upbringings -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt certainly did -- but failures to show credible concern for the working class and serve their interests have put both Cuomo and Newsom in today's political pickles.

Like all politicians, Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom are expendable as far as the corporate system is concerned. If their individual brands lose appeal, plenty of other corporate-power servants are eagerly available.

When elected officials like Cuomo and Newsom fade, the solution is not to find like-minded replacements with unsullied images. The problem isn't the brand, it's the quality of the political product.

But it doesn't have to be this way. And some trends are encouraging.

Genuine progressive populism -- insisting that government should strive to meet widespread social needs rather than serve the special interests of the wealthy and corporate elites -- is threatening to disrupt the complacency of mainline Democratic leaders who have long coasted on merely being better than Republicans.

More than ever, many entrenched Democrats are worried about primary challenges from the left. Such fears are all to the good. Progressive activism and shifts in public opinion have strengthened movements that are recruiting, supporting and sometimes electing candidates who offer far better alternatives.

(c) 2021 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."

Why Didn't Speaker Pelosi Call The Witnesses?
By Ralph Nader

February 13, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Office of the Speaker
H-252 US Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Madam Speaker:

More than 240 years of heroic sacrifices by our forbearers to plant the seeds of a government of the people, by the people, for the people are not being furthered by your shortsighted eagerness for an abbreviated gravely historic second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. The trial has thus been shorn of "smoking gun" witnesses and full exposure of his daily wrecking ball against the Constitution allegedly justified by Mr. Trump's unprecedented, brazenly monarchical pronouncement on July 23, 2019, "Then I have Article 2, where I have the right to do anything I want as president." Mr. Trump was as good as his word.

He usurped the congressional power to tax and spend.

He defied hundreds of congressional subpoenas or demands for testimony or information to disable oversight and to substitute government secrecy for transparency.

He turned the White House into a crime scene with serial violations of the Hatch Act.

According to former national security advisor John Bolton, fortified by the Mueller Report, he made obstruction of justice "a way of life" at the White House.

He appointed principal officers of the United States without Senate confirmation in violation of the Appointments Clause.

He transgressed both the letter and spirit of the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses.

He flouted his obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed by dismantling enforcement of environmental, safety, consumer protection, and labor laws.

January 6, 2021 was but the predictable culmination of Mr. Trump's unalloyed contempt for the Constitution and rule of law. If Article 2 crowns the president with limitless power, then to incite the use of force and violence against the legislative branch of government to prevent the Vice President from counting state-certified electoral votes falls squarely within that vast domain.

We submit you will be guilty of a dereliction of constitutional duty if you do not immediately demand to subpoena witnesses in the pending second impeachment trial. Senator Benjamin Cardin informed Scott Simon of NPR a short time ago that the House possesses that power.

The subpoenas should be issued to at least the following: Donald Trump, Mike Pence, William Barr, John Bolton, Christopher Krebs, Brad Raffensperger, Jeffrey Rosen, Rudy Giuliani, Jeffrey Clark, and "BJay" Park.

Your immediate call for witnesses critical to fortifying the impeachment evidence will be the definitive test of your resolve to convict Donald J. Trump and your understanding of the serious and gravity of the impeachment charges. A trial without key witnesses possessed of crucial incriminating testimony diminishes the seriousness of the proceedings and the huge stakes for the future of the American Republic.

The haunting question that history will raise will be this: Why didn't Speaker Pelosi call the witnesses?


Ralph Nader

Bruce Fein

(c) 2021 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).

Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) inside the U.S. Capitol building.

43 Republican Senators Chose To Stand With The Seditionists Rather Than Defend The Republic
What we saw Saturday was a profile in cowardice. Had there been a secret ballot, the Senate vote to convict Donald Trump likely would have been overwhelming.
By Jesse Jackson

When asked what the Constitutional Convention had created, Benjamin Franklin replied, "A Republic if we can keep it."

On Saturday, by an unprecedented bipartisan vote of 57-43, the Senate voted to keep the Republic and convict Donald Trump of his seditious incitement of the sacking of the Capitol.

Sadly, that vote did not meet the constitutional requirement of a two-third vote for conviction because 43 Republican senators chose to save their careers over saving the Republic. This was a profile in cowardice. Had there been a secret ballot, the vote to convict would likely have been overwhelming.

America, we say, is the land of the free and the home of the brave, but a vast majority of Republican senators reside in the land of fear and the home of the cowed. During the Civil War, the nation chose to save the Republic. Americans lost more lives than in any other war to defeat the Confederates, end their sedition and free the slaves.

On Jan. 6, the new Confederates stormed the Capitol, some bearing the flags of the Confederacy, some bearing the flags of Trump who-intent on overturning an election that he lost badly-sold them the lie that the election had been stolen. Trump assembled the mob, targeted the mob and set it on the Capitol to stop the certification of the election and the peaceful transfer of power. The senators and Trump's own vice president were their target. The Capitol was sacked. Brave officers died and were wounded struggling to defend it.

And 43 Republican senators chose to stand with the seditionists rather than defend the Republic.

They betray their own party's history. It was Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, who led the forces fighting to keep the Union together-and against the confederates who wanted to divide it. It was Lincoln's adversary, Jefferson Davis, who led those who would destroy the Republic. This year, the majority of Republicans in the Senate and House chose to stand with Donald Trump, the modern-day Jefferson Davis.

These are the same senators who send the sons and daughters of working families across the world to risk their lives fighting against terrorists or fighting against regimes they do not like. Yet when the terrorists are home-grown and the would-be tyrant leads their own party, they choose not to stand up. They fear losing their seats more than losing the Republic itself.

These conclusions are inescapable. The facts of Trump's sedition are not in dispute. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted as much, even after voting to acquit. The House managers-led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (whom I am proud to say once served as counsel to the Rainbow Coalition) and the formidable Rep. Stacey Plaskett-put forth an irrefutable case. Trump's sedition-the effort to overturn a presidential election and end a 200-year history of peaceful elections-struck at the very heart of the Republic's existence.

There is no explanation other than self-interest and cowardice to stand with Trump and the mob against the Republic and democratic elections.

America is now in a fierce struggle for the very survival of its democracy. A majority of Republican senators stood with the sedition. The Republicans who had the courage to vote for conviction have been censured by their state Republican parties. Across the country, Republican office holders-understanding that they are a minority party-are moving systematically to make voting more difficult, to purge voter rolls, to close polling stations in minority areas, to gerrymander districts, to open the sluice gates to secret money. They want only those they consider "real Americans" to be able to have their votes count.

And now they embrace and defend a leader whose attack on the Constitution he was sworn to defend is an act of treachery without precedent in our history.

Americans must now decide if they will continue to elect those who will not stand up for the Republic. They may rig the rules and tilt the playing field, but the decision will still be in our hands. Let us hope that with Ben Franklin and the Founders we decide to keep the Republic and continue to build a more perfect Union.

(c) 2021 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.

How Do You Spell "BOSS"
By Jim Hightower

What is it about billionaires and multimillionaires that make them both self-entitled and clueless about the impacts of their greed?

Even when they occasionally make a stab at doing something right, they tend to get it all wrong. For example, while major corporations rushed out PR campaigns at the start of today's devastating pandemic, loudly proclaiming all-in-this-together solidarity with their workers - shhhhh - most have quietly and quickly resumed their pre-pandemic policy of widely separating their rich fortunes from the well-being of their workforce.

Take supermarket giant, Kroger. Last March, as the pandemic spread across America, Kroger honchos publicly hailed grocery workers for staying on the job, despite the health hazard. They ran national TV ads announcing a $2 pay hike for employees, calling it a "heroes bonus." Nice!

