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In This Edition

Chris Walker returns with, "Congressman Who Refused to Wear Mask Tests Positive for COVID, Blames Mask."

Ralph Nader reports, "Fed Guarantees Unproductive Debt And Perilous Speculation."

Glen Ford examines, "The Black Caucus And The Dictatorship Of (White) Capital."

Jim Hightower explores, "Sneaking Public Dollars Into Private Schools."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Donald Trump Has Ruined Our Lives And Now He's Ruining Baseball Too."

John Nichols says, "Biden's New Climate Policy Proves That Movements Can Move Him Left."

Jesse Jackson returns with, "We Don't Need Trump's Thugs in Chicago."

David Swanson finds, "324 Congress Members Who Should Permanently Quarantine."

Ted Rall gives, "10 Reasons I Won't Vote For Biden."

Charles P. Pierce reminds us, "If And When All Of Our Immediate Crises End, The Climate Crisis Will Still Be There."

Juan Cole concludes, "First The National Security State Surged Baghdad, Now It Is Surging Portland And Seattle."

Florida pastor Rick Wiles wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explores, "Trump's Worst Attacks On Workers."

Thom Hartmann explains why, "Not the 'Heals Act' But the 'Heels Act': GOP Covid-19 Plan Puts Corporate Greed Before Human Need."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Waterford Whispers News, returns with, "Take The Trump Cognitive Ability Test Here," but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "What Comes Around, Goes Around To Republicans!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Gary Markstein, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Win McNamee, Chip Somodevillad, Drew Angerer, Justin Sullivan, Nicholas Kamm, Ankur Dholakia, Ozge Elif Kizilanadolu Agency, Nathan Howard, Doug Mills-Pool, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, 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 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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What Comes Around, Goes Around To Republicans!
By Ernest Stewart

"It's being used in Germany as a mist, Health care workers go through a misting tent going into the hospital and it kills the coronavirus completely dead, not only right then, but any time in the next 14 days that the virus touches anything that's been sprayed, it's killed." ~~~ Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) ~ retelling a Lying Donald lie

"Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath." ~~~ Nathaniel H. Egleston ~ Harper's Magazine ~ April 1882

President Donald Trump's supporters will 'hunt down' Democrats and bring 'violence to America' once the president leaves office." ~~~ Rick Wiles

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

Well I guess the bible was wrong about Lying Donald. The time has come and gone and yet he still walks the Earth. I'm referring to this quote from the book of Revelations, to be precise Revelation 13:5-8. And I quote:

"The Beast had a loudmouth, boastful and blasphemous. It could do anything it wanted for forty-two months. It was permitted to make war on God's holy people and conquer them. It held absolute sway over all tribes and peoples, tongues and races. Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world's foundation in the slaughtered Lamb's Book of Life will worship the Beast."
You must admit that certainly describes Lying Donald and this is his 42nd month in power. C'est la guerre, ya'll!

However, on a happy note, Vidkun Quisling Award winner Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) tested positive for the coronavirus! Now his past statements and actions come back to haunt him. When he found out he had Covid 19 Louie said, "I can't help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, if I might have put some germs, some of the virus on the mask and breathed it in?" Louie was never the brightest bulb in the pack!

The Texas Republican took part in a Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, and was spotted greeting Attorney General Bill Barr without a mask. He has previously stated his opposition to safety measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Of course, Louie wasn't the only Rethuglican to pooh-pooh wearing a mask. For example, GOP Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina also had similar thoughts to Louie's and like Louie, caught Covid-19. So, hopefully Barr and all the other Rethuglicans that Tom and Louie have mingled with have all caught Covid-19 too, and are all on their way to their tombs! We can but hope!

In Other News

I see where Norway's Arctic archipelago Svalbard on Saturday recorded its highest-ever temperature, the country's meteorological institute reported.

According to scientific study, global warming in the Arctic is happening twice as fast as for the rest of the planet.

"For the second day in a row, the archipelago registered 21.2 degrees Celsius (70.2 Fahrenheit) in the afternoon, just under the 21.3 degrees recorded in 1979," meteorologist Kristen Gislefoss said.

Later in the afternoon however, at around 6:00 pm local time, it recorded 21.7 degrees (71.6 fahrenheit), setting a new all-time record.

The island group, dominated by Spitsbergen the only inhabited isle in the northern Norway archipelago, sits 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from the North Pole.

The relative heatwave, that lasted until Monday, is a huge spike of normal temperatures in July, the hottest month in the Arctic.

The Svalbard islands would normally expect to be seeing temperatures of 41-46 degrees fahrenheit at this time of year.

The region has seen temperatures five degrees above normal since January, peaking at 101 degrees fahrenheit in Siberia in mid-July, just beyond the Arctic Circle.

According to a recent report "The Svalbard climate in 2100," the average temperatures for the archipelago between 2070 and 2100 will rise by 44-50 degrees, due to the levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Here in Michigan we're looking forward to becoming the new Florida, but without the alligators, sankes and red necks!

Svalbard, is mostly known for its "doomsday" seed vault which has since 2008 collected stocks of the world's agricultural bounty in case of global catastrophe. You may recall that the vault required 20 million euros ($23.3 million) worth of work after the infiltration of water due to thawing permafrost in 2016.

And Finally

Have you heard about Christian TV host Rick Wiles asking Lying Donald to use "hollow-point bullets" on protesters to "put down this communist revolution" in Portland, Oregon.

Rick said:

Mr. [Mark] Meadows, please tell President Trump that he is now in possession of Obama bullets - 2 billion 'Bama bullets. You're in possession of them now. You got the 'Bama bullets and you can put down the [insurrection] - you can put it down. You have the 'Bama bullets in your hands.

You don't have to tolerate this anymore. They were purchased for the purpose of putting down an insurrection. Well, you got one, so put the hollow-point bullets to good use and get out there and put down this communist revolution so the rest of us can live our lives peacefully.

And yet, people wonder why I'm an Atheist? Ergo, Pastor Rick Wiles 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!


08-25-1931 ~ 07-24-2020
Thanks for the laughs!

07-01-1916 ~ 07-25-2020
Thanks for the films!

19-29-1946 ~ 07-25-2020
Thanks for the music!

08-05-1935 ~ 07-25-2020
Thanks for the films!

12-13-1945 ~ 07-30-2020
Burn Baby Burn!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Rep. Louie Gohmert questions U.S. Attorney General William Barr during a House
Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 28, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Congressman Who Refused to Wear Mask Tests Positive for COVID, Blames Masks
By Chris Walker

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas who frequently refuses to wear masks or facial coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, tested positive for the disease on Wednesday.

Gohmert was screened for COVID-19 prior to his planned boarding of Air Force One to join President Donald Trump as he travelled to the lawmaker's home state for a fundraiser and visit to an oil rig to tout his administration's energy policy. After testing positive for coronavirus, Gohmert had to withdraw.

Gohmert was seen on Tuesday not wearing his mask and in close proximity to other lawmakers during a House Judiciary Committee hearing involving Attorney General William Barr. Gohmert was also seen speaking to Barr directly during recess, with neither individual wearing a mask during their encounter.

