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In This Edition

Norman Solomon asks, "Elizabeth Warren: Which Side Are You On?"

Ralph Nader examines, "Trump vs. Sanders: A Concise Comparison For Voters (And Why Bernie Wins Hands Down)."

Glen Ford remarks, "The Corporations And Their Media Strangled Bernie, And Older Black Voters Tied The Knot."

Jim Hightower explains, "Trump's One-Word Re-Election Campaign."

William Rivers Pitt finds, "Democracy Is Under Assault Around The World, And Right Here In Texas."

Chris Hedges returns and tells it like it is in, "If It's Biden vs. Trump, This Year's One-Choice Election Will Be For Oligarchy."

James Donahue studies, "The Titanic Disaster's Financial Impact On America."

David Swanson explains, "When A Weapons Show Is Canceled By Coronavirus."

David Suzuki remembers, "The Woman Who Discovered Global Warming - In 1856!"

Charles P. Pierce says, "'The Sanctity Of Life' Means Something Different In Alabama, Apparently."

Juan Cole wonders, "Exactly How Many People In Iran Will Die Of Coronavirus Because Of Trump's Inhumane Sanctions?"

Sen. Lamar Alexander a Tennessee Republican wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "How To Respond To The National Emergency."

Jane Stillwater explores, "Demagogue."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Washington, D.C., Man Linked To Community Spread Of Coronavirus Misinformation," but first, Uncle Ernie is, "Surviving The COVID-19 Virus."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of J.D. Crowe, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Paul Weaver, Edward A. Ornelas, Win McNamee, Mr. Fish, Tony Webster, Bett Mann, Fatemeh Bahrami, Alex Brandon, Jane Stillwater, Jim Hightower, AFP, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Surviving The COVID-19 Virus
By Ernest Stewart

"The worst pandemic in modern history was the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed tens of millions of people. Today, with how interconnected the world is, it would spread faster." ~~~ Bill Gates

"It is no longer useful to debate how long and far this disease will spread. Public-health officials should stop trying to convince the public and political leaders we can contain this virus to China. One of the greatest hazards to the public in any crisis is misinformation from official sources." ~~~~ Mark Olshaker

"For many of our workers-restaurant workers, truck drivers, service industry workers-they may not have an option to take a day off without losing their pay or losing their job. That's not a choice we should be asking anyone to make in the United States in the 21st century." ~~~ Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put out the following information on the COVID-19 virus. According to the CDC:

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community ("community spread") in some affected geographic areas.

Community spread means people

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Shortness of breath

I've noticed that the way the virus often kills is through giving the victim pneumonia.

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi cause it. The infection causes inflammation in the air sacs in your lungs, which are called alveoli. The alveoli fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe.

There are two pneumonia vaccines first, the PCV13 shot and then the PPSV23 shot a year or more later. If you have one but not the other you should get the other. This virus seems to be effecting the elderly mostly mostly and to everybody else it's not much more than the common cold which is what the common cold is, another coronavirus. If you have neither vacine I'd suggest you get the Prevnar 13 vacine first and without delay.

Remember that the virus can live up to three days on surfaces so you need to wipe down all surfaces that you touch with bleach but don't wipe them off, let them air dry. Where bleach can't be used on surfaces like on your phone, use a disinfectant wipe instead.

The good news is that in China the virus seems to be burning out and hopefully that's the way it will eventually be world wide. In the mean time limit your exposure by staying home whenever possible and washing your hands thoroughly when you return home and avoid touching your face before you do. If you're going to be in a crowd wear a tight fitting facemask.

In Other News

Global warming is the gift that just keeps on giving and giving! Researchers from China and the U.S. embarked on a field trip to Tibet in 2015, and discovered 28 previously undiscovered virus groups-in a melting glacier. They recently detailed their findings in a paper posted to the non-peer reviewed pre-print website bioRxiv.

The researchers drilled a 164-foot hole into the glacier, gathered two ice core samples from the 15,000-year-old glacier, and then later identified them in a lab. In total, they identified 33 virus groups, 28 of which were completely new to science.

You may recall that I discovered similar results a couple of years ago in an Alaskan glacier that went back even further. How are we going to come to grips with there new viruses is anybody's guess as the simple coronavirus that we've known about for years as it's the virus behind the common cold which we couldn't cure or even stop has now transformed into the COVID-19, which is bad enough but it's now transformed into a different strain in the space of a few months!

COVID-19 has "significant overlap" with those of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), according to an ahead-of-print article in the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR). I caught the SARS virus in a hospital where I went to hangout while my sister had a stint put in and believe me SARS was no Swiss Picnic! It's without-a-doubt the sickest that I've ever been!

And the warmer it gets the more of these ancient viruses will be released and like the Spanish giving the Inca's western European diseases we can expected to be wiped out sooner or later by global warming viruses! If the heat don't get you, it's always something!

And Finally

You may recall that last summer Tennessee Republican US Sinator Lamar Alexander said he wouldn't seek reelection and was just going to take the money and run. However, in the mean time he was going to cause as much destruction as possible so on Wednesday Lamar blocked a vote on an emergency paid sick leave bill hours after the World Health Organization officially declared the global coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

So people who have the virus must stay at work passing the virus around or take the risk of being fired or at least losing their paycheck and insurance if they stay home. Sounds like a typical Rethuglican ploy to save their corpo-rats masters some money while punishing the people. Having a deja vu yet, America?

Ergo, guess what? Why is it always the same people raising their hands? That's right, Lamar Alexander wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

If you think that what we do is important and would like to see us keep on, keeping on, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep telling you the truth!


04-10-1929 ~ 03-08-2020
Thanks for the film!

06-05-1924 ~ 03-09-2020
Thanks for the comics!

09-25-1949 ~ 03-09-2020
Thanks for the music!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2020 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, 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.

Elizabeth gives the corporate salute

Elizabeth Warren: Which Side Are You On?
By Norman Solomon

The night before Super Tuesday, Elizabeth Warren spoke to several thousand people in a quadrangle at East Los Angeles College. Much of her talk recounted the heroic actions of oppressed Latina workers who led the Justice for Janitors organization. Standing in the crowd, I was impressed with Warren's eloquence as she praised solidarity and labor unions as essential for improving the lives of working people.

Now, days later, with corporate Democrat Joe Biden enjoying sudden momentum and mega-billionaire Mike Bloomberg joining forces with him, an urgent question hovers over Warren. It's a time-honored union inquiry: "Which side are you on?"

How Warren answers that question might determine the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. In the process, she will profoundly etch into history the reality of her political character.

Facing the fact that her campaign reached a dead end, Warren basically has two choices: While Bernie Sanders and Biden go toe to toe, she can maintain neutrality and avoid the ire of the Democratic Party's corporate establishment. Or she can form a united front with Sanders, taking a principled stand on behalf of progressive ideals.

For much of the past year, in many hundreds of speeches and interviews, Warren has denounced the huge leverage of big money in politics. And she has challenged some key aspects of corporate power. But now we're going to find out more about how deep such commitments go for her.