But only six weeks later - shhhhh - the honchos killed the bonus pay, even as the virus spread. Not nice.

Well, you might think, the economy was collapsing, so maybe the bosses had to skrimp. Hardly. Grocery sales and profits have boomed in the pandemic, and - as the investigative newsletter Popular Information now reports - Kroger's profits have zoomed up by $1.2 billion since the disease surged last year.

Where did that bonanza go? To fat-cat executives and shareholders. Last September, Kroger spent a billion dollars on a stock buyback program - a corporate manipulation scheme that artificially jacks-up stock prices, thus enriching the already-rich handful of investors and executives who own most of the stock. How rich are they? One example: Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen's latest annual paycheck was $21,129,648.

One man, one year. And, unlike the typical Kroger workers who draw only $27,000 a year, McMullen is not on the frontline putting his life at risk.

And yet, those on top of America's financial heap wonder why working families spell "boss" backwards - Double-SOB.

(c) 2021 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

Members of the media watch the proceedings of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on February 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Democrats Threw Away the Chance To Call Witnesses. I'm Still Not Over It.
By William Rivers Pitt

"FIFTY-FIVE VOTES TO HEAR WITNESSES," I giddily announced on Facebook at precisely 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 13. "Collins, Sasse, Murkowski, Graham (!!!) and Romney included." I could scarcely believe it; all throughout the abbreviated impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the possibility of calling actual witnesses had seemed remote at best... until five Republicans crossed the pond to skate with the Democrats. The managers had won the day in a rout, and the world could now learn precisely what Trump did, and refused to do, on that terrifying 6th day of January.

By 3:00 p.m. that same Saturday afternoon, however, Trump had been acquitted of the charge of incitement to insurrection with not one single witness having been called. Seven Republicans voted with the majority in favor of conviction, but the vote was still 10 short of the 17 Republicans needed to convict. With the abruptness of flicking a switch, it was over.

I spent much of the remaining weekend in dark rooms staring at my hands. "What am I using these for?" I kept asking myself. The quest for simple justice in this impossibly corrupt country is enough of a permanent burden without having victories - rare, precious victories - snatched away and discarded by the very people who worked so hard to secure them. I have been through my fair share of social and political traumas, but somehow the slammed-lid ending to that second impeachment trial felt like the unkindest cut of all.

Rep. Jamie Raskin overcame a huge emotional burden - the recent loss of his son and the threat to his family when the Capitol was sacked - and he, along with his fellow impeachment managers, put on a presentation for the ages. Then, after succeeding beyond all expectations in securing Republican support for witness testimony, they gave away the store.

Instead of bringing in witnesses to offer testimony, the managers made do with a statement from a single witness who described Trump as being deeply disdainful to those asking him to intervene in the violence.

That was it, thanks for coming, turn out the lights when you leave.

"The jury is ready to vote," Democratic Sen. Chris Coons successfully urged the managers in his bid to end the trial. "People want to get home for Valentine's Day." And so it was that a manufactured holiday designed to make people spend money in February got the drop on justice in the same building where they were still sweeping up the broken glass.

"We have no regrets," Raskin later said on Meet the Press. "We left it totally out there on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and every senator knew exactly what happened. We could have had a thousand witnesses but that could not have overcome the kinds of silly arguments that people like McConnell and Capito were hanging their hats on." Reps. Stacy Plaskett and Joe Neguse, two breakout stars from the manager's team, are taking a victory lap and looking toward a brighter future.

Bully for them. While it is almost certainly true the Republicans would have voted to acquit Trump in the end, this misses the ultimate point by several nautical miles. An impeachment "trial" is really a hearing, and hearings are as much about politics as they are about the facts. The GOP has used hearings to transmit its mayhem arguments to the country to incredible effect over the years - Benghazi, your table is ready - but when Democrats WON (!!) the opportunity to do the same, they spit the bit and talked about having no regrets.

Far more went on during the events of January 6 than the people have been made aware of, even after Raskin and the managers painted the walls of Congress with vivid imagery of a bloody coup barely avoided. Some 57 state and local Republican officials participated in the attack on that building. Trump himself offered support that was arguably tantamount to holding the Capitol doors open for the mob to charge through with nooses and zip ties.

Witnesses would have told the people about that in necessarily excruciating detail. Witnesses were already lining up to do just that. Would it have altered the outcome? No more than the Benghazi hearings ultimately resulted in Hillary Clinton's arrest, but that is not the point of the exercise. The GOP would have been forced to defend Trump and his people with the weight of witness testimony bearing down on them, and like as not it would have served to further undermine the still-too-large power and influence enjoyed by our traitor former president. Much good would have come from the theater of it.

Instead, they threw the opportunity away.

And how has the Republican Party reacted to that surprising bit of weekend largesse? They are outrageously accusing House Speaker Pelosi of being responsible for the inadequate protection of the Capitol on January 6, when members of the pro-Trump mob ransacked her office and terrorized her staff.

After spending a long, lethal year defending Trump's horrific failures in the face of COVID, Republicans are now seeking to capitalize on that pain by "weaponizing" frustrated parents against President Biden. "Republicans see room to capitalize on the grim public health and economic situation the White House inherited from Donald Trump by trying to put Democrats on the defensive for being too removed from the pain or too slow-moving to address it," reports Politico. In tandem, Republicans are also lining up to thwart Biden's deeply needed and wildly popular relief package, which the administration hopes to deliver by March. "Republicans are adrift at the moment," reports Punchbowl News. "The lowest common denominator to get back on the same page will be opposing Biden and his agenda - especially a package of this size. We saw them do this in 2009 with the stimulus. And we expect the same here."

And it's only Tuesday.

President Harry Truman once asked, "How many times do you have to get hit over the head until you figure out who's hitting you?" What happened last Saturday was a disgrace to the cause of freedom and truth, yet another humiliation for a Democratic Party that never seems to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Instead, they stand there, backs turned, while the hits just keep on coming.

Anyone who calls themselves a Democrat today should be embarrassed, and the Democratic leadership should be made to hear of it. Attempts to spin the conclusion of that trial as some sort of moral victory are laughable. The managers got right where they needed to be, and then gave away the game ball because it was the easier thing to do. Too many more "victories" like that, and we'll be inaugurating Donald Trump again in four years.

(c) 2021 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.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

Karen Lewis Built A Proudly Militant Movement For Public Education
"Great schools with great teachers is the most important civil right of our generation," she boldly declared. And she built a movement of believers in that vision.
By John Nichols

Karen GJ Lewis saw the future of public education. At the heart of her vision was a radical faith that fully funded public schools could prepare children to meet every social, economic, and democratic challenge of the 21st century.

As the president of the Chicago Teachers Union from 2010 to 2018, Lewis preached that "great schools with great teachers is the most important civil right of our generation." She inspired teachers and their allies to carry their ideals onto picket lines and into the political arena. They embraced the cause so passionately that, though Lewis has died at age 67 after a long battle with brain cancer, the militant "Red for Ed" movement she championed is certain to live on.

"Karen had three questions that guided her leadership: 'Does it unite us, does it build our power and does it make us stronger?' Before her, there was no sea of red-a sea that now stretches across our nation," declared the CTU. "She was the voice of the teacher, the paraprofessional, the clinician, the counselor, the librarian and every rank-and-file educator who worked tirelessly to provide care and nurture for students; the single parent who fought tremendous odds to raise a family; and the laborer whose rights commanded honor and respect."