Returning to the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday in spite of the diagnosis he had just received, Gohmert was interviewed by a Texas news station about what had just happened. Refusing to take responsibility for being a mostly anti-mask legislator, Gohmert suggested that his decision to wear a mask more frequently was perhaps responsible for his contracting the disease.

"I can't help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, if I might have put some germs, some of the virus on the mask and breathed it in," Gohmert said.

There's no scientific evidence to suggest Gohmert's claims are accurate, and indeed, unless he was sharing his mask with others, his insinuations suggest that he had already contracted the disease before he supposedly "reinfected" himself. Health experts are clear on the issue of wearing masks: they absolutely are effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) responded first with sympathy for Gohmert, then with consternation for his actions, which likely put others at risk for contracting the disease.

"I'm so sorry for him… But I'm also sorry my members, who are concerned, because he has been showing up at meetings without a mask and making a thing of it," she said.

"Hopefully now he will look after his health, and others," Pelosi added.

After news broke of Gohmert's diagnosis, Jake Sherman from Politico emailed the congressman's office for a comment. An aide who responded asked that when the story is published, it "include the fact that Louie requires full staff to be in the office, including three interns, so that 'we could be an example to America on how to open up safely.'" The aide also implied that individuals visiting the office while wearing masks were regularly belittled for doing so.

It was evident that following Gohmert's positive test result, the potential spread of coronavirus was on the minds of members of Congress on Wednesday. During a House Judiciary Committee hearing following the diagnosis, another Republican congressman, Jim Jordan of Ohio, objected to Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) about his inability to get a unanimous consent request passed in order to speak longer about an issue.

Jordan, who also rarely wears a mask, was rebuked by Cicilline.

"Mr. Jordan, you made a unanimous consent request, objection was heard, those are our rules.... Put your mask on!" Cicilline said.

(c) 2020 Chris Walker is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analyzing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people.

President Donald Trump waves after introducing his then-nominee for the chairman of the
Federal Reserve Jerome Powell during a press event in the Rose Garden at the
White House, November 2, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Fed Guarantees Unproductive Debt And Perilous Speculation
Now it is time for various House Committees to publicly question Chairman Powell about the costs of the Fed's callous indifference to the real economy and struggling Americans.
By Ralph Nader

The Federal Reserve Board-our unaccountable Central Bank-needs more citizen and congressional supervision. Fees from financial institutions fund its operations, not congressional appropriations. It is as secret as it wants to be and that's plenty. (See Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country by William Greider). Plus, the Fed can print money at will. In the past several years it has "produced" trillions of dollars that juiced the stock market's speculation.

Back nearly 90 years ago, the influential British economist, John Maynard Keynes, warned about stock markets veering into speculation and away from investments to build the real economy. Today, he might view stock markets as the epitome of wasteful "casino capitalism." They have very little to do with raising money for useful investments and everything to do with making bets, as in multi-tiered derivatives, puts, and options to make money from money. Most often using, in Justice Louis Brandeis's phrase, "other people's money," the Wall Street gamblers reap lucrative fees from unproductive speculation.

Fed Chairman, Jerome H. Powell, has chosen to instill "confidence" in the stock markets and credit markets by injecting trillions of dollars into the financial system to reassure the Wall Street speculators that the Covid-19 pandemic won't crash the money markets into chaos and bankruptcies.

But Powell, the Fed, and the bankers who dominate the Fed and its regional branches have set the stage for this constant bailout of reckless bubbles and debt binges. By keeping interest rates too low, now near zero, they have encouraged non-financial companies to go deeper and deeper into riskier debt ($6.8 trillion and surging). Borrowing has been so cheap that some of this debt was incurred by companies just to buy back their stock! Stock buybacks do not produce anything but higher metrics for executive compensation (See article, "Why Stock Buybacks Are Dangerous for the Economy" by William Lazonick).

Powell has turned a deaf ear to tens of millions of Americans, with modest incomes, who together have trillions of dollars in money market and bank savings accounts and are getting almost nothing by way of interest income. The result is less consumer spending. Yet Powell arrogantly says he's not even thinking about raising interest rates even to one percent. Lenders like this approach because the sky-high interest rates they charge are not regulated.

Meanwhile, this huge pile of money looking for some return on investment is being lured into the stock market further driving up price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios into nosebleed territory.

Powell shrugs and assures the big boys on Wall Street that the Fed will have their back without limits. In return, the corporations continue their unproductive speculation and what the New York Times called a Fed-driven "debt binge."

To make matters worse, these trillions of dollars are chasing fewer listed companies on the stock exchanges. Mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, and raising money from cheap debt instead of equity, over the past 25 years have cut the number of companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange by half.

Note how little all these financial machinations directly help the average families in America. More money is controlled by the few than ever before, but little is going into productive investments in the creation of jobs and services sorely needed in this, shaky "real economy."

Some economists have written that "the stock markets are not the economy." True enough if they are describing how stocks can soar on Wall Street while the Main Street economy plummets. Unfortunately, few economists focus on the stock market speculators sucking money belonging to the people (pension and mutual funds) into the speculation vortex while corporate bosses borrow cheap money, at record low-interest rates, for self-serving unproductive uses.

The Fed is pursuing a short-term game of guaranteeing corporations against self-imposed riskiness (the Fed is even starting to buy corporate bonds). This authoritarian Central Bank, with its own bulging red ink balance sheet, is turning its massive injections of "liquidity" into a narcotic for Big Business.

Such addictions hurt many innocent people back home trying to keep jobs, find jobs, and pay their bills. The House Democrats must hold rigorous public hearings on the Fed which ironically is demanding that Congress provide more immediate relief for ordinary people.

In May the House Democrats passed a $3 trillion package addressing these needs and sent the bill to a balking Republican-controlled Senate.

Now it is time for various House Committees to publicly question Chairman Powell about the costs of the Fed's callous indifference to the real economy and struggling Americans.

(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 Black Caucus And The Dictatorship Of (White) Capital
By Glen Ford

Black politics does not exist in the Democratic Party, because the duopoly system serves only the corporate rulers.

What makes the U.S. "chattering classes" so worthless is their refusal to talk about anything except those subjects that are approved for public discourse by the Lords of Capital, as certified by the high priests of corporate media. If the chattering classes were permitted to discuss truly important subjects - such as, Who Rules? -- their yammering might hold some social value. However, the obvious fact of corporate dictatorship is also the great taboo. When the overarching reality of our times - the Dictatorship of (White) Capital, from which all of the planet's existential crises flow -- is verboten, haram, unspeakable, most of what's left to busy the lips is mindless, meaningless chatter that is utterly useless to the task of fixing what ails society.