"After Warren's bleak performance in the Super Tuesday primaries, her associates, as well as those of Sanders and former vice president Joe Biden, say she is now looking for the best way to step aside," the Washington Post reported on Wednesday -- and "there is no certainty she will endorse Sanders or anyone else."

A laudable path now awaits Warren. After winning just a few dozen delegates, she should join forces with Sanders -- who has won more than 500 delegates and is the only candidate in a position to defeat Biden for the nomination.

The urgency of Warren's decision can hardly be overstated. Sanders and Biden are fiercely competing for votes in a half-dozen states with March 10 primaries including Michigan (with 125 delegates), Washington (89 delegates) and Missouri (68 delegates). A week later, primaries in four states -- Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio -- will determine the allocation of 577 delegates.

In the midst of these pivotal election battles, Warren should provide a vehement endorsement of Sanders and swiftly begin to campaign for him. Choosing, instead, to stand on the sidelines would be a tragic betrayal of progressive principles.

"Here's the thing," Warren said in a speech to a convention of the California Democratic Party nine months ago. "When a candidate tells you about all the things that aren't possible, about how political calculations come first . . . they're telling you something very important -- they are telling you that they will not fight for you."

We'll soon find out whether Elizabeth Warren will fight for us.

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

Bernie Sanders, unlike other potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, has a message that resonates with a wide variety of people.

Trump vs. Sanders: A Concise Comparison For Voters (And Why Bernie Wins Hands Down)
When there is a conflict between big business and the public good, on labor rights, consumer rights, small taxpayer respect, and environmental protections, Bernie has stood with the people.
By Ralph Nader

It isn't un-American for voters to do some homework before voting. Here's a "concise guide" for the voter with limited time who might want more information.

The corporate Democratic Partiers keep questioning the electability of candidates they do not like, namely Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Really? These leading progressives are absurdly presumed to be "unelectable" compared to Trump?

Consider an election where Bernie is up against Trump. The differences are night and day. Start with the all-important issue of character. Trump lies every day, tweeting misinformation and falsifying what is and what is not going on in our country. Just as bad, Trump's tactics rely entirely on lying about or misrepresenting what he is doing to handle large and small problems. Trump has made over 16,000 false or misleading claims since January 2017. Bernie bluntly tells the truth.

Trump is a bigot/racist who uses dog whistles to promote, implement, and enforce racist policies. Bernie is a civil rights fighter going back to the nineteen sixties.

Bernie respects women and champions their causes. Donald is a savage sexual predator, has boasted about his sexual conquests, and was a serial adulterer.

Bernie talks of peace and rule of law. Donald incites violence and believes in the rule of raw power by a president who is lawless and daily violates our Constitution. Recall his ominous declaration that "I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president."

Compare what Trump and Sanders do in public office. When there is a conflict between big business and the public good, on labor rights, consumer rights, small taxpayer respect, and environmental protections, Bernie has stood with the people. Bernie has the best Congressional record of fighting corporate abuses. Meanwhile, Trump, really a corporation masquerading as a human being, works to line the pockets of corporate fat cats. Bernie fights for unions, living wages, and workplace safety; Donald hates unions, and has no problem freezing the $7.25 per hour minimum wage and dismantling serious worker health and safety protections.

Bernie is a consumer champion who wants to cancel crushing student loan debt and reverse the dangerous outsourcing of production of medicine to China, leaving us defenseless. Trump is close to shutting down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other consumer safety agencies such as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For three years he crazily pushed cuts for health and pandemic research. It took a spreading coronavirus for him to face reality and his response has been too little, too late.

Trump was a corporate welfare king with a failed gambling business who used, in his brazen words, "bankruptcy as a competitive advantage." He's busy shoveling all kinds of subsidies, giveaways, bailouts, and giant tax escapes to profitable big companies, at the expense of smaller taxpayers. Bernie is strongly against most of this corporate "socialism for the rich."

On the environment, Bernie has a good, though not perfect, record. Trump has no problem with deadly corporate pollution-such as coal ash, mercury, methane, diesel particulates degrading your health. Trump is preventing federal efforts from combating climate disruptions, talks about "clean, beautiful coal," and even forbids the use of the term "climate change" (which he believes is a hoax). Bernie campaigns all over the country talking about public investments in climate preparedness-paid for by restoration of corporate taxes that Trump would like to further cut. Only by using all available resources can the U.S. contain immensely costly runaway fires, floods, tornadoes, droughts, and already rising sea levels caused by climate disruption.

Bernie releases his tax returns while Trump hides them and gets a major tax cut for his family through Congress.

Donald says he's never done anything wrong and never needs to apologize. Bernie recognizes his mistakes when he is wrong. Donald breaks promises-on lower drug prices, on cleaner air and water, on more manufacturing jobs, and on expanded health care insurance. Trump has, in fact, actively damaged the environment and hurt these workers and consumers.

Bernie and Trump have superficial similarities. Both rarely smile. Both can be gruff and have trouble taking advice. But Bernie reads, thinks, and empathizes with people who desperately need universal healthcare and endure daily poverty. Frantically tweeting Donald doesn't read or think, and is devoid of empathy, preferring to use his office to enrich Trump family businesses. Instead of spending his time working to understand the problems of working people, thin-skinned Donald spends his time blaming others and viciously nick-naming political opponents.

Bernie is a "democratic socialist," advocating for improvements that western European counties have had for decades as well as ones we had decades ago-like nearly tuition free higher education after World War II at state universities from California to New York and even an early sales tax on Wall Street trading.

Donald is a corporate socialist and a champion of the dictatorial, corporate state (Wall Street owning Washington) that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called "fascism" in a message to Congress in 1938.

Bernie is a good, crisp debater. Donald is a shouter, stage liar, and evader-in-chief. Bernie refuses corporate PAC money and has millions of people funding the campaign with small donations. Trump goes for the zillionaires. I could go on. For more usable information, read the new book, Fake President, by Mark Green and me.

According to the number one Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump is "a crook, a thief, a liar. He should be in prison." Can anybody think honest Bernie is not electable against corrupt Donald?

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

The Corporations And Their Media Strangled Bernie, And Older Black Voters Tied The Knot
By Glen Ford

There really is no more to the clap-trap about a Black electoral "strategy" than attempting to figure out which way the white folks are going and then circling the Black wagons, accordingly.

With his victory in the Blacktropolis of Detroit, the clueless corporate champion Joe Biden has definitively won the "Black" Democratic presidential contest. Unlike South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi, where collaborationist preachers have always held sway over huge sections of the Black electorate, Detroit was once home to the Marxist-oriented League of Revolutionary Black Workers and sent avowed socialist John Conyers to Congress for 52 years, from 1965 to 2017. Detroit isn't afraid of people that call themselves socialists - actually, very few Black people are socialism-phobic, and young Blacks are even more socialist-friendly than their white counterparts.But this is the election cycle when Blacks circle their wagons around the Democratic establishment, perceiving it as the only refuge from Donald Trump and his marauding White Man's Party.