Lewis, her union declared, "did not just lead our movement. Karen was our movement. In 2013, she said that in order to change public education in Chicago, we had to change Chicago, and change the political landscape of our city. Chicago has changed because of her. We have more fighters for justice and equity because of Karen, and because she was a champion-the people's champion."

That change extended beyond Chicago, and beyond Illinois, because Lewis preached a solidarity gospel that took her far beyond her hometown. Wherever teachers and their allies were organizing, marching, and rallying on behalf of strong unions and great schools, Karen Lewis was at their side.

"We believe in publicly funded public education and we believe that we can have a system in Chicago that is equal to or exceeds school districts in Finland or Japan," she said after she and fellow activists with the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) reorganized the CTU into a powerful force in the fight against school privatization, closures, cuts, and the gimmickry that too often passes for education policy.

"[This] newly energized CTU is often in opposition with the status quo-those who are in power, many of whom have never stepped foot in a classroom and inhabit editorial boards or make millions on the top levels of corporate-owned skyscrapers or promulgate in the halls of our legislative bodies," Lewis explained in a much-noted speech to the Chicago City Club, after her 2013 reelection to a second term as head of the 25,000-member union. "We are sometimes in opposition with those who have been inside the classroom but have forgotten the true mission of our profession and have instead opted for payouts, bonuses, and lucrative management and educational consulting contracts."

Lewis, with whom I proudly shared platforms and podiums over the years, would have been a leader at any time and in any struggle. A student of film and music, a pianist and opera buff who spoke Latin, French, and Italian, a convert to Judaism who was well regarded for her commentaries on the Torah, she could take a conversation anywhere it needed to go. But her greatest passion was for education.

Lewis's father and mother were teachers. Educated in the Chicago Public Schools, she was the only Black woman in the Dartmouth College class of 1974. With an Ivy League degree, she returned to her hometown and taught chemistry for 22 years. Like a lot of teachers, she was frustrated with the "experts" and the politicians who were constantly proposing "No Child Left Behind" and "Race to the Top" schemes, along with other grand plans that invariably added up to more standardized testing and less focus on actual learning.

Lewis recognized, as the radical reformers of a century ago did, that advocacy for quality education was part of a broader fight for economic and social justice. And she did not shy away from asking the toughest questions about the whole of that struggle.

"When will there be an honest conversation about the poverty, racism and inequality that hinders the delivery of a quality education product in our school system?" she asked with regard to elite proponents of privatization schemes.

(c) 2021 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.

Did The COVID-19 Pandemic Originate From Space?
By James Donahue

A Roman Catholic nun in Italy once published a research paper that suggested influenza and other viral diseases originate from space and that the H1N1 virus, present at the time of her writing, have been the beginning of what she titled the Death Star Pandemic of 2009-2012: End of Age Begins.

She may have misread the stars on that one. H1N1 was serious but not the global killer she envisioned. But COVID-19 may be a different story.

In her work, Sister Mariaelena Bianchessi drew on theories presented by Dr. Fred Hoyle and Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe, both known for their belief that influenza outbreaks are caused by newly arriving viruses from space. Holt, who expounded the theory of Stellar Nucleosynthesis, went so far as to theorize that all life on earth came from space.

Sister Bianchessi argues in her document that the influenza virus originates from a great "Death Star" identified in the Book of the Revelation as Wormwood. She believes the great pandemic that is just now coming among mankind is the terrible event described in Revelation 8:10-11:

"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the foundations of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."
Sister Bianchessi also drew from writings by the late Pope Benedict XIV (1675-1758), entitled "Institutiones Ecclesiasticae," that states the Old English word "Wormwood" was substituted in the Bible for the more ancient word "Apsinthion," a bitter green liquor known even today as Absinthe. This word's origins, she said, "stretch back into the mists of time, lore, myth and fable to an Earth preparing an end to its own age and seeking to warn our world today of what is to come and what is to be."

Even more interesting is the origin of the word "influenza." Sister Bianchessi said the name was drawn in 1743 from an Italian word that meant "influence. . . Influenza and having the meaning of 'Streaming ethereal power from the stars acting upon character or destiny of men.'"

A virus by definition is a sub-microscopic infectious agent made up of strands of both DNA and RNA. While it can affect the health of every living organism on Earth, a virus by its very nature cannot reproduce by itself. It must enter a living cell and mix with the DNA of that cell and then move from place to place through natural cell duplication. But the new cells produced contain the toxic DNA created by the virus.

A virus can spread from mother to child, from person to person, from fecal contamination of food, exchanges of saliva, sneezing or they can be carried by biting insects. It always involves an exchange of contaminated cells.

Some researchers question if a virus, by pure definition, can even be considered a life form. They say it is really classified as a parasite.

The very name, "virus," is a Latin word that means toxin or poison."

The origin of viruses has been a scientific puzzle since the microscopic parasite was first discovered to exist. Virologist Ed Rybicki, at the University of Capetown, South Africa, wrote that tracing the origins of viruses is almost impossible "because they don't leave fossils and because of the tricks they use to make copies of themselves within the cells they've invaded."

Rybicki noted that "some viruses even have the ability to stitch their own genes into those of the cells they infect, which means studying their ancestry requires untangling it from the history of their hosts and other organisms.

"What makes this process even more complicated is that viruses don't just infect humans; they can infect basically any organism - from bacteria to horses, seaweed to people."

This is why battling new viruses that appear, and the process of attempting to develop effective vaccines to ward them off, has been so difficult. That viruses also are known to quickly evolve as they move from host to host adds an even more complex challenge to medical science.

So what support does Sister Bianchessi and Pope Benedict have for their theory that great world influenza pandemics have originated from the stars? They note that the world's first recorded instance of a global influenza pandemic started in Italy in 1743 and spread throughout Europe, then crossed the Atlantic to America. That influenza virus, coupled with the smallpox virus, led to the mass deaths of nearly all of the native Americans then living on the American continent.

Both Hoyle and Wickramasinghe linked severe influenza outbreaks with peaks in the eleven-year cycle of sunspot activity. They noted that the very worst pandemics coincided with peaks of sunspot activity during the Solar Minimums. Sister Bianchessi thus is predicting a mass world dying from pandemic because we have been through the worst solar sunspot activity during a Solar Minimum in recorded human history.

She notes that this event was "much worse than the Solar Minimum which preceded the catastrophic 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic."

Was she right but posting her prophetic message a bit too early? Could she possibly have been predicting a new horror virus yet to appear. Could COVID-19 be the killer she envisioned?

(c) 2021 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.

10 Key Points On Ending Wars
By David Swanson

1. Victories that are only partial are not fictional.

When a ruler, like Biden, finally announces the end of a war, like the war on Yemen, it is as important to recognize what it does mean as what it doesn't. It doesn't mean the U.S. military and U.S.-made weapons will vanish from the region or be replaced by actual aid or reparations (as opposed to "lethal aid" - a product that's usually high on people's Christmas lists only for other people). It does not mean we'll see U.S. support for the rule of law and the prosecution of the worst crimes on earth, or encouragement for nonviolent movements for democracy. It apparently does not mean an end to providing information to the Saudi military on whom to kill where. It apparently does not mean the immediate lifting of the blockade on Yemen.

But it does mean that, if we keep up and increase the pressure from the U.S. public, from activists around the globe, from people putting their bodies in front of weapons shipments, from labor unions and governments cutting off weapons shipments, from media outlets compelled to care, from the U.S. Congress forced to follow through, from cities passing resolutions, from cities and institutions divesting from weapons, from institutions shamed into dropping their funding by warmongering dictatorships (did you see Bernie Sanders yesterday denouncing Neera Tanden's corporate funding, and Republicans defending it? what if he had mentioned UAE funding?) - if we increase that pressure then almost certainly some weapons deals will be delayed if not stopped forever (in fact, they already have been), some types of U.S. military participation in the war will cease, and potentially - by protesting all ongoing militarism as evidence of a broken promise - we'll get more than Biden, Blinken, and the Blob intend.