The duopoly electoral system is a crucial part of the infrastructure of the Dictatorship of (White) Capital, monopolizing all political discourse so that the people believe that "politics" consists of voting for one of the two corporate brands every two or four years. The huge recent outpourings of humanity demanding profound changes in U.S. racial-economic realities is not considered "politics" by the corporate media. Rather, it is categorized as "protest," or simply "race" - but not politics, which is the domain of the Democratic and Republican Parties, whose legislative operatives will ultimately process the massed people's demands into oblivion. The duopoly ensures that nothing escapes those chambers that threatens the Dictatorship of the (White) Lords of Capital. The people's aspirations cannot become "politics"-and, therefore, practical, doable and publicly discussable projects -- without the benediction of Democrats or Republicans: a core corporate position that has the force of fact as long as the people believe it.

That's why I've chosen a long route in getting to the subjects of this week's column: the threat by dissident Democratic convention delegates to stage a Medicare for All revolt; and last week's U.S. House vote against cutting Pentagon spending by ten percent. These are actually stories that affirm the Dictatorship of (White) Capital -- but which the corporate media monopoly crafts to prove that "the people" do not really want health care as a right and reject a less bellicose foreign policy. Otherwise, why would their elected representatives and presidential nominees ultimately choose permanent domestic austerity and endless war?

Somewhere between 700 (Forbes) and more than 360 Democratic delegates (Politico) say they will register their discontent with the party's failure to endorse Medicare for All, by voting against the party platform at the virtual convention, next month. The larger figure is said to include some Biden delegates that favor Medicare for All despite their candidate's vow to veto the legislation if it ever reaches his presidential desk. The real question: why are only a fraction of the delegates to the party's convention willing to take even a symbolic stand for legislation that is favored by 78 percent of the people that call themselves Democrats? Supermajorities of Democrats also favor a Green New Deal, a minimum living wage, and free higher education, none of which is reflected in the party platform or Joe Biden's campaign spiel. The people make their policy preferences clear in successive surveys, yet the Dictatorship of (White) Capital prevails on every issue -- thus proving that the Dictatorship exists. To speak that truth, however, is haram, and a ticket to the fringes where Greens and other loonies howl majority sentiments at the Moon.

Black Americans are historically the most peace-minded major U.S. political constituency, yet this is seldom reflected in the voting behavior of Black Democratic legislators, who apparently answer to a Higher Power (White Capital). Of the 48 full voting House members of the Congressional Black Caucus, 20 last week voted Nay on a bill that would have cut Pentagon spending by ten percent across the board - a modest and symbolic reduction.

Listed below are the Twenty Black Legislative Minions of (White) Corporate Warlords:

*Alma Adams (FL)
Colin Allred (TX)
Sanford Bishop (GA)
* Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE)
Anthony Brown (MD)
G.K. Butterfield (NC)
*Andre Carson (IN)
James E. Clyburn (SC)
Antonio Delgado (NY)
Val Butler Demings (FL)
* Steven Horsford (NV)
* Brenda Lawrence (MI)
Al Lawson (FL)
Lucy McBath (GA)
Cedric Richmond (LA)
Bobby Scott (VA)
David Scott (GA)
Terri Sewell (AL)
Lauren Underwood (IL)
Marc Veasey (TX)

Usually, the Black Caucus vote closely follows that of House Democrats as a whole, under Nancy Pelosi's whip. But this time the Black members lined up 58 percent for military cuts versus only 40 percent among all House Democrats. Could it be that the "Defund the Police!" demands of street "non-politics" had some small influence on Black Democrats? If so, it was far too weak a response to overwhelming Black public sentiment historically favoring domestic spending over the military.

Please note the asterisks in front of Alma Adams (FL), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), Andre Carson (IN), Steven Horsford (NV), and Brenda Lawrence (MI). These Black Reps. are also members of the Progressive Caucus, but they voted to please the Pentagon and to preserve domestic spending austerity -- the policy pillars of the Dictatorship of (White) Capital.

Eighty percent of the Black Caucus voted to continue the Pentagon's program to militarize local police, in 2014, and 75 percent of Black House members supported making police a "protected class," in 2018. The cops have never been popular in Black America: 89 percent of African Americans told pollsters that the criminal justice system is unfair to Blacks in 2014, when most of the Black Caucus supported militarized cops, and a phenomenal 97 percent of Blacks feel victimized by the "protected class" of cops, today. Clearly, the Democratic Party is the mechanism that spawns and nurtures Black politicians answerable to the Dictatorship of (White) Capital.

The Black liberation movement ended half a century ago with the capture of Black "politics" by the Democratic Party, and can only be revived when the Party is exposed and opposed as an enemy institution in our midst.

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

Sneaking Public Dollars Into Private Schools
By Jim Hightower

During today's COVID-19 crisis, the PR departments of every brand-name corporation are running slick ads nobly proclaiming: "We're all in this together!"

But simultaneously, the lobbying departments of those corporations are ignobly using the public's focus on the health crisis as cover for selfishly grabbing government favors. One of the grabbiest special interests are well-off corporate and parochial private schools, where students from some of America's wealthiest families get their education. For years, these private entities have been lobbying relentlessly to make taxpayers finance their schools, even though they usually have an ideological or religious curriculum, and some even share the extremist view that public schools should be eliminated.

That extremist nook is where Betsy DeVos resides. She's a multibillionaire heiress and long-time funder of far-right-wing causes. Chosen by Trump to run America's education department, she's been trying to run our schools straight into private hands... but with little success. Then, along came the COVID-19 federal relief package, including funds to help meet the education needs of low-income students in hard-hit public schools.

Hallelujah! shouted DeVos, grabbing the coronavirus as a way to advance her agenda. In May, she issued an edict requiring local public school districts to divert millions of the relief dollars from their disadvantaged students, forcing them to share their allotment with even the richest private schools. Astonishingly, Trump's haughty education secretary rationalized her directive as a matter of economic fairness, piously informing locals that they must not "discriminate" against the rich.

DeVos' "Share-with-the-rich" dictum can be a bit imbalanced. Officials in New Orleans, for example, note that under her formula, 77 percent of its allotment would end up in private hands. Luckily, her "order" does not have the force of law, and public schools are fighting back. For information and action, go to the National Coalition for Public Education:

(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

President Trump gestures as he walks away from Marine One prior to boarding Air Force One
in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on July 24, 2020, as he travels to Bedminster,
New Jersey, for the weekend.

Donald Trump Has Ruined Our Lives And Now He's Ruining Baseball Too
And it's an invitation to organizers to keep pushing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on progressive priorities.
By William Rivers Pitt

With all that's going on at home and abroad, you'd hope something as picayune as baseball could offer a moment of wholesome distraction and relief. That's the point of it, right? The national pastime? Turn on a game and unplug your brain for three hours. Hell, that's why Major League Baseball was in such a hot rush to get the season going even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic (well, that and the money, of course). Baseball is "normal," and normal has been in desperately short supply.

I suspect that even those who detest sports might find a wrinkle of comfort in the return of something we all took for granted until it was gone. The crack of the bat, the voice of the play-by-play announcer marching up the octaves as the ball sails out of sight in a majestic arc… it is the stuff and sound of summer.