The difference between 2016, when Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in Michigan, and this year's primary is simple: the experience of four years of Donald Trump. Black people want desperately to sweep the Orange Menace and his Amerikaners from power, and have been convinced by corporate media that white folks will hold Sanders' socialism against him and allow Trump another mandate.

Black people don't vote their own political convictions in Democratic primaries; they give their votes to candidates they believe are the best bet to defeat the White Man's Party. With such a "strategy," Black folks almost never win -- in terms of getting an officeholder who thinks as they do -- but are content to avoid losing catastrophically to the worst "crackers."

Black voters are aware of Biden's many transgressions against them -- but that's what white "moderates" do, and older Blacks have convinced themselves that a white moderate is needed to flush the overtly white racist Trump from power. Black voters support Bernie Sanders' agenda, which very much resembles a Black political center of gravity that decades of polling has shown is far to the left of the white political spectrum. In fact, majorities of the very voters that awarded sweeping victories to Joe Biden in the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries old exit pollsters they "support a single government health insurance plan for all?" - the very definition of Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All. Sanders' signature program won the primaries, hands down - but Bernie lost to the corporate hack that opposes Medicare for All. Indeed, all of Sanders' core issues - Green New Deal, a living minimum wage, cancellation of student debt - are supported by super-majorities of Democrats (and huge numbers of Republicans).

These should be winning issues in general elections, not just primaries, but Black folks, especially, fear to back candidates that champion these issues, assuming that white folks will not tolerate candidates that are too "radical." Whites appear to have the same fears about each other.

The corporate media is the culprit that spreads mass disinformation on the political opinions of all American constituencies, creating a counter-reality that conforms to the interests of its ruling class owners. In short, they lie for a living. With constant, 24-7 repetition, it works.

In the last four years the tempo and intensity of corporate media lies has been absolutely astounding, as the Lords of Capital scrambled to reclaim the political narrative in the face of systemic disarray, the relentless decline in general living standards, the visible decay of physical infrastructure, and the unstoppable economic eclipse of the U.S. by China. Bernie Sanders threatened to end the austerity "Race to the Bottom" regime (although not its interlocking foreign policy component, endless wars) with a fistful of new health, education and labor entitlements plus a Green New Deal (a concept, not really a bill) that would force the Lords of Capital to cede some control of the heights of the economy to the people. This was unacceptable to the rulers, who told their corporate media to make Sanders unacceptable to the electorate, by hook, crook and massive disinformation. Joe Biden is the wholly undeserving beneficiary of this coordinated corporate media campaign.

Black voters' failure to support the candidate they most agree with in the Democratic primaries, is nothing new, of course. Half the Black electorate, and the vast majority of Black officeholders, resisted the urge to support Barack Obama as the 2008 primaries approached - until the white Democrats of Iowa gave the Black candidate their OK, after which Black voters deserted Hillary Clinton en mass. There really is no more to the clap-trap about a Black electoral "strategy" than attempting to figure out which way the white folks are going and then circling the Black wagons, accordingly.

As I said earlier, Black folks (and working folks in general) never win through such mental gymnastics, but may avoid catastrophic electoral loss. In today's reality, however, the crisis of capital in general, and the climate crisis in particular, is so acute that any political outcome that does not alter the trajectory of society will result in catastrophe -- inevitably, and soon, on all fronts, whichever of the two corporate parties is in power. Capitalism is failing of its own contradictions, and the more folks in the centers of empire cling to it, the worse conditions will become. For African Americans, there looms an ever-deepening bottom.

Younger Black people are looking into the abyss, and see nothing in their elders' flailing machinations that would prevent descent into powerlessness and utter precarity. There is no Black "strategy," and young Blacks know it. There is only fear -- plus the desire of Black elites to preserve and serve the Democratic Party structures that have provided their grasping little class with a degree of status and some limited authority to help manage their own people's oppression. Joe Biden offers nothing more, and the Black Misleadership Class dares not demand...anything.

As I discussed two weeks ago, the impending failure of Sanders' primary challenge will not cause Michael Bloomberg and his fellow oligarchs to cancel their plans to make the Democratic Party a much more hostile environment for even mildly radical politics. The rulers consider Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as infestations to be eradicated. This oligarch-enforced narrowing of the Democratic Party's parameters of political tolerance will reach down to the local level. If even a fraction of the tens of millions of Sanders supporters reject their leader's expected call to go all-in for a nominee and party that is determined to suppress them, a mighty and independent mass movement can be built in a relatively short space of time. Indeed, that was always the best outcome of the decade's resurgence in anti-capitalist, anti-racist politics. The Democrats were always a dead end, but folks had to get their asses kicked TWICE to learn that you can't turn a ruling class party against the ruling class.

It may be that it is impossible to mount a successful national anti-corporate electoral campaign at this stage of monopoly capitalism, with mass communications under the firm control of ruling class propagandists. It is certainly clear that progress depends on mass action in the street that changes popular assumptions of what is possible.

Demands for community control of the police are gaining traction, notably in Chicago, where activists are figuring out how to build people's counter-structures to fight the Democratic Party, not join it. The Black Is Back Coalition holds another of its yearly Electoral Schools, April 10 through 12, in St. Louis, devising ways to build alternative Black voting opportunities in support of grassroots movement political activism. The cops keep killing; Democrat-supported U.S. sanctions starve and sicken millions; Democrats argue in Congress that Trump should keep U.S. soldiers on occupation duty in Africa and protecting jihadists in Syria; sea levels keep rising; good jobs pass into extinction; affordable housing no longer exists; higher education equals perpetual debt, and high school in Black cities is prison. There's plenty of work to do for disbanded Sandernistas and "woke" Black youth. Here's a slogan for you: "Power to the People."

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

Trump's One-Word Re-Election Campaign
By Jim Hightower

"Socialism," snarled The Donald at a recent pep rally of far-right Republicans. And the obedient crowd of Trumpistas snarled back in unison: So-sh'll-izz-ummm!

There you have the entire intellectual content of the GOP's 2020 re-election strategy under Generalissimo Trump - slap Democrats with a scurrilous campaign branding them as Lenin-Trotsky-Stalin re-incarnate. It's not just Trump hissing out the socialist label in a frantic McCarthyesque attempt to make it stick by mindless repetition, but also Republican lawmakers.

Unfortunately for them, they're overplaying a weak hand and bumbling over their own ignorance. Texas Senator John Cornyn, for example, compared Democrats who support ideas like Medicare-for-All to Mussolini. Apparently, Cornyn is unaware that the brutish Italian dictator was no socialist, but a fascist! Mussolini's ideology of ultranationalism, masculine authoritarianism, suppression of democratic rights, and rule by wealthy elites is the opposite of the Democratic agenda. Indeed, it describes the policies of - guess who? - Trump and his acolytes, including Cornyn!