On a webinar earlier today, Congressman Ro Khanna said that he believed the announcement of an end to offensive war meant that the U.S. military could not participate in bombing or sending missiles into Yemen at all, but only in protecting civilians within Saudi Arabia.

(Why the United States should get to admit it's engaged in offensive, aka aggressive wars, as a means of fudging what exactly it means to end them is a question worth taking on.)

Khanna said that he believed certain members of the National Security Council would have to be vigilantly watched to keep them from redefining defensive as offensive. He suggested that the people he was most worried about were not National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan or Secretary of State Antony Blinken. I expect that there will be efforts made to continue blowing people up with missiles and traumatizing people with drones under the guise of "combatting terrorism" as somehow separate from the war. If there is to be any discussion of the role that a "successful drone war" played in creating the current horror, or any apologizing for anything, that will have to be driven forward by us.

But what's just happened is progress, and it's a new and different sort of progress, but it's not the first victory for opponents of war. Each time that activism has helped prevent a war on Iran, the U.S. government has failed to become a force for peace in the world, but lives have been saved. When a major escalation of the war on Syria was prevented seven years ago, the war didn't end, but lives were saved. When the world prevented the UN from authorizing war on Iraq, the war still happened, but it was illegal and shameful, it was partially restrained, new wars were discouraged, and new nonviolent movements were encouraged. The risk of nuclear apocalypse is now greater than ever, but without activist victories over the decades, there quite likely would be nobody around anymore to lament all of our shortcomings.

2. Obsession with the character of individual politicians is of zero value.

Hunting among politicians for model human beings to praise, tell children to emulate, and devote oneself to supporting across the board is like hunting for meaning in a speech by a Trump defense lawyer. Hunting among politicians for evil demons to condemn the very existence of - or declare to be worthless pieces of garbage as Stephen Colbert did yesterday in a critique of fascism that seemed to rather miss the point - is equally hopeless. Elected officials are not your friends and enemies should not exist outside of cartoons.

When I told someone this week that Congressman Raskin made a good speech they replied "No, he didn't. He made a horrible, dishonest, warmongering Russiagate speech a few years ago." Now, I know this is highly complicated, but believe it or not, the same guy did indeed do both horrible and commendable things, and every single other elected official ever has done so too.

So, when I say that our progress on ending the war on Yemen is a victory, I'm not swayed by the response "Nuh-uh, Biden doesn't really care about peace and is moving toward war on Iran (or Russia or fill in the blank)." The fact that Biden is not a peace activist is the point. Getting a peace activist to take steps toward peace is no victory at all. The interest of a peace activist should not be principally in avoiding having standers by call you a sucker. It should be in gaining power to achieve peace.

3. Political parties are not teams but prisons.

Another great source of time and energy, after ceasing the hunt for the Good and Evil politicians is the abandonment of identification with political parties. The two big parties in the United States are very different but both largely bought off, both dedicated to a government that is first and foremost a war machine with the majority of discretionary spending devoted to war every year, with the United States leading the world in weapons dealing and war making, and with virtually no discussion or debate. Election campaigns almost ignore the existence of the main thing elected officials do. When Senator Sanders asked Neera Tanden about her past corporate funding, the remarkable thing wasn't the failure to mention her funding by a foreign dictatorship, it was asking anything about her past at all - which, of course, did not include her support for making Libya pay for the privilege of being bombed. Nominees for foreign policy positions are asked almost nothing about the past and primarily about their willingness to support hostility toward China. On this there is bipartisan harmony. That officials are organized into parties does not mean that you have to be. You should remain free to demand exactly what you want, praise all steps toward it, and condemn all steps away from it.

4. Occupation does not bring peace.

The U.S. military and its sidekick obedient puppy nations have been bringing peace to Afghanistan for almost 2 decades, not counting all the damage done prior. There have been ups and downs but generally worsening, usually worsening at times of troop increases, usually worsening at times of bombing increases.

Since before some participants in the war on Afghanistan were born, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan has been saying that things would be bad and possibly worse when the U.S. got out, but that the longer it took to get out the worse that hell would be.

A new book by Severine Autesserre called The Frontlines of Peace makes the case that the most successful peacebuilding usually involves organizing local residents to lead their own efforts to counter recruitment and resolve conflicts. The work of unarmed peacekeepers around the globe shows huge potential. If Afghanistan is ever going to have peace, it's going to have to start with getting the troops and the weapons out. The top supplier of weapons and even a top supplier of funding to all sides, including the Taliban, has often been the United States. Afghanistan does not manufacture weapons of war.

Email the U.S. Congress here!

5. Demilitarization is not abandonment.

There are 32 million people in Afghanistan, most of whom have yet to hear about 9-11, and a significant percentage of whom were not alive in 2001. You could give them each, including children and drug lords, a $2,000 survival check for 6.4% of the trillion dollars dumped annually into the U.S. military, or a tiny fraction of the many trillions squandered and wasted - or the countless trillions in damage done, by this endless war. I'm not saying you should or that anyone will. Just ceasing to do harm is a dream. But if you wanted to not "abandon" Afghanistan, there are ways to engage with a place other than bombing it.

But let's end the pretense that the U.S. military is after some sort of humanitarian good. Of the 50 most oppressive governments on earth, 96% of them are armed and/or trained and/or funded by the U.S. military. On that list are U.S. partners in the war on Yemen, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt. On that list is Bahrain, now 10 years out from the crackdown on its uprising - Join a webinar tomorrow!

6. Victories are global and local.

The European Parliament today followed up on the U.S. action by opposing weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE. Germany had done this on Saudi Arabia and proposed it for other countries.

Afghanistan is a war with numerous nations playing at least token roles through NATO that can be pressured to remove their troops. And doing so will impact the United States.

This is a global movement. It is also a local one, with local groups and city councils pressuring national officials.

Passing local resolutions and laws against wars and on related topics like demilitarizing police and divesting from weapons helps in many ways. Join a webinar tomorrow on demilitarizing Portland Oregon.

7. Congress matters.

Biden did what he did on Yemen because if he hadn't Congress would have. Congress would have because people who compelled Congress to do it two years ago would have compelled Congress again. This matters because it is relatively easier - though still outrageously difficult - to move Congress to answer majority demands.

Now that Congress does not have to end the war on Yemen again, at least not in the way that it did before, it should move onto the next war on the list, which should be Afghanistan. It should also start moving money out of military spending and into addressing actual crises. Ending wars should be yet another reason for reducing military spending.

The caucus being formed on this topic should be used, but joining it should count for little in the absence of a credible commitment to vote against military funding that does not move at least 10% out.

Email Congress here!

8. War Powers Resolution matters.

It matters that Congress finally, for the first time, used the War Powers Resolution of 1973. Doing so hurts campaigns to further weaken that law. Doing so strengthens campaigns to get it used again, on Afghanistan, on Syria, on Iraq, on Libya, on the dozens of smaller U.S. military operations around the world.

9. Weapons sales matter.

It matters that ending the war on Yemen prominently includes ending weapons sales. This should be expanded and continued, possibly including through Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's bill to Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers.

10. Bases matter. These wars are also about bases. Closing bases in Afghanistan should be a model for closing bases in dozens of other countries. Closing bases as expensive instigators of wars should be a prominent part of moving funding out of militarism.

(c) 2021 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.