There is no swelling crowd noise now, and home runs clank inelegantly off empty seats instead of falling into a swarm of upraised hands, but it is enough. If we've learned anything in this passage, it is what we have learned to live without, individually and collectively. Getting a slice of that back is a boon, and if you listen to the games on the radio, you'd hardly know the stadium was empty.

So, of course, Donald Trump had to screw that all up, too.

This time, however, he had help. New York Yankees president Randy Levine invited Trump to throw the first pitch at a home game on August 15. Given everything that city has endured because of Trump's galactically bungled pandemic response, take a moment with the fact that the invitation was proffered in the first place.

Before becoming president of the most storied franchise in baseball history, Levine served as Commissioner of Labor Relations under then-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and was one of Giuliani's closest aides. In 2008, according to OpenSecrets, Levine was a campaign fundraising "bundler" for presidential candidate John McCain in 2008. From Rudy to McCain/Palin to George Steinbrenner's old barn… yeah, it's pretty safe to say we know what kind of cat he is.

Somewhere along the way, Levine acquired the standard Trump-brand tin ear, one so massive that he believed rolling out the red carpet for a president whose botched COVID response contributed to consigning over 23,000 New York City residents to early graves was a good idea.

Trump, to the surprise of none, happily accepted the invitation. Why not? The first pitch is cool president stuff, and he gets to be on TV, which basically appears to be the thing that gets him out of bed these days. Plus, the stadium would be empty (thanks to him), so there would be no chance of him getting thunderbooed the way he did when he dared to show his face at a Washington Nationals game last year.

Cooler heads apparently prevailed, however, and Trump backed out of the appearance. I'd hazard a guess his campaign advisers didn't relish the optics of an entire city simultaneously booing one guy standing on a dirt mound in the Bronx. Plus, there was the very real chance Trump would accidentally and embarrassingly wing the ball into left field. For a rare change of pace, it seems, Trump listened to his people when they were being wiser than he is.

That the invitation was made is disgusting, verging on performative obscenity given the travails that city has endured. That Trump turned it down is one of the infinitesimally few good things he has done while in office.

The way Trump turned it down, however, is perhaps the most galling portion of this sordid little baseball tale. "Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won't be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the Yankees on August 15th," he tweeted on Sunday, using his customary xenophobic and race-baiting name for COVID-19. "We will make it later in the season!"

So much garbage crammed into 47 words, like the Gettysburg Address delivered in Bizarro World.

There have been more than 4 million diagnosed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and nearly 150,000 people are dead. The pandemic is out of control in the South and West on the doorstep of schools reopening, and an already fragile economy is threatening to fly apart at the seams, again.

In such a moment one would expect a president to be busy, but in this case the Television President has "meetings" with Sean Hannity, and afterward with whoever is filling Tucker Carlson's racist chair on Fox News these days. That is what passes for "busy" in this White House, along with the ubiquitous golf outings that have finally and thoroughly murdered shame.

Meanwhile Trump's own national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, has been diagnosed with COVID. The call is coming from inside the house, Don. The man simply does not, cannot, will not care.

Even Trump's most devoted aides and advisers have (finally) begun to despair that he will ever do anything more that wave at the escalating calamities before him while firing racist "China virus" dog-whistle trills at his base.

"People close to Trump, many speaking anonymously to share candid discussions and impressions, say the president's inability to wholly address the crisis is due to his almost pathological unwillingness to admit error," reports The Washington Post, "a positive feedback loop of overly rosy assessments and data from advisers and Fox News; and a penchant for magical thinking that prevented him from fully engaging with the pandemic."

You'll never hear me wax rhapsodic about the "purity" of baseball. It's a billion-dollar industry that has a long, bad habit of screwing municipalities to get stadiums at the expense of the people (Looking at you, Dodgers), and for every breakthrough Jackie Robinson there have been a thousand flagrantly racist actors like Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who as commissioner of baseball almost singlehandedly kept the game whites-only decades after integration should have happened.

Moreover, I never expected the league to get a whole season in under the present circumstances, and it turns out my concern was sound. On Monday afternoon, news broke that as many as a dozen players and coaches for the Miami Marlins tested positive for COVID, and more may have been infected. It was news that, while unwelcome, was entirely unsurprising.

Two upcoming games have been postponed, and the outbreak may come to be severe enough to imperil a season that is only days old. Calling off the season entirely would seem to be the prudent move; this crisis clearly shows the league is not ready to begin play again, and given the insidious nature of COVID, the outbreak may even motivate the other leagues to reconsider opening or continuing their own seasons.

In other words, it seems entirely possible that Trump would not have gotten to throw out that first pitch next month, even if he had kept the invitation. Still, we had the new version of real baseball for a few days there, and I tried to enjoy it while it was still around.

Instead, I got Trump being invited to the city he nearly destroyed before turning down that invitation with a pellet of lies so vile it would poison a rattlesnake at 20 paces. I can't wait to see what he does if/when football season starts, and whole teams kneel in solidarity with the racial justice uprising that shows no sign of ebbing. As with all things Trump, best you bring a helmet, and a mask.

UPDATE 7/28/20: The New York Post's report that Trump had been invited by Randy Levine to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium was, as it turns out, based on yet another fabulation by the president. According to a later report by The New York Times, Levine never invited Trump. Worse, Trump manufactured the tale of his invitation because he was jealous of the press coverage Anthony Fauci got after Fauci threw out the first pitch for the Nationals on Opening Day.

(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.

Joe Biden taps the nose of a polar bear in February 2020.

Biden's New Climate Policy Proves That Movements Can Move Him Left
And it's an invitation to organizers to keep pushing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on progressive priorities.
By John Nichols

Can Joe Biden be moved to the left on the issues that matter most and are critical to the sort of mass mobilization of voters that might transform our politics and our governance? Yes. That's the best takeaway from the presumptive Democratic nominee's July 14 announcement of a climate and jobs plan that would have him move immediately as president to invest $2 trillion in developing clean energy infrastructure and a host of other responses to the climate crisis. "We're not just going to tinker around the edges," Biden declared. "We're going to make historic investments that will seize the opportunity and meet this moment in history."

That's a far cry from what Biden was saying during his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year. Then, he pushed back against climate activists and dismissed an ambitious plan by his chief rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, to "launch the decade of the Green New Deal, a 10-year mobilization to avert climate catastrophe during which climate change, justice, and equity will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond." Asked about the Sanders plan in January, Biden claimed, falsely, that "not a single solitary scientist thinks it will work."

Now, Biden is talking about making a good deal of it work-borrowing ideas from Sanders and from Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who as a 2020 contender ripped the former vice president for failing to respond to the crisis with the urgency that it required. Sunrise Movement cofounder Varshini Prakash, who served on the Biden-Sanders climate unity task force that prodded Biden on the issue, summed up the reaction from activists who once objected to his approach. "It's no secret that we've been critical of [his] plans and commitments in the past," she said. "Today, he's responded to many of those criticisms: dramatically increasing the scale and urgency of investments, filling in details on how he'd achieve environmental justice and create good union jobs, and promising immediate action-on day 1, in his first 100 days, in his first term, in the next decade-not just some far off goals."