The real problem for the GOP, however, is not merely that squawking "socialism" makes them sound like nutty old fuddy-duddies, but that the Democratic policies they're attacking are enormously popular with America's workaday majority. Government-backed health care for all? Sure, why should CEOs and congress critters be the only ones to get this? Affordable higher education? Of course, for that helps all of America. A wealth tax on corporate giants and the superrich? Long overdue. Restore the rights of labor and restrain the rise of monopolies? Yes!

Far from socialism, this is democratic populism, an honest, popular rebellion against the corporate plutocracy promoted by Trump and Cornyn. Which side are you on?

(c) 2020 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots on March 3, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas.

Democracy Is Under Assault Around The World, And Right Here In Texas
By William Rivers Pitt

"Democracy and pluralism are under assault." So reads the first line of Freedom House's annual report card on the standing of liberty around the world, titled "Freedom in the World." While this assessment is grimly accurate, one does not have to scan the globe seeking evidence for the ongoing assault on democracy. There was plenty to be found on Super Tuesday, right down in Texas.

Founded in 1941 by a cohort of activists and politicians that included Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendel Willkie, Freedom House is "a nongovernmental, nonpartisan advocacy organization," according to The Washington Post. The group has published this report every year since 1973. "It has become the most widely read and cited report of its kind, used on a regular basis by policymakers, journalists, academics, activists, and many others," according to the Freedom House website.

India's surge toward Hindu nationalism and China's repression of Uighurs and other Muslim groups, along with China's efforts to disrupt democracies around the world, take center stage in this year's Freedom House report. The report likewise notes the many citizen protest movements that have erupted across the globe. "However," it reads, "these movements have in many cases confronted deeply entrenched interests that are able to endure considerable pressure and are willing to use deadly force to maintain power."

The Freedom House report takes special notice of the United States under the administration of Donald Trump, finding many areas of deep concern. The report specifically cites Trump's affinity for authoritarian leaders like North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Russia's Vladimir Putin, as well as his relentless attacks on journalism and journalists in the U.S. Arms sales to Saudi Arabia, another authoritarian regime, are also underscored.

"Balancing specific security and economic considerations with human rights concerns has been difficult for every administration," reads the report, "but the balance has grown especially lopsided of late. This problem has been compounded by efforts to undermine democratic norms and standards within the United States over the past several years, including pressure on electoral integrity, judicial independence, and safeguards against corruption."

Indeed, "efforts to undermine democratic norms and standards within the United States over the past several years, including pressure on electoral integrity," were very much on display during the Texas primary on Tuesday. Texas election officials needed no help from the Trump administration to disenfranchise voters and damage the seedcorn of democracy, however. Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservative majority on the Supreme Court did all the heavy lifting on that seven years ago.

"The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote," reported The New York Times in June of 2013, "freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval. The decision will have immediate practical consequences. Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval."

In her dissent of the Shelby County v. Holder ruling on the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described the decision as being tantamount to "throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet." Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority, insisted that "our country has changed," and minority voters no longer require federal protections for their right to vote, even in states where that right has been trampled on systematically and repeatedly.

Justice Ginsburg was correct. The consequences from the 2013 evisceration of the VRA, particularly the portion of the Act that protected marginalized voters in states with a long history of racial discrimination at the ballot box, came to full bloom in Texas this week.

Voters of color waited in line to vote for seven or more hours on Election Day, and the reason is no mystery. "One of the reasons there's such long lines in Texas is that state closed 750 polling places after Supreme Court gutted Voting Rights Act," reported journalist Ari Berman. "50 counties that gained most Black & Latino residents between 2012-2018 closed 542 polling sites." Further reporting by the Guardian underscored Berman's findings.

"I think we see a number of states that have more restrictive legislation than they would have if preclearance had been in place," Myrna Perez, head of the Brennan Center for Justice's Voting Rights and Elections Program, said on the fifth anniversary of the court's Shelby County decision. "I think we have seen some lawmakers push the envelope and see how far they can go with laws that disenfranchise people. And I do think that it contributed to a real ugliness in the country, with racism and the acceptance of racism."

The Freedom House report emphasized that democracy is specifically under assault from "deeply entrenched interests that are able to endure considerable pressure." One does not need to travel to China, India or Russia to witness this truth. The Supreme Court's conservative majority has grown since 2012, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been packing the courts with conservative judges who cleave to the racist lie proffered by Chief Justice Roberts that claims "our country has changed."

It has changed since 2013. It is worse now than it was then, and that trend has accelerated during the administration of Trump.

The idea that this country is a pure-hearted beacon of freedom is belied by history, by the fact that slavers drafted the Constitution in such a way as to defend their system of slavery. "Freedom" here has always been a pleasant fiction, but the long tide of activism has slowly but certainly invested more and more people with those freedoms white Europeans have taken for granted since first setting foot on this soil.

That work remains incomplete, and will always be incomplete because racism and white supremacy are the alleles that bind the DNA of this manufactured, plunder-born nation.

For all this, the struggle continues. First and foremost is the right to vote. Without it, even our ragged, purchased, corporate-owned democracy is a hollow shell, a bell with no clapper, a lie swaddled in lies. The Freedom House report put its finger directly on the pulse of the problem. Democracy is indeed under attack around the world, and right here at home.

(c) 2020 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

If It's Biden vs. Trump, This Year's One-Choice Election Will Be For Oligarchy
By Chris Hedges

We don't need a "Punch and Judy" show between Trump and Biden. But that, along with corporate tyranny, is what we seem fated to get, unless we take to the streets and tear the house down.

There is only one choice in this election. The consolidation of oligarchic power under Donald Trump or the consolidation of oligarchic power under Joe Biden. The oligarchs, with Trump or Biden, will win again. We will lose. The oligarchs made it abundantly clear, should Bernie Sanders miraculously become the Democratic Party nominee, they would join forces with the Republicans to crush him. Trump would, if Sanders was the nominee, instantly be shorn by the Democratic Party elites of his demons and his propensity for tyranny. Sanders would be red-baited - as he was viciously Friday in The New York Times' "As Bernie Sanders Pushed for Closer Ties, Soviet Union Spotted Opportunity" - and turned into a figure of derision and ridicule. The oligarchs preach the sermon of the least-worst to us when they attempt to ram a Hillary Clinton or a Biden down our throats but ignore it for themselves. They prefer Biden over Trump, but they can live with either.

Only one thing matters to the oligarchs. It is not democracy. It is not truth. It is not the consent of the governed. It is not income inequality. It is not the surveillance state. It is not endless war. It is not jobs. It is not the climate. It is the primacy of corporate power-which has extinguished our democracy and left most of the working class in misery-and the continued increase and consolidation of their wealth. It is impossible working within the system to shatter the hegemony of oligarchic power or institute meaningful reform. Change, real change, will only come by sustained acts of civil disobedience and mass mobilization, as with the yellow vests movement in France and the British-based Extinction Rebellion. The longer we are fooled by the electoral burlesque, the more disempowered we will become.