Agricultural communities around the country are commercializing the cannabis trade for the sake of tax revenue, and thus laws governing its cultivation will be needed.

Can Green Energy Power The Cannabis Boom?
By Bill McKibben

Last week's newsletter was about the need to stop burning things, but there's at least one area where I know that this advice is a lost cause. That's at the small blaze at the end of a joint: marijuana stocks are booming in the wake of the U.S. Senate wins in Georgia, which gave the Democrats a majority in that chamber, since investors reckon that Democrats are likely to continue along the steady path toward legalization.

The amount of carbon produced by burning pot is not actually a concern. But it turns out that producing the crop, at least the way that it's grown by large-scale entrepreneurs, requires huge amounts of electricity. As early as 2012, it was estimated that one per cent of the country's electricity was used for raising pot. In California, the leading state in production, it was three per cent. An indoor growing facility can have the lighting intensity of a hospital operating room, which is five hundred times recommended reading levels; researchers from the National Coalition of State Legislatures found that a five-thousand-square-foot indoor farm in Boulder County, Colorado, was using 41,808 kilowatt hours per month, while an average household used about 630 kilowatt hours. Many growers apparently pair their bright lights with high-powered air-conditioning in order to "shorten a plant's growing cycle." The researchers added-and here I must confess my own preference-that "the energy used to produce one marijuana cigarette would also produce 18 pints of beer."

Those numbers really are large and mean that, right at the moment when we need to be desperately reducing the amount of energy we use, we've found a huge new electricity hog. Yes, that energy can be produced by the sun, but for the foreseeable future the best use of new solar panels and wind turbines is to displace existing uses, not underwrite new ones. One of the first people to write me about the issue was a small-scale solar operator named Naoto Inoue, the C.E.O. of Solar Market, who began building arrays in New England about fifteen years ago. "So many people's efforts to reduce the carbon footprint is going down the drain because of indoor-grow greed," he said.

It's an especially ironic use of power because of marijuana's history in the otherwise green counterculture and because you can grow it outdoors-in the sunlight. In Vermont, where I live, each resident is allowed to grow six plants, and, although I haven't taken advantage of the law, I know that six plants turns out to be a lot. Here, pot is the new zucchini, and if you leave your car unlocked when you go shopping you may return to find a sack of the stuff on the back seat. If any commodity could be left as a part of a local gift economy, it seems like it might be marijuana; but here, as in other places, we're quickly commercializing the trade, in order to reap state-tax revenue. In which case, laws governing its cultivation will be required: Massachusetts is making larger growers use no more than thirty-six watts of electricity per square foot, down from a typical forty to forty-five watts; in Maine, growers can apply for state grants to make their operations more energy-efficient. Perhaps sun-grown pot, like shade-grown coffee, will catch on: last week, a prospective grower in the Berkshires sought local approval for a farm with promises about outdoor, artisanal cultivation.

Inoue's solution is a heavy carbon tax for growers-with a high enough tariff, the advantage will switch back to outdoor growers. Barring that, new installations should come with their own renewable-energy construction. Barring that, I.P.A.s.

Passing the Mic

About half of all products on grocery shelves contain palm oil, and production has doubled in the past decade. The James Beard Award-winning food journalist Jocelyn Zuckerman has travelled from Indonesia and Malaysia to Brazil and India looking at the vast plantations where the oil palms are grown. Her forthcoming book, "Planet Palm," is a compelling look at just how much trouble it's possible to cause with a single plant. (Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.)

Palm oil seems to cause more havoc per ounce than almost any commodity, and yet we've barely heard of it. Why is it so bad?

The main problem is its effect on the environment. The oil palm plant grows best at ten degrees to the north and south of the equator. Unfortunately, that swathe also corresponds with the planet's tropical rain forests. Not only are these ecosystems important for sequestering carbon but they support more than half the world's plant and animal species. We now know that global biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history, with far-reaching consequences in terms of pollination and pest control, among other things. The demise of a single species can lead to the collapse of an entire ecosystem, affecting local communities and ultimately destabilizing economies and governments. The region targeted for oil-palm development also overlaps with much of the earth's peatlands-soils formed over thousands of years through the accumulation of organic matter-and draining and burning this terrain to make way for plantations sends massive quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Finally, we're flirting with pandemic disaster. Some seventy-five per cent of today's emerging infectious diseases originate in animals, and sixty per cent of those can spread directly from them. Over the past few decades the number of such animal-to-human, or "zoonotic," transmissions has skyrocketed. A third of these new diseases can be linked directly to deforestation and agricultural intensification, most of it involving tropical rain forests. Mowing down these natural treasures doesn't just push iconic animals like the orangutan to the brink of extinction; it also sends virus-carrying wildlife like bats in search of new habitat, forcing them into closer contact with humans.

Do we really need this stuff to keep our economies functioning-and what about the economies of the countries it comes from?

I guess I'd start by asking whether our economies are "functioning" in the first place. The Labor Department just announced that 1.15 million workers filed for unemployment in the first week of 2021. The World Food Programme says that it will need to feed a hundred and thirty-eight million people this year-more than at any time in its sixty-year history. Meanwhile, the world's richest one per cent owns forty-four per cent of the global wealth. Let's also consider where the oil ends up. Some two-thirds of global production finds its way into food, most of it fried and/or ultra-processed. In recent years, rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes have shot dramatically up, particularly in the low-income countries where Big Food is now focussed on dumping its industrial-palm-oil-enabled junk. What is the cost to those countries' economies of treating the diseases resulting from these unhealthy new diets? How about the lost income of those sidelined laborers? Yes, the economies of Indonesia and Malaysia, which together account for some eighty-five per cent of the world's palm-oil production, are deeply reliant on the commodity. But they are also facing public-health crises related to shifting diets. Palm-oil laborers in Southeast Asia, meanwhile, make around seven dollars a day, and studies have found that diets in communities where the palm-oil industry has moved in are far less healthy than those of traditional communities living in the same region. We won't get into the agrochemicals that poison workers and local waterways.

What are the effective pressure points on the governments that allow this, and the corporations that encourage it? Are there some hopeful signs?

Unfortunately, as in Trump's America and Bolsonaro's Brazil, the governments in Southeast Asia tend to be a part of the problem, more concerned about cozying up to industry than protecting the health of their citizens or the planet. The Indonesian President recently signed an omnibus bill that will eliminate critical protections for workers and the environment. Next door in Malaysia, the government routinely spreads disinformation about the palm-oil industry's environmental and social impacts, and has paid a D.C. lobbying firm some million dollars to counter opposition to it. Here as elsewhere, it's been civil society and the private sector leading the way. Consumers and N.G.O.s have pushed traders and other companies to sign no-deforestation agreements and have raised awareness about institutional investors linked to palm-oil-related deforestation. Local communities from Cameroon to Guatemala and Papua New Guinea are stepping forward to sound the alarm about illegal oil-palm concessions, are demanding indigenous land rights, and are speaking out about labor and human-rights abuses. It's a tough climb-there are massive interests at stake, and these people do not play pretty-but I think that, as more folks come to understand what this industry is all about and exactly what's at stake, there may be room for some cautious optimism.

Climate School

To see the Biden Administration starting to move on the climate challenge is invigorating, but it's worth remembering how far behind we are. As the Washington Post reports, new data from the journal Nature Communications on the Antarctic show that the Southern Ocean is warming "faster than predicted," threatening to erode glaciers from below where they stretch out over the sea. "Like removing a doorstop, the collapse of these ice shelves can free up inland ice to move into the ocean, raising global sea levels and harming coastal communities."