Julian Brave NoiseCat, the director of Green New Deal Strategy for the research group Data for Progress, suggested that "Biden's clean energy and environmental justice plans are, in my view, a Green New Deal in all but name." Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins disagreed, arguing that "Biden is nowhere close to the GND. Besides having a timeline for emissions more than 20 years slower, he leaves out the other half, which is an economic bill of rights-guaranteed jobs, single payer healthcare, housing, etc." There's still a good debate to be had about whether Biden is prepared to meet the challenges he'll face if elected. But The Washington Post noted that the Democrat's recent policy pronouncements on climate change and other issues represent "a significant move to the left from where Biden and his party were only recently."

That movement is what matters. Give Biden credit for breaking loose from some of the centrist dogmas that bogged Democrats down in 2016 and that are scorchingly out of touch with a pandemic moment that is witnessing mass unemployment. But give activists more credit for making him do so. Prakash was right when she said, "Our movement, alongside environmental justice communities and frontline workers, has taught Joe Biden to talk the talk." That's important in an election year when an action agenda is necessary and popular. She was also right when she said progressives must keep pushing Biden to be bolder-and better-in addressing the climate crisis, systemic racism, and the rot that extends from decades of deference to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. The hopeful news is that Biden, in stark contrast to Trump, responds to pushing. "What we've shown," Prakash said, "is that when we organize, we can change the terrain of possible, and the common sense of society."

(c) 2020 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Federal police officers stand guard during a protest in Portland, Oregon, on July 23, 2020. The officers fired tear gas.

We Don't Need Trump's Thugs in Chicago
The excuse for sending federal police here is to protect federal property. The reality is that this is a cynical re-election ploy aimed at earning support for a law-and-disorder president.
By Jesse Jackson

"Hitler had his Brown shirts and Mussolini had his Black shirts, now Donald Trump has his camouflage shirts." Thus began a statement signed by 15 distinguished interdenominational religious leaders in Chicago that I joined, including ministers, priests, and rabbis.

Comparisons to Hitler are always explosive, but the comparison is apt. "Hitler's bullyboys," the statement continues, "operated on the fringes or outside of the law to violently intimidate Germany's leftists and finally to exterminate Jews. Trump's bully boys are operating on the fringes or outside the law to violently intimidate America's progressives and people of color who are exercising their First Amendment right to protest racial injustice."

Portland, Oregon, provides the model. Trump dispatched untrained, unidentified, camouflage-wearing, military-uniformed, no name-tagged bullyboys who are literally kidnapping protesters, stuffing them in unidentified vans, taking them to unknown locations without charges-and against the wishes of local law enforcement officers the mayor of Portland and the governor of Oregon.

Black Lives Matter Chicago and other organizations are going to court to get an injunction to prohibit Trump's agents from "interfering in or otherwise policing lawful and peaceful assemblies and protests" in Chicago.

Trump has announced that he will send similar teams to Chicago, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Baltimore and other "liberal Democrat-run cities," to use his phrase. The excuse is to defend federal property. The reality is that this is a cynical re-election ploy. As Portland shows, Trump's gambit will spark a large, hostile reaction which he hopes to use to scare suburban voters into supporting this law-and-disorder president.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has warned Trump not to try this in Chicago. "[N]o troops, no agents that are coming in outside of our knowledge, notification, and control that are violating people's constitutional rights." Lightfoot told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday during an appearance on "State of the Union." "We can't just allow anyone to come into Chicago, play police in our streets, in our neighborhoods, when they don't know the first thing about our city. That's a recipe for disaster. And that's what you're seeing playing out in Portland on a nightly basis."

We support her resistance - and the opposition expressed by the Pentagon, members of Congress, former U.S. military officials, historians and constitutional scholars - to Trump's effrontery.

We don't need the president's thugs in Chicago, but we would like real federal assistance. While overall crime has decreased compared to last year, violent crime - particularly murders and shootings - has soared.

Chicago has no gun shop and no gun range. The guns come from outside of Chicago, generally across the border from Indiana. We need common sense regulations on guns to stop the pipeline into Chicago. Trump could help because it is Republicans and the gun lobby that stands in the way.

Real federal assistance wouldn't be dispatching bullyboys to terrorize citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. It would help with jobs and training for the young. It would help with rent and mortgage forgiveness during the pandemic lockdown when people can't work. If Trump and Senate Republicans don't act immediately, literally millions will be on the verge of eviction.

We need real investment in our schools, so the savage inequality with suburban schools can be reduced. We need health care to be a right, not a privilege, and at the very least for the federal government to cover all medical expenses related to COVID-19. In a pandemic, we all have a stake in ensuring that the sick can afford to get the treatment they need.

Our sons and daughters volunteer to serve in the military. When Vladimir Putin puts a bounty on the heads of our soldiers, we need Trump to defend them, not to ignore the attack.

Trump scorns real assistance to cities. He scorns meeting with our elected leaders before announcing that he plans to dispatch his thugs to our city. And he disgraces our democracy with this cynical and dangerous campaign ploy.

Black Lives Matter Chicago and other organizations are going to court to get an injunction to prohibit Trump's agents from "interfering in or otherwise policing lawful and peaceful assemblies and protests" in Chicago. The religious leaders who issued the statement pledged that if Trump dispatched bullyboys to Chicago without the permission of the mayor, they would be met with a "massive, disciplined, nonviolent ... march of resistance." We will not let the president trample our Constitution, suppress our rights, and terrorize our citizens with impunity.

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

324 Congress Members Who Should Permanently Quarantine
By David Swanson

The U.S. House of Misrepresentatives on Tuesday voted 324 to 93 (with 13 not voting) to defeat a proposal to move a mere 10% of military spending to human, environmental, and health needs. The 324 people who voted the wrong way on this really should never show their faces in public again. Our society ought to shame them so deeply that they pick up and move to a country with healthcare and retirement and clean energy and a decent education system where they can discover what they've been depriving the United States of, as well as discover what they've been inflicting on the world. Certainly, nobody should ever vote to elect any of them again.

Data For Progress, for quite a while, seemed like it would be a progressive-except-for-peace (PEP) group, but to its enormous credit, it finally did a poll on military spending. And guess what it found? By 56% to 27% U.S. voters favored what the House just voted down. If told that some of the money would go to the Centers for Disease Control, the public support was 57% to 25%. These were predictable numbers, in line with similar polls for decades. In fact, support for moving funds out of the military has often been stronger. And these results were not achieved by progressive wording of the question asked. The polling question called the aggressive, counterproductive military machine "defense" and claimed that we were living in a time of "relative peace." (Maybe they meant you're not likely to be fighting your relatives?)

If you're wondering how your so-called Representative voted, check out the roll call. Or use this cheat sheet:

0 Republicans voted yes, 185 voted no, and 13 didn't vote.

1 Independent voted yes.

92 Democrats voted yes, while 139 voted no.

We need to thank the 93 people who got the easiest question in the history of the Congress correct, and we need to spank the others. is setting up a page to allow you to do whichever is merited based on your address.

We also need to recognize two things.