I was on the streets with protesters in Philadelphia outside the appropriately named Wells Fargo Center during the 2016 Democratic Convention when hundreds of Sanders delegates walked out of the hall. "Show me what democracy looks like!" they chanted, holding Bernie signs above their heads as they poured out of the exits. "This is what democracy looks like!"

Sanders' greatest tactical mistake was not joining them. He bowed before the mighty altar of the corporate state. He had desperately tried to stave off a revolt by his supporters and delegates on the eve of the convention by sending out repeated messages in his name - most of them authored by members of the Clinton campaign - to be respectful, not disrupt the nominating process and support Clinton. Sanders was a dutiful sheepdog, attempting to herd his disgruntled supporters into the embrace of the Clinton campaign. At his moment of apostasy, when he introduced a motion to nominate Clinton, his delegates had left hundreds of convention seats empty.

After the 2016 convention, Sanders held rallies - the crowds pitifully small compared to what he had drawn when he ran as an insurgent - on Clinton's behalf. He returned to the Senate to loyally line up behind Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose power comes from his ability to funnel tens of millions of dollars in corporate and Wall Street money to anointed Democratic candidates. Sanders refused to support the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee for rigging the primaries against him. He endorsed Democratic candidates who espoused the neoliberal economic and political positions he claims to oppose. Sanders, who calls himself an independent, caucused as a Democrat. The Democratic Party determined his assignments in the Senate. Schumer offered to make Sanders the head of the Senate Budget Committee if the Democrats won control of the Senate. Sanders became a party apparatchik.

Sanders apparently believed that if he was obsequious enough to the Democratic Party elite, they would give him a chance in 2020, a chance they denied him in 2016. Politics, I suspect he would argue, is about compromise and the practical. This is true. But playing politics in a system that is not democratic is about being complicit in the charade. Sanders misread the Democratic Party leadership, swamp creatures of the corporate state. He misread the Democratic Party, which is a corporate mirage. Its base can, at best, select preapproved candidates and act as props at rallies and in choreographed party conventions. The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies. Sanders' naivete, and perhaps his lack of political courage, drove away his most committed young supporters. These followers have not forgiven him for his betrayal. They chose not to turn out to vote in the numbers he needs in the primaries. They are right. He is wrong. We need to overthrow the system, not placate it.

Sanders is wounded. The oligarchs will go in for the kill. They will subject him to the same character assassination, aided by the courtiers in the corporate press, that was directed at Henry Wallace in 1948 and George McGovern in 1972, the only two progressive presidential candidates who managed to seriously threaten the ruling elites since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The feckless liberal class, easily frightened, is already abandoning Sanders, castigating his supporters with their nauseating self-righteousness and championing Biden as a political savior.

Trump and Biden are repugnant figures, doddering into old age with cognitive lapses and no moral cores. Is Trump more dangerous than Biden? Yes. Is Trump more inept and more dishonest? Yes. Is Trump more of a threat to the open society? Yes. Is Biden the solution? No.

Biden represents the old neoliberal order. He personifies the betrayal by the Democratic Party of working men and women that sparked the deep hatred of the ruling elites across the political spectrum. He is a gift to a demagogue and con artist like Trump, who at least understands that these elites are detested. Biden cannot plausibly offer change. He can only offer more of the same. And most Americans do not want more of the same. The country's largest voting-age bloc, the 100 million-plus citizens who out of apathy or disgust do not vote, will once again stay home. This demoralization of the electorate is by design. It will, I expect, give Trump another term in office.

By voting for Biden, you endorse the humiliation of courageous women such as Anita Hill who confronted their abusers. You vote for the architects of the endless wars in the Middle East. You vote for the apartheid state in Israel. You vote for wholesale surveillance of the public by government intelligence agencies and the abolition of due process and habeas corpus. You vote for austerity programs, including the destruction of welfare and cuts to Social Security. You vote for NAFTA, free trade deals, de-industrialization, a decline in wages, the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs and the offshoring of jobs to underpaid workers who toil in sweatshops in China or Vietnam. You vote for the assault on public education and the transfer of federal funds to for-profit and Christian charter schools. You vote for the doubling of our prison population, the tripling and quadrupling of sentences and huge expansion of crimes meriting the death penalty. You vote for militarized police who gun down poor people of color with impunity. You vote against the Green New Deal and immigration reform. You vote for limiting a woman's right to abortion and reproductive rights. You vote for a segregated public-school system in which the wealthy receive educational opportunities and poor people of color are denied a chance. You vote for punitive levels of student debt and the inability to free yourself of debt obligations through bankruptcy. You vote for deregulating the banking industry and the abolition of Glass-Steagall. You vote for the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical corporations and against universal health care. You vote for bloated defense budgets. You vote for the use of unlimited oligarchic and corporate money to buy our elections. You vote for a politician who during his time in the Senate abjectly served the interests of MBNA, the largest independent credit card company headquartered in Delaware, which also employed Biden's son Hunter.

There are no substantial political differences between the Democrats and Republicans. We have only the illusion of participatory democracy. The Democrats and their liberal apologists adopt tolerant positions on issues regarding race, religion, immigration, women's rights and sexual identity and pretend this is politics. The right wing uses those on the margins of society as scapegoats. The culture wars mask the reality. Both parties are full partners in the reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism. It only depends on how you want it dressed up.

"By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes" that it can make their interests a priority, the Democratic Party "pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system," political philosopher Sheldon Wolin writes.

The Democrats will once again offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate totalitarianism. What the public wants and deserves will again be ignored for what the corporate lobbyists demand. If we do not respond soon to the social and economic catastrophe that has been visited on most of the population, we will be unable to thwart the rise of corporate tyranny and a Christian fascism.

We need to reintegrate those who have been pushed aside back into the society, to heal the ruptured social bonds, to give workers dignity, empowerment and protection. We need a universal health care system, especially as we barrel toward a global pandemic. We need programs that provide employment with sustainable wages, job protection and pensions. We need quality public education for all Americans. We need to rebuild our infrastructure and end the squandering of our resources on war. We need to halt corporate pillage and regulate Wall Street and corporations. We need to respond with radical and immediate measures to curb carbon emissions and save ourselves from ecocide and extinction. We don't need a "Punch and Judy" show between Trump and Biden. But that, along with corporate tyranny, is what we seem fated to get, unless we take to the streets and tear the house down.

(c) 2020 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Keep up with Chris Hedges' latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

The Titanic Disaster's Financial Impact On America
By James Donahue

The sinking of the White Star Line's new liner Titanic and the loss of an estimated 1,500 lives after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912 has remained one of the world's most memorable disasters. While there have been other ship disasters perhaps just as horrifying that claimed even more lives, the Titanic story is the one that remains etched most deeply in the historical record. And there are several strange synchronicities that we suspect account for this.

In 1898 a book titled "Wreck of the Titan" by Morgan Robertson was published that predicted in almost graphic detail the Titanic disaster. Robertson even got the name of the doomed liner almost right. In the story the ship, which was declared "unsinkable" was an 800-foot-long giant carrying 2,500 passengers on a maiden voyage when it struck an iceberg on its starboard side and sank in the North Atlantic. More than half of the passengers died for lack of enough lifeboats.