With the Keystone XL pipeline dead, indigenous campaigners are pushing the Biden Administration to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline, too, and stop construction on Minnesota's Line 3. Dallas Goldtooth, a member of the Mdewakanton Dakota and Dine nations and the Keep It in the Ground campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, said that the KXL decision "is a vindication of ten years defending our waters and treaty rights from this tar-sands carbon bomb. I applaud President Biden for recognizing how dangerous KXL is for our communities and climate, and I look forward to similar executive action to stop DAPL and Line 3 based on those very same dangers." The Ponca elder Casey Camp-Horinek also wrote an eloquent letter to the President. Meanwhile, a United Nations commission chastised the Canadian government for not getting buy-in from First Nations on various pipeline and energy-development plans.

Oil executives talking to Bloomberg said that the KXL cancellation may end the era of "mega-pipelines." "I can't imagine going to my board and saying, 'we want to build a new greenfield pipeline,'" the Williams Companies' C.E.O., Alan Armstrong, said in an interview, noting that his company has seen pipeline projects shut down by regulators. "I do not think there will be any funding of any big cross-country greenfield pipelines, and I say that because of the amount of money that's been wasted."


Columbia University has joined Cornell and Brown as the third Ivy to move toward full divestiture from fossil fuels. "There is an undeniable obligation binding upon Columbia and other universities to confront the climate crisis across every dimension of our institutions," Lee C. Bollinger, the president of the university, said. "The effort to achieve net zero emissions must be sustained over time, employing all the tools available to us and engaging all who are at Columbia today and those who will follow us in the years ahead. This announcement reaffirms that commitment and reflects the urgent need for action."

An Israeli company announced new batteries for electric cars that can be recharged in just five minutes. "The number one barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles is no longer cost, it is range anxiety," Doron Myersdorf, the C.E.O. of StoreDot, the company that made the breakthrough, said. "You're either afraid that you're going to get stuck on the highway or you're going to need to sit in a charging station for two hours. But if the experience of the driver is exactly like fuelling [a petrol car], this whole anxiety goes away."

The Saudi oil giant Aramco misreported its carbon emissions-by half.

The Bank of France moved toward the head of the line of central banks greening their portfolios. It's out of the coal business and, according to Reuters, the bank said in a statement that by 2024 it "would also exclude companies with more than 10% of revenue coming from oil or 50% from gas, which could potentially mean the central bank would have to shun groups like French energy major Total."

The Times reports that, on Tuesday, Larry Fink, the C.E.O. of Blackrock, in his annual letter to investors, told the boards of companies in which it invests "to disclose a plan for how their business model will be compatible with a net-zero economy," which he defined as limiting global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages and eliminating net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050." On the same morning, New York City announced that its pension funds had divested four billion dollars from fossil-fuel companies. And the evening before, Senator Chuck Schumer, known in Washington as a champion of Wall Street, used far stronger language than he has in the past to demand climate action. "If there ever was an emergency, climate is one. So I would suggest that [the Biden Administration] explore looking at climate as an emergency, which would give them more flexibility," he told Rachel Maddow, on MSNBC.

Warming Up

I find, in the absence of the ex-President's tweets, that I'm able to let my guard down a little more these days. The musician Elori Saxl has produced an album perfect for decompressing, "a meditation on the effect of technology on our relationship with land/nature/place that ultimately evolved to be more of a reflection on longing and memory." It combines digitally processed recordings of wind and water with electronic synthesizers and chamber orchestra. Half of the piece was written "in the Adirondack mountains of northern New York in summer surrounded by lakes, rivers, and moss-covered forest floors, and the other half on a frozen island in Lake Superior in deep winter."

(c) 2021 Bill McKibben is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign and a contributing writer to The New Yorker. He writes The Climate Crisis, The New Yorker's newsletter on the environment.

This Was Gerrymandering Cloaked In The Moral Camouflage Of The Civil Rights Movement
Here's a small story from a small place that teaches us big lessons about what kind of country we actually are.
By Charles P. Pierce

Here in the shebeen, we are longtime fans of Stephanie McCrummen, who is posted in the South and who writes for the Washington Post. We are fans because she goes out and finds those small stories in small places that nevertheless teach us big lessons about what kind of country we actually are, a question that has stumped us pretty badly so far in 2021. (McCrummen won a Pulitzer in 2018 for her coverage of Judge Roy Moore, the Gadsden Mall Creeper, in Alabama.) In her latest work, McCrummen tells the tale of a Black woman named Virettia Whiteside, a member of the city council in a place called Fayette, Alabama.

Basically, what happened was that Whiteside's election broke what McCrummen calls "the Rule of One" in Fayette. Due to federal intervention decades ago, a Black ward was created to guarantee that there would be one black member of the city council. Whiteside's election messed with this informal order of things.

What mattered about her election - what had spawned a lawsuit aimed at unseating her and nervous rumors about what her victory could mean - was that she was the first to win outside the traditionally Black ward, breaking through what had seemed to her and other Black residents of Fayette to be the informal Rule of One. One Black person on the City Council. One on the zoning board. One on the gas board. One on the abatement board in a town that was roughly 73 percent White and 24 percent Black. Always one, a situation that had long described the reality of entrenched White power outside big Southern cities like Birmingham or Atlanta.
This new twist on the old idea of gerrymandering-cloaking old Elbridge's original notion in the moral camouflage of the Civil Rights Movement-is not that uncommon. Black citizens are allowed to participate in local government, but not to approach anything remotely like controlling it. An indication that the actual power structure might change surely brings the night sweats to the good white citizens of the town. So, when Whiteside won her council seat, in which she represents a mixed-race district, and a friend of hers won the traditional "Black" seat, there were two Black citizens on the city council of Fayette, Alabama, which proceeded to lose a bit of its mind.
Four Black candidates were running for major positions, something that had never happened before in Fayette. Besides Virettia, her cousin was running for a seat on the five-member City Council in another mostly White ward. Her best friend was running in the traditionally Black ward. The former councilman from that ward was running for mayor, and soon rumors started flying. All the White department heads were going to be fired. The town would go bankrupt. Rioters were going to target downtown Fayette, where the Garden Club had planted flower beds and people gathered on holidays in the courthouse square.

The situation became so delicate that when local ministers held a prayer vigil for racial justice during the height of nationwide protests, an organizer quietly asked people not to bring Black Lives Matter signs for fear of confirming the imagined apocalypse. On Election Day, someone called police to report a possible fight outside a polling place, which turned out to be Virettia and the other Black candidates who were outside greeting voters when the sirens came screaming, and through it all, Virettia tried to maintain her composure.

It's hard even now to believe how crazy with fear the protests last summer made white people in this country. It was like living through Rod Serling's old Twilight Zone episode, "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street," over and over again. Social media was aflame with boogedy-boogedy about busloads of Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists coming to wreak havoc in Your Town. Whiteside's subsequent experiences surely stemmed from the same kind of panic.

She was sued by a local white antique dealer named Scottie Porter, a failed council candidate himself and a Trumper to boot, who sought to invalidate Whiteside's election on spurious residency grounds. However, that was far from the actual reason, as Porter made clear to McCrummen.

"Aliceville was like Fayette 25 years ago," he said one afternoon, launching into an interpretation of history that had long fueled the fiercest White resistance to change, one in which Black progress meant White loss - White flight, White fear, a kind of White death. "From 30,000 feet we look at Aliceville and we know 20 years ago it had a White mayor and now it has a Black mayor, and a Black council, and it's got s--- left," he continued. "Few people will say what I say, but people in this town were scared to death. I think Fayette dodged a bullet."