1) The Republican Party is a disaster.

2) The Democratic Party is a disaster.

You're unlikely to hear this news from Republican-aligned media outlets, or Democratic-aligned media outlets, or any corporate media outlets striving to align with both of those parties even while pretending that the two parties are severely at odds with each other.

A significant majority of federal discretionary spending goes to militarism. This is most of what Congress does. And the two parties are aligned on the question of dumping endless funds into the war machine.

Among voters who identify as Democrats you get 70% wanting to defund the Pentagon, whereas among Republicans you get 50%. But among elected officials who identify as Democrats you get 40% voting to defund the Pentagon and among Republicans 0%. This would seem to suggest that in relative terms of misrepresenting constituents, the Democrats are not as awful as the Republicans. Actually I don't think that can be disputed, but I also think it can very easily be overstated.

The 40% of Democrats in the House who voted the right way were allowed to do so without great pressure from their party bosses precisely because the vote was expected to easily fail. The fraction of that group that would have stood by their vote had it been the single decisive vote and cast against the wishes of the "leader," is probably extremely small. The number of Congress Members publicly advocating for urging their colleagues to vote the right way was small. The number of House Democrats signed onto a resolution in support of moving a really significant amount of funding out of the military is not 92. It's 20.

We should especially thank those 20, even while building an independent movement to transform most of the Congress.

(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.

10 Reasons I Won't Vote For Biden
By Ted Rall

1. My vote is a personal endorsement. It says, "I, citizen Ted Rall, approve of Joe Biden's career in public office." I do not. Voting for Biden would be a retroactive endorsement of his vote to invade Iraq, which killed over 1 million innocent people. Voting for Biden would be a retroactive endorsement of his long history of racism, beginning with his disgusting opposition to court-ordered busing.

2. Biden has never apologized for his numerous right-wing policy positions, such as writing the fascist USA Patriot Act and the 1994 crime bill that expanded mass incarceration of Black men. Biden's refusal to apologize indicates that he still believes he did the right thing, and that he would do them again in the future. Why should I forgive him? He has never asked for forgiveness.

3. Joe Biden lies a lot. He falsely claimed to hold three bachelor's degrees and to have graduated at the top of his law school class with a full scholarship. He falsely claimed to have come from a family of coal miners in northeastern Pennsylvania. He plagiarized in law school and when he wrote his speeches. He said he was arrested with Nelson Mandela; it didn't happen. During his recent debate against Bernie Sanders, he looked Sanders and the American people in the eye and falsely claimed not to have repeatedly supported the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion. One of the biggest reasons to despise President Donald Trump is that he lies so often. What's the point of replacing one liar with another?

4. Even in the middle of a viral pandemic, Biden says he would veto Medicare for All if a bipartisan Congress were to pass such a bill. Twenty-seven and a half million Americans were without health insurance before COVID-19. That number has more than doubled due to coronavirus lockdown-related unemployment. I cannot vote for anyone who wants my fellow Americans to die, and that goes double when the murderer is motivated by corruption: Of the approximately 20 candidates in the 2020 Democratic primaries, Joe Biden received the most contributions from the health care industry.

5. Joe Biden wants to kill the planet. He still refuses to support a Green New Deal whose goal is zero net carbon emissions by 2030. He wants to do it by 2050. Way too late! Climate change experts say that human civilization may be extinct by then. I cannot vote for anyone who wants everyone on Earth to die. Here, too, Biden has been corrupted by giant contributions by oil and natural gas energy companies.

6. Biden refuses to name his Cabinet. Given his advanced age - he would be the oldest person ever elected president - his supporters say a Cabinet of "best and brightest" department secretaries would pick up the slack as Biden's mental abilities continue to fade. If that's true, what are those names? Unless he proves otherwise, before the election, we have to assume a Biden administration will be run by Obama-era corporate hacks, not one of whom are liberal. You shouldn't hope for the best from someone who still has Laurence Summers, an idiot who thinks women aren't smart enough to be scientists, on speed dial.

7. Whether or not you believe that the Democratic National Committee conspired to install Joe Biden as the nominee, a vote for Biden is a vote for a conservative Democratic Party. Consider what will happen if Biden wins with substantial progressive support. Internal pollsters will conclude that there's no need to kowtow to progressive voters because they will vote for a corporatist even if they don't receive any ideological concessions. The argument is get rid of Trump first, and then push Biden to the left. Voting for Biden would actually resume the party's push toward the right.

8. America deserves more than two parties. Both major parties began small. They never would have grown had 19th-century voters been unwilling to ignore the two-party trap and "waste" their votes and financial contributions on organizations that didn't initially seem to stand a chance. If you don't believe in either Donald Trump or Joe Biden, vote for and contribute to a smaller party. If you support the lesser of two evils in election after election, don't complain that a better alternative never emerges.

9. Joe Biden is mentally unfit for the presidency. He is clearly suffering from dementia, which is why his campaign is hiding him. Now they're trying to come up with excuses for him not to debate Trump. If the electorate wants to hand over nuclear launch codes to a man who is senile, let them commit this madness without me.

10. Biden's team thinks that their guy can win without campaigning or articulating an affirmative platform of forward-looking ideas simply because so many of us are disgusted by Trump. They may be correct. But it's dangerous. If Biden's non-campaign campaign model is successful, it will be emulated. People will become president without being properly vetted, without the American people getting to know them. Nothing could be less democratic.

I anticipate the usual objection to this essay: But Trump! He's so crazy and racist and stupid and evil!

All true. But none of Trump's many shortcomings eclipse the sum total of the concerns raised above. Considering everything, in the aggregate, Biden and Trump are equally awful. In some ways, Biden is worse. For me, the conclusion is obvious: Don't vote for either one.

Take to the streets.

(c) 2020 Ted Rall, is the author of the new books "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?," and "The Anti-American Manifesto." His website is

If And When All Of Our Immediate Crises End, The Climate Crisis Will Still Be There
How was your weekend?
By Charles P. Pierce

National Geographic has a story that's guaranteed to get your week off to a flying stop. Periodically, we check in on the existential crisis that existed before the existential public-health crisis, and before the existential economic crisis, and before the existential political crisis. This indicates that we are rapidly approaching that barrier referred to in scientific circles as the What-the-Fck-Is-the-Point? Point.

Scientists had determined that this ice sheet last retreated about three million years ago. But a new paper in the journal Nature suggests-based on a study of crystals collected from the region-that a large part of it collapsed only 400,000 years ago. Most startling of all, the team's calculations suggest that the dramatic change happened during an extended but relatively mild warm spell...

"That's the scary thing," says Harwood. Modern carbon dioxide levels blew past 300 ppm way back in 1915-and they currently sit at 410 ppm. In the coming centuries, that extra carbon dioxide could raise temperatures, and sea level, well above what happened 400,000 years ago, he says. "This doesn't bode well for the future."

Unless you've invested in oceanfront property in Tennessee.