The Titanic disaster was almost a carbon copy of the Robertson story. It measured 882 feet in length, was on its maiden voyage on the North Atlantic with 2,224 passengers plus 885 crew members when it struck an iceberg on its starboard side and sank. More than half of the people on the ship perished for lack of enough lifeboats.

That the ruins of the Titanic have since been found and artifacts recovered for display in marine museums around the world; that various films have been made about the disaster, books and even songs written have helped keep the Titanic story alive in the human psyche. The loss of the Titanic and a collision that severely damaged a sister ship, The Olympic, probably caused a severe financial strain on the White Star Line. Both vessels were insured so there was some recovery. Nevertheless, White Star merged with its competitor, the Cunard Line, in 1934, during the heart of the Great Depression.

A recent story in the Internet site Rise Earth suggested that the disaster also had a powerful long-range impact on the banking system in the United States and Europe because a few very wealthy and powerful businessmen perished with the Titanic. They included John Jacob Astor IV, considered the richest man in the world, Isa Strauss and Benjamin Guggenheim.

According to the article, all three men were strongly opposed to a bill moving through the U.S. Congress that led to the creation of the Federal Reserve. Another heavy hitter, J. P. Morgan, who supported the concept of a Federal Reserve and who helped finance the Titanic, was slated to be on the voyage but cancelled at the last minute.

The anonymous author of the brief Rise Earth story suggested that the destruction of the Titanic was carefully planned by Morgan to insure the creation of the Federal Reserve, which took control of U. S. currency out of the control of Congress and placed it into the hands of a board of powerful world bankers.

It was on Christmas Eve in 1913, the year after the Titanic sank, that a key number of U.S. Congressmen met in special session in Washington, while the rest of the members were home for the holidays. There were just enough of them to pass the long disputed Federal Reserve Act. It was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, even though Wilson, a Democrat, ran for office on a promise that he opposed the act. He later said he was convinced that the plan for a Federal Reserve, as drafted by Senate Republican leader Nelson Aldrich during a secret meeting with bankers and high rollers on Jakyll Island, Georgia, in 1910, offered a better system of stabilizing the monetary system.

Present at the meeting were Aldrich and executives for the banks of J. P. Morgan, Rockefeller and Kuhn, Loeb & Co. Paul Warburg of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. directed the proceedings and wrote the final draft of what became known as the Aldrich Plan. Col. Edward House, a banker present at the meeting, later was named a close advisor to President Wilson and was the founder of the Council on Foreign Relations.

It was only about a decade later that the world collapsed into the Great Depression. The Reserve has been printing money on loan to the Federal Government ever since. The United States has since moved from having no national debt to facing a multi-trillion dollar deficit. Most of our tax money is paid each year in interest to the bankers who control the Federal Reserve. The U. S. dollar, once backed up by a gold reserve at Fort Knox, is now locked in run-away inflation.

Was the Rise Earth story creditable? Was J. P. Morgan involved in murdering the opposition to the Federal Reserve by arranging the sinking of the Titanic? Did he get the idea from Robertson's book?

It is troublesome to note that Robertson, a noted author and former Great Lakes ship captain, was found dead in his hotel room in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1915. He was poisoned from an overdose of paraldehyde. Robertson was only 53.

(c) 2020 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

When A Weapons Show Is Canceled By Coronavirus
By David Swanson

Imagine a weapons show canceled because of coronavirus. It may already have happened. It's certainly imaginable. But now try to imagine a coronavirus show canceled by a bomb threat.

Can you picture a fossil fuel lobbyists' retreat canceled by coronavirus? Of course you can. It may have happened already. But try to summon up an image of a coronavirus lobbyists' retreat canceled by wildfires and hurricanes. Can't do it, can you?

Imagine the NRA telling everyone to work from home because of coronavirus. Why not? But try to think of what it would be like for the National Coronavirus Association to keep its employees away because of mass shootings.

I'm sure you can picture a health insurance corporation's convention ending early because of coronavirus. That's only sensible. But can you imagine a coronavirus insurance meeting ended by the health threat of health insurance corporations? Of course not. But why not? The lack of basic universal health coverage in the United States along the lines of what most wealthy nations have has thus far caused a lot more deaths than coronavirus, and the pair may make a super-deadly team.

Why are some dangers objectionable and others desirable? Why would you not bat an eye if you read about concerns that coronavirus might reduce the number of people showing up for their jobs of maintaining constant preparedness to fire nuclear weapons?

What if a contagious disease presented a particular danger to factory farms, threatening our ability to starve millions of humans by wasting grains fattening up huge numbers of animals to be cruelly slaughtered, massively contributing in the process to climate collapse? We'd want to get those operations up and running smoothly as quickly as possible, right?

Here's a better idea. Let's not try to imagine a world in which people openly and shamelessly try to market coronavirus. Instead let's try to imagine a world in which people do not openly and shamelessly market nuclear weapons, missiles, bombs, grenades, guns, coal, oil, gas, fracking, factory farms, or Joe Biden. Let's even try to imagine a world in which we can be sure nobody working for any government is right now trying to figure out how to use coronavirus as a weapon. You know damn well that you cannot be sure of that in the current world.

How do we get from this world, in which weapons shows are totally acceptable, to a world in which they are as absurd as a coronavirus show? I don't claim to know, but would suggest a few steps.

First, recycle all televisions. We've spent decades trying to make a significant proportion of the content of television something better than catastrophically awful. Let's focus elsewhere. Get rid of the things or do not turn them on - and don't view that stuff on your computer either.

Second, stop promoting optimism. Promote activism instead. Stop telling people they have to hear happy news or be incapable of functioning. It's a ridiculous lie. Tell people the actual state of affairs and the need to alter things.

Third, stop all promotion of violence. Replace it with promotion of the world-changing powers of nonviolent action. Rid even your speech of violence, and don't agree with this by telling me I'm "killing it."

Fourth, try to view the world from the outside for a second. Assume that nothing is acceptable or unacceptable, for a second. Think, for a second, about what should be acceptable and what should not.

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

This list of notable men omits an important person: the woman who studied the greenhouse effect several years before Tyndall.

The Woman Who Discovered Global Warming - In 1856!
By David Suzuki

Our book Just Cool It!: The Climate Crisis and What We Can Do features a chapter on climate science history. We include discoveries by well-known scientific pioneers, from Joseph Fourier's 1824 research into the atmosphere's ability to trap heat to Mikhail Budyko's warnings about burning fossil fuels in the early 1960s to Michael Mann's more recent hockey stick graph.

French physicist Fourier was credited with discovering that Earth's atmosphere retains heat that would otherwise be emitted back into space - later known as the "greenhouse effect." In 1859, Irish-English scientist John Tyndall began studying the ability of gases like water vapour, carbon dioxide (then called "carbonic acid"), ozone and hydrocarbons to absorb and transmit radiant heat. A few years later, James Croll observed that dark surfaces like soil, rock and water absorb heat from the sun whereas snow and ice reflect it, which can affect air and ocean currents.