The story takes a twist at the end which I will not reveal, but suffice it to say that McCrummen has brought us a cautionary tale from a small place that brings us a lesson about a number of big things, including who we really are as a nation, which should stump us no longer.

(c) 2021 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"The GOP has ceased to be a political party. It is now a cult."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Protesters march in support of the pro-Palestinian BDS movement in New York City.

Federal Court Strikes Down Arkansas Attempt To Punish Proponents Of Boycotting Israel Over Its Treatment Of Palestinians
The anti-boycott laws are the ultimate in cancel culture. They are also un-American.
By Juan Cole

Andrew DeMillo at the Associated Press reports that a 3-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis has struck down an Arkansas law requiring contractors with the state to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel.

The alternative print monthly the Arkansas Times carried advertising from the University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College. When the law was passed, the university demanded that owner Alan Leveritt sign the pledge not to boycott. Leveritt does not boycott Israel, but he absolutely refused to sign any such constraint on his and his reporters' freedom of speech, which had the effect of abrogating their First Amendment rights. UA-PTC thus pulled their advertising and Leveritt sued them with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The 8th Circuit has upheld Leveritt's right to freedom of speech.

DeMillo writes,

"The court said the law is written so broadly that it would also apply to vendors that support or promote a boycott.

"The Act prohibits the contractor from engaging in boycott activity outside the scope of the contractual relationship 'on its own time and dime,'" the court said in its 2-1 decision. "Such a restriction violates the First Amendment."

The supporters of the anti-boycott law will not tell you that state universities consider professors who come to give talks on their campuses to be sole proprietors of a business for tax purposes, and so speakers invited to campus cannot be paid an honorarium or be reimbursed for their travel expenses unless they sign the anti-boycott pledge. These laws are thus they biggest threats to campus free speech ever seen in the history of the United States.

I don't myself boycott Israel proper, though I do boycott Israeli squatter settlements on the West Bank, but I would not sign a statement such as was demanded by the Arkansas state government and so would have been effectively prevented from speaking at the University of Arkansas.

The anti-boycott laws are the ultimate in cancel culture.

They are also un-American. The Boston Tea Party was a boycott of a British commodity because of American feelings that the British government was taxing them without representation.

Some 32 states have passed laws prohibiting the boycott of Israel. Whenever these laws have been challenged in the courts, they have been struck down, and they are clearly unconstitutional. The laws are backed by Israel's cabinet-level Ministry of Strategic Affairs and are a clear and systematic attack on the basic rights of Americans.

The proponents of boycotting Israel are making a stand against that country's policy of keeping 5 million Palestinians stateless and without basic human rights under Israeli military rule.

Boycotting the state of Israel, refusing to buy its bonds or give it money or take money from it is not the same as acting in a discriminatory way toward Jews. Some 20% of Israelis are not Jews in any case.

African-American boycotts of white discriminatory businesses were key to the victory of the Civil Rights movement in the 1920s (see below). The right wing in America routinely gets up boycotts. Trump supporters boycotted Walmart because it carried t-shirts saying "Impeach Trump." The powerful far-right American Family Association also launched a boycott of Walmart because the company put out an ad that was gay friendly. Trump supporters boycotted Netflix over the company's deal to have Barack and Michelle Obama produce content. The Trump movement, tinged with fascism and white supremacism, has advocated large numbers of boycotts of companies- Starbucks, Nike, Nordstrom's even Oreo.

Republican Senator Rick Scott has urged a U.S. boycott of China.

Would that be a violation of the civil rights of Chinese-Americans or a form of racial discrimination? Of course not. China is a sovereign country, as is Israel, and Americans are free not to do business with a country to whose policies they object.

For the right to boycott as a first amendment right, the key case is NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware, which came out of the Civil Rights movement and the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wikipedia explains,

[I]n 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, and a young black man, Roosevelt Jackson was shot and killed by two Port Gibson police officers. On April 19, 1968, the field secretary of the NAACP for Mississippi, Charles Evers, led a march to the Claiborne County courthouse and demanded that the entire Port Jefferson police force be discharged When the demand was not met, the boycott on the merchants was [imposed]. On April 21, Evers made a speech in which he said, "If we catch any of you going into these racist stores, we're going to break your damn neck." ... In at least 10 instances, blacks who violated the boycott experienced instances of violence, including shots fired into their homes, bricks thrown through their windshields, and tires on their cars slashed. Five of the incidents occurred in 1966, and were not correlated to Mr. Evers' speech, and the other 5 were undated, and so they were discarded from the court case. . .

"On October 31, 1969, 17 of the merchants sued in the Chancery Court of Hinds County, 146 individuals, the NAACP, and Mississippi Action for Progress (MAP) in state court to recover losses caused by the boycott and to enjoin future boycott activity . . . A trial began in 1973 and, in 1976, the chancellor found that the black defendants were jointly and severally liable to the plaintiffs based on three separate theories: (1) for a tort of malicious interference with the plaintiff's business; (2) for violation of a Mississippi statute banning secondary boycotts on the theory that the defendants' primary dispute was with the governing authorities of Port Gibson and Claiborne County, and not with the white merchants at whom the boycott was directed; and (3) the court found a violation of Mississippi's antitrust statute . . .

"In a decision by Justice Stevens, the Supreme Court reversed the Supreme Court of Mississippi's decision, holding that the nonviolent elements of the petitioners' activities were protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and holding that the petitioners were not liable in damages for the consequences of their nonviolent, protected activity. This decision means that "boycotts and related activities to bring about political, social and economic change are political speech, occupying "the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values."

The Supreme Court found for the NAACP and against Claiborne Hardware in 1982: "While States have broad power to regulate economic activities, there is no comparable right to prohibit peaceful political activity such as that found in the boycott in this case."

(c) 2021 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.

Trump Is History. It's Joe Biden Who's Changing America
By Robert Reich

While most of official Washington has been consumed with the Senate impeachment trial, another part of Washington is preparing the most far-ranging changes in American social policy in a generation.

Congress is moving ahead with Biden's American Rescue Plan, which expands health care and unemployment benefits, and contains one of the most ambitious efforts to reduce child poverty since the New Deal. Right behind it is Biden's plan for infrastructure and jobs.

The juxtaposition of Trump's impeachment trial and Biden's ambitious plans is no coincidence.

Trump left Republicans badly fractured and on the defensive. The Republican Party is imploding. Since January 6th, growing numbers of Republicans have deserted it. State and county committees are becoming wackier by the day. Big business no longer has a home in the crackpot GOP.

Republican infighting has created a political void into which Democrats are stepping with far-reaching reforms. Biden and the Democrats, who now control the White House and both houses of Congress, are responding boldly to the largest social and economic crisis since Great Depression.

Importantly, they are now free to disregard conservative canards that have hobbled America's ability to respond to public needs ever since Ronald Reagan convinced the nation that big government was the problem.

The first is the supposed omnipresent danger of inflation and the accompanying worry that public spending can easily overheat the economy.

Rubbish. Inflation hasn't reared its head in years, not even during the roaring job market of 2018 and 2019. "Overheating" may no longer even be a problem for globalized, high-tech economies whose goods and services are so easily replaceable.

Biden's ambitious plans are worth the small risk, in any event. If you hadn't noticed, the American economy is becoming more unequal by the day. Bringing it to a boil may be the only way to lift the wages of the bottom half. The hope is that record low interest rates and vast public spending generate enough demand that employers will need to raise wages to find the workers they need.

A few Democratic economists who should know better are sounding the false alarm about inflation, but Biden is wisely ignoring them. So should Democrats in Congress.