The climate crisis is still going to be there when-and if-the current tangle of crises ever ends. It's going to be there to greet whoever gets elected in November. Hell, if we're not diligent, it's going to be there to greet whoever gets elected for the balance of the century. In a time in which we're all calibrating our movements in thinner slices of calculated immediacy, long-term thinking seems like a luxury. But the climate crisis is going to be there, waiting, like an old unpaid bill, no matter who wins or what happens. Rocks and the sea measure time in centuries.

If these new findings bear out, then East Antarctica may contribute to sea level rise sooner than expected. The greenhouse gases that humans have produced to date may have already locked in 42 feet of eventual sea level rise from all of the glaciers predicted to melt in the coming centuries, including the ones in East Antarctica.
And how was your weekend?

(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-

"They -- in most -- most cases, in almost -- I mean, literally, in most cases, they automatically cure. They automatically get better."
~~~ Donald Trump

Federal officers walk through tear gas while dispersing a crowd of about
a thousand people during a protest on July 21, 2020 in Portland, Oregon.

First The National Security State Surged Baghdad, Now It Is Surging Portland And Seattle
This time the surge troops are playing ISIL, attempting to provoke urban crowds so as to allow Trump to posture as the law and order president and the great white hope for saving the suburbs.
By Juan Cole

USA Today's headline went, "Mayors see broken trust, political agenda in Trump's surge of federal officers to US cities."


For those of us old enough to remember George W. Bush's Iraq War, the use of the word "surge" to describe federal agents sent into Democratic cities to break heads chills the soul. The agents even look like U.S. infantrymen in Iraq, dressed in military-style uniforms and dangling the noses of their firearms.

The Bush team of inveterate liars and propagandists used the word "surge" because "troop escalation" had been given a bad name by Gen. Westmoreland during Vietnam. He and other generals kept assuring President Lyndon B. Johnson that they could defeat the Viet Cong if only they had enough troops, hence the escalation. They escalated all the way to 500,000 men, but they still lost. No one in my generation wanted to hear about a troop escalation ever again.

Hence, the "surge."

Bush at one point had 170,000 troops in Iraq. It wasn't enough. The U.S. military never controlled more than the soil on which they actually stood. Gen. Eric Shinseki had estimated that, based on the U.S. military experience in the Balkans, 800,000 U.S. troops would be needed to do Phase IV reconstruction after the invasion. The Bush team knew that the U.S. public would never fall for a war if they admitted they might need nearly a million men. They more or less forced Shinseki into retirement that summer, as the guerrilla war in Iraq was gaining a head of steam.

Bush invaded and occupied Iraq on the grounds that the Saddam Hussein regime had stockpiled "weapons of mass destruction." But it really hadn't. When that pretext for war collapsed, the Bush team began talking up democracy promotion. Iraq would be a shining beacon on a hill, and would start the ball of democratization rolling throughout the Middle East. instead, Bush created a failed state and inadvertently gave rise to the ISIL terrorist group.

Bush had trouble finding enough troops to do all the rotations in Iraq that were needed. The troop levels fell to about 130,000. By fall of 2006, things were dire. Through 2006, a vicious Sunni-Shiite civil war had broken out beneath the noses of the American military in Iraq. It was fought in back alleys and dense slums, and the Americans didn't have a clue. It was in part deliberately provoked by the Islamic State of Iraq, the successor to al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which had a theory that if they could make Iraq too hot for the U.S., they could take over. They targeted Shiite families and symbols to provoke that heat. Militias would capture members of the opposing militia and torture them to get information, then kill them. A thousand bodies of civilians were said to show up in the streets every month, and Baghdad police had to establish a corpse patrol to go around and pick them up in the morning.

Bush lost the midterms in November 2006 and his bellicose secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was forced to step down. Rumsfeld had kept shining Congress on, that everything was going swimmingly in Iraq. There had been no looting on his watch ("how many vases could they have?"); there was no guerrilla war ("you go to war with the army you have"); there was no civil war. The new Democratic majority wasn't going to put up with it.

Gen. David Petraeus was experimenting with counter-insurgency tactics. He went to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, and said that he was going to "surge" in 30,000 U.S. troops. they would tamp down the thousands of deaths by disarming the militias in Baghdad.

Al-Maliki, a strongly committed Shiite said that there was no problem with Shiite militias, only Sunni extremist ones. Petraeus countered that he could start by disarming the Sunnis, and then al-Maliki should go to the Shiites and convince them to disarm, since there was no longer a threat.

The U.S. troops were surged in. They couldn't hope to win the guerrilla war. The "surge" just brought troop levels back up to a previous high point. The U.S. surge troops disarmed the Sunnis during the day, and then at night the Shiites ethnically cleansed them. Baghdad went from being roughly split between Sunnis and Shiites to being 75% Shiite. Ooops.

The surge worked, but largely because it inadvertently allowed the ethnic cleansing of a lot of Baghdad Sunnis. The violence had been in mixed neighborhoods, and there just weren't many left after the surge.

It was enough to allow Bush to feel as though he had not been unceremoniously tossed out of Iraq. But he negotiated an end to the U.S. military presence in 2011 (for which Republicans would mysteriously blame Barack Obama).

So that was the "surge." It was intended to allow the U.S. to recover tactical control of the streets of Baghdad. They never really did. The Shiite militias were the primary beneficiary.

Now, Trump is doing a "surge" of federal agents into Democratic-run cities. They are violating the 10th Amendment by going out into the city to arrest people with no warrant or probable cause. Trump's people allege that this is for the sake of democracy, since the shadowy antifa organization is roiling the downtowns of cities in a sinister plot against the soccer moms in the suburbs. (If Trump loses he soccer moms, he loses the election).

There isn't an antifa organization. One problem with anarchists is that they aren't very organized.

This time the surge troops are playing ISIL, attempting to provoke urban crowds so as to allow Trump to posture as the law and order president and the great white hope for saving the suburbs.

So in the tale of two surges, gradually the U.S. government has been captured by the national security state to the extent that it is surging into U.S. cities the way it surged into Baghdad. The U.S. blue states are increasingly Occupied Territories. But instead of combating a wily Islamic State of Iraq that was trying to set people against one another, the Feds have now become ISIL themselves.

Bonus Video: CBS News: "Portland protest leader speaks out about federal troops"

(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-

Rick gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Pastor Wiles,

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 idea to use hollow point bullets on protestors, 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 08-07-2020. We salute you herr Wiles, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's Worst Attacks On Workers
By Robert Reich

Donald Trump campaigned as an insurgent outside of the political establishment who would restore the long-neglected working class. That was a lie. As president, he's turned his back on working people, governing instead as a lackey for billionaires, CEOs, and corporations. Even during a public health and economic crisis, Trump has left working people in the dust.

Consider his signature tax law, sold as a benefit to working people. More than 60 percent of its benefits have gone to people in the top 20 percent of the income ladder. In 2018, for the first time in American history, billionaires paid a lower tax rate than the working class.

Trump said every worker would get a $4,000 raise, but nothing trickled down. Instead, corporations spent their tax savings buying back shares of their own stock, boosting executive bonuses and doing nothing for workers. To make matters worse, some of the richest corporations are paying nothing in federal income taxes, despite making billions in profits.