In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius discovered feedback loops that could accelerate climate change. A year after Arrhenius released his findings, American geologist Thomas Chamberlin examined carbon cycles to understand their connection to other phenomena. Research continued to build. Russian climatologist Budyko published two books in the early 1960s "warning that growing energy use will warm the planet and cause the Arctic ice pack to quickly disappear, contributing to further feedback cycles."

. This list of notable men omits an important person: the woman who studied the greenhouse effect several years before Tyndall. Eunice Foote was a physicist, inventor and women's rights advocate from Seneca Falls, New York. In 1856, she shared her paper, "Circumstances affecting the heat of the sun's rays," at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting.

As described in Smithsonian Magazine, "Foote's paper demonstrated the interactions of the sun's rays on different gases through a series of experiments using an air pump, four thermometers, and two glass cylinders." She tested "hydrogen, common air and CO2, all heated after being exposed to the sun."

The cylinder with CO2 trapped more heat and stayed hot longer. "An atmosphere of that gas would give to our earth a high temperature; and if as some suppose, at one period of its history the air had mixed with it a larger proportion than at present, an increased temperature...must have necessarily resulted," she wrote - an early connection between atmospheric CO2 and global warming.

Why were these men recognized while Foote gets so little credit? Tyndall is often lauded for discovering the effects of small changes in atmospheric gas composition on climate and, indeed, his work contributed greatly to our understanding. But Foote carried out comparable experiments and came to similar conclusions three years earlier.

At the time, women didn't have the same opportunities in science as men. Foote was considered an "amateur," while Tyndall had a prestigious scientific education and access to equipment, facilities and other experts. Foote didn't even present her own paper at the AAAS meeting.

"What might Foote have achieved if she had Tyndall's access to training and resources?" author and Project Drawdown vice-president Katharine Wilkinson wrote in Time.

Foote isn't the only woman to have been snubbed when it comes to recognition for their contributions to scientific discoveries. Let's hope that's changing. Women inspired my science career, including Silent Spring author and marine scientist Rachel Carson and cytogeneticist Barbara McClintock, whose groundbreaking work on "jumping genes" opened my eyes.

In many scientific fields, especially climate science, more women than ever are making important contributions to knowledge and its communication. We're all in this together, and we need diverse perspectives to resolve the climate and other ecological crises. Many women around the world understand the need to care for all that sustains us. Beyond heeding and recognizing women's scientific work, we must also work for women's rights, education and family-planning resources to stabilize population growth, which contributes to climate disruption and other problems.

Wilkinson explains it well: "Now is the time to champion women and girls who lead on climate. And to honor those who came before, whose insight and ability ought not to have been ignored."

We can learn from Eunice Foote, an advocate for science and women's rights. We also promise to include her work in future writing about climate science history.

(c) 2020 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Demonstrator Picketing With Sign

'The Sanctity Of Life' Means Something Different In Alabama, Apparently
Governor Kay Ivey had quite a 24 hours.
By Charles P. Pierce

On Friday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed The Alabama Human Life Protection Act, another blatantly unconstitutional anti-choice law that even Ivey admits, in the statement accompanying her signing the law, is "unenforceable." But it is going to be right there on the statute books waiting to be activated when the Supreme Court finally gets around to "letting the states handle it." What made this interesting was that, the night before signing the Human Life Protection Act, Ivey allowed Alabama to execute someone who very likely had not committed the crime for which Alabama killed him. From Newsweek:

Prosecutors said Woods had "conspired" with Kerry Spencer to kill police officers Carlos Owen, Harley Chisholm III, and Charles Bennett when they arrived at a drug house in June 2004. But Spencer, who is on death row, said he shot the officers in self-defense after one officer pointed a gun at him and insisted that Woods had nothing to do with it. Under Alabama law, Woods was deemed an accomplice and convicted. Kimberly Chisholm Simmons, sister of Harley Chisholm, had pleaded with the Alabama governor to intervene and to allow more time for the courts to investigate evidence. She said in a statement, "I do not think that Nathaniel is guilty of murder. ...

My conscience will not let me live with this if he dies. I beg you to have mercy on him," criminal justice website The Appeal reported. Just before Thursday's execution, she told local investigative journalist Beth Shelburne in a phone conversation, "He did not kill my brother. This is so unjust. I don't understand."

Nobody does. Not really.