Another conservative bromide is that a larger national debt crowds out private investment and slows growth. This view hamstrung the Clinton and Obama administrations as deficit hawks warned against public spending unaccompanied by tax increases to pay for it. (I still have some old injuries from those hawks.)

Fortunately, Biden isn't buying this, either.

Four decades of chronic underemployment and stagnant wages have shown how important public spending is for sustained growth. Not incidentally, growth reduces the debt as a share of the overall economy. The real danger is the opposite: fiscal austerity shrinks economies and causes national debts to grow in proportion.

The third canard is that generous safety nets discourage work.

Democratic presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson sought to alleviate poverty and economic insecurity with broad-based relief. But after Reagan tied public assistance to racism - deriding single-mother "welfare queens" - conservatives began demanding stringent work requirements so that only the "truly deserving" received help. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama acquiesced to this nonsense.

Not Biden. His proposal would not only expand jobless benefits but also provide assistance to parents who are not working - thereby extending relief to 27 million children, including about half of all Black and Latino children. Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah has put forward a similar plan.

This is just common sense. Tens of millions are hurting. A record number of American children are impoverished, according to the most recent Census data.

The pandemic has also caused a large number of women to drop out of the labor force in order to care for children. With financial help, some of them will be able to pay for childcare and move back into paid work. After Canada enacted a national child allowance in 2006, employment rates for mothers increased. A decade later, when Canada increased its annual child allowance, its economy added jobs.

It's still unclear exactly what form Biden's final plans will take as they work their way through Congress. He has razor-thin majorities in both chambers. In addition, most of his proposals are designed for the current emergency; they would need to be made permanent.

But the stars are now better aligned for fundamental reform than they've been since Reagan.

It's no small irony that a half century after Reagan persuaded Americans that big government was the problem, Trump's demise is finally liberating America from Reaganism - and letting the richest nation on earth give its people the social supports they desperately need.

(c) 2021 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. Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies at a House Oversight and Reform Committee
hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on August 24, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Plans To Roll Out Slower Mail, Higher Prices
by Jake Johnson

Undeterred by the backlash and widespread delays that followed his disruptive operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service last year, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is reportedly planning to roll out another slate of policies that would significantly hike postage rates and further slow the delivery of certain kinds of mail.

While the plan has yet to be finalized, new details of the proposal - first reported by the Washington Post - intensified pressure on President Joe Biden to take decisive action before DeJoy inflicts any more damage on the most popular government institution in the country.

"Fire DeJoy before he burns down the USPS," Zephyr Teachout, associate professor of law at Fordham University, tweeted Saturday. "Biden has the power to fill the board that decides his fate. That board should be full of people who believe in public postal services. And that board must be ready to fire him quickly."

According to the Post, DeJoy - with the support of the USPS Board of Governors, which is composed entirely of Trump appointees - is "preparing to put all first-class mail onto a single delivery track... a move that would mean slower and more costly delivery for both consumers and commercial mailers."

The postmaster general has also "discussed plans to eliminate a tier of first-class mail - letters, bills, and other envelope-sized correspondence sent to a local address - designated for delivery in two days," the Post reported. "Instead, all first-class mail would be lumped into the same three- to five-day window, the current benchmark for nonlocal mail."

"The plan also prevents first-class mail from being shipped by airplane," the Post noted, "forcing all of it into trucks and a relay of distribution depots."

In addition to the new operational changes - which would be piled on top of the DeJoy policies that dramatically hampered USPS performance last year amid the coronavirus pandemic and national elections - the postmaster general intends to "push for significantly higher postage rates" in the name of raising revenue, according to the Post.

The new details of DeJoy's plan came as a growing number of Democratic lawmakers and outside progressives are urging Biden - who by law cannot fire the postmaster general himself - to take the forceful step of terminating every sitting member of the postal board and filling it with officials committed to preserving and strengthening the USPS as a public service. Postal governors, who can remove the postmaster general by a majority vote, must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, which Democrats narrowly control.

Late last week, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) became the first senator to call on Biden to quickly fire and replace every current member of the postal board, arguing in a letter that such as move is necessary to "restore accountability and credibility" and "send a message to future leaders that silence in the face of a campaign of sabotage will not be tolerated."

Supporters of the move argue that replacing the entire postal board would set the stage for DeJoy's ouster and begin the process of undoing the damage he has inflicted during his eight months in power. Biden has the authority to fire postal governors "for cause," and proponents of removing the sitting board members argue that their complicity in DeJoy's assault on the USPS would qualify as sufficient cause.

"They have proven to be a cabal of cowards, complicit in DeJoy's attacks, derelict in their duties, and unwilling to hold the postmaster accountable," Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) tweeted on Friday. "America deserves a clean slate."

Alternatively, Biden could fill the three vacant governor spots on the postal board; combined with the two Democrats currently on the board, three Biden-appointed governors would give Democrats a majority. But as Slate's Aaron Mak and Mark Joseph Stern wrote last week, that more cautious approach has potentially significant limitations.

"Filling these vacancies is the simplest way for Biden to get rid of DeJoy, though there is no guarantee that it will actually work," Mak and Stern noted. "The new board would include five Democrats - but one of them, Donald Lee Moak, is a Trump-appointed moderate who, along with the rest of the board, backed DeJoy when he came under fire for his alleged corruption."

"It appears unlikely that Moak would choose to oust a postmaster general whom he supported through this summer's controversy," they added. "And if Moak declined to join Biden's nominees in firing DeJoy, the postmaster general would retain his position indefinitely."

But the Biden White House has signaled that it is nevertheless planning to pursue the strategy of simply filling existing vacancies, saying in a statement last week that the president is focused on appointing officials who "reflect his commitment to the workers of the U.S. Postal Service - who deliver on the post office's vital universal service obligation." U.S. Mail Not for Sale, a worker-led campaign sponsored by the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers, is collecting signatures for a petition calling on Biden to nominate board members who are "fully committed to vibrant, public, and universal postal services" and opposed to DeJoy's "agenda of cutting service and slowing the mail."

"Filling the vacancies on the postal board," the petition reads, "is essential to build back better the Postal Service and to serve our communities and to help heal our economy."

(c) 2021 Jake Johnson is an author and staff writer for Common Dreams

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Ken Catalino ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Ted Cruz Deeply Disturbed By Part Of Capitol Riot Video Where Chuck Schumer Not Beaten To Death
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Squeezing his eyes shut in response to the harrowing Capitol riot footage, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was reportedly deeply disturbed Thursday by the part of the video where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was not beaten to death.

"Oh God, no, he's going to escape-I can't look!" said Cruz, who was beyond horrified as he watched the video showing Schumer and his security detail fleeing down a hallway after coming within just yards of the conservative mob.

"Why don't they just turn it off? This is awful. We already know where this is leading, which is Chuck Schumer not dying. No one should have to relive that horrible day. The part where he gets to the other side of the door safely makes me sick every time. Honestly, I might throw up."

At press time, Cruz had left the Senate chamber to catch his breath in the rotunda after getting to the part of the footage where the rioters didn't parade Schumer's lifeless body around on their shoulders.

(c) 2021 The Onion

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 08 (c) 02/19/2021

Issues & Alibis is published in America every Friday. We are not affiliated with, nor do we accept funds from any political party. We are a non_profit group that is dedicated to the restoration of the American Republic. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of Issues & Alibis.Org.

In regards to copying anything from this site remember that everything here is copyrighted. Issues & Alibis has been given permission to publish everything on this site. When this isn't possible we rely on the "Fair Use"copyright law provisions. If you copy anything from this site to reprint make sure that you do too. We ask that you get our permission to reprint anything from this site and that you provide a link back to us. Here is the "Fair Use"provision.

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."