Meanwhile, Trump's corporate lobbyists and industry shills have systematically dismantled worker protections - rolling back child labor protections, undoing worker safeguards from exposure to cancerous radiation, gutting measures that shield workers from wage theft, and eliminating overtime for 8 million workers.

Trump has even asked the Supreme Court to take away the health insurance of 23 million American workers by invalidating the Affordable Care Act - in the middle of a global health crisis, no less! If Trump gets his way, protections for people with pre-existing conditions will be eliminated.

Oh, and remember his promise to rein in drug prices so working people can afford the meds they need? Well, forget it. Remdesivir, a drug to reduce the severity of COVID-19, from pharma giant Gilead, was developed with $70 million of taxpayer funding, yet Trump is letting the company charge $3,000 per treatment. And he is omitting pricing protections from federal contracts to develop drugs for Covid-19 - making it likely that life-saving treatments and vaccines will be out of reach for people in need.

Donald Trump doesn't give a fig for working-class Americans. He even wants to end the extra unemployment benefits that countless Americans are depending on to get through this crisis.

So whose side is Trump really on?

Well, here's a clue: Tucked away on page 203 of the COVID stimulus package backed by Trump, is an obscure provision that delivers a whopping $135 billion in tax breaks to millionaire real estate developers and hedge fund managers. One real estate tycoon who stands to profit handsomely from the provision is none other than the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

In total, the cash secretly spent on tax cuts for millionaires in the COVID-19 package is more than three times as much money as was included for emergency housing and food relief.

Kushner isn't the only Trump insider getting paid off during the pandemic. Forty lobbyists with ties to Donald Trump have helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal COVID aid. And if Trump succeeds in getting the Supreme Court to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the richest 0.1 percent of Americans will get an average additional tax cut of $198,000 each per year.

Donald Trump is no working-class champion. He's a corporate con man - the culmination of a rigged-for-the-rich system that's shafting working Americans at every turn.

(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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) listens as President Donald Trump talks
to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Not the 'Heals Act' But the 'Heels Act': GOP Covid-19 Plan Puts Corporate Greed Before Human Need
What if we ignored corporations and their billionaire CEOs and owners altogether, gave them nothing, and instead directed all our efforts to providing unemployment and other benefits to individual human beings?
By Thom Hartmann

It should be called the HEELS Act, not the HEALS Act.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans' price for supporting unemployment checks and other benefits for average working people has been several trillion dollars shoveled directly into corporate coffers, both through tax breaks, grants, and the Federal Reserve buying trillions worth of corporate stocks and bonds.

Now Republicans are saying they want to cut people's unemployment benefits, and they'll only go along with giving unemployed people a measly $200 a week if they can also give immunity to corporate CEOs and managers when their stupid decisions cause people to die.

In other words, virtually every Republican initiative has been to put corporations and their CEOs first and working people last, even fighting to defend corporations and CEOs when they kill human beings.

But what if we did the opposite?

What if we ignored corporations and their billionaire CEOs and owners altogether, gave them nothing, and instead directed all our efforts to providing unemployment and other benefits to individual human beings?

In the real world, businesses can only exist and prosper when people have money to buy their products. Economists call this "aggregate demand," and it generally refers to wages. But unemployment benefits work the same way: they put money in people's hands, and people use that money to buy things, which causes corporations to make, move, and sell those things.

If we stopped subsidizing billionaires and giant corporations, and only subsidized poor and average working people, we would actually be stimulating the economy in a more efficient manner than giving trillions of dollars to corporations. Instead of money trickling down from billionaires and corporations, it would flow upward from consumers, which is how economies are supposed to work and how ours worked for centuries before the 1981 imposition of Reaganomics.

Old, inefficient, and monopolistic companies would be in trouble, but that would open a space in the marketplace for millions of new, innovative and smaller businesses to step in and meet the demand created by consumers spending their unemployment checks.

If we stopped subsidizing businesses and started subsidizing people, it would produce a realignment of America's business structure that would help smaller, local and regional companies tremendously, which overall would be a great thing for our economy and would reignite entrepreneurial opportunities.

The only reason Republicans have been shoveling money at giant corporations is because those corporations have been spiffing them on the back end. Ever since the Supreme Court legalized corporate bribery of politicians in 1978 with the First National Bank versus Belotti decision written by Louis Powell, this has been the nature of business' relationship with the GOP and even some corporate Democrats. Corporations contribute money, and legislators write laws that give tax breaks, giant cash subsidies and less liability to those same corporations.

The 40-year experiment of Reaganomics that required putting corporations and CEOs first has failed, and Democrats need to push back hard against Mitch McConnel's efforts to further subsidize giant companies that, in a real free market economy, would be out of business, thus providing space and opportunity for young, new and entrepreneurial ventures.

It's time to put Americans first.

(c) 2020 Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Gary Markstein ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Take The Trump Cognitive Ability Test Here
By the Waterford Whispers News

BOASTING about taking and passing a basic cognitive ability test which checks for signs of Alzheimers has rightfully taken priority for President Donald Trump over America's 146,000 Covid dead.

Stating multiple times how challenging the test is, WWN has tracked down the exact test taken by Trump and is giving readers a chance to put themselves through the most intellectually challenging minutes of your lives.

Is your brain as bigly and smart as Donald J. Trump's? Find out by answering these insanely challenging questions:

Remember the following words, they will prove important later: Persian, Tin can, fan, stamina, Stevie. 1) Who is this a picture of?


a) Me.

2) Now for the intensive problem solving portion of this incredibly demanding test, what is the missing letter? (This question takes the average person 4 hours, so don't worry if it takes you some time Donald)

D_n-a-l-d T-r-u-m-p

3) What is this a picture of?

a) A person

b) A problem

4) This is a drawing of a cow. You do NOT have to identify the animal in the picture to answer this question correctly. As we've already stated - it is a cow. Just stare at it for a brief moment. Damn, you're good! Well done, you did it!

5) Maths round: you are given millions of dollars by your incredibly wealthy father, do you...

a) Run law abiding businesses that are scandal and bankruptcy free?

b) Lose more money in the late 80s and early 90s than any other individual in the United States?

6) Word association exercise: what word do you think of when you hear 'daughter', and before you write your answer we cannot stress enough how it should not be the word 'sex'. That is absolutely the last thing you want to be writing...

7) Steel yourself. You have one final challenge to complete in order to pass. It will ask so much of your brain you will feel weak, it is such a demanding task that you may never recover. The stress induced by having to do this may give you PTSD, but if successful this will be an achievement more impressive than say, Barack Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize or the fact in he speaks in complete sentences; can you repeat those five words we mentioned to you earlier? a) Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV.

Sign your name in crayon with an illegible scrawl here _______________________ .

Well done! You are cognitively there, so there in fact, that if you were any more there, cognitively speaking, you wouldn't be anywhere at all. Now, just follow the nurses there and they'll take you back to the 'White House'.

(c) 2020 Waterford Whispers News

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Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 31 (c) 07/31/2020

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