(c) 2020 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"This campaign was never just about electing a president of the United States-as enormously important as that was. This campaign was about transforming America. It was about the understanding that real change never takes place from the top on down. It always takes place from the bottom on up. It takes place when ordinary people, by the millions, are prepared to stand up and fight for justice."
~~~ Bernie Sanders ~ Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In

Fire fighters and municipality workers with protective suits disinfect the streets, buses
and taxies as a precaution to the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Tehran, Iran on March 06, 2020.

Exactly How Many People In Iran Will Die Of Coronavirus Because Of Trump's Inhumane Sanctions?
If you were an evil comic book villain attempting to kill large numbers of people with a disease outbreak, you could not do a better job in putting people in harm's way than Trump has been doing.
By Juan Cole

Babak Dehghanpisheh at Reuters reports that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Thursday that the coronavirus Covid-19 has spread to nearly all of the 31 provinces of the huge country (Iran is as big geographically as Spain, France and Germany combined, and its population rivals that of Germany at 81 million). Iran was reporting at least 90 dead and 3,000 infected on Thursday, but those numbers are widely thought to be much lower than the reality.

Several high government officials have come down with the virus, included a vice president and the deputy minister of health, and 8 percent of parliament has been sickened. Two senior officials have died, one an adviser to clerical Leader Ali Khamenei.

Iran is finally beginning to take steps to address the crisis. The government has cancelled Friday prayers this week, as occasions for large gatherings of people where the infection could spread. It is also deploying the army. The Tehran Fire Department helped disinfect the Grand Bazaar. I think avoiding going to the Grand Bazaar for a while, though, would be more efficacious.

In an excellent overview, Meghan Tobin of Hong Kong's South China Morning Post notes that some observers see Iran as the Middle East epicenter of the virus outbreak, playing the role in West Asia that China and South Korea are playing in the East.

Some of the severity of the outbreak is because of Trump administration policy, and some of it derives from the Iranian government just not being very good.

Some of the failures here come from the Iranian government initially wishing to save face. For that reason, it refused to postpone parliamentary elections, which saw a large number of fanatically pro-government hard liners elected. In that regard, as I pointed out Donald Trump and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have a lot in common.

Trump has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the novel coronavirus. He insists on continuing to hold big political rallies, which have never been necessary for a sitting president. On Thursday he alleged a death rate of 1 percent. He may in the end be right, but at the moment the evidence shows an over 3 percent mortality rate. It isn't that what he said is egregious, but that his reasons for saying it are ignoble. He has said that it is no more deadly than the flu (which is certainly false by orders of magnitude), and that it will be over quickly, and that some people may come to work with it (they may but they shouldn't!) and will nevertheless get better. He is transparently driven to spread around these exaggerations in order to talk back up the markets and to make sure the public does not blame him for having tried (unsuccessfully) to cut the budget of the Centers for Disease Control, having succeeded in getting rid of the position on the National Security Council responsible for coordinating efforts to combat infectious disease, and having aggressively pushed an anti-science agenda.

If you were an evil comic book villain attempting to kill large numbers of people with a disease outbreak, you could not do a better job in putting people in harm's way than Trump has been doing.

Exactly how deadly this Dr. Pangloss approach to an infectious disease outbreak can be is demonstrated by the case of Iran, where for weeks the ruling Shiite clerics downplayed the seriousness of the problem. Some were even encouraging people to keep going on pilgrimage to shrines of Shiite saints in places like Qom, where people typically rub or even kiss brass railing around the cenotaph to receive blessings. The pious but terminally stupid even believe that the blessings of the ancient deceased saint are so powerful that he or she will protect against the infection.

But it is not only religious beliefs that kept the government from acting. It is under "maximum pressure" from the Trump administration, which is attempting to use a financial and trade blockade to vastly weaken or even overthrow the government. Under such straitened circumstances, the government felt that it could not afford to look as though it is vulnerable.

Likewise, Iranians are living on the edge because Trump has, without a shred of legality, stopped Iranian oil exports, which had been a big part of the economy. The US government-funded site Radio Farda estimates that Iran is only exporting about 250,000 barrels a day of petroleum, a tenth of what it was exporting before Trump breached the 2015 Iran deal that the US had signed, and unilaterally imposed the severest possible blockade on Iran.

Although the Trump blockade does not prevent medical imports, it does prevent many Iranian banks from handling the orders, and the blockade has thrown many Iranians into such poverty that they cannot afford medicine and medical equipment from abroad.

Because the US Treasury Department imposes third-party sanctions on European, Indian and other firms for trading with Iran, Tehran has been forced into a tight dependency on China, the only country willing and able to at least somewhat defy Trump. That dependency meant that when the coronavirus outbreak was reported in January, Iran did not have the luxury of cutting off trade with China or travel to that country, as Ms. Tobin shows.

There is plenty of blame to go around for the health disaster in Iran, but it certainly is the case that the Trump administration bears some of the blame for all the people who will be sickened and for those who will die, because it has chosen the blunt instrument of economic blockade on civilians to deal with Iran rather than diplomacy.

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Lamar demonstrates how to test for the COVID-19 Virus by licking your fingers

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Alexander,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your blocking a vote on an emergency paid sick leave bill during the pandemic, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 03-15-2020. We salute you herr Alexander, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump


How To Respond To The National Emergency
By Robert Reich

CEOs of the major Wall Street banks have been summoned to the White House to discuss the coronavirus its economic fallout. I'm told Trump administration is considering more corporate tax cuts, tax cuts targeted to the airlines and hospitality industries, and a temporary payroll tax cut.

The bank CEOs will approve of all these.

But they would be useless. They'd be too slow to stimulate the economy, and wouldn't reach households and consumers who should be the real targets. And they'd reward the rich, who don't spend much of their additional dollars, without getting money into the hands of the poor and middle-class, who do.

In short, our imminent coronavirus and economic crises won't respond to trickle-down economics.

Instead, Congress must immediately enact an emergency $400 billion.

The money should be used for

1. Coronavirus testing and treatment.

2. Paid sick leave and family leave this year, renewable for next year if necessary.

3. Extended Medicaid and unemployment insurance.

4. Immediate one-time payments of $1000 to every adult and $500 per child, renewable for next year if necessary.

I don't think this is an over-reaction to what's imminent. It will help us prevent a health and economic calamity.

(c) 2020 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

Portrait of an American president
By Jane Stillwater

I woke up this morning with the sniffles. This is actually a good thing. Someone just told me that having a runny nose doesn't mean that you have COVID-19 -- but only a slight cold. Whew! Apparently coronavirus symptoms consist of a cough, a fever and trouble breathing.

But as for all those poor innocent victims who actually do get COVID-19? "Sucks to be you." Why? Because our demagogue President has ordered the CDC budget to be cut so that he'll have more money to spend on foreign misadventures. Mussolini in Ethiopia comes to mind.

Next week I'm taking a trip to Mexico but I may have to stay there forever if our demagogue President orders America's southern border to be closed. That sounds like something Chairman Mao used to do.

Election tampering in Venezuela and Bolivia by our very own demagogue President? Yeah. Not to mention how he's done absolutely nothing to prevent election tampering here at home by Dark Money, Jim Crow, unverified voting machines and even the DNC. Shades of when Idi Amim simply elected himself president of Uganda.

And the American economy? It's about to crash. Hard. But hopefully not as badly as when Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake!"

Kids in cages? Overcrowded prisons? What if COVID-19 introduces itself into America's gulags -- and prisoners are trapped like passengers on the Titanic, with no place to escape? Or consider the ever-increasing number of homeless camps in America where no one can even protect themselves by washing their hands? Worst horror movies ever. "Worse than Joseph Stalin's gulags in Siberia?" Maybe not. But close.

Our demagogue President's executive orders have attempted to exacerbate the climate crisis, muddy our waters, pollute our air, desecrate our national parks and contribute to burning down our forests. Is he one of us Americans? Or is he just one of the Boys from Brazil.

While posing as a holier-than-thou Christian, our demagogue President has been accused of raping women, using "escorts" and paying off prostitutes. Even Mary Magdalene would be shocked. Perhaps even Judas.

Corruption? Pay for Play? What really goes on down at Mar-a-lago? Not even Bibi Netanyahu or Prince BnB appear to be this corrupt.

Then there's the Democratic nominating convention in July and the Republican nominating convention in August. I'm going to both. Wearing a face mask of course. Nobody had to wear a face mask at Hitler's Nuremberg rallies. I wonder if our demagogue President will have to wear one at his?

(c) 2020 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ J.D. Crowe ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Donald Trump shakes hands with guests.

Washington, D.C., Man Linked To Community Spread Of Coronavirus Misinformation
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-A resident of Washington, D.C., has been identified as the source of the community spread of coronavirus misinformation throughout the United States.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday that the man had ignored the advice of public-health experts and spewed a toxic strain of ignorance, potentially infecting millions.

The man, believed to be a fact-resistant organism, travelled last week to South Carolina, where he came in contact with thousands of people who, as a result of community spread, now believe that coronavirus is a hoax.

The epidemic of cluelessness expanded last night, when the man called in to a Fox News television program to encourage people with coronavirus to go to work rather than stay at home, as scientists have urged.

A C.D.C. spokesperson in Atlanta said there are steps that the public can take to avoid becoming infected by the man's noxious contagion of falsehoods.

"According to the data we have, the most virulent misinformation is transmitted via this man's oral cavity," the spokesperson said. "If you turn on your TV and see him open his mouth, move as far away as possible."

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

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Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 011 (c) 03/13/2020